God and Christopher Hitchens (Daniel C. Peterson)

Daniel C. Peterson discusses Christopher Hitchens’ book, “God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything”…  KEEP IN MIND, this is a Mormon apologist defending in parts Mormonism — However, Dr. Peterson spells out some grand church history and other common defenses of the faith. AS WELL AS the low threshold of scholarly aptitude in Hitchens work.

Divine Feet ~ Philosophical Demarcations

Atheists reject evidence as illusory…

Why?

Because they “have to.”

I put these two ideas from separate fields of study together. Why I didn’t before is a mystery… but like with any field of study, you can go over the same topic again-and-again — you continue to learn. The first example come from biology and the natural sciences. Here are three examples of the beginning of my thinking:

  • “The illusion of design is so successful that to this day most Americans (including, significantly, many influential and rich Americans) stubbornly refuse to believe it is an illusion. To such people, if a heart (or an eye or a bacterial flagellum) looks designed, that’s proof enough that it is designed.” ~ Richard Dawkins in the Natural History Magazine;
  • “So powerful is the illusion of design, it took humanity until the mid-19th century to realize that it is an illusion.” ~ New Scientist Magazine (h/t, Uncommon Dissent)
  • “Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.” Richard Dawkins enlarges on this thought: “We may say that a living body or organ is well designed if it has attributes that an intelligent and knowledgeable engineer might have built into it in order to achieve some sensible purpose… any engineer can recognize an object that has been designed, even poorly designed, for a purpose, and he can usually work out what that purpose is just by looking at the structure of the object.” ~ Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker, 1996, pp. 1, and 21.
  • “We can’t make sense of an organ like the eye without considering it to have a function, or a purpose – not in a mystical, teleological sense, but in the sense of an illusion of engineering. That illusion, we now know, is a consequence of Darwin’s process of natural selection. Everyone agrees that the eye is a remarkable bit of natural “engineering,” and that may now be explained as a product of natural selection rather than as the handiwork of a cosmic eye-designer or as a massive coincidence in tissue formation.” ~ Steven Pinker, via Edge’s “Is Science Killing the Soul.”

The important point here is that the Judeo-Christian [theistic] view would posit that we (and nature) is designed, and would notice it in ourselves and in nature. The atheist MUST reject design as an illusion because their worldview demands that chance cobbled together what we see… so dumb luck needs to be seen as opposed to design.

Steven Pinker summation:

Pinker’s newer book, The Blank Slate, revised his views on free will, in that he no longer thinks it’s a necessary fiction. The chapter on “The Fear of Determinism” takes an explicitly deterministic stance, and usefully demonstrates the absurdity of contra-causal free will and why we shouldn’t worry about being fully caused creatures. However, Pinker remains conservative in not drawing any conclusions about how not having free will might affect our attitudes towards punishment, credit, and blame,; that is, he doesn’t explore the implications of determinism for ethical theory. This, despite the fact that in How the Mind Works he claimed that “ethical theory requires idealizations like free, sentient, rational, equivalent agents whose behavior is uncaused” … We await further progress by Pinker. (Via Naturlism)

Daniel Dennett:

Dennett worries that there is good evidence that promulgating the idea that free will is an illusion undermines just that sense of responsibility many scientists and philosophers are worried about losing. Critics maintain that Dennett’s kind of free will, with its modest idea of “enough” responsibility, autonomy and control, is not really enough after all.

[….]

“It’s important because of the longstanding tradition that free will is a prerequisite for moral responsibility,” he says. “Our system of law and order, of punishment, and praise and blame, promise keeping, promise making, the law of contracts, criminal law – all of this depends on one notion or another of free will. And then you have neuroscientists, physicists and philosophers saying that ‘science has shown us that free will is an illusion’ and then not shrinking from the implication that our systems of law are built on foundations of sand.” (Via The Guardian)

Richard Dawkins, Lawrence Kruass, Christopher Hitchens:

Sam Harris:

Stephen Hawkings:

One of the most intriguing aspects mentioned by Ravi Zacharias of a lecture he attended entitled “Determinism – Is Man a Slave or the Master of His Fate,” given by Stephen Hawking, who is the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge, Isaac Newton’s chair, was this admission by Dr. Hawking’s, was Hawking’s admission that if “we are the random products of chance, and hence, not free, or whether God had designed these laws within which we are free.”[1] In other words, do we have the ability to make choices, or do we simply follow a chemical reaction induced by millions of mutational collisions of free atoms? Michael Polyni mentions that this “reduction of the world to its atomic elements acting blindly in terms of equilibrations of forces,” a belief that has prevailed “since the birth of modern science, has made any sort of teleological view of the cosmos seem unscientific…. [to] the contemporary mind.”[2]

[1] Ravi Zacharias, The Real Face of Atheism (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2004), 118, 119.

[2] Michael Polanyi and Harry Prosch, Meaning (Chicago, IL: Chicago university Press, 1977), 162.

The bottom line is that free-will, self, freedom to be above and distinguish between actions, is all an illusion.

Why?

BECUASE if free-will existed… then this would be an argument f-o-r theism. F-o-r God’s existence. Like the founding director of NASA’s Goddard Institutes, Robert Jastrow’s description in his book of a disturbing reaction among his colleagues to the big-bang theory—irritation and anger.

Why, he asked, would scientists, who are supposed to pursue truth and not have an emotional investment in any evidence, be angered by the big-bang theory?

They had an aversion to the Big-Bang.

Because it argued F-O-R theism. F-O-R God’s existence.

Jastrow noted that many scientists do not want to acknowledge anything that may even suggest the existence of God. The big-bang theory, by positing a beginning of the universe, suggests a creator and therefore annoys many astronomers.

This anti-religious bias is hardly confined to astronomers.

As we see, the above persons in rejecting evidence of design in nature and consciousness, are doing so based on an aversion to “God evidence.” Another well-known philosopher John Searle notes this illusion as well:

All these people are misusing science and remaking it into “scientism.” AND, they are “not allowing a divine foot in the door,” as Dinesh D’Souza notes:

Scientism, materialism, empiricism, existentialism, naturalism, and humanism – whatever you want to call it… it is still a metaphysical position as it assumes or presumes certain things about the entire universe.  D’Souza points this a priori commitment out:

Naturalism and materialism are not scientific conclusions; rather, they are scientific premises. They are not discovered in nature but imposed upon nature. In short, they are articles of faith. Here is Harvard biologist Richard Lewontin: “We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have [an] a priori commitment… a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.”

Dinesh D’Souza, What’s So Great about Christianity (Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing, 2007), 161 (emphasis added).

“Minds fit into an theistic world, not an atheistic one”

What are intentional states of consciousness? Are states of consciousness plausible on either a theistic or atheistic worldview? This clip shows the exchange between Dr William Lane Craig and Dr Alex Rosenberg on intentional states of consciousness in the world. On February 1st, 2013 at Purdue University, Dr Craig participated in a debate with Dr Rosenberg on the topic, “Is Faith In God Reasonable?” Over 5,000 people watched the event on the Purdue University campus along with tens of thousands streaming it live online from around the world.

For more on this, see my “quotefest” here: Evolution Cannot Account for: Logic, Reasoning, Love, Truth, or Justice

Michael Beasley Reviews Hitchens Book, “God Is Not Great”

Michael John Beasley speaks on atheist Christopher Hitchens’ completely shallow views of God and Christianity from his book God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.

I want to deal a bit with Hitchens worldview that is the drive for such a book that uses bad-thinking to get an emotional response (e.g., propaganda). Here Hitchens hat-tips Karl Marx by saying that this [Marx’s Manifesto] was “…OUR first attempt at philosophy, just as it was OUR first attempt at healthcare, cosmology… astronomy, and so on….”

Here is a wonderful documentary (15-parts, they will load automatically) about the Marxist/Leninist philosophy. Before watching the documentary, consider this by a former leader in the 60’s communist movement here in the states:

…To transform society, you need the power of the state; it is the only way their future can be achieved. That is why they are willing to follow the marching orders of a party that can control the state, and that is why they want to advance its fortunes. The Democrats’ perennial campaign message — Republicans are conducting a war on minorities, women, working Americans, and the poor — rests on the central idea that unites progressives behind the party: We are for equality, they are against it.

The reasoning behind such behavior was revealed by Leon Trotsky when he explained why he would not leave the Bolshevik party even after Stalin — who would eventually murder him — became its absolute leader: “We can only be right with and by the Party,” Trotsky said, “for history has provided no other way of being in the right.” “If the Party adopts a decision which one or other of us thinks unjust, he will say, just or unjust, it is my party, and I shall support the consequences of the decision to the end.”

Non-Bolsheviks may not share Trotsky’s metaphysical certitude, but they will recognize the principle. If the cause is about changing the world and there is only one party that can acquire the means to do it, then even though it may be wrong on this or that matter, its fortunes must be advanced and its power defended. This commitment is magnified when the opposition party is viewed as the enemy of the noble cause. If Republicans are seen as the party of privilege at war with minorities, women, and the poor, then their ideas are not only wrong but evil. As President Obama’s political mentor, Saul Alinsky, put it in Rules for Radicals: “One acts decisively only in the conviction that all of the angels are on one side and the devils are on the other.”

Here is another statement from Rules for Radicals: “We are always moral and our enemies always immoral.” The issue is never the issue. The issue is always the immorality of the opposition, of conservatives and Republicans. If they are perceived as immoral and indecent, their policies and arguments can be dismissed, and even those constituencies that are non-political or “low-information” can be mobilized to do battle against an evil party. In 1996 Senator Bob Dole — a moderate Republican and deal-maker — ran for president against the incumbent, Bill Clinton. At the time, Dick Morris was Clinton’s political adviser. As they were heading into the election campaign, Clinton — a centrist Democrat — told Morris, “You have to understand, Dick, Bob Dole is evil.” That is how even centrist Democrats view the political battle.

Because Democrats and progressives regard politics as a battle of good versus evil, their focus is not on policies that work and ideas that make sense, but on what will make their party win. Demonizing the opposition is one answer; unity is another. If we are divided, we will fail, and that means evil will triumph…

(National Review)

Enjoy this tour of worldviews:

`It is our common fate` Christopher Hitchens, R.I.P. (1949-2011)

(Art Source)

I willingly believe that the damned are, in one sense, successful, rebels to the end; that the doors of hell are locked on the inside.

All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. To those who knock it is opened. And yourself, in a dark hour, may will [a grumbling] mood, embrace it. Ye can repent and come out of it again. But there may come a day when you can do that no longer. Then there will be no you left to criticize the mood…

—excerpted from The Problem of Pain and The Great Divorce, by C.S. Lewis (1898-1963), included in The Quotable Lewis, 1989 Tyndale

In a sense, the concept of hell gives meaning to our lives. It tells us that the moral choices we make day by day have eternal significance, that our behavior has consequences lasting to eternity, that God Himself takes our choices seriously.

The doctrine of hell is not just some dusty theological holdover from the Middle Ages. It has significant social consequences. Without a conviction of ultimate justice, people’s sense of moral obligation dissolves, and social bonds are broke.

Of course, these considerations are not the most important reason to believe in hell. Jesus repeatedly issued warnings that if we turn away from God in this life, we will be alienated from God eternally.

And yet, although “the wages of sin is death,” Paul also says that “the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). While breath remains, it is never too late to turn to God in repentance, and when we ask for forgiveness, God eagerly grants it.

—excerpted from Answers to Your Kids’ Questions, by Chuck Colson, 2000 Prison Fellowship Ministries.

We may rest assured that no one will suffer in hell who could by any means have been won to Christ in this life. God leaves no stone unturned to rescue all who would respond to the convicting and wooing of the Holy Spirit.

As for the fate of [the damned] being eternal, it could not be otherwise. Death is not the cessation of existence but the continuation of the eternal being with which God lovingly endowed man–but now in painful separation from God and all else in utter darkness and loneliness.

—excerpted from In Defense of the Faith, by Dave Hunt, 1996 Harvest House Publishers

The Bible says that God prepared hell for the devil and his demonic cohorts (Matthew 25:41), that He is “…not wishing for any [person] to perish but for all to come to repentance.” (II Peter 3:9), and that He has done everything possible to save us from that terrible, terrible place. Yet in the end God will not violate or overrule the deliberate choice of those who consciously and willfully turn away from Him.

—Daryl E. Witmer of AIIA Institute

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil.”

—Jesus Christ, John 3:16-19, NASV Bible

Debka File is Reporting that the U.K. expects Israeli attack on Iran next month with U.S. logistical support

(Some 2009 commentary by Hitchens on this)

From Debka File

A senior Foreign Office official says British government ministers have been told to expect Israeli military action in the wake of the UN watchdog report “as early as Christmas or very early in the new year,” the London Daily Mail reported Thursday, Nov. 10.  The ministers were told that Israel would strike Iran’s nuclear sites “sooner rather than later” – with “logistical support” from the US.

According to the British paper, which has good military and intelligence ties in London, President Barack Obama would “have to support the Israelis or risk losing Jewish-American support in the next presidential election.” The bigger concern is that once Iran is nuclear-armed, it will be impossible to stop Saudi Arabia and Turkey from developing their own weapons to even out the balance of nuclear terror in the Middle East.

debkafile’s military sources add that Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has told Obama more than once this year, “If Iran gets nuclear arms, Turkey will get nuclear arms.”

The Daily Mail goes on to report that in recent weeks, British Ministry of Defense sources confirmed that contingency plans had been drawn up in the event that the UK decided to support military action.

…read more…

Correcting A Media/Pop Culture Narrative on Newt Gingrich ~ Plus: C-SPAN Flashback

Via John Podhoretz’s Tweet

 ✦ First and foremost: Newt’s wife he divorced in the 80’s is ALIVE! She did not die!

Here is a portion of a larger post by Jackie Gingrich Cushman:

As for my parents’ divorce, I can remember when they told me.

It was the spring of 1980.

I was 13 years old, and we were about to leave Fairfax, Va., and drive to Carrollton, Ga., for the summer. My parents told my sister and me that they were getting a divorce as our family of four sat around the kitchen table of our ranch home.

Soon afterward, my mom, sister and I got into our light-blue Chevrolet Impala and drove back to Carrollton.

Later that summer, Mom went to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta for surgery to remove a tumor. While she was there, Dad took my sister and me to see her.

It is this visit that has turned into the infamous hospital visit about which many untruths have been told. I won’t repeat them. You can look them up online if you are interested in untruths. But here’s what happened:

My mother and father were already in the process of getting a divorce, which she requested.

Dad took my sister and me to the hospital to see our mother.

She had undergone surgery the day before to remove a tumor.

The tumor was benign.

…read more…

William Dembski & Christopher Hitchens Debate Gods Existence

Dembski-Hitchens Debate — The Real “Universal Acid”

As Dembski points out, Hitchens hitches much of his atheistic wagon to Darwinism (the creation myth of atheistic materialism, which is dissolving rapidly in the universal acid* of genuine scientific rigor).

Very revealing is Hitchens’ reference to cave-dwelling creatures that lose their eyes. He thinks that this is evidence of “evolution.” In fact, this is evidence of devolution — the loss of information, not the origin or creation of it. It is evidence for informational entropy. Decay happens all by itself.

Consider computer code like mine that simulates human intelligence in the game of checkers.

It is approximately 65,000 lines of highly optimized and refined computer code in the C/C++ language. (This does not include several tens of thousands of additional lines of code that compute, compress, store, and provide real-time execution access and decompression to the endgame databases.)

Introduce random errors into that code and some of its functions will be disabled (or, the program will die upon conception when compiled and executed). Try to improve the same program by the introduction of random errors and there is no chance of success, even given an infinite amount of time, since random degradation will always outrun any possible random improvement.

As it turns out, virtually all examples of the creative powers of Darwinian evolution (random variation/errors and natural selection) rest either on the mixing and matching of existing information, or what Michael Behe refers to as trench warfare (destroying information for a temporary advantage in a pathological environment, such as a bacterium in the presence of an antibiotic) as opposed to an arms race.

The bottom line is that the infinitely creative, information-producing powers of the Darwinian mechanism are nonexistent, and only exist in the infinitely creative imaginations of Darwinists, who have an infinite capacity for spinning fanciful stories that are completely out of contact with modern scientific evidence and reasoning.

* Daniel Dennett calls Darwinism a universal acid that essentially destroys all traditional theistic belief.

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