Wednesday, March 04, 2009

MSNBC and Cardinal Levada are morons

A straw man is a flimsy construction of your opposition's argument, that makes it easy for you to look like your argument is better. Age old rhetorical device, most effective when your opponent's not actually there to defend yourself. It doesn't prove anything,it's just rhetoric.

So when I read this post on MSNBC, where the journalists don't read the works they're reporting on, I was annoyed.

It is not the scientific community, but fundamentalist Christians who find evolution antithetical to their religious belief. Their problem is that if evolution is true, Genesis is false, and if Geneisis is false then some of the bible is false, which means not all of the bible is true, and they believe the bible's all true. They're the ones who find science wholly incompatible with faith. Thus, their mission to get faith into science classes, and thus our mission to get faith off the planet.

No one says evolution proves God's non-existence, especially not Dawkins, and especially not in The God Delusion. Evolution does prove that Genesis is a bunch of stories. And that has consequences for the credibility of the Bible, which may lead one to believe that the whole thing is a bunch of stories. Clearly the Cardinal, and the AP and MSNBC editorial staff haven't got the time to see if the book says what they say it does.

If you want to prove the non-existence of God, just use the problem of evil. God cannot be both all powerful and good and there be evil (suffering) in the world. It shows that our concept of God is incompatible with the observable evidence. And just like in Physics, if your theory is inconsistent with observations, your theory gets shit canned. Theory of god: file along with four elements of earth, air, fire and water.

Problem of evil is hard to escape. If one tries to argue that all suffering is human-casued, then Pompeii, Katrina, south Asian Christmas Tsunamis and every tornado in Oklahoma shows there's natural evil in the world. Anthrax, Hanta virus. Does an all powerful and benevolent being put that stuff in the world? I'm sure an all powerful being could find a way to make a world without Hanta virus. If the Hanta virus is necessary, then there's ome other set of laws in the universe that this being can't get around, and all powerful goes away. Or God is a prick, which, if we read the old testament, isn't hard to believe.

Evolution isn't incompatible with God, just Genesis. The miserable state of existence, however, is wholly incompatible with God as conceived in the Christian world.