Upside Down World


Devout Catholic David Quinn (left) and firm atheist Richard Dawkins

This afternoon.

Yesterday: Where Is Your God Now?

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99 thoughts on “Upside Down World

  1. Clampers Outside

    Fair dues!

    The feckin’ state of the TCD soc that disinvited Dawkins because the Pres of the soc read something (on Wikipedia… LOL) that they didn’t like about his views on Islam… Laughably pathetic! :)

    1. E'Matty

      the said same University lauded war crminals like Hillary Clinton and Maedline Albright. You can kill hundreds of thousands of innocent Muslim men, women and children, that’s all good with Trinity. Say something about Isalm as a religion, verboten!

      1. Hippy

        Look at the Middle East and the wars
        Look at Lebanon
        And look at Yemen

        It’s about tolerance
        If the world was tolerant it would be paradise
        Mankind really is some piece of work

    2. benblack

      I think this has been covered in full yesterday.

      A debating Soc. refusing to debate.

      And the quote: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

      1. Nigel

        Or rather, deciding to debate someone else. Nobdy has a ‘right’ to be invited to the Trinity debating society thing. Perhaps you should defend to the death their right to invite who they want to invite?

        1. benblack

          In fairness, Nigel. I can understand if you have some personal loyalties you’d rather not betray, however, the truth is the truth and you’re doing it – the truth – and yourself a great disservice.

          1. benblack

            But it does!

            When Mr. Dawkins is the most vocal and ‘qualified’ denier of that truth, then his participation in that debate is vital.

            Trinity over all – even the pursuit of truth.
            Latin translation to follow…..

          2. Nigel

            If youlre down to only one person in the world who can put a side in a debate, and that person has made remarks about sexual assault that indicate he is of questionable chatacter and not someone you want to pay good money to invite to your society, then that side must be in incredibly bad shape. Somehow I don’t think that’s the case.

        2. Tom

          You point to a very important nuance in this debate Nigel. The main civic freedom engaged by this incident is the soc’s, as you say, not Dawkins’. The soc has the prior freedom (and one could make the case that TCD has the even more fundamental freedom, though that’s contestable). Still, we are within our rights to question and criticise the exercise of the soc’s freedom in this case. That exercise is moronic, in my view.

          1. Nigel

            I do think it’s ironoic that we’ve got a little mini-mob here who appear to have canceled Trinity College, all debate and even Truth itself becaude of one cancelled event.

      2. benblack

        Ah Nigel.

        When you’re right, you’re so right.

        But when you’re wrong, you’re just so wrong.

        Just find the right side.

        It exists.

          1. Nigel

            They also pick and choose who and what to debate, which they can do entirely consistently with upholding truth.

  2. Tom

    The rationale for dis-inviting Dawkins was moronic, and I say that as someone who holds very different religious and moral views to him (I’m a Catholic). Many people and ideas on the left are a serious threat to free speech (and freedom of religion and conscience).

    Does Dawkins have a right to speak to a College society? No, strictly speaking, but a College society dedicated to intelligently and freely debating important ideas in order to help people to arrive at truth should not dis-invite (or refuse to invite) an intelligent, informed person for the reasons stated in Dawkins’ case. Some of the Christian or Catholic groups in TCD should invite him to debate the topic of science and religion (and should invite someone like Alisdair McGrath, William Lane Craig, or John Polkinghorne — or even David Quinn — to debate him)..

    1. Rob Gale

      in my opinion once a fully grown adult announces they’re any religion then i can’t take them seriously on their views because they essentially believe in fairies.

      1. Tom

        So you believe everything came from nothing, that all the laws in physics are there by pure random chance, that the mathematical describability of reality is also pure random chance, and that the universe causes and sustains its own existence? Fair play.

        1. Janet, dreams of big guns

          here is an attractive way I find to view the universe and the closest to spiritually I can get,
          all matter in the universe moves towards complexity, it is it’s “nature” if you like, from single cells onwards we are an expression of that movement and arguably one of the more complex on this rock,
          our understanding of ” good ” and “evil ” is just anything that hinders or aids that movement towards complexity,
          it is our fear and ego that push us to believe in an all seeing father or mother that cares about how this movement is achieved,
          matter doesn’t care, just look at the dinosaur, their failure just meant complexity was achieved in another direction and when we are gone or on another rock another movement towards complexity will go on because that’s what matter does .

        2. Cian

          So you believe everything came from nothing, that all the laws in physics are there by pure random chance, that the mathematical describability of reality is also pure random chance, and that the universe causes and sustains its own existence? Fair play.

          How is that worse than believing in an all-knowing, all-powerful, eternal God who is mrore concerned with what you do in private than all the ills of the world?

          Saying “God created the universe” doesn’t fix the problem- it makes it worse. Who created God? (and if you say god always existed, then I say the universe always existed)

        3. Daisy Chainsaw

          It’s easier to believe that there’s an all seeing all knowing god who murdered all bar a few people and animals cos they weren’t worshipping him hard enough. Then he got a teenager to give birth to himself/his son and had said self/child tortured and murdered for his own gratification. And this god knows everything you’re going to do in life before your born so he knows who’ll be the rapists and murderers and doesn’t do anything to stop them. He also gives kids cancer so he’s a pretty horrible deity, all told.

      2. Micko

        Jeez Rob, I’m pretty much a die hard atheist / science geek, but even I see the wisdom and the sense of community that religion brings to humanity.

        Grow up man. You’re coming off as a muppet who thinks he has all the answers.

        1. Rob Gale

          Micko. At the core of religion is a decent message for people to live by, live and let live, love thy neighbour etc., however, religion has been used for far more evil than it has good. It’s a way to control populations and has been forever. It’s merit is far outweighed by the damage it’s caused on humanity. As for knowing all the answers, I never said I do, but I do think there’s a lot more to it than “God made everything”, but what that is, i do not know. Personally, my theory is we can’t explain where everything came from and when, because our minds can only rationalise things in terms of time. starts and ends. I think there’s probably other planets in other galaxies that would laugh thinking of how we can only understand things in time. And whatever is going on, isn’t for our minds to fully understand. Don’t jump to calling people muppets when you don’t know anything about them.

          1. Micko

            “in my opinion once a fully grown adult announces they’re any religion then i can’t take them seriously on their views because they essentially believe in fairies.”

            Eh… yeop that’s you basically saying that anyone who belives in God is an idiot

            You’re a muppet.

          2. Clampers Outside

            Do idiots believe in the hand of God, and muppets believe in the hand of Oz?
            That’s the question….

          3. SOQ

            I believe no child should have to sit all day in a face nappy because a teacher can’t be arsed doing a full day’s work without major drama- what do you think Clampers?

          4. Clampers Outside

            Masks should be a choice for school kids, not obligatory – primary and secondary.

            Why ask that in this thread though.

          5. Nigel

            Teachers with or without underlying conditions or with or without family with underlying conditions or with or without elderly relatives?

    2. bisted

      …Hi Tom…just a few points…Richard Dawkins is an atheist and, as such, does not hold any religious beliefs…secondly, you seem to question his moral fibre and imply that without religious conviction his may be inferior…human moral fibre is a product of empathy with your fellow man…nothing to do with religion.

      A catholic should not be preaching this old canard and certainly not in the same week that a cardinal is forced to resign for syphoning funds into his own property portfolio…we atheists would never apply the moral fibre of a high-ranking Vatican cardinal to good catholics like you…

      1. Tom

        Seriously Bisted, my post was not at all an attempt to judge either Dawkin’s character or his moral views. My remark was made simply to indicate that though I disagree with him I believe that he (and the good of free speech) has been let down in this case.

        Disagree a bit with your philosophical point on morality, but now’s not the time.

        1. bisted

          …ok Tom…just giving you an atheist perspective…but while I’m here can I say that I’ve never meet an atheist who believes ‘ everything came from nothing’…all atheists I know would say that they don’t know…it’s religion that claims to have all the answers…zero evidence, but the definitive answer…

          1. bisted

            …you’ve read Dawkins: The Selfish Gene, haven’t you Janet…a clear overlap in evolutionary biology in your thinking (rather than spirituality)…for me, I simply believe in evidence…show me any evidence for the existence of a god and I will believe…

          2. newsjustin

            This whole conversation is making me very uncomfortable. Broadsheet, the comfort of your readers and commenters should be paramount to you.

            You know what to do.

  3. Micko

    Fair play to David Quinn.

    Obviously has his own beliefs and is not threatened by Dawkins in any way. As Dawkins would not be threatened by Quinn’s beliefs.

    More of this please humanity – it’s sorely lacking lately.

    1. george

      Maybe the only reason he chooses to be a more zealous catholic than the pope because it’s a great way to be a bitter, judgmental contrarian. So why pass an opportunity to be a bitter contrarian?

  4. Nigel

    Funnily enough I’d say Quinn and Dawkins share a lot of attitudes in common, at least one of which is that despite their relative prominenece and access to media, the slightest rebuff, criticism or refusal to either of them represents a real and immediate threat to freedom and justice.

    (I may be doing Dawkins a disservice here – he seems to be the only one not performatively lamenting the Death Of Liberty In The West, so far.)

    1. Tom

      Entirely ad hominem. You see no problem with what happened Dawkins? Would you think it a good or bad development for the same thing to happen to someone whose views you share?

      1. Nigel

        Obviously inviting and disinviting someone is a screw-up and rude, but other than that, nope. Do you honestly think Trinity is full of people who disagree substantially with Dawkins’ atheiism? They’d be better off getting somone like Quinn, only less mendacious and sleazy.

        1. Tom

          I presume that Dawkins speaking to the soc would help generate an informed debate on an important topic, so whether a majority of TCD students agree with his views is besides the point.

          1. Nigel

            I dunno, I can think of more important topics and there are other speakers. The world won’t end because they’d prefer to listen to somebody else.

        2. Junkface

          From all I’ve read and seen from Dawkins in books or debates, I’ve never thought that he could be described as sleazy. He clearly points out a lot of the hypocrisy in Religions, but he’s not afraid to call out Islam, whereas the modern left wing and radical feminist movement would not dare criticise Islam, even as they beat, torture, or kill women who do not fall in line. In some Islamic countries women are still punished for being rape victims! Insane.

          1. Nigel

            That was in reference to Quinn, actually.
            Dawkins’ comments about women who accused individuals of sexual harassment and assault within the atheist and secularist movement are to his entire discredit.
            Liberals and feminists prefer not to blame ordinary people for the actions of repressive regimes.

      2. Toby

        Do you ever think whether your woke facism is actually doing any good whatsoever? You take so much glee from correcting everyone that you sound like Joe Duffy at a wife beating festival. Have you noticed that the more you and your ilk have been telling people how they should behave, the more unrest, polarising, mental illness, division and autocratic behaviour you generate. Is that just an unintended consequence or is there a bit of the pizza im not getting?

        1. Nigel

          Either I’m causing unrest, polarising, mental illness, division and autocratic behaviour, or I’m just pointing it out and criticising it as it happens. Which can it be? Correlation? Causation?

  5. Johnnythree

    I like David Quinn. Rational, calm and knows where he stands. The Dawkins TCD stuff is a hoot. These are the next generation who won’t even subject themselves to an opinion outside of what they want to hear. They’ll make great SC, Judges, Politicians etc. Christ. My poor kids having to live in a society with them. Invite Dawkins and let him say what he wants. Hats off to David Quinn.

    1. Nigel

      Once again, I find it weird that people would think Trinity College students would disagree susbstantially with Dawkins’ views on atheism and science.

      1. Micko

        That’s a fair enough point Nigel.

        And following on from the one you made above about probably better “to invite Quinn’ if they were looking for a proper debate.

        I wonder has that ever happened in recent history?

        Has Trinity (or any college) ever recently invited someone who they would really get a robust debate out of with the students? Or is it all just safe and cotton wool-like now?

        1. Junkface

          I remember seeing David Icke do a talk in Trinity maybe 18 years ago. It was absolutely crazy, whacky, conspiracy madness he was talking, but no one interrupted his presentation and afterwards there was a healthy debate where the audience picked apart his nonsense during the Q & A section. It was so entertaining in the end, a memorable experience. Modern students are missing out.

          1. Nigel

            How do you know? How familiar is anyone in the Broadseet commentariat with the doings of college debating societies?

  6. Junkface

    I remember seeing David Icke do a talk in Trinity maybe 18 years ago. It was absolutely crazy, whacky, conspiracy madness he was talking, but no one interrupted his presentation and afterwards there was a healthy debate where the audience picked apart his nonsense during the Q & A section. It was so entertaining in the end, a memorable experience. College students are missing out.

    1. Nigel

      This comment made me think: if you wanted to gain insight into a certain strain of irrationality and magical thinking running through the world right now, you could do worse than study Icke in action.

    1. Tom

      “floated through the air in much the same way as a brick doesn’t”. One of the few lines in literature that I (half) remember!

  7. Clampers Outside

    For anyone interested… Will Stor wrote a very enjoyable book called The Heretics which was a look at why clearly intelligent people (with a PhD or two, in science subjects like math and physics not waffle subjects from the humanities) believe in things like God, ghosts, hang out in Area 51 looking for UFOs, and all sorts.
    Really is worth a read for anyone who jumpts to “idiot” when thinking of persons who believe in a God.

    (yes, I made a joke in a comment above referencing muppets and idiots… with reference to their respective diety… Frank Oz and God.
    It’s a joke, not a dig)

    That book…

    1. Janet, dreams of big guns

      thanks Clamps, I might give it a go as while I never jump to idiot I can’t get my head around the belief, mine left me about the same time belief in Santa etc did before I even had a grasp of science or the real cruelty of life, I think I rejected the whole watchful eye part as just against my narure., it was unbearable for me, I remember constantly apologising to god as a kid and trying to make deals !
      I believe ( haha ) that faith or that kind of mind comes from a different place / logic / fear ? So I’ll give the book a go

      1. Clampers Outside

        It’s a fun read, I think you’ll enjoy. I certainly don’t see religious people as stupid, and the book helped me in that way, although I leaned that way anyway :)

        I was raised, like most, a Catholic, was altar boy too, even ‘Capatain’ of a team :) We went to mass, did novena, turned the kitchen chairs around, knelt at them, elbows on the seat and our family did the rosary… My Dad drifted from the church in the 80s during the start of all the sex scandals, and I followed later as a teenager.
        In later life, going to rehab, I struggled with the idea of a ‘higher power’ upon which one was to draw strength to recover. The centre, Hope House, is run by two fantastic nuns. I spoke with them of my lack of belief and the struggle to get to grips with this idea of a higher power. They told me that it doesn’t have to be God, that my higher power can be personal to me… That it could be, my Mum or Dad, a tree, a place I remember and associate with good times… It could be anything. I chose ‘Hope House’ itself, as it was there that I drew the strength from, and from within, to overcome addiction.
        Anyhoo.. I’m off one a ramble here….

        Enjoy the book, I’m sure you will :)

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