Tuesday, September 1, 2009

My favorite modern philospher Tim Keller


  1. Smart guy! I would like to read his books.

  2. As someone who's read, not a lot, but a few of the books in question as well as some of the books that are written as responses, I must say that I don't agree with Mr. Keller. They're not saying to have no respect for religious people. For the most part these people are Humanists so that would be an obvious contradiction that these writers are too smart to allow. What they are saying is that in our culture we're taught to respect everyone's beliefs no matter how wrong or "dangerous" they are. So much so that we're forced to include those beliefs in areas of our culture like government and education and give those beliefs equal footing with actual scientific data. The New Atheists are saying that we shouldn't allow this to happen and give undeserved respect and validity to ideas that are not based in fact. They're certainly encouraging people to stand up and challenge religion at every available turn but they're not encouraging other Atheists to be disrespectful. I can understand why some people feel like that though but only because there are a lot of Christians that don't really know why they believe what they say they believe, and just like Keller said, they just start shouting rather than actually trying to rationalize their beliefs.

    I would also like to say that a lack of a good review doesn't make an argument weak or strong but I have found that the arguments in the New Atheist books are incredibly strong and largely unanswered by the response books or in any other apologist literature.

  3. He's not just spouting off his own opinions here, he is citing solid philosophical reasoners in a general sense. After reading his book, I seriously doubt he is the kind of guy who would say something that is not immersed in facts.

    I would say that a good review is very important for any book, but I think their intellectual arguments, as they hold up to standards and practices of the philosophical world, he is saying that these fall apart under responsible scrutiny and become simple opinions rather than facts.

    Let's say for a moment, that I thought your music was terrible (i don't, but go with me). You believe that it is great. You have seen people respond to it and love it and quote it and all that. I however, don't think that it's worth hearing because it seems to promote anger or something (again, not true, but go with it). You however feel that your message is about love. What if I tried to end your music from the earth? What if I went on tv shows and wrote books about your music how it is "simply stupid and anyone who likes this is simply uniformed and uneducated and we should stop this because for God's sake, the children?"

    Would you find that frustrating or rude or disrespectful if I attempted to make a mockery of you and anyone who liked your music? You fools. How can you like Quiet Company? It's not really music, but some fool banging on pots and pans! We've come so far, why are we still putting this on the radio?

    That's what these authors sound like. You can be nasty and mean without raising your voice. You can say that we are wrong if you like, but I think there's a difference in calling someone names or open mockery. It's juvenile.

  4. I forgot to say this too, I haven't read any of these books. I'm basing what I'm saying on several interviews given by these authors that I have seen in various places.

  5. I see your point but in this hypothetical situation, has the music of Quiet Company been used to give excuse for genocide, murder, and general oppression of people? Because if it had, I would say that I should probably stop making music, especially if I could not prove that my message was correct to the extent that it would make it worth it.

    Christopher Hitchens, who I haven't read but have also seen in interviews, does seem like a bit of an A-hole. But Richard Dawkins always seems so lovably pleasant. I've read Sam Harris as well but I haven't seen him on interviews. I really do understand why Christians feel that way about these guys because they are so frank about what they think. But still if an interviewer asks what they think of religion, they're not going to say "Well its OK I guess." They're going to be as direct as they are in their books which doesn't leave much room for niceties, unfortunately.

  6. I find it hard to understand how someone can say that they believe that all mankind deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, then in the next breath say, "oh, except this group over here that we think are stupid."

    Let's say that your music does cause hatred, but only in about 10% of those who listen to it. If you believe wholeheartedly that your message is being misunderstood by the minority, yet causing trouble in the minority, would you seriously stop if you were convinced that your music was actually a good thing? I do not think you would.

  7. Well, I think its important that I point out that your complaints about these authors represent an extreme over-simplification of their argument. I've never heard one of them say "Religious people are stupid." Quite the contrary actually. I have seen them dedicate chapters to saying how religious people are, in fact, not stupid and talk about how intellect is not the problem. After all, every one of the hijackers on 9/11 were college graduates. They use the word "deluded" because its entirely possible for people to be intelligent and college educated and still believe that when they murder infidels they'll get 72 virgins to deflower in heaven.

    In the hypothetical situation where QC music causes hatred and evil in 10% of people, yeah, I'd stop putting out music. I probably wouldn't stop writing and recording in the privacy of my personal life, but if my music is causing genocide, child neglect, and oppression, I can probably live without a Myspace page.

    I'm wondering if you and I have very different definitions of "dignity" and "respect," because if I were to judge it by these blog comments, it would seem that to respect religious people you can't criticize their beliefs. As I said, I've read a few of the New Atheist books and a few of the response books and the biggest problem I see in the Apologist responses are these thin skinned retorts. They ignore many of the critiques and accusations of the New Atheists completely and spend most of their time going "Look how mean they are! Why can't they be respectful!? They're the bad ones not us!" Let's say for argument's sake that the New Atheists are being completely malicious for the sake of being malicious (they're not). Would it make their arguments less sound? Would it make their questions less valid? No, it wouldn't. Let's face it, its not how they say it that offends you, its what they say. But as you said, you haven't read any of the books in question so you don't really know how they read. You may read them and completely agree with Keller, but I certainly didn't.