There. A shameless plug for a like-minded fellow scientist. Pharyngula is a daily read for me, and thanks to PZ for including me on his blogroll. Maybe such unabashed praise will keep me on said blogroll for a while...? Only time will tell.
I am definitely looking forward to tearing down the next webcast at The Things That Matter Most. Here is the abstract:
Guest: Ewrin R. McManus
Erwin McManus makes the case that we can find evidence for God and eternity within our own souls and persistent desires for love, destiny and meaning. And this evidence is even more compelling than the empirical evidence from textual criticism, archaeology, fulfilled prophecy and the hard sciences.
It should be an easy tear-down. Not that I just like tearing down weak arguments (I do), but.... Well, no buts. The religious speak of souls as if they are self-evidently true. The existence of the soul is an illusion, without any evidence. How can non-empirical evidence (as if there is such a thing) be more compelling? I thought gnosticism was heretical. If the existence of the soul is unproven, or even supported by any evidence whatsoever, the whole house of cards comes down. Fruit of the poison tree, to quote Law & Order.
The null hypothesis is that there is no soul. For me to even agree that there is even a chance that something exists there must be some evidence pointing to existence. Otherwise, you are left with Bertrand Russell's tea pot.
To suggest that non-empirical evidence has any value (human perceptions are utterly fallible) smacks of surrender to the obvious that there is no empirical evidence to support theistic positions.
Evolution provides a perfectly good explanation for love and all other emotions for that matter. Destiny and meaning, in the absence of a soul or gods, comes from within. I happen to think that it is absolutely wonderful that we as humans are the only animal with the power to shape our own lives. Why can't the religious see that a god that has given us a purpose is demeaning?
I do intend on giving the webcast a fair hearing, despite what I've written. The above rant is more about the abstract. If compelling evidence for the existence of the soul can be given I would change my position in a heart beat, but 2000 years of trying has failed, and I greatly doubt that Sunday's show will add anything.