" Wired " atheists


While waiting for my wife to check out at the supermarket a few days ago I was scanning the magazine rack and saw the latest edition of “Wired” magazine. www.wired.com/wired/archive/14.11/atheism.html

An interesting article. Comments?



Looks like a bunch of wannabe-intellectual snobbery to me. Not a big surprise…


OXFORD IS THE CAPITAL of reason, its Jerusalem. The walls glint gold in the late afternoon, as waves or particles of light scatter off the ancient bricks. Logic Lane, a tiny road under a low, right-angled bridge, cuts sharply across to the place where Robert Boyle formulated his law on gases and Robert Hooke first used a microscope to see a living cell. A few steps away is the memorial to Percy Bysshe Shelley. Here he lies, sculpted naked in stone, behind the walls of the university that expelled him almost 200 years ago – for atheism.

You must go the the banks of Cam to drink learning’s cold streams.
Oxford men mainly talk. The university was founded, possibly by Alfred the Great, to train priests and other clergy. Learning forms a whole, and subjects other than theology were admitted. Some flourished under the patronage of the church.
When the patronage of the church is rejected, arts subjects instantly collapse. No significant literature has been produced at Oxford since JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis, there is not even much serious criticism, only the inanity of feminist and post-structuralist studies.
Science can limp on a little longer, until eventually it too succumbs to a utilitarian attitude on the part of both students and sponsors. Whilst student numbers are enjoying unprecedented expansion, science departments are beginning to close. Not yet at Oxford, but the Physics department at nearby Reading will go in 2010. Sciences are hard, and students know there is more money to be had in marketing, finance, and administration. The animal testing lab at Oxford was attacked by protestors, and the justification given for the experiements was purely pragmatic, couched in terms of medical usefulness. The days when basic science could be undertaken for its own sake are fast departing.

“You might say that because science can explain just about everything but not quite, it’s wrong to say therefore we don’t need God. It is also, I suppose, wrong to say we don’t need the Flying Spaghetti Monster, unicorns, Thor, Wotan, Jupiter, or fairies at the bottom of the garden. There’s an infinite number of things that some people at one time or another have believed in, and an infinite number of things that nobody has believed in. If there’s not the slightest reason to believe in any of those things, why bother? The onus is on somebody who says, I want to believe in God, Flying Spaghetti Monster, fairies, or whatever it is. It is not up to us to disprove it.”

So why don’t I believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster? Not because of scinece, but because of scholarship, which tells me that the concept was invented by an atheist as an example of an absurd religion. Thor, Wotan and Jupiter were pagan deities. The propositions that “there exist imortal beings of great power who intervene on Earth” and “there exists one omnipotent being who is the ultimate cause of all that exists” are not very similar - Dawkins is being misled by our habit of using the same term, “god”, for both entities.

Secondly, Christians do not offer a “No Evidence” position. Most of the evidence is not, however, empirical evidence of the sort that is ameanable to a scientific treatment. When I discuss the evidence for God with atheists, almost inevitably they focus on one small area, miracles, because miracles are empirical events and can in principle be investigated by science. However they are not the mainstay of the argument.

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