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Atheist ghosts back, like a bad penny…

Further to Atheist who believes in ghosts

Okay, the best definition of an anticlimax I ever heard was: Saturday the Fourteenth.*

Science historian Michael Flannery,, author of Alfred Russel Wallace’s Theory of Intelligent Evolution, kindly writes to say, in response to “Atheist who believes in ghosts” publishing at Richard Dawkins’s Foundation for Reason and Science site, that other atheists have believed in ghosts too, apparently:

Actually this is not as unusual or counter-intuitive as one might think. Famed paranormal investigator, the late Hans Holzer rejects the notion of a creator in his Ghosts: True Encounters With the World Beyond. After doffing his cap to Darwin, he then lapses into scientism with, “When religion goes against science, even imperfect science, it is bound to lose out.” From this low point the book descends further into a muddle of myth, anecdote, and spurious suggestion.

*Didn’t get it? Really? Well, that’s the day you discover that that black cat who crossed your path a day earlier is … a stray cat. And bad luck, for sure. = He knocked down the bird feeder and scattered a mess of seeds everywhere.   :-?

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6 Responses to Atheist ghosts back, like a bad penny…

  1. Flannery writes, “When religion goes against science, even imperfect science, it is bound to lose out.”

    Really?

    Let’s see what the Bible says versus what medical science once said. Ancient physicians did not fully understand how disease spreads, nor did they realize the importance of sanitation in preventing sickness. Many ancient medical practices would seem barbaric by modern standards. One of the oldest medical texts available is the Ebers Papyrus, a compilation of Egyptian medical knowledge, dating from about 1550 B.C.E. It contains 700 remedies for various afflictions, “ranging from crocodile bite to toenail pain.” Most of the remedies were merely ineffective, but some of them were extremely dangerous. For the treatment of a wound, one of the prescriptions recommended applying a mixture of human excrement combined with other substances.

    This text of Egyptian medical remedies was written about the same time as the first books of the Bible, which included the Mosaic Law. Moses, who was born in 1593 B.C.E., grew up in Egypt. (Exodus 2:1-10) Raised in Pharaoh’s household, Moses was “instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians.” (Acts 7:22) He was familiar with “the physicians” of Egypt. (Genesis 50:1-3) Did their ineffective or dangerous medical practices influence his writings?

    On the contrary, the Mosaic Law included sanitary regulations that would be considered reasonable by modern medical science. For example, a law regarding military encampments required that excrement be buried outside the camp. (Deuteronomy 23:13) This was a profoundly advanced preventive measure. It helped keep the water sources free from contamination and provided protection from fly-borne shigellosis and other diarrheic illnesses that still claim millions of lives each year, mostly in developing lands.

    The Mosaic Law contained other sanitary regulations that helped prevent the spread of infectious diseases. A person who had or was suspected of having a communicable disease was quarantined. (Leviticus 13:1-5) Garments or vessels that came in contact with an animal that had died of itself (perhaps from disease) were to be either washed before reuse or destroyed. (Leviticus 11:27, 28, 32, 33) Any person who touched a corpse was considered unclean and had to undergo a cleansing procedure that included washing his garments and bathing. During the seven-day period of uncleanness, he was to avoid physical contact with others.—Numbers 19:1-13.

    Modern medical science has learned much about the spread and prevention of disease. For example, medical advances in the 19th century led to the introduction of antisepsis—cleanliness to reduce infections. The result was a significant reduction in infections and premature deaths. In the year 1900, life expectancy at the time of birth in many European countries and in the United States was less than 50. Since then, it has increased dramatically, not only on account of medical progress in controlling disease but also because of better sanitation and living conditions. Yet, thousands of years before medical science learned how disease spreads, the Bible prescribed reasonable preventive measures as a safeguard against disease.

    Tell me again how religion fails against imperfect science, Mr. Flannery. I’m certainly not convinced.

  2. Barb -
    Very interesting and instructive information – thanks.
    May I point out that the quote you are responding to was from the pen of Hans Holzer, not Mr. Flannery.

  3. My bad; I misread the OP.

  4. Hey, not to worry. Slow news day. Saturday of a long weekend. Takes time for news to build. Thank heaven for the atheist who believes in ghosts. ;)

  5. We think that this situation ahs given rise to the plethora of spooks by which Darwinist accounts of evolution are increasingly haunted: Mother Nature, selfish genes, imperialistic memes and the like are the most familiar examples in the current literature.

    – Fodor and Piattelli-Palmarini

  6. Interesting post, Barb. You’re right. It’s one of modern medicine’s dirty little secrets that the extension in life expectancy in the West has had very little to do with their pills and vaccines. Far less than they are so fond of crediting, to the fattening of their wallets. When the lion’s share of the credit actually belongs to public health measures regarding water and sanitation.

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