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The Genius of Charles Darwin

Warning: Dawkins haters, click away now. And, yes: eponysterical.
posted by chuckdarwin (66 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
OMG SELF L--
And, yes: eponysterical.

Steal my thunder, why don't you.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 6:19 PM on August 8, 2008


Dar! Win! Dar! Win!

Also Daw! Kins! Daw! Kins!
posted by DU at 6:41 PM on August 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Listened to the first sentence said without a sense of hyberbole; clicked away. Dawkins is insufferable.
posted by norabarnacl3 at 6:43 PM on August 8, 2008


I loved the Selfish Gene. I wish I'd never Dawkins on video. He comes across as kind of a dick, even when I agree with every word he says. He just makes me want to give him an atomic wedgie.
posted by empath at 6:46 PM on August 8, 2008


norabarnacl3: "Listened to the first sentence said without a sense of hyberbole; clicked away. Dawkins is insufferable."

Me too. A strange mixture of nausea and chills. But I'm willing to see it through if I find some time.
posted by stbalbach at 6:46 PM on August 8, 2008


never SEEN Dawkins on video.
posted by empath at 6:47 PM on August 8, 2008


Have the other parts not been broadcast by BBC4 yet?
posted by tomierna at 6:47 PM on August 8, 2008


Here's an evolutionary biologist who seems less annoying.
posted by empath at 6:49 PM on August 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


tomierna, not yet... it's on Channel 4 (not BBC4) Mondays at eight PM
posted by chuckdarwin at 6:55 PM on August 8, 2008


After watching video of Dawkins debating (or answering questions from) students from Liberty University, it occurred to me that the poor man must now be constantly beset on all sides by idiots -- and that's gonna make anybody an asshole. I guess that's no excuse, but I do feel a little sorry for Dawkins.
posted by sdodd at 7:22 PM on August 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


norabarnacl3 writes "Listened to the first sentence said without a sense of hyberbole; clicked away. Dawkins is insufferable."

No, Dawkins is right: Evolution probably is the most powerful idea ever, because it describes a way for order to arise out of massive amounts randomness via an automatic sieving of alternatives. Nothing else does that, and besides its obvious application to descent with modification, it also applies to how our immune systems work, why sex exists, and possibly to how thoughts are thought.

And it's a thoroughly subversive idea, that posits a creation without a creator, and a goal without teleology.

But Dawkins (and Dennet) can explain this much better than I can; watch the video, and then, if you aren't convinced, come back and at least scoff informedly.
posted by orthogonality at 7:25 PM on August 8, 2008 [15 favorites]


I have no idea what Dawkins actually says or means but I will happily condemn him because I feel that so doing makes me a rebel or an iconoclast or somesuch.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:25 PM on August 8, 2008 [8 favorites]


Thanks, chuckdarwin. I'm a USAian, and didn't understand the fineries of the Beeb.
posted by tomierna at 7:28 PM on August 8, 2008


I'm a USAian, and didn't understand the fineries of the Beeb.

No problem. I live here, and I still don't get it (wasn't trying to be snotty). Some stuff on the radio (like Radio 5, do you have to have a DAB radio to get that?) flummoxes me.
posted by chuckdarwin at 7:38 PM on August 8, 2008


orthogonality, I recently completed my personal Hajj to Down House (something I've had my heart set on for years). Attenborough does the audio guide, so as you walk around he's in your ear. It was really - for want of a better word - awesome. I was literally in awe of the man and our leisurely stroll around the Sandwalk was the best bit. The man who was on duty showed my the rhododendron that Hooker gave Darwin when they were first imported (and loads of other stuff - I think he could sense my geeky enthusiasm).
posted by chuckdarwin at 7:45 PM on August 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


I like Dawkins more now that I think of him as a Prof Yaffle impersonator.
No, I can't be arsed to provide the links. Some people turn to religion for answers, i turn to google. /Steal.
posted by asok at 7:51 PM on August 8, 2008


It's amazing how much energy the scientific community has to expend in the attempt to convince the billions of people who believe humans appeared on this planet in recorded history.

When I ran into my first creationist on usenet in the 90s I had no idea how many fellow idiots shared his belief system.

From a CBS poll from 2004:

God created humans in present form
All Americans 55%
Kerry voters 47%
Bush voters 67%

Humans evolved, God guided the process
All Americans 27%
Kerry voters 28%
Bush voters 22%

Humans evolved, God did not guide process
All Americans 13%
Kerry voters 21%
Bush voters 6%

FAVOR SCHOOLS TEACHING…

Creationism and evolution
All Americans 65%
Kerry voters 56%
Bush voters 71%

Creationism instead of evolution
All Americans 37%
Kerry voters 24%
Bush voters 45%
posted by yort at 7:54 PM on August 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


I see Dawkins hyperbole. But I also see people still killing people over religious crap. So only tards diss folks for intelligently slagging religion. I mean the War on Stupidity is almost as hopeless as the War on Drugs, but it doesn't cost nearly as much, and some ex-christians & ex-moslems really appreciate it.

I'm not 100% sure evolution is "the. most. powerful. idea. ever." Not all cultures imagine their gods are the creators. I might grant t.m.p.i.e. if memetics was rampantly successful today, but it isn't, it's just perfectly consistent with the facts. As it stands, I'll still grant strong candidacy.

What I can say is : No other book has impacted me much more than the Selfish Gene, although some I read younger likely tie it. For this, I'll happily listen to the man. It doesn't cost much to listen.

posted by jeffburdges at 8:11 PM on August 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


I actually finally tried to read The Selfish Gene a couple months ago -- this after being very annoyed reading the first couple dozen pages of The God Delusion. I couldn't get into it because, I suspect, the ideas were just too known to me: most of that work in one form or another is orthodoxy now and thus has been taught to me since at least high school. But, I picked up The Ancestor's Tale and that is a wondrous book. It covers all these interesting little nooks and crannies of evolutionary history and shows how vast and complicated Life is without being overwhelming. And how beautiful and mesmerizing it is. It's only flaws were a lack of good maps of what continents looked like at different points ... and no color photos or good drawings of the life forms presented. I actually would love if someone would do similar books detailing the ancestors of other present day life especially some plants and modern day reptiles or birds. So if you've found Dawkins abrasive or annoying in the past, give The Ancestor's Tale a try.
posted by R343L at 8:23 PM on August 8, 2008 [3 favorites]


And it's a thoroughly subversive idea, that posits a creation without a creator, and a goal without teleology.

Creation yes, goal no. Except inasmuch as continued propagation is a goal.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 8:53 PM on August 8, 2008


I guess what bugs me about Dawkins is that he sounds so damn strident - it turns me off, and I'm one of the ones who more or less agree with him. Does he think the "NO GOD! NONE!! GET IT? WELL DO YA...PUNK??" approach will browbeat people into seeing The Truth? Or does he just have a (dare I say) dogmatic axe to grind? Personally, I can't be bothered to find out, and would rather read authors like Stephen Jay Gould who present their subject with enthusiasm and an "isn't this fascinating?" tone instead of with a megaphone and a bludgeon. But then, maybe I'm just not in Dawkins' (perceived) target audience.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:56 PM on August 8, 2008


The Ancestors Tale is, indeed, fabulous.
posted by rodgerd at 9:01 PM on August 8, 2008


This is a good piece of television.

I appreciate R. Dawkins willingness to subject himself to a roomful of bratty, know-it-all religious high school rats, and then cheerfully take them out to the beachto find fossils they can put in their pockets and take home. That was a nice addendum to the history lesson.

And seriously I'd love to hear your candidate for 'most important idea ever'. It's got to be waaaay better than evolution by natural selection. (does it involve robots and unicorns?)
posted by device55 at 9:13 PM on August 8, 2008


Smallpox vaccine.
posted by empath at 9:35 PM on August 8, 2008


'most important idea ever'

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. . ."

doesn't get more revolutionary than that, har har
posted by yort at 9:40 PM on August 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Greg_Ace writes "would rather read authors like Stephen Jay Gould who present their subject with enthusiasm and an 'isn't this fascinating?' tone"

Unfortunately, Gould was frequently wrong (unique diversity of the Cambrian explosion, punctuated equilibrium, sociobiology), and a real shit in the way he treated EO Wilson shabbily for personal and ideological (not scientific) reasons. Though perhaps the best-known American popularizer of Darwin in the minds of the general public, Gould is rightly held in lower esteem by many biologists.
posted by orthogonality at 9:45 PM on August 8, 2008


There is no inconsistency involved in thinking that Darwin was a great genius but that Dawkins is not. Perhaps the best challenge to Dawkins and others who take Darwin WAY too far is the highly irreverent Aussi philosopher David Stove, whose Darwinian Fairytales should be must-reading for anyone who defends or attacks modern evolutionary theory.

Stove is not religious-- in fact, he thinks most religion is drivel. (He's a neo-positivist who calls religion a pathology of conscious thought.) But substituting genes for God (as he claims some scientists do) is no better.

I don't want to hijack too much, so read Stove in the original. He's really funny, too. Darwinian Fairytales is available through Amazon, and so is his best book, The Plato Cult.
posted by Topkid at 9:51 PM on August 8, 2008


Topkid writes "But substituting genes for God (as he claims some scientists do) is no better."

So he's not a scientist? Lovely.
posted by orthogonality at 9:58 PM on August 8, 2008


I was recently surpised to read in a Telegraph story how that the history of evolutionary thinking goes back a long way before Darwin, as far back as the 9th century. From The Book of Animals by Al-Jahiz:

"Animals engage in a struggle for existence; for resources, to avoid being eaten and to breed. Environmental factors influence organisms to develop new characteristics to ensure survival, thus transforming into new species. Animals that survive to breed can pass on their successful characteristics to offspring."
posted by MetaMonkey at 10:43 PM on August 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


I've been on a Dawkins kick recently. The Selfish Gene is an amazing book. The Ancestor's Tale is also excellent, and much more approachable. Dawkins is best known for his outspoken atheism, but his explanations of the mechanism of evolution in The Selfish Gene and The Extended Phenotype is much more fascinating. It's a shame the anti-religious argument is all most people hear about. The genetic stuff is more interesting.

Oh, and Richard Dawkins coined the word meme. I'm sure that doesn't exactly endear him to everyone, but you can't blame Badger Badger and Rickrolling on Dawkins.
posted by Loudmax at 10:50 PM on August 8, 2008


Dawkins is an ass. But he's a correct ass.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:12 PM on August 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


I really liked Dawkins in this show. I think he sounds like a really nice guy. I'd like to watch the rest of the series.

For what its worth, I'm religious, Christian even. I believe in scientific method and evolution. But I'm not burdened by a simplistic interpretation of the Bible either. I really appreciate Dawkins for writing and speaking so well about such a profound facet of the natural world. The more I hear from "Fundamentalists" the more I appreciate his anti-religious positions as well (although it seems Quixotic to me).
posted by wobh at 1:13 AM on August 9, 2008


I have no idea what Dawkins actually says or means but I will happily condemn him because I feel that so doing makes me a rebel or an iconoclast or somesuch.

Thank you for encapsulating everything despicable about people who whine about Richard Dawkins.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:39 AM on August 9, 2008


chuckdarwin, this is a great program, thanks for posting it - I would have missed it otheriwse.
posted by triggerfinger at 3:49 AM on August 9, 2008


You are more than welcome. In the absence of good posting fodder, I will often try and post links to Cool Shit Americans Miss Out On.
posted by chuckdarwin at 4:05 AM on August 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


others who take Darwin WAY too far

What does this even mean? I mean, if you're talking about social darwinism, that's nothing to do with science and scientists and everything to do with, well, exactly the people that the anti-evolution brigades support politically. If you're not, I have no idea what this even means. Will you next tell us about taking gravity too far, or the weak force?
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:03 AM on August 9, 2008


I did not mind Dawkins tone so much since he sounds like a teacher talking down to absolute dunderheads, in the vain hope that maybe somebody will learn something.
posted by francesca too at 6:19 AM on August 9, 2008


Here's how to take gravity too far: tell me that the internal combustion engine, the production of works of art, my feelings for my mother and the thought of Lao Tzu can best be explaned by gravitational theory. Furthermore, tell me that if I do not know the minutiae of gravitational theory I am somehow not qualified to talk about any of the above.

In other words, over-stretch the envelope of your theory. If you believe that is not possible with Darwinism, because there is no limit to what Darwin's theory explains, well QED.


... everything to do with, well, exactly the people that the anti-evolution brigades support politically.


Really? The creationists are social Darwnists? Could be, but I've never heard them talk that way. Examples, please? It seems if would be a great way to score points against them: "Hey isn't that a from of Darwinism you are promoting, Mr. Bible-thumper?" Heh.
posted by Topkid at 6:35 AM on August 9, 2008


You are more than welcome. In the absence of good posting fodder, I will often try and post links to Cool Shit Americans Miss Out On.

And Brits like myself who through having not watched much TV recently have somehow completely missed that this had been broadcast. Thanks ChuckDarwin.
posted by electricinca at 7:32 AM on August 9, 2008


This program based on The Blind Watchmaker is also worth a viewing, not least for its Tron-like title sequence and the scene where Dawkins plays with an early CD-ROM:
Ah, I see some joker has programmed it with the Book of Genesis...
posted by chorltonmeateater at 8:29 AM on August 9, 2008


So he's not a scientist? Lovely.

Right. Because as we all know only scientists have the magical ability to think logically.
posted by illiad at 10:04 AM on August 9, 2008


A science background normally helps, especially if one is going to try and interpret scientific concepts for readers/viewers... but, I'm sure people will call me an elitist.

*shrug*

Natural selection is one of the cornerstones of modern biology. I'd rather not have an accountant or a ballerina lecturing me on it.
posted by chuckdarwin at 11:31 AM on August 9, 2008


chuckdarwin: I was responding to orthogonality's post above. I'm not a fan of people who dismiss others simply because of a lack of credentials. This isn't to say I wouldn't look askance at some dude who claimed he had a cure for cancer but didn't have an MD.

But on the topic at hand, disputing arguments isn't the sole province of trained scientists, even in science. Not that I know much of anything about David Stove, but if he's an extraordinarily bright individual it's not unlikely that he's well-versed in general science even if he doesn't hold a science degree. And like most extraordinarily bright individuals, he's likely well-enough versed to argue cogently about the topic.

I guess what I'm saying is that a science degree isn't some magical grail that bestows reason and critical thought, nor is it the only path to logical thinking.
posted by illiad at 12:17 PM on August 9, 2008


believing in the scientific method is like believing in a god, is it not?

i think darwin is correct, and i think dawkins is a genius of a marketer. but everyone who fights the old fight between science and faith on the grounds that science is logical and faith is for ignorant fuckoffs needs to wake up. people have the right to base their life around whatever they think will bring them joy and fulfillment. If that is a belief in science, great. If its a belief in god, cool. You will disagree, just don't get so angry at each other that you are unable to see the value in the others' work.
posted by Parallax.Error at 1:29 PM on August 9, 2008


Parallax.Error: I think you're missing the yawning distinction between science and faith. Science is self-corrective. It represents a model of reality that is constantly tested and whenever a facet is falsified that element is corrected. Religion offers nothing so rigorous for its model of reality. Fundamentally religion states "This is so, because this is so."

People like me get angry at religionists when they try to horn in on science with their "theories." Religion does NOT belong in science class, no more than a study of evolution belongs in Sunday School. Could you imagine the hue and cry a congregation would make if it became law that materialism and evolution were to be taught in Church? They'd be all outraged and crying about freedom of religion. What happened to "Teach the controversy!"?

It really wouldn't be such a problem if religion would stick to religion, but the nature of the beast from what I can see in the U.S. is such that religion is a political issue. The Religious Right want God's Law to be the law of the land. And that's just a different shade of Sharia Law in Islam.
posted by illiad at 1:37 PM on August 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


people have the right to base their life around whatever they think will bring them joy and fulfillment

No they don't.

For example, I think it would bring me joy and fulfillment to dump the raw sewage from my yacht into the marina bay.

Others think they will be fulfilled by preventing some people from marrying. Others think that destroying the West is the best thing ever. And a bunch more feel that the complete education of their children will not be accomplished without introducing their religious quackery into the public classroom.

You also present belief in science and belief in god as being opposing beliefs. This is patently untrue: science does not attempt to explain the why of existence, merely the how.

Believing in the scientific method is completely not like believing in a god, and it's rather dismaying that you could make that comment. I suggest you do some basic research and self-education: you can correct your mistaken assumptions with just a small amount of reading and thinking.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:45 PM on August 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


Believing in the scientific method is completely not like believing in a god

I heard Dawkins himself put the distinction most succinctly. At the end of a civilized one-hour interview on CBC radio, the interviewer asked: Is there anything that would change your mind and make you believe in god? He immediately replied: Yes. Evidence.

There it is in a nutshell. There is zero evidence for the existence of a god, however you define him, her, or it. There is a mountain range of evidence for evolution from every branch of biological science. In the absence of evidence, god-belief is no more than self-delusion and wishful thinking.
posted by binturong at 5:28 PM on August 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


Darwin's theory of evolution has been misunderstood, misrepresented and appropriated for quite some time and by many. In order to support the assertion that humans were created by some god, some ridiculed D's theory because it would, in their minds, imply that humans descend from inferior apes and that humans aren't but apes indeed. Some other used the evolution theory - survival of the fittest - to support eugenetic and racist social theories in an attempt to present abuses and prevarication as "natural" , therefore unavoidable.

Dawkins may be perceived as a "prick" , as some said, yet that isn't necessarily an undesiderable perception , depending of course on the audience. Maybe some other kind of "celebrity" is needed to appeal to a wider audience.
posted by elpapacito at 5:42 PM on August 9, 2008


the interviewer asked: Is there anything that would change your mind and make you believe in god? He immediately replied: Yes. Evidence.

And what he means by evidence is scientific-style evidence. That's like asking a fundamentalist if anything would make her change her mind and believe in evolution and the immediate reply being: "Yes. Scriptural exegesis."

I agree with illiad that science and religion should be taught in very different classes. There are methodological differences, so it's silly to ask God to fit into your self-correcting model or to require that the Scientific Method be found in prophetic revelation. It's like trying to use a peer-reviewed journal to prove your children love you.

The difficutlies arise when fundamentalists try to pass of their beliefs as science or as a replacement for science. (Or, when scientistic folks attempt to pass of their theories as religions or as a replacement for faith.)

As for me, I use both every day. I trust my friends and I trust my arithmetic. There's relatively little science involved in the former, and relatively little faith involved in the latter, and that works out fine.
posted by Topkid at 8:21 PM on August 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure if Dawkins is an asshole.. more like, he truly enjoys having question-and-answer sessions with the lowest common denominator. It must be like shooting fish in a barrel when he was at Brigham Young (and the Liberty University people took over the debate). He shot them down one after the other. Must be his accent. Anyone who reads "The Selfish Gene" or his other scientific books will realize he's just a really smart scientist. His atheism is scientifically supported but is more of a side project for him. He's just enjoying the fame for now but atheism is NOT his career, passion, or life's work.
posted by ChickenringNYC at 8:29 PM on August 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


Are parts 2 and 3 up anywhere?
posted by reishus at 8:32 PM on August 9, 2008


Nevermind, I'll pay better attention next time.
posted by reishus at 8:33 PM on August 9, 2008


Pope Guilty: others who take Darwin WAY too far

What does this even mean?


As one example, memetics.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:01 PM on August 9, 2008


And what he means by evidence is scientific-style evidence.

Well, I think that if Dawkins had evidence from personal experience or revelation he would take that into account. However, I suspect that god ignores him.
posted by binturong at 11:36 PM on August 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


And what he means by evidence is scientific-style evidence. That's like asking a fundamentalist if anything would make her change her mind and believe in evolution and the immediate reply being: "Yes. Scriptural exegesis."

I have to be honest - I don't understand this point. 'Scientific-style evidence' surely means good-quality, trustworthy evidence, you seem to be using the term here as a way of damning it.
posted by liquidindian at 2:46 AM on August 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


The Fossil Record and some religious writings (Scriptual exegesis) are not remotely similar, and I think your analogy falls apart here.
posted by chuckdarwin at 3:43 AM on August 10, 2008


However, I suspect that god ignores him.

That is the silliest thing I've ever read.
posted by chuckdarwin at 3:44 AM on August 10, 2008


Sorry, my sarcasm meter is fucked.
posted by chuckdarwin at 3:46 AM on August 10, 2008


OK, sorry to be unclear, I'll try again.

Belief in God is methodologically different from belief in evolution. That's why so many people, highly intelligent on most scales, do not have any real problem believing in both. (EG, various nobel laureates, etc.)

The word "belief" in any religious context tends to mean faith, or belief without or sometimes despite evidence. So asking for evidence is really dodging the question.

I'm not running down science. It's done a damn good job of explaining the nature of the universe. (I have a degree in it, even, for those who care about that sort of thing.) I'm merely stating that asking for evidence when what is required is faith-- practically by definition-- is silly. It's a bit like saying, "I'll believe in intangible concepts the moment I can lay my hands on one."

I am genuinely sorry if this is not clear.
posted by Topkid at 9:19 PM on August 10, 2008


I think I get it now. Religion doesn't need evidence because it is religion.
posted by liquidindian at 11:25 PM on August 10, 2008


I'm merely stating that asking for evidence when what is required is faith-- practically by definition-- is silly.

Why would you believe in something that requires you to disregard evidence, or the lack thereof?
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:24 AM on August 11, 2008


Why would you believe in something that requires you to disregard evidence, or the lack thereof?

The normal answer to this (perfectly reasonable) question is this: "I had a religious experience. The FSM touched me with his noodly appendage, etc."

As if that fucking explains anything.
posted by chuckdarwin at 2:18 AM on August 11, 2008


Is this the Stephen J Gould "different magisteria" argument, essentially?
posted by liquidindian at 2:39 AM on August 11, 2008


Why would you believe in something that requires you to disregard evidence, or the lack thereof?

This gets to the crux of the matter. If you want to successfully argue with religious types (e.g. convince them, or get anywhere) you must understand their answers to this question. (If all you want to do is make snarky comments to the peanut gallery who already shares your worldview, that's cool. No need to read any further.)

(1) One normal answer to this (perfectly reasonable) question is this: trust.

Evidence that my wife has been cheating on me will be disregarded or tossed off with a laugh. We trust one another. Similarly, I have several friends who will deal with me honestly and will not betray me. If you have evidence otherwise, your evidence is wrong.

Perhaps some portion of the mefi readership does not have any relationships in which trust is a factor. Sorry. If you consider all forms of human trust and trustworthiness to be naiveté, you cannot possibly understand this argument. However, most people have, over time, built up these kinds of relationships.

(2) Another normal answer to this (perfectly reasonable) question is this: I believe the authorities that argue for this postion more than I believe the authorities that argue against it.

This is why human beings believe the overwhelming majority of things.

Most things we believe in require us to disregard evidence, becasue most arguments have two or more sides. If we disbelieve solipsism, if we believe the Warren Commission report, if we believe string theory, most of us do not do so because we have personally gathered the relevant evidence. We trust the authorities who have.

We constantly disregard or ignore evidence that contradicts the authorities we have come to trust.
posted by Topkid at 10:56 AM on August 11, 2008


Oops, hit return before I was done. Next half:

Sooooo... how do we sucessfully argue with people who believe the Bible (Torah, Koran, etc.) because they trust it and recognize its authority as legitimate?

I've found that tyring to undermine their trust or make fun of it is not partucularly helpful. The FSM is funny, but ineffective as a technique. The creationists have fun making fun of science as well, but it's not going to convince anyone.

The best technique I found is this: GIVEN the Koran (Bible, Torah, etc.) is a trustworthy record of revelation and prophecy, and a quide to a good life, exactly where does it contradict the theory of natural selection? Then, once you've really got your head around their answer to that, the trick is to explain that there are theologically sound and deeply religious authorities who might disagree. Depending on the faith and worldview of the person you are working with, you can use popular figures such as C.S. Lewis or G.K. Chesterton; philosophical types like A.J. Heschel, Teilhard de Chardin, or Kierkegaard, church leaders such as Muhammad Sayyid al-Tantawi, etc. etc.

Ridicule or lack of understanding may be fun on an internet message board, but it does nothing to convince actual opponents.
posted by Topkid at 11:24 AM on August 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Topkid, I agree...

I remember having a chat with my late father's Evangelical wife... and the end result was her saying "You'll change your mind one day."

She HAD to say that. She had *believe* in that idea... because otherwise she wasn't doing her duty to god (trying to save me). For her, failure was merely temporary.
posted by chuckdarwin at 1:58 PM on August 11, 2008


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