is dawkins delusional? ...from the frontpage

Posted by: anyman

is dawkins delusional? ...from the frontpage - 11/02/06 04:48 PM

in short...utterly (dawkins is utterly delusional :-)

he whines about intolerance and yet is among the most intolerant of all humans

his philosophy (which is such a common, prevalent, widely touted philosophy...albeit immediately self-defeating :-) is so bankrupt...and so easily shown to be false...

ok, let's have a go...

intolerance is wrong

really?

yes, absolutely

so you are saying that you will not tolerate intolerance?

yes, absolutely not

why you intolerant bigot...you two faced bonehead :-)

next...

there are no ablsolutes

really?

yes, really!

are you sure?

quite sure!

are you absolutely sure?

absolutely!

ungh, hack, hack...

well, i'm not really absolutely sure, but...i mean, but, but, but, i mean...you know what i mean...

eh, sorry, what exactly, absolutely DO you mean?

hmmm :-)

next :-)
Posted by: samwik

Re: is dawkins delusional? ...from the frontpage - 11/02/06 05:36 PM

As a "Letter," I'd like to see this somewhere else. At least NQ, but Origins maybe?? I'll answer over there (if comp. stays up) smile
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: is dawkins delusional? ...from the frontpage - 11/02/06 06:21 PM

Dan has already posted a thread on this book in Origins:

The God Delusion: A Book Review.

Blacknad.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: is dawkins delusional? ...from the frontpage - 11/02/06 06:25 PM

anyman ... if you have something of substance to back up your opinion ... post it.

A link to a peer reviewed journal article?
A link to a university researcher's site?
A note written on the wall of a toilet stall?

Last time I checked Dawkins had a PhD and was considered a subject matter expert. And you are?

In other words ... if you wish to refute him ... do so with facts and data.
Posted by: anyman

Re: is dawkins delusional? ...from the frontpage - 11/02/06 06:49 PM

so this is the main feature story on the front page of sciagog...and it can't be discussed in the science forum

sad day

probably makes sense though, dawkins is long on stories and short on science in virtually every book (and or article) he's ever written :-)

didn't know you had already started a thread on this over there, dano

my bad :-)

however, i refuted him very succinctly with facts above
Posted by: samwik

Re: is dawkins delusional? ...from the frontpage - 11/02/06 06:54 PM

Sorry, I was wondering what that FrontPage reference was; didn't see that. Still....
smile
Posted by: TheFallibleFiend

Re: is dawkins delusional? ...from the frontpage - 11/02/06 06:57 PM

I haven't read the book, but I have a strong sense I'm going to disagree with Dawkins for the same reason I disagree with many of my fellow atheists.

OTOH, I don't anticipate that Dawkins' argument will be so much a scientific conclusion as a logical and philsophical one.
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: is dawkins delusional? ...from the frontpage - 11/02/06 07:20 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by TheFallibleFiend:
OTOH, I don't anticipate that Dawkins' argument will be so much a scientific conclusion as a logical and philsophical one.
You're not wrong TFF. But science refutes at least one of his arguments regarding Suicide Bombers.

"Dawkins repeats the theory that suicide bombs are caused by religious schools: "If children were taught to question and think through their beliefs, instead of being taught the superior value of faith without question, it is a good bet that there would be no suicide bombers. Suicide bombers do what they do because they really believe what they were taught in their religious schools." Evidence? As it happens, the definitive scientific study of suicide bombers, Dying to Win, has just been published by Robert Pape, a Chicago professor who has a database containing every known suicide attack since 1980. This shows, as clearly as evidence can, that religious zealotry is not on its own sufficient to produce suicide bombers; in fact, it's not even necessary: the practice was widely used by Marxist guerrillas in Sri Lanka."


Robert Pape found that under half of all recorded suicide attacks were carried out by religious types.

--------------------------------------

I'm interested in and have time for well formed critiques of religion, but to me, Dawkins is so consumed with his contempt of Theism that his judgement is somewhat clouded.

Blacknad.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: is dawkins delusional? ...from the frontpage - 11/02/06 07:27 PM

anyman asks:
"so this is the main feature story on the front page of sciagog...and it can't be discussed in the science forum"

Of course you can discuss it: But did you? You posted the subject "Topic: is dawkins delusional?"

That is not how you start a discussion. That is how you throw gasoline on a flame.

That you disagree with someone does not make them delusional. That you felt it necessary to use the word indicates a total lack of interest in discussing anything.

Personally I'd be far more inclined to consider delusional someone that criticizes what they have not read.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: is dawkins delusional? ...from the frontpage - 11/02/06 07:33 PM

IFF wrote:
"I don't anticipate that Dawkins' argument will be so much a scientific conclusion as a logical and philsophical one."

I have read the book ... and you are correct ... and that is the weakness of the book.

The problem is partially that Dawkins has become a bit of a zealot, hurting his objectivity, and partially that he is trying (and failing) to try to meet the theologians on their own territory. One can not have an unreasonable discussion with an unreasonable man.

The only approach to someone with unreasonable beliefs ... is an appeal to simple Boolean logic.
Posted by: samwik

Re: is dawkins delusional? ...from the frontpage - 11/02/06 07:36 PM

...guess I won't wait for this to show up on "Origins." (a little lobbying)

YES, I was surprised to hear a few years ago that suicide bombers are often well-educated, successful types. I wonder if they had other family members involved previously, that they sympathized with. I try to imagine what would make me do something like that...but I'd rather not try that very often.
~sa
Posted by: samwik

Re: is dawkins delusional? ...from the frontpage - 11/02/06 07:51 PM

Cool! way to go moderators?
...better than on "hard science."
~samwik smile
Posted by: samwik

Re: is dawkins delusional? ...from the frontpage - 11/02/06 08:14 PM

I like your analysis of the book, anyman (original post). It shows how if you get to the basic assumptions of any idea, it's pretty easy to dismantle any following derived arguments.
And a very well styled critique too. It was my first smile of the day -almost LOL.
Thanks,
~samwik
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: is dawkins delusional? ...from the frontpage - 11/02/06 08:52 PM

Tell me samwik what you find amusing about what anyman wrote. Here's my analysis paragraph by paragraph.

1. "he whines about intolerance and yet is among the most intolerant of all humans"

Has nothing to do with science.

2. "his philosophy ... is so bankrupt...and so easily shown to be false"

But anyman doesn't and can't.

What anyman wrote might work on Monty Python but it doesn't expose of substance.

Dawkins books is, in my mind, primarily a rock thrown back at all of those who have been throwing rocks at him. And rock throwers, no matter who they are, don't win intellectual arguments.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: is dawkins delusional? ...from the frontpage - 11/02/06 09:31 PM

The thing that all these people who write about religion and science miss is that the belief system in humans is built into the brain. Our brains, being fairly slow working items, need several "short cut" methods to enable us to make decisions in the time available to us. We cannot "reason out" every decision because we do not have enough time or available facts to do so.

So we have a belief system which is built up from experience or acquired knowledge or suggestions by others as to the way the world works. One of these suggestions is religion. It enables us to make decisions without really analysing the problems. We could not operate without the system, but it is often hijacked by irresponsible people for their own benefit.

It is not a built-in religious aptitude, it works for almost anything we do. If we were to switch it off we would not be able to operate in society. The fact that it can be used to our own detriment is just unfortunate, now that the unscrupulous people among us have codified how to use it for their own benefit.

As the bumper sticker used to say "Question Authority."

Sileno.
Posted by: samwik

Re: is dawkins delusional? ...from the frontpage - 11/02/06 10:49 PM

As a "Letter," I'd like to see this somewhere else. At least NQ, but Origins maybe?? I'll answer over there (if comp. stays up) -samwik

-which is why I wonder why you're asking for scientific stuff to back up this "Letter."

I smiled because it's the same old thing. As anyman put it:
"however, i refuted him very succinctly with facts above" -anyman

Again, with the "facts!"

It's another example of how if one can always refute the basic princilples of a theory or idea by aking how one proves it. (y'know, what came before the big bang? etc.)

I'm a big fan of monty python, and as i said i like his style of presenting the argument. Doesn't mean I agree with it though. I haven't read the book, etc.

more to say but comp. about to lock up
Posted by: samwik

Re: is dawkins delusional? ...from the frontpage - 11/02/06 11:13 PM

DA,
Dawkins would "try to meet the theologians on their own territory." -DA

Exactly! This is what I'm talking about, re: basic assumption. They don't accept ours and we don't accept theirs, so no argument will make sense to the other side.
The only way to try is to either look at things from the other side or get them to look at it from your side.

my comment about it being "well styled" addresses your monty python comment; somewhat tautological also.
DA & anyman: Both of your's posts above refer to "facts."
That's always a sign that the basic assumptions are vastly different; and that's why I smiled (i wouldn't say "amused," DA; but more like a bemused contentment of (been there, done that) type of thing. Sorry, this is way too vague and hard to describe; subjective. But anyway

...sorry, computer froze. I better log off while I've got it back. That was enogh for now anyway. 6:13-6:19 = 6 minutes to reboot.
Thanks all,
~Sam
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: is dawkins delusional? ...from the frontpage - 11/02/06 11:19 PM

I think we are in agreement but I'll state my case yet again using different terms.

I put an Orthodox Jewish Rabbi, the Pope, a Sunni Imam, and an animist in a room. Stick a thermometer into a pot of water and say: "Tell me at what temperature the water freezes." They will all agree.

Now I say to the same group: "Show me proof that your god is the one true god and everyone else in the room is wrong." They will never agree.

One is science.
The other is faith.
The result is purely Boolean.
Posted by: Rusty Rockets

Re: is dawkins delusional? ...from the frontpage - 11/03/06 12:26 AM

Quote:
Originally posted by anyman:
in short...utterly (dawkins is utterly delusional :-)

he whines about intolerance and yet is among the most intolerant of all humans

his philosophy (which is such a common, prevalent, widely touted philosophy...albeit immediately self-defeating :-) is so bankrupt...and so easily shown to be false...

ok, let's have a go...

intolerance is wrong

really?

yes, absolutely

so you are saying that you will not tolerate intolerance?

yes, absolutely not

why you intolerant bigot...you two faced bonehead :-)

next...

there are no ablsolutes

really?

yes, really!

are you sure?

quite sure!

are you absolutely sure?

absolutely!

ungh, hack, hack...

well, i'm not really absolutely sure, but...i mean, but, but, but, i mean...you know what i mean...

eh, sorry, what exactly, absolutely DO you mean?

hmmm :-)

next :-)
I don't think you've really captured the essence of Dawkins' main argument here, anyman. If you're going to criticize a body of work, surely you'd agree that it's better that you attempt to chip away at an opponent's strongest points.
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: is dawkins delusional? ...from the frontpage - 11/03/06 12:26 AM

Quote:
Originally posted by DA Morgan:
Dawkins books is, in my mind, primarily a rock thrown back at all of those who have been throwing rocks at him.
IMO no one was throwing rocks at Dawkins until he set upon the theists. There is no great religious opposition to evolution in the UK, unlike America. A lot of his opposition has come from non-religious like the philosopher Mary Midgley.

Dawkins has been beating up theists ever since he could first string a sentence together.

My perception of him is that he is an exceptional thinker, but he allows his emotions to take over when he debates religion and therefore loses clarity and authority.

Blacknad.
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: is dawkins delusional? ...from the frontpage - 11/03/06 12:30 AM

Quote:
Originally posted by Rusty Rockets:
I don't think you've really captured the essence of Dawkins' main argument here, anyman. If you're going to criticize a body of work, surely you'd agree that it's better that you attempt to chip away at an opponent's strongest points.
I agree. Despite what I said above, Dawkins does have some solid criticisms of religion that are difficult to defend.

Blacknad.
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: is dawkins delusional? ...from the frontpage - 11/03/06 01:53 AM

The Fallible Fiend. I've taken the liberty of copying over what you said on your link:

"A more reasonable approach, reasonable, because I think it could actually work, would be to find areas of commonality, state these as common values and indoctrinate kids thoroughly throughout the education process into those values."

I would have a hard time finding an argument against that.

Re. Dawkins. I think I said something on DA's original posting similar to anyman's comment:

"he whines about intolerance and yet is among the most intolerant of all humans"

We do have to become more tolerant of other's wierd beliefs. On the other hand we owe it to them to tell them why those beliefs might not be correct. I don't think Dawkin's book will help in any way. He simply preaches to the converted.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: is dawkins delusional? ...from the frontpage - 11/03/06 02:18 AM

Rusty wrote:
"surely you'd agree that it's better that you attempt to chip away at an opponent's strongest points."

And he would have ... if he could have ... but he can't.

Partially because he doesn't understand them.

Partially because in those areas Dawkins' arguments are solid as a rock.

Thus he put up a straw-man to knock down.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: is dawkins delusional? ...from the frontpage - 11/03/06 02:19 AM

Blacknad wrote:
"IMO no one was throwing rocks at Dawkins until he set upon the theists."

Not the case in this country. The religious "right" has been after him before he even knew they existed.

BTW: Arriving LHR on 12 November. Heading for the Cotswolds and a decent pub.
Posted by: anyman

Re: is dawkins delusional? ...from the frontpage - 11/03/06 03:12 AM

rusty,

it wasn't my concern to deal with his strongest point

i simply wanted to deal with the point i made above

his philosophy: *intolerance is wrong*

is a joke

intolerance is wrong from religious people but it is perfectly alright for atheists to be intolerant of religionists :-)

the statement itself is an absolute statement: intolerance is wrong

it is also an intolerant statement...to be intolerant of intolerance is no less intolerant :-)

it's self-refuting...and immediately so at that

the same is true of the *all truth is relative*/*there are no absolutes* philosophy

they are both absolute truth statements

again, immediately self-refuting

whence came dawkins (or anyone else's) authority to make absolute statements about what is true and what is false or what is right and what is wrong...or even about things relative or absolute

his statements in and of themselves are intolerant, absolute, and posed as absolute truths that we should all accept (or suffer his not so stinging wrath :-)

that said, i will try to step back into this at some later point with a rebuttal to his *strongest* point

my original post that you quoted above was supposed to be a quick response to show how illogical his *logic* is from a foundational perspective

my q for anyone is: are these philosophies (that sound so good and are so ubiquitously prevalent) sound or reasonable or logical

is the argument against intolerance tolerable

is the argument for all truth being relative true...or not

is the argument against absolutes or absolute truth true...or false

dawkins own intolerance and absolute truth statements are diametrically opposed to his own claims
Posted by: samwik

Re: is dawkins delusional? ...from the frontpage - 11/03/06 04:37 AM

anyman, I think you may have very strightforwardly stated the point that I've been working up to for several weeks now. I'd like to hear some answers to these questions you pose about absolutes. Are these questions from Dawdins book? They should be, I think.
One thing you wrote: "intolerance is wrong from religious people but it is perfectly alright for atheists to be intolerant of religionists :-)" -anyman,
simplifies the point.

your "self-refuting" points clarify what I meant by 'tautological?"

I'll add that I think science is closer to tolerance than religion, but i wouldn't want to argue the point; it'd be pretty hard. I also think scientist are missing an opportunity to model tolerance (especially given our more recent advances hinting (prehension?) at the "true" nature of reality.

I'm writing this in advance, so it may not quite be write (heheh), but I've gotta say, I enjoyed reading this.
Can we have an absolute view (in one area of our lives or worldview) and still hold an opposing absolutist view when practicality looms. I think yes, but only if you "realize," or prehend, that there is some greater absolute (beyond comprehension) that both opposing "absolutes" are subsumed by. Beyond comprehension as in, something we can only prehend.
In other words, nobody knows "totally absolutly right final truth," so (as someone once said) can't we all [opposing absolutes] just get along here (inside my head)?

But then I guess you get fundamentalism if you don't accept that premise re: nobody knows "totally...."

...off on a tangent??

Thanks for a thought provoking couple of questions; I'm still thinking, so I reserve the right to better state my views (revise) if i'm quoted.
smile
~samwik
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: is dawkins delusional? ...from the frontpage - 11/03/06 04:50 AM

samwik wrote:
""intolerance is wrong from religious people but it is perfectly alright for atheists to be intolerant of religionists :-)" -anyman,
simplifies the point."

It may simplify it but it is wrong.

Intolerance is equally offensive no matter who is intolerant. But the difference here is not one of being intolerant of religion ... rather of being intollerant of what is done IN THE NAME OF religion: Genocide, torture, rape, theft.

The one and only distinction I would make is that religious people have a higher burden when it comes to hypocrisy as they claim to KNOW what is right. The rest of us admit we are still searching for the best answers to life's questions.
Posted by: Rusty Rockets

Re: is dawkins delusional? ...from the frontpage - 11/03/06 08:28 AM

Quote:
Originally posted by terrytnewzealand:

We do have to become more tolerant of other's wierd beliefs. On the other hand we owe it to them to tell them why those beliefs might not be correct. [/QB]
Isn't that what Dawkins is doing?

And if Dawkins "preaching" is only read by the converted, it may be because true believers don't want to be exposed to alternative viewpoints (which may prove to be a bit of a hurdle for FF?s school program). It would be interesting to know how many people of faith understand evolution, compared with how many atheists are familiar with the Bible.

There seems to be a lot of complaints about how rude Dawkins is, and very little focus on what his actual arguments are.
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: is dawkins delusional? ...from the frontpage - 11/03/06 10:38 AM

Quote:
Originally posted by Rusty Rockets:
Quote:
Originally posted by terrytnewzealand:

We do have to become more tolerant of other's wierd beliefs. On the other hand we owe it to them to tell them why those beliefs might not be correct.
1. Isn't that what Dawkins is doing?

2. And if Dawkins "preaching" is only read by the converted, it may be because true believers don't want to be exposed to alternative viewpoints (which may prove to be a bit of a hurdle for FF?s school program).

3. It would be interesting to know how many people of faith understand evolution, compared with how many atheists are familiar with the Bible.

4. There seems to be a lot of complaints about how rude Dawkins is, and very little focus on what his actual arguments are. [/QB]
Hiya Rusty,

1. Isn't that what Dawkins is doing?

I listened to a BBC Radio programme with Richard Dawkins a few months ago. (I mean I listened to a programme with him in it - not that I sat with him and listened to it together).

He was debating with a couple of others (a Bishop and so on..) and to be fair, he was not so adversarial and I was quite impressed with what he had to say.

It cannot be denied that religion is extremely problematic for humanity. It is at the root of much suffering, intolerance, ignorance and bloodshed. So he is spot on there. It is however, at the root of much good also, as I have tried to demonstrate in the past here on SAGG.

Regarding your point though:

"Isn't that what Dawkins is doing?"

I don't think so, and this is where he and others, like Sam Harris - the Atheists Bulldog, run into problems.

They cannot have their cake and eat it. They want a society of enlightened and tolerant individuals, not beholden to backward mythologies that prevent people from embracing the benefits of reason. One of the things at the core of this is freedom, and one of the mechanisms whereby we protect freedom is 'The Right to Free Speech'.

But as Dawkins so pointedly reveals, he would happily sacrifice people's right to free speech to get the greater benefit of 'doing away with the mythologies'.

He says:

"The majority of us don't cause needless suffering; we believe in free speech and protect it even if we disagree with what is being said."

But then...

He quotes later in the book approvingly and at length a speech by his friend Nicholas Humphrey which argued that, "We should no more allow parents to teach their children to believe, for example, in the literal truth of the Bible or that planets rule their lives, than we should allow parents to knock their children's teeth out."

But of course, it's not interfering with free speech when atheists do it.

Now as a Christian parent, I agree in part. I will not indoctrinate my daughter by teaching her that my understanding of the universe is the right one. She is three years old now and I am careful not to give her only one point of view.

Hence - "Daddy believes this, but many other people believe this". It is a difficult balance to maintain, but I wish her to choose her beliefs as freely as possible, and if she chooses to disregard God and embrace an entirely materialistic approach to life - then I will respect her free-will to choose, that I believe God gave her.

But this is a world apart from Dawkins or anyone else wanting to prevent me from acting by my conscience. I would not want to prevent a parent from teaching their child that there is no God, even though I only teach my child that 'I' believe there is, not that it is beyond doubt.

So to a degree, people like Sam Harris and Dawkins scare me a little. They are intellectually incoherent on this point.

2. And if Dawkins "preaching" is only read by the converted, it may be because true believers don't want to be exposed to alternative viewpoints.

Most of the 'thinking' Christian friends I know have already read this book. I am not buying it but waiting for a mate to finish with his copy. But I have read other stuff by Dawkins and have just started the Extended Phenotype. I also never miss him if he makes a media appearance. Your generalization does people like me no credit.

I think that the vocal, ignorant, conservative Christians do all the shouting and the more reasonable Christians are left to pick up the tab.

3. It would be interesting to know how many people of faith understand evolution, compared with how many atheists are familiar with the Bible.

Again, I know a good few Christians that understand evolution (I am not amongst them, but am learning - but I have never denied evolution, on the basis that you cannot disagree with something you don't understand).

I would expect and encourage Christians to spend some time understanding evolution in a non critical manner.

I would not, however, expect Atheists to have a more than passing understanding of the Bible. Why should they? It is up to them how they spend their time. And besides, if anyone comes to the Bible from a critical start point, then their reading will only serve to confirm their thoughts.

I have a problem with Christians who proclaim to be experts in Evolution, unless they are academics who really have devoted much study to the subject. It seems to me to be something that takes a life-time to fully understand and my mate Matthew Luke Jesus-son who has read a couple of websites and a book or two entitled 'The Many Problems with Evilooshun', cannot in any way be relied upon to have a clue.

And the same goes for Atheists who have 'read' the Bible, whether they have read it once or more 'all the way through (which I always question 'cos it ain't no Dan Brown novel'). These people then think they can comment with authority despite having no knowledge of its historicity, ancient writing conventions and most importantly its purpose. Even Theologians who devote a lifetimes study, still struggle to comprehend it.

4. There seems to be a lot of complaints about how rude Dawkins is, and very little focus on what his actual arguments are.

Agreed, but he needs to understand that if he wants to do away with religion, then he will never be able to enforce it. He will only be able to challenge and educate and ask the searching questions.

If he then alienates the people he wants to impact by being rude and scary then he's on a hiding to nothing.

This book, by some accounts, seems to have driven a wedge deeper between him and the faithful, and also lost him some respect amongst atheists and agnostics alike.

I do look forward to reading it in full though smile


Sorry for the length of the post. Feel free to ignore it. (Notice I put that at the end and not the start).

Blacknad.
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: is dawkins delusional? ...from the frontpage - 11/03/06 11:02 AM

Samwik,

For all intents and purposes, there are no absolutes.

I personally believe that there are absolute truths, but I have no ability to prove any of them beyond doubt.

That is why philosophical analysis has 'weak proofs' and 'strong proofs'.

A weak proof is something I believe based upon, for instance, anecdotal evidence. A strong proof is something that is logically coherent or has good scientific evidence. And that's as far as you can go.

Prove to me that Hitler existed:

There are photos -

"yes and it's wonderful what you can do with Photoshop".

There is film footage -

"special effects - giant conspiracy by Jews to get sympathy".

People have seen him -

"only got their word for that."

etc.

You cannot truly know anything for sure.

I believe that it is 'absolutely' true that America put a man on the moon.

But the reason the conspiracy theorists thrive is because it is not provable. It could have been a deception - how can you know otherwise.


You cannot even prove that you exist, or that if you do you don't exist in a Matrix-like virtual reality.

Brains in jars.

I don't even know that you exist. You may be a very clever computer program.


Blacknad.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: is dawkins delusional? ...from the frontpage - 11/03/06 01:51 PM

I agree with Blacknad when he write:
"They cannot have their cake and eat it. They want a society of enlightened and tolerant individuals, not beholden to backward mythologies that prevent people from embracing the benefits of reason. One of the things at the core of this is freedom, and one of the mechanisms whereby we protect freedom is 'The Right to Free Speech'.

But as Dawkins so pointedly reveals, he would happily sacrifice people's right to free speech to get the greater benefit of 'doing away with the mythologies'."

This is where I part company with Dawkins too. Freedom of speech is more important than being right.

That said ... we don't allow people to get up in a crowded movie theatre and yell "FIRE!" And we don't allow people to urge others to commit murder. So freedom of speech does have some reasonably applied limits.

I don't care what anyone believes or says as long as they don't put others in harm's way and this is where the rubber meets the road.

Are children put in harm's way by being taught, from an early age, into believing things that history teaches us lead to intolerance and bloodshed. It is a reasonable question.

Are children put in harm's way by being taught that what their parent's believe is correct and everyone else on the planet is wrong? It is a reasonable question.

Are children put in harm's way by being taught to accept authoritarianism rather than democracy? It is a reasonable question.

The entire concept of a god or gods, no matter their theological source, is based upon the 10,000+ year old model of the tribal chieftan, king, monarch, dictator, strong-man. God gives orders and you must follow. Stalin gives orders and you must follow. Doing what you are told is good so go strap on a bomb and blow yourself up.

I think there is substantial evidence to the contrary. 10,000+ years of doing the same thing over-and-over again and getting the same result. It is time for root cause analysis.
Posted by: RicS

Re: is dawkins delusional? ...from the frontpage - 11/05/06 08:09 AM

Here's a thought,

I'm not sure I follow about suicide bombers. Richard Dawkins didn't say that they were the product of regilious schools per se, only that religious schools brainwash children when they are at an age that anything taught to them is believed if taught by someone older. That actually makes sense.

My son was asking about solar research I was reviewing and I said the sun was going "beddy-byes" in October and was going to slumber away, doing not much at all for the next 50 years, according to the research I was reading. My son went to school and said that the sun was going to "shut off". The trouble is my bit of levity was interpreted by my son quite literally because he is at an age where he believes whatever I tell him.

Suicide bombers of the Islamic kind are the product of religious schools because that is where the people that do NOT commit suicide but go out and find people with some character weakness that makes them suitable for such acts and get them to do it. And the financial backing comes from those that attend the religious school. Someone has to pay for the cost of arranging a suicide bombing. It isn't cheap.

I have read the book and watched the Channel 4 two parter that Richard Dawkins narrates. I didn't think it was that delusional at all. The TV shows were called "The Root of All Evil". It is rather hard to argue that the three big religions that he attacks are the root of a great deal of evil. And Richard Dawkins actually concentrated on fundamentalist Christians in much of the TV shows.

Teaching religion mixed up in general science (and not just evolution bits but Noah in geology, bible stories within general science topics) probably can do with a little scrutiny. The statistic that around 50% of the US citizenry believe the world is only thousands of years old is a bit of a worry too.

I do agree with Dan, however. Richard Dawkins is not writing about science but about the dangers of religions. This is not at all the same as science. He may well be right but the topic isn't a science one except where he wishes religion to stay out of science where the two conflict (in his opinion always). I don't think the book is written in any attempt to be "scientific". It is an attempt to show established religions as a danger and one that seems to be gripping the US to a larger extent rather than slowly retreating with the advancement of science.

The person that just knew that his friend was right in killing a doctor who performed abortions and could wrap up a murder as being a good Christian duty, is a bit of a worry, as is much of US politics where the seperation of Chuch and State isn't even given lip service.

It may not be science but it is related to science in that Richard Dawkins sees this type of religion as an attack on science. Australia has agreed to stem cell research. Our Catholic Cardinal is about as conservative as they come and is attempting to have the political decision overturned because it will lead to "human cloning" the "crossing of horses and sheep" and all manner of ungodly occurrences.

Anyman, Richard Dawkins is rather passionate; he does not present his arguments as scientific proof; and he directly attacks religions without consideration for the feelings of those that practice those religions (although in his interviews in the TV programs he was quite restrained and was only inpolite on one occasion, imho). But just how does this make him as bad as those he is arguing against, a bigot or someone totally intolerant? It is that leap that I don't quite understand.

My personal view is that faith is a matter for personal beliefs and AS LONG AS IT DOES NOT INTERFERE WITH OTHERS it should be no one's business. But Richard Dawkins was attacking faith where it directly interfered with others. Is such an attack on the same level as the person that believes killing abortion doctors is not a sin, or blowing up a bus of civilians gets you into paradise or is morally reasonable? I can't see the equality here.


Richard
Posted by: Blacknad

Re: is dawkins delusional? ...from the frontpage - 11/05/06 10:03 AM

Quote:
Originally posted by RicS:
My personal view is that faith is a matter for personal beliefs and AS LONG AS IT DOES NOT INTERFERE WITH OTHERS it should be no one's business.
Agreed.

At the centre of Christianity was Jesus, who by scriptural accounts stayed firmly away from politics and, in fact, anyone with influence. Instead he associated with the lowest in that society - the hated tax collectors, the lepers, blind, beggars and others who were shunned. He even stayed firmly away from organised religion and only interacted with them when he was calling them a nest of vipers and whitewashed tombs full of dead man's bones and rotten to the core.

This is where he saw his work, amongst the less fortunate, and told his followers that this was how you serve God. He actively resisted pressure from his disciples to take a more political and aggressive approach to bringing in 'The Kingdom', but explained that he saw it in the heart of an individual committed to serving others.

And now we have scary American Christianity that does exactly the opposite and courts the rich and powerful, and the political.

Richard, you are correct in saying that Faith is a personal belief, but I would disagree that it should not impact others. It should impact others lives by servicing those who need assistance.

If this was all the faithful did then (instead of things like pointlessly defending Creationism or attacking gays) I suspect that even Dawkins wouldn't have a problem.

But you and I probably agree that when faith becomes corporate it is a very dangerous animal.

Blacknad.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: is dawkins delusional? ...from the frontpage - 11/05/06 08:38 PM

Blacknad wrote:
"At the centre of Christianity was Jesus, who by scriptural accounts stayed firmly away from politics and, in fact, anyone with influence."

You mean other than that ugly little scene he made in the temple: "Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all those engaged in selling and buying there"?

Strikes me those who were running the government, and the temple, might have reasonably disagreed with you on this point.

And not to create a distraction here but also, in Matthew 21, I found this lovely passage: "Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, "Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find an ass tethered, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them here to me."

Try that tomorrow and the constabulary will be less than amused. They call that a violation of one of the Ten Commandements." ;-)

Please don't argue with the above. My point is merely that what is written can be interpreted (spun) anyway one wishes.
Posted by: alsy

Re: is dawkins delusional? ...from the frontpage - 11/05/06 11:26 PM

Yes, very delusional but don`t blame him-blame god!
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: is dawkins delusional? ...from the frontpage - 11/06/06 12:36 AM

I don't blame anyone.

But on the subject of Dawkins this may spark some lively discussion:

http://www.cnn.com/2006/US/11/05/cover.story/index.html
Posted by: samwik

Re: is dawkins delusional? ...from the frontpage - 11/06/06 12:57 AM

I liked your link DA, sounds as if 'great minds think alike.'
Re: the comments over on Origins 'Dawkins..dellusional.'
-whoops, thought i was on a different thread....

Religion is based on a different kind of knowlege, I think.
So that makes comparing the two very difficult -as we've seen on this forum. As DA said, -two different languages-
to say the least, if not two different realms.
Thanks,
~Samwik

P.S. I find it hard to see science attacked by religion and not feel like attacking back; but I try....
~S

Some of the comments from the article sounded familiar, such as:

**Catholicism's Christoph Cardinal Sch?nborn has dubbed the most fervent of faith-challenging scientists followers of "scientism" or "evolutionism," since they hope science, beyond being a measure, can replace religion as a worldview and a touchstone.
But a growing proportion of the profession is experiencing what one major researcher calls "unprecedented outrage" at perceived insults to research and rationality, ranging from the alleged influence of the Christian right on Bush administration science policy, to the fanatic faith of the 9/11 terrorists, to intelligent design's ongoing claims. Some are radicalized enough to publicly pick an ancient scab -- the idea that science and religion, far from being complementary responses to the unknown, are at utter odds.
Finding a spokesman for this side of the question was not hard, since Richard Dawkins, perhaps its foremost polemicist, has just come out with "The God Delusion" (Houghton Mifflin), the rare volume whose position is so clear it forgoes a subtitle.
...and an argument in which one party stands immovable on Scripture and the other immobile on the periodic table doesn't get anyone very far.
We want debates about issues like stem cells without conceding that the positions are so intrinsically inimical as to make discussion fruitless.
Francis Collins & Richard Dawkins
His summer best seller, "The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief" (Free Press), laid out some of the arguments he brought to bear in the 90-minute debate Time arranged between Dawkins and Collins in our offices at the Time & Life Building on September 30. Some excerpts from their spirited exchange are featured in this week's Time cover story.

I just was listening to something on C-span with Francis Collins. He referred to a 19th c. playwright who said something like:

It was something like those who possess the truth are proud and vain. Those that are seeking the truth show real character.

~samwik smile
Posted by: terrytnewzealand

Re: is dawkins delusional? ...from the frontpage - 11/06/06 08:21 AM

Science and religion serve two totally different purposes in society. Most religions provide a code of ethics (not necessarily followed by its believers) and comfort to the ailing. Science does neither of these things. Hence Trilobyte's expression "evolutionism" is totally irrelevant. There can be no such thing.

On the other hand science has shown many religious beliefs concerning human history and the history of our planet to be completely false.
Posted by: alsy

Re: is dawkins delusional? ...from the frontpage - 11/06/06 12:50 PM

On the question of God v Dawkins in a court of law would not prof Dawkins be denying the very existence of himself by denying a power greater than himself?Even if everything started from nothing, happening at random etc.Is that not `god`?What i am saying is even if everything was started by `nothing`it does not mean to say nothing is not intelligent if you see what i mean....I think prof Dawkins sees `god` as a `being`.
Posted by: DA Morgan

Re: is dawkins delusional? ...from the frontpage - 11/06/06 07:08 PM

Alsy asks:
"On the question of God v Dawkins in a court of law would not prof Dawkins be denying the very existence of himself by denying a power greater than himself?"

Not at all. There is no relationship between the existence of an apple and the existence of a deck chair on the Titanic.

"What i am saying is even if everything was started by `nothing`it does not mean to say nothing is not intelligent if you see what i mean."

I see what you mean. But intelligence is incapable of building most ordered systems.

If there is a god ... the one thing that can be said for certain ... is that it is logically impossible for it to be intelligent in the sense in which we use that word.