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Another booky wook? I hope not, to judge by this shitty wit.

April 12, 2011

Russell Brand has written a little thing in the New Statesman in which he tells us that Richard Dawkins is the best argument for the existence of God.  The main thrust seems to be that, hey, religion isn’t so bad and there must be something bigger than us.  Right?  RIGHT?

The article tells us that Russell will question Richard Dawkins, explain Transcendental Meditation and give us a touch of the divine and, by these means, prove the existence of God.  Not bad going for a moderately funny and intelligent man.  Why didn’t we all see this before? Could it be too good to be true?

Russell begins by telling us that he is unqualified to prove God’s existence.  So far, so obvious.  There’s some waffle about why it doesn’t matter, but I have developed a zero-waffle tolerance over the years so it can safely be ignored.  All very clever and wordsmithy but, ultimately, just hot air.  The punchline to this opening is the comment that atheists, presumably all of us, have some good arguments but are “incredibly reductive and manipulative in their targets”.

Let’s start with ‘manipulative in their targets’.  Russell has no problem with atheists, personified for him by Richard Dawkins, attacking mad mullahs and televangelists who espouse Creationism.  They’re an open goal.  But what, asks Russell, of such men as Ghandi, St Francis of Assisi or the Dalai Lama?  They are or were religious and yet Russell implies that they are or were completely good men and good examples to prove “the existence of a power beyond man.”  By “power beyond man” I believe Russell means God, but he’s clearly not a man to use one word where 5 will do.  I have no argument with Russell’s assessment of these men’s virtues.  What I do question is that they in any way, through their respective examples, point to the existence of a God or a power beyond man.  No evidence is offered in the article beyond this:  They’re good, they’re religious; therefore religious is good.  It’s a simple failure of logic.

As I recall, Prof Dawkins and other prominent atheists have in fact directed arguments against the Dalai Lama and St Francis in the past, so the assertion that atheists are manipulative in their targets seems a little wide of the mark.  It seems that Mr Brand might be accused of it though.  He has selected one atheist who some would regard as extreme to stand for the whole amorphous mass of us and then attempted an assault on his position by enlisting the examples of religionists from 3 different traditions.  For shame.  Especially since his thrust is so limp-wristed in the end.

But what about the no 2 in Russell’s 1-2 punch?  The contention that atheists are incredibly reductive.  By picking through the verbosity I think I have identified what he means.  Those pesky scientists and their demands for evidence are impertinent because, wait for it, God is beyond such petty, small-minded concerns.  We are simply not capable of processing the evidence into a proof of God (although Russell is).  Russell explains that God lies beyond the reach of current science, but not for ever.  In the meantime Russell, like a raggedy, sensual Messiah will bridge the gap twixt God and man.  What a relief.

There is plenty more in the article about how people like to fight (it’s not just because of religion), how Russell doesn’t understand how evolution could result in ‘ingenious and incredible’ Richard Dawkins and some guff about Transcendental Meditation and how it proves there is a God (it doesn’t by the way Russell).

I had intended to refute Russell’s wooly thinking in this post, but I realised it’s just too wooly.  I can’t cut through it, so the only option is to burn through it.  Russell, you’re a fairly funny man and clearly very lucky in many ways.  You’ve been given a platform to say something interesting in life, but unfortunately nobody reminded you to pull your head out of your arse first.  The result is the hodgepodge of incomplete arguments, unevidenced claims and general, dare I say, bullshit that I have just read.  It’s not big, clever or even diverting.

Dude, you stick to funnies and husbanding Katy Perry and leave the fundamentals of the Universe to those far cleverer than both of us.  Deal?  I reckon you’ve got the better end there really.  Not that you give a toss I expect as long as your new thing doesn’t totally bomb.  Ta ta.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. pjh permalink
    April 17, 2011 12:48

    Just read his article. The facepalm I gave myself was so powerful that my head actually folded around my hand in complete agreement with Einstein’s theories.

    What a crock of atomic pap. What is it in the make up of celebs that gives them such a huge level gulibility coupled with a burning desire to share their unique insights into the universe?

    Yet another idiot with a mouth piece that doesn’t understand evolution and is essentially in the same camp as all the other wackos- he basically admitts he believes in ID in his last paragraph so by saying earlier he thinks the creationists are fair game he has f**ked his own argument. Twat.

  2. pjh permalink
    April 17, 2011 12:53

    Also note that there is actually no mention of this interview with RD?

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