Saturday, March 03, 2007

BBCRadio 4 Thought for the Day

In the middle of the news program 'Today', on BBC Radio 4, there is a short spot called 'Thought for the Day'

In it, religious people give a talk on moral and ethical issues. People who do not believe in God are banned from appearing on this spot, although there have been extremely rare exceptions.

As religious people, the speakers are trained experts in morality , and so their thoughts are profound and deep, the product of their years of study of morality.

The above sentence was not entirely true. The talks are almost always notable for their platitudes and shallow thinking, showing that studying religion  does not in itself give you any expertise in morality and ethics.

There are occasionally good speakers on Thought for the Day, who say interesting things, but they are the minority.

Peter Hearty does a good job of summarising Platitude for the Day. His summaries of the talks is well worth reading and can be found at Thought for the Day


Blogger foulkesfamily said...

I agree entirely. The vast majority of speakers have very little to commend them.

I guess my frustration is different to yours though - I know so many men and women who would give a stimulating Thought that would represent something of what Christians *actually* believe, yet most invited guests are really poor. I would even prefer a robust humanist than a milksop religionist. At least it would make people think...

1:47 AM  
Blogger sisko said...

William Lane Craig debating Jeffery Jay Lowder or Doug Kreuger would be good, definitely. Lewis Wolpert was a bit blunt and didn't pull up any points or agruements, just plain refusal to things. It was also quite funny because during the lecture the next day there was a Q and A section and someone suggested Bill goes and debates with Dawkins. It turns out that Dawkins had turned him down because he doesn't debate with anyone less than a bishop and the debate wouldn't improve his CV, hahahaha.

9:46 AM  
Blogger Steven Carr said...

To be more precise, Dawkins has a long standing well-known policy of not debating creationists.

William Lane Craig is a creationist.

Equally, Craig has a long-standing policy of debating people who write books and articles on naturalism and atheism.

So why does he always refuse to debate Jeffery Jay Lowder or Doug Krueger?

12:27 PM  
Blogger foulkesfamily said...

Actually, I'm not at all sure that Craig is a creationist in any terms that I would identify with. He does believe that God is the ultimate origin of the cosmos, so in that very loose sense, I guess he is. Whether that makes him fair game for Dawkins, I don't know.

If Dawkin's refusal to debate Craig is based upon his alleged creationism, then perhaps it is Prof Dawkins who is ducking the issue, as the suggested series of debates have no necessary link with creation/evolution. They are, rather, somewhat wider in concern.

Perhaps Prof Dawkins simply is unable to take part due to the prior commitments of his 'God Delusion' speaking tour? Given the choice of promoting sales of his book or debating a Christian apologist which would have little media value for him at this point, perhaps he has chosen the former? We will have to be charitable in our assessment of said Professor, and believe him to be seeking consistency with a stated policy rather than driven by the pull of the pound.

Not being familiar with either Jeffery Jay Lowder or Doug Krueger, I am still somewhat at a disadvantage. I will put familiarising myself with them on my 'to do' list. Again, as I suggested in my comments boxes, never having met Wm Craig, it would be difficult even to comment on any connection with them. If your suggestion is that he is hiding from debate, then his current debate schedule gives the lie to that. In addition, his willingness to debate the self-proclaimed 'Devil's Chaplain' :) suggests he is unafraid of public engagement with perceived champions of atheism...

I would hate to think, Steven, that you are becoming guilty of tub-thumping for your favourite atheists in the way that some ill-advised Christians do for their particular heroes :)

1:45 PM  
Blogger Steven Carr said...

Craig does not believe that Homo sapiens have descended from creatures that were not Homo sapiens.

That makes him a creationist.

Craig is debating Mike Begon.

I can find nothing Mike Begon has written on the subject of atheism or naturalism.

William Lane Craig has debated Eddie Tabash of the Internet Infidels.

Guess what? Craig does not want to go throughh *that* experience again.

1:53 PM  
Blogger foulkesfamily said...

I think our definitions of creationism have daylight between them, but we can agree that he sees God in the equation and that paints a target on his back as far as the evangelical atheist is concerned.

Regarding Wm Craig's motives, I'm guessing we are also some distance apart. I have no particular desire to defend him, because if he is an able communicator and a man of integrity he can probably do that himself. I'm pretty sure, however, that our mutual ignorance of him means that we ought not to attempt amateur Darren Brown mind reading tactics on him any more than we should Prof Dawkins (see last comment).

It is pretty easy to resort to jibes in his direction that imply head-in-the-sand ostrichism or debating cowardice.

Perhaps you are right. Perhaps you are just taking a cheap shot based on prejudice and assumption.

3:30 AM  
Blogger foulkesfamily said...

BTW, that should read *Derren*.


Also, if you can point me to an mp3 recording of the Tabash debate, I would be glad to listen.

3:36 AM  
Blogger paul said...

1. As I have told you elsewhere Dawkins does deabte creationists. He recently did so on sunday sequence on radio ulster with Andy mcIntosh an it was a fairly vitriolic affair. He followed it by writing letters to Prof MCintosh's university aiming to have him removed from his chair.

2. either you re obsessed with William Craig or are trying to create an urban legend “Craig has been ducking the internet infidels for years”
I’m sure this is just the tip of the iceberg

You will be glad to hear that I took your challenge seriously to listen to the debate with Eddie Tabash. The first thing I found was that Craig (who didn’t want to repeat the experience) has it for sale on his website!!! Being cheap i didn’t want to buy it but found you can download it from

Having listened to the debate I wonder if you have!!! Tabash was high on rhetoric and weak on content. Two things struck me - he simply could not give a reasonable response to the cosmological arguement. He did not even attempt to explain how humanism could give any basis for mortality.


3:35 PM  
Blogger Steven Carr said...

Craig has been ducking Jeffery Jay Lowder and Dog Kreuger for years.

Craig now refuses to debate Tabash again.

There is a more balanced review , pointing out mistakes on both sides at Craig-Tabash Debate

It makes the same point you do 'Equally important, the main point where Tabash seemed unprepared (and thus where Craig took most advantage, to strong rhetorical effect) was the issue of the secular foundation of morality'

Craig is, or was at the time, president of the Evangelical Philosophical Society, whose members must sign a sworn agreement that they believe "The Bible alone, and the Bible in its entirety, is the Word of God written and therefore inerrant in the originals"

11:50 PM  
Blogger Ab Truth said...

yeah but have you listened to the debate Steve?

got any more logical arguements for the existence of God for us?

3:01 AM  
Blogger foulkesfamily said...

Hello Steve. Have recently listened to the Craig-Tabash debate, and to be honest, I am a little surprised that you would want to use it either as an example of a crushing experience for Craig or an advertisement for Tabash. I felt that Tabash was really quite weak.

Is there anything else that you could point me to?

Hope you are well.

12:00 PM  
Blogger Steven Carr said...

Perhaps Tabash was quite weak...

I wonder why Craig now refuses to debate him again.

'Once bitten, twice shy?'

12:33 PM  
Blogger Bill Davison said...

Have any of you debaters ever given any REAL thought as to the initiation of all idiotic religious 'beliefs'.
Thoughts For The Day consist mainly of comments re current events delivered by strange people who kid us that their specific God has gifted them with this logic when all they're really using is the natural common sense we all have.

? - Who needs absurd 'Beliefs' - ?

Reflections of an Octogenarian.

Religiosity? – Throughout life, I’ve never regarded this subject as deserving of any serious thought - - -
However, with quietus in the offing, the excessive religious coverage in the media inevitably agitates the neurons.
Of late, these irritants have provoked a deep re-appraisal - - - that has utterly confirmed natural intuition!

Logical conclusions after a lifetime of listening inadvertently to the delusive portents of various ‘Faiths’.

A simple story. No need for the meandrine moonshine of ‘erudite intelligentsia’.
Just take yourself back in time & examine unvarnished facts.

Please acknowledge that the primitive mind was bound to generate quite naturally, mythological imagery of an Elysian nature.
Also, one must accept that the relative ignorance of early Humanity, coupled with understandable fears of the unknown, provided those individuals seeking power over their fellows - a natural human trait - with the conditions to set up as
Medicine-Men - Witch-Doctors - Sorcerers - Soothsayers - - - et al, all claiming to have insights & contact with a ‘power’ - of sorts. So began the blight of Shamanism - - - leading on to airy-fairy religions.

As time unveiled the past, these facts have not been fully appreciated; hence - the ensuing rash of religiosity has not been branded for what it really is - - -

An early conceive - of ignorance & apprehension - - -
Perpetuated thro millennia by IMPOSTORS - Preying on credulous naivety.

The natural process of evolution, via many devious pious paths, has now landed us with the present crop of
Archbishops - Ayatollahs - Rabbis - Popes - Imams - JWs - & a host of other hypocritical sect leaders,
incessantly brainwashing the largely unthinking masses with their ridiculous & childish ‘Holy Beliefs’.

The Billy Grahams of the world, gifted with gab & showmanship, use their ‘bewitching powers’ to prey on the gullibility of the artless.
Yes indeed, in modern form, the Witch-Doctors are still at it! - - - Mountebanks All!

With it’s initiation as above, religiosity can’t be recognised by any sane person to have the gravitas necessary for any authentic ‘Belief’. Seeking reality is anathema to the pious ones. They critically comment on facts of life that are painstakenly unearthed by the practical hard-working talents of seekers of truth. Knowledge of physics & biology would never have advanced if left to ‘Holy’ men.
Sun would still be orbiting Earth. The dim past is their’s, with mystical rites that are still prevalent, albeit with modern trappings.
They are an absurdity! Their endeavours to exalt religiosity by the erection of ever more imposing ‘Places of Worship’
merely highlights – Monumentally – the benighted phases of Man’s past. - - - Hell’s Bells! - - - What a shambles!

Weighing up the World-wide situation, a substantial proportion of Humanity are unable to let go of their forebears’ primitive ‘belief’ in a Creator that demands a daily dose of supplication. A person’s specific ‘belief’ is dictated by that part of the globe from where they originated; a simple inheritance of the parents’ unreal ancestral teachings, largely unquestioned! No need to be a ‘Religious Scholar’ (what a fatuous preoccupation) to comprehend why all of this utter humbug survives.

Persistent indoctrination over millennia leave the susceptible with feelings of unease when they attempt to ditch the ingrained silly ‘beliefs’ inherited from similarly misinformed forebears. Most take an apathetic route & run with the various childish theosophical myths passed down through the generations via pious, shallow-thinking naivety - preferring illusion to reality - fantasy to truth.

It has always been decreed that our only way forward is the utilizisation of everyday experience & research - ie
pure evidential communal common-sense.

The need to consult Biblical, Qur’anic, or any other ancient crap-laden fairy tales in order to pursue a
decent & considerate existence beggars belief. Ethics evolve naturally.

The facts listed above are beyond dispute – Theism? / Divinity? – Absolute Man-made hokum!

Any thinking person realises that the Universe is truly an awesome Quantum / Astronomical creation.
As part of that creation, our attempts at it’s full understanding seem futile.

Probing the Atom or ‘Heavenly’ space & we’re contemplating Infinities.

Fouling up our minds with a rag-bag of archaic religiose twaddle does nothing to help enlighten our ignorance!

Anyone taking this farcical subject seriously has to be absolutely pickled in traditional folklore and/or in a sad mental state. Using it’s bogus validity for an easy living and/or monetary gain, it’s impostrous practitioners must have no damn conscience at all.

Far too much reverence is devoted to the abstract of religiosity. Vast volumes of impotent bombastic rhetoric has been generated by self-righteous con-men who use their dominant & deceitful acumen to sublimely charm others to wander in an unreal ‘Spiritual Wonderland’ that is totally unworthy of any honest contemplation! > > > > > > > >

A rational response to the ‘standard’ questions posed by Alpha & similar organisations.

What is the point of life?

Need there be a ‘point’. Nature instructs all of life to reproduce; to what end, we just don’t know & it’s almost 100% certain that we never will. We can speculate, but are infinitely short of the necessary knowledge to form a valid judgement!

Certainly, life’s purpose cannot be identified by any ancient decrepit ‘Belief’!

Nature, red in tooth & claw, is pitilessly indifferent to an individual’s quality of life; the fittest for any environment prospers. Individual quality of life is a lottery. We have arrived & must make the best of it.
Self-deceivers pray for Ethereal help; none is discernable - - - Quite definitely a DIY job!

We live, utilising facts that the experience of life plus research, provides!

The paralogism of religious charlatans can’t match the knowledge we now possess, scant though it be.
Mystical Theosophy is drivel of the first order.

What happens when we die?

Starkly, when the brain ceases to function, that ‘being’ ceases to ‘be’.
The motivation driving that unique combination of elements is no more!
A ‘Spiritual Future’ ????? - - - Pure self-indulgent fantasy!
The chemo-electrical activity of the brain – the mind – is naturally prone to generate any illusive mirage.
If that imagery is not backed up by factual proof, it remains a fantasy.
To give any credence to life after death, one must be round the bend, if not well up the straight!

Natural cognition (common sense), affirms life’s future as solely dependent on reproduction!

Is forgiveness possible?

With almost limitless mutations possible, genetic functioning can be expected to produce individuals with characteristics of an exceedingly complex gradation, in a myriad of aspects – eg - - -

Brilliant to Thick – Jovial to Morose – Benign to Sadistic – Hetero to Homo – ad inf.

Religions provide a very accessible dump for the perceived guilt generated by the various indiscretions to which all humans must, in some respect, be victim. The evolution of life cannot be fault-free. We learn as we live.
Forgiveness from on high is a concept that is, quite evidently, ludicrous in the extreme!

Do not kid thyself – No one is immaculate!

Those gifted with conscience & a degree of ‘normalcy’ just have to live with the unfortunates & scallywags – amongst
the latter - the ‘Con Men’ - enjoying a very comfortable living with their pretentious ‘Divine’ prognostications!

Further thoughts

With the barbarous & brutal acts of differing factions, the mutiplicity of silly ‘Beliefs’ has always been a handicap that
humanity can well do without. - - - Common sense must prevail!
As the sponge-like mind of an infant readily absorbs info, authentic or fallacious, in teaching the necessary basics of life, the follies of illogical & delusory religions should be emphasized - - - Strongly!
Offspring should be brought up from birth unprimed with needless pestilential ‘beliefs’ - - - Glaringly Obvious!

Preachers pontificate on a subject so ‘Holey’, it is artlessly transparent. Visualise it’s benighted origins & it’s quite obvious that the early human mind was bound to generate mythological imagery of an Elysian nature & from there, receptive fanciful & predacious minds took over. ‘Beliefs’ were surely born of ignorance & fear of the unknown! With this realisation, why can’t we all recognise simple basic facts & treat all ‘faiths’ of today as ever they really were - - -
A dogmatic continuation of irrational early thought.

In this more enlightened age - Pure Phantasmic Godswallop!

The Rt Rev Fred Flintstone & his equally-misguided confederates of all other ‘Faiths’ should have dug themselves out of the Stone-age long long ago!

The Past is unveiled thro Time!
Let’s all Profit from it! - Not Perpetuate it! - - - - A m e n

Bill Davison

2:13 PM  
Blogger Bill Davison said...

Not too many comments being posted Steven

Maybe this poetic piece will raise a smile

The Deceit of Religiosity

Positive conclusions of an Octogenarian.

As the human mind is fundamentally prone to the generation of illusions, we must try to visualize in a realistic manner, the birth & ramose nature of Religiosity. Everyone is infected with an imaginative ‘spiritual’ tendency, sentimentally induced, that is nothing more than the natural wonderment of our existence & surroundings. Elemental reasoning is needed to place all ‘fantasial’ thoughts in true perspective.

‘Heavenly’ visions need to be truly assessed & not allowed to sabotage the prevalent common sense & research that seeks to counter Life’s ongoing problems. Unrealistic ‘Beliefs’, the cause of so much mayhem & mortality of past & present, are all very basic Man-made creations - - - devious proclamations of a false & tedious nature, incessantly filling shallow minds with absurd religious dogma.

Unease can result in the mind having a very distorted & tormented view of one’s situation, with an urge to look skywards for help. In order to form a valid judgement on ‘figmentary Gods’ & ‘Heavenly’ matters, a reasonably healthy state of mind is essential.

Nearing the end of a long life, not without bother, the need to rely on any absurd ‘belief’ has never really entered my consciousness! It’s all too apparent that religious ‘Faiths’ are pure humbug, blessed with existence by Impostors & their largely naive followers.


To date - ‘Beliefs’ I have ignored - They’ve never really struck a chord
But ageing - Getting more a wreck - I deemed it wise to run a check

Pondered long - Far back in time - & I declare with thoughts sublime
Faith’s nebulous starting point was found - I was correct the first time round!

Following are my DEEP reflections - All plain FACT - NO deceptions!


Mankind has been profoundly caught - In devious realms of religious thought
One needs understand it’s INSTITUTION - & follow through - it’s EVOLUTION!

Quite simply - - - All ‘Gods’ were born as Man in fear - Strove to see his future clear
Apprehension & lack of knowledge - Spawned a ‘Holy Praying College’!

In primeval times - Long gone - Man deified Idol & Icon
& once begun – That ‘Godly Grind’ - Nested within a receptive mind!

Inevitably - - - In those early years of Man - The reign of Charlatan began
Claiming insight without proof - & saddling Man with ONE BIG SPOOF!

Generations gone & all they’ve known - Is Charmanism - All ‘home grown’
RELIGIONS? - They are SO abundant - ALL should be by now – REDUNDANT!

THEOSOPHIES? - Created by the score! - BELIEFS? - We doubtless need no more!
Suffice to say - “We’ll NEVER know - What REALLY makes the green grass grow!”

Probing the ATOM or ‘Heavenly’ SPACE – We do, indeed, come face to face
With INFINITIES galore - & probably a good deal MORE!

Temples & Cathedrals Grand - VERY impressive - But as they stand
Forget thee not - These ‘Sacred Places’ - Are but MONUMENTS to Man’s benighted phases!

The hallowed music of the choir - For better things it does aspire
But does ‘God’ hear this psalmic prayer? - Is He listening? -IS HE THERE?!

‘Men of God’ are full of cant - Preaching they know what we want
Know they themselves - They are UNCOUTH - When they profess to know the TRUTH!

Where ARE the ‘Gods’ to which they pray? - Requiring worship every day
The ‘Gods’ are solely in their heads - & in their heads that’s where they PLAY!

Just because Man CANNOT see – Affairs that may have yet to be
Trust is placed in a God unseen – An Essence that has NEVER been!

Are we ALL obliged to be beholden? - Even when life is FAR from golden?
Let’s have done with this masquerade - From the HEADS DOWN - BACKSIDES UP BRIGADE!

The grievous indifference of NATURE’S COURT - Is apparent in LIFE - of ANY SORT
What Man must do to get along - Is RATIONALIZE & STAY on song!

‘Faith’ in covert ‘Gods’ I fear - Can’t be taken serious here
COMMON SENSE ALONE sheds light - Let’s put ALL pious B’s to flight!

May the wisdom now amongst us - Rid us of this cloying fungus
Let’s all rejoice in LOGIC’S role - & bury the BUNKUM down a hole!

The grasp of facts in Man evolving - Guideth him in problem solving
When an act proves NO SOLUTION - - - MODIFY IT - - - THAT’S EVOLUTION!

So let some light into the brain - Resolve to think & think again
Is A religion all THAT fateful? - Oh PLEASE COME OFF IT - - - ALL YE FAITHFUL ! ! !

COMMON SENSE is ALL one needs - Not PASSÉ - SHROUDED - Man-made creeds
Common sense - ? ? ? - - - Get off thy perch - - - Use EVERYDAY WISDOM - Plus RESEARCH!

1:53 PM  

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