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Calm Chaos • View topic - 'The Trouble with Atheism,' Channel 4, 8.00 p.m. 19th, Dec.
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 Post subject: 'The Trouble with Atheism,' Channel 4, 8.00 p.m. 19th, Dec.
PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 12:19 am 
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Viewers were treated to a fascinating, if compact programme this evening when Rod Liddle interviewed a series of talking heads, ranging from believers, through to atheists and agnostics, some scientists, and some not.
Liddle's search started in the U.S when he spoke to the President of the Atheist Society, Ellen Johnson, on her views about religious belief.
The interview was an eye opener, to say the least. It appeared that atheism has many of the characteristics of a 'religion,' and that some atheists could be every bit as dogmatic and 'fundamentalist' as their religious counterparts.
The Atheist Society runs T.V programmes throughout several States, and Liddle questioned whether atheists really needed an organisation to spread their message.
The atheists first text-book, or as Liddle described it, a 'sacred' book was Darwin's 'Origin of Species.' Yet some scientists, notably Professor Bernard Carr, a Cosmologoist, and Professor Scharwtz of Illinois University, explained that Darwinism cannot explain everything, and, although the core beliefs of Darwinism will probably remain in place, the theory, like many scientific theories, remains open to alteration and review.
Professor Scharwtz (an agnostic) gave an example by explaining that certain species within the fossil collection seem to possess characteristics that appear 'suddenly,' maybe within the space of one generation, and that these biological features can only be acted on by 'selection' once they have appeared - not before. Also, although science might be able to explain how these 'novelties' evolve, it cannot explain where they originate from.
Professor Bernard Carr, the Cosmologist, outlined the 'fine-tuning' theory of the Universe, and considered the 'Multiverse' hypothesis, the 'last refuge' of the atheist.
Liddle also interviewd Professor Dawkins, that most famous of staunch atheists.
The last twenty minutes of the programme Liddle devoted not so much to whether God exists or not, but rather to religion's utility to society. It appears that some of the most atheist regimes, from the Soviet Regime, that slaughtered twenty million of its citizens, to the Jacobite attacks on religion during the French Revolution, to Hitler's eugenics, seemed to be motivated by a desire to run society purely on scientific or 'rational' lines, proving that the absence of religion does not necessarily make for a better or more humane society.
As Liddle explained. once you take God out of the equation, Man is seen as no more than an animal to be slaughtered and controlled, and morality can be replaced by amorality and negation.
Liddle ended with a question; 'there might or might not be a God, but why can't we just keep it that way?'


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2006 1:45 am 
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Thanks for the write-up Susan. Sounds like a very interesting documentary. I will have to see if i can find it on bittorrent.....

What did it leave you thinking/feeling???

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 21, 2006 11:45 pm 
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Enigma wrote:
Thanks for the write-up Susan. Sounds like a very interesting documentary. I will have to see if i can find it on bittorrent.....

What did it leave you thinking/feeling???


Hi there. There was a lot of information in the programme squeezed into one hour. Nevertheless, it left me feeling that Liddle did have a point, particularly at the end. We may never be able to prove whether God exists or not, any more than we may be able to prove other phenomena, such as aliens, reincarnation or survival. But does that mean that we should reject them simply because science can't prove whether or not they are true? Christianity has comforted many severed by death, after all.
It is questionable whether such beliefs do any real harm to society. As was stated in the programme, it might not be religion which is the cause of our woes, but rather, human nature - a very good point.
I feel I have to come down on the side of Liddle and ask why we can't just leave people alone to believe what they want, provided they do not try to force their beliefs on others, and that includes militant atheists as well as religious people.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 25, 2006 2:30 pm 
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I guess a good way to look at it is who would you rather have standing behind you at an ATM machine..

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2007 1:52 am 
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Brian wrote:
I guess a good way to look at it is who would you rather have standing behind you at an ATM machine..

I don't like anyone behind me at the ATM machine. :)
Indeed, a good write-up!

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