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Welcome to ARN-Announce
Dennis Wagner, editor

Number Sixty-four, April 7, 2007

ARN-Announce is the on-line announcement and information service of Access Research Network. ARN generates announcements to the current ARN Announce list as information becomes available. You have received this message because your email address was submitted to this list. Subscription and Unsubscription information is at the end of this message.

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IN THIS ISSUE OF ARN-ANNOUNCE:

  • NEW VIDEO: Teaching Origins Objectively—The Kansas State Science Hearings
  • The ARN Global Warming Resource List
  • Mini-Series: The New Militant Atheists by Denyse O’Leary

NEW VIDEO: Teaching Science Objectively – Exposing the Evolution Controversy

If you are looking for the best bang for the buck in ID videos, this has to be it. A new documentary about Kansas Science Hearings features twenty three expert witnesses who testified before the Kansas State Science Standards Committee about two distinctly different models for teaching about the ultimate question or origins to children in Kansas schools. They included 5 PhD biologists, 4 PhD biochemists, 3 PhD Chemists, 1 PhD Geneticist, 1 PhD Quantum Physicist, 3 Philosophers of Science, 1 PhD Professor of Education, 3 biology teachers, a Muslim science writer and an attorney. It includes some of the prominent ID authors like Michael Behe, Stephen Meyer, and Jonathan Wells, as wells as some names you’ve probably read about but never seen in person. It is available in two editions including a fast paced two hour documentary and a 5 hour extended archive edition that includes all the hearings exhibits and transcripts.

 

The ARN Global Warming Resource List

  Global warming is back in the news this week with the Supreme Court consensus (5-4) opinion that the word "pollution" in the EPA Clean Air Act should be redefined to include C02, and the release of the IPCC Working Group II Summary for Policy Makers. Since the media seems fixated on keeping the global warming issues in the news every week, sooner or latter you are going to be required to offer up your opinion on the topic in the school classroom, around the workplace water cooler, or at the family dinner table. With that in mind, we've put together a global warming resource list to help you sort out the science from the politics. Whether you are an alarmist, a skeptic, a scientist or a homemaker, you should find something of interest on the topic here.

 

 Mini-Series: The New Militant Atheists by Denyse O’Leary

  

In this thirteen part series ARN Correspondent Denyse O'Leary takes a in depth look at the spate of anti-God books and other promotions for the new Church of Atheism, and suspects that atheism was way more fun in the days when it was just a quiet, Godless Sunday at home.

Part 1: What's with the recent anti-God crusade, supposedly in the name of "science"? Recently, spurred perhaps by the growing failures of materialism, materialist atheists have attempted to institutionalize their beliefs as a Church of Atheism. And they are full, chock full, of angst.

Part 2: Antireligious zealotry riffs off materialist science Put simply: Materialist science is in trouble. And the trouble does not stem from traditional religions, though materialists are - as one might expect - quick to blame their troubles on traditional religions and to reassure themselves that - despite all the evidence - traditional religions are doomed. But, materialists are also smug and thus cannot imagine or respond to any source of trouble arising from their interpretation of the evidence. They have apparently decided instead to target the Christian religion as the source of their problems.

Part 3: The Beyond Belief conference Goodness, it's hard to think of a single reason for joining these people's sect unless you have a lot of hostility to vent! And $30 million from Bill Gates isn't going to change that. Actually, it's hard to tell whether some of these people hate Christians more than they hate each other. Thus I would argue against any atheist getting involved with them, on mental health grounds alone.

Part 4: The "Blasphemy Challenge" As Jerry Adler's Newsweek article admits, most theologians do not interpret blasphemy against the Holy Spirit as simply making a statement of that type, so most of the kids are probably doing it for a lark, but their atheist elders are deadly serious. Atheists don't tend to have had many children, so they must recruit.

Part 5: Why the acclaim for atheist authors? One thing I have learned from a lifetime in media is that most media people are unidirectional skeptics - they are very skeptical of non-materialism but not the least bit skeptical of materialism. Two things follow: Journalists in the legacy mainstream media are regularly astonished by phenomena that better informed people might have predicted - for example the prevalence of religious belief in a high tech age.

Part 6: Profiles in militant atheists - Daniel Dennett and Breaking the Spell In Dennett's Breaking the Spell, as in the entire recent spate of atheist books, there isn't a single new idea of any significance, as noted earlier. The two main things that the current crop of atheist books have going for them is the unperturbable certainty of their authors that they are conferring a great public benefit - a certainty that they uncritically project onto others - and the assurance of a good deal of flattering attention from the legacy media.

The flattering attention usually will usually not include references to the highly illiberal elements of the anti-God extremists' message - elements that typically come to the fore whenever Darwinism is questioned, on whatever ground.

Part 7: Profiles in militant atheists - Richard Dawkins and the God Delusion Ever since American Microsoft billionaire Charles Simonyi paid for his chair at Oxford in the Public Understanding of Science, zoologist Richard Dawkins has promoted atheism and an extreme form of Darwinism as the best way of doing science. In recent years, however, he has become best known for using his chair to promote atheism, rather than for promoting science ideas. His actual ideas, the selfish gene and the meme (a hypothetical mental variant of the hypothetical selfish gene) have not fared well under analysis, but no matter.

Part 8: Profiles in militant atheists - Sam Harris and Letters to a Christian Nation From what I can tell, Harris is misplaced among professional materialist atheists. As David J. Theroux notes, he has bought into a variety of New Age and Eastern beliefs such as reincarnation. That has subjected him to many materialist attacks. Remember, materialists "know" that there is no soul.

Harris's dilemma has a simple explanation: He is in neuroscience, and he knows perfectly well that neuroscience does not confirm materialism.

Part 9: Darwinism and militant atheism Of course, some would argue, not every Darwinist is like that. Perhaps not, but it is a reliable indicator of the true state of affairs that the "moderates" tolerate the "extremists" quite well.

Indeed, the Beyond Belief conference makes the true direction quite clear: Those theistic or Eastern traditions that are willing to morph slowly into materialist atheism, treated as a religion can spare themselves many attacks by increasingly militant atheists, who have, in many cases, found public funding for their cause. Anyone who so much as wants equal time for evidence for non-materialist views faces a storm  - made all the foggier by Christian clergy who wish to converge with the materialists. Perhaps such clergy hope to be eaten last?

Part 10: British atheists vs. ID-friendly Truth in Science group Just what the beleaguered schools need. Caught between Islamic extremists, drug dealers, sclerotic administrators, antisocial unions, and irresponsible parents, they, um, need a whack of "anti-God" literature to mix into the swirl ...

Part 11: So what ARE the actual trends in religion? So far as understanding the anti-God crusade is concerned, the most useful thing to know is that the longstanding mid-twentieth century prediction that religious belief would wither away has been largely falsified.

Part 12: Unmasking the authoritarian intent of the militant atheist campaign While some clergy are content to reassure their congregations that going along with materialism (especially Darwinism) is okay, many thoughtful Christians and Muslims are getting the picture pretty fast. The threat is from the atheists not an intellectual one, but a political one.

Part 13:  Theistic evolutionism and the new militant atheism

The underlying problem of accommodationist theistic evolution, of course, is the felt need to embrace Darwinism - and the materialism from which it springs.  As I have suggested above, the most likely explanation, based on my encounters with theistic evolution accommodationists, is that they assume that materialism is basically true and that spiritual traditions must somehow accommodate themselves to its rule. 

Put another way: Once you do think that materialism is not true, Darwinism is not true either. That raises the question of why any clergy should feel the need to sell "evolution" to their congregations, as part of their ministry.


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4.07.07