Author Topic: Evangelicals are intellectually dishonest  (Read 5840 times)

brebis noire

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4707
    • View Profile
Evangelicals are intellectually dishonest
« on: November 06, 2007, 01:06:25 PM »
OK - my original title was "evangelicals and like-minded believers are intellectually and philosophically dishonest" but that was too long.

This morning I read a rather long but very interesting article in the New York Times Mag: The Turning of an Atheist.

I think it might turn out to be useful to me, especially as I've observed first-hand enough intellectual dishonesty, laziness, cutting-to-the-the-chasedness and just plain ignorance from evangelicals. Most of it isn't exactly or deliberately malicious - but it can end up doing an awful lot of real damage anyways (c.f. election of the current US government, war in Iraq, etc.).

Quote
Unless you are a professional philosopher or a committed atheist, you probably have not heard of Antony Flew. Eighty-four years old and long retired, Flew lives with his wife in Reading, a medium-size town on the Thames an hour west of London. Over a long career he held appointments at a series of decent regional universities — Aberdeen, Keele, Reading — and earned a strong reputation writing on an unusual range of topics, from Hume to immortality to Darwin. His greatest contribution remains his first, a short paper from 1950 called “Theology and Falsification.” Flew was a precocious 27 when he delivered the paper at a meeting of the Socratic Club, the Oxford salon presided over by C. S. Lewis. Reprinted in dozens of anthologies, “Theology and Falsification” has become a heroic tract for committed atheists. In a masterfully terse thousand words, Flew argues that “God” is too vague a concept to be meaningful. For if God’s greatness entails being invisible, intangible and inscrutable, then he can’t be disproved — but nor can he be proved. Such powerful but simply stated arguments made Flew popular on the campus speaking circuit; videos from debates in the 1970s show a lanky man, his black hair professorially unkempt, vivisecting religious belief with an English public-school accent perfect for the seduction of American ears. Before the current crop of atheist crusader-authors — Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Christopher Hitchens — there was Antony Flew.

Some of Flew's early works that made his case against God.
Flew’s fame is about to spread beyond the atheists and philosophers. HarperOne, an imprint of HarperCollins, has just released “There Is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind,” a book attributed to Flew and a co-author, the Christian apologist Roy Abraham Varghese. “There Is a God” is an intellectual’s bildungsroman written in simple language for a mass audience.


I had never heard of Flew before, but I have a feeling I'm going to be hearing about "this former atheist who now recognises that God exists." But what I get from this article is that an elderly and somewhat confused man has been persuaded by a few younger, more ambitious men, to lend support to their project...and that basically the book wasn't written by him, and even - according to the article "the ghostwriter had a ghostwriter."

Naturally, Lifesite was all over this like ooze.  :roll:

pogge

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4285
    • View Profile
    • Peace, order and good government, eh?
Evangelicals are intellectually dishonest
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2007, 01:24:59 PM »
And naturally, PZ Meyers was all over it, too.

 Roy Varghese and the exploitation of Antony Flew

Alison

  • Senior Member
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2860
    • View Profile
    • http://creekside1.blogspot.com/
Evangelicals are intellectually dishonest
« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2007, 02:18:52 PM »
Quote
“This is really Roy’s doing,” [Flew] said, before I had even figured out a polite way to ask. “He showed it to me, and I said O.K. I’m too old for this kind of work!”



Big fuss about Flew's so-called conversion in 2001.
Even CBC called him up and asked him about it - he was clearly puzzled by all the fuss, which to him had no political implications whatsoever.
What he was still quite clear about however in that interview was that the idea of an interventionist god was incoherent. He was terribly terribly polite but very firm about it.

In a way Varghese' shenanigans serve to discredit the very few other documented deathbed conversions so beloved of the xians.

fern hill

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10640
    • View Profile
    • http://scathinglywrongrightwingnutz.blogspot.com/
Evangelicals are intellectually dishonest
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2007, 02:22:22 PM »
Quote from: Alison@Creekside
he was clearly puzzled by all the fuss, which to him had no political implications whatsoever.


Count me among the puzzled, too. Very few people have heard of this fellow, me not among them. Most agnostics/atheists I know don't need any authority or argument to bolster our non-belief.

So, like, what's the big deal?

Edited to fix stupid syntax.

brebis noire

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4707
    • View Profile
Evangelicals are intellectually dishonest
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2007, 02:31:20 PM »
Well, evangelicals consider that all things point to Gawd, so they're constantly on the lookout for stuff to bolster their sense of belief or wonder, or something.
Or - it's just another story to persuade teh unbelievers, scare teh backslidden and impress teh children.

You don't even want to know what I've heard about: Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, and Mel Gibson, not to mention the Vanishing Hitchhiker.  :roll: I can't even remember it all myself, though it's been a mixup of truth and fantasy, quotes and falsehoods.

Actually, there's a market for this stuff, come to think of it. Pastors have to come up with more or less original sermons every Sunday; there are a lot of pastors out there, and they need fresh fodder. Bedside conversions of formerly well-known atheists (even if nobody knew their name beforehand) are big sellers.

Alison

  • Senior Member
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2860
    • View Profile
    • http://creekside1.blogspot.com/
Evangelicals are intellectually dishonest
« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2007, 02:49:04 PM »
Quote
Most agnostics/atheists I know don't need any authority or argument to bolster our non-belief.
Yeah, but Flew is a philosopher so he does. The big deal is that he was a big deal.

Quote
Bedside conversions of formerly well-known atheists (even if nobody knew their name beforehand) are big sellers.


Yeah, all three of them. :twisted:
And they still try to get away with the Darwin one.

RP.

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1224
    • View Profile
Evangelicals are intellectually dishonest
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2007, 03:11:31 PM »
I like how the author also takes Carrier to task for trying to brow-beat Flew back into the fold of non-believers.  Tug of war indeed, I feel badly for him.  How could he have any patience for the people pulling him in either direction?  I echo fern hill:  What's the big deal?  Newsflash:   People change their minds sometimes.

Alison

  • Senior Member
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2860
    • View Profile
    • http://creekside1.blogspot.com/
Evangelicals are intellectually dishonest
« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2007, 03:29:26 PM »
And sometimes people have the public face of their mind changed for them.
I appreciate that hearing that someone you've never heard of has converted to some form of deism is not a big deal but inside evangelical apologetics and philosophy - big deal.

RP.

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1224
    • View Profile
Evangelicals are intellectually dishonest
« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2007, 03:50:36 PM »
I guess I don't get it.  I don't see it as a big deal, because there are converts to and from every kind of ...  I want to say belief, but there's probably a better word for it.  In every arena, whether it's philosophy or  politics or national identity or allegiance to a sports team.

Is it a big deal because of the big war between atheists and ... theists?

brebis noire

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4707
    • View Profile
Evangelicals are intellectually dishonest
« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2007, 04:04:21 PM »
Quote from: RP.
I like how the author also takes Carrier to task for trying to brow-beat Flew back into the fold of non-believers.  Tug of war indeed, I feel badly for him.


I liked that part too - mainly because it revealed a tad more objectivity than anything I've read from evangelicals regarding Flew.
And I do feel bad for him too - he's got aphasia and he knows it, he has an inkling of how he's been worked and used, and it's obvious that much of the current world has passed him by - the Internet, the current politics of religion, and the mass marketing of evangelicalism, just to name a few.

deBeauxOs

  • Guest
Evangelicals are intellectually dishonest
« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2007, 05:20:30 PM »
Isn't it funny how the reverse - hardcore fundy Xians becoming agnostics or atheists on their deathbeds scarcely gets any media coverage.   :roll:

Croghan27

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7694
    • View Profile
Re: Evangelicals are intellectually dishonest
« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2009, 11:48:41 AM »
and all this time you thought all the evolution deniers lived in Alabama.

Half of Britons do not believe in evolution, survey finds from the Guardian.

Something I find scary is:
Quote
Later this month scientists and academics from across Europe will meet in Dortmund, Germany, to discuss evolution and creationism.

ID or Creationism or the actions of any spiritual creature (is that the word) have no place being discussed by "scientists and academics" - it gives them a gravitas not deserved.  (Okay - sociologists looking at this as how can a belief the flies in the face of evidence have any traction may be all right.)
"It is also a good rule not to put overmuch confidence in the observational results that are put forward until they are confirmed by theory." -- Arthur Stanley Eddington

BCseawalker

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 751
    • View Profile
    • http://economicusridiculous.blogspot.com/
Re: Evangelicals are intellectually dishonest
« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2009, 12:59:58 PM »
Didn't know quite where to put this item. Perhaps this is a good place?
Quote
Biblical Battered Wife Syndrome: Christian Women and Domestic Violence: Escaping an abusive marriage is no easy task for many evangelical women, many of whom have pastors that say physical abuse is no reason for divorce.

brebis noire

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4707
    • View Profile
Re: Evangelicals are intellectually dishonest
« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2009, 02:26:27 PM »
Interesting article. I've known a few evangelical women who've left abusive situations, but mainly I've found that what happens within a marriage is usually jealously protected by both partners. I'm dismayed, but not surprised, that women who do get out of them still don't see a major source of the problem is this wacko belief in submission.

Quote
Moss sees the hand of the original misogynist, Satan, prophesied to have enmity with woman ever since the Fall, who strikes at women outside of male spiritual “covering” through the violence of abusive husbands: a surprising twist of the complementarian insistence that women be protected under the spiritual covering of a man. Reconciling the seeming contradiction between this literalist biblical command and her championship of women’s right to leave abusers, Moss invokes a third way out traditionally reserved for widows. Domestic violence survivors are widows of a sort as well, she says, and so likewise can consider themselves married to God and safe under his protection.

Andersen, who also writes extensively on biblical prophesy, has a different theological explanation, one with a seemingly more feministic bent. The story of the Fall should not be seen as a prescription for marriage roles, she argues, with women charged to follow men as punishment for acting outside the chain of command, but rather as the first chapter in a long history of domestic violence of husband against wife. In Andersen’s reading, the story of Adam and Eve is that of Adam’s deadly betrayal of his wife: offering her up for punishment -- the wages of eating the apple were death -- rather than owning his blame for sin. Women have been responding in a sort of biblical battered wife syndrome, the “Eve Syndrome,” ever since.

Alison

  • Senior Member
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2860
    • View Profile
    • http://creekside1.blogspot.com/
Re: Evangelicals are intellectually dishonest
« Reply #14 on: February 03, 2009, 03:58:46 AM »
Quote
and all this time you thought all the evolution deniers lived in Alabama.

Half of Britons do not believe in evolution, survey finds from the Guardian.

I read that survey and I don't find the Guardian's conclusions to be as certain as they make out.
The survey asked the respondents to react to a number of overlapping statements about evolution, ID, and Young Earth Creationism with the following results :

"God created the world sometime in the last 10,000 years”
 11% : “definitely true” and 21% “probably true"

“Darwinian evolution is the idea that life today, including human life, developed over millions of years from earlier species, by a process of natural selection”
  9% : ”it is a theory which has been disproved by the evidence"
 10% : “it is a theory with very little evidence to support it.”

“Humans evolved by a process of evolution which required the special intervention of God or a higher power at key stages"
 11% agreed

ID : “evolution alone is not enough to explain the complex structures of some living things, so the intervention of a designer is needed at key stages"
14% : “definitely true” and 37% : “probably true”.

"humans evolved by a process of evolution which removes any need for God”
37% : "agreed"
“humans evolved by a process of evolution which can be seen as part of God’s plan.”
28% : "agreed"

"evolution is the means that God used for the creation of all living on things on earth”
 12% : "definitely true" and 32% "probably true"

"evolution makes belief in God unnecessary and absurd”
13% : "definitely true" and 21% : "probably true"

So you can see it rather matters how those statements were worded and how you collate those percentages. The authors' conclusion :

Quote
Overall, the results from the Theos/ComRes study underline how difficult it is to say with absolute precision and confidence that the population divides into x, y and z% of evolutionists, IDers or creationists. Many people are too unclear about the options and
uncertain of their own beliefs to come out definitively as one or another.
What the data do reveal is that in the UK around one in ten people are convinced Young Earth Creationists, about one in seven hold to some form of ID, and one in four are confident evolutionists. The remaining half of the population is rather less certain, generally favouring evolution over other theories, but insufficiently confident of its merits, and therefore inclined to temper their conviction with other explanations.

Source

 

Return To TAT