If Richard Dawkins Was An Historian

Sorry for the delay. I’ve been waiting for Peter to clarify himself, but I think I’ll just go ahead and post what I wrote last week.

I closed Round 1 of DBT01 by addressing Peter Hurford’s claim that, “knowledge of germ theory of disease contained in the Bible […] would prove God’s goodness and glory beyond a shadow of a doubt.” I supplied examples of Old Testament hygienic commands which I argued were consistent with Peter’s gauntlet, enough that he had no rational alternative but to abandon his atheism and acknowledge the God of the Bible. Peter proudly claimed that he “busted” my proof, but as we’ll see, he misrepresented my argument more than once and his response is chock full of irrelevant links suggesting that his history is on par with Dawkins’ philosophy.

Read More →

Science Works (When It’s Not Failing)

DISCLAIMER—to say a claim is “inaccurate” is not the same as saying the claim is “false.” I fear that if I don’t include this disclaimer, those prone to twisting things around will show up in droves, accusing me of denigrating science. Should you be tempted to respond, please keep things in scope and pay attention to what I actually say, not your reaction to what I actually say!

*******

The inaccurate polemic that “science works” has reared it’s ugly, cherrypicked head again, this time, in a most expected place. As one might reasonably infer whenever somebody uses the pejorative “bitch” in their argument, I feel fairly safe in my assumption that the juvenile maker of this remark hasn’t seen this article from Scientific American, or any other pertinent articles for that matter.

Read More →

False Argument #30, Or, MiracleQuest Continues: The Case Of Kayla Knight, Pt. I

False Argument #30 is a two-tier one coming from the chaplain and PhillyChief:

Well I think we can start by reviewing everyone who refused medical treatment instead of prayer and were healed. That list would be….. strangely unavailable.
-PhillyChief

Maybe all those who were healed by prayer never bothered reporting it to the newsies. I wonder why they kept their lights hidden under their bushels? It seems like their testimonies would be powerful stuff. Still, it seems strange that not even one person appears to have stepped up and told such a story.
-the chaplain

Now, there's certainly some non-committal posturing on chaplain's behalf here, but someone who's looked into this stuff for even a microsecond has to wonder: Are chaplain and PhillyChief merely being rhetorically successful? Are they taking themselves seriously? Or have they really not looked into this stuff for more than a microsecond?

Although I certainly don't expect either of them to think any miracle story on the news is actually credible, that's a different story, and .22 seconds on Google disproves their claims. Accordingly, a rational person has to wonder: Are the chaplain and PhillyChief reliable? Like John Evo said about my last little soiree with PhillyChief: Is he even doing any research? Is the chaplain? Or are they just voicing their opinions?

Read More →

On Atheists & Blind Faith, Or, False Arguments 27, 28 & 29: Why Prayer Studies Are Not Credible

So I locked horns with PhillyChief and John Evo, again, this time it was over the following comment from PhillyChief – who if I remember correctly – claims to be a scientifically-minded rationalist atheist:

Prayer helps no one but the one praying, providing a euphoria and calming effect, which could be comparable to ejaculating.
PhillyChief

I felt that was an odd statement for a scientifically-minded rationalist to make, but was not surprised that it came from a sarcastic atheist who claims to be "almost always right", and so I replied,

How would you know? Where is that "demonstrable evidence" you're so fond of? Aside from being grossly unscientific, statements like the above appear contradictory alongside appeals to soft atheism as you've recently made on my site.
cl

Read More →

Death And Blind Faith In Everyday Life

What do people mean when they use the phrase blind faith?

Like many words, this phrase will surely mean different things to different people. I define blind faith as the unquestioning acceptance of statements spoken by an authority, and in my definition, such faith is accompanied by a lack of critical thinking. Going further, blind faith refuses to apply critical thinking even in the face of solid evidence suggesting that the statements being accepted in blind faith may actually be incorrect.

One anti-religious criticism we tend to hear ad nauseum is that religion is based on blind faith. To a certain extent, such can be true, but sweeping generalizations like this always portray a one-sided view of things. There are many, many religious people who do not base their beliefs on blind faith, and just as many irreligious people who do. Humans accept all sorts of statements on blind faith every day, and blind faith is by no means an exclusively religious error.

So without defending or attacking those who accept their religious beliefs on blind faith, I'd like to discuss an area where blind faith and rejection of science are arguably stronger motivators for belief than in religion: and that area is medicine.

Read More →