Plato and the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses
The Winged Migration Email

Round 49 and the Atheist Turd Salesman

DING!

So, we enter round 49.

That’s right, Don. And there’s Tom Sheepandgoats hobbling out of his corner.

You know, Jim, I can’t help thinking how this is a far different Sheepandgoats that we saw at the fight’s beginning.

Sure is, Don. He’s not at all so cocky. Even his trainer, Tom Wheatandweeds, looks a little glum.

Ya think he underestimated
Moristotle, Jim?

Well, it could be, Don. I mean, Sheepandgoats is several years younger, so he may have just figured the older guy would tire out. He may not have bothered to train.

That certainly could be, Jim. But I really have to hand it to Moristotle. He’s quick. He’s fast. Kinda reminds me of another fighter long ago who said you could turn the lights off and he’d be in bed before the room was dark.

Ha ha, sure enough Don. But let’s look at Sheepandgoats now. He’s circling warily. A little jab, there. Moristotle backs away. Whoa! Moristotle takes a swing. This time Sheepandgoats ducks. Still more eying. Wait! It looks like Sheepandgoats may have spotted an opening! He’s moving in. HE TAKES A VICIOUS SWING!!!


.........................................

 

Richard Dawkins can be likened to a turd salesman carrying on as if he’s peddling diamonds!

I mean, shouldn't you look at it that way? What is this “In not many years we'll both be dead?…” What kind of a downer is that? As opposed to living forever on a paradise earth?

Look, I guess I can understand how a person can lose faith and become atheist. There’s plenty of things about life that might push us in that direction. But what I can’t understand is how one can be happy about it, almost gleeful, even evangelistic, and present their view as if it were diamonds.

The atheists of a few generation’s ago, the one’s that came early in the last century,
were mournful. They knew giving up on the hopes of persons from time immemorial was a true loss. An unavoidable loss, maybe, but a loss all the same. I truly don’t understand how Dawkins and crew can endeavor to turn it into a triumph.

It’s like finding yourself sentenced to death row. In real life, people are unhappy to be there, but the atheists grin ear to ear about it and invite others to join them as if they’re enjoying the most pleasant party.


...................................

 

A most unusual tactic, Jim. Let’s see how Moristotle responds to that.

I agree, Don. It’s either a brilliant maneuver or a desperate ploy. And sure enough. Look! Moristotle is shaking his head.

That’s right, Jim. But it’s not clear yet what shaking his head signifies.

One thing for sure, Don. If Moristotle keeps on charging, then I expect that very soon Sheepandgoats will be hollering “this man ain’t human!” just like Sam McVey did years ago to
Sheepandgoats’ uncle!

...........................................................

Moristotlesaid...

Ha! This afforded me much pleasure. Thanks for the good creative effort! And I much enjoyed your post on Joe Jennette.

The unitalicized part of your comment suffers greatly by comparison with the creative-writing part, however.

No, Tom, people should not look at Dawkins the way you suggest. Your misrepresentation of what is going on is breathtaking. As is your failure to understand that your opting to fantasize about eternal life in Eden on Earth is to indulge in wistful pipe-dreaming. Religious belief as opiate.

I don't see any atheists grinning ear to ear, Tom. And you don't either. If you have that picture in your mind, your imagination constructed it there.

Maybe it makes you feel better, but I prefer to take things straight, the way they are, even if they aren't so rosy. Hence (for example), the tragic sense I got from the movie "When Nietzsche Wept."

Maybe you proposed the red herring about grinning atheists by way of imitating Joe Jennette's telling the kids to look at the birdy, so you can attempt to tickle me (or kayo me) while I'm distracted?

DING.

..............................................................

Whoa! Don, can you believe it?! This Moristotle is incredible! That was a solid blow in the kisser Sheepandgoats landed, and it didn’t phase him a bit!

Yeh, Jim, I agree, he’s pretty tough. But it really wasn’t that solid of a hit, though.

What are you talking about, big fella. Sheepandgoats nailed him! I mean, what a great point! Imagine, calling Dawkins a turd salesman!

Glad you thought so, Jim. Me, I don’t think so. If Sheepandgoats can’t come up with better stuff than that, he shouldn’t even be in the ring!

I have to respectfully disagree, you fathead! I’ve never seen him in better form. Landing blow after blow! How Moristotle can stand up to such punishment is beyond me.

He stands up to it, you superstitious moron, because he has reason and science on his side.

You gotta be kidding me! You’re not buying this reason and science worship, too, are you? I see sports casting schools sure aren’t what they used to be!

They’re good enough so that a guy sees through ridiculous arguments. And I’m getting pretty tired of your adolescent sermonizing, you pious buffoon.

Now see here, you shortsighted, faithless, can't see the forest for the trees lout……..

Watch your mouth, you ignorant jackass. Unless you want to take this out in the parking lot and I'll teach you what "survival of the fittest" is!

That's fine with me, loudmouth! I'll knock your faithless head around so much you'll learn a new meaning of "turn the other cheek!"

***********************

Tom Irregardless and Me    No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Comments

showmethemoney

Dawkin's can fittingly be described as a turd salesmen. Writing a book for "my teacher told me so" atheists looking to stock up on ammo against god is bound to generate some green. Especailly when it's chalk full of lies, misrepresentaions, and half-truths. I guess it's ok if your looking for something that's both easily referenced in pop culture and reads like an idiot's guide to atheism, making it easy to regurgitate later into your own words. Were you the first on the block to get it? Do you proudly display it on your coffee table? Did it make you feel smater? Did you really think the 416 pages were going to be the definitive bomb on god? I give it a year and a half before you see this turd-in-oxforduniversitythebastionoftruthprofessorapproved-clothing hitting your local garage sale.

tom sheepandgoats

Thanks, Showme.

Whatever the merits or lack thereof the book has, I'm not so sure that it will be fleeting. So far it seems more like establishing a beachhead. Dawkins' book has spawned several copycat versions and I see no sign of the trend dying a natural death.

showmethemoney

I feel that this book has been presented as a beachhead, when really that beachhead was established in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This book covers no new ground for atheism. In my view it's an effort to make atheism trendy. Serious atheists and confirmed evolutionists have a host of other sources to draw from. But maybe you're right and some will hold on to this book. I mean some people still quote Austin Powers movies and believe they're at the height of pop culture reference.

tom sheepandgoats

Perhaps the most notable feature of this book, and the others it has spawned, is its chutzpah. It considers a situtaion which is really a horrible downer....a few decades of life, then nonexistance forever....and presents it as if it were the greatest triumph.

Moristotle

Tom, do you have any plans to stop pronouncing on books you haven't read? As I've already informed you, Dawkins's book does NOT "present [atheism] as if it were the greatest triumph."

If the book expresses any sense of triumph, it might be that of a man who can accept with equanimity the truth that we will not live forever, good people will not necessarily be rewarded, and bad people won't necessarily get their comeuppance.

Does it make you uncomfortable that people can accept that and pursue with a peaceful mind a life of study and discovery?

tom sheepandgoats

Throughout history, the vast majority of humans have envisioned some sort of existence beyond our short 80 years. Only in the last few years, with the new trendiness of atheism, have significant numbers declared emphatically that this life is all there is. Therefore, an analogy that fits is you suddenly learning that you have a few days to live rather than the full life you anticipated . Or your child, who you’ve always imagined would reach a ripe old age, is suddenly diagnosed with a terminal disease. In either case, the only fitting response one can imagine is mourning.

When I declare modern atheist views “triumphant,” perhaps that is in the eye of the beholder. But they certainly are not mournful.

Because Dawkins was on the modern-day atheist scene first with his best seller, I’ve come to think of him as the Rush Limbaugh of atheists and representative of the group. I may sometimes use his name when what I really am referring to is the group he represents. That group manifests certain attitudes, perhaps not to the person, but certainly in general. Perhaps he himself is a truly modest guy….I wouldn’t know.

And I think the “turd salesman” analogy fit’s the facts well. Through the ages, persons have played with “diamonds.” (the sometimes sure/sometimes vague hope of living beyond this present life) Now the modern atheist comes along to substitute turds (permanent nonexistence after this life) for the diamonds and imagines that everyone should be equally content.

Moristotle

"Turds" or "diamonds"? It's a question of true or false. And the fact that imagining you will live forever makes you happy and imagining you won't makes you mourn doesn't make the happy thought true. Nor does the fact that MANY PEOPLE THROUGH THE AGES have believed it make it true.

Tom, your attempt to pose the argument as a matter of what most people would RATHER belief versus what a few sober-minded upstarts believe based on evidence is merely a rhetorical gesture. There's no pertinent weight there.

tom sheepandgoats

I don't so readily dismiss what nearly all people have believed down through the ages (until now) as nonsense. Nor do I buy into the notion that today's generation is the wisest that has ever lived....uncovering the errors of their fathers. If that were true, this world would be a much more pleasant place to live in than it is.

Moristotle

Tom, I guess that if a belief in a flat world had similar diamond potential for you (and disbelief similar turd potential), then you would not readily dismiss that either.

I'm not sure that we have a wise GENERATION today, but we do seem to have a growing number of wise INDIVIDUALS. Of course, given the continuing rise in the overall population, we also seem to have a growing number of individuals who continue to hang on to outmoded beliefs and practices. I submit that it is the latter who contribute most to the unpleasantness you refer to.

tom sheepandgoats

"I guess that if a belief in a flat world had similar diamond potential for you ..." But it doesn't. What possible "diamonds" can you see in a flat earth? With everlasting life, it is obvious. A flat earth? Why would you use that analogy?

There is much in the way we're constructed that lends credence to an "everlasting life" scenario. For instance, we constantly hear that humans use only the tiniest potential of their brain....figures such as one one hundredth of a percent are thrown around. This untapped potential makes instant sense if we think of human life gradually degenerating from its original perfect form. (with God launching a purpose to restore his people to said perfection and again everlating life on earth) But how can evolution account for it? Its driving engine, natural selection, only comes into play for a mutated change that is USED, thus enabling survival of the fittest. But we have already acknowledged that our huge overpotential is not used.

It's analogous to having a house the size of North Carolina when all you ever have need of or use is 2000 square feet. Wouldn't you wonder how such a situation came about?

showmethemoney

Sorry Moristotle, but I must disagree with your take on Dawkin's book. Though it presents atheism as blunt reality, it does so through an attack on God based on deception and misrepesentaion.

You said:"Does it make you uncomfortable that people can accept that and pursue with a peaceful mind a life of study and discovery?"

It makes me very uncomfortable that people so readily swallow anything without cracking the books and verifying whether or not his statements on God are true or not. This is not evidence of a peaceful mind, but rather an unprincipled one.

Moristotle

Tom, I would have thought that a competent logician such as yourself would not need to have it spelled out for him "Why would you use that analogy?" You believe in the everlasting life scenario because it "has diamond potential" for you (it makes you feel happy). Since that is your reason for believing it (and not its truth value), then, mutatis mutandis, it would appear that IF other untrue beliefs (held by ancient people and even some contemporary ones) DID HAVE a similar emotional appeal to you (and their opposites repelled you like a stinky turd), you'd likely adopt them too (even if the belief that the Earth is flat wouldn't be one of them).

I also hoped that you could benefit from examining this conjecture about your thinking/believing processes for self-improvement and intellectual growth. Your failure to see the point suggests to me that your "mechanisms of ego defense" (to use a phrase coined by Sigmund Freud or his daughter Anna) are in working order and may continue to work to preserve you in your status quo.

************************

I thought, Mr. Showme, that you had read Dawkins. I guess you have, but not in the same way that most people read him. Most people who read him the way you seem to read him simply don't read him at all. I believe that's our friend Tom's position.

tom sheepandgoats

Well....when you're coining an analogy, you want it to be reasonably parallel. Otherwise your audience focuses on the disharmonious part and your point is lost.

Everlasting life has an obvious draw AND a certain supporting logic, e.g. the large brain potential I spoke of. A flat earth has neither.

It's a fairly good analogy, however, if your purpose is, not to make a reasonable point, but simply to hurl an insult. Are you sure that wasn't the motive? Perhaps I did see the point after all.

And I never actually said that I'd never read Dawkins. On the contrary, I said I probably would. But as I've encountered atheist arguments singly and not been impressed, I'm not so sure why taking them in orchestral style would change anything.

But when I leafed through his book at Barnes & Nobles once, I saw he quoted from one of ours, which he called an I.D. book. That interests me some, since we are very tiny compared to the churches, yet it is our book which he chooses to represent the creation viewpoint.

And, while I'm at it, there's apparantly a passage in Harris's book, in the early pages, in which he identifies Jehovah's Witnesses as orthodox Christianity, much to the chagrin of the evangelicals, who self-assume that ground.

showmethemoney

Whatever I read, I read with a suspension of disbelief. That means I'm willing to accept it as truth. Then I test that possible truth against the best facts available and my own personal life's experiences to see if it still holds true.

Dawkin's book was full of personal experiences. These I enjoyed and helped me understand his view of life along with many other peoples I would imagine. But at some point you need to set credulity and emotion aside and look at the nuts and bolts of what's being presented to you.

Now if you could add something to the attitude with which I am approaching this subject I would be open to it. Possibly you could tell me with what attitude you approached this book?

Moristotle

Yes, Tom, I agree that if I had chosen better (than belief in the flat-earth scenario) I could have made my point more effectively, and you might have avoided both erroneous interpretations (1) that my point didn't apply to you and (2) that I was merely hurling an insult.

On the false assumption, though, that I had insulted you, you did bounce back deftly with a sort of counter-insult. Maybe I should add to the "competent logician" accolade that you are an "adroit rhetorician" as well. You may need to work on your ego-defence mechanisms, though--if not on your reading skills--in order to judge more reliably when you're being insulted and when you're not.

When you get around to actually reading Dawkins, an appropriate suspension of disbelief will, of course, be in order.

****************

Good on you, Mr. Showme. You seem to have read Dawkins as openly as your preconceived evaluation of his position allowed.

I myself, of course, owing to MY "own personal life's experiences" (and reading and thinking and musing), read him with MY own "preconceived evaluation of his position."

I'm happy to have just discovered [thank you, Tom, for hosting the discovery] that, for other readers, a suspension of BELIEF can be appropriate. When I come to read THE GOD DELUSION for the third time (within the next month or two), I'll attempt to read it with a suspension inverse of yours: a suspension of BELIEF.

I wonder whether such a suspension of belief when reading the Bible is possible for Bible- believers...?

****************

My esteemed interlocuters, may you two and I--all three of us--live abundantly this day!

showmethemoney

Also a great approach Moristotle. Both can be beneficial depending on where you start. Attitude and experience also play a part. However these are all secondary. Preconceptions aside, facts are facts. Wouldn't you agree? And if one is to use false information to validate a theory, supposition, or conclusion reached, then we get into some tricky questions of moral and ethical integrity. That doesn't mean that all the good becomes bad either. But fudging the facts, even just a few, to convince a largely ignorant audience is just plain wrong.

By the way I wasn't including you in the "largely ignorant" audience. Hey, I might even be a part of it.(I'm using suspension of belief here)

Moristotle

Mr. Showme, In order to prepare myself to read Dawkins's THE GOD DELUSION more critically the next time, I've studied your comments here to try to identify the charges you bring against the book (or against Dawkins himself). They seem to be these:

That he lies, deceives, misrepresents, fudges the facts, distorts the truth (producing half-truths), and uses false information to appear to validate his position. He is, therefore, unprincipled (with diminished--or without any?--moral or ethical integrity).

Some of these seem to be equivalent, but I'm not sure. If you would, please pare the list down to try to make it clearer to me. Also, if it isn't too much trouble, could you give at least one example of each item that remains on the pared-down list (that is, an example of a lie, a misrepresentation, a fudged fact, a half-truth...)? Of course, if you want to give more than one example of each, that would be fine.

By the way, I notice that there's no link from "showmethemoney" to a blog or anything. Would you mind telling me a bit about yourself? You may not have read my blog, but if you had you could have learned a very great deal about me.

Thanks much! Good on you, to overflowing cup.

showmethemoney

I have to admit that I'm impressed with your response. I didn't really think you were going
to want examples, but would just focus more on the "feel good" aspect of the book. This
prompted me crack the books to give you some concrete answers. The personal part I'll leave
until the end.

For me to quantify or qualify the several points I've chosen would be unfair. I'll
present some information and let you decide if it can be qualified as misleading,
fact-fudging, an outright lie or perfectly acceptable.

I'll take my sample points from pg.92 and 93 though there is much more.

At the bottom of pg.92 Dawkins states "Ever since the nineteenth century, scholarly
theologians have made an overwhelming case that the gosples are not reliable accounts..."

This is how his argument starts. History tells us that large scale critcism of major
religious denominations began in the mid 18th century, called by theologians
generaly as restorationism. By the mid 19th century this criticim became a free for
all including philosophers, scientists and some theologians who saw the hypocrisy of
major church's and decided to extend it to include the Bible. At the same time
restorationists were mounting equally compelling defences from these critics. Also
at the same time we had the emergence of archaeology as a profesional and serious
science, and by the time the mid 20th century came around physical evidence from
archaeology eliminated the majority of questions about Bible authenticity. Those
"scholarly theologians" and their "overwhelming" case just about dried up over
night, except for a few holdouts and some not too compelling arguments. For many
denying the authenticity of the gospel accounts would be the same as denying the
existence of the Roman empire (which also gained much archaeological support in the
last 150 years). So it is not quite as "overwhelming" as Dawkins makes it out to be.
So let's not use that as a jumping point. There is most definitely another side to
that coin.

Next, on pg.93 Dawkins mentions 'Cinese Whispers generations'.

This is alluding to the Telephone game. Basically it states that errors, omissions,
and straight out lies corrupt the Bible (We'll focus on the gospels). This theory
is only used by people who know absolutely nothing about how the Bible came to us
today. It assumes there was only one copy of any given gospel account to translate
at one time. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were alive long after the death of Jesus
and the formation of early christian congregations. Each congration had it's own
copy. From each of these numerous copies were made and would have been checked
against originals. Fast forward to our time and we can check the bible we have
today against many of the texts provided by archaeology (Syriac versions, old latin,
Early greek unical manuscripts, greek cursive manuscripts, and various papyri) which
amazingly show no or minor variation in the texts. There are over 5,000 greek texts
alone. And as to Matthew, Mark, and Luke making up a story together, there is no
motive or any just allowance from their contemporaries. Neither were they
signifigant among the 12 apostles. Matthew for instance would have been disliked
and distrusted as a tax colector. He was in no position to fabricate a mass lie.
Also anyone who wrote a book 2,000 years ago wasn't just another writer. And if it
Was a public document, it would have been critisized and reviled back then. It was,
but only on points of religious doctrine. No one back then could question its
authenticity, there were far too many eye witnesses. If you were a Jew or Roman
trying to quash christianity's roots, wouldn't you have just said 'there was no
Jesus.'? To the contrary there are a number of external sources such as Tacitus,
Pompeius, Papias, Suetonius and Josephus, who corrobertae the gospels. It would be
like writing a book about hitler today and saying him and his buddies were really
great guys who just got a bad rap (which some claim, but nobody takes seriously. And
whom people like my grandfather could have attested to the contrary).

Lastly, for this entry, pg.93 contains a misquote, and therfore false reasoning, based on
John 7:40-42 (use any translation you want).

Quoted from the New World Translation it reads:

40. Therefore some of the crowd that heard these words began saying: “This is for a
certainty The Prophet.” 41. Others were saying: “This is the Christ.” But some were
saying: “The Christ is not actually coming out of Gal'i·lee, is he? 42. Has not the
Scripture said that the Christ is coming from the offspring of David, and from
Beth'le·hem the village where David used to be?”

Some calimed he was "The Prophet". Nowhere does it say Jesus followers questioned
his being born in Bethlehem. Others including the Pharisees did however as a
desperate attempt to discredit his messiahship not his existence. In general the
people were probably ignorant as to where he was born. But his deciples recognized
that he was the messiah and so did many, many others after he had died, with no
personal contact with him.

As to the debate regarding wether Jesus was born in Bethlehem or not... well that's
an old chestnut that's laid to rest along with many others once you establish the
authenticity of the gospel account. And that's where most of Dawkins arguments can
be cleared up. Begin your systematic search there, Moristotle

There's the ancestry of Jesus in two accounts, both valid and simply going back from
different people. There's the edict to 'go back home' from the romans with evidence to prove
it did happen. Dawkins makes further statements as fact which are not.

Now all of this being said you can get an "expert" to prove or disprove just about anything.
So then it comes down to what to you want to believe and why do you want to believe it.
But the evidence in support of the Bible is massive compared to that which is against it.
Dawkins should stick to proving evolution as the biologist which he is, instead of knocking
the Bible as the Bible student he is not.

Personally I am one of Jehovah's witnesses, though not raised as one. I think I came across
Tom's blog when i googled something like 'dawkins turd jehovah' and decided to butt in.
Sorry about that Tom. I don't have a blog, but I might one day. I am from Vancouver which
many atheists consider a bastion of atheism. Compared to the US, Canada is much more
secular in its view of religion. In Vancouver I live near UBC. Racently I was able to have
a series of interesting discussions about religion from a former physics professor who had
previously been a professor at Oxford in England (Same school as Dawkins). He is a muslim
convert and described to me how in his view physics proves creation, and that biology is
only one of the sciences needed to understand where we come from. Brave man. I looked at
your blog briefly moristotle. I feel that you along with many athiests have some solid
reasons to believe what you do. The hypocrisy and bloodguilt amassed by religions is
frankly grossteque and horrific to say the least. And your aversion to it is completely
understandable. But please separate the Bible from religion when you read it. And imagine in
your minds eye, using that suspension of disbelief, that if what it says is true about our
future, then you and I have within our reach an awesome experience which all of man's
creative force cannot begin to describe.

Moristotle

Thank you much, Mr. Showme (which seems to have become my name for you). I appreciate the additional information. I hadn't expected it to center on Dawkins's statements about the Bible, but now that I see it does I can see that that, of course, is only natural.

Interestingly, the other day when I was in the student bookstore on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I happened on Bart Ehrman (mentioned in Dawkins's book) in the question and answer part of a presentation he was giving. I guess he's come out with a new book. I had read his previous one, MISQUOTING JESUS, with which Dawkins was familiar and on which (apparently) he based a lot of his opinion about the Bible. Have you read that book and what do you think of it?

I look forward to going through the sections of THE GOD DELUSION that you cite and re-reading them with your views taken into account.

Not having any particular regard for the Bible (as you do), I'm not sensitive, as you are, to unflattering opinions about it, but I would like to be factually correct in my assessments.

Are those parts of Dawkins's book that you cite above the only ones where you had problems of "lies, deceits, misrepresentations, fudging the facts, distorting the truth (producing half-truths), and using false information to appear to validate his position"?

And are you confident that at least some of this alleged misrepresentation was willful lying? I mean, do you judge that Dawkins is not only wrong, but also a bad man?

I have been to Vancouver, my wife and I (and our two children when they actually were children; the older is now 40!). Very nice city.

Moristotle

By the way, if you would, Mr. Showme, tell me why you use "showmethemoney" (not capitalized by Typepad, anyway) as your moniker. "Moristotle" is simply a combination of my middle name and the name of a classical Greek philosopher. Not that I am partial to Aristotle or anything, but I majored in philosophy as an undergraduate (and even began a doctoral program in philosophy), and when "Moristotle" occurred to me (or to somebody who might have suggested it to me) I was instantly drawn to it for its aptness. I sort of think someone else thought of it for me. I'd sure like to be able to remember who that was....

That reminds me of a scene I read today from Ian McEwan's 2005 novel, SATURDAY, in which brain surgeon Henry Perowne visits his aging mother, whose brain (and mind) are turning to mush. Poignant reminder for both Perowne and this reader of what awaits most of us who don't die young.

Do you ever receive off-blog communiqués from Tom Sheepandgoats? I haven't heard from him lately, and he seems to have left this space to just thee and me. (I guess he's reading what we say, though, in order to verify that we're not defiling his blog or anything.)

tom sheepandgoats

I wonder if "show me the money" is a reference to Jerry McQuire and the boxing setting for this post?

Amazing, Don, I've never seen anything like it!! Sheepandgoats is exhausted, so he goes to the edge of the ring and calls on any fan to step in and take over!! I can't imagine why the referee allows it!

showmethemoney

showmethemoney was really just a name I used to describe what Dawkins would have been saying when he wrote this book (Yes, like Jerry Maguire). Whatever his intent, I can't really question it. Determining intent almost requires mind reading. And as to his willfulness in writing misleading information, obviously I could not be 100% sure. But there is evidence to suggest that it was. Quoting and citing some scriptures corectly, and paraphrasing others incorectly. Then using hyperbole and absolute statements about easily debatable points, or old jabs at Bible authenticity. Wether he was leaning on other books for this info or not I don't know. Dawkins bibliography on the 'the argument from scripture' is very shallow. Also I do not think he's a fool or lazy, so i'm tempted to think it was willful. There were many many more parts where I could only shake my head. He even says,critically, that a Watchtower publication avoids the subject of natural selection which it does not. The Watchtower publication quoted Dawkins' 'the selfish gene' as claiming 'chance'. As for Ehrman I've skimmed over his 'historical introduction' book and am not impressed. Authors who are entranced with the apocryphal writings I tend not to pend my time on. The chritian greek scriptures were closed after the death of the last apostles. Anything writen after that is nonsense on every level. As to the points I like to harp on? The mosaic law, and revelation. I've never talked to Tom outside this blog. Maybe I will. And maybe I'll comment on your site just to mix things up. Also I like Mr. Showme or just showme. I think I'll let it stick.

Moristotle

Mr. Showme, thanks for answering my question about "showmethemoney." If I understand your answer, you chose it as yet another swipe at Dawkins, consistent with your rather telling characterization of Oxford University as "thebastionoftruth" (when you meant nothing of the kind). Forgive me, but I really don't want to spend any more time exchanging comments with you.

showme

Sorry, I guess my mocking went too far. I don't think he's bad, and I hope I haven't offended you in some way.

Moristotle

Thanks, Mr. Showme, for acknowledging that indeed you were mocking. I appreciate the "sorry," even though I wasn't so much offended as I was enlightened to realize that we really don't have that much to discuss (that would benefit me, at any rate).

Moristotle

Tom, I miss you! I hope you're making progress recovering from your exhaustion--brought on by my relentless, punishing blows to your long, furry midsection? or my artfully placed jabs to your long, high cheekbones?

Announcer Jim (I think) says to Don, "I can't imagine why the referee allows it!" Could the referee and your manager be in connivance? [tee-hee]

Moristotle

Tom, do Jehovah's Witnesses do anything special for Easter? (I mean, besides eating chocolate eggs.)

Moristotle

Tom, this morning I'd like to record something very personal (the sort of thing my own blog delights in reporting as an "exclusive," but I give it to Sheep and Goats out of gratitude for all of the comment space I have been so graciously accorded here):

Tomorrow will be the first Easter during which I am explicitly (and of course publicly) a nonbeliever in the various religious significances given the celebration. What I have to report is that I'm experiencing a kind of...thrill of non-compliance. I watch virtually no television (other than "Mystery" and "Masterpiece"), but I did happen to see some local news announcers the other day reporting on Easter preparations in Raleigh. They reported in terms of apparent 100% support for and agreement with "what Easter means" (not excluding the commercial opportunity to sell lots of eggs, egg-coloring kits, baskets, chocolate, and flowers). I suspect that part of my personal thrill in saying no to all of this (except the chocolate) is the sense of how small a minority I belong to in doing so. I suppose it's rather like the thrill of meeting a lover under the moon on a public beach. Doing something that could be a little dangerous. Not the usual danger of being in the wrong place or at the wrong time (like UNC-Chapel Hill Student Body President Eve Carson when her ATM card and car--and life--were stolen a couple of weeks ago by two young thugs), but of being different among the many whose majority status, they think, makes them right.

tom sheepandgoats

Actually, if you look closely you will see us on that public beach, so be discreet with your lover. We routinely live "dangerously" in the sense you refer to, since on teh point of Easter and myriad others, we go against the grain of what is cherished by both the secular and the religious communities.

Easter enjoys no special status among Jehovah's Witnesses. We treat it exactly as we would any other day. What we do celebrate, not his resurrection, but his death. I've written about it here:
http://carriertom.typepad.com/sheep_and_goats/2007/03/the_memorial_of.html

I realize that many muddle the two events together, but they are distinct. Jesus pointedly said to commemorate his death, but made no such statement about his resurrection. (And, as you've observed, most Easter customs have nothing to do with Christianity anyway) Our celebration of his death is the one meeting of Jehovah's Witnesses that might properly be called "ceremony;" all other meetings are more educational in nature. You asked once (and a commenter answered, I think) about how much formal worship do we engage in. The answer is that we have very little that many religions would recognize as "worship." We define the word differently (more accurately, we think). Since Christianity is a way of life to us, virtually any activity that involves our Creator (meetings, ministy in the community, prayer, reading & pondering spiritual materials) qualify as worship.

I never thought of BUYING the referee. Absolutely brilliant! Especially since my strategy of calling down help from the audience brought only limited relief. (Of course, Showme responded on his own....I've yet to issue a general All Points Bulletin call for reinforcements.)

I hope you take no offense if I observe that your dismissal of Showme seemed a little mean. It came off as airy, perhaps even haughty (though he fared better than Brandon, who you disemboweled on the spot). Possibly you didn't intend it that way, but if I similarly remarked that I didn't think discussion with you (or anyone else) was worth any of MY time, you might also view me as full of myself. If you don't want to talk to him, then don't talk to him - what's with the editorial? I'm not sure just what sin he committed other than disrespecting a writer of whom you think highly. You've said far more incendiary things about the Bible and those who believe in it, yet you're treated with continual graciousness here.

His main gripe about Dawkins, if I understand him correctly, is that he misrepresents scripture. Should that be a surprise? Your knowledge of scripture is limited, and your regard for it even less, so his objections don't strike you as substantial. But if Dawkins wants to do any more than preach to the choir, he must be accurate when he deals with things valued by the other side.

I, too, have observed that Dawkins discussion of the two lineage accounts of Jesus reveals shoddy research.
http://carriertom.typepad.com/sheep_and_goats/2007/06/richard_dawkins.html
And his comments about the Watchtower's book Life - How Did it Get Here? plainly shows that he either hasn't read it or is deliberately misrepresenting it. Not to read it clearly shows contempt for the other side, since several persons (whom he ridicules) took the time and expense of supplying him with a copy. Deliberately misrepresenting it is even worse.

Moristotle

Tom, I deserve your rebuke about my "mean" words to Mr. Showme. Mr. Showme, I apologize for them. I shouldn't have "editorialized" (as Tom says).

Tom, I approve the Jehovah's Witness perspective on thing. You all do seem to be my kind of loner.

And, please, please, don't put out any formal word for volunteers to come in here and pummel me. You are quite capable of getting in licks by your own self, when you have and take the time.

Moristotle

Tom, you've been so supportive of me (and I hope that I've been supportive of you), I think we might be more accurately labeled "sparring partners" than [whatever other boxing analogy might have been suggested].

tom sheepandgoats

Sparring partners it is, then. A fine description.

Showme

Thanks for the apology Moristotle. I should say that I have yet to master effective communication through blogging. I can get unfocused and sound rude. Also jumping into a blog where an ongoing discussion has unfolded over time could be considered a little presuptuous on my part especially with no blog of my own to identify myself. Therefore my own blog. Check out my first post and tell em what you think. Really put me through the gears.

Moristotle

Good on you, my dear Tom, to overflowing cup.

By the way, have I told you that my wife and are "downsizing"--selling the house we've lived in for 25 years and buying a much smaller place (with smaller lot as well)? Yes, we're doing it. Our house is already under contract for closing in about six weeks. I'm in the process of selling or donating unwanted furniture, books, etc.

This is all much less emotionally turbulent than it always seemed to be going to be whenever we attempted to make this decision in years past.

tom sheepandgoats

Alas, you like to prune the bushes and putter around the house and yard! Will you still be able to do it at the new place? As for me, downsizing is a cherished dream (though I may be already there, compared with what I envision your current spread entails). Unlike you, I have zero interest in puttering and fixing and would do even less than that if it were not for the ever-present and long-suffering Mrs. Sheepandgoats. I'm perfectly content to enjoy my beauty at public parks and manicured city areas.

By the way, Winged Migration Man weighs in on the comment section of the next post after this one. He hails from your area and shares many of your interests. Even seems to be about your age. In fact.....if I didn't know better......but I do. Still, you guys share some passions.

Moristotle

Tom, we're leaving a 1.3 acre lot with lots of hardwoods to a .25 acre flat, bare lot (used to be a pasture, we're told). That's enough land to have some flowers and shrubs and trees, and my wife has identified quite a few plants to take with us. I even pulled up my yard lights and two transformers to transplant. It won't be nearly the same, but I think it'll meet our gardening needs. (I'm even a little like you and will actually be grateful not to have so much to deal with.)

I've read some of the "Winged Migration" comments. I'll check out what your main visitor has said most recently.

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