Monthly Archives: November 2013

The Business of Promoting Absurdities

Mehran Banaei

In the spring of 2000, Audrey Kishline, the founder of “Moderation Management,” one of the pioneers of the “harm reduction” movement to battle alcoholism was involved in an automobile accident having a blood alcohol level of 0.26, which is three times more than the legal limit. The defender of “controlled drinking” and an avid opponent of the “abstinence module,” being totally intoxicated drove the wrong way on a Washington State highway and smashed her car into an incoming vehicle, killing the other driver and his 12-year-old daughter. State troopers found her unconscious with a half-empty bottle of vodka by her side. Kishline was charged with vehicular homicide and sentenced to 54 months in jail. After this tragic incident, she was at least honest enough to admit in prison that her “moderation management program” is a “program for alcoholics covering up their own alcoholism.” The question is: Did she not know prior to this tragedy that her proposed moderation treatment is ineffective?

Drubwang Konchok Norbu Rinpoche the famous Tibetan Yogi Master, at his old age cut his hair in a ritual preparation of his death. However, his “Holiness” the Dalai Lama advised him that his presence in this world is still needed. He ought to live longer to preserve the Tibetan teachings and help his people. Rinpoche agreed, allowed his hair to grow again and decided to stay alive until the age of 100 to help his people.

It may be important to let the disciples and faithfuls to think that a Master has some control over the timing of one’s own death; however, the Master himself would know better that he has no power over his death or others. Contrary to the proclamation made, Rinpoche died in 2007 at the age of 85. Did Rinpoche and his “Holiness” the Dalai Lama not know what it means to be a mortal being?

Charles Templeton was once a prominent and successful Canadian evangelist. For 20 years Templeton played an active role in propagation of Christianity. While in public he gave the impression that he fully adheres to his Presbyterian faith, in private he actually wrestled with the core tenets of Christian faith. He and his fellow evangelist Billy Graham traveled together across North America and Europe to preach the word of God to thousands of enthusiasts gathered in sports arenas. Templeton gradually started to drift away from Billy Graham ideologically. In 1957, after a long struggle with doubt, Templeton finally declared himself an agnostic. In two of his post-Christian books: An Anecdotal Memoir (1983) and Farewell to God: My Reasons for Rejecting the Christian Faith (1995), Templeton admitted to have had great difficulties with the Biblical account of creation, the authenticity of the Bible and the nature of God. In essence, he found what he was preaching to be an incomprehensible theology.

According to a 2010 study conducted by Daniel Dennett and Linda LaScola of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University, there are many active clergies similar to Templeton whom on the condition of anonymity have confessed to the researchers not to actually believe in the Christian God. What prevents these clergies from coming out of the closet is the economic consequences i.e. loosing their job.

On the other side of the spectrum, Anthony Flew, a long time notorious champion of atheism, struggled to keep justifying an accidental universe despite all odds, something that his long academic career was based on. In early 2004, he abruptly abandoned his disbelief in God and converted to Deism. The dramatic change of mind was based on scientific findings, while in the past he habitually used science to debunk theism. The structure of the DNA double helix made Flew to finally bow down to the Design Argument. This makes one seriously wonder where he obtained the conviction and confidence in atheism, and whether he was ever doubtful of the very beliefs that he was urging others to adhere to all along.

These examples show that Mankind often plays embarrassing games with his own mind. In deceiving others, he first must work hard to deceive himself, as a result often ending up being the first who pays the price of deception. Thus, not surprisingly cognitive dissonance is one of the most extensively studied areas in social psychology where there is an ongoing conflict between one’s vested interests, desires and the inner voice.

What is the psychological state of a man who builds a career on obtuse ideas that are indefensible and contrary to basic common sense, ideas that there is no shred of evidence to support them? For instance, have you ever heard of anything more ludicrous than a claim, which stipulates that complex design aimlessly happens, rather than being planned ahead by an intelligent designer? Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss advocate that this vast universe was created out of nothing with no primary cause, and then finely tuned by sheer luck, resulting in endless complex life forms with conscious awareness. “The Greatest Show on Earth” evolved randomly with no external guidance, but by a blind, unconscious automatic process. Forces of nature and natural selection at work are the given explanation for the existence and apparently purposeful form of all life, itself having no purpose at all. It has no mind and no mind’s eye. It does not plan for the future. “It has no vision, no foresight, no sight at all. If it can be said to play the role of watchmaker in nature, it is the blind watchmaker.” The zenith of such an absurdity is that this belief is shamelessly presented in a prestigious package labeled as modern science with one primary goal: to exclude God the First Cause and to counter the intelligent design argument advocated by theist scientists and philosophers like Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Newton, Paley and the Islamic scientists of the Golden Age.

Below is a picture of the inside of a Rolex watch, which is intelligently designed and manufactured by Swiss engineers for a specific purpose. Is there any doubt that this watch has a designer and maker?

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The photograph below is a magnified picture of supposedly not designed tights joints of Issus, a planthopper insect, one of the fastest accelerators in the animal kingdom. What kind of logic would justify the claim that it is made by random mutation with no purpose or foresight? The components in the machinery below are much finer and complex than a Rolex watch. It requires greater precision and engineering expertise. It is a living machine with consciousness, yet atheists are resistant to acknowledge that the organism is designed because of the inevitable implications.

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How did atheists manage to pass premature conjectures as science and get away with it so easily? They use subtle techniques that obscure the line between persuasion and deception. At first they deviously changed the most fundamental and natural question in Man’s mind from the time immemorial: How did the universe come to be, is it caused or uncaused, to the nonsensical question of: Are “science” and “religion” inherently incompatible with each other? Having successfully interjected blurry concepts like “science”, “religion” and “God”, their subsequent common campaign strategy has been to be vociferous and vigorously popularize their own atheistic agenda. They claim to be standing on the rational side and wrap their ideas in a nice attractive package labeled modern science. They keep using words such as reason, logic, rationality, science, knowledge, open-mind and free-thinkers, regardless of how preposterous their overall claim sounds like. Conversely, they stigmatize their opponents as religious, irrational and close-minded creationists and even frequently demonize them as fanatically dangerous, etc. They pretend that their atheistic view is a product of rationality and scientific approach, but theism is a product of psychological need and desperation. In their research, case studies and television documentaries they are selective to that, which is supportive to their argument, i.e. to dismiss the notion of “God” they only concentrate on cracked pot figures. They repeatedly make inconclusive and circumstantial claims, then get a few of their like-minded colleagues to say: “Yes, he is right.” From that they make a circuitous conclusion which has nothing to do with science, for example, Darwin forces us to reject the belief in a Benevolent Grand Planner.

In debates, they are very choosy about who do they debate with. They dodge tough questions, constantly interrupt their opponents or the interviewer, repeatedly speak over them and spread misinformation. They appeal to fear mongering, misrepresent their opponents’ position, for example if one disagrees with the mechanism of Natural Selection, he is then painted as “anti-evolution”, “anti-science” or “history-denier”. They make giant bluffs and hope that no one would catch their bluff, i.e. Darwin blew away the Teleological Argument, a self-created universe from nothing or Multiverse. They maintain a tight grip over a favoured scientific paradigm in academic settings where the preferred ideas are institutionalized as truth. Subsequently, many of these atheists in the process have gradually come to believe their own lies.

Academic science is a profession just like all other professions. Indeed, in a material world where crooks can be found even among federal judges, police chiefs and heads of states, it is erroneous to assume that there are no crooks and opportunists among atheists, professors and scientists, and that they are immune from the alluring temptations of wealth and power.

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“The Greatest Show on Earth”

Mehran Banaei

Richard Dawkins, in his book The Greatest Show on Earth (2009) claims that life is not only the greatest show on earth, but it may very well be the greatest show in the entire universe. What is being great in this show, is of course the Darwinian evolution, the idea that life evolved from non-life by random processes of Natural Selection with no external guidance, the end result of which is the astounding variety and complexity of the interconnected web of life. Dawkins metaphorically refers to the tapestry of life as a show; the lushness of the natural world has made this show the greatest of all. Of course, for a Darwinian materialist the Oscar for this great performance indisputably goes to none but Natural Selection for its unparalleled creative achievement and hard work.

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Let us continue using Dawkins’ own metaphor. A typical low budget show in the movie industry requires a crew that consists of: Investors and financiers, executive producer, assistant producer, director, first assistant director, second assistant director, unit director, line producer, production manager, unit manager, writer, screenwriter, dialogue editor, cast, production coordinator, post-production supervisor, production assistant, script supervisor, subject consultants, stunts, stunt coordinator, extras, casting director, location manager, assistant location manager, location scout, location assistant, location production assistant, legal counsels, animation director, accountant, insurance broker, system administrator, production designer, art director, assistant art director, illustrator, set designer, set decorator, set dresser, make-up artists, hairdressers, cameraman, assistant cameraman, rigger, cinematographer, director of photography, film loader, digital imaging technician, negative cutter, lighting technician, sound engineer, mixer, re-recording mixer, construction coordinator, head carpenter, weapons master, animal trainers, costume designer, costume supervisor, art finisher, choreographer, graphic designer, special effects supervisor, visual effects producer, film editor, colourist, composer, compositor, Foley artist, accent trainer, onsite catering team, security personnel, motion control technician/operator, promoters and advertising team, distributors.

There were over 700 people involved in the production of the 2003 not so great movie: The Matrix Revolutions. Estimated $110,000,000.00 was spent on this below average Hollywood production. Can we imagine the size of the crew, the amount of preparation involved, the essential resources and the creative talent required for the greatest show of cosmic proportion? It ought to be unimaginably an enormous project. However, according to Dawkins this greatest show on earth somehow required no producer, no director, no planning, no designer, no budget, no production, no foresight or self-awareness. It is totally a self-made chance production, popped out of nowhere without any guiding intelligence, yet managed to claim the Cosmic Oscar in every category.

In light of the fact that no show was ever made the way Dawkins suggests, let alone being the greatest ever on earth. In light of the fact that no watch or anything resembling a watch was ever made by a “blind watchmaker”, if there is one at all. Would it then not be natural at least to be a bit curious about Natural Selection’s origin? Selection, natural or otherwise, cannot be autonomous or independent from the general creative processes operating within our universe of cause and effect with set physical laws. One would expect Dawkins to elaborate if there is indeed no Lawgiver involved, how did Natural Selection acquire its extraordinary know-how and successfully got involved in show business or watch manufacturing? Does it act based on its own volition, or is it programed to function within defined parameters? What is always missing in Dawkins writings, is exactly what all fundamentalist Darwinian evolutionists have been unable to explain all along.

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