I was walking to the lab this morning, when I was stopped by a vaguely hippy-like woman handing out pamphlets. I always feel a bit sorry for people handing out pamphlets as they mostly get ignored, so I took one and decided to take a look at it. It was a religious one 'Does God care about suffering and if so why does it exist' or something like that.
My religious views can best be currently discribed as 'Single and Searching' so I decided to have a look through it. Before I go on to disect the thing though, I will make a quick disclaimer that unless your religious beliefs involve deliberately hurting people then I will respect them. I have no issue of any peoples of any religion, especially not christianity which I rather like because the Christian God actually had a go at being human for a while, which seems to me a sensible and charitable thing to do.
Religion is a touchy subject, but here I go anyway:
The first issue adressed was, unsurprisingly, does God exist. Unfortunately rather than going for the reasons I would have chosen (gap between the Mind and the body, the brain in a vat hypothesis, no fixed truth etc) they went for the Arguement from Design. Namely, everything is amazing, the world is so perfect therefore it must be designed. They even used Paley's wristwatch arguement, they went as far as to use the damn eye as well. This made me angry (actually it made me dissolve into giggles, but I should have been angry). Firstly because the whole eye arguement was debunked way back by Darwin, and secondly because if the eye is (as they claim) "Designed so that no camera could have done better" why are so many people wearing glasses? Was there a shortage of perfect eyes? Do only some people get them?
It had a nice phrase about the bible as well "No book has such credentials for historical accuracy". I'm still thinking about that and it baffles me no matter how I look at it.
My favourite bit though was the paragraph about the human 'unique blood system'. I can only presume they mean 'unique' in it's traditional sense of 'possessed by all vertebrates.' The quick science-babble about the blood system was, though, correct. Simplified but correct, which I don't mind at all. They just seemed to draw the oddest conclusions about it.
After all the waffle about the design of the earth, I was expecting it to go downhill from there. Surprisingly, it actually went uphill, dragging itself out of the shady science and giving a reasonable bit about free will. No doubt it would have annoyed the philosophers as much as the bad science annoyed me, but as a lay-person I didn't spot too many blinding errors.
Interestingly the picture of Adam and Eve in Eden had her handing over what was obviously and distinctly a pear. Not an apple. I've heard boths figs and bananas postulated as the actual fruit (my vote is with figs, personally) but never pears before.
After the free will part though, it seemed to take a bit of a fall again. Apparently, we are in the Last Days before the fall. This is because of the Wars, earthquakes and diseases that have been recently appearing in great quantities. It doesn't seem to have occured to the author that Wars, Earthquakes and diseases have always been happening in great quantities pretty much forever in human history. Seriously though, in English history (which I know most about) it's very hard to find a period of more than about 30 years without a war, disease, or natural disaster happening somewhere. Think of the plague, which wiped out almost 1/3 of the population.
It then sort of leaves the rails a bit and heads into lala land. Alright, probably not entirely fair, but I was a bit fed up with it at this point (the wristwatch arguement was still annoying me). The last section was talking happily about after judgement day, for a quick summary read through the last section of 'The Last Battle' by C.S Lewis, because what they were saying was pretty much word for word from the bit where Narnia is destroyed. All the good people will go through into this amazing 'new world', the sick will be better, the dead will come back to life, and presumably the space will be infinate because there are going to be an awful lot of people floating around. Oddly enough it never mentions what happens to be bad people, presumably we get to stay on whats left of the earth which, given the population will have gone down considerably, probably won't be too bad an option. We'll still get sick and die though.
They also mentioned who would be chosen as 'good' although they were remarkably cagey about it. I thought I was in the clear at first because all it was talking about was 'brotherly love' stuff and I'm quite a nice person. However at the end it sneaked in a clause about being and living 'under gods rule.'
Which, as I eat shellfish, means I'm stuffed. :(
Narrow-minded, short-sighted university administrators
3 hours ago in The Phytophactor