The best they’ve got

In case you’re still not convinced of the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of atheism, consider this list of what atheists believe to be “the big guns” of the best atheist quotes.

Needless to say, I was deeply unimpressed. It was amusing to see that the thread’s creator actually cited the illogical and theologically ignorant “One Less God” quote from Stephen Roberts that Ricky Gervais plagiarized in his recent article: “I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”

Three errors in just three sentences.

1. No, we are not both atheists.
2. No, you are confusing God with gods. If you simply take the First Commandment into account, you will know that this is incorrect. Few atheists understand that monotheism concerns the worship of one supreme Creator God, not belief in the existence of only one supernatural being that demands worship.
3. Unless an atheist dismisses the Christian God because they believe Him to be an evil supernatural being falsely posing as a deity worthy of worship, he is not doing so for the same reason that Christians dismiss the pagan gods.

There are the expected appearances of Dawkins and Harris, Galileo’s fictional quote, and the concocted quote that David Hume falsely attributed to Epicurus. It is so eminently fitting that atheists should rely upon fake quotes to argue in support of their supposed dedication to reality.

But let us be fair. Whether you are a believer or an unbeliever, select whichever quote you consider to be either the least nonsensical or most effective in support of the atheist case. Mine is the following, which is absolutely true:

“A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

Nietsche is correct in that faith doesn’t prove anything. The problem, of course, is that it isn’t supposed to, by literal definition. Paul writes in Hebrews: “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen. The very fact that we have faith, is evidence that what we hope for is real.”

Of course, the common atheist confusion concerning the matter notwithstanding, “evidence” should not be mistaken for “proof”. Again, this should be completely obvious, as it is why linguistic concepts such as “competing evidence” and “weighing the evidence” are utilized.

WND column

Brave New Year

There are times when nothing very interesting seems to happen, when the years fly by like one of the uneventful periods in the history book that connect one war to another. Of course, as Americans learned on Sept. 11, 2001, it is those uneventful and uninteresting periods of history that provide a superior quality of life for those actually living through them. It may be tedious for future historians to read of people living peacefully for year after year in prosperity, but no sane individual would prefer the excitement of famine, chaos and war to comfortable boredom.

On the modern Ivy League education

In which Tom provides an eloquent summary of the present state of the elite American university education:

“Cicero’s The Republic and The Laws”? I admit I’m an Ivy leaguer, but I thought Plato wrote those?

If you, like me, are familiar with a sufficiently large number of Ivy Leaguers, this response no doubt strikes you as a highly unlikely one. One is forced to conclude that Tom is only pretending to possess a degree from an Ivy League university, not because he doesn’t know the works of Cicero, but because he isn’t anywhere nearly pretentious enough about the chance to correct someone else he assumes is insufficiently familiar with Plato. Any genuine Ivy Leaguer would surely have phrased his response thusly:

The Republic and The Laws? Um, Plato, anyone?”

Ivy Leaguers are, almost to a man, moderately intelligent but uneducated individuals who nevertheless believe they are very well-educated and extraordinarily intelligent. MPAI applies to them with an ironic vengeance. They tend to be heavily inclined towards intellectual bluffing, presumably based upon the magical properties of their sheepskins, which is why you should always call them on their assertions and ask pointed questions on any occasion when you are not already certain that they are demonstrably incorrect.

For example, Tom is partly right. Plato did indeed write both The Republic and The Laws. The dialogues have been famous for centuries and anyone with a halfway-decent university degree will have heard of them, or at least The Republic. (On the other hand, very few of the degreed folk who are prone to happily citing the question “Who will watch the watchers?” at the drop of a hat has actually read either dialogue.) And even fewer happen to know that Cicero, who was a learned admirer of Ancient Greece, (albeit not to the extent of his great friend Atticus), also wrote a number of dialogues, among them De Re Publica and De Legibus.

While the more proper translation of these two dialogues would be “On the Republic” and “On the Laws”, they are more commonly known as “The Republic” and “The Laws”, which, as it happens, is exactly how the new Oxford translation to which I was referring has them.