Re: [asa] FYI: Arrogance, dogma and why science - not faith - is the new enemy of

From: Michael Roberts <>
Date: Tue Aug 14 2007 - 02:37:10 EDT

Do we really want to know what the British tabloid press are ranting on
about. I take no notice of what the Daily Mail says and do not ever buy it.

I do not have a high regard of the British press

----- Original Message -----
From: "IW" <>
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Sent: Tuesday, August 14, 2007 1:32 AM
Subject: [asa] FYI: Arrogance, dogma and why science - not faith - is the
new enemy of

> reason
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> Subject: Fwd: GK Chesterton quoted again
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> - ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> Arrogance, dogma and why science - not faith - is the new enemy of
> reason
> 23:31pm 5th August 2007
> <
> s.html?i
> n_article_id=473347&in_page_id=1772&in_author_id=256#StartComments>
> CommentsComments
> Melanie Phillips
> <>
> Our most celebrated atheist, the biologist Professor Richard
> Dawkins, has
> briefly turned his attention away from bashing people who believe
> in God.
> Instead, he is about to bash people who subscribe to 'new age'
> therapies
> which he says are based on 'irrational superstition'.
> In a TV programme to be shown later this month, Dawkins looks at a
> range of
> ludicrous therapies and gurus, including faith healers, psychic
> mediums,
> 'angel therapists', 'aura photographers', astrologers and others.
> Not surprisingly, he is horrified by such widespread irrationality,
> not to
> mention an exploitative industry that fleeces people while
> encouraging them
> to run away from reality. He is right to be alarmed.
> What previously belonged to the province of the quack and the
> charlatan has
> become mainstream. The NHS provides funding for shamans, while the
> Directory For Alternative And Complementary Medicine promotes
> 'dowsers',
> 'flower therapists' and 'crystal healers'.
> Scroll down for more
> 'We are living in a scientific, largely post-religious age in which
> faith is
> presented as unscientific superstition'
>
> *
> <
> ml?in_ar
> ticle_id=473369&in_page_id=1774> New age healing and astrology
> slammed by
> God Delusion author
> Indeed, such therapies aren't the half of it. Millions of us are
> now eager
> to believe that the world is controlled by conspiracies of covert
> forces,
> for which there is not one shred of evidence because such theories
> are
> simply bonkers.
> Thus Press articles and TV documentaries seriously advance the
> belief that
> the 9/11 attacks on America were orchestrated by the U.S.
> government itself.
> Similarly, thousands believe that Princess Diana was murdered at
> the hands
> of a conspiracy composed of the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles
> and MI5.
> Bestselling books by the former TV sports presenter David Icke, who
> has
> announced he is 'the son of God', argue that Britain will be
> devastated by
> tidal waves and earthquakes, and that the world is ruled by a
> secret group
> called the 'Global Elite' or 'Illuminati' which was responsible for
> the
> Holocaust, the Oklahoma city bombing and 9/11.
> These trends are not just nutty but sinister. Thousands of cults
> now combine
> similar crazy beliefs with programmes to control people's minds and
> behaviour.
> Their techniques include food and sleep deprivation; trance
> induction
> through hypnosis or prolonged rhythmical chanting; and 'love
> bombing', where
> cult members are bombarded with conditional love which is removed
> whenever
> there is a deviation from the dictates of the leader.
> Disturbing indeed. But where Dawkins goes wrong is to assume this
> is all as
> irrational as believing in God. The truth is that it is the
> collapse of
> religious faith that has prompted the rise of such irrationality.
> We are living in a scientific, largely post-religious age in which
> faith is
> presented as unscientific superstition. Yet paradoxically, we have
> replaced
> such faith by belief in demonstrable nonsense.
> It was GK Chesterton who famously quipped that "when people stop
> believing
> in God, they don't believe in nothing - they believe in anything."
> So it has
> proved. But how did it happen?
> The big mistake is to see religion and reason as polar opposites.
> They are
> not. In fact, reason is intrinsic to the Judeo-Christian tradition.
> The Bible provides a picture of a rational Creator and an orderly
> universe -
> which, accordingly, provided the template for the exercise of
> reason and the
> development of science.
> Dawkins pours particular scorn on the Biblical miracles which don't
> correspond to scientific reality. But religious believers have
> different
> ways of regarding those events, with many seeing them as either
> metaphors or
> as natural occurrences which were invested with a greater
> significance.
> The heart of the Judeo-Christian tradition is the belief in the
> concept of
> truth, which gives rise to reason. But our postreligious age has
> proclaimed
> that there is no such thing as objective truth, only what is "true
> for me".
> That is because our society won't put up with anything which gets
> in the way
> of 'what I want'. How we feel about things has become all-
> important. So
> reason has been knocked off its perch by emotion, and thinking has
> been
> replaced by feelings.
> This has meant our society can no longer distinguish between truth
> and lies
> by using evidence and logic. And this collapse of objective truth
> has, in
> turn, come to undermine science itself which is playing a role for
> which it
> is not fitted.
> When science first developed in the West, it thought of itself
> merely as a
> tool to explore the natural world. It did not pour scorn upon
> religion;
> indeed, scientists were overwhelmingly religious believers (as many
> still
> are).
> In modern times, however, science has given rise to 'scientism',
> the belief
> that science can answer all the questions of human existence. This
> is not
> so.
> Science cannot explain the origin of the universe. Yet it now
> presumes to do
> so and as a result it has descended into irrationality.
> The most conspicuous example of this is provided by Dawkins
> himself, who
> breaks the rules of scientific evidence by seeking to claim that
> Darwin's
> theory of evolution - which sought to explain how complex organisms
> evolved
> through random natural selection - also accounts for the origin of
> life
> itself.
> There is no evidence for this whatever and no logic to it. After
> all, if
> people say God could not have created the universe because this
> gives rise
> to the question "Who created God?", it follows that if scientists
> say the
> universe started with a big bang, this prompts the further question
> "What
> created the bang?"
> Indeed, if the origin of life were truly spontaneous, this would
> constitute
> what religious people would call a miracle. Accordingly, this claim
> in
> itself resembles not so much science as the superstition that
> Dawkins
> derides.
> Moreover, since science essentially takes us wherever the evidence
> leads,
> the findings of more than 50 years of DNA research - which have
> revealed the
> almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which are needed
> to
> produce life - have thrown into doubt the theory that life emerged
> spontaneously in a random universe.
> These findings have given rise to a school of scientists promoting
> the
> theory of Intelligent Design, which suggests that some force
> embodying
> purpose and foresight lay behind the origin of the universe.
> While this theory is, of course, open to vigorous counter-argument,
> people
> such as Prof Dawkins and others have gone to great lengths to stop
> it being
> advanced at all, on the grounds that it denies scientific evidence
> such as
> the fossil record and is therefore worthless.
> Yet distinguished scientists have been hounded and their careers
> jeopardised
> for arguing that the fossil record has got a giant hole in it. Some
> 570
> million years ago, in a period known as the Cambrian Explosion,
> most forms
> of complex animal life emerged seemingly without any evolutionary
> trail.
> These scientists argue that only 'rational agents' could have
> possessed the
> ability to design and organise such complex systems.
> Whether or not they are right (and I don't know), their scientific
> argument
> about the absence of evidence to support the claim that life
> spontaneously
> created itself is being stifled - on the totally perverse grounds
> that this
> argument does not conform to the rules of science which require
> evidence to
> support a theory.
> As a result of such arrogance, the West - the crucible of reason -
> is
> turning the clock back to a pre-modern age of obscurantism, dogma
> and
> secular witch-hunts.
> Far from upholding reason, science itself has become unreasonable.
> So when
> Prof Dawkins fulminates against 'new age' irrationality, it is the
> image of
> pots and kettles that comes irresistibly to mind.
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Received on Tue Aug 14 03:35:22 2007

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