Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Doug Groothuis review-article on line

My article from the July-August issue of Books and Culture, "The Great Debate" (on several books about atheism and theism) is now on line.


Sirfab said...

Dr. Groothuis:

I know this comment is not relevant to this post, but I could not post it elsewhere because you disabled comments on several other posts.

You say that The Constructive Curmudgeon is "This is a forum for reflection on culture, ethics, philosophy, and theology."

However, you disabled new comments on all posts that had discussion going, after you attributed victory to your point of view and/or praised those who agreed with or reinforced your point of view, denying those who disagree the change for further clarification/rebuttal.

When you disable comments, you transform The Constructive Curmudgeon from a forum into a pulpit that you use to lecture your audience. Let's call a spade a spade, ok?

Kevin Winters said...

The concept of infinity is not contradictory but equivocal. It would be contradictory if, by subtracting the infinite set of even numbers from an infinite set of natural numbers, we would get different results at different times. The results are consistent and even sensible when infinity is defined in the equation, e.g., as the set of all even numbers. It's like claiming that the concept of a variable is contradictory because it can yield different results even though those results follow consistent and logical rules. Where is the contradiction?

Katie said...

Let me get this straight. Dr. G has disabled further comments on some posts, after opposing sides both had issued comments. Dr. G may have taken the prerogative to declare his opinion (as the owner of this blog) as the final opinion posted in said posts. This does not negate what any opposing commenters may have said.

Sounds to me like he may have just decided that to allow those threads to continue ad nauseum wouldn't serve the goals of his blog.

It also sounds to me like Dr. G has created this blog to share his reflections on culture, ethics, philosophy and theology, but he kindly allows others to respond to his comments, within his discerned reason.

I don't see where he established this blog as an ongoing debate, so in my opinion his actions are not unreasonable, nor inconsistent with his description of his blog. Forums need not beat one horse to death for eternity to be labeled forums.

Just my 2 cents.

Sirfab said...

"It also sounds to me like Dr. G has created this blog to share his reflections on culture, ethics, philosophy and theology, but he kindly allows others to respond to his comments, within his discerned reason."

Kindly allows others to respond? mmmm. OK.

Southern Dreaming said...

sirfab: it is his blog. He can do with it what he wishes. Why are you so contentious?

John Stockwell said...

Dr. Groothuis writes in his review:

By summarily affirming methodological naturalism in his chapter on the "warfare" between science and religion, McGrath also ignores the significant challenge to naturalism (and boost for theism) posed by the Intelligent Design movement, which claims that certain features of nature are explained better by intelligence than by merely material causes. While the Intelligent Design movement is more a critique of naturalism in science than a positive program of natural theology, its method of design detection contributes significantly to the design argument for God's existence. But McGrath is silent about all of this.

Dr. Groothuis fails to recognize that
the prime motivation of the "new atheism" movement is as a response to the anti-science aspects of the various creationism movements, including the modern intelligent design movement.

Ultimately, the ID movement is bad for
Christianity, because it destroys the
credibility of Christians. In this
sense, modern militant atheists are
attacking moral and intellectual corruption within ranks of the religious community. Remove the rot of
anti-science from Christianity,
reaffirm separation of church and
state, and
atheists will go back to being the
silent minority that they generally
have been in the past.

Dr. Science said...

According to Richard Dawkins, a fundamentalist is someone totally entrenched in a backward system who ingnores science and defends strict biblical literalism.

Fortunately, only a small minority of Christians reject science and whore themselves to ID/creationism.

I'd guess that only 10% of Christians fall within this category.

How would a scientist characterize this article: untrained fundamentalist reading the Bible.

But my opinion is ad hominem! But alas, I'm not trying to discredit your argument, I'm simply stating my opinion, and the opinion of the vast majority of those with earned doctorates in science.

Now surely you haven't done that ever before!

Sirfab said...

Southern Dreaming: I was going to let it go, but you ask a specific question (why I am so contentious), so I am giving you a specific answer.

One of my recent posts was deleted because I used the term Christocrats. I did not create it myself. I first found it in a book by Rabbi J. Rudin, The Baptizing of America. I felt that it was an appropriate term to describe the type of Christians who keep hammering away at the separation of church and state and who would like to impose their whole worldview on the entire nation, many of whom seem to inhabit this blog. I don't regret using it because it was meant as descriptive, not as a gratuitous insult. (Much in the same way that Dr. Groothuis uses the terms "leftist", "liberal" or "culture of death", I am sure, with descriptive intent, and not as an insult.)

In the same comment, I also said that Obama made an honest admission (or convenient escape, depending on your point of view) that the answer to the question "when does life begin" was above his paygrade. Dr. Groothuis's, in response to a statement made by Sen. Biden, said the following "You only need an elementary knowledge of biology [to know that conception] is the beginning of life. There is no controversy over this in the scientific literature." Since I do not believe that the fact that there is no controversy in scientific literature about the fact that life begins at conception (it did not take me more than a google search to find the following article in the following, well-referenced Wikipedia entry), I said, in a way that Dr. Groothuis considered snide, that perhaps the question "when does life begin?" is not only about Obama's paygrade, but Dr. Groothuis's as well. Unlike Dr. Groothuis, who seems very convinced of holding the truth on all the things he discusses, I do not presume to possess all the answers, so I would very much have liked Dr. Groothuis to back up his statement that no controversy exists in scientific literature about the fact that life begins at conception, because I might be wrong. Instead, my comment was deleted with accusations of gratuitous insults, no response given (until later).

So, Southern Dreaming, it is true that TCC is Dr. Groothuis's blog. It just looks more and more like a place for indoctrination than for discussion. I have never really come across any other blogs where the owner allows comments, only to disable them when he thinks people are out of line. That's all.

I'd have no problem with a call to order now and then, sometimes it serves to put things back on track, or with deletion or material of a solely sarcastic nature (even though I personally would not delete even that), but to delete whole comments, or to disable comments after proclaiming oneself the victor, or because one is miffed by the opinions expressed by others, or they way in which they are expressed, seems contrary to the mission of the blog.

And it is a pity because the Curmudegon's readers would be well served by hearing different perspectives, and, sometimes, a fresh and better informed angle.

Sirfab said...

P.S. Southern Dreaming:

I would understand it if Dr. Groothuis chose to delete this comment because it has nothing to do with his original post. Once again, I apologize for that, and stress that I was only responding to your statement that I am being contentious. Of course, the other option Dr. Groothuis has would be to remind people to stick to the subject matter, without deleting any comment or disabling the comment feature. But it is his blog, so he can do what he chooses.

Doug Groothuis said...

Katie is correct.
Fab is trying to highjack the blog. I disable comments when I am tired of policing them. I allow all kinds of opinions, but not if they are obnoxious and ad hominem or if they are off the topic, which Fab's post is.

Doug Groothuis said...

No logical argument from Dr. Science, that's for sure.

David Strunk said...

Dr. Science,

Your argument sounded like this:

1) More people with Ph.D's believe what I do, so it's right.

2) Science courses teach what is proper, so they are right. (as a note: I took several science courses in an undergraduate setting and was wholly unimpressed with the profs/Ph.D's biological and chemical underpinnings. They could not answer simple questions like; so how did life begin? How do we get from no cell to a cell, admittedly a very complex organism?)

3) People with religious convictions cannot possibly know science (if that was, in fact, sarcasm about the student/reverend dig?), so they are stupid.

I know you admitted that you weren't constructing an argument. But if you were to, would you deal with intelligent design literature, written by people with Ph.D's?

Doug Groothuis said...

The last two posts by "Dr. Science" are omited for condescension and a lack of any discernible argumentation. He or she appeals to authority: his or her own and insults those without science degrees. How boring. He/she is banned.