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Saturday, September 15, 2012

More Science vs Religion

I don't really get much satisfaction out of bashing theology or religion.

I'm motivated to criticize them because they reflect bad science, bad history and bad logic. 

So playing on my last post, here's a very recent discussion on the topic.  

It's an evolutionary biologist (Richard Dawkins) and a rabbi (Jonathan Sacks) from September 12:

I agree with Dawkins, that religion and science are incompatible philosophically.  That doesn't mean people can't engage in both, obviously they can (see last post).  A cop can steal drugs from a suspect.  But philosophically, law enforcement is incompatible with stealing drugs.

Dawkins addresses Sacks very well, which means less typing for me....but with the advantage of not needing to be spontaneous, I would add:

Sacks suffers from fallacious teleological reasoning.  Kids often do too.  Ask a group of  kids, why's that tree there?  And they may answer, to give birds a nesting or resting place or to provide shade.  But we know, that's an oversimplification.  Sacks can't accept the same sort of thing with the Universe.

Note - Sacks brings up a point on new DNA discoveries, if you want the background, I covered it here.

Sacks asks, "why would an infinite creator who by definition lacks nothing create a Universe?"

Whoa Johnny!  That's a lot of made-up stuff.  What evidence do you have that there is only one creator and not a team?  Where's your evidence of infinity?  And how can the creator who lacks nothing also lack a Universe (or a need to give love)?  It's all anti-science nonsense!

Sacks says he believes the Red Sea was split (literally) to allow Jews freedom from Egypt.  But he also says he follows the evidence.  Well, there isn't evidence that the Red Sea was split.

Sacks has the gall to compare teaching a child a language (so he/she can communicate within society) with teaching the child falsehoods.

The rabbi says that Jews welcome questioning, but that's not quite true among the Orthodox.  They welcome questioning as long as one keeps the faith, but once the answers to the questions fail and one of them loses their faith, the person is outcast, just like many other fundamentalist sects.

One audience member thinks atheism is a religion, to which Dawkins should have said something like, yeah, like abstinence is a sexual position.

Anyway, I would have asked Sacks why the Egyptians aren't Jewish.  After the plagues, the escape of the Jews, the Red Sea, etc., they would have been convinced by all that evidence.  But they weren't.

Unless those things didn't happen.

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