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Review of The Devil's Delusion

Review of The Devil's Delusion

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Published by Pieter Uys
The Devil's Delusion: Atheism and its Scientific Pretensions, reviewed by Pieter Uys.
The Devil's Delusion: Atheism and its Scientific Pretensions, reviewed by Pieter Uys.

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Published by: Pieter Uys on Jul 02, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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The Devil’s Delusion: Atheism and its Scientific Pretensions
by David Berlinski, reviewed by Pieter Uys.
In examining the limitations of science, The Devil’s Delusionexposes the intellectual pretensions that have accumulated aroundit. The word ‘science’ has been exhausted by its examples, claimsBerlinski, just like ‘democracy’ and ‘justice.’
Militant atheists are True Believers in the ability of science to ultimatelyanswer every question of life, death, purpose and meaning. This lively andwitty dissection of their mindset and the flaws and fallacies of their reasoningis a gem.Science is often compared favourably to religion as the pursuit of knowledgewhich offers truth as opposed to myth. But which absolute truth is offered byscience? The author identifies Newtonian mechanics, theories of theelectromagnetic field, special & general relativity and quantum mechanics.These are admirable indeed but inconsistent. The disconnect between quantummechanics and quantum cosmology shows that the standard model isinadequate, incomplete and arbitrary. It cannot explain the transition fromelementary particles to states of matter where complex structures form, norcan it accommodate the force of gravity.For the True Believer in science, the possibility of spirit cannot becountenanced, so atheistic philosophers are driven to seek morality withoutreference to a supernatural order. “Let there be nothing!” they demand asthey would rather abandon morality altogether than allow the possibility of pure consciousness as the sourcce. As Berlinski points out with sparkling wit,the disputations of Dawkins, Harris and Hitchens include the affirmation of trivialities, unsupported arguments, circular reasoning, contradiction,speculation built upon speculation presented as fact, brittle logic,mystification and detours into the fever swamps of postmodernist discoursethat have laid waste to much of the humanities.Despite the advance of extreme relativism in particularly the human sciences,reality remains. If there are no absolute truths, there are no moral absolutes.“No one believes the first and no one is prepared to live with the second,”Berlinski observes as he weighs the words of philosophers like Richard Rortyand scientists such as Carl Sagan, Roger Penrose, Clifford Johnson, Hawking
and Schrödinger.Seductive yet jealous, the narratives of science allow no other narrativesbefore them. Berlinski looks at the scientific method, the cosmologicalargument and Thomas Aquinas which leads him to the Big Bang and theinescapable Singularity. Neither of the aforementioned is popular with devotedatheists as the first reminds them of the Old Narrative of creation whilst thesecond implies the existence of spirit or consciousness as source of matter/energy.Embraced to diminish The Big Bang, string theory piled up more dimensionsthan the number of elementary particles discovered so far. Then the“Landscape” was conjured up to support string theory. The Landscape is all

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