Friday, June 7, 2013

It all happened before, it will all happen again

One of the things that really has bugged me for a few years now is that after reading GK Chesterton, all of my internet arguments fill me with the strangest feeling of Deja Vu. What he wrote for newspapers, essays that were eventually collected into collection books, were on exactly the same topics we are *still* arguing 80+ years later.

Consider this chapter, if you will, from All Things Considered. The first part deals with the problem of fiscal libertinism. The only significant thing that has changed in this since Chesterton was writing is that the financial capital of the world has switched from London to New York.

But the second part of the chapter, merely labeled "Science", deals with a pamphlet promoting scientific atheism. I'd love to find the pamphlet that caused him to write it, but based on what he chooses to argue about, _The God Delusion_ from Richard Dawkins appears to be not quite as good as a rewrite.

This does not bode well for either the New Atheists or the Catholics in the debate, if all the arguments we can come up with have already been written!

22 comments:

Bill S said...

I am disillusioned about Dawkins now that I am sure that Darwinian evolution doesn't account for a number of elements including how life began, fine tuning, irreduceable complexity, genetic information, etc.

I should probably give Chesterton a read.

Theodore Seeber said...

I'm pretty disillusioned with the New Atheist movement in general and the concept of applying apologetics to online discussions.

Bill S said...

Moi?

Theodore Seeber said...

Oh, no, you're just the end of a long road, that for me online stretches back to the mid 1980s and Fidonet.



And this passage from Chesterton indicates that the whole discussion started long before you and I were born, and will not end in our lifetimes.

Bill S said...

Atheism was so simple a philosophy until I realized that it doesn't address the creator or as they say now the intelligent designer. We are here as a result of intelligence prior to the Big Bang.

Theodore Seeber said...

Gravity isn't good enough for you? :-) Me neither. Hawking may be brilliant, but he kind of jumped the shark on that one.

Bill S said...

They all jumped the shark. They deny any intelligence behind the Law of Gravity or anything else. It's all going to unravel.

Bill S said...

Ted,

I can't be an atheist anymore because I believe in intelligent design. What do I call myself? A Diest?

Theodore Seeber said...

Deism is the closest to Intelligent Design. Oddly enough, I can't point to any *specific* Catholic teaching against deism- other than the incarnation itself. It is perfectly reasonable to consider the life of Jesus Christ to be the only intervention of God in the lifespan of the universe.

And maybe a perfect God wouldn't need any more than that.

Bill S said...

"It is perfectly reasonable to consider the life of Jesus Christ to be the only intervention of God in the lifespan of the universe."

OK. So you would be a Deist if you learned that the life of Jesus Christ was not the result of divine intervention?

This could get interesting. Do you really think it is reasonable to rule out divine inspiration for everything else? I know that is not what you, yourself believe, but you think it is possible?

Theodore Seeber said...

All life is the result of divine intervention, but that's a bit beside the point.

I long ago realized it didn't matter to me whether the resurrection or the Virgin Birth were true or not; the Way of Life goes much, much, deeper than the silly superficial arguments about events:
Several translations of the Didache. Plus, if I'm wrong and you're right- it matters not at all, for after death we'll know nothing. Actually, even if I'm right, after death we'll know nothing- the only difference is you'll have to deal with being wrong, while I will evolve into an eternal praisebot.

Theodore Seeber said...

I failed to answer this question: "Do you really think it is reasonable to rule out divine inspiration for everything else? I know that is not what you, yourself believe, but you think it is possible?"



Divine inspiration is a far different subject than divine intervention. A "one time injection of anthropomorphic constants into our bubble universe in the multiverse" is quite sufficient for divine inspiration and through application of the physical laws governed by those constants, the "Darwin's Pool Hall Shark" version of God is completely possible.

This doesn't even rule out an interventionist God living in some higher dimension than the four we move through; for a Catholic Omnipresent God the Big Bang and the Heat Death of the Universe are both occurring right now (along with everything else on the time axis of four dimensional space)- there is nothing whatsoever preventing him from envisioning every bubble universe in the potential multiverse and selecting *exactly* the right physical constants that resulted in your wife being unable to find her box of chocolates temporarily that resulted in her finding your suicide plan.

Free will is just an illusion either way- whether our brains are governed by quantum mechanics or by events placed in our path by an interventionist God who set up the universe *exactly right* for every miracle that has ever occurred and will ever occur to happen entirely within the laws of physics.

So like Blase Pascal, all we've done is add a couple more columns and rows to our Carroll diagram, and it is still more advantageous to believe in such a Deist God, which could possibly get you into purgatory, than no God at all, which will certainly end up with you separated for all eternity from everything you love one way or another.

Bill S said...

"Actually, even if I'm right, after death we'll know nothing- the only difference is you'll have to deal with being wrong.."

If I could eliminate one fallacy in the world, it would be that there is some kind of reward for believing and punishment for not believing. That is just a carrot and stick way of enticing or scaring people to make them believe something. I don't understand why that isn't plainly obvious to everyone in this world.

Bill S said...

" it is still more advantageous to believe in such a Deist God, which could possibly get you into purgatory, than no God at all, which will certainly end up with you separated for all eternity from everything you love one way or another. "

Wow. You really think along those line. That is sad for someone of your intelligence to think that theists go to heaven, desists might get into purgatory and atheists go to hell. Don't you think?

Theodore Seeber said...

Most theists are also going to purgatory. And it is entirely possible the Tibetan Buddhists are right- and atheists are coming back for missing the point the first time around (ok, for a Tibetan Buddhist, that is the service an advanced soul owes the rest of the world, but it amounts to the same thing, reincarnation).

Theodore Seeber said...

You shouldn't be so afraid of carrots, Bill.

Bill S said...

I just think that one does not choose what one believes or does not believe in response to the promise of heaven for believing and the threat if hell for not believing.

Theodore Seeber said...

On that, I do have a tendency to agree- I'd follow Christ even if the result was hell.

But that doesn't change the reality of the system; atheism has no integrity; neither does deism. They think that by removing God they remove morality; but morality is a part of the physical universe and can no more be removed than the law of gravity can. Morality evolved for a reason, ignoring that reason brings back the natural selection that encouraged the morality to develop in the first place.

Bill S said...

Suppose that theists are more moral than deists and atheists. Suppose that they really do fear God and don't want to piss him off. Suppose that the world is a better place to live in because of this fear of God. Does that make theists right and deists/atheists wrong? Or is it that we are all better off with theism so, therefore, we want everyone to be a theist? I want to believe whatever is true, regardless of whether or not it makes the world a better place. I can fake my faith if that is what is needed for the sake of a better world.

Theodore Seeber said...

"Suppose that they really do fear God and don't want to piss him off. "

It isn't about FEARING God, it's about LOVING God and being grateful for life.

And that, not only makes the world a better place, but is the very definition of what is true- beyond ANYTHING an atheist can accomplish on his own, cut off from history.

Bill S said...

"And that, not only makes the world a better place, but is the very definition of what is true"

It is the definition of what is good. If good is the same thing as true in your world, then ok it is true. Whatever works for you.

Theodore Seeber said...

It is more that true is the same as good in my world. It isn't mathematical. It is theological. The truth came first, the good is good because it agrees with the truth.

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