Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Bad Faith Awards: last chance to nominate

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Do come on over (and change your bookmarks accordingly): rationalist.org.uk

As many of you will know, since July we've been inviting nominations for our inaugural Bad Faith Awards, encouraging readers to put forward the men and women they feel have made the most outstanding contributions to talking nonsense about religion.

Nominations for the 2007 awards are set to close on 8 December, after which we'll run a poll on here to determine the overall winner. With this in mind, now's the time to put forward your nominees to join the existing field of bigots, charlatans and proselytisers. To do so, simply add a comment to this blog post, preferably with a web reference that backs up your choice.

As things stand, here's the current list of runners and riders:
  • Chuck Norris: These days the martial arts legend seems to spend less time cracking skulls and more time lamenting the moral decline of Western civilisation. His weekly column on conservative Christian website WorldNetDaily is a goldmine of evangelical rantings, and his Bad Faith nomination comes by way of his declaration that if he was US President he would "tattoo an American flag with the words 'In God we trust' on the forehead of every atheist".
  • The Bishop of Carlisle: This Cumbrian prelate shot to fame when he suggested this summer's floods were God's punishment for Britain's liberal attitude to homosexuality.
  • Fake witches: A woman in Harrogate was driven to suicide when she was unable to keep up payments to witches providing "astral protection" for £23.95 a month. Newspaper reports labelled them "fake witches", which suggests those real witches are out there somewhere.
  • Richard Dawkins: One heretic New Humanist reader even put forward rationalism's very own Dawkins, for turning "the 19th century's doubting of religious dogma into another kind of dogma". The cheek...
  • Westboro Baptist Church: That delightful bunch who picket the funerals of US soldiers killed in Iraq, displaying such tactful signs as "God hates fags" and "God blew up the troops".
  • Archbishop Francisco Chimoio: Head of the Catholic Church in Mozambique who claims some European-made condoms are deliberately infected with HIV in order to quickly finish off the African people.
  • Pope Benedict XVI: Clearly the bookies' favourite. Perhaps he should be excluded to give the rest a chance?
So, it's a long field but someone's got to win. Keep the nominations coming by commenting on this post.

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh dear, I'm spoiled for choice. Either the bishop of Carlilse, WBC or Joyce Pratt.

Paul Sims said...

Thanks. We're looking for new nominations too, on top of the ones we already have. Post them here.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to nominate
Rev Kev Nolan and his blog (lancashire telegraph), books and general stone age attitude.
Where to start?
Intelligent design. Filling his blog with half-lies, lies and unexplained out of context "support"
Harry Potter. A danger to children as it drives them to paganism.
Homosexuals are sinners.
Sex before marriage is a sin, so is abortion.
Children should be beaten.
This bloke is crackers. He makes Pat Buchanan seem moderate.
You might even see him in the town centre attempting to banish evil spirits from the local alcoholics by laying of hands.

Paul Sims said...

Anonymous: I think I know who you're talking about (hailing from Blackburn myself!) Is he the guy who does a column in the telegraph on a Saturday?

Anonymous said...

the one and the same!
I've got a little collection of his pearls of wisdom.
When I've got time after work I'll lose the anonymous tag and get stuck in . . . .
His blog gets a bit of stick from me.
http://www.lancashiretelegraph.co.uk/blogs/kevinlogan/

David said...

I would like to nominate the following:

1- Sherri Shephard; for saying that the world is flat while talking about science, evolution and of course god "I… I never thought about it, Whoopi. Is the world flat? I never thought about it" on abc 'The view'
Link to video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehWv_qlKxSg

2-Grant Jeffrey: Canada's version of Ken Ham or Kent Hovind.

3-Rosemary Hunter: for failing james randi's million dollar challenge last week after claiming that god gave her the power to make someone urinate.

4-The government of Saudi Arabia: for punishing a 19 year old gang rape victim with 200 lashes and jail!! I'm sure you heard about the story somewhere.

5- Father Johnathan Morris: Fox News corespondent
many videos for him here:
www.youtube.com/kostnice

6- How about Alister McGrath?

George said...

Dinesh D'Souza for... well, for just about anything that comes out of his mouth, but here's a particularly poisonous piece about the aftermath of the Virginia Tech incident...

"Notice something interesting about the aftermath of the Virginia Tech shootings? Atheists are nowhere to be found...

"...if it's difficult to know where God is when bad things happen, it is even more difficult for atheism to deal with the problem of evil."

oxfordrocks said...

I'd like to nominate the B.B.C (if thats possible?) for continuing to broadcast "Songs of Praise","Pause for Thought","Prayer for the Day","Good Morning Sunday","Choral Evensong" and "Thought for the Day". I know the B.B.C. has to produce religious programming as part of it's charter but the fact they spend my money on this drivel really winds me up.

Paul Sims said...

Thanks to David, George and oxfordrocks for all those nominations. The list is growing!

George, did you see Chuck Norris's equally horrendous comments on Virginia Tech? He blamed evolution, abortion and atheism for the massacre:
"We teach our children they are nothing more than glorified apes, yet we don't expect them to act like monkeys. We place our value in things, yet expect our children to value people. We disrespect one another, but expect our children to respect others. We terminate children in the womb, but are surprised when children outside the womb terminate other children. We push God to the side, but expect our children to be godly."
http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=55333

Robin Edgar said...

Well, if you are seeking nominations for people who are bigots, charlatans and proselytisers who have made outstanding contributions to talking nonsense about religion in 2007 Richard Dawkins should definitely be on the list, as should some of his evangelical dogmatic fundamentalist atheist "Humanist" colleagues. Richard Dawkins is definitely an anti-religious bigot, he is definitely engaging in proselytising for "New Atheism" (which looks a lot like anti-theism to me), at least some of his recorded or otherwise documented statements are symptomatic of charlatanism, and he is definitely guilty of talking nonsense about religion at times.

jeepyjay said...

If Richard Dawkins is to be included among the candidates for "the most outstanding contributions to talking nonsense about religion" I think Richard Norman should also be on the list for his "Holy Communion" article.

Paul Sims said...

Well, anyone's liable to be nominated jeepyjay. Though somehow I cant see Dawkins or Norman providing genuine competition to the likes of Chuck Norris and the Bishop of Carlisle!

Andrew said...

General Sir Richard Dannatt, who said "In my business, asking people to risk their lives is part of the job, but doing so without giving them the chance to understand that there is a life after death is something of a betrayal".

Or...

“Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families” Ed Balls, the “Minister of State for Schools and Learners” Jim Knight, the “Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Schools and Learners” Andrew Adonis, the “Minister of State for Children, Young People and Families” Beverley Hughes, and the “Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children, Young People and Families” Kevin Brennan, who run the department that produced "Faith In The System", a government document advocating the creation of more state-funded faith schools.

David said...

I fear that we are again witnessing the effect of the over-rated respect that religion always gets. I can't find any other reason for these accusations about Dawkins, he never said anything that doesn't make sense or that is not backed by evidence and experiments.

Richard Dawkins response on CNN about being a fundamentalist: "No, please, do not mistake passion, which can change its mind, for fundamentalism, which never will. Passion for passion, an evangelical Christian and I may be evenly matched. But we are not equally fundamentalist. The true scientist, however passionately he may “believe”, in evolution for example, knows exactly what would change his mind: evidence! The fundamentalist knows that nothing will."

back to the topic, I decided who I'm going to vote for; Gov. of Saudi Arabia.

Anonymous said...

I think you all should stop bashing christians for their beliefs. If we are not bashing you for your unbeliefs. Besides what if the "bad faith awards" was changed to "lets see who's going to hell awards." Before you bash someone for their beliefs, investigate and try to understand what you are bashing.

Paul Sims said...

Thanks for the continued nominations.
Anonymous: are nominations open for the "let's see who's going to hell awards"? What's the prize for the winner?

Paul Sims said...

Also, surely religions themselves are ongoing "let's see who's going to hell" awards?

imajr said...

I'm in the dinesh dsouza voting camp. That man is living proof of the "your mother should have swallowed" theory. Nothing useful is coming out of that pie hole.

Robin Edgar said...

David, Richard Dawkins has said plenty of things that do not make sense, and/or are not backed by scientific evidence and experiments. For starters Richard Dawkins has repeatedly stated or insinuated that religious people are not as intelligent as atheists contrary to plenty of evidence that no shortage of God believing people are very intelligent human beings. Excuse me for saying so but I have some reason to believev that you are placing rather too much faith in your "guru" Richard Dawkins. . .

David said...

Thanks for the reply Robin. I don't recall Dakwins saying that religious people are stupid, here is a video of him answering a question about that (5 minutes). Anyway, I noticed that latelymore people (non-believers) have been attacking him and i would really like to know why, please tell me what else you don't agree with Dawkins about, or what else you heard from him that didn't make sense?
Cheers

Robin Edgar said...

You're most welcome to the reply David. Perhaps you have not yet heard or read Richard Dawkins saying or insinuating that religious people are less intelligent than atheists, but I can assure you that he does so. The simple fact that he smugly calls his "New Atheists" disciples "brights" ought to provide a clue to his bias in that regard. . . Does Dawkins really believe that no shortage of believers are not every bit as "bright" as most atheists?

I have already taken Richard Dawkins to task for snidely insinuating that religious people are not as intelligent as atheists (to say nothing of not being anywhere near as "bright" as his daughter) elsewhere on the internet. Here is a reprise:

Interviewer - How would you feel if your daughter became religious in the future?

Dawkins - Well, that would be her decision and obviously she's her own person, she's free to do whatever she likes. I think she's *much too intelligent* to do that, but that's her decision.

Source - http://www.beliefnet.com/story/178/story_17889.html

So, according to his own publicly stated testimony, Richard Dawkins quite evidently believes that his daughter is "much too intelligent" to ever become religious. The flip side of that coin is that anyone who is religious, or who might become religious, is considerably less intelligent than Richard Dawkins' daughter. N'est-ce pas David? It is precisely this kind of smug oh so superior arrogance of Dawkins that rubs me and other God believing people the wrong way. The title of his book 'The God Delusion' is another fine example of his smug arrogance. The clear implication of that title is that every God believing human being on this planet is suffering from delusions. . .

I have not yet been able to view the video you suggested but will try to do so soonish. The computer I am using is a bit buggy and won't provide the audio.

I too have noticed that more non-believers have been highly critical of Richard Dawkins in the last several months, and I am not the least bit surprised by that. I suggest that you read what they say if you would really like to know why they are taking Richard Dawkins to task. This opinion piece from The McGill Daily might be of some help -

http://www.mcgilldaily.com/view.php?aid=6627

I actually agree with much of what Richard Dawkins says when he engages in substantive valid criticism of undeniable facts about religion in a reasonable manner. I have even defended him when he has been unjustly criticized at times. What I disagree with is his arrogant and contemptuous manner, as well as the fact that he is just plain wrong in what he says about God and religion at times. I can assure you that although some specific religious beliefs about God may well be justifiably described as being delusional, God does in fact exist and it is by no means delusional to believe in an intelligent creator of the universe. Referring to belief in God as a delusion is an insult to every single human being who believes in God, to say nothing of those human beings who *know* as a result of profound religious *experience* that what we generically refer to as God is very real. I am quite confident that Carl Gustav Jung, who publicly claimed to *know* that God exists was every bit as "bright" as Richard Dawkins' daughter and then some. . . I am similarly confident that I can show that Richard Dawkins can be just a tad "dim" when it comes to some of his arrogant over-the-top pronouncements about God and/or religion.

George said...

"God does in fact exist..."

Oh. OK, thanks for clearing that up.

Robin - you might well be of the opinion that Dawkins is arrogant for generalising on the subject of intelligence and religious belief, and you might also be sufficiently animated to come up with examples of his alleged arrogance. But that isn't enough. To demonstrate his arrogance you have to show that his belief is unfounded.

There are many other aspects of Dawkins' position that are genuinely worthy of criticism. Simply saying you don't like his attitude won't cut it.

Robin Edgar said...

You are welcome George. Like Carl Gustav Jung, and a fair number of other people throughout human history, I am able to honestly claim to "know" that God exists as a result of a very profound and meaningful revelatory experience of God. Indeed my revelatory religious experience is the prophetic variety of religious experience. If I wanted to oversimplify things a bit I could justifiably claim that "God told me" that it is not a random chance coincidence that the Earth's sun and moon have pretty much the same apparent size, thus allowing the moon to totally eclipse the sun from time to time, and that it is not a coincidence that the totally eclipsed sun very distinctly resembles the organ of sight. To be clear, and to avoid unjustified accusations of being psychotic, I never at any times "heard voices" or saw any visions. God used other means to communicate with me perghaps best described as "sign language". Indeed the total solar eclipse "Eye of God" may be considered to be a rather spectacular example of God's proclivity towards using "sign language". . .

My revelatory religious experience included a very powerful "born again" or "spiritual awakening" mystical experience in which I felt the presence of God, but what was most convincing in terms of God's omniscience, and ability to influence events, was the onslaught of synchronicity that began several days prior to the "awakening" (helping to prompt it) and continued for months afterwards before gradually diminishing in intensity over time. It was the series of very unusual "meaningful coincidences" that an intelligent rational person simply could not attribute to pure random chance, especially when one unusual "meaningful coincidence" often led to another follow-up "meaningful coincidence" and then another, and another. . . in an orchestrated sequence that led to some very profound "revelations" that made it very clear to me that an invisible intelligence capable of influencing human events was at work. I expect that it was his in-depth knowledge and understanding the strange spiritual phenomenon that he termed "synchronity" which contributed significantly to Carl Jung's decision to claim that he did not "believe" in God but rather that he "knew" God, or at least "knew" that God existed in his famous BBC interview near the end of his life. The fact of the matter however is that anyone who has had a profound personal experience of God can truthfully claim to "know" that God exists. God is no longer a subject of "faith" or "belief" after such a profound personal experience of God.

I do not think that "Dawkins is arrogant for generalising on the subject of intelligence and religious belief" George. I think that Richard Dawkins is arrogant because his documented and recorded words, behaviour and 'attitude' fit the dictionary description of the word 'arrogant'.
"you might also be sufficiently animated to come up with examples of his alleged arrogance."

Indeed I am sufficiently animated to come up with examples of his actual arrogance George. It's really not that hard, In fact I expect that I could come up with many more concrete examples of the arrogance of Richard Dawkins if In did not have better things to do with my time.

:But that isn't enough.

Yes it is George.

:To demonstrate his arrogance you have to show that his belief is unfounded.

Wrong. One can be guilty of arrogance in how one presents well founded beliefs. In any case I and other people are quite capable of demonstrating that some of Richard Dawkins' publicly stated beliefs (dare I say "faith"?) are unfounded.

:There are many other aspects of Dawkins' position that are genuinely worthy of criticism.

Amen brother. ;-)

:Simply saying you don't like his attitude won't cut it.

I didn't do that George. I presented a clear example of Richard Dawkins' smug self-satisfied arrogance in claiming to believe that his daughter was "much too intelligent" to become religious. There are many more examples of Richard Dawkins' arrogance and his unfounded or otherwise questionable beliefs to present to the court of public opinion George. I could make a career out of it if I wanted to. . .

George said...

Sorry Robin but your conviction based on personal experience is little more than an argument from personal incredulity and objecting to the manner of Dawkins's presentation without addressing the substance of his assertions is merely ad hominem.

You really must do better.

Robin Edgar said...

Sorry George but my conviction based on personal experience is every bit as valid as any other argument from personal experience of something. I know that God exists and has certain attributes and capabilities the same way I now that earth, air, fire and water exist and have certain properties. I have very rationally and thoroughly analyzed my revelatory experience of God many times over. Their is no "incredulity" involved in it. I know what I actually experienced, and I know that it makes far more sense to conclude that the very unusual meaningful "coincidences" that I experienced very intensely over a period of several months were guided by that supreme intelligence generically referred to as God rather than the results of pure random chance. Here is what Carl Jung has to say about that and I agree 100% -

The problem of synchronicity has puzzled me for a long time, ever since the middle twenties, when I was investigating the phenomena of the collective unconscious and kept on coming across connections which I simply could not explain as chance groupings or 'runs.' What I found were 'coincidences' which were connected so meaningfully that their 'chance' concurrence would represent a degree of improbability that would have to be expressed by an astronomical figure.

Carl Jung, Collected Works vol. 8

:and objecting to the manner of Dawkins's presentation without addressing the substance of his assertions is merely ad hominem.

But I *am* addressing the substance of Richard Dawkins' assertions George. Just read what I wrote hear and/or Google - "Robin Edgar" and "Richard Dawkins" - to find plenty of evidence of that well documented fact. . . I think that you really must do better than make unsubstantiated allegations about me that are quite readily demonstrated to be unfounded George.

Here are some more examples of my previous challenging of the substance of some of Richard Dawkins' assertions -

GodKnowsWho
12/7/2005 5:12:49 PM
Backing Richard Dawkins into an intellectual corner no. 3 -

Interviewer -If you were able to teach every person, what would you want people to believe?

Dawkins - I would want them to believe whatever evidence leads them to; I would want them to look at the evidence, judge it on its merits, not accept things because of internal revelation or faith, but purely on the basis of evidence.

So what if the available evidence of existing religious beliefs, or indeed direct personal revelatory experience of God of some variety, judged on its merits. . . leads people to belief in God?

GodKnowsWho
12/7/2005 5:20:01 PM
Backing Richard Dawkins into an intellectual corner no. 4 -

Dawkins - Not everybody can evaluate all evidence; we can’t evaluate the evidence for quantum physics. So it does have to be a certain amount of taking things on trust.

So according to Dawkins it’s perfectly OK not to be able to evaluate the evidence for quantum physics, and thus be obliged to take a certain amount of things on trust, (dare I say faith?) but it is NOT OK to do so with respect to evaluating the evidence for God, and taking a certain amount of things on trust in God. . .

GodKnowsWho
12/7/2005 5:39:00 PM
Backing Richard Dawkins into an intellectual corner no. 5 -

Dawkins - I have to take what physicists say on trust, for example, because I’m a biologist.

Even though he just said that even physicists “can’t evaluate the evidence for quantum physics.”

Richard Dawkins “trust” sounds a lot like “faith” to me. If it’s good enough for Dawkins with respect to physics, especially untestable quantum physics, why is it not good enough for your average person who places some trust in theologians, prophets, and religious leaders?

Robin Edgar said...

I would like to sincerely thank the moderator(s) of this blog for not moderating aka censoring any of the comments that I have so far submitted to the New Humanist blog. Other Humanist "moderators" of other blogs have been rather more inclined to suppress my comments that offer some challenge to assertions made on their blogs. It is good to be able to engage in some generally civil and intelligent debate with Humanists. One of the very reasons that I refer to the likes of Richard Dawkins et al as - fundamentalist atheist "Humanists" - is to distinguish them from more moderate atheists and agnostics aka Humanists. It is not without good reason that I enclose the word Humanist(s) within euphemistic quotation marks when using it with respect to anti-religious fundamentalist atheists who have the gall to call themselves Humanists (I admit here that I am not sure whether or not Richard Dawkins calls himself a Humanist but plenty of other anti-religious dogmatic atheists do call themselves Humanists) since I do not believe that you can be a true Humanist and harbour intolerance, contempt and hostility towards religious human beings and/or the longstanding religious impulse in humanity.

For the record I consider myself to be a Humanist in these dictionary defined senses of the word 'humanist' -

1. a person having a strong interest in or concern for human welfare, values, and dignity.

2. a person devoted to or versed in the humanities.

3. a student of human nature or affairs.

I and many other God believing human beings are clearly 'humanists' in these broader senses of the word. I might add that I and many other God believing people can be properly defined as "free thinkers" as well and appreciate being able to engage in some bona fide free thinking about God and religion, to say nothing of Richard Dawkins. . . ;-) on the New Humanist blog.

Paul Sims said...

No problem Robin. Don't see any reason to reject comments unless they're:
a) offensive or
b) spam (though maybe that means I end up depriving people of cheap viagra, in which case I apologise)

You might want to shorten your posts a bit though - if there were more people participating on this thread it wouldn't be very user friendly!

George said...

"I know that God exists and has certain attributes and capabilities the same way I now that earth, air, fire and water exist and have certain properties."

No you don't. The manner in which you came to know of the existence of earth, water, etc.. could not be more different to the manner in which you came to "know" that God exists. You inferred his existence indirectly from a variety of experiences. The fact that you can erect second order self-confirming rationalisations for these inferences which deal with your incredulity towards more naturalistic explanations is irrelevant.

On Dawkins:

"But I *am* addressing the substance of Richard Dawkins' assertions George."

No you are not...

"I think that Richard Dawkins is arrogant because his documented and recorded words, behaviour and 'attitude' fit the dictionary description of the word 'arrogant'. "

Despite this statement I'm doing you the credit of assuming that you actually disagree with the content of his assertions, not his delivery. Otherwise all you're saying is whilst you don't disagree with his assertions you wish he wouldn't be quite so pleased with himself when he makes them.

However, if you insist that merely holding such opinions equates to arrogance then you are obliged to explain why and that requires significantly more than you have thus far offered.

By way of example, I could denounce your claims to revelatory knowledge of God's existence as conceited. I'm guessing that you'd expect me to justify that and I'm also guessing that you'd find a long list of quotations unsatisfactory in this regard.

And with regard to the quotations you offered - what do they have to do with this discussion?

David said...

Robin! I read your long posts, the description in your profile (we live in the same city), and i took a quick look at your blogs. I still have no idea what you think you saw other than an eclipse! are you talking about a personal god? I'm guessing you don't follow any religion, or do you?

So, did it have anything meaningful to tell you? Please be more explicit, i really don't like the 'Alister McGrath' style of talking.
And I see no difference between this and other claims made by cult leaders, all you need is 10 kids and a couple of friends then you can have your own church. Even if i think i saw a ghost i still wouldnt believe they exist. instead, i would be more inlined to think that something is wrong with me.

about Dawkins, so far all the attacks I've seen against him stem from respect towards religion, and have no substance at all.

Robin Edgar said...

Wrong again George. The manner in which I came to *know* of the existence of God is little different to the manner in which I came to know earth, water, air and fire. I have felt the presence of God every bit as much as I have touched the earth, swum in water, breathed the air, and indeed have felt the warmth of, to say nothing of having been burned by. . . fire. God is no longer invisible to me George. May I remind you that although I did infer some things about God via rational assessment of what I experienced I did have an initial mystical experience in which I felt the presence of the spirit of God.

:You inferred his existence indirectly from a variety of experiences.

"His" existence eh? How traditional George. ;-) No, I inferred aka deduced God's omniscience and intervention and influence in my life, to say nothing of the lives of the other human beings who were involved in many of the meaningful "coincidences" that I experienced, via a very rational assessment of the various phenomena that I actually experienced.

:The fact that you can erect second order self-confirming rationalisations for these inferences which deal with your incredulity towards more naturalistic explanations is irrelevant.

I am not engaging in "self-confirming rationalisations" as you assert here George. On the contrary I have very rationally assessed what I have actually experienced, just as Carl Jung and others have done in the past. I would be very happy to have some "more naturalistic explanations" for what I experienced but so far there are none George. What is your "more naturalistic explanation" for the undeniable fact that the totally eclipsed sun distinctly and uncannily resembles the very organ of sight that allows us to sense the light that it emits? I doubt that you, or any number of scientists, can come up with anything that can effectively rule out the dreaded concept of "Intelligent Design" which is in fact a highly plausible explanation for the total solar eclipse "Eye of God". And that is but one element, albeit a very significant one, of what I actually experienced and/or inferred from my experience(s). There are many other elements of my revelatory religious experience(s), including but by no means limited to the overwhelming onslaught of synchronicity in the early stages of it, that challenge "more naturalistic explanation(s)."

Forgive me for saying so but I am very confident that most rational people will agree that I most certainly *am* addressing the substance of Richard Dawkins' assertions. You have virtually no grounds to say, "No you are not..."

It should be obvious that I actually disagree with the content of some of Richard Dawkins' documented assertions, as well as his arrogant delivery of those assertions George. I have clearly and publicly stated that I don't disagree with *some* of his assertions, but I have equally made it clear that I strongly disagree with *some* of his assertions. Heck I could even call into question a few of his assertions about science, let alone God and religion. . . It would be completely ridiculous if I or anyone else totally agreed with everything that Richard Dawkins ever said or disagreed with everything that he says. N'est-ce pas George? I have indentified those assertions of Richard Dawkins that I call into question and/or strongly disagree with; likewise, I have defended some of his assertions when others have twisted his words or removed them from their proper context.

:you wish he wouldn't be quite so pleased with himself when he makes them.

It goes well beyond that George. As per the original subject of this thread, Richard Dawkins has proven himself to be something of an anti-religious bigot in some of his assertions.

:However, if you insist that merely holding such opinions equates to arrogance then you are obliged to explain why and that requires significantly more than you have thus far offered.

Has Richard Dawkins adequately explained why holding the opinion that there is a God is nothing but a delusion George? Has he adequately explained some of his other questionable opinions about God and/or religion? I think that I have offered adequate evidence that Richard Dawkins is quite arrogant both in some of his opinions and in his delivery of those opinions. It is arrogant to suggest that religious people are not as intelligent as atheists when there is abundant evidence that a great many extremely intelligent people have believed in God and have been religious in various ways throughout human history. I could offer many other examples of the arrogance of Richard Dawkins but it seems to me that other people, including more and more moderate atheists and Humanists. . . are doing a more than adequate job in that regard. I have other fish to fry for now.

:By way of example, I could denounce your claims to revelatory knowledge of God's existence as conceited.

Be my guest George. Feel free to present your evidence as to why my claims are "conceited". I am quite confident that I can counter your arguments.

:I'm guessing that you'd expect me to justify that

You guessed correctly George. So go for it. . .

:and I'm also guessing that you'd find a long list of quotations unsatisfactory in this regard.

Really? Is there any evidence that I have presented a long list of unsatisfactory quotations about other matters George? If so please show me where.

:With regard to the quotations you offered - what do they have to do with this discussion?

I think that I have already quite adequately explained what the few quotations that I have presented in this thread have to do with the discussion at hand in my responses to them George.

George said...

Here we go again...

"I have felt the presence of God every bit as much as I have touched the earth, swum in water..."

No you have not! By the very definition, a revelatory experience presupposes that what was revealed was previously hidden, unobserved, unknown. Unless you actually felt God himself (not his metaphorical fingerprints), directly then you inferred his existence/presence. Anything which follows is merely self confirming rationalisation.

Your inability to distinguish between evidence and posthoc justification is nowhere more clear than here...

"What is your 'more naturalistic explanation' for the undeniable fact that the totally eclipsed sun distinctly and uncannily resembles the very organ of sight that allows us to sense the light that it emits?"

Where to start... there is no "undeniable fact" here to be explained. There is only your conviction that the eclipse looks like an eye (a vague conclusion by any standard) and your inference therefrom that such constitutes irrefutable evidence of a divine creator (one who thoroughly enjoys indulging himself by communicating with his creations in cryptic "sign language").

The fact that you can infer the existence of a divine creator on the basis of such subjective interpretation is laughably naive.

Unfortunately I'm due at the Royal Society in 30 mins so I'll have to postpone the remainder of my response.

Robin Edgar said...

Hi David. I saw evidence of "Intelligent Design" and profound religious symbolism displayed in the total solar eclipse. I saw (and heard) many other things, mainly within the context of the meaningful "coincidences" of synchronicity, in the three months leading up to that particular revelation and in the months and years following it. I do not believe this thread is the asppropriate place to go into great detail about what I saw and heard.

:are you talking about a personal god?

I guess that depends on what the term "personal god" means David. I expect that there are various interpretations of that term. I am talking about a Creator of the Universe that can and does subtly, or not so subtly, influence and intervene in the lives of human beings. I am talking about a God that can get personal as it were. As to whether God can properly be defined as a "person" is open to some debate I think. I suppose that God may have a "personality" but one that is likely to be very different than the personality of a human being.

:I am guessing you don't follow any religion, or do you?

Well as an "excommunicated" Unitarian I am not presently a member of any particular established religion. For various reasons I cannot with integrity be a member of the three major monotheistic religions and most if not all of the minor ones that I am aware of. I could be a Unitarian if U*Us actually practiced what they preach but, most regrettably, U*Us have abjectly failed and obstinately refused to do so in their rather less than pleasant human relations with me.

:So, did it have anything meaningful to tell you?

The total solar eclipse "Eye of God", and other symbolism manifested during total solar eclipses, has something meaningful to tell every human being who has "eyes to see" and a mind to correctly interpret the cosmic religious symblism that is displayed in the heavens during total solar eclipses.

:Please be more explicit, i really don't like the 'Alister McGrath' style of talking.

I am not sure who 'Alister McGrath' is, but I am trying not to go into too much detail about my religious experience here because I prefer to remain more or less "on topic" to the thread.

:And I see no difference between this and other claims made by cult leaders,

Lovely. . . How about Biblical prophets or other religious visionaries and mystics?

:all you need is 10 kids and a couple of friends then you can have your own church.

I could start a pretty good monotheistic religion if I wanted to and I expect that it would have rather more than twelve members. I have no interest in starting a "cult" and resent it when intolerant and abusive fundamentalist atheists falsely and maliciously label my religious activities as a "cult" as you may have gathered from my Emerson Avenger blog.

:Even if i think i saw a ghost i still wouldnt believe they exist. instead, i would be more inlined to think that something is wrong with me.

How about me? It might interest you to know that, besides abusively labeling my religious activities as a "cult", fundamentalist atheist "Humanist" U*Us have labeled my revelatory religious experience as "your psychotic experience" and have labeled me as "crazy" "unwell" "a nutcase" "a sick person" and any number of other unflattering epithets for delusional and insane. Strangely enough no psychiatrist or other mental health professional has been able to find any evidence of psychosis or any other serious mental illness in me. . . I was diagnosed with and treated for a mild to moderate case of depression some years ago, but the foregoing just might have something to do with that don't you think? Come to think of it, there are some bigotted Unitarian*Universalist charlatans who have talked nonsense about religion who I could have nominated for the Bad Faith Awards over the last decade or so. . .

:about Dawkins, so far all the attacks I've seen against him stem from respect towards religion, and have no substance at all.

Then I guess you have not seen the criticism of Dawkins that I have seen. My own criticism of Dawkins, and that of other people, including the criticism presented in this blog post about Dawkins' turning "the 19th century's doubting of religious dogma into another kind of dogma" has plenty of substance.

Robin Edgar said...

"If people think God is interesting, the onus is on them to show that there is anything there to talk about. Otherwise they should just shut up about it."

Richard Dawkins (attributed: source unknown)

Assuming that this Richard Dawkins quote found here is reasonably accurate, I have to ask why it is that Richard Dawkins cannot heed his own advice? ;-)

I can`t help but laugh at this well documented Richard Dawkins' quote -

"I am not attacking any particular version of God or gods. I am attacking Gods, all gods, anything and everything supernatural, wherever and whenever they have been or will be invented."

I can't help but picture Richard Dawkins single-handedly taking on Horus, Thor, Kali, Kthulu, Satan, Jesus and ALL the other gods in a Jello-wrestling free-for-all. ;-)

Picturing Richard Dawkins engaging in fisticuffs with the One God of pure monotheistic belief is not quite as hilarious, but it is still a ludicrous image conjured up by Dawkins own words.

George said...

“The fact of the matter however is that anyone who has had a profound personal experience of God can truthfully claim to "know" that God exists. God is no longer a subject of "faith" or "belief" after such a profound personal experience of God.”

There’s no real point in arguing against that bald assertion, what I dispute is your claim that you have arrived at your conclusion by means of a purely rational process.

The facts as I understand them are as follows. You had an unusual sensory episode the cause of which you attributed directly to “the presence of God.” You were aided in arriving at this conclusion by the fact that this event was preceded by a series of “meaningful coincidences.” One would assume that it is this quality of meaningfulness which distinguishes these coincidences from the regular, ordinary otherwise meaningless coincidences which litter everyday life, and this quality therefore warrants your conclusion that such were orchestrated by God.

However, this raises an interesting question; if what distinguishes an event as ‘meaningful’ is its purpose or to put it another way, its ‘non-randomness;’ and if what distinguishes an event as a ‘coincidence’ is its (at least apparent) non-randomness, then what is the difference between a meaningful and a meaningless coincidence?

The answer of course is the after-the-fact rationalising and interpretation designed to impart meaning to an otherwise mundane, coincidental event. I’m sure that for you this process has the look and feel of an evidence based rational process, but it is in no way different to taking one’s horoscope for Monday, reading it on Tuesday, and matching Monday’s events to the ‘predictions’ therein. You should try it – it’s surprisingly easy. Better yet, have someone who actually believes in astrology demonstrate this phenomenon for you – the “facts” become all the more obvious and all the more irrefutable the more you subscribe to the supernatural paradigm in which you are operating.

Sticking with coincidence for the moment; can you say that you’ve honestly weighed the chances of these events being, well, purely coincidental; the possibility that the hand of God is actually nowhere to be found? Assuming your answer is yes, and you continue to assert that your reasoning is entirely rational, then I must conclude that you ruled out mere coincidence, and affirmed the presence of the divine architect on the basis of statistical probability.

Given this, I’d like you to consider the following example. Now to be fair, this is anecdotal, but if pushed I could come up with a reference for it. But if you’re willing to trust that I’m not just making it up, or at least to treat it is hypothetical…

A company bookkeeper needs to call a travelling salesman to discuss his salary. Whilst dialling his number she is distracted and substitutes the last four digits of his employee serial number for the last four digits of his phone number. Clearly she can’t reach him because she’s dialled the wrong number. It turns out that the number dialled is that of a public phone box. It rings at that precise moment the salesman she’s trying to reach is walking past. He answers, and she is none the wiser.

Now the odds against this happening must be astronomical. I’m guessing that in terms of statistical probability these odds must dwarf those of the multiple “meaningful coincidences” you experienced. If I’m wrong, then I can’t wait to hear what those events were. (This story was taken from a TV show in the UK about coincidences – if your experiences beat these odds then I’d like to put in an early bid to be your agent.) However, if I’m right, then this example of coincidence must – by your rationale – be positively engorged with “meaning.” One would have to be insane to ignore the hand of God in such an event. How are the protagonists to interpret this divine message? If you’ve honestly ruled out mundane non-divine coincidence, by purely rational means as you claim, then simply based on a comparison of statistical probability with your own “profound experiences,” this event must portend some divine intent of staggering importance.

On the other hand, if you’ve ruled out mundane coincidence on the basis that it suits the supernatural paradigm in which you operate, and that confirming such is infinitely more attractive than refuting it, then your claim to purely rational reasoning is false.

Furthermore, if the account of your experiences is to be taken seriously, then there is another question which demands an answer: Is the god you claim to know the god of the Abrahamic tradition? If you can answer this question with any confidence at all, then regardless of the answer, the report of your experiences and the rational process by which you arrived at your certitude - absent of faith - is seriously deficient.

“Forgive me for saying so but I am very confident that most rational people will agree that I most certainly *am* addressing the substance of Richard Dawkins' assertions. You have virtually no grounds to say, "No you are not..."”

Err… no you are not! :)

You assume that Dawkins’ arrogance is self evident, thereby only requiring that you repeat what he said. What I expect from you is an explanation: Why is it arrogant? I expect evidence - this is as close as you get…

“It is arrogant to suggest that religious people are not as intelligent as atheists when there is abundant evidence that a great many extremely intelligent people have believed in God and have been religious in various ways throughout human history.”

Do you really want to get into a head count?

“Be my guest George. Feel free to present your evidence as to why my claims are "conceited". I am quite confident that I can counter your arguments.”

Ah! Bugger! I see my mistake now – I should have said ‘arrogant’ not ‘conceited’ – then, like you, all I need do is quote what you said and then say that there’s lots of arrogant people who offer the same kinds of testimony. N'est-ce pas? :)

jeepyjay said...

It looks as though Robin Edgar is making a bid to be nominated himself for the Bad Faith Award! I'd be happy to vote for him.

Robin what makes you think the eclipse is the "Eye of God"? Does he have only one eye? He only let Moses glimpse a part of him, and it wasn't his eye was it! I'm sure you know the quotation.

Robin Edgar said...

I do not think that the total solar eclipse is an actual "Eye of God" jeepyjay. I would have thought that that was abundantly clear from the fact that I have repeatedly referred to it a being "symbolic" and a "sign", to say nothing of almost always enclosing the term "Eye of God" within quotation marks indicating that I am using the term euphemistically. I never cease to be amazed by the number of atheists who try to represent that I am claiming that the total solar eclipse is an actual eye of God. Some even go so far as to suggest that I believe that the sun and moon are actual eyes of God. There seem to be only two possibilities. Either a lot of atheists are not "bright" enough to understand that I am talking about symbolism or they are deliberately misrepresenting what I say in an effort to belittle and discredit what I am actually claiming. Regrettably I tend to favor the latter theory.

:Does he have only one eye?

God has only one symbolic eye as displayed during total solar eclipses jeepyjay and hopefully that is sufficient "sign language" for God's purposes.

:He only let Moses glimpse a part of him, and it wasn't his eye was it! I'm sure you know the quotation.

Come to think of it, in their efforts to ridicule and discredit me, some obnoxious atheists insist that the total solar eclipse looks more like an anus than an eye to them. . .

Anonymous said...

It'd be a bloody warm anus...

Robin Edgar said...

Here we go again indeed...

You simply are not in a position to stridently tell me (complete with exclamation marks!) what I have, or have not, experienced in my life George. I have most certainly felt the presence of God in a profound and revelatory "born again" type spiritual experience. Another way to describe the mystical experience would be to say that I was "filled with the spirit of God."

:By the very definition, a revelatory experience presupposes that what was revealed was previously hidden, unobserved, unknown.

Correct. Prior to my profound revelatory religious experience of Nauary 27th, 1992 God was hidden, unobserved, and indeed unknown to me. Here I use the word 'unknown' quite literally. Prior to my religious experience I believed in a Creator of the Universe but was pretty much a deist. Following the mystical experience I could honestly claim to know that there is a God.

:Unless you actually felt God himself (not his metaphorical fingerprints), directly then you inferred his existence/presence.

That is what I am saying George. I am claiming to have felt the presence of the Spirit of God during my "born again" spiritual "awakening" mystical experience of January 27th, 1992. I only became aware of God's "metaphorical fingerprints" in the form of the total solar eclipse "Eye of God" about three months later at the end of April 1992. I can say however that I saw clear evidence of God's influence in the world in the numerous instances of synchronicity that I experienced in the intervening period and for months afterwards. I still experience the meaningful experiences of synchronicty now but not nearly at the same intensity as in 1992 and indeed a few years following 1992.

:Anything which follows is merely self confirming rationalisation.

Prove it George. . .

:Your inability to distinguish between evidence and posthoc justification is nowhere more clear than here...

Sorry George but I have directly experience or observed plenty of bona fide evidence for the existence of God. The fact of the matter is that the initial revelatory experience of January 1992 placed a very strong emphasis on the "Eye of God", I experienced a truly extraordinary string of synchronicity "meaningful coincidences" in February, March and April of 1992 that only a fool would attribute to pure random chance, at the end of April 1992 I was confronted by the fact that the total solar eclipse (which atronomers commonly describe as being the result of a cosmic "coincidence") distinctly resembles a gigantic eye staring down from the sky. There was no "posthoc justification" involved.

:Where to start... there is no "undeniable fact" here to be explained.

OK so some people, mostly devout atheists, will go to great lengths to deny that the total solar eclipse distinctly resembles an eye staring down from the sky, even going so far as to claim that to them it looks more like an anus. . . but most people, including plenty of atheist, will readily admit that the total solar eclipse does indeed bear an uncanny resemblance to the pupil and iris of an "eye in the sky" as it were. I concede that there will always be some people who will deny that which by all rights is undeniable.

:There is only your conviction that the eclipse looks like an eye (a vague conclusion by any standard)

Wrong. There is nothing vague about the total solar eclipse's similarity to the pupil and iris of an eye George, and I am by no means the first or only human being to have the "conviction" that the total solar eclipse looks like an eye. Many other people readily agree that the total solar eclipse distinctly resembles an eye when they are shown a high quality photograph of a total solar eclipse such as the one's that I have linked to in this thread. I am not even the first person to use the term "Eye of God" with respect to the TSE's very obvious resemblance to an eye staring down from the sky. The Americvan astronomer Jack Zircker was inspired to so in the 1980's. In fact, whole civilizations have been aware of the total solar eclipse "Eye of God" in the past, and have responded to it in their religious beliefs and practices.

:and your inference therefrom that such constitutes irrefutable evidence of a divine creator

I do not belierve that I have ever gone so far as to claim that the total solar eclipse "Eye of God" constitutes "irrefutable" evidence of God but it most certainly can serves as significant evidence of an intelligent creator of the Universe aka God. Do feel free to try to completely refute that evidence for Intelligent Design George but I expect that you will have a hard time doing so.

:(one who thoroughly enjoys indulging himself by communicating with his creations in cryptic "sign language").

That is what the evidence (and not just the "sign language" of the total solar eclipse "Eye of God") clearly suggests George. If you object to this indulgence of 'the Creator of the Universe' please take it up with God. . .

:The fact that you can infer the existence of a divine creator on the basis of such subjective interpretation is laughably naive.

Sorry George but I and other people are being perfectly objective when see with our own eyes that the total solar eclipse distinctly resembles an eye staring back at us. In any case the "sign language" of the total solar eclipse "Eye of God" is by no means the only basis upon which I infer, or indeed know of, the existence of a divine creator.

You are right that there is no real point in arguing against my bald assertion that anyone who has had a profound personal experience of God can truthfully claim to "know" that God exists. I have not in fact claimed that my own knowledge that God exists came about by "means of a purely rational process" as you allege. What I have said is that I used a highly rational process to mentally "process" everything that I actually experienced. Be assured that undergoing a profound revelatory experience of God, especially one of the prophetic variety, can cause a person to very seriously think about and analyze their experience. There is nothing quite like a direct revelatory experience of God to get the intellectual juices flowing George.

I too have to run of to an appointment at 9:00am here now but will respond to the rest of your commentary later.

Allah prochaine,

Robin Edgar

George said...

With profuse apologies to our most patient of moderators… here we go for the last time…

OK Robin. It comes down to this – standards of evidence.

For clarity - I don’t dispute your “mystical experience.” Whilst I maintain that the statistical probability of such having a supernatural/divine origin is to say the least, staggering, I won’t even attempt to dismiss the term “mystical” as inappropriate. To accept this term is simply to acknowledge the discourse of the many traditions within which such experiences are primarily understood and does not rule out naturalistic explanation.

My only bone of contention is the claim that your unshakeable certitude is justified because it is the product of “rational processes.” I maintain that you have not given the likelihood of naturalistic explanations even scant consideration in your reasoning, favouring instead the confirmation of your pre-existing preference for the supernatural paradigm.

You invite me to “completely refute that evidence for Intelligent Design” thinking no doubt that it’s a knock-down argument. But this merely highlights you preference for post hoc evaluation. In making the challenge, you’re conflating theory and evidence. The reality is that so called Intelligent Design is not a theory in the proper scientific sense (as is the theory of evolution by natural selection) but could pass for ‘theory’ in the mundane, non-scientific sense of a ‘hunch.’ It is unfalsifiable, it is not provisional, it proposes no mechanisms, and it offers no explanation which does not rely on its unfalsifiability. As such, it is wrong to speak of “evidence for Intelligent Design” – what you refer to as evidence is actually more accurately described as, “natural phenomena which are suggestive of design.” Conclusions derived therefrom are scientifically neutral. To advance to the stage of certitude you occupy however, requires objective verification (i.e. scientific) if it is to be accepted as anything other than mere conviction based on personal incredulity, at which point the weakness of the ‘evidence’ becomes glaringly obvious.

The solar eclipse which you find so convincing is a phenomenon which has benefited from decades of scientific investigation. I’m not an astrophysicist but I’m guessing there is little we don’t know about the phenomenon. The fact that to you and others it bares an “uncanny resemblance” to the human eye qualifies this as a natural phenomenon which suggests design is not something which requires explanation. Or rather, any discussion of this aspect of the phenomenon will have nothing to do with astrophysics or celestial mechanics or any other sciences – excepting perhaps psychology. In short, make of it what you will, arrive at any conclusions which suit you, but don’t pretend that you are engaged in any kind of rational process distinct from mere wish fulfilment.

“OK so some people, mostly devout atheists, will go to great lengths to deny that the total solar eclipse distinctly resembles an eye staring down from the sky… but most people, including plenty of atheist, will readily admit that the total solar eclipse does indeed bear an uncanny resemblance to the pupil and iris of an "eye in the sky" as it were. I concede that there will always be some people who will deny that which by all rights is undeniable.”

OK – I’m happy to concede that yes the solar eclipse looks like an eye. Particularly in the “high quality photograph” you offered as evidence (presumably God is a high quality kinda guy who doesn’t mind that in most cases a photograph will look not unlike a bucket sitting on a hotplate and for most of human history it just tended to look like an indistinguishable glare in the sky, but never mind that now).

So what? Have you seen “The Atheists Nightmare?
No doubt for you “uncanny resemblance” carries a great deal of weight, such that the TSE can convince you of a divine creator. If that’s the standard of evidence you’re prepared to accept, then fine – all the best to you. It’s just a tad annoying when you find the fact that I find it unpersuasive so exasperating. Would you be happy with the doctor who prescribes a damaging course of radiotherapy or invasive surgery because the patch of dry skin he observed on your back “very distinctly resembles “or bares an “uncanny resemblance” to a melanoma, without actually verifying it first? After all, I’m sure when found out he’d say that he was “being perfectly objective” when he recognised the melanoma. If I’m right in assuming your answer is a resounding “no” then welcome to the world of objective evidence.

If I’m wrong then so what – I’m done this. you're clearly enjoying it mor than me.

Paul Sims said...

So not a convert to the "eye of God" theory then, George?

Patient yes, but can't say I'll be sorry to see the end of this debate! It's fortunate no one else was trying to discuss anything here, they wouldn't have stood a chance.

Robin Edgar said...

George said -

:The facts as I understand them are as follows. You had an unusual sensory episode the cause of which you attributed directly to “the presence of God.”

Correct George. It is obviously not something that is easy to properly describe, and any description tends to inadequately convey what I experienced, but yes I did sense or feel the presence of what is commonly called the 'Spirit' of God. Obviously God, being omnipresent and all, is always present in everything but this is a special type of spiritual experience. One element of this spiritual experience which a Christian might term being "born again in the spirit" (but by no means that only one) was that I was filled with an truly overwhelming sense of love for my fellow human beings. It was a powerful "filling" of my spirit with love that went well beyond what I believe my own individual capacity of love for my fellow human beings could be. It was actually quite painful to witness even moderate human suffering and this overwhelming feeling of love lasted for days and weeks but gradually diminished over time.

BTW I thank you for referring to my experience as an "unusual sensory episode" it sure beats having it contemptuously dismissed as "your psychotic experience" by intolerant and abusive anti-religious fundamentalist atheist "Humanist" Unitarian clergy. ;-)

:You were aided in arriving at this conclusion by the fact that this event was preceded by a series of “meaningful coincidences.”

No. The mystical experience or "unusual sensory episode", in and of itself, caused me to feel the presence of the spirit of God. At the time of the experience itself I did not immediately recognize that the preceding "coincidences" had anything to do with it. It was only after more unusual highly meaningful "coincidences" occurred following the mystical experience, and I began to rationally analyze the strange phenomena that I was experiencing, that I realized that there had been a few unusual "coincidences" prior to the experience that had set the stage for it. It actually took me several weeks, if not longer, to realize that the very unusual "coincidences" that I was experiencing were being guided by spiritual influences.

:One would assume that it is this quality of meaningfulness which distinguishes these coincidences from the regular, ordinary otherwise meaningless coincidences which litter everyday life, and this quality therefore warrants your conclusion that such were orchestrated by God.

Once you have experienced and understood what Carl Jung termed 'synchronicity' you realize that some of those "coincidences" which litter everyday life as you put it may not be quite so meaningless. I now suggest that people pay more attention to truly unusual "coincidences" and follow their bliss as it were. It is not just the meaningfulness of the "coincidences" that caused me to ultimately conclude that they were orchestrated by God. It was the fact that the "coincidences" were clearly "orchestrated", often with one instance of synronicity leading into another one into another one, building towards a larger "message". Even individually some of the "coincidences" were so unusual (i.e. the odds against them occurring at all were "astronomical" to use Jung's word) yet so meaningful that they had every appearance of being set up. But, as Jung points out, it is when the unusual meaningful "coincidences" are multiple, and come in a logical sequence, that one realizes that they are not occurring by mere random chance.

:However, this raises an interesting question; if what distinguishes an event as ‘meaningful’ is its purpose or to put it another way, its ‘non-randomness;’ and if what distinguishes an event as a ‘coincidence’ is its (at least apparent) non-randomness, then what is the difference between a meaningful and a meaningless coincidence?

That is a fair but somewhat flawed and/or poorly expressed question question George. Strictly speaking, according to the dictionary definition of the word 'coincidence', a 'coincidence' is generally considered to be a random event, arising out of "mere chance", and thus "accidental" rather than an event that is "arranged" or "orchestrated" and thus anything but "accidental". Thus apparent non-randomness of a so-called "coincidence" would suggest that it is not in fact a random chance coincidence. That is precisely why I enclose the word 'coincidence' within quotation marks, like this - "coincidence", when talking about the meaningful "coincidences" of synchronicity. To me, and no doubt to Carl Jung and other people who are aware of and at least somewhat understand the spiritual phenomenon that he called 'synchronicity', such orchestrated and arranged "meaningful coincidences" are not really 'coincidences' in the sense of random chance accidental events.

:The answer of course is the after-the-fact rationalising and interpretation designed to impart meaning to an otherwise mundane, coincidental event.

Wrong. Be assured that that many of the "coincidental" events that I, and indeed many other people, have experienced are anything but mundane and actually hold considerable meaning. There is no "after-the-fact rationalising" involved. In fact, once one recognizes and understands the phenomenon of synchronicity one is able to recognize and interpret a meaningful "coincidence" as it takes place.

:I’m sure that for you this process has the look and feel of an evidence based rational process, but it is in no way different to taking one’s horoscope for Monday, reading it on Tuesday, and matching Monday’s events to the ‘predictions’ therein.

Wrong again George. Be assured that it is more like receiving a message via "sign language" in 1992 that is only now being expressed by world leaders in 2007. In 1992 it was made very clear to me via the "sign language" of synchronicity that serious human conflict, including major wars and even nuclear war, could result from the serious damage that human beings are doing to the environment, especially the atmosphere (i.e. the hole in the ozone layer and global warming). It seems that it is only now that the United Nations are getting around to suggesting that possibility. I can truthfully claim that God relayed that message to me in 1992 via synchronicity. Unfortunately nobody was terribly interested in hearing that message and doing anything about it in 1992. I doubt very many people are terribly interested in doing much about it now either, and we are fifteen years down the road from the warning I received in 1992.

:You should try it – it’s surprisingly easy.

Isn't that what newspaper horoscopes are all about George?

:Better yet, have someone who actually believes in astrology demonstrate this phenomenon for you – the “facts” become all the more obvious and all the more irrefutable the more you subscribe to the supernatural paradigm in which you are operating.

I am in many ways a natural sceptic George. I have very rationally analyzed what I have experience and remain sceptical of many claims about the so-called "supernatural". One thing I can tell you though is that what is often called the "supernatural" is part and parcel of the natural. . . The phenomenon of synchronicity teaches that lesson very well.

:Sticking with coincidence for the moment; can you say that you’ve honestly weighed the chances of these events being, well, purely coincidental;

Absolutely George. And, no doubt like Carl Jung, after very honestly weighing the chances of those "coincidences" being genuinely coincidental (in the sense of being purely random, mere chance, accidental occurrances) I conluded that the astronomical odds against these various "coincidences" and sequences of "coincidences" occurring accidentally due to pure random chance were very much in God's favor. I have repeatedly said that I have very rationally analyzed everything that I experienced and that certainly includes doing my best to rationally weigh the chances of these events occurring randomly.

:the possibility that the hand of God is actually nowhere to be found?

Well now you know where the "eye" of God is to be found George. God's "hand" tends to remain less obviously visible to human eyes but the work of God's "hand" may certainly be "seen" in the phenomenon of synchronicity.

:Assuming your answer is yes, and you continue to assert that your reasoning is entirely rational, then I must conclude that you ruled out mere coincidence, and affirmed the presence of the divine architect on the basis of statistical probability.

You have assumed very well George.

I will deal with the rest of your post a bit later.

Paul Sims said...

Ok gentlemen, time out! Your comments wont get approved over the weekend anyway as I'm not working.

Robin Edgar said...

Fair enough Paul.

As "George" has indicated, I am thoroughly enjoying our debate here. ;-) And I dare say that we can be fairly described as being "gentlemen", for the most part anyway.

Have a good weekend!