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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Blogger Science

In a usual move by Ray Comfort -- and many apologists -- he has chosen an alternate, inappropriate connotation of a word to support his wild ideas, just as he did when selectively choosing the inappropriate definition of animal to exclude humans.

He calls atheism a "religion." To support this wild claim, he confuses the idea of a sort of revealed or adhered religion -- such as beliefs, devotions, and practices concerning human affairs etc -- with religious zeal. He writes that:
It’s interesting to note that one definition of religion is:

"A cause, principle, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion."

That rightly describes the ardent atheist cause. Despite protests to the contrary by its faithful adherents, atheism is a form of religion.
To get to this, though, he had to selectively skip over three relevant definitions (in the American Heritage Dictionary):
1a. Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe.
1a. A personal or institutionalized system grounded in such belief and worship.
2. The life or condition of a person in a religious order.
3. A set of beliefs, values, and practices based on the teachings of a spiritual leader.
What's really interesting is that the definition he uses as religion (since it is not the "religion" we are discussing) applies only to someone like, say, Dawkins. Although, atheism is merely not believing in a god. Dawkins is not pursuing not believing in a god with zeal -- so that necessarily disqualifies even Dawkins's atheism as a religion. What Dawkins pursues with zeal is his opposition to organized religion, so that pursuit would be his religion. Merely "not believing" is not a cause, principle, or activity, so atheism is necessarily not a religion.

But, what of the apathetic atheist anyway? The atheist who wouldn't even waste the time to spend one minute listening to arguments for or against a belief in God? Since that person is not pursuing it at all he necessarily does not qualify as possessing a "religion" -- based on Ray's definition of religion as zeal.

But let's go ahead and explore what else qualifies as a religion under Ray's selective, inappropriate definition -- the only qualification being something pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion. If he's going to use religious zeal to define religion, then we must also consider:

1. Blogging -- Blogging is my religion as it is an activity I pursue as zeal. Further, Ray is blogging, too, so that's his religion thereby violating one of the tenets of his other religion: Christianity. Blogging is my religion.
2. Education -- This is a cause I pursue with a high level of devotion. I devote myself fully to educating myself. I also spend free time providing free tutoring to kids because I believe education is important for them. Education is my religion.
3. Debunking Ray -- This is an activity I pursue with zeal making it, by Ray's definition, my religion. Debunking Ray Comfort is my religion.

Although Ray Comfort has previously said he is not a scientist, he overlooks the fact that blogging is a science, if you selectively choose the inappropriate definition of the word. We can use the word skill to define science.
2. Methodological activity, discipline, or study: I've got packing a suitcase down to a science.
3. An activity that appears to require study and method: the science of purchasing.
4. Knowledge, especially that gained through experience.
Blogging clearly qualifies as a science, then. There's a methodological approach to it, including ways to entice readers -- Ray adds graphics, formatting, and baits atheists. You gain knowledge through experience of blogging. You learn how to use the software, how to organize thoughts, etc.

Blogging is Ray's science (along with quote mining).


R.S. said...

Nice post (As Always).

I too used Ray's definition of religion to conclude that pursuing reason is a religion.

Ray always wants the upper hand.

DisComforting Ignorance said...

Yeah, it's such a silly argument. I think the funniest response to this is "If atheism is a religion, then bald is a hair color." I think it's interesting the sort of paradox his definition creates: opposing religion is a religion, then.