Friday, December 5, 2008

Dinesh D'Souza, certified Liar for Jesus

And the arguments are still incredibly silly.

Quick summary:

#1 - Sunnis suiciding bombing Shia mosques and Shi'ites retaliating with death squads has absolutely nothing to do with religion. Seriously. Same thing with the historical violence between Catholics and Protestants - and these kind of conflicts are literally called "Wars of Religion". And religion has nothing to do with it? Fail. Big time.

#2 - The ancient Greeks and the Romans didn't believe in compassion or "sacredness of human life", whatever that's supposed to mean.

“Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness.”
- Seneca the Elder, a Roman orator

#3 - Science is faith-based. Oh dear, he's really digging that hole. But wait, it gets better: "D'Souza went on to say that these assumptions are the direct legacy of Christian theology. They are: 1. The universe is rational. 2. The universe is lawful. 3. The rationality of the world is mirrored by the rationality of our minds."

Wow, what a trainwreck. And no, concepts like the universality of physical laws owe nothing to laughable tales of the dead rising up from the ground, demon-possessed pigs, and iron axe-heads that float on water. Besides, if imparting scientific knowledge was the goal of the Bible, you'd think there'd be a heck of a lot better advice in there than using magic to cure snakebites.

But still, D'Souza seems to think that while the universality of physical laws makes sense to Christians (it's apparently analogous to the concept of divine law), us poor atheists believe this stuff purely on faith. Those foolish scientists apparently didn't run experiments, replicate those experiments to double-check people's work, and observe natural conditions elsewhere to make sure that alleged physical constants are indeed constant. Nope, no one ever thought of that.

#4 - This one is really my favorite part, he takes a page out of the neo-Nazi playbook and tries to downplay alleged atrocities by the faithful. Instead of good ol' fashioned Holocaust denial, we get Inquisition denial and witch-burning denial. He claims that the inquisition only resulted in 2,000 deaths. He must've been reading the completely unbiased Vatican version. Well, at least the witch-burning claim isn't as unsubstantiated - 19 people were indeed executed in Salem. (one additional man, Giles Corey, was killed in an act of judicial torture and a few more died in prison, but details shmetails!) What Dinesh apparently forgot was that Salem wasn't the only city with a witchcraze - the witchcraze body count in Europe ranges into the ten of thousands. In fact, people are still killed for alleged witchcraft to this very day.

#5 - In his last foot-in-mouth moment, Dinesh suggests that the real reason atheists don't believe in God is that they want a morality-free existence:
The atheist, however, has found a beautiful solution to the problem of moral judgment: Just abolish the Judge. If there is no God, there are no Ten Commandments, everything is permitted. To atheists, that is a gospel of liberation.
And here it is, your moment of zen:
The new atheism is different in that it attacks belief in the private sphere. Its goal is to eradicate, demolish and discredit Christianity. Many atheists want to make each and every Christian feel like a complete idiot.
This one cracks me up every time. You need no help, my friend, you're doing just fine on your own.

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