Sunday 11 October 2009

The New Atheists - A Near-Total Failure? October meetup

The next meetup is Sunday October 11th 2009 at 6pm at The Clarendon Hotel  156 Devonshire St, Surry Hills.
The guest of the evening will be Peter Bowden, from University of Sydney. Peter Bowden’s research is primarily concerned with individual and institutional ethics. He is currently a Research Associate in the Department of Philosophy at Sydney University, working on institutional ethics, runs with others a Philosophy Cafe (Philo Agora) in Sydney and is on the National Committee of Whistleblowers Australia.
Abstract: "The New Atheists - A Near-Total Failure?"
Peter Bowden describes himself as a Huxley Agnostic, although tending largely to agree with Richard Dawkins. Thomas Huxley, Darwin’s bulldog, coined the term agnosticism, presumably from the Greek, agnostos, unknown or unknowing. He stated that we do not know whether God exists or not. Peter Bowden certainly does not know. Nor that we can prove it either way. But he does believe that an all-powerful, all-knowing and all-loving God who listens to our prayers is highly unlikely. Even logically impossible.
The new atheists are Dawkins along with Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett and Sam Harris. The Four Horsemen they call themselves and the can be found on the web. Adding in Michel Onfray and his recent publication The Atheist Manifesto only extends the concern that they are all barking up a dead end canal.
The reason is that they show a complete ignorance of human nature. Even if they correctly identify the reasons why human beings came to develop a God or Gods , and religion, they do not recognise the messages behind the stories that they themselves are telling
And until they do they will continue to be voices crying in the wilderness. Except that they do not appear to be even part way to accepting their own messages

Note: This meetup will start at 6pm, with the topical hour and take place in the Clarendon Hotel, 156 Devonshire St, Surry Hills.

Originally posted by Ian Woolf

Wednesday 7 October 2009

Christopher Hitchens on ABC's Q and A Forum

You can watch Christipher Hitchens gracefully endure the harranguing of his opponents on ABC's Q and A with Tony Jones:
download episode WMV | MP4 (average size 200MB)

Originally posted by Ian Woolf

Sunday 4 October 2009

Darwin's Dangerous Idea on SBS

SBS has posted a pro-creationist blog entry here: in response to the documentary Darwin's Dangerous Idea which is being shown on SBS1. The text has obviously not been through a spell-checker, and is unashamably apologetic creationist. Blogger Mark Jones advocates creationism and attacks "Darwinism" as unscientific.
"Surely God is big enough to account for a world that is continually in a state of being created."
"Id like to know if every aspect of evolution can be definitively proved in the modern lab."
Now SBS offers space for people to comment, and when I looked there were 3 comments. I naturally wrote my own comment,and somehow its ended up there twice  Write your own comment and expand the debate. You can also watch the entire episode on the SBS website for the next two weeks, so be quick if you missed it.
Here's my comment:
The evidence is strongly in favour of blind evolution and against design and manufacture by an intelligent person. The evidence is strongly in favour of evolution and strongly against creation of any sort. There is nothing we can observe that requires the concept of a "soul" or "spirit" to be explained.

In the absence of any need of "creation" or "souls" to explain anything we experience or observe on the Universe, why invoke these pre-scientific superstitions?

If you are seriously suggesting that an intelligent non-human is magically intervening to badly design over billions of years what would take even humans just a few centuries, then you haven't really grasped the concept of evolution. Its lack of awareness is crucial to its mechanism. Yes, every aspect of evolution can be definitely proved scientifically.

We can explain the world successfully without "creation" and without "souls", "spirits" or "ghosts".  The world is full of enough wonder without invoking magic. As Laplace explained to Napoleon, "creation", we have no need of that hypothesis.

Originally posted by Ian Woolf

Saturday 3 October 2009

Christopher Hitchens streamed live from Sydney Opera House

Christopher Hitchens is opening the Festival of Dangerous Ideas run by the St James Ethics Centre at Sydney Opera House at 8pm tonight. You can watch the live stream video of his talk here from 8pm (and after) :

 MP3 Audio [48 MB]
MP4 Video [333 MB]

Originally posted by Ian Woolf