Some time ago, Ray Comfort (one of the clowns from “The Way of the Master”) wrote an incredibly stupid blog (rather superfluous where Comfort or Cameron are concerned, I know) about Einstein. In it he had a picture of himself morph into a picture of the great genius. Apparently, humility is not a trait embraced by this silly man. If that isn’t disrespectful, I don’t know what is. Ray Comfort has nothing in common with Einstein, least of all intelligence.
Many of us are aware of Einstein’s famous quote making plain his view on god:
“It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.”
~ Albert Einstein, letter to an atheist (1954), quoted in Albert Einstein: The Human Side, edited by Helen Dukas & Banesh Hoffman
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Some time ago, Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron debated with the Rational Response Squad on the existence of God. Comfort promised us a proof of God, so while many of us in the atheist community were dubious about whether these two twits had even the brain power to come up with something new, we held our breath and actually hoped we wouldn’t see one of the tired, old, pathetic apologetics we’ve be subjected to for the past thousand years. Verdict? We risked hypoxia for nothing. Not really a surprise when these two clowns are involved.
The argument? Ray Comfort held up a picture of a painting of the Mona Lisa and told us that it is obvious that the object must have been made by a painter, a designer if you will. By analogy, then, the universe must have had a creator. This creator they call ‘God’. Sound familiar? It’s hardly original. William Paley used this argument more than two hundred years ago.
On the surface, this argument seems powerful and compelling. Something that has the complexity contained in a painting must have been designed. But this argument’s strength is in fact its fatal flaw. Once the question ‘how do we know the painting was designed?’ is asked, the argument is dead. We know that a painting was produced through a willful and conscious act of an agent (the painter) because we understand how a painting is made, even if we hadn’t seen the artist create this particular work. Indeed, we do not even need to know who the painter was. This is an example of making a conclusion based on an understanding of the mechanism by which a painting can be made. This is good Science and this part of Paley’s argument from design is so far legitimate.
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I found this on AirForce Magazine Online (January 1991, Vol. 74, No. 1). I’ve been fascinated by the rise and continued following of the so-called Cargo Cults. I think this is a great accidental experiment in the rise of a religion and all believers should take note and see the similarities their own beliefs have in common with something they consider false.
The Cargo Cults
By C. V. Glines
After World War II, veterans returning from the Pacific all had stories to tell, not only about the war, but also about experiences with other cultures. There were tales of mysterious customs, strange lifestyles, and curious ceremonies. Of all the experiences, however, few were like the encounters with a number of bizarre–to Americans, at least–religious groups: the cargo cults.
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‘Tis the season when yet again decent television programming is disrupted by antiquated and badly-written Christmas programming and the stories of those that remain demolished by attempts to work the holiday into their scripts, cynically cashing in on the holiday and not even trying to hide the fact by trying to be original about it. But, you might say, it’s tradition! Well, tradition is a non-reason to do anything. It is neither good nor bad. We do away with bad traditions (human sacrifice would probably count as one of those) and keep the good traditions (like giving gifts on December 25). I just happen to think that most of the time holiday episodes of shows lean towards human sacrifice. Or at the very least to my personal torment. (Bah! Humbug!)
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not the kind of atheist that thinks saying “Merry Christmas” is a slight by the religious. I say it to people myself in greeting during the season. But it’s just something to say and I don’t associate saying it with the birth of baby Jesus any more than I (or anyone else living today, for that matter) associate saying it with the birthday of Horus which, not at all coincidentally, also falls on December 25. I celebrate Christmas as the winter solstice, where I know its passage marks the beginning of the lengthening of days towards barbecue season. That alone is worth being thankful for and celebrating (even though I know the weather will actually get worse for a while before getting warmer), and what December 25 was originally about anyway.
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