This is kind of an old topic, but it is one that seems to never die. That is, does God exist? The debate between deists and atheists typically is centered around the Christian god with atheists rejecting God simply because they reject Christianity.  To be fair, though, there are some 4,200 religions in the world and the Christian god, therefore, is just one of 4,200 gods .

So, I pose these questions: In order to be intellectually honest, do atheists need to reject all 4,200 gods before declaring themselves to be atheists? And exactly what makes Christians feel that their god, amongst all of the 4,200 gods, is the one and only?

While my interest in this debate wanes by the day, I feel that it’s still worth a mention. To begin with, religious beliefs are claims rather than the truth. Holy books, however, may be considered to be the truth by a believer, even if it’s based solely on their faith. On the other hand atheism, is a religion too.  Michael Ruse, an evolutionist himself, admitted that, “Evolution is promoted by its practitioners as more than mere science. Evolution is promulgated as an ideology, a secular religion-a full-fledged alternative to Christianity, with meaning and morality…Evolution is a religion. This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today.”

Scientists of all stripes have weighed in on this debate. Here’s a few thoughts from some of the great minds of science:

“I believe in Spinoza’s God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings.”

– Albert Einstein

Note: According to Wikipedia, Spinoza believed that “…everything is a derivative of God,  interconnected with all of existence.” Further, the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy states that Spinoza’s God is an “infinite intellect.”

 

“The universe does not exist ‘out there,’ independent of us. We are inescapably involved in bringing about that which appears to be happening. We are not only observers. We are participators.”

– John Wheeler, physicist

“The cosmos is within us. We are made of star-stuff. We are a way for the universe to know itself.”

– Carl Sagan, astronomer

Note: Of course, Sagan was admitting that there is super- intelligence in the cosmos, an intelligence which can think, extrapolate… and “know itself”.

 

“Our brains mathematically construct objective reality by interpreting frequencies that are ultimately projections from another dimension, a deeper order of existence that is beyond both space and time….”

– Michael Talbot, The Holographic Universe

 

“Life is the most mysterious of all the wonders of creation because atoms have been assembled in such a way so that they can ponder their own existence.”

– Martin Rees, astrophysicist

 

“The secret of DNA’s success is that it carries information like that of a computer program, but far more advanced. Since experience shows that intelligence is the only presently acting cause of information, we can infer that intelligence is the best explanation for the information in DNA.”

Jonathan Wells, molecular biologist

 

“To me, it is clear that we exist in a plan which is governed by rules that were created, shaped by a universal intelligence and not by chance.”

– Michio Kaku, physicist

 

“Astronomy leads us to a unique event, a universe that was created out of nothing and delicately balanced to provide exactly the conditions required to support life. In the absence of an absurdly improbable accident, the observations of modern science seem to suggest an underlying, one might say, supernatural plan.”

– Arno Penzias, physicist

 

“It is easy to understand why many scientists like Sir Fred Hoyle changed their minds in the past thirty years. They now agree that the universe, as we know it, cannot reasonably be explained as a cosmic accident.”

– Frederic B. Burnham, historian of science

 

and philosophers:

 

“Beyond all finite experiences and secondary causes, all laws, ideas and principles, there is an Intelligence or Mind, the first principle of all principles, the Supreme Idea on which all other ideas are grounded.”

– Plato

 

and atheists:

 

“When it comes to the origin of life on this earth, there are only two possibilities: creation or spontaneous generation (evolution). There is no third way. Spontaneous generation was disproved 100 years ago, but that leads us only to one other conclusion: that of supernatural creation. We cannot accept that on philosophical grounds (personal reasons); therefore, we choose to believe the impossible: that life arose spontaneously by chance.”

– George Wald

“Super-intelligence is the only good explanation for the origin of life and the complexity of nature.”

– Antony Flew

 

These gentlemen hardly referred to God at all in explaining the origins of life. Therefore, I would suggest that the vast majority of concepts/perspectives about God (both pro and con) are incomplete, at best. Since the word God is generally associated with religion, I believe that it would be preferable to use the term “creator” instead.

 

Of course if there is a creator, he doesn’t have to be the god of any religion, now does he? So, if any of you are hung up over the illogic of religion, especially Christianity, it doesn’t necessarily mean that there is no God. It may simply mean that you have been looking for him in all the wrong places and calling him by the wrong name.

 

 

God is a metaphor for that which transcends all levels of intellectual thought.”

Joseph Campbell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What Free Speech?

02/09/2017

“Fear of serious injury alone cannot justify oppression of free speech and assembly… It is the function of speech to free men from the bondage of irrational fears.” – Louis D. Brandeis

 

The University of California at Berkeley was once the scene of perhaps the greatest example of free speech in America. I should know; I was there for a time. Some of the free speech was pretty radical by anyone’s standards. However, all viewpoints were allowed. That’s the beauty of free speech. No one truly has free speech unless everyone has it.

The recent violence on the campus of UC Berkeley shows that some students there disagree with the concept of free speech. An example of their thinking was on display recently in the university’s student newspaper, The Daily Californian, a sample of which is as follows:

  • “To people with platforms who decide when a protest should and should not be violent: You speak from a place of immense privilege. As I recently wrote in a tirade against this brand of idiocy, asking people to maintain peaceful dialogue with those who legitimately do not think their lives matter is a violent act.”

Comment: We are a Republic, a nation of laws. Therefore, no individual gets to decide    what is a “violent act.”

  • “…with President Trump threatening to cut UC Berkeley’s federal funding if it does not allow all opinions to be shared… the president is threatening the freedom of speech of these protesters.

Comment: No one violated the protestors free speech. The problem is the violence, not the rhetoric. In reality, the opposite is true; that is, the protestors caused other peoples’ free speech to be violated. You may hate what someone has to say, but you have to allow him to have his say. Otherwise free speech is no longer free.

  • “…the hate speech that fails to respect the humanity of undocumented people.”

Comment: The lack of respect is actually on the part of the violent protestors. Certainly, if any of these were my kids, I’d wonder who brainwashed them into hating America.  As Dana Carvey once said, “I think free speech is probably the coolest thing we have in this country, and again, you can label it hate speech and dismiss it, and then you’re allowed to censor it.”

  • “When mass call-ins, faculty and student objections, letter-writing campaigns, numerous op-eds (including mine), union grievances and peaceful demonstrations don’t work, when the nonviolent tactics have been exhausted — what is left?…These were not acts of violence. They were acts of self defense.”

Comment: Of course, this form of “self-defense” violates the civil rights of others. Self-defense? No further comment is necessary.

  • “I urge you to consider whether damaging the windows of places like banks and the Amazon student store constitutes ‘violence.’”

Comment: Suggest that we ask the people who had property damaged whether or not it was violence.

 

Yes, we are a nation of laws. When we cease to respect those laws, we spiral down into anarchy. At some point, we actually cease becoming a nation. Instead, we are hostage to mob rule. Perhaps, that’s what was intended all along by the violent protests.

 

“Without Freedom of Thought, there can be no such Thing as Wisdom; and no such Thing as publick Liberty, without Freedom of Speech; which is the Right of every Man, as far as by it, he does not hurt or control the Right of another. And this is the only Check it ought to suffer, and the only bounds it ought to know. This sacred Privilege is to essential to free Governments… Whoever would overthrow the Liberty of a Nation, must begin by subduing the Fteeness [sic] of Speech….”

 – Cato’s letters

As I mentioned in my last post, there was no hue and cry when President Obama imposed immigration restrictions in 2011.  However, the hypocrisy goes far beyond that, as witnessed by the following quotes:

 

  • “All Americans…are rightly disturbed by the large numbers of illegal aliens entering our country.  The jobs they hold might otherwise be held by citizens or legal immigrants.  The public service they use impose burdens on our taxpayers.  That’s why our administration has moved aggressively to secure our borders….”  – President Bill Clinton

  • “Even as we are a nation of immigrants, we are a nation of laws.  Undocumented workers broke our immigration laws and I believe that they must be held accountable, especially those that might be dangerous.  When I took office, I committed to fixing this broken immigration system and I began by doing what I could to secure our borders.  But today, our immigration system is broken and everybody knows it.  There are actions I have the legal authority to take as President…The actions I’m taking are not only lawful, they are the kinds of actions taken by every single Republican President and every single Democratic President for the past half-century….”  – President Barack Obama

Given what President Clinton and President Obama said and did, why is there even a debate today?

Immigration dominates the headlines these days and, even though I try to avoid the news, it’s constantly in my face. So, if I must, here’s my take.

One of the key issues in the immigration issue centers around “open borders.” Every nation decides for itself on this question. Look at China and Saudi Arabia, for example. Their immigration policies are unbelievably restrictive, especially when compared to America. For a nation to be considered sovereign, it must, therefore have the right to determine who can and who can’t migrate to their country. The Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al Nahyan, has come out in support of Trump’s executive order because, as he says, the United States has the right to make a “sovereign decision” regarding its immigration policy.

Aside: Even Saint Thomas Aquinas understood that principle when he expounded on the subject in his seminal work, the Summa Theologica.

The truth is that in the context of recent world-wide immigration, diversity doesn’t work. It doesn’t work, in part, because immigrants have to want to assimilate. However, Muslims, in particular, are adamant about not assimilating. For example, a vast majority of Muslims in the UK have said that they consider themselves to be Muslims first and UK citizens second. Sharia Law, which is incompatible with Western culture, then becomes a major roadblock to assimilation. As Lee Kuan Yew, the former Prime Minister of Singapore, said about diversity, “In multiracial societies, you don’t vote in accordance with your economic interests and social interests, you vote in accordance with race and religion.” This should serve as a warning to all counties, but especially America.

Aside: To all the women protesting against the current immigration restrictions, perhaps you should go talk to the women of Europe, particularly in Sweden, who have seen rapes committed by Muslim immigrants skyrocket through the roof. You should ask those women if immigration is a good thing or not.

On a more practical note, America does not have an overabundance of resources. In fact, it’s basically bankrupt with the national deficit sitting at over three trillion dollars annually. Moreover, there are not enough jobs to go around and as a result there are some 41 million people on food stamps. Therefore, for every new immigrant there is one more person added to the unemployment rolls. So, for all of you who are promoting immigration, I suggest that you volunteer to give up your job for a new immigrant. I suspect, however, that no one will take me up on that offer, now will they?

What is really hard to fathom for some is that the immigration protestors never objected when Obama imposed similar immigration restrictions back in 2011.  Maybe, it’s because most of the protestors today are left-wing ideologues and opposing Trump’s immigration restrictions is in reality a political ploy to marginalize and demonize political opponents. Ain’t politics wonderful? That’s why I try to avoid the news whenever possible; so much of it is Fake News anyway.