Not about Einstein

Book Review: Einstein’s God: Conversations About Science and the Human Spirit by Krista Tippett

Price: US$10.88; NZ$12.97
Paperback:
304 pages
Publisher:
Penguin (Non-Classics) (February 23, 2010)
Language:
English
ISBN-10:
0143116770
ISBN-13:
978-0143116776

The media reports of Stephen Hawking’s new book with co-author Leonard Mlodinow (The Grand Design) attracted hostile reaction from some theological quarters (see The Grand Design – neither God nor 42). This reminds me of similar treatment meted out to Albert Einstein in his time.

Einstein had many religious critics for an article of his on the philosophy of religion in 1940. An Episcopalian responded “to give up the doctrine of a personal God . . . .  shows the good Doctor, when it comes to the practicalities of life, is full of jellybeans”. He was accused of providing fuel for the fanatical antisemitism of religious bigots and told that he should “stick to his science” and stop delving into philosophy (sound familiar). And this from the founder of the Calvary tabernacle Association in Oklahoma City “Professor Einstein, every Christian in America will immediately reply to you, ‘Take your crazy, fallacious theory of evolution and go back to Germany where you came from.”

Perhaps some of today’s scientists who hesitate to respond to their theological critics could learn from Einstein’s reaction. While criticising atheist reaction he described his theological critics as “numerous dogs who are earning their food guarding ignorance and superstition for the benefit of those who profit from it.”

However, the religious usually in the past interpreted some of Hawking’s previous comments as favourable to religion and god beliefs. Similarly many of Einstein’s comments on religion have been interpreted favourably. In fact, nowadays, the favourable (to religion) interpretations prevail. How often do we hear of Einstein’s negative comments about religion today? More commonly believers claim Einstein, wrongly, as “on their side.”

Spiritual conversations

Tippet’s book “Einstein’s God” is promoting this line. Even when accepting Einstein’s rejection of a personal god it still manages to encompass him in a loose, fluffy, embrace of “spiritualism.”

However, Tippett doesn’t attempt a factual account of Einstein’s attitudes towards religion and god beliefs. For that Max Jammer’s Einstein and Religion: Physics and Theology is much more reliable. In fact “Einstein’s God” is not about Einstein at all. The subtitle “Conversations about Science and the Human Spirit” is far more accurate.

Krista Tippett is the host of the public radio programme Speaking of Faith, distributed and produced by American Public Media. (This programme was recently renamed Being.) And this book is a collection of conversations between Tippett and scientific personalities from the radio programme.

The personalities are: Freeman Dyson (theoretical physicist); Paul Davies (astrophysicist); Sherwin Nuland (surgeon); Mehmet Oz (cardiovascular surgeon); James Moor (biographer of Charles Darwin); V. V. Raman (theoretical physicist), Janna Levin physicist); Michael McCullough (psychologist); Esther Sternberg (immunologist); Andrew Solomon (novelist); Parker Palmer (Quaker and educator); Anita Barrows (psychologist); and John Polkinghorne (Anglican priest and former physicist).

The science-religion conflict denied

Of course Tippett’s agenda in this book is to promote the idea that religion and science are compatible, almost two sides of the same coin. Even when recognising the epistemological conflict she still believes they are complementary.

Tippett argues that in “the plain light of day . . . . the suggestion that science and religion are incompatible makes no sense at all.” And in a manoeuvre often used by those who wish to justify the ridiculous she resorts to quantum mechanics. “Images from the world of science enliven my understanding of God, and of religion.” She uses wave/particle duality as “a template for understanding how contradictory explanations of reality can simultaneously be true.”

And, of course, there are the tired old arguments. While accepting the power of science she claims: “But science cannot mobilise human consciousness and human passion. We need the simultaneous resources of story, ritual, relationships and service that spiritual traditions have the capacity to nurture at their core.” The old argument by default.

Or: “But here again I’d insist that religion at its best is clear-eyed and reality based.” Yeah, right!

And she refers to Einstein’s wish to understand the order “deeply hidden behind everything” as “his longing to understand what God was thinking.”

So Einstein’s use of metaphor get’s tied in with the apologist “proof” of their god in scientific laws.

Agenda driven conversations

Of course many of the participants in these discussions are happy to engage in vague talk on spiritual issues, but I couldn’t help feeling that at times Tippett was working hard to put words in mouths. She specifically asked Davies to comment on the suggestion “that there might be room for an involved God within the laws of physics themselves.” (Davies response is that “you could insert the hand of God” into the “interstices having to do with quantum uncertainty,” “if you want.”)

Commenting on James Moore’s ideas she claims: “There is much in Darwin’s thought that would ennoble as well as ground a religious view of life and of God.” And then she finishes that chapter quoting from the famous  last paragraph of Darwin’s “The Origin of Species:”

“There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the creator into a few forms or into one;”

No mention that a “creator” was absent from the first edition, which reads:

“There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one;”

Insertion of a “creator’ into later editions seems to have been an attempt to soothe religious opinion which Darwin later regretted (suggested by comments he made in a letter to his friend Joseph Hooker in 1863).

Conclusions

So this is not a book about Einstein or his understanding of religion. It’s a collection of conversations guided by Tippett to elucidate thoughts on spirituality and religion. While scientists can reach an amazing amount of agreement about reality they are as diverse as any other social group on the issues discussed.

Their differing views may interest some readers. However, this is a limited sample and no one should see the views expressed as in any way representative of scientists as a whole.

Even with these limits the different experiences, specialities and lives could have produced some interesting insights.

Personally, I would have preferred discussions driven more by the scientist involved rather than the programme host with her own agenda. But I guess this inevitably results from the format of this radio programme.

However, the science-religion conflict is as active today as it has ever been. In fact it is a prominent feature of the current “culture wars.” Thus attempts to deny this or explain it away are fashionable in theological circles. “Einstein’s God” will appeal to those in denial. But the book doesn’t provide a suitable outline of the diverse attitudes of scientists towards religions and god beliefs. And the agenda of the “Speaking of Faith” radio programme doesn’t enable elucidation of their different approaches to human spiritually in any depth.

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101 responses to “Not about Einstein

  1. The third message from heaven…

    If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.

    Like

  2. That might be scary for those who believe your little fantasy novel.

    Like

  3. Fantasy novels can be lots of fun .
    I like fantasy novels that have talking donkeys.

    Balaam and his Talking Donkey

    Like

  4. These donkeys aren’t giving messages from heaven by any chance, are they Cedric.

    Like

  5. Richard Christie

    So, how did it end, did the lord’s fairy smite the balaam?

    Like

  6. Most Christians don’t actually…read the Bible.
    It’s not that hard but they don’t bother.
    It’s like they are just hanging around waiting for the movie to come out.

    The only reason why Christians think that there are 10 Commandments is because Hollywood did that epic with Charlton Heston.

    Christians get their understanding of the bible from the sermons every Sunday. They always hear the nice stories .
    The ones that are palatable and don’t rub 21st century thinking the wrong way too much.
    The others get left out because they are creepy, stupid or just plain ugly.

    Read the Bible. All of it.
    It’s the fast-track to becoming an atheist.

    Bible Verses Never Read in Church, Ep. 2

    Like

  7. Physicists use “god” in a specific sense, usually for rhetorical effect. This god is minimally defined as “Something” not the Christian or any other God.

    Sometimes “god” is shorthand for Kurt Gödel and his incompleteness theorem that implies we’ll never have a complete TOE :)

    Cedric,
    Most people in general don’t read. They watch TV

    Like

  8. I doubt that the word “god” has a specific meaning to physicists. Some use it metaphorically and of course relgionists often take advantage of that.

    But if you disagree I could be convinced if you quote a physics source defining the word “god.” Afdter all there are plenty of sources where physics-specific words are defined.

    Like

  9. The phrase “god of the philosophers” is probably a better shorthand but it’s not used so much.
    The phrase “mind of god” is somewhat more popular as it’s been used by Hawking and Paul Davies in precisely the sense I described

    Like

  10. Ken,
    I know you get a lot of mileage from perpetuating the conflict thesis, and equating legitimate criticism with some kind of inquisition, so this review is more of the same rubbish. You dismiss some of Tippet’s statements as “tired old arguments” while offering nothing in response. Probably because her arguments remain cogent and defensible!

    Sean Carroll:
    ”Answers to the great “Why?” questions are going to be subtle and difficult. Our best hope for constructing sensible answers lies with scientists and philosophers working together, not scoring points off one another.”

    Einstein:
    All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man’s life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. It is no mere chance that our older universities developed from clerical schools. Both churches and universities — insofar as they live up to their true function — serve the ennoblement of the individual. They seek to fulfill this great task by spreading moral and cultural understanding, renouncing the use of brute force.
    The essential unity of ecclesiastical and secular institutions was lost during the 19th century, to the point of senseless hostility. Yet there was never any doubt as to the striving for culture. No one doubted the sacredness of the goal. It was the approach that was disputed.

    Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.

    If all scientists acted like Ken (obnoxious nerds with a big chip on their shoulder) then science will always be seen as lame by the rest of the world

    Like

  11. Physicists use “god” in a specific sense…

    Oh, physicists are using the word “god” specifically?
    Wonderful.
    How “specific” does it get?
    Sounds interesting.
    Go on.

    …usually for rhetorical effect.

    Oh. :(
    They are usually just indulging in rhetoric?
    Well…um…yeah….that’s not so interesting.
    The word “specific” doesn’t seem very appropriate either.

    This god…
    Woah. Slow down.
    What god?

    (…awkward silence…)

    Hasn’t it been established that there’s no actual god?
    That it’s just a rhetorical turn of phrase?

    …is minimally defined as “Something”…

    “Something”? That’s it?

    Your version of being SPECIFIC (???) is to refer to a rhetorical term as a place holder for “something”?
    Wow.
    Who knew that defining something as “something” was actually being specific?
    That’s awesome.

    A: Hey guess what?
    B: What?
    A: I just found something.
    B: You found something? What?
    A: Something.
    B: Gee. Thank’s for sharing. ;)

    Albert Einstein on god The god delusion

    Like

  12. yo cedric old chum
    try to write on the topic not fuss over semantics
    it makes me think you have nothing worthwhile to add

    your content-free idiotic rants may be entertaining
    but you are merely spouting nonsense

    bunch of one eyed contrarians round here
    I’m merely echoing what Ken already said about God being used as a metaphor

    Like

  13. I’m merely echoing what Ken already said about God being used as a metaphor

    Maybe that’s what you intended but, sadly, that’s not how it turned out.

    Somehow you got all “specific” in your “rhetoric”.
    Usually.
    Minimally defined, of course.
    And something about something being something. :)
    Not that we should get too “specific”, of course.

    An inconceivable Montage

    Like

  14. Oooh. Perfect.

    Do physicists believe in God?

    Like

  15. i got 14/15 in the religious knowledge survey. interesting link.. a welcome change from youtube spam

    Like

  16. Richard Christie

    i got 14/15 in the religious knowledge survey.

    same here, better than 97% of the US public. ;-)

    Like

  17. Ropata – you are classic: “I know you get a lot of mileage from perpetuating the conflict thesis, and equating legitimate criticism with some kind of inquisition, so this review is more of the same rubbish.”

    You guys can’t seem to see the irony in babbling on about a “false” conflict hypothesis, denying the obvious conflict between science and religion, while at the same time attacking science and scientists.

    Conflict is inevitable when different epistemological methods are used to “investigate” and make claims about the same subject. Conflict doesn’t disappear just because some theologian spouts nonsense about a “conflict thesis.”

    Look at the childish reaction to the recent book of Hawking and his co-author.

    And you have the paranoid concept that when scientists respond to such attacks they are carrying out an “inquisition”!

    You want a world where your own bigotry has free reign, you can criticise and attack anyone and everyone, attempt to impose your own “morality” and prejudices – and interpret any reaction, any discussion, any correction of your hysteria as an “inquisition.”

    Well, we know from experience what “inquisitions” are and who has carried them out, don’t we?

    Ropata, you are always welcome to disagree with me. I will debate with you honestly – and I will admit when I am wrong. In other words I am willing to learn. But one can’t learn from hysterical attacks and, I am afraid, one is encouraged to interpret such attacks as a sign they the attacker has no argument.

    OK, I am aware many won’t agree with my review – no problem with that. But I do welcome specific criticism and argument.

    For example you claim “her arguments remain cogent and defensible”. Well, come on – provide me examples. Show me where my examples are wrong. I am sure the publishers would welcome that discussion.

    Ropata, do you have the book? Have your read it?

    Like

  18. For example you claim “her arguments remain cogent and defensible”. Well, come on – provide me examples.

    Examples? Actual examples?
    Heavens no.
    ropata will stick to something wispy and meaningless like…” Many respected scientists and philosophers blah, blah, blah etc.”
    It’s a tradition.

    Like

  19. No I haven’t read the book but I have read Ken’s slanted review and I’m aware of his biases.
    Let me repeat myself: the conflict thesis is needless. I gave quotes to back up that statement.

    Imagining inquisitions is your speciality not mine; along with tedious ad hominem attacks.
    I’m well aware of the shortcomings of some religious thinking, perhaps I am naive to believe that truth is a unity and honest seekers will come to the same conclusions as Einstein or Carroll or Polkinghorne or Collins or [... ] : that a sensible dialogue can take place.

    Like

  20. Ropata, you just illustrated why there is a conflict between religion and science.

    You have made a statement about Tippett’s arguments. Based entirely in your wishes, not evidence. You have not read any of her arguments. That sort of epistemology is common in religion. It’s the theological epistemology.

    My statements about her arguments were based on evidence. I drew some conclusions from that evidence. I acknowledge I may be wrong – my conclusions are provisional and open to changing in the face of new evidence or logical argument about the existing evidence. This is typical of the scientific method. It’s scientific epistemology.

    Now as you have illustrated there is an inevitable conflict between the two approaches.

    And, of course, your accusation of my “bias” is another example of theological epistemology.

    You can see why this conflict is inevitable.

    Like

  21. For example you claim “her arguments remain cogent and defensible”. Well, come on – provide me examples.

    ropata, this is fair.
    If you are going to comment on her arguments and judge them worthy or unworthy…then read them. Buy the book.

    No I haven’t read the book but I have read Ken’s slanted review and I’m aware of his biases.

    Which tells you bugger all about her arguments.
    Maybe they stink.
    You don’t know.

    How do you know if Ken’s review is “slanted”?
    You may suspect it’s slanted.
    Ok, maybe….but….the only way you are going to know is if…you read her book.
    You can’t say “Well, Ken is a bad guy. If he doesn’t like something then that means that something is cogent and defensible.”
    That’s nutty.

    Go off and buy the book.
    Read it.
    Tell us how her arguments take your breath away with their deep reasoning and cogent nature and demonstrate that they are defensible by…defending them.

    Otherwise you are just talking out of your hat.
    Again.

    …along with tedious ad hominem attacks.

    I have to call bullshit on this one.

    Quote one ad hominem attack made by Ken.
    “Tedious” or otherwise.
    Can you really do this or are you just babbling nonsense again?
    Quote one.
    Please.
    Just one. Any thread you like.

    Make sure you understand exactly what is and is not an “ad hominem” before you go hunting.

    Ad Hominem

    Like

  22. Review of Ken’s review:

    Not about Einstein
    blathers on about something completely irrelevant (hawking/mlodinow)
    imagines that all dissenters against hawking want to stifle debate (uh not sure how that works)
    makes a bunch of unsupported claims implying that hawking, einstein are co-opted for apologetics and that’s somehow illegitimate

    Spiritual Conversations
    accuses Tippett of misrepresenting Einstein’s “spiritualism” – – but no supporting quote. (wikiquote shows Einstein did have some kind of spirituality)
    “Einstein’s God is not about Einstein at all” — is this a criticism? the book is about Einstein’s GOD not the man himself (I have already explained the “god of the philosophers” deistic type god invoked occasionally by physicists)

    The Science-Religion Conflict denied
    Ken’s intelligent and well argued rebuttals :
    “Yeah right!”
    “The tired old arguments”
    “the old argument by default”
    “in a manoeuvre often used by those who wish to justify the ridiculous she resorts to quantum mechanics” – – umm aren’t you shooting yourself in the foot here Ken, calling QM ridiculous?
    “she refers to Einstein’s wish to understand the order “deeply hidden behind everything” as “his longing to understand what God was thinking.”” – – Tippett is correct here, despite Ken’s incredulity
    “So Einstein’s use of metaphor get’s tied in with the apologist “proof” of their god in scientific laws.” – – does Tippett actually do this or are you just making it up?

    Agenda driven conversations – – is this headline a critique? what else did you expect?
    “I couldn’t help feeling that at times Tippett was working hard to put words in mouths.” – – again an unsupported statement based on nothing but bias(feeling). It’s hard to imagine Tippett adding anything to the mouth of Davies, who wrote “The Mind of God”
    “No mention that a “creator” was absent from the first edition” – – what is wrong with you Ken? Tippett quotes Darwin isn’t that at least a large step in the right direction!? But you still dig up some kind of conspiracy theory

    Conclusions
    “the science-religion conflict is as active today as it has ever been”
    yes and you’re loving it, doing all you can to keep it going, perverting science into some kind of anti christian ideology.

    This is an egregiously slanted review by someone suffering from a terminal case of intellectual snobbery

    Like

  23. Review of Ken’s review:

    Nope.
    You are evading.
    Nobody cares about you “reviewing Ken’s review”.

    You haven’t read the book.
    You don’t get to comment.
    Simple.

    It’s stupid to claim that an argument has merit (or not) when…you have not actually read the arguement.
    It’s dumb.
    A dumbness born of ignorance.
    It’s dumb to claim that somebody’s review is wrong when…you have no idea what they reviewed because you haven’t read the book.

    You made a claim.
    A checkable claim.
    You said…
    …along with tedious ad hominem attacks.

    I’m willing to bet that this is bullshit.
    You are full of it.

    Quote one ad hominem attack made by Ken.
    “Tedious” or otherwise.
    Can you really do this or are you just babbling nonsense again?
    Quote one.
    Please.
    Just one. Any thread you like.

    (Make sure you watch the video and that you understand what “ad hominem” actually means as opposed to what you personally think it means.)

    Like

  24. oh my god cedric
    you are a mass of ignorance
    ad hominem is your favourite technique!
    still avoiding my actual arguments and shooting off on tangents i see
    i guess that is all you’re capable of

    personally i find “books” more informative than youtube

    Like

  25. you are a mass of ignorance
    ad hominem is your favourite technique!

    Then it should be really, REALLY easy for you to…QUOTE an instance where Ken has actually used an “ad hominem” against you.
    What’s the hold up?
    Why the delay?

    Be a devil.
    Quote one.
    Actually quote one.
    Stick your lying, weasely, evasive neck out and quote one!

    Spell it out where Ken has actually used an “ad hominem”.
    Anywhere.
    Against anybody.
    At any time.

    Use it as an object lesson to us all on how ad hominems are done.
    Go for it!
    Publically show us the error of our ways.
    Do this and I will be the first in line to berate Ken publically.
    I solemnly promise to apologise to you on behalf of Ken for his ad hominem.
    I will humbly admit to being wrong and that you were perfectly justified in saying that Ken used using ad hominems against you or anybody else at any time.
    Spell it out.
    Step by step.
    Make it so easy to understand that a slow-witted four-year old could understand that Ken used an ad hominem attack.
    Don’t take any short-cuts.
    Be as pedantic as you like.
    Do it.
    Do it.
    Do it. :)

    (Hint: BEFORE you launch into it and fail miserably; do yourself a favour and watch the video. It spells it out exactly what an ad hominem means.)

    You made a claim.
    A checkable claim.
    You said…
    …along with tedious ad hominem attacks.

    I’m willing to bet that this is bullshit.
    You are full of it.

    Either quote an instance of a ad hominem or admit you are an ignorant, lying ass.
    Shit or get off the pot.
    Remember your 9th Commandment.

    Laughing at Discovery Institute – Lying for Jesus

    Like

  26. learn to write coherently
    learn something about science
    read a few books
    get a degree or something
    stop acting like a retarded youtuber
    say something remotely sensible
    and i might feel like responding
    i will not respond to petulant sophomoric idiocy

    Like

  27. Make it so easy to understand that a slow-witted four-year old could understand
    haha, nice one!

    if you want to find something i suggest looking for it yourself instead of demanding other people jump thru hoops

    Like

  28. well i watched cedric’s “ad hominem” video that he seemed to find so enlightening
    a poorly made video with elementary pronunciation errors (the word is “relevant” not “revelant”!!)
    not worth the time. nothing new.
    poor old cedric is a rather limited fellow
    as his ungrammatical, spelling mistake ridden, and content-free rants sadly attest

    Like

  29. learn to blah, blah, blah
    learn something blah, blah, blah
    read a few blah, blah, blah
    get a degree or blah, blah, blah
    stop acting blah, blah, blah
    say something blah, blah, blah
    and i might feel like responding

    Yeah. That’s it.
    The only reason why YOU can’t back up your claim is because…of ME!

    If only I would change, then YOU would feel obligated to do the moral thing and back up YOUR claim.
    It’s all about me somehow.
    Wow.
    Your principles and intellectual integrity are evidently subjective.
    Subjective to how others treat you.

    If others aren’t nice to you then, yeah, stuff it!
    You get to evade and lie and wave your hands around.
    It not like you are better than somebody else or have some divinely inspired moral code or anything.
    Nope.

    Why should you back up your claims with an ACTUAL QUOTE demonstrating that you really and truly understand what an ad hominem attack is and that Ken made one?
    Anywhere?
    At any time?

    Yeah, stuff it.
    That’s the spirit.
    A dark spirit.

    You get to claim it.
    Yet somehow according to your own decietful and shameful “logic” it’s up to others try and find it.
    Ha ha ha.
    Stay classy.

    i will not respond to petulant sophomoric idiocy
    (..)
    if you want to find something i suggest looking for it yourself instead of demanding other people jump thru hoops

    Coward.
    Liar.
    Gutless.

    You are indeed full of it.

    You are a false witness.
    You have broken your own 9th commandment.
    Shame on you.

    Don’t expect me to drop this.
    I won’t.
    It’s who I am.

    Every chance I get, I will rub your nose in it.
    Until you withdraw your un-Christian lie.

    (Of course, if you did graciously withdraw your claim then I would be happy to admit that you did so and give credit where credit is due. Just saying.)

    Still confused?
    Let me help you with that…

    Hating God?

    Like

  30. (cross-posted)

    Hmm.
    Three posts in a row over only one of my posts?

    Hmm.
    The truth hurts.
    :)

    Like

  31. Ropata – I don’t think there is anything specific in your critique that warrants a response. It really just seems to be a personal attack on me because I said things you didn’t like in my review of a book you haven’t read.

    It’s really noticeable how the theologically inclined locally seem to get angry, make personal attacks, misrepresent their discussion partners, etc. in these discussions.

    A pity, really, because I usually find a proper discussion can be a learning experience. I suspect this anger and emotion is really a tactic for diverting discussion because of feelings of inadequacy.

    But Ropata, if you are upset about my mild review of Tippett’s book – just wait. I am reviewing a couple of other books which you will find even more upsetting!

    Watch this space.

    Like

  32. http://openparachute.wordpress.com/2010/09/29/not-about-einstein/#comment-18015

    “Ropata – you are classic”
    “You guys can’t seem to see”
    “you have the paranoid concept”
    “You want a world where”
    pure ad hominem right there. no response to my comments about Einstein’s actual views

    “babbling on”
    “attacking science and scientists”
    “some theologian spouts nonsense”
    “childish reaction”
    “paranoid concept .. they are carrying out an inquisition” (a lie: exactly the reverse of what I wrote)
    “hysterical attacks”
    “the attacker has no argument”
    “do you have the book? Have your read it”
    Ken has set the tone for this blog . . not responding to the substance of any criticism just going straight for the discrediting strategy. Makes it rather hard to have a sane conversation

    “anger and emotion”
    “feelings of inadequacy”
    Another personal attack. I suppose Ken has no actual defense for his lies and bigotry, because they are indefensible. Just camouflage for hatred of God

    Like

  33. Richard Christie

    Gee, I’ve read all the way to here and I still don’t know if Balaam gets “it” from the fairy with the big sword. ;-)

    Like

  34. Ken:
    “I don’t think there is anything specific in your critique that warrants a response.”
    translation: shot down in flames, will now pretend that nothing happened

    “It really just seems to be a personal attack on me because I said things you didn’t like”
    translation: can’t construct factual argument, will argue against something else instead

    I wrote six comments directly related to the book review.

    I have a background in science and avidly studied the faith/science interface for many years. I do know whereof I speak.

    Diverting the discussion into personal attacks is a shabby tactic, and fails to disprove my arguments regarding Einstein’s God.

    Like

  35. Ropat, great. You “have a background in science and avidly studied the faith/science interface for many years.”

    That should enable us to have a good discussion. I would welcome that.

    You should appreciate, then, that for us to discuss “Einsteins God” you really need to have evidence. To read the book.

    It is unscientific to go into a rave and make personal attacks because you are upset at my personal take on a book you haven’t even read.

    Unscientific, but perhaps human because you take any critique of the belief system you personally identify with as an attack on your self. Which they, of course, are not.

    But your emotional attacks don’t enable us to make sense of any differences. I welcome any calm factual criticisms you can make of my review. I am sorry, but I won’t attempt to filter it out of the noise of personal attacks.

    And it would help if you read the book (it’s bound to be in libraries by now), or at least recognised the limitations your unwillingness to refer to the evidence puts you under.

    Like

  36. Richard Christie

    C’mon guys.
    If the question “Who did the angel stick, Balaam or his donkey?”
    ever came up in a religious knowledge quiz I won’t know the answer – all because you can’t cut out the bickering. Guess I’ll have to blow the dust from that old black book and look it up for myself.

    Like

  37. My guess (and it’s only a guess) is Balaam. Because, my interpretation is that the talking donkey is actually the god. She never gets it, does she?

    Like

  38. Still going for the cheat’s tactic Ken? Dismissing everything I said because I didn’t read one book. Well I have read plenty of other books and know enough to tell that your review is bullshit. Why not actually show where my points are wrong?

    I will now assume that my critique of your review is perfectly accurate, because you have made zero effort to show where my criticism is incorrect.

    Like

  39. Richard Christie

    Because, my interpretation is that the talking donkey is actually the god.

    Wow, that’s taken me by surprise. No kidding?

    I assume there’s plenty of theological argument in support.

    But it has always bugged me why god couldn’t just have written his books plainly, without the riddles and parables, and so cut the seeming necessity for explanation by theological middlemen.

    Like

  40. Dismissing everything I said because I didn’t read one book.

    Well, that is kinda the whole point.
    That particular book that you yourself admit to not having read is the one under review.
    You haven’t read the book?
    You don’t get to comment.
    Simple.

    Well I have read plenty of other books…

    No, you idiot.
    Reading “other books” doesn’t help you.
    Honest.
    Those “other books” tell you nothing about whether her arguments are cogent and defensible.
    Nothing.
    If you want to dispute Ken’s review then…dispute it.
    Only, you have to read the damn book first under review.
    You don’t get to skip that part.

    “Ropata – you are classic”
    “You guys can’t seem to see”
    “you have the paranoid concept”
    “You want a world where”

    pure ad hominem right there.

    WTF????

    Where? Spell it out for us.
    Where?
    How does anything said by Ken in the phrases you quoted add up to an ad hominem?
    Are you truly that stupid?
    Spell it out for us, step by step, how this fantasy ad hominem of yours is supposed to work.

    Don’t do it for us.
    Do it for the wavering Christians who are silently hoping that the evil atheists are not in the right and that you, a fellow godbotherer, are actually a victim of an ad hominem.
    Destroy us with a step by step explaination of how Ken is using an ad hominem.
    Show us all up and display the error of our ways.
    Do it.
    Do it.
    Do it. :)

    Ken may be saying uncomplimentary things about you but that, by itself, is not an ad hominem.
    Nope.
    Doesn’t work like that.

    Ken may be dismissive of what you have to say but that, by itself, is not an ad hominem.
    Nope.
    Doesn’t work like that.

    An ad hominen goes like this….
    Some guy tries to explain to you of something.
    (For example: They are trying to convince you that you are using an ad hominem argument and that this is bad.)
    That’s his argument.
    That’s his position.
    He’s trying to get this specific point across to you.
    In public.

    However, you don’t respond to the argument.
    Not even a little bit.
    You don’t try and trash the argument itself.
    You don’t engage with what he is saying.
    Instead you just attack the person making the point.

    So you say “Go get a job, hippie” or “You talk with a foreign accent” or “Come back when you have a degree” etc.

    You need to grow up and listen.
    You have a really horrible habit of putting words in other people’s mouths.
    You don’t genuinely engage in discussion like an adult.

    You “interpret”. You “paraphrase”. You “creatively re-edit”.
    The actual conversation being made in the real world goes sailing right by you.

    Here’s a good example:
    …not responding to the substance of any criticism just going straight for the discrediting strategy.

    Except for the part of him asking you if you have actually read the book.
    Asking you to provide specific examples.
    So yeah…apart from those minor, petty, nitpicking details…I guess he really is just trying to discredit you. ;)

    Makes it rather hard to have a sane conversation

    1) Ken wrote a review of a book.
    2) You claimed that Ken’s review sucked because the book’s arguments were “cogent and defensible”.
    3) Ken asked you to provide examples.
    4) You confessed that you haven’t read the book and you don’t know a damn thing about the arguments.
    5) Hilarity ensues.

    There’s no ad hominem here.
    You just exposed yourself as an idiot.
    People naturally laugh at idiots.

    When those idiots fail to see the error of their ways and try to bluster on and continue….the comedy factor goes UP not down.
    You have nowhere to go with this one.

    I suppose Ken has no actual defense for his lies and bigotry, because they are indefensible. Just camouflage for hatred of God

    Oh delicious, sweet, addictive irony.
    You truly, madly, deeply have no idea what is an ad hominem.

    News headline: ropata hits bottom. Keeps digging.

    Hating God?

    Like

  41. Because, my interpretation is that the talking donkey is actually the god.

    Oh, I like it.
    So god doesn’t make personal appearences on planet Earth except when he transforms himself into an ass?
    Cool.
    Who was minding the store in heaven while he was slumming?

    Why an ass?
    Zeus had more style.
    A giant swan, a bull, a shower of gold etc.
    Even Odin was happy enough to disguise himself as a sweet, little old man and then later into a fierce dragon.

    An ass? Hmm. Dunno.
    What if Balaam farted?
    It just sounds all so undignified somehow.

    Like

  42. Richard Christie

    It just sounds all so undignified somehow.

    I’ll give a theological style explanation a shot.

    According to one source ( http://www.anunseenworld.com/balaamandthetalkingdonkey.html )
    god sent the fairy to murder Balaam because Balaam threatened to upset god’s carefully laid plans for a minor genocide.

    So it seems the donkey’s little trick outsmarted the invisible fairy who was bravely waiting in ambush.

    Obviously, the donkey was god because it doesn’t make sense that a mere donkey could spoil any divine plan.

    There, proven.

    Like

  43. Richard Christie

    And of course, no mere donkey could have seen the invisible fairy anyway, so it must have been god.

    Like

  44. Thanks Cedric I think I understand the rules now. Ken’s review is uncritically accepted as a great opportunity to mock religion. Ken provided a few meagre quotes and interpretations of a book he clearly didn’t like, and used his “review” as a soapbox to bolster his angry ideology of conflict. For some unknown reason ( I can only guess at motives) my review of Ken is viewed as heresy.

    I gave you some examples of ad hominems, would you please stop obsessing over it? Accept you were wrong.
    “The mind doesn’t work if it is closed”

    Like

  45. Thanks Cedric I think I understand the rules now.

    I doubt it. You are all ginned up on outrageous outrage and refuse to stop digging your hole because your pride has been hurt. You need to have a serious look at your petulant behaviour.

    Ken’s review is uncritically accepted as a great opportunity to mock religion.

    Nope. It’s just a review.
    Your silly, ignorace-based reaction to it is the thing being giggled at.

    Ken provided a few meagre quotes…

    “Meagre”? Who says? You?
    Heavens to Betsy. Let me clutch my pearls in horror! ;)

    …and interpretations of a book he clearly didn’t like

    It’s a review. Some reviews are favourable. Some are not. Deal with it.

    For some unknown reason ( I can only guess at motives) my review of Ken is viewed as heresy.

    No, you lying, evasive, dishonest, self-serving lackwit.
    We’ve told you in plain English.
    You have not read the bloody book.
    You don’t need to “guess”.

    You are just making a public arse of yourself.
    Anybody can scroll up back over the previous comments and see that you yourself admit to NOT HAVING READ THE BLOODY BOOK.
    It’s…really wierd that you are doing this martyrdom melodrama over something so incredibly simple and reasonable.

    I gave you some examples of ad hominems…

    No, you didn’t. All you did was….

    (…thoughtful pause…)

    (…gently, yet gleeful in anticipation of more merriment to come, Cedric changes gears…)

    Oh.
    Ok, genius. Let’s do it your way. :)
    You gave us examples of ad hominems, really?
    Cool.

    Let’s start with the first one….

    “Ropata – you are classic”

    So, umm, how is this an example of an ad hominem?
    It’s your example.
    You claim to know what an ad hominem is.
    Right?

    So do it.
    Spell it out for us slow and easy. Step by step. No short-cuts of logic.
    Be really, really pedantic about this.
    Explain it to us so that even a four-year old will understand exactly what an ad hominem is and how you are clearly the victim here with mean ol’ Ken saying “Ropata – you are classic”.

    Shame us all with your integrity and sweet reason.

    Do it.
    Do it.
    Do it. :)

    For those of you who came late, here’s how ad hominems actually work.

    How Scientology USes Ad Hom Attack

    Like

  46. @Richard. Nice link. Thanks.

    <i.And of course, no mere donkey could have seen the invisible fairy anyway, so it must have been god.

    Ah, clever….but fairies are only invisible….when they want to be.
    Fairies do not obey your reductionist materialist rules, they are fairies!

    You can wrestle with them, for example.
    Plus they spook the living crap out of goat-herders minding their own business of an evening.

    Theology is fun. It’s a game absolutely anybody can play and the great thing is that you are never, ever wrong.

    Like

  47. The fable about Balaam’s donkey and the angel of Yahweh (21:22-35) may well be an intrusion, introduced perhaps by the early narrators themselves, since Yahweh predominates as the divine name. Such an assumption makes it easier to understand why the divine anger, somewhat inconsistently in the light of v.10, is stirred against Balaam. Nevertheless the tension at this point in the story still needs to be interpreted. Why should the narrators have voluntarily introduced material which they must have known generated a logical unevenness? The answer perhaps is that the episode allows them to insist again on the essential hostility of God to the whole enterprise and to reaffirm that Balaam is allowed to engage in it only on strict conditions, and under strict control. So it is that God’s anger is renewed (V. 22) and the controls reaffirmed (v. 35).

    The fable of the talking donkey brings ridicule on the head of a foreign diviner. This supposed “expert” in discerning the mind and will of the gods is outperformed in spiritual insight by his donkey! His cruel treatment of the animal, in contrast to its own reasoned response, only accentuates his blindness and folly.
    Eerdmans commentary on the Bible

    The final sentence of the above extract is apposite, as is Jude:
    these people sneer at anything they can’t understand, and by doing whatever they feel like doing—living by animal instinct only—they participate in their own destruction. I’m fed up with them! They’ve gone down Cain’s road; they’ve been sucked into Balaam’s error by greed; they’re canceled out in Korah’s rebellion.

    Like

  48. Cedric
    I am not only responding to a book review, I’m critiquing Ken’s broad statements about the history and philosophy of science, but so far nobody has bothered to acknowledge or attempt to rebut those critiques. Mayhap thou art clueless?

    All you do is rabbit on and on about something utterly trivial and irrelevant. Please try and concentrate, and for once play the ball not the man. Read my comments again, follow some of the numerous links I have given, and you might learn something

    Like

  49. The final sentence of the above extract is apposite, as is Jude:
    these people sneer at anything they can’t understand…

    Yep. Got that right.
    Talking donkeys.

    (…thinks about it…)

    Oh yes, we are in agreement. I definitely don’t understand talking donkeys.
    Nor talking snakes.
    Guilty as charged.
    I think that the concept of talking donkeys is dumber than a bag of hammers and fit only for humour and fairy stories.

    The whole talking snake thing? Doesn’t work for me.
    Yet there’s one thing I really don’t get about the talking snake.
    Before the god curse him, how did the snake…move?

    It’s a snake, right?
    It wants to get from point A to point B.
    So how does physically it get there?

    Now a man would…walk…from point A to point B.
    Yeah?
    Two legs? One leg in front of the other? The old-fashioned way?
    Yeah?

    Ok.

    What about the snake?
    What would the snake do?
    How does the snake get from Point A to Point B, (and this is the important part) BEFORE the god curses him?

    Can you guess?
    Don’t know what I’m going on about?
    Ah, happy days. :)

    Ricky Gervais on Creationism

    Like

  50. I am not only responding to a book review, I’m critiquing Ken’s broad statements about the history and philosophy of science…

    No.
    No deflection or evasion allowed.
    Seriously, nobody cares what you “critique” or whatever.

    It won’t work with me.

    You made a claim.
    You get to back it up.

    If you behave like a weasel then I get to call you out for being a weasel.
    Fair’s fair.

    You made a claim.
    A checkable claim.
    You said…
    …along with tedious ad hominem attacks.

    I’m willing to bet that this is bullshit.
    You are full of it.

    Quote one ad hominem attack made by Ken.
    “Tedious” or otherwise.
    Can you really do this or are you just babbling nonsense again?
    Quote one.
    Please.
    Just one. Any thread you like.

    You don’t have anything.
    Own up to it and withdraw your claim.

    I’m not letting this drop.
    You don’t get to wriggle out of it.
    It’s who I am.
    I actually enjoy this kind of thing.
    You making a public tit of yourself and very openly breaking your own 9th Commandment is just nuts to me.
    Really.
    This is fun.
    Exposing dumbass hypocrites.

    You’re in the hot seat.
    You built the hot seat.
    You sat in the hot seat.
    You buckled yourself in tight.
    You….

    (….pauses…)

    On the other hand, this is kinda like shooting fish in a barrel.

    (…bigger pause…)

    I mean, exposing ropata as an evasive liar with no integrity is hardly news.
    It’s up there with “Dog bites man”.
    Ho hum.

    P ease try and concentrate, and for once play the ball not the man.

    Um, please stop being a stupid dick and get a life?

    I insult you.
    Big deal.
    (yawn)
    That’s not “playing the man’.
    There’s no ad hominem fallacy going on here.

    You lied.
    I’m calling you out on your lie.

    You have three choices:
    1) Show me and the rest of the internet how you didn’t really lie and that absolutely and “for reals” you are a victim of Ken’s ad hominems.
    Don’t skimp on the details.

    2) Withdraw your claim and say ” Oops, my bad. Guess I got a little hot under the collar and I didn’t really understand what an ad hominem fallacy is.

    3) Suffer being called a proven evasive liar and treated with richly deserved contempt.

    Read my comments again…

    I always do. I also gleefully quote them in rich detail.
    For example:

    …along with tedious ad hominem attacks.

    ropata is a liar.
    Withdraw your claim.

    Like

  51. why do you hate me so much?

    Like

  52. why do you hate me so much?

    Listen to me.
    Focus.

    NO!
    Seriously.
    Swallow your pride for half a second.
    Focus on what I am saying.
    FOCUS on what I am actually saying.
    Not what you “think” I am saying.
    Don’t “re-interpret” what I am saying.
    Don’t “paraphrase” what I am saying.

    Ok?
    Just focus on what I am saying.

    Are we clear?
    Fine?
    We both agree that you are going to FOCUS ONLY ON WHAT I AM SAYING and that you are going to take me absolutely LITERALLY?
    Good.

    (…deep breath…)

    I.
    Don’t.
    Hate.
    You.

    No, really.
    I don’t.
    I don’t exactly love you but, no, I don’t hate you.
    Sometimes you can even be ok but you have screwed up on this one big time.

    You have borne false witness.
    You have told an untruth.
    You’ve lied.

    I don’t tolerate liars.
    Nobody should tolerate liars.
    It’s good and fine and proper to expose liars and hang a huge sign around their neck saying “LIAR”.
    Good people expose liars.
    I’m a good person.

    You lied.

    …along with tedious ad hominem attacks.

    This is a lie.
    Please withdraw it.
    Take it back.
    Do the right thing.

    I swear I will give credit where credit is due if you do the right thing.
    I promise.
    I mean this.
    May I never post here on this blog again if I am being decietful.
    Let Ken and Richard and Dale and anybody else be my witness.

    You have three choices:
    1) Show me and the rest of the internet how you didn’t really lie and that absolutely and “for reals” you are a victim of Ken’s ad hominems.
    Don’t skimp on the details.
    DON’T SKIMP ON THE DETAILS.

    2) Withdraw your claim and say ” Oops, my bad. Guess I got a little hot under the collar and I didn’t really understand what an ad hominem fallacy is”.

    3) Suffer being called a proven evasive liar and treated with richly deserved contempt.

    I can’t make it any fairer.

    Like

  53. i did not lie. i gave you four clear examples of ken’s ad hominem. perhaps you don’t agree that his personal accusations and smear tactics constitute ad hominem but that clearly doesn’t stop you from doing it yourself.

    did you pass any English composition or comprehension tests at school? if so i am concerned about the state of education in NZ. unless you really are a fourteen year old there’s no excuse for acting like one.

    Like

  54. and i suppose i should give up hope of ever discussing science or logic in this asylum for the incurably obtuse

    Like

  55. i did not lie.

    Yes you did.
    You said…

    …along with tedious ad hominem attacks.

    This is a lie.

    i gave you four clear examples of ken’s ad hominem.

    They are not ad hominems, you ignorant dolt.

    Do you understand what an ad hominem is?
    You reckon you do?
    Then spell it out for us all.
    Spell it out in pedantic detail.

    Don’t just claim that you are the victim and run off.

    i gave you four clear examples of ken’s ad hominem.

    You mean these ones…?

    “Ropata – you are classic”
    “You guys can’t seem to see”
    “you have the paranoid concept”
    “You want a world where”

    pure ad hominem right there.

    Where? Spell it out for us.
    Where?
    How does anything said by Ken in the phrases you quoted add up to an ad hominem?
    Are you truly that stupid?
    Spell it out for us, step by step, how this fantasy ad hominem of yours is supposed to work.

    Don’t do it for us.
    Do it for the wavering Christians who are silently hoping that the evil atheists are not in the right and that you, a fellow godbotherer, are actually a victim of an ad hominem.
    Destroy us with a step by step explaination of how Ken is using an ad hominem.
    Show us all up and display the error of our ways.
    Do it.
    Do it.
    Do it.

    Don’t skimp on the details.
    Take us by the hand and show us all the error of our ways.

    Let’s start with the first one…

    “Ropata – you are classic”

    Ok.
    So here’s the first one cited by you as an example of an ad hominem.
    Lead us through it.
    Provide quotes every step of the way.
    Put up or shut up.
    Enough with the hand-waving.

    Ad Hominem

    Like

  56. A salient feature of incompetence is the inability to recognise it in oneself. (cedric, do not click the link! contains long words like metacognitive, anosognosia, comprehension, inadequacy)

    BTW Krista Tippett’s blog and extracts from her book are most enlightening. Read some of her stuff and you’ll see that Ken’s review is a fraud. She also writes beautifully

    Like

  57. Ropata – I had a smart reply for you until I checked and realised for incompetence I had read impotence. That would have been so obviously wrong.

    On this issue, as in most others, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. After all we naturally default to confirmation bias.

    But, really, for you own reputation and self regard, if you are going to accuse me of fraud you should produce some evidence. And NO – the fact that you have read the Huff piece (as I had) is not evidence in itself. What about the details (if any)behind your charge?

    Like

  58. How about your title : Not about Einstein
    But clearly the book does discuss Einstein’s views, per this excerpt.

    Like

  59. It’s a title, aimed at catching the eye, not necessarily summarising content. Just as with Tippett’s book. “Eintein’s God” it was not about Einstein’s god, or any god, at all (if one could accept that such a thing existed). But it is a catchy title aimed at attracting readers.

    I personally found the title misleading. I didn’t seek the book out but the publisher asked me if I would review it. On the one had I was put off by the author’s credentials, seeing that it would be a religious distortion. But I have read other material on Einstein’s comments relating to religion (particularly Jammer’s book which is very good), am interested in the subject, so felt obliged to read and review it.

    Tippett provides very little information, but a bit of filtered interpretation, on Einstein’s views. Completely inadequate because people of different tribes are forever claiming Einstein – so why not let him speak for himself – as he largely does in Jammer’s book.

    Now, I am not the only reviewer to note that the book is not about Einstein, or especially his religious views at all. A saw a recent (favourable) review by a theologian who made the same point. So I don’t think my catchy title was at all misleading.

    So, Ropata, what about acknowledging that you went overboard with your “fraud” charge.

    Like

  60. I will retract that comment if you acknowledge your review was not about the book but merely a platform to provoke and maintain an unnecessary conflict.

    Like

  61. Don’t be childish, Ropata. Your moral position should depend purely on the facts as you see them. Not on the requirement that I tell a porky.

    My review was about the book, I read the book (you haven’t). I am not provoking any conflict – purely responding to an existing one. A long standing one that has hotted up recently as some religious groups have developed a false confidence and gone into a silly attack mode.

    And your irrational behaviour has presented plenty of evidence from one side of that.

    Like

  62. Thank-you for admitting you prejudged the book as “religious distortion” and proceeded to scrape together a few distortions of your own. My apologies

    Like

  63. Your moral position should depend purely on the facts as you see them. Not on the requirement that I tell a porky.

    It’s amazing that ropata doesn’t understand that.
    Moral code inspired by a magic invisible man?
    Nah.

    “say something blah, blah, blah
    and i might feel like responding”

    Haggling in order to do the right thing.
    Wow.
    Soothing his own ego by getting “the other guy” to make some sort of a concession.
    Morally bankrupt.
    Sad.

    I will retract that comment if you acknowledge…

    Here it is again. ropata will do the right thing if only you do something he wants.
    ropata doesn’t do the right thing naturally.
    He holds it hostage.
    “Do something I want or I will keep doing poo in my pants.”
    Pathetic.

    Thank-you for admitting you prejudged the book as “religious distortion” and proceeded to scrape together a few distortions of your own.

    You dick.

    My apologies

    No. That’s a “not-pology”. You screwed it up by being a dick with your preamble.

    pure ad hominem right there.

    Where? Spell it out for us.
    Where?
    How does anything said by Ken in the phrases you quoted add up to an ad hominem?
    Are you truly that stupid?
    Spell it out for us, step by step, how this fantasy ad hominem of yours is supposed to work.

    Don’t do it for us.
    Do it for the wavering Christians who are silently hoping that the evil atheists are not in the right and that you, a fellow godbotherer, are actually a victim of an ad hominem.
    Destroy us with a step by step explaination of how Ken is using an ad hominem.
    Show us all up and display the error of our ways.
    Do it.
    Do it.
    Do it.

    Don’t skimp on the details.
    Take us by the hand and show us all the error of our ways.

    Let’s start with the first one…

    “Ropata – you are classic”

    Ok.
    So here’s the first one cited by you as an example of an ad hominem.
    Lead us through it.
    Provide quotes every step of the way.
    Put up or shut up.
    Enough with the hand-waving.

    Like

  64. Ropata, you will enjoy my post tomorrow. It poses the question “can you be good with God.”

    Quite topical, eh. What with you asking me to lie if you will. And now poor old Matt is using risky mental gymnastics to explain away the “divine command” that Abraham sacrifice his son!

    You guys really have problems with morality, don’t you?

    So much simpler for us atheists. We don’t have to worry about “divine commands.” We use the reality-based approach.

    Like

  65. Stunned by the power of this logic:
    “Do something I want or I will keep doing poo in my pants.” (Cedric)
    We use the reality-based approach. (Ken)

    I don’t know if I subscribe to DCT or objective morality, I’m more of a subjectivist
    Anyways, looking forward to more fun tomorrow. Thanks for the laughs :)

    Like

  66. Stunned by the power of this logic:
    “Do something I want or I will keep doing poo in my pants.”

    Well, it’s what you are doing.
    Pooping your pants until somebody gives you a bribe.
    You are doing this in public.
    Everybody can see you.
    This is the internet.
    This thread and your comments are not going away.

    You lied.
    You are an evasive, cowardly liar.
    I look forward to reminding you of this at every turn.

    With an albatross.
    (Plus a link back to this very thread for the benefit of the lurkers) :)

    Like

  67. And you are proud of your infantile behaviour and schoolyard insults? I think your imaginary audience of lurkers is about 2 people max. Oh well at least you keep things lively despite your obvious lack of self-reflection or reasoning ability. Enthusiasm counts for something I suppose. Good for you!

    Like

  68. And you are proud of your infantile behaviour and schoolyard insults?

    What?
    You mean like me calling you out for being a liar?
    Well, yes.
    I am proud of that.
    It’s the right and proper thing to do.
    You are a liar.

    Calling you ignorant and evasive?
    Oh, yes. I’m proud of that.
    You are indeed ignorant and evasive.
    If the shoe fits, you wear it chum.
    Serves you right.

    Ditto goes for calling you a stupid dick and more besides.
    You richly deserve more.
    You have behaved like a cretin.

    You said…
    …along with tedious ad hominem attacks.
    This is a lie.

    i gave you four clear examples of ken’s ad hominem.
    They are not ad hominems, you ignorant dolt.

    Withdraw your lie, you horrid little coward.

    Like

  69. Does your Mummy know you are writing such naughty things on the internet? Tut, tut

    Like

  70. What is your problem?
    What do you think you are achieving by acting this way on the internet?

    Like

  71. I’m just messing around now. I tried quite hard to have a sensible conversation but you pretty much made sure that never happened. You won Cedric! Congratulations

    Like

  72. I tried quite hard to have a sensible conversation…

    All those comments of yours are what you think passes for a “sensible conversation”?
    You tried “quite hard”? :(
    I pity the people you interact with in the real world if this is your standard of trying hard to have a sensible conversation.
    Have people you know in the real world read this entire thread?
    Try it. Advertise to them. Display to them what you have done here.
    See how they react.

    You won Cedric!

    What exactly did I win?
    How does anybody win after what you have done here on this thread?

    You’ve wasted my time.
    I really don’t appreciate that.

    Yeah, for a while it was fun watching you being an evasive hypocrite but…it soon became boring after a while.
    Dull.
    You did nothing except dig in your heels and wave your hands about furiously, hoping that the mess you made would just magically go away.

    The times where you tried to negotiate a concession from others in return for you doing the right thing for a change was exceptionally nauseating.
    Vile.
    I’ve never done that. It would never occur to me to do something so demeaning.

    The cracked thing about it all is that it was so easily avoidable.
    Find out what an “ad hominem” is takes no time at all on the internet.
    Anyone can do it.

    You find a good definition, complete with a few simple examples.
    You compare that example with what is written down in the comments in question.
    You quote them fully and fairly.
    Step-by-step.
    You display to all and sundry that it really is an “ad hominem”.
    Not hard.
    Not unreasonable.

    Yet you couldn’t. All we got were endless evasions and lies and snark.

    You lied.
    I called you on it.
    And your petty pride refused to let you do the right thing and withdraw your lie.
    When people (mainly me) got frustrated with you and said mean words, that gave you the chance to play the martyr card.
    Oh woe is you.

    If you can’t maintain a civil discourse and not bear false witness then you should consider not commenting here at all.

    9th commandment by: trcb.me/nol

    Like

  73. i tried to talk to you about science and philosophy but all you ever wrote was insulting crap. don’t try and sermonize to me. you never wrote a single comment that was slightly on topic. evasion? of course i wanted to evade your stupidity. i wanted to talk about Einstein’s God not your banal repetitive and simple minded nitpicking

    i hoped that by replying to you i might elicit a glimmer of common sense but no. you are either a child or a seriously deluded dilbert character. you will never learn anything with this attitude problem of yours. Get help

    Like

  74. i tried to talk to you about science and philosophy…

    You lost the right to do that when you shamelessly lied.
    I have a zero tolerence threshhold for liars.

    …but all you ever wrote was insulting crap.

    Nope. I called you out on your bullshit.
    All the insults you recieved ( and richly deserved) could have been easily avoided by you doing the honest thing, withdrawing your claim and moving on with the conversation.
    I did the right thing.
    I continue to do the right thing.
    You have yet to do so.

    … of course i wanted to evade your stupidity.

    Publically calling out a liar when he lies is not stupid.
    Defending the truth is a good thing.
    The truth hurts.

    I pity the people you interact with in the real world if this is your standard of trying hard to have a sensible conversation.
    Have people you know in the real world read this entire thread?
    Try it. Advertise to them. Display to them what you have done here.
    See how they react.
    Have you done so?

    Strawman and Ad Hominem

    Like

  75. it is ok to be a bit thick and slow to understand something. don’t be embarrassed.
    it is not ok to make a total pillock of yourself and refuse to even try and understand.

    i am embarrassed to have wasted my time trying to communicate with an egocentric dilettante. i think i lost a few IQ points from reading your bigoted logic-free raves.

    my brain is dribbling out my ear

    Like

  76. That dribble out of your ear might explain a few things!

    Anyway, just shows how a conversation can deteriorate when one uses personal attacks instead of calmly discussing the real issues.

    We have got a long way away from an honest book review – haven’t we.

    Pity, as I welcome honest and sensible criticisms. A chance to learn?

    Like

  77. “Of course Tippett’s agenda in this book is to promote the idea that religion and science are compatible, almost two sides of the same coin. Even when recognising the epistemological conflict she still believes they are complementary.”

    Stephen Jay Gould refers to “Non-overlapping Magisteria,” the view that “science and religion do not glower at each other…but interdigitate in patterns of complex fingering, and at every fractal scale of self-similarity.”

    In my opinion the “Magisteria” of religion and science do overlap or interdigitate in the following way: religion, philosophy, and science all overlap extensively in the domain of 1) asking questions and 2) interpreting evidence– although each may specialize in the types of questions they choose to ask and the kinds of evidence they bother to interpret.

    They DO NOT overlap or even touch when it comes to 3) the scientific method and the CRAFT of gathering and validating evidence, regardless of whether the questions are about atoms, evolution, or out-of-body experiences.

    I am highly skeptical of claims that there are “Non-overlapping Magisteria,” where it comes to evidence per se. Thousands of years of faith and anecdote supporting the flat earth, the geocentirc universe, etc. didn’t make those beliefs valid.

    Poor Richard’s Almanack 2010

    Like

  78. Ken, yes I have learned something. Thanks for putting up with this silliness, I will try not to get so distracted in future.

    Like

  79. “Have people you know in the real world read this entire thread?
    Try it. Advertise to them. Display to them what you have done here.
    See how they react.
    Have you done so?”

    it is ok to be blah, blah, blah…

    Ah, so you haven’t.
    Thought as much.

    Sometimes, what a person doesn’t say can be more informative than what they do say.
    Case in point.

    Pity, as I welcome honest and sensible criticisms. A chance to learn?

    Ken, as long as you continue to make “ad hominems” and commit “fraud” and continue to “lie” and be a “bigot” how can ropata be expected to make honest and sensible criticisms?

    He’s so sincerely trying to reach out to we angry atheists and discuss science and philosophy and yet his pearls of wisdom get lost in all the nitpicking about the small pesky things like the truth and evidence.

    He makes claims but we refuse to go hunting for the evidence to support them. It’s so unfair of us.
    Why should he do all the work?
    Shift that burden.

    I am highly skeptical of claims that there are “Non-overlapping Magisteria,” where it comes to evidence per se. Thousands of years of faith and anecdote supporting the flat earth, the geocentirc universe, etc. didn’t make those beliefs valid.

    Yeah but…but “many respected scientists and philosophers, blah, blah, blah” therefore you’re wrong.
    Q.E.D ;)

    Special Investigation – Atheist Alert

    Like

  80. Ropata – you say “Thanks for putting up with this silliness, I will try not to get so distracted in future.” But have you really learned. Over at M&M you are still putting the boot in. I quote you:
    And as a self proclaimed member of the technocratic elite Ken is only too happy to dispense his morality to the great unwashed.

    Like

  81. I don’t mind a bit of needling, as long as it is balanced with some plausible reasoning

    Like

  82. Interesting piece about the flat earth myth. I stand somewhat more enlightened on the subject. I can’t wait to be disabused of my ignorance on the geocentric myth, the miasma theory of disease, the phlogiston theory, the young earth theory, etc. as well, to which I have devoted an equally inadequate amount of research.

    However, I assume you realize that the choice of particular myths, superstitions, and erroneous theories is irrelevant to the point I was making.

    Or do you think not?

    PR

    Poor Richard’s Almanack 2010

    Like

  83. Try the bible. Remember to ignore the parts that you disagree with.
    Those parts are just metaphor or just nice stories or something.

    Absolute Undeniable Proof of a Flat Earth

    Like

  84. But wait, I hear you cry.
    Didn’t in one of those quotes, they describe the Earth as a “circle”?
    Why yes, so they did. A circle.
    Do you live on a circle? In the centre, or perhaps close to the edge? :)

    The Earth is Flat, says the Bible

    Like

  85. deliberate disinformation.. disappointingly disingenuous

    Like

  86. deliberate disinformation.. disappointingly disingenuous

    It’s your bible. You get to ignore the parts you don’t like.

    Like

  87. “It’s your bible. You get to ignore the parts you don’t like.”

    Yes, but that’s hardly honest. If the book is “holy”, really the “word of your god” you surely have no right to pick and choose or interpret it to fit in with common values. Surely that is blasphemy and heresy. Claiming you know what your god “really” meant to say. Correcting the divine one! Surely the literalists are completely justified in this case.

    Mind you, if we rejected this holy word of god rubbish we could accept the book as literature, choose to read which passages we want and not be at all concerned about the silly or anti-human bits.

    Like

  88. Richard Christie

    “It’s your bible. You get to ignore the parts you don’t like.”

    Yes, but that’s hardly honest.

    Ken, I think you missed the sarcasm in that one.

    Like

  89. Maybe, but I was trying to make a point for Ropata.

    Like

  90. Surely that is blasphemy and heresy. Claiming you know what your god “really” meant to say. Correcting the divine one! Surely the literalists are completely justified in this case.

    All real Christians know what god really meant to say with regards to the stuff that just doesn’t make sense.
    Spotting the real Christians is easy too.
    They are the ones that you agree with.
    What could be fairer than that?

    If you think about it enough and rationalise enough and interpret enough and insert enough suppositions then…it’s all good.
    The bible really is the divine word of god.
    It just has to be read the right way.
    All you angry atheists just don’t want to admit this but you all secretly know the truth in your hearts. ;)
    Jesus didn’t actually mean a lot of the things he said.
    Not really.
    He did a lot of speaking “off the cuff” that was just light chit-chat.
    Page filler.
    It’s a big mistake to faithfully follow every word he said and actually do what he commanded.
    Get real!
    Some things he said were ok and others, well, Jesus liked a good yarn as much as the next bloke.
    He was a bit of a kidder.

    Jesus and the Interpreter. A modern-day christian helps Jesus get started.

    Like

  91. i guess you guys and the southern baptsit fundies are made for each other
    go ahead and misinterpret the bible if you like
    forget all the scholarship and centuries of debate

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  92. big difference between the bible and the koran

    the bible is inspired of God but written by humans
    the book informs the faith but we do not worship it, we worship Christ
    it was recognised as authoritative by churches, not dictated by an angel

    some claim the bible is inerrant, i think otherwise
    inspired != perfect

    Like

  93. Wasn’t the Koran dictated by Allah or the angel ?

    Surely that trumps something written by humans however inspired.

    Like

  94. Then there’s the book of Mormon.
    Dictated to Smith by the angel Moroni himself!
    Powerful stuff.

    How does the song go?
    “The angel of the lord came down and glory shone around?”
    The LDS.

    Yet how can you know for sure?

    ….Many respected scientists and philosophers…
    and
    …forget all the scholarship and centuries of debate…

    Sounds oddly familiar somehow… :)

    “Thousands of great men, intellectual giants and scholars must subcribel discipleship to the record and it’s movement even to the point of laying down their lives for it.”

    Oh yes. Very familiar.

    How Joseph Smith Wrote the Book of Mormon

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  95. The flat earth myth is a straw man perpetuated by anti-religious atheist zealots. i.e. a fallacy. Also (for Cedric), putting words in others’ mouths is wishful thinking and is a fallacy (I fully agree with the “Jesus and Interpreter” video and I promoted it to my friends several months ago)

    Also Ken shows typical simplistic illogic in Bible reading – – unfortunately there are a lot of people in church who think the same way. Despite the claims of some, the Bible is not one united message to humanity. It contains some glaring errors, lots of begetting and bloodshed, but also some amazing transcendent spiritual insight. It is a book uniquely blessed by God, but God loves people more than letters and ink, and communicates to them in various ways.

    Like

  96. Ropata, you have got it wrong. I actually don’t bother reading your bible. I don’t own one and in the rare occasions I need to check something out there is always the Internet.

    My point about books like this was that the problem comes when people consider them “holy”. Even though they may only contain a few vile stories and commands if the reader treats the book as “holy” these then can become obligatory (along with the good stuff).

    A more mature reader would not consider the book “holy” but literature. They could then read it for pleasure or inspiration – not for any ethical or moral commands.

    So much safer – for all of us. Don’t get your morals from the bible.

    Like

  97. The flat earth myth is a straw man perpetuated by anti-religious atheist zealots.

    Plus the glaring errors in the bible that help it along. Do you live in the center of the circle or near the edge?

    It contains some glaring errors, lots of begetting and bloodshed, but also ….

    Glaring errors.
    Or maybe it’s ok to explain them away as just metaphor or stories or something?

    Despite the claims of some, the Bible is not one united message to humanity.

    No doubt. Remember to ignore the parts that you disagree with.

    It is a book uniquely blessed by God, but God loves people more than letters and ink, and communicates to them in various ways.

    Ah, that’s how it’s done.
    Slick.
    “….communicates to them in various ways.”
    One can almost hear the sound of hands waving in the air furiously.
    Sounds familiar.

    “The lord moves in mysterious ways.” :)

    No True Scotsman

    Like

  98. It contains some glaring errors…
    (…)
    It is a book uniquely blessed by God

    Evidently being blessed by God does not mean that it’s been proof-read by god.

    The Bible is Fiction and so are all Holy Books

    Like

  99. this is pretty far off the topic. i guess atheist “reasoning” consists of ranting about all sorts of random grudges and ill considered myths. you guys believe in Nothing and obviously know the subject well …

    Like

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