Repacking Van Peebles Land

Well this is what the future looks like. The scientists lied to us. It is 2007 and still we have no hoverboards, only cockbags used the “video” function on their phone and there is still a lot of paper in my office. Also, I am not wearing one-piece clothing. Instead Zoomtard is still repackaging links he finds from around the web and rehashing arguments he reads in books or overhears on the Theologians’ Train (they have our own secret public transport system and they let me use it) under incomprehensible titles. At least in this time of change some things stay the same even if change is moving so fast that even change is changing and it changes us and short-changes us leaving us with less change in our pockets to buy a copy of the Big Issue if we are stupid and a nice Lion bar if we aren’t.

Peebles over there in Brittannia linked me to these two fascinating articles. The first is an op-ed in the Guardian by Tobias Jones, who wrote a very interesting book about the post-war history of Italy. He is discussing something I think about a lot- how at least in Britain, secular fundamentalism is legislating for itself in a brand new way. The advocates of this anti-belief belief claim to be acting out of tolerance but not only are they showing a tremendous epistemological arrogance which will bite them royally in the ass, they are pissing on the very democratic legacy they claim to uphold. Jones puts it better than I could when he says:

It was an assertion that after centuries of the naked public square (denuded of religion referents) the public now too had to go naked…. Until a few years ago religion was similar to soft drugs: a blind eye was turned to private use but woe betide you if you were caught dealing. Only recently have believers realised that religion is certainly personal, but it can never be private.

The most regal of the new totaltarians is Richard Dawkins. He is the Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at Cambridge. Interestingly, he is also the Professor for the Public Mis-Understanding of Philosophy at Letterkenny Institute of Technology. Even more interestingly, I would love to one day hold a position where I could claim to be the Professor for the Public Understanding of Christianity. I would write that everywhere. Even when signing up to a milk-delivery service. Anyway, as perceptive readers who don’t use Internet Explorer will know, I have been trying to read the God Delusion, for a month now. This is the professor’s new tirade against faith where he advances his faith in a peculiar scientism that could be called the Neo-Darwinian Individualised Memetic Scientism to show how his faith is crucially different from other forms of evolutionism and indeed, scientism. (Scientism by the way, is the belief that science explains all there is as oppossed to science which is a method to discover how many things happen, read the same for evolutionism).

I hammered through 150 pages the first day because I had to give a talk on Dawkins but since then it is with dread that I pick up the book. There have been many fine books distracting me but still, the cause of the tedium is the argument. I once eagerly got Bertrand Russell’s Why I Am Not A Christian out of the college library. I was a Christian for about 7 months and at that point I would have quite liked to no longer be convinced by it all. But the arguments the great mathematician advanced were as irrelevant or as culturally bound as the one’s Dawkins advances. Since then I have become quite the fan of anti-Jesus books and my favourite is the ingenius Essence Of Christianity by Feuerbach. (I don’t think Marx was anti-Jesus, just anti-religion). But while Dawkins doesn’t cite Feuerbach much or at all, his arguments tend to be cheap knock offs. That is poor form. It is also worse than poor form to rewrite Stephen Jay Gould’s position after his death for him and…. stop me. I am a Christian and someone who is convinced by the theory of evolution so I just get riled up by the sleights of hand that Dawkins pulls off in place of an argument. Marilynne Robinson can explain what is wrong with the God Delusion better that me, Jaybercrow and Teragram put together. So go read it before you think these atheists have a strong old case. (Their case is super-strong elsewhere but they can’t reach it from the Enlightenment era, maybe I’ll Zoomtard that someday…)

Her article is long and thorough. Saying that I know very few of you will have the time and inclination to link to it but if you are at work, print it out and read it on the bus home or something. Read it though. It is beautifully written and so packed complete of ideas to fuel a month of wandering thoughts. Here is a sample:

A reader might find it instructive to start with his last chapter, in which he does acknowledge the fact of quantum theory and certain of its implications. This chapter is an interesting lens through which to consider the primary argument of the book, especially his use of physicality and materiality as standards for determining the real and objective existence of anything, along with his use of commonplace experience as the standard of reasonableness and — a favorite word — probability. He does this despite his awareness that the physical and the material are artifacts of the scale at which reality is perceived.

Peebles chose Robinson’s Gilead as his book of the year in 2006. Excepting Tom Wright, I would agree. I have a cool job and on Sunday I get to propose Gilead as the book of the month for my church. Ha! I get to share God and literature. If only there was some way to hand out chocolate truffles I would be sharing the complete primary pleasures as my work!

Finally, thanks to Dave Barrett for his work on the new Zoomtard banner. It is a very pretty piece of work and delightfully subversive too. He took photos of fundamentalists protesting at the funerals of homosexual victims of AIDS and turned them into poster-boys for my self-satisfied arrogance. There is something profound hidden in there something. Hidden deep inside, don’t bother looking. Just look at the pretty website instead. I am leaving it up for February too because it rocks so much.

Your Correspondent, Would settle for the Government pretending to act

6 Responses to “Repacking Van Peebles Land”

  1. Sam says:

    The Guardian does appear to have more people taking a pop at the venerable professor (or ‘the publicist’ as Livingstone calls him). Check out this one too and the comment responses it generated http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,1981592,00.html

  2. Greymalkin says:

    a whatever Sam,we all know its a load of balls.BY the way,i’ve yet to read either zoomtards post or yours,i might comment properly after having read both.i’m stealing your stolen painted world thing,it’s class.I may repay………

  3. Guns don’t kill people, Mario van Peebles.

  4. jimlad says:

    I have tried to read that Dawkins book too, and it reads like good propeganda to me: Continuous assertions that the author is correct, with brief logical arguments based on an insufficient sample of factors which effect the arguments. I’m hoping that he will cover the missing arguments and explanations later in the book, but so far all I can agree with are most of his attacks on statements made by theologians who are equally unqualified to talk about science. I haven’t read his other stuff. I hope it is better. The only thing that comes to my mind is that he is possibly describing a God NAMED Delusion (ie. the God, Delusion) and showing how one can be deluded in one’s thinking through examples of misshapen thinking.

  5. jimlad says:

    For example, he says at one point that the troubles in the north have been caused by religion, and scoffs at those who say it is a cultural dispute. He explains his idea but ignores the specific scenario in the North, which is completely the fault of the Brits in any case (joking). If it were a dispute caused purely by religion, then there would be ongoing troubles between Northern and Southern USA too. The exact same Religious difference exists there, so there must be other factors. Hmmm, perhaps these are cultural? See how I explained why I am saying his statement is wrong? The cheek of him, not even giving an explanation for why it was right in the first place. The cheek.

  6. zoomtard says:

    Can I just point out three things:
    a) Jimlad is my hero.
    b) The Brits are totally to blame.
    c) Jimlad is only occaisionally deluded when he thinks himself God