Admitting, ever so modestly, that he can't disprove the existence of God, atheist popularizer Richard Dawkins explains why God almost certainly does not exist. His argument, presented in chapter 4 of The God Delusion (2008), is intended to expose the fallacy of intelligent design. It goes something like this: ►►►
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. . . Lemaître presented this theory in writing to Einstein in October 1927, when the two first met at a conference in Brussels. As the priest later recalled, Einstein's response was, "Your calculations are correct, but your physics is abominable." Lemaître's work was more or less dismissed by the New York Times, which called his theory "highly romantic." The encyclopedia Notable Scientists said that Lemaître's main problem was that his theory "lacked sufficient mathematical backing for widespread acceptance." Such backing would arrive in the fullness of time. ►►►
. . . It's all a bit 50 Shades of Grey-ish, with the notion that female fulfillment is found through weird sex. Not through God, relationships, or even work, but sex. And sex is all about exploring options, having a good time, finding yourself. It certainly isn't about the other person, and his joy or wellbeing, and it most certainly isn't about the bearing of children. Those are old-fashioned notions. In reality, however, what non-marital sex brings is anything but glamorous. . . . ►►►
Do animals have a sense of self? Or is selfhood unique to humans? That's a trickier question than we might at first suppose. In recent issues of Salvo, we looked at problem-solving intelligence in animals. Recapping: Claims for chimpanzee intelligence are generally overrated; on some tests, birds or dogs do as well as or better than chimps. And yes, bonobos use tools, but then so do birds, crocodiles, some fish, and octopuses. But only some species in all these vast animal divisions do so. We don't know why they do and others don't. . . . ►►►
. . . You might say that your belief in the reliability of your senses is an article of faith. After all, it is something that you hold to be true without conclusive proof. Moreover, it is a conviction that has practical consequences for every moment of your waking life. Wherever you go and whatever you do, you conduct yourself according to this conviction that your senses are reliable. In short, you devoutly trust your senses. This is just one of the ways that all of us live by faith, regardless of what our particular worldviews happen to be. . . . ►►►
. . . the elite social engineers who would usher us into a brave new utopia purged of all "medieval" notions of right and wrong have fashioned a seemingly foolproof system for hoodwinking the human conscience. Rather than announce the death of "bourgeois" moral standards, they provide us with substitute moralities that satisfy our need for standards while leaving us free to reinvent the values and institutions upon which civilization was built. . . . ►►►
. . . What will become of Homo naledi remains to be seen. So far, however, its pathway resembles that of so many other hominin fossils whose "transitional" or "ancestral" status ultimately went belly-up. When evaluating media claims of a "human ancestor," a strong dose of healthy skepticism is warranted. ►►►
In early April 2014, German author and sociologist Gabriele Kuby visited the Czech Republic to give a number of public presentations promoting her new book, The Global Sexual Revolution: The Destruction of Freedom in the Name of Freedom, recently translated into Czech (ed. and very recently into English). During her visit to Brno, I had a chance to interview Kuby about one of the most important issues of our time: the continuing sexual revolution that is leading not only to private lifestyle changes but also to a new legal understanding of sexuality and the family. Kuby warns that the global trend of "gender mainstreaming" threatens the fundamental understanding of our very human nature, with dire consequences for children, families, and society as a whole. . . . ►►►
. . . the machine metaphor is inadequate as a description of living organisms. Then what about the inference to design from molecular machines? The inference is still justified, because the machine metaphor is appropriate for isolated structures such as ATP synthase, kinesin, and the ribosome. Each of these consists of several parts that are precisely arranged by a cell to utilize energy to perform a specific function (which is how "machine" is usually defined). None of them can perform their functions if parts are missing or arranged incorrectly. They point to intelligent design just as much as machines made by humans. . . . ►►►
. . . In the social and cultural battles affecting people today, you would expect the same principle of responsible attention to facts and results to hold sway. But it doesn't. Many continue to disregard the tragic effects of the sexual revolution, for example, and double down on policies that harm. These people fit the caricature of the generals who cared nothing for the wellbeing and lives of their men. Such leaders repeatedly do others harm, but will not admit to error or change course. ►►►
. . . Our age's epistemology is now overwhelmingly Whiggish, thanks to an educational system that teaches people to see themselves as Prometheuses wresting enlightenment from the murky backwardness of the past and carrying it forward into the future. But the paradox of this self-styled heroism is that, the more people set their faces against the past, the more they fail to understand the present. They thus feel alienated from time and struggle blindly for increasingly abstract ideals that have neither antecedent nor context. Can anything be done about this ascendancy of all things Whiggish? Many people are dizzied by the pace of unexamined change in the world. Can those with temporal vertigo stop Whigging out and restore sanity to society? ►►►
. . . These are only a handful of the studies done that show a connection between family breakdown and the perpetration of violence—many more could be cited. So why don't we hear more about these connections? Perhaps because of their uncomfortable ramifications for adults. . . . ►►►
. . . "Everybody uses the word "values" to describe our making of the world. . . . The word comes to us so platitudinously that we take it to belong to the way things are. It is forgotten that before Nietzsche and his immediate predecessors, men did not think about their actions in that language. They did not think they made the world valuable, but that they participated in its goodness. . . ." ►►►
Self-Esteem Goes Digital
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