Wednesday, 21 September 2016

The God Delusion - The Case for the Devil !

The following is the edited version of an exposé currently featured in the 17th revised edition of The Moonshine Memorandum. If you wish to report defamation or inaccuracies, please email MalleusMaleficus@aol.com . To make a formal complaint under IPSO rules please contact IPSO directly at ipso.co.uk .


By the following day the Twitter hashtag #Ufoflap was “top trending,” when, on the very same evening The Four Horsemen[1], aka @_Four_Horsemen, involving four chaps on horseback in tweed, rode prominently through the action.  Blitzed on horse tranquilizer and much addicted to apocalyptic language, they offered us this remarkable sentence:"Do you really mean to tell me the only reason you try to be good is to gain God's approval and reward, or to avoid his disapproval and punishment? That's not morality, that's just sucking up."[2]                        
Yes, indeed, Sir - no kidding! That’s an argument with undeniable attraction – (for  twelve-year-olds). Frankly, and without being discourteous to the noble equestrian, that's the difference between a horseman and a muleskinner, between consensual sex and mindless rape, stretching the definition of a split personality about as far as it can amicably go. So, is Richard Dawkins morphing into Kerry Katona?
"We have a real connection....!"
Sure enough, he has misjudged his moment. Tied down by celebrity culture and by a shared ego-driven self-absorption,Dawkins gets his validation today not through his academic legacy, but by being feted as a teenage icon. For social media mutants he is the perfect pimp, a con man who works best when feeding lines to the converted. Or a sort of cryonically preserved reality-TV atheist, half-analogue and half-digital, who flogs pod-casts when not buggering frail old faithfuls carrying a Zimmer-frame. Indeed, watching the Four Horsemen tweeting drivel, I now realise that we are in the realm of parody.  Plenty of slap, most of it crap! Don't these people have jobs to go to? Perhaps the most psychologically accurate self-portrait ever collected, they seem an absurdly narcissistic bunch, bloated with self-esteem, puerile to the point of silliness, emptier than the tomb of Christ! Nor do they attempt to distract you with a challenge - nothing that might have hinted at magnitude or even understanding. 
Take Daniel Dennet, noted fantasy writer and a leading expert on optimism. Pointing to the fact that "you can approach the world's complexities, both its glories and its horrors, with an attitude of
humble curiosity," he envisioned, he said, "worlds within worlds".[3] Which I found refreshing. He also speculated that "your own mundane preoccupations will shrink to proper size," and that they were - as some textbooks still mistakenly suggest - "not all that important in the greater scheme of things." Say no more. Using the syntax of a second-year theology undergraduate, he also went on to claim that "however deeply you have seen, you have only scratched the surface" - at which point I had to discard my initial skepticism and in the face of the evidence, speculate that reality was not a given but that it was bound up with its relationship to George Berkeley's doctrine of 'representative perception', and that it had, therefore, no actual existence outside of Daniel Dennet's fertile and flexible mind.
            What George Berkely might have said goes unrecorded, but Lawrence Krauss – another noted atheist - put it to us that "you should be happier that you are insignificant and the future is miserable, because you are here today and you are endowed by evolution"[4] - to paraphrase the Gospel of Mark – “with a consciousness, and intelligence.” (And aren't those just the qualities we all look for in a Theoretical Physicist, Cosmologist, Science and Public Policy Advocate?) "So instead of being depressed and requiring meaning in the universe beyond your own existence, you create your own meaning, and enjoy your brief moment in the sun."

Well, as the Lord said, all you need is ignorance.
With "consciousness and intelligence" a necessary and sufficient condition of being a "Producer, Actor and Best-Selling Author," it is obvious that a tremendous clarity had been visited upon Lawrence M. Krauss. His affinities with Hobbes are nearly as apparent as his empathy with Hume. Though I am pretty certain he is not the last neuroscientific druid you will ever meet. For their part, a spokesman for the American Psychiatric Association defended his evolutionary psychology, but a team from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (@whitehouseostp), resolved that the multiple sightings of unexplained aerial entities said to be extraterrestrial, could not be explained by Krauss' human higher-order neuroscience - "a doorway through which all sorts of charlatans and purveyors of tripe can force their philosophical musings."
Then Sam Harris @SamHarrisOrg, a neuroscientist and -  unlike the rest of you – an ardent observer of the nonexistence of fairies,  declaimed that: “The God of the Bible hates sodomy, and he’ll kill you for it, but he rather enjoys the occasional human sacrifice. All we can say, he doesn’t have his priorities straight.” And there you have it, the assignment of divine priorities is rarely an easy matter. At the dawn of a new scientific age, intelligent people are still waiting for some kind of denial more suited to their own definition of what constitutes
an all-inclusive cosmic idea of the meaning of order and disorder. For there is little doubt, if you agree with Sam Harris' definition, he has the disorder. Indeed, that sort of self-serving twaddle is the price you pay for missing the point as well as betraying the fact that there are some disorders one cannot mend.  Though ‘disorder’ doesn’t quite cover it. Given that Harris and I are both alumni of Stanford University, this is something else altogether. 'Ecstasy' being the true sign of the frustrated evangelist. That much I do remember. Something he shares with the likes of Angelina Jolie, the Hollywood centauress who occasionally tries to compete with the Horsemen.  But let me be as plain as possible. Religions are a cultural no less than an ideological phenomenon. And the Horsemen fail audiences not only because they fail to explain where the source of our spiritual yearning truly lies, but because of  having raised a codex of outdated superstitions to the rank of an academic controversy. Action begets reaction – it is not an interment they're presiding over, it is a resurrection! They raised expectations, as well as the Devil. And remember that Evil always triumphs. All of which leads me to that deceased obsessive, known as Christopher Hitchens, a man who hated an entire species: homo sapiens -  a genus where every single human was a malicious, unintelligent, hopeless or spiteful nutter. Something along the lines of hate-week, then, organised by the Party in George Orwell's 1984. And given his rather puerile  sixth-form-type atheism, it may not be unrealistic to imagine  him, most infernally ravaged, peering up from his hellish cave existence 666 feet below the surface, at his myriad enemies, realising belatedly that the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was persuading the world that he doesn’t exist. And there is absolutely no arguing with that. Amen!






[1] An unofficial fan page – (targeted at nine-year-olds) -  to share/discuss current world events & the works of The Four Horsemen – the late Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Dan Dennett & Sam Harris.
[2] Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion.
[3]  Daniel Dennet, Breaking the Spell. Religion as Natural Phenomena, Penguin 2006
[4] From Lawrence M Krauss, The Unbelievers  - a 2013 documentary film.


    -----------------------------------------
By clicking on the link concluding this notice you agree to accept liability for any alarm or anxiety caused by attributions made in or under your name.  If you are not named you agree not to  take umbrage. Some names have been changed to protect the innocent!



1 comment:

Bruce T.Bolan said...

You're sooo busted! #MalleusMaleficus