Personally handicapped in Debate

Richard Dawkins has demonstrated why evolutionary biologists should stick to biology. Now a soon-to-be physics PhD demonstrates why physics majors should stick to physics in his cursory attempt to review a single chapter of TIA:

1. Entirely, well, idiotic argument that religion has not produced means to destroy the world while science has. Of course religion has not produced a means to feed people, while food has, which means religion is useless. Wow… bad start, Voxy.

Uselessness has nothing to do with it. Imminent danger to the human race is the subject at hand, due to Sam Harris’s assertion that Science + Faith = Human Extinction. Since it has been proven that the danger cannot derive from Faith, even eliminating Faith from the equation means that the threat to humanity will still remain so long as Science exists. Logic therefore dictates that either Harris is incorrect – in which case he has no argument against Faith – or he should be advocating the End of Science. Bad logic, Andy. I note that claiming that food has produced a means to feed people is a tautology… stick to the math, college boy, it’s clear that both logic and analogy are beyond you.

2. More arguments that knowledge is evil. Yawwwwn…

Is he stating a belief that absolutely no knowledge is evil? Or even dangerous? Because I certainly don’t argue that knowledge is inherently evil, (although I think I could make a fairly convincing case for the knowledge of the taste of a virgin’s still-beating heart), I do argue that some knowledge can be dangerous. I find it hard to believe that he seriously disagree with this, I suspect he’s merely intellectually careless.

3. More refutations of Harris’ argument that religion can cause evil. Argument entirely identical that it’s not the man who commits murder who’s at fault, it’s the knife, whose existence is responsible. So far so bad…

Again, Andy can’t do analogy correctly. His man-knife example rests on the fact that “man” is a sentient object and can be responsible for murder, but “knife” is not and therefore cannot be. However, both “Religion” and “Science” are equally abstract concepts and equally capable of being held responsible (or if you prefer, not responsible) for endangering humanity. If one must bring murder into it, both Motive and Means are considered relevant factors in proving a crime, in fact, Means is the more significant factor. So far, still got nothing, Andy.

4. A sort of an argument that not all current science is “good” science, as if that means something, or as if he’s discovering something no one knew.

It certainly does mean something. It means either “bad science” should be held against science, or “bad religion” should not be held against religion. Pick one, I don’t care. And, of course, it also eviscerates the romantic idea that mutable science can be the basis of an objective and rational moral standard.

5. Argument that there are some things we’re better off never knowing. Ridiculous for a variety of reasons, ranging from the fact that there will never be agreement as to who gets to decide which knowledge must never be pursued, to the fact that making a subject taboo is possibly the best way to ensure someone explores it.

Yes, this is why scientists publish information on making nuclear weapons and biological agents in public journals available for free download on the Internet. I submit that the idea that humanity is better off knowing every possible piece of information is not only stupidly short-sighted, it’s downright insane.

6. Oh lordy… “for the first two-thirds of the scientific era, life expectancy was comparable to that of ancient Rome.” I think he thinks this is somehow meaningful, because apparently if the progress of medicine, as measured directly by life expectancy, does not exactly match progress in every other discipline of science, this invalidates all of science.

Andy apparently scored rather better on his Math than his Reading Comprehension. The fact that science has not altered human life expectancy anywhere nearly as much as is commonly assumed doesn’t invalidate anything about science, it invalidates a claim to a specific benefit of science made by many science fetishists.

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why you should never be impressed by the mere possession of an expensive piece of paper sold to an individual by a paper-selling institution, or expect those possessing such pieces of paper to be capable of even the most rudimentary reading comprehension or logical analysis.