Hitchens (2008). Chapter Six: Arguments from Design. (god is not Great: How religion poisons everything.)

Hitchens, C. (2008). Chapter Six: Arguments from Design. In god is not Great: How religion poisons everything. New York: Twelve.

[Details of ‘creation’ are a hodge-podge …]

“Why _do_ people keep saying, ‘God is in the details’? He isn’t in ours, unless his yokel creationist fans wish to take credit for his clumsiness, failure, and incompetence.” (p 85)

[Current scientific knowledge eclipses the knowledge of ancient times …]

“We now know things about our nature that the founders of religion could not even begin to guess at, and that would have stilled their overconfident tongues if they had known of them.” (p 87)

[Superstition and politics of religion resists change and new ideas …]

“It may be significant that the papacy of the Middle Ages always resisted the idea of ‘zero’ as alien and heretical, perhaps because of its supposedly Arab (in fact Sanskrit) origin but perhaps also because it contained a frightening possibility.” (p 89)

[Microbes were never envisioned by the inventors of religion …]

“… in Genesis man is not awarded dominion over germs and bacteria because the existence of these necessary yet dangerous fellow creatures was not known or understood. And if it had been known or understood, it would at once have become apparent that these forms of life had ‘dominion’ _over us_, and would continue to enjoy it uncontested until the priests had been elbowed aside and medical research at last given an opportunity. Even today, the balance between _Homo sapiens_ and Louis Pasteur’s ‘invisible army’ of microbes is by no means decided, but DNA has at least enabled us to sequence the genome of our lethal rivals, like the avian flu virus, and to elucidate what we have in common.” (p 90)

[Our existence is insignificant and our accomplishments miniscule in relation to the expanse of the cosmos …]

“Our place in the cosmos is so unimaginably small that we cannot, with our miserly endowment of cranial matter, contemplate it for long at all. No less difficult is the realization that we may also be quite random as presences on earth. We may have learned about our modest position on the scale, about how to prolong our lives, cure ourselves of disease, learn to respect and profit from other tribes and other animals, and employ rockets and satellites for ease of communication; but then, the awareness that our death is coming and will be succeeded by the death of the species and the heat death of the universe is scant comfort.” (p 91)

[Chance appearance of vertebrates …]

“The earliest known ver- [page break] tebrate (or ‘chordate’) located in the Burgess shale is a two-inch and rather elegant creature named, after an adjoining mountain and also for its sinuous beauty, _Pikaia gracilens_.” (p 92-93)

[Humans are here by chance alone, per Stephen Jay Gould …]

“‘And so, if you wish to ask the question of the ages — why do humans exist? — a major part of the answer, touching those aspects of the issue that science can treat at all, must be: because _Pikaia_ survived the Burgess decimation. This response does not cite a single law of nature; it embodies no statement about predictable evolutionary pathways, no calculation of probabilities based on general rules of anatomy or ecology. The survival of _Pikaia_ was a contingency of ‘just history.’ I do not think that any ‘higher’ answer can be given, and I cannot imagine that any resolution could be more fascinating. We are the offspring of history, and must establish our own paths in this most diverse and interesting of conceivable universes …'” (p 93)

[We can look in retrospect at how we came to be and thereby displace myths …]

“The human invention of god is the problem to begin with. Our evolution has been examined ‘backward,’ with life temporarily outpacing extinction, and knowledge now at last capable of reviewing and explaining ignorance.” (p 96)

[Many mysterious things of the past have been eventually explained …]

“… we no longer have any need of a god to explain what is no longer mysterious.” (p 96)

See this page at https://kinasevych.ca/index.php

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