Thursday, April 11, 2013

On Tihomir Dimitrov's 'Fifty Nobel Laureates Who Believe in God'

I ran across this website that mentions a self-published "book" called 'Fifty Nobel Laureates Who Believe in God' by Tihomir Dimitrov, which is also available via his website:

This just screams *argument from authority*, so I had to take a look.

First of all, many of the people listed are from hundreds of years ago (or even in the 20th century in some ways) when the Churches promulgated and enforced Christianity at the point of a sword. You couldn't be in a professional position during most of the past two millennia and not profess a belief in a God. You would have been put under tremendous pressure from family and intimidation from the authorities, quite often under threat of torture or a forfeiture of life and property and the destruction of your family. Most of the 'Christian persecution' in Roman times was because Christians refused to accept the 'real' Gods (the Roman Gods), afterall, how could you be a good person and reject the REAL Gods? It seemed to clear to the Romans of the time. And then in the fourth century when Christians rose in power they seemingly forgot this and repeated the error, persecuting the pagans and even other Christians such as Arius and his followers:
"In addition, if any writing composed by Arius should be found, it should be handed over to the flames, so that not only will the wickedness of his teaching be obliterated, but nothing will be left even to remind anyone of him. And I hereby make a public order, that if someone should be discovered to have hidden a writing composed by Arius, and not to have immediately brought it forward and destroyed it by fire, his penalty shall be death. As soon as he is discovered in this offence, he shall be submitted for capital punishment" — Edict by Emperor Constantine
As well as other many other Christian sects such as the Gnostics (various), Marcionites, Manicheans, etc.

EVEN TODAY there are still laws on the books in some States that ban 'atheists' from holding office (they have been found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court but remain on the books) - but in practice it is still difficult even to be a POLITICIAN (of all things) and be an open atheist - so this discrimination continues albeit with fewer tortures and executions (and it is STILL not zero, and much less so in other parts of the world).

So SHAME on anyone who is trying to appeal to this bloody and tainted history as some kind of evidence that the professed beliefs of someone in history is a comment on the veracity or relevance of claims about a 'god'. What makes an authority an ACTUAL authority is their evidence and arguments in support of a proposition, and on this point, none is offered.

Secondly, many of these claims are either false, misconstrued, or twisted.

As I posted in Newton Was A Christian and other Fallacies, Newton was also an Alchemist! Shall we chalk one up for the Alchemists? Absurd! Furthermore, Newton was an Arian, which means he rejected the Trinity - a position he would have been murdered for if found out. I dare any 'Christian' who wishes to claim him to honestly deny the Trinity alongside him (they are making an appeal to authority after all, do they reject their own authority?)

Another stand-out is his appeal to Einstein, This is the FIRST entry and it sets the mendacious tone quite well. He is perfectly happy to quote Einstein when he waxes poetic but he neglects to quote where Einstien defines his terms and clarifies his position, something I've done on my entry Einstein, Spinoza, and God; not a SINGLE ONE of those quotes are included in Dimitrov's collection of Einstein quotes. Now, why do you suppose he would exclude these quotes? [and note the evolution in time]
1929: I believe in Spinoza’s God, who reveals Himself in the lawful harmony of the world, not in a God Who concerns Himself with the fate and the doings of mankind.
1950: My position concerning God is that of an agnostic
1954: The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses
1954: It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this

But the funniest one has to be Thomas H. Huxley's inclusion on this list. The FOUNDER of Agnosticism, the heart of which is parsimonious epistemology:
Agnosticism is not a creed but a method, the essence of which lies in the vigorous application of a single principle. Positively the principle may be expressed as, in matters of intellect, follow your reason as far as it can carry you without other considerations. And negatively, in matters of the intellect, do not pretend conclusions are certain that are not demonstrated or demonstrable. It is wrong for a man to say he is certain of the objective truth of a proposition unless he can produce evidence which logically justifies that certainty.

His 'evidences' are largely quote mining on the scale that puts to shame.

But the final word here is EVIDENCE. And when it comes to evidence for God, Dimitrov has a distinct and total lack of it.

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