And it’s even worse than I expected. I had presentiments of failure: last night he tweeted this at me.
Talk about completely missing the point…he had previously written a post quoting Saul Bellow saying science was unsatisfying; I was baffled about why he thought Bellow was a particularly insightful contributor on this topic, especially since his comment was so banal and ignorant. I was NOT suggesting that he needed to get a better-ranked author to convince me; I’ve got nothing against Bellow’s literary contributions. But that seems to be the only thing he took away from my post.
So now he’s put up a short post (promising more later) which consists of little more than a quotation from Margaret Atwood.
I think that the religious strand is probably part of human hard-wiring…by religious strand, I don’t mean any particular religion, I mean the part of human beings that feels that the seen world is not the only world, that the world you see is not the only world that there is and that it can become awestruck. If that is the case, religion was selected for in the Pleistocene by many, many millennia of human evolution.
Like the Bellow quote, I really have nothing against the source; in fact, I’ve enjoyed the writings of both Atwood and Bellow. My complaint is with the abysmal vacuity of the content, and the fact that Kloor seems to be playing a game of Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra. It doesn’t advance the argument to quote someone else saying something wrong. (Although he probably feels it gives him cover.)
I will congratulate him on dodging my accommodationist bingo card — there were so many possibilities to fit into a mere 25 boxes, and “religion is hardwired” didn’t make the cut, because I really didn’t think he’d be so stupid as to trot that one out.
“Awe” is probably hardwired as an emotional response. The effort to try to comprehend the world around us is probably hardwired into our brains. Religion isn’t. Religion is a parasitic phenomenon that short-circuits honest sensations, the desire to understand and our humility before the complexity of the universe, and plugs in a false belief that we do understand everything to resolve the two. That’s my objection: not that there are sincere and interesting questions about our place in the cosmos, but that religion lies and claims to have all the answers. Yet when we actually look at what religion focuses on, it’s all petty trivial dogma and weird justifications for tribal cosmetics.
What the New Atheists actually argue is that we aren’t giving up wonder, but that we focus on real paths to knowing and understanding, rather than the delusions of prophecy and pettifogging scriptural interpretation and blithe acceptance of the inanity of “god did it.”
And then this final gambit is ludicrous.
You’d that think the atheists who are evolutionary biologists would be able to process this with their super-rational minds. And that they (Myers, Coyne et al) would be smart enough to recognize that one-size-fits all denunciation is likely counterproductive to their goal.
There must be a name for this logical fallacy: “You accept [broad scientific discipline], therefore you ought to accept [my quirky and unfounded personal interpretation of it]!”
I have little hope that his continuation of this discussion will be any better.
Sweet jebus, he’s continuing — and just when I can’t imagine him getting any dumber, he says this:
I don’t understand why he’s making such a big issue of me quoting writers like Saul Bellow and Margaret Atwood.
Aargh! No! I haven’t made a big issue of it — I was baffled by why he was making those quotes the centerpiece of his argument, and why he was making such a big issue of the quotes. But that’s all he sees.
I’m done with him. He’s too stupid to argue with further.