Protestant Sophistry (106)

It is easy to get drawn into arguments with religious people and as they do not have precisely defined beliefs, the Protestant faiths can between them hold all the various beliefs necessary to accept creation and not accept evolution or the non-existence of a single God.

As a collective and indeed as individuals, they form a source of sophistry. Sophistry is defined as “subtle but unsound or fallacious reasoning”. As a collective, this can incline one to reject one branch of Christianity but fall for another because it places a greater emphasis on some aspect of the belief or advertises itself in a manner that appeals. As individuals one can also encounter the seductive sophistry of those who devote their life to the religion. They have ample opportunity to develop doctrines which appear to answer a question one may have, but in fact are not providing answers but pose more questions or obfuscate the point.

Anthropomorphism is one example of a curious almost schizophrenic sophistry. In the belief system of Christians of most branches and the eyes of many scientists, animals have no souls and attributing human-like reasoning or mind to them is mocked as anthropomorphism. However, when it comes to the works of C.S.Lewis, which are trumpeted as Christian oriented tales for children, then a talking lion is a credible analogy and half human half horse creatures are fellow soldiers of the cross.

Research on the theory of mind, (qv.) in a number of different populations, (human and animal, adults and children, normally- and atypically-developing), has grown rapidly in the almost 30 years since Premack and Woodruff's paper, "Does the chimpanzee have a theory of mind?", as have the theories of theory of mind. it is far better to look into what science has to offer first before forming a belief. As with all belief systems though, such as Buddho-Darwinism proposed here, some decision must be reached before leaping. Buddhism reflects Hindu belief on reincarnation, a more Buddho-Darwinist view might be that there is a great consciousness of which many of us become part for better or worse reasons, much as the evolution of life on earth.

Finally, “Do animals think? ‘Of course they do,’ answers Marc Hauser, a Harvard professor of psychology. ‘How could they not think and manage to survive in the world?’. “

It is important to note perhaps that sophistry is something not many people want to be associated with and though you may find some in this site it is unintentional. There is no determination to convert you to the belief of Buddho-Darwinim, merely to propose it as a method of thinking and as a life-style to some extent, acknowledging that it may not be to your best Darwinist advantage to follow it. Meerkats have a society where often only one female will breed in any den, and much of the rest of the work of the colony is engaged in protecting the infants produced. Buddho-Darwinism as a life-style depends on you being able to give up a little of your own life for the common good too.

As an example of sophistry I offer the following:- In 2010 A letter was published in The Times of London by the Reverend Dr Paul Sheppy of Abingdon. He had written criticising something by Richard Dawkins the Oxford Don biologist. I felt he had misunderstood the basis of Professor Dawkins reasoning so wrote to him explaining how I would have interpreted what had been written. He wrote back and a short exchange of letters occurred. In one of the letters Dr Sheppy responded to my point that Jesus should have washed his hands told the world. I had said , “On the matter of integrity which you raised about Professor Dawkins I would argue that Jesus showed far less integrity. For instance, at Matthew 15.2: he was asked “Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.”  The response of Jesus at Matthew 15 verse 20 was: “These are the things which defile the man, but eating with unwashed hands does not defile the man.” Our hospitals now have introduced policies of using alcohol rubs for all nursing tasks and even for the visiting friends of patients. This is because we know the hands are a source of bacterial infection and viruses. Centuries before science, your Messiah was responsible for untold millions going to an early grave with all manner of diseases, even tiny new born babies, because he took this absurd position. I would postulate that if you are in a trinity with the creator of the entire universe who knows all things, even what people have thought, then it would not be difficult to use one’s integrity and make a point in a less poisonous manner, but he chose this one. “

In response Dr Sheppy wrote, “The doctrine of the incarnation means that Jesus is empty of any knowledge other than his natural inheritance as a child of his time. So asking him to have an opinion about micro-biology as it applies to personal hygiene or public sanitation is, frankly, nonsense”

My conclusion is that in the church you can concoct a doctrine, (defined as “ a creed or body of teachings of a religious group presented for acceptance”), to fit the story and then claim others, such as myself, talk gibberish. To me, someone who can figure out how to walk on water and turn water into wine is way beyond the doctrine of a child of his time, (unless he is suggesting such was common in those days). If he can do those two things, let alone feeding five thousand with two fishes, then he can certainly ask his dad to let him in on the secret of why people suffer dysentry.





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