Saturday, 7 July 2007

The Daily Wail stands up for God

The Daily Mail, that infamous tabloid, has decided to stand up for God. All those mean atheists have been giving him a hard time recently, and the Mail has decided they must step in to stop this deity bullying. Now I don't usually read articles in the Daily Mail, frankly because hitting myself over the head with a brick is more enjoyable, and far more enlightening, but I thought I would cross into the void and see if there was an sense. What do you think I found?

The article starts off with the depressingly common fallacy of equivocating Dawkins and Hitchens to the militants blowing themselves up. As I wrote in the comments (which may not be there as the Mail reserves the right to disregard comments that don't agree with them),

The article is unfair to call Hitchens and Dawkins militant atheists. Militant is a term that has connotations of violent attack, whereas Hitchens and Dawkins have only attacked religion with words, in a book. Also the idea that they "want to destroy the faith of believers.", is inaccurate. Once again it gives the connotation that they wish to enforce their views or others, whereas they are both against this, and indeed Dawkins says in his book he wishes to raise 'peoples consciences'.

Then that old chestnut is put out to roast. Yep you guessed it, Hitler and Stalin were atheists. Ooh isn't atheism bad. This is what I wrote in my comment:

The idea that Nazi Germany was an atheist state is ludicrous. It could be argued strongly that Hitler was a Catholic, or at least believed in some kind of god or 'providence'. Also most Germans at the time would have been Christian.

Stalin was an atheist, but the idea that the horrors of the Stalinist regime were done because of atheism is ridiculous. Stalin was a paranoid, violent control freak. He replaced the religion of the USSR with his 'Cult of personality'. Religion was just another threat.

And that was all I was able to write. The Mail only gives you 1000 characters to be censored by them, which at least saved me wasting my time writing a longer comment to them.

However I digress. They do agree with me by saying that,

It is not difficult to show the absurdities of the Old Testament myths

but they go on to spoil it by saying

But Hitchens and Dawkins fulminate as though every believer has to accept wildly improbably episodes as 'gospel' along with the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, which are the heart of the matter.

But they do! It's the book of their god, is it not? How dare they pick and choose from the word of their god! And what about Judaism and Islam? I'm pretty sure the 'teachings of Jesus' are not the 'heart of the matter' to them.

We have another fallacy creep up when they compare the Bible to the Illiad and the Odyssey.

Does he refuse to read the Iliad and the Odyssey because Homer's existence is uncertain historically, as is the siege of Troy? [On Hitchens]

The thing is nobody is saying that the Illiad and the Odyssey are the words of an almighty god, who must be obeyed, unless a fiery pool is your delight.

And of course no tirade against atheism wouldn't be complete without a tirade against science would it? Well what do you expect from the paper that stirred up bullshit about the MMR vaccines?

Now most of us believe in science. We are happy to pay homage to the saints of scientific breakthrough - to Pythagoras (sic) and Archimedes, to Galileo and Newton, to Darwin and Einstein, Crick, Watson and the rest, remembering always that their work was bound to be superseded by those who came after. The final Theory of Everything seems as far away as it ever did.

Oh and atheism is nihilism, if you didn't know:

As for the other great question - what is the point, or purpose, of it all? - the current answer from science is that there isn't one. Dawkins again: 'The universe has no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.'

So atheism is a belief in pointlessness. As Hitchens observes, the views from the Hubble telescope are more awe-inspiring than any medieval vision of Hell.

Damn these guys are good. However, what is more nihilistic then saying everything is pointless, unless it has a purpose? I do not need the stars to have some ulterior purpose, for me to admire the sheer beauty and vastness of them.

And again we have the accusation the atheists are aggresively attacking believers. Why is it that criticism of religion is treated as a personal affront? If you are really secure in your beliefs, why would criticism effect you? Have you no good arguments for your beliefs?

For the grand finale, we have their trump card. The one man willing to stand up and combat Dawkins and his ilk, and fight the good fight. This atheism killer is none other than.... Alister Mcgrath? Really? Is that the best they could do? Him? Oh dear.
I will point to Tobe's review of 'The Dawkins Delusion' over at A Load of Bright on why I mock McGrath so.

And finally there are the commentators. Only five last time I checked, but all but one supporters of this kind of drivel. One of them, Mike, annoyed me with his little remark against evolution, I wish I had had the space to post a comment against what he said. This is what I would have said:

To Mike: Evolution put falsely is 'survival of the fittest'. The term is no longer used in modern evolutionary science because it is a bad description. Survival of the stable is a much better description, as those who are adapted to their environmental niche, are more likely to propagate and pass on their genes. You say if we are just intelligent animals we should act like Ghengis Khan. Well I have to say I have never seen an animal act like Ghengis Khan. The variety of animal behaviour makes this statement ridiculous. If we're all just animals, why don't we act like starfish and eat through our arse? Some people are already half-way there anyway.

But I guess he is just ignorant of the facts, and I shouldn't read to much into his comment.

Why don't any readers go to the website and try to register your comments. I suspect if enough people try they may not censor them all.

But frankly I've wasted enough time talking about this rubbish, though I guess writing this was somewhat cathartic. Apologies if you don't enjoy rants.


heather said...

I certainly enjoyed the rant. I love the starfish phrase.
And would pretty well certainly never have read it on the Daily Mail, (unless hell has indeed frozen over) so I reckon that on balance, it's almost a good thing they censor people they disagree with. :-)

heather said...

D'Oh, sorry.
I just accidentally clicked the wrong button on the Akismet "moderate spam" thing and deleted your comment while trying to accept it.
Could you resend it please?
Yes, I do agree that civil liberties are going down the pan. The world feels a lot like Germany 1936 sometimes.

Xander said...

To Heather:

Glad you enjoyed the rant. I'm pleased to say I'm still censored by the Daily Mail.

With regards to the comment, I wouldn't worry about it, I can't even find the post I commented on, or even remember what I said for that matter! Though my memory was never that good really.