Re: [asa] David S Wilson

From: Merv <mrb22667@kansas.net>
Date: Sun May 06 2007 - 23:19:37 EDT

Bill Hamilton wrote:
>
> It seems he's limiting his discourse to science: That a God not
> scientifically detectable is not worth believing in. But there's much
> more to life than science. Surely he doesn't believe that there is
> nothing in his relationship with his wife, if he's married, that's not
> scientifically explicable. By and large scientists work on "toy"
> problems -- carefully circumscribed so that the methods of analysis
> and measurement we can devise can be applied. That puts human-human
> relationships and human-creator relationships outside the domain of
> science. Perhaps Wilson can live believing that there are scientific
> explanations for all of our emotions and mores, and that feelings of
> compassion and love have mechanical explanations. But to my mind that
> cheapens these aspects of our humanness and raises the question: Why
> bother with trying to figure out life, or indeed why bother with life
> itself?
>
> Bill Hamilton
I agree with everything you write here, Bill -- so let me preface the
following with the disclaimer: I'm playing devil's (okay -- atheists')
advocate on your challenge above for the purpose of all of us thinking
it through.

If I were Wilson (or someone even feistier like Dennett) I would respond
to your challenge above this way.
Why should we accept that the humanness of those who deny a transcendent
God is "cheapened"? So what if science can (potentially) explain all
our emotions and mores as biochemical events? They still happen.
Wasn't Hume known as the "happy atheist"? Atheists aren't neatly
separated by a signature of despair from society at large. What if they
insist that they do find meaning in their lives: meaning that THEY
HAVE PUT THERE. Maybe atheistically run governments have a poor track
record in history -- but theocracies or other religiously tolerant
governments are hardly any better behaved in many cases. Both seem to
fall victim to a common denominator of the human lust for power. Why
can't this lust be studied and fought against in enlightenment terms and
by educational methods just as well as any religious prohibitions
attempt to do? You say enlightenment has tried and failed for several
centuries now. Well -- Christianity has been trying for two thousand
years. Which is the biggest failure so far? And if you lay all good at
the feet of Christianity and deny that the naughty representatives who
claimed belief ever were "really" Christian, then you are just imposing
a tautology on history that will come out with a self-fulfilling
interpretation.

Okay --- I'm back again. Don't any of you dare quote that out of
context without the rest of this. I would have definite answers for
some of the challenge I voiced above, but some of it I'm not sure I have
any good response to. Since there probably aren't any real atheists
lurking here, except as represented in absentia -- I will attempt to do
their argument justice. So have at it. How would you answer all the
above? You guys do have an obligation to win this argument, you know.
Because maybe I'll be in big trouble if you don't -- may be needing
some therapist recommendations myself.

--Merv

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Received on Sun May 6 23:14:32 2007

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