Monday 31 August 2009

Burnee links for (bank holiday) Monday

Ouch! Hot!Skepticblog » Homo religious

San Francisco News - The Demystifying Adventures of the Amazing Randi

Why Engage in Religious Debates? | Conversational Atheist

the quackometer: The Society of Homeopaths are a Shambles and a Bad Joke

Perry Bulwer’s Story | AnAtheist.Net

Review of Why There Almost Certainly is a God, Part One : EvolutionBlog

How Religion May Affect Your Medical Care | Center for Inquiry

NeuroLogica Blog » A Few Questions on Evolution

Jaycee Dugard's Abduction Case Highlights Failure of Psychics | LiveScience

Bishop of Rochester: Church of England must do more to counter twin threats of secularism and radical Islam - Telegraph

Metamagician and the Hellfire Club: The Grand Opening up of the Solar System

Skepticblog » Everybody’s an Expert

The Meming of Life » Fear and Loathing in Chicago

Inside the twisted minds of politicians : The Uncredible Hallq

Damaris Culture Watch : Talking about . . . Darwin
Tony Watkins' overview of Darwin's legacy seems entirely reasonable, except for his final paragraph:
Atheist followers of Darwin believe that his ideas destroy the uniqueness of human beings, and that the meaning of life becomes merely passing on our DNA. Yet we instinctively feel that life is more than this. But where do meaning and purpose come from? Why, like Darwin, do we seek truth, rejoice in beauty and love deeply? The answer to these questions is the one that Darwin gave up on because of his grief. Only the existence of God allows for objective morality. Only God gives human life real meaning. Only God can make sense of suffering; without him it is utterly meaningless. And only God can account for the very existence of life.
"Destroy the uniqueness of human beings" is a loaded phrase - I'd put it more simply that Darwin's ideas showed that an interventionist deity is not necessary to explain the development of life. "The meaning of life becomes merely passing on our DNA" - this is a fundamental misunderstanding; it implies that there is a purpose to life, external to living beings, for which there is not a shred of compelling evidence. The passing-on of our DNA is simply the result of the evolutionary mechanism. It explains how we came to be here, but it says nothing at all about "meaning". The remainder of the paragraph is unfortunately mired in unjustified assumption.