Thursday, 29 January 2015

The Thief of Rage - The Horseman of New Atheism - 'The God Delusion' - Positives and Negatives

I have read Richard Dawkins work, his book 'The God Delusion' is not a diatribe on the wrongs of religion but an awe inspiring, life affirming treatise on the miracles and wonders of the world and universe we live in. Dawkins is a sceptic, the same could be said of any true scientist, they all are sceptics. Dawkins is in fact King sceptic. He has to be. He does not, certainly in any of his books nor on any public platform, suggest he has proof positive that there is no supreme creator. He cannot. All he ever says is, as does every other scientist, that there is neither proof for nor proof there is not, a God. What he is obliged to do and does so very well, is seek the truth. What he has said again and again is that the existence of a being who created everything is highly improbable.

When seen on TV or on YouTube either in debate or interview he is nothing but honest. When asked if he would, as an agnostic, prevent his children, or any child, from learning of God's and religion his answer was he would rather let them find out for themselves. The very reverse of religious teachers who have throughout history bullied children into belief using fear as their tool.

It is this seeking the truth, the one condiment humans need in the food of life, that reveals the difference between science and religion. One forces belief onto you the other begs you check, check and check again. Rather than be threated, bullied, brainwashed and ultimately abused, I no which one I would chose.
 
Dawkins and his colleagues are forever seeking the truth and in so doing constantly challenge themselves, their findings, the truth behind Einstein's Theory of Relatively or Darwin's discovery of evolution. The former is always challenged. The latter has thus far withstood all investigation and stands as fact until the day, should it dawn, when proof is supplied of it being wrong.
 
As promoters of reason, logic and the desire to instil rational thinking in the masses, all they ever do is reveal truths. These truths are often hotly disputed as with Dawkins publication, 'The God Delusion.' In this marvellous, life affirming, work Dawkin's examines the Christian bible revealing it as being a tome filled with some of the most awful and wicked instructions ever conceived. When compared with The Koran it, the Bible, punches its weight.

He has said he despises only those who go out to do bad deeds to others in the name of religion but not those who believe what they do quietly and without hurting others. In the 'God Delusion' he uses a sliding scale from one to seven that measures theist to atheist. He measures a six which is agnostic leaning toward atheist. I have never seen any evidence of him (Dawkins) ever showing anything other than disbelief at those who fear God. If there is hatred then it comes not from him but from another source entirely. 
 
He says very little about other religions and for very good reason -  he doesn't know sufficient to comment. What he proves within that book is that for very Christian who claims the Bible as the word of God then they are either deluded or as demented as the book itself or that God is indeed Satan. That there is very little of any form of wisdom shown within its texts.

Rather than being a negative attack on religion, this book is a positive outlook on life. It praises the wonder of the universe, celebrates the fact we all part and parcel of the very fabric of creation. Like a child discovering gravity Dawkins bounds from one seemingly miraculous fact to another energised, excited and enthralled with the mysteries that surround us that are gradually revealing themselves to us.

If there are miracles, not the very ordinary kind found with the Bible, but the ones that hide their secrets revealing them only slowly as science and humankind forge forward, they are there to be seen everyday. The miracle of up and down when there is no up nor down, the myth of size when size in itself is subjective as is time.

Science is not new faith. Science is not a twenty first century religion. It cannot be. Religion dictates. We know this is true by the limitless evidence supplied. Religion has supported child abuse. It has, and still does, abuse children by mutilating genitalia. Religion still provides education with a warped, doctrinal diatribe that promotes fear over respect.
 
Christopher Hitchens was equally unequivocal about proof of God. He too said that no one on either side of the divide can provide proof positive either way. In his book 'God is Not  Great'  Hitchens examines how easily duped religious people are into believing that the God of myth is anything but psychotic. If anything the 'good book' reveals a deity of limited ability, lacking moral fibre with a keen sense of megalomania.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali goes further than Dawkins or Hitchens. Having been mutilated herself she comes out unequivocally against Islam. "By declaring our Prophet infallible and not permitting ourselves to question him, we Muslims had set up a static tyranny. The Prophet Muhammad attempted to legislate every aspect of life. By adhering to his rules of what is permitted and what is forbidden, we Muslims supressed the freedom to think for ourselves and to act as we chose. We froze the moral outlook of billions of people into the mind-set of the Arab desert in the seventh century. We were not just servants of Allah, we were slaves.”

Together they, Dawkins, Hitchens, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Sam Harris and Dan Dennet formed the New Atheist group. It is this, along with Humanism, that I puzzle over. Do we need a reactionary group declaring itself to be atheist? How can any scientist ever be such? Science, as I have already said and by the words of those that practise it, can only ever support agnosticism. If there is no  proof positive either way, no matter how improbable the likelihood of a deity is, then the only logical, truthful course has to be that of the agnostic.

I fear reactionary groups. I dislike groups in general. They only ever create bodies whose sole purpose is to not simply pursue their own path but tend to tread all over yours in the attempt to have you follow them. This is in turn only fuels the need for humans forever to be shackled to group mentality and prevents our evolution from pack animals into free thinking individuals. Being a member of a community is nothing like being part of a pack. Tribes produce leaders, communities breed equals.

Jiddu Krishnamurti, a man whose wisdom shines like one of the stars another scientist, Brian Cox,  with wonder and adoration watches, said this...

"I maintain that truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect. That is my point of view, and I adhere to that absolutely and unconditionally. Truth, being limitless, unconditioned, unapproachable by any path whatsoever, cannot be organized; nor should any organization be formed to lead or coerce people along a particular path. ... This is no magnificent deed, because I do not want followers, and I mean this. The moment you follow someone you cease to follow Truth. I am not concerned whether you pay attention to what I say or not. I want to do a certain thing in the world and I am going to do it with unwavering concentration. I am concerning myself with only one essential thing: to set man free. I desire to free him from all cages, from all fears, and not to found religions, new sects, nor to establish new theories and new philosophies."

There are times when Richard Dawkins, in his quest for truth, comes across a little superior, a little supercilious.  This tendency is a great shame as he, like me, if far better equipped, wants only to see the miracles of life given a light which can, but doesn't have to, work with those of faith as much as it challenges religion. I like the man. I admire his seeking of the truth, of being able to logically, almost surgically, open up the heart of the Bible and show its corruptions. That said, we simply do not need yet more sects to belong to.


  
 
 
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Russell Cuts the Corn From The Brewers Whiskers.

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