Links this week (challenging religion)

Haven’t posted a set of links in a while. But while I’m currently on a writing jag, always a good thing, I thought I would link to some posts having to do with issues recently raised here: science, the afterlife, scriptural interpretation, and the problem with moderate Islam:

Here are two links to articles taking different views on what the idea of an “after life” might be:

deborah mitchell chooses to see the matter partly as sustaining life within life, for instance feeding ourselves and our intestinal parasites, as well as passing on genes generation after generation (she expresses this much better than I do!):

Michael Smith, on the other hand, wonders if the “afterlife” not only applies to all forms of life, but also whether it might eventually involve technilogical advances so that we can literally continue our consciousness in some sort of machine:

On the question of ‘smart guy’ arguments for belief, you might be interested in the following:

The Sensuous Curmudgeon’ discovery of Ray Comfort’s effort to appropriate Einstein for Creationism:
(Huh, what?!) Comfort was the guy who, in an ill-advised video on Youtube, embarassed himself by arguing that the banana had been shaped by god specifically to fit the human hand.

Comfort’s book bears an introduction by creationist Ken Ham, so the Curmudgeon has also done us a service by reporting on Ken Ham’s attack on that dam’ satanist, physicist Stephen Hawking: – apparently, if you can use a ‘smart guy, fine; if not, he goes straight to hell.

A further discussion of the tense relationship between science and religion can be found on Stephen P Ruis’ Class Warfare Blog: Pruis notes, at the end of his post, one of the problems with the continuing debate is that many religious arguments stand debunked, but religionists keep re-iterating them, rather than confront the arguments from science.

Pruis also has an interesting remark on the problem of ‘interpretation’ (such as presented in the Jesus and Mo cartoon accompanying Jerry Coyne’s article on the problem of moderate Islam that I just reblogged): – apparently, even the best interpretation of the sacred text will get you pretty much close to the worst.

(On the problem with moderate Islam itself, it is also worth checking Coyne’s discussion of the quarrell between Ben Affleck and Sam Harris on the Bill Maher show, and Harris’ own response which Coyne discusses:

On the problem of interpreting sacred texts, witness also hessianwithteeth’s attempts to deal with the so-called Old Testament:

But here’s a wonderful bit of comic interpretation of the New Testament claim that in his Second Coming, Jesus “will come like a thief in the night.” (I was a little worried about that gun in His hand, until one commentator noted that there were no bullets in the chambers….)


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