Sunday 14 February 2010

Burnee links for Sunday

On Faith Panelists Blog: Haiti and the hypocrisy of Christian theology - Richard Dawkins
Dawkins (uncharacteristically but justifiably) lets rip.

Butterflies and Wheels Notes Archive: "The mystery of the providence of God"
The appalling suffering in Haiti continues to tax theodicy's advocates — to no avail. "God moves in a mysterious way." — substitute "unbelievable" for "mysterious" and you have a far more accurate description of the way things are.

'Jesus wouldn't want bishops in House of Lords,' says critic — Ecumenical News International
First report of the informal debate I attended at the Houses of Parliament a couple of weeks ago.

Famous philosopher and Templeton-Prize winner: science = faith « Why Evolution Is True
Science is faith. Wait ... no, it isn't. Jerry Coyne deconstructs.

The Atheist Blogger » Open Letter to the Student’s Union
Freedom of speech is under threat at Royal Holloway, University of London. If you censor speech you forfeit the opportunity to disagree with it in public.

'A religious but not righteous Judge: Cherie Blair' by AC Grayling - Specially written for -
The judge may not have been lenient because the defendant was "a religious man" but rather because she equates being religious with high moral standards. This, we know, is false. See also Jack of Kent's comment on the New Humanist post.

Atheists are wrong to claim science and religion are incompatible, Church of England says - Telegraph
Peter Capon, a lay member of Synod from Manchester diocese who tabled the Private Member’s Motion on the compatibility of science and religious belief, said that Christians believe the world exists because of the will of God whereas atheists consider this to be a “complete delusion”.
He went on: “We wish to refute the idea promoted by atheist scientists that science is on the side of the atheist in answering these sorts of questions.
"We wish to refute the perception that you have to choose between science and faith
"We wish to refute the crude caricature of faith, as being blind and irrational, propagated by some atheist scientists."
Go on then. Refute this idea, this perception, this caricature. But remember that mere denial is not refutation. To refute something, you need evidence.

I note that Tom Butler, Bishop of Southwark, is persisting in his erroneous definition of faith:
He said that belief in the invisible subatomic particles of quantum physics requires just as great a leap of faith as belief in God.
“If believing that isn’t faith I don’t know what is and I don’t think that we need to be defensive about ours,” the bishop said.
It's clear to me that Tom Butler is correct: he doesn't know what faith is.

Rationally Speaking: How to Want to Change Your Mind
Julia Galef gives advice on not being too attached to our beliefs.

Clerics’ ‘dark age’ comments about women causes outrage among their flock
Enlightenment and civilisation correlate well with the emancipation of women. Of course, correlation doesn't necessarily indicate causation, and even if causation is indeed present, it isn't necessarily specified in which direction. But if both of these things are desirable, does it matter whether or not one of them causes the other? Let's strive for them both.