Friday, February 1, 2013

A devastating interview of Richard Dawkins



Wow. The interviewer is Mehdi Hasan, a Muslim journalist on Al-Jeezera. It is one of the most skillful interviews I've ever seen. Hasan's questions are brilliant, and he pins Dawkins again and again on his inane atheist "philosophy".

It's long, but please watch the whole thing. We need to hear a lot more of Hasan. What a pleasure to hear an intelligent dissection of Dawkins' pseudo-scholarship. Hasan is an uncommonly skillful journalist.

Is Fox News listening?



HT: Jerry Coyne

49 comments:

  1. Dawkins is a very cunning individual because he has succeeded in selling his scientism crap to million "minus habens" and therefore is able to laugh all the way to the bank.

    I read his "God Delusion" book and wondered how a FRS could publish such rubbish. But I remembered what P.T.Barnum said: There's a sucker born every minute.

    You can make a lot of $$$ by screwing your fellow "minus habens" neighbor!

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    1. You should read “The Selfish Gene”, you might learn something.

      -KW

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    2. Read it. Had to take a shower.

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    3. Isn't it amazing how these fools decline to grasp the point that we understand Darwinism better than they do, and that we reject it as illogical and irrational precisely because we do understand it (along with the fact that we understand how to reason logically)?

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    4. After reading "The Selfish Gene", I decided to study evolutionary biology, because the book exposed me to the beautiful logic underlying biological evolution, in contrast to the 'stamp collection' kind of biology that was taught in my high school.

      It's hilarious to see a code jockey like Ilíon -- who has never written anything of substance, or exercised his alleged superior powers of deduction on this blog -- claim he knows more about Darwinism than professional evolutionary biologists.

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  2. I thought the interviewer did an excellent job of showing up Dawkins for the ideologue he is.

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  3. You’ll get no argument from me, Dawkins is a shitty debater. He doesn’t do confrontation well. So many times during that, I thought “he should have said X”. I really think I could have done a better job.

    -KW

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  4. Oh, heck! Dawkins himself admits -- in writing -- that he's a liar (as see here).

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    Replies
    1. Ilion,

      No. He doesn't admit he's a liar. He's arguing that a criminal isn't responsible for his actions. He's a product of nature and nurture, over which he has little or no influence. And hence retribution as a motive for punishment is wrong.

      Although, that doesn't prevent a criminal being stuck in gaol for a very long time, or even executed, to prevent him committing the same crime anytime soon.

      It could be argued that he's wrong. Honestly wrong and just mistaken, unlike a defense lawyer who often attempts to get a guilty person acquitted of a crime.

      Delete
    2. " And hence retribution as a motive for punishment is wrong.

      Although, that doesn't prevent a criminal being stuck in gaol for a very long time, or even executed, to prevent him committing the same crime anytime soon.
      "

      C.S.Lewis dealt with this, and the horror it represents, long before anyone had ever heard of Richard Dawkins.

      'The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment'

      Delete
  5. Foolish, dishonest (and irrational) little man,
    Just as I said here and showed there (*): He did admit that he is a liar, for he admitted in this article that he himself wrote that he himself doesn't believe the false anthropology he wants to convince his readers to embrace.

    (*) But, of course, you did not bother to read that.

    "He's arguing that a criminal isn't responsible for his actions. He's a product of nature and nurture, over which he has little or no influence."

    Ah! So, a “good” man, such as Richard Dawkins, is not responsible for his actions? He's a product of nature and nurture, over which he has little or no influence.

    "And hence retribution as a motive for punishment is wrong."

    And hence deservedness as a motive for praising Richard Dawkins for any of the “good” things he has done is wrong.

    =======
    "And hence retribution as a motive for punishment is wrong."

    Listen to yourself, you dishonest fool. Where does this "is wrong" come from? You contradict yourself, just as Dawkins did and does.

    You people are not only self-contradictory, you’re dishonest, you're liars; and you're worse than liars, for you are hypocrites. And your (plural) hypocrisy cannot help but show through.

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    1. Where does this "is wrong" come from?

      Are you one of the idiots who thinks that one can only determine if something is right or wrong if you have an invisible buddy tell you?

      Delete
    2. @Anon:

      If there is no God, there is no standard of right and wrong that is independent of human opinion.

      I listen attentively to my Invisible Buddy. He's put a sense of right and wrong in my heart, and I read His words and obey His Church to get the details.

      Delete
    3. If there is no God, there is no standard of right and wrong that is independent of human opinion.

      So what? Your standard of right and wrong depends on the opinions of the men that invented and wrote the stories in the Bible, and on the opinions of the men (corrupt warlords, really) that imposed by force a monopoly on the 'correct' selection and interpretation of those writings. How the hell can you call that objective?

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    4. I said nothing about whether my opinions about right and wrong are consistent with those of God. I could be right, I could be wrong, just like you.

      My argument is that there is a standard of right and wrong that exists independently of our opinions.

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    5. But there is no way to verify that such an independent standard exists. In practice we all need to rely on natural empathy and reasoning informed by experience.

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    6. I didn't ask you to "verify" it.

      I merely pointed out the logical consequence of your atheism-- that there is no independent standard of right and wrong.

      That is a major and striking consequence of the atheist world-view. It makes it very hard for you to coherently debate moral issues.

      Nazis like gassing Jews, you don't . To each his own, hey?

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    7. That is a major and striking consequence of the atheist world-view. It makes it very hard for you to coherently debate moral issues.

      Au contraire mon ami, it makes it easier. Atheists don't have to rely on incoherent ancient texts of obscure origin. They can reason and debate about what promotes human happiness without such debilitating baggage.


      Nazis like gassing Jews, you don't . To each his own, hey?

      The Nazis were merely replicating in a typical German efficient way what Christian pogroms had aimed for ever since the dawn of Christianity. Indeed, to each his own.

      Delete
    8. [They can reason and debate about what promotes human happiness without such debilitating baggage.]

      Are you really that stupid troy? I feel like I'm debating with a 10 year old.

      The point is not that people can't hold different opinions about morality-- we both assert that they can and do.

      The point is that a consistent atheist can't assert that there is any "good" or "evil" to which to compare opinions. To the atheist, there can not be any genuine fact/value distinction, because values are mere opinions, and there are no standards independent of opinion to which values can be checked. The "good" atheist, debating with a Nazi, can't assert that human happiness should be pursued by any standard, but merely in his opinion, to which the Nazi will reply that he has a different opinion.

      And the Nazi has a gun. You don't (gun control). Nazi wins.

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    9. The point is that a consistent atheist can't assert that there is any "good" or "evil" to which to compare opinions. To the atheist, there can not be any genuine fact/value distinction, because values are mere opinions, and there are no standards independent of opinion to which values can be checked.

      I agree, but theists have the same problem. You have no access to whatever it is you believe to be an objective moral law. You are just making it up, or, worse, you are relying on how some self-appointed authority sees things.

      Christians, both Catholics and Protestants, have believed for most of their history that it was objectively good to murder Jews. In fact, they were often forced to kill Jews by their religious authorities. How do you know this wasn't objectively good?

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    10. [I agree, but theists have the same problem. You have no access to whatever it is you believe to be an objective moral law. You are just making it up, or, worse, you are relying on how some self-appointed authority sees things. ]

      Who can know the objective moral law is a separate question, which is not at issue here. There is no doubt that many people who do claim to know God's Law are wrong about it.

      My point is straightforward: atheists cannot coherently assert that there is objective morality.

      [Christians, both Catholics and Protestants, have believed for most of their history that it was objectively good to murder Jews. In fact, they were often forced to kill Jews by their religious authorities. How do you know this wasn't objectively good?]

      What reprehensible slander, on a par with the slander that Jews drink the blood of Christian babies. There have certainly been Christian anti-Jewish pograms, and I have condemned anti-Semitism in very strong words on this blog.

      But is is raw slander to assert that "Christians... have believed for most of their history that it was objectively good to murder Jews." That is not Christian doctrine, it is and always has been an aberration within Christianity, and anti-Jewish violence by Christians has been local and situational, not a matter of Church doctrine and policy.

      Paul Johnson ("History of the Jews") points out that when anti-Jewish violence in Catholic lands did occur, it was motivated and carried out locally, by individuals and mobs, and did not generally have the sanction of the Church. The higher up the Church hierarchy, the more opposition there has been to anti-Semitic violence.

      Anti-Christian hate and slander is morally no different from anti-Semitic hate and slander.

      Delete
    11. Paul Johnson ("History of the Jews") points out that when anti-Jewish violence in Catholic lands did occur, it was motivated and carried out locally, by individuals and mobs, and did not generally have the sanction of the Church. The higher up the Church hierarchy, the more opposition there has been to anti-Semitic violence.

      That's a lie, and you know it. For example, the Popes were only too happy to allow Ferdinand and Isabelle kick out the Jews from Spain on pain of torture and murder, and this continued for hundreds of years.

      How many Jews were killed thanks to Martin Luther's bestseller "Von den Jüden und iren Lügen"? Probably millions.

      Visit a pub in eastern Europe and announce you're a Jew, if you dare. The hatred still runs very deep, encouraged by generations of clergy.

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    12. Troy,

      "Visit a pub in eastern Europe and announce you're a Jew, if you dare."
      Try announcing your a papist, a monarchist, or an American while you're at it.

      Apparently you need some geography lessons in combination with history lessons. A little of the social sciences?

      Two simple points to consider:
      1) Eastern Europe is neither predominantly Lutheran or Catholic (the churches you cite). It is Orthodox; and that Orthodoxy is a resurgence.
      2) Eastern Europe has only recently emerged from a period of brutally oppressive Atheistic rule, in which all kinds of religious persecution was standard fare.

      That leads us to a sensible question:
      Why is it that in the regions continuously influenced by the Western churches, and the lowest of both Islamic and Communist influence there has been the most rigorous speech and action AGAINST anti-Semitism and religious bigotry historically and currently?

      Delete
    13. Apparently you need some geography lessons in combination with history lessons. A little of the social sciences?

      With all due respect, i.e. none, I think I might have spent a bit more time than you in eastern Europe, so don't try to lecture me.

      1) Eastern Europe is neither predominantly Lutheran or Catholic (the churches you cite). It is Orthodox; and that Orthodoxy is a resurgence.

      Poland is considered eastern Europe where I live (western Europe), and it's almost entirely Catholic. Ukraine is mostly split between eastern rite Catholics in the west and Orthodox in the east. Both countries have been extremely anti-semitic since forever, and they still are. I know this also from personal experience there. My wife is from Ukraine. Her grandparents moved to western Ukraine after a pogrom in the east and they hid their Jewish identity for decades from their new neighbors, out of fear. Only recently have they dared to come out as Jews, and they are now sorry about it.


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    14. @troy:

      Anti-Semitism is inherently reprehensible.

      There are degrees of anti-Semitism, and degrees of reprehensibleness. Nazi anti-Semitism is a different matter than American anti-Semitism, or Canadian anti-Semitism, etc.

      I am not personally familiar with modern anti-Semitism in Poland or in the Ukraine, but it is clearly less onerous than Muslim anti-Semitism, at least in many Muslim countries.

      Serious Christians today are without question to group most supportive of Jews. Christians have much to atone for in our history, but we are trying now to defend Jews from some very evil forces that are gaining strength in the world today.

      Slandering Christians and exaggerating our very real past and present sins doesn't help anyone, except those who hate both Christians and Jews.

      Delete
    15. Troy,

      "With all due respect, i.e. none,"
      Lovely. You're such an angry little chemical accident, Troy. I will not sleep tonight knowing some anti-Christian bigot in the EU does not respect me. Such a revelation shakes me to the core.

      "I think I might have spent a bit more time than you in eastern Europe, so don't try to lecture me."
      You might have, but the again you might NOT have.
      As for the lecture: I would not waste my time. I am simply pointing out (to any who may read this post) that the nations you refer to are recently emerging from Atheistic rule. Banning religion did not satiate any ethnic hatreds - it simply directed them and repressed them when convenient. The result is the modern resurgence.

      "Poland is considered eastern Europe where I live (western Europe), and it's almost entirely Catholic."

      Sure, and there is indeed a lot of overt bigotry there. Xenophobia in general, actually.
      But there is also a lot of very tolerant and good people in Poland. Most of them, as you have noted, are Catholic. That includes the good folks too, Troy. They can sure tell you some hair raising tales about state Atheism and the racial (Darwinian) policies of Nazism.
      I have actually been there twice now.
      A gorgeous country. Once for personal reasons, and another time for a NATO meet and some research on second second world war installations. On that occasion we visited Auschwitz. Truly nightmarish.
      But enough about me, what about you?
      Have you been to Yemen, the kingdom of Saud, Pakistan, Indonesia, Afghanistan, the UAE, West Africa, The horn of Africa, Jordan, Turkey, Cyprus, or Egypt?
      You'll find out very quickly that there is an overt tendency to DENY the holocaust in their schools and openly on TV. The have adverts on buses featuring Hitler and T-shirts with lines from 'protocols' on them. There are no museums or reconstructions to show the horrors of Nazism.

      "Ukraine is mostly split between eastern rite Catholics in the west and Orthodox in the east. Both countries have been extremely anti-semitic since forever, and they still are."
      Anti-Semitism is alive and well in Ukraine, of that I have no doubt. Surely the Soviet bloc countries in general are saturated with it. But let's not tar an entire nation of people. There are plenty of Ukrainians who are against such madness.

      "My wife is from Ukraine. Her grandparents moved to western Ukraine after a pogrom in the east and they hid their Jewish identity for decades from their new neighbors, out of fear."
      The Ukraine has a horrific history of oppression and violence. I am glad they, at least, escaped. We also have family that lived through the famines and pogroms.

      'Only recently have they dared to come out as Jews, and they are now sorry about it."
      Again, my sympathies. Have they considered making Aliyah or emigrating to a more tolerant land? If their country has become hostile them, they owe it no allegiance. They should get out.
      You should perhaps spend some of your energies helping them, and less hating the people who oppress them. You can seethe later. Get them out of there!





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    16. crus:

      [You're such an angry little chemical accident, Troy.]

      Heh.

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    17. Troy,

      Care to answer my question now?
      I will repeat it:
      Why is it that in the regions continuously influenced by the Western churches, and the lowest of both Islamic and Communist influence there has been the most rigorous speech and action AGAINST anti-Semitism and religious bigotry historically and currently?

      Remember the nations in discussion are the ones that have NOT been ruled over or overtly influenced (politically and culturally) by communist and Islamic doctrines.

      Delete
  6. Religious interviewer looks like a fool when interviewing Dawkins.

    Religious fools think that they have scored a point.

    Same old story as always. The ranks of the religious are filled with deluded fools, and they confirm this every time they open their mouths or put words in print.

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  7. Mr E:
    You really need to set in a supply of higher quality 'atheists'. This bunch [*eyeroll*] ... I could create one of my "Stupid 'Atheist' Tricks" posts every day, if I were so inclined. It's like shooting fish in a barrel.

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  8. The interviewer did a very fine job*.

    But Dawkins was his usual eloquent, lucid self.
    The man is doing more good in the world than anyone else I can think of.

    * Though he lost credibility when he said he believed in miracles (such as being taken away to heaven on a winged horse)...I could not believe my ears.....the fellow is highly intelligent and he said THAT!

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    1. "But Dawkins was his usual [namby-pamby, disingenuous] self."

      There. Corrected it for you.

      "The man is doing more good in the world than anyone else I can think of."

      But then, Anonymice aren't generally noted for wisdom ... or knowledge.

      "Though [the interviewes] lost credibility when he said he believed in miracles ..."

      So, tell us, Anonymous, would somone who asserted that, for instance, one's car might "ooze" through the brick wall of one's garage and park itself on the street "lose credibility"? How about someone who asserted that all the oxygen in a lecture hall might suddenly gather itself into an upper corner of the room (with the consequence that the persons in the room may well expire of oxygen deprivation), would that person "lose credibility"? How about someone who asserted that gravity might momentarily stop working locally (with the consequence that the planet flys apart and we all die), would that person "lose credibility"?

      Be careful: these are trick questions.

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    2. I wouldn't have thought that someone who spells flies "flys" would have truckloads of credibility.

      Delete
    3. Foolish little Anonymouse, your hysterical focus on a typo on my part does not relieve you of the duty to answer the issue that you yourself raised.

      And, in any event, the issue is not *my* credibility at spelling, but your credibility at reasoning.

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    4. Hey llion,

      Firstly, let me say that I like being called Anonymouse...has a nice ring to it...so, thanks for that.

      Next, I agree with what you say in your 2nd paragraph above. I was just being picky when I mentioned the typo. Sorry about that.

      Lastly, please feel free to question my credibility with respect to reasoning. I'm well aware that I'm no genius.
      The interviewer, for example, is a person of far greater intellect than myself...but believing in miracles (including winged horses that carry you away to some glorious place) is not something I can abide; it defies all logic.

      So, while I'm not a genius, neither am I stupid (and if you think I am, all well and good).

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    5. @Anonymouse:

      [but believing in miracles (including winged horses that carry you away to some glorious place) is not something I can abide; it defies all logic.]

      You believe that horses, and all life, arose spontaneously from mud.

      Horses with wings aren't my thing, but they strike me as less crazy than horses from mud.

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    6. Like I said above, I'm no great intellect.

      So to get into a discussion with a 'professor and vice-chairman of neurosurgery at the State University of New York' would be pure folly.

      Delete
  9. "Next, I agree with what you say in your 2nd paragraph above. I was just being picky when I mentioned the typo. Sorry about that."

    OK.

    "... ...but believing in miracles (including winged horses that carry you away to some glorious place) is not something I can abide; it defies all logic."

    What is some of that "all logic" that belief in miracles defies?

    AND, you're still dodging the trick questions I first asked you.

    =========
    *I* can tell you what logic is defied by a belief that a man literally and bodily flew to heaven on a winged horse and flew back. But, I also don't know that that is what Moslems literally assert, though I suspect it it, for Islam is just that stupid.

    =========
    At the same time, the presenter/interviewer actually "lost credibility", not because he believes in miracles, but because he started out his film whining about some "disgusting film attacking Islam" (*) -- by which he means "some film that honestly presented some truth about Islam that we Moslems don't want anyone to know" -- and by blaming the filmmaker(s) for the irrational and murderous response of Moslems to havinf Islam's dirty laundry washed in public.

    But, Anonymouse, you're a "liberal", if not an outright leftists, so of course, having read the memo, you have trained yourself to not even see *that*.

    (*) I'm "quoting" from memory, as the film will not play on this computer

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    1. **What is some of that "all logic" that belief in miracles defies?**
      Any miracle, by definition, is illogical; if it weren't it wouldn't be called a miracle.

      **AND, you're still dodging the trick questions I first asked you.**
      OK, the answers are Yes, Yes and Yes. (tell me how these are tricky)

      **I can tell you what logic is defied by a belief that a man literally and bodily flew to heaven on a winged horse and flew back. But, I also don't know that that is what Moslems literally assert, though I suspect it it, for Islam is just that stupid.**
      My view is that all the Abrahamic religions are fallacious; I don't know whether any one of them is worse than either of the other two...and I don't particularly care.

      **But, Anonymouse, you're a "liberal", if not an outright leftists, so of course, having read the memo, you have trained yourself to not even see that.**
      I am indeed rather to the left in my thinking llion (as I suspect you'd think most of us Anonymice are).

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    2. @Anon:

      [Any miracle, by definition, is illogical; if it weren't it wouldn't be called a miracle.]

      Miracles aren't illogical. They are unnatural. They are exceptions to the usual working of nature.

      God's existence, character, and agency have been demonstrated by meticulous logic. Miracles are entirely consistent with His agency. What makes them miracles is that they are exceptions to the regularity of nature.

      Miracles are examples of God's primary causation in the world, rather than secondary causation (causation by the ordinary processes of physics, chemistry, biology, etc).

      Delete
    3. @mregnor

      [Miracles aren't illogical. They are unnatural. They are exceptions to the usual working of nature.]

      The second part of what you say is true, i.e. miracles are unnatural.
      But they're also illogical.
      The rules of argument dictate that you begin with a premise and from there work in reasoned steps toward a conclusion.
      Any argument that attempts to justify the existence of a "winged horse" (an oxymoron) will need said oxymoron in its premise so even at that point it’s illogical.
      Illogical: Lacking sense or clear, sound reasoning.
      Synonyms: inconsequent - irrational - illegitimate - unreasonable

      BTW, regarding horses and all life arising spontaneously from mud, I assume you're referring to the (speculated) primordial soup (OK, mud) that may have contained certain chemicals/compounds that were the building blocks of life and were possibly triggered into duplicating themselves by a lightning strike.
      I'm sure you're aware of laboratory experiments which have simulated these conditions and which show that a spark can fire certain carbon-based compounds into a process of duplication.
      Not too hard to believe that billions of years ago this –or something like it- could have happened.

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    4. @Anon:

      Your "argument" on logic is gibberish.

      There's nothing illogical about miracles. The preeminent theologian/philosopher and expounder on miracles in Christendom (Aquinas) was the expositor for the fellow (Aristotle) who invented logic as a discipline.

      God is not constrained by the regularity of his creation. He may intercede, if He chooses to do so.

      By far the most bizarre superstition of modern times is the view that everything came from nothing, and that life emerged spontaneously from the mud.

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    5. @Anon:

      Speaking of illogic:

      Does the heart have a purpose?

      Delete
  10. @mregnor

    [God's existence, character, and agency have been demonstrated by meticulous logic.]

    One example please.

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    1. @mregnor

      Ignore my last posting as it doesn't make sense.

      [Does the heart have a purpose]

      Yes, of course it does.
      What kind of question is that?

      Delete
    2. @Anon:

      [One example please.]

      Five examples: Aquinas' Five Ways, and the several hundred pages of meticulous logic in the Summa explaining how God's qualities follow logically from the proofs.

      Delete
    3. @Anon:

      [Yes, of course it does.
      What kind of question is that?]

      Your atheist friends would disagree (http://egnorance.blogspot.com/2013/02/there-ive-defined-heart-without.html)

      Where does the heart's purpose come from? How can things in nature have a purpose without a Source of purpose?

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    4. @mregnor

      Back on 9 Feb I was in a discussion with llion when you chimed in with one of your pearls of wisdom.

      I then looked at your previous postings and concluded that you were surely a naïve teenager.
      Having a couple of minutes to spare I clicked on your profile.
      When I read that you’re a 'professor and vice-chairman of neurosurgery at the State University of New York' my immediate thought was, “Yeah, right.”
      Hence my sarcastic response back then wherein I indicated that I would be out of my depth debating someone of your obvious high esteem and intellect.

      A day or two after this I discovered that you do indeed hold the afore-mentioned position at SUNY.
      I was, to put it mildly, completely and utterly gobsmacked.
      And, after several exchanges with you since, still am.

      But you know, this experience has by no means been a waste of time for me as I’ve learned something important…
      I now see that the neural tissues (or whatever) that accommodate an individual’s beliefs and prejudices which have been very deeply ingrained over decades, are -sometimes- impossible to penetrate, despite overwhelming evidence supporting the falsity of said beliefs and prejudices.

      Yes, Michael I’m an atheist but many of us (me included I hope) are good and decent people –which, incidentally, I believe you to be.

      I wish you well.

      Sincerely,

      James

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    5. @James:

      This is not the last time that you'll be shocked by reality.

      Delete