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The Emptiness of Theology--Richard Dawkins

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  • TheShapman1@aol.com
    A dismally unctuous editorial in the British newspaper the Independent recently asked for a reconciliation between science and theology. It remarked that
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 1, 2007
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      A dismally unctuous editorial in the British newspaper the Independent
      recently asked for a reconciliation between science and "theology." It remarked
      that "People want to know as much as possible about their origins." I certainly
      hope they do, but what on earth makes one think that theology has anything
      useful to say on the subject?
      Science is responsible for the following knowledge about our origins. We know
      approximately when the universe began and why it is largely hydrogen. We
      know why stars form and what happens in their interiors to convert hydrogen to
      the other elements and hence give birth to chemistry in a world of physics. We
      know the fundamental principles of how a world of chemistry can become
      biology through the arising of self-replicating molecules. We know how the
      principle of self-replication gives rise, through Darwinian selection, to all life,
      including humans.
      It is science and science alone that has given us this knowledge and given
      it, moreover., in fascinating, over-whelming, mutually confirming detail. On
      every one of these questions theology has held a view that has been
      conclusively proved wrong. Science has eradicated smallpox, can immunize against most
      previously deadly viruses, can kill most previously deadly bacteria. Theology
      has done nothing but talk of pestilence as the wages of sin. Science can
      predict when a particular comet will reappear and, to the second, when the next
      eclipse will appear. Science has put men on the moon and hurtled reconnaissance
      rockets around Saturn and Jupiter. Science can tell you the age of a
      particular fossil and that the Turin Shroud is a medieval fake. Science knows the
      precise DNA instructions of several viruses and will, in the lifetime of many
      present readers, do the same for the human genome.
      What has theology ever said that is of the smallest use to anybody? When has
      theology ever said anything that is demonstrably true and is not obvious? I
      have listened to theologians, read them, debated against them. I have never
      heard any of them ever say anything of the smallest use, anything that was not
      either platitudinously obvious or downright false. If all the achievements of
      scientists were wiped out tomorrow, there would be no doctors but witch
      doctors, no transport faster than horses, no computers, no printed books, no
      agriculture beyond subsistence peasant farming. If all the achievements of
      theologians were wiped out tomorrow, would anyone notice the smallest difference?
      Even the bad achievements of scientists, the bombs, and sonar-guided whaling
      vessels work! The achievements of theologians don't do anything, don't affect
      anything, don't mean anything. What makes anyone think that "theology" is a
      subject at all?



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    • seekeththee
      ... theology is a ... I guess we can t claim that only creationists cut and paste rather than discuss and support their own arguments. This is creation
      Message 2 of 2 , Dec 1, 2007
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        --- In creationevolutiondebate@yahoogroups.com, TheShapman1@... wrote:

        >The achievements of theologians don't do anything, don't affect
        > anything, don't mean anything. What makes anyone think that
        "theology" is a
        > subject at all?

        I guess we can't claim that only creationists cut and paste rather
        than discuss and support their own arguments.

        This is "creation evolution debate", not "atheism theism debate". Of
        course atheism and theism are a major part of the issue, in that
        creationists believe that evolution is about atheism. So far what you
        have posted, that seems to be the case. Evolution stands on the
        evidence found in scientific methodology, its not based on the lack of
        evidence for creationism, or atheist objections the lack of science in
        theology.

        So in order to answer your (Dawkins) question "What on earth makes one
        think that theology has anything useful to say on the subject? The
        answer was already answered and it is personal belief of theists.
        Dawkins hopes people want to know as much about their origins, but
        some people think there is more.

        Talk about the fallacy of generalizations, you or Dawkins by proxy
        says "Theology has done nothing but talk of pestilence as the wages of
        sin." Good grief. Theology does more than that. It talks about love,
        forgiveness, trust, giving. The problem is that there are fundies on
        the rightthat think that religion does nothing but good, and fundies
        on the left like you that think religion does nothing but bad.

        Next question: "What has theology ever said that is of the smallest
        use to anybody?" My understanding is that it gives people faith and
        hope, it gives them a standard to live by. The problem is that
        fundies like Pat Roberston are just like Dawkins where they can't
        handle people living by anybody else's religious standards other than
        their own.

        You (via Dawkins) ask "When has theology ever said anything that is
        demonstrably true and is not obvious?" I guess the big one is
        believing in Jesus Christ and you will be saved. Of course that cannot
        be demonstrated, but it also can't be disproved. One of my best
        friends was out of control, his third marriage was dissolving, he had
        no focus. He found religion and what a well balanced person he has
        turned into. Religion works, but apparently not for everyone. He was
        an obnoxious nasty person, and now he is not. In the case of somebody
        like moronitz, he is still a nasty person.

        Theology is not science. The only people that think it is are
        creationists, and fundie atheists who want a strawman argument to
        knock down.

        Truman
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