Wednesday, December 15, 2010

God's Quality Control 3.7

Here I continue my review of the discussion guide published by the Prestonwood Christian Academy as a companion to the Hitchens-Dembski debate on November 18, 2010. The honorary author of this section of the guide will be Dan Panetti, Prestonwood's Worldview Director. What a title. I thought that having a degree in theology was useless. What could a "Worldview Director" possibly contribute? Unless this is newspeak for "Indoctrinator". Now I get it. I encourage you to complain to Mr Panetti on behalf of all those kids who are being deliberately misled for the sake of filling Mr Panetti's pockets.
  • p.13 "Most of Hitchens’ book God is Not Great focuses on the historical accounts of the atrocities of abuses done in the name of religion." This is a lie. And don't get me wrong; I'm not defending Hitchens here. I'm defending the truth, and I'm defending the victims of these liars, who are mostly children. The horrors committed in the name of religion are certainly a theme throughout the book, simply because they've been a theme throughout history, but they're not the focus, not even a primary complaint. The book attacks superstition, holy writ, the evil deity behind that writ, the near mental illness suffered by religious people, etc. Read the book for yourself. Don't listen to Dan Panetti. Don't listen to me. Read it.
  • p.13 Concerning the hideous story of Abraham's attempted murder of Isaac Mr Panetti says, "According to Hitchens, God gets all of the blame for making such a ludicrous request and none of the credit for supplying an alternative sacrifice." So you admit that Yahweh's request was ludicrous, do you? No, you don't. The explanation for this Freudian slip is that this discussion guide was written by a hack who knows only how to lie and smear and worship evil, not how to think honestly and critically about a subject, and definitely not how to communicate a clear message. And "credit for supplying an alternative sacrifice"? Are you kidding me? This bloodthirsty phantom commands Abraham to commit murder, and we're supposed to take into account the fact that it didn't really mean it? That's absolutely beside the point. The fact that Abraham intended to kill his son is what matters. Again, this pseudo-morality rears its ugly head. The intent to commit filicide is downplayed while "No, I didn't really mean it!" is presented as explanatory context.
  • p.13 "[T]here are two distinctly different worldviews in conflict – one that is entirely man-centered and one that is God-centered." It's fitting that Mr Panetti, Prestonwood's Worldview Director, is today's honorary author. What you refer to as "man-centered" I refer to as "truth-centered". What you refer to as "God-centered" I refer to as a bunch of greedy, short-sighted, mendacious cynics who don't mind ruining individual lives and hindering civilization in order to make a quick buck.
  • p.13 "[T]he rantings and ravings of Hitchens are little more than the arguments from what Scripture calls a “fool.”" Let's grant your slur: Hitchens rants and raves. Now, let's check out the value of your morality. Is it more important that he rants and raves, or that he tells the truth? Is it ok to lie as long as you're not ranting and raving? Given your behavior, I have to guess that it is. As for scripture calling someone a fool, do you mean that poetry written several thousand years ago by an ignorant, superstitious barbarian king? What were his qualifications for making such metaphysical claims? What facts did he have in support of his arguments? Why should we ignore three thousand years of progress in order to listen to him?
  • p.13 In the section titled "Efficiency Argument for Evolution," Mr Panetti attempts to demonstrate that altruism and the fight against disease somehow show a fundamental flaw in the minds of those who accept evolutionary theory. What he ends up demonstrating is that he has never read any relevant books on the subject of altruism or evolution. Richard Dawkins wrote a whole book on the subject of altruism about 35 years ago. You may have heard of it: The Selfish Gene. As an aside, listen to the way I pronounce it: The Selfish Gene, as opposed to The Selfish Gene. What's my point? The latter pronunciation suggests that the book might be about a gene in humans that causes selfishness. I'm sure that Mr Panetti and his co-conspirators would love to pronounce it this way, so they could claim that Richard Dawkins is attempting to say that selfishness is excusable, since it's encoded in our DNA. The former pronunciation better reflects one of the main messages of the book: that we living organisms are not so important, that we are just useful vehicles for gene propagation, that life really is all about the genes themselves. But that's all an aside. My point in bringing up the book is that altruism is rather well understood these past three decades or so. As for fighting disease being some sign of inconsistency, why bring up disease at all? Why don't you criticize Hitchens for brushing his teeth? For wearing glasses? For eating? It seems that you are caught in your own trap: suppressing critical thinking in others, you've suppressed it in yourself.
That's 3.7. Thanks for watching.

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