Friday, July 13, 2007

Dawkins' 747

First, this post is not directly related in any way to the Atheistic Morality debate w/ ChooseDoubt.
Chris Severn, a commenter on a a previous post, has placed great import on the wikipedia article entitled The Ultimate Boeing 747 Gambit. The premise is that Richard Dawkins believes that the idea of God is highly improbable, even more improbable than a tornado's sweeping thru a junkyard creating a fully functional 747.

Chris, I thank you much for commenting here, but I gotta tell you - reading this article made me laugh out loud. Seriously, if you want to be a serious and intellectually honest and consistent atheist, Dawkins is pretty far from where you want to be spending your reading and thought time and energy.

I'll comment on Dawkins' thinking as presented by the wiki article, 'cause I can promise you I'm not going to waste time reading Dawkins' book.

-He (Dawkins) considers the existence of such an entity to be a scientific question, because a universe with such a God would be significantly different from a universe without one

2nd sentence in the article and we already have huge problems. This doesn't look good.
Anyone paying attention to my argumentation w/ Chris will know that my contention is that, w/o God, there IS no universe at all. It wouldn't just be "different." There would be nothing.
In response, Chris has suggested several alternative possibilities:
1) the universe has always existed
2) matter, energy, 'and' the universe popped spontaneously into existence out of nothing w/o a cause
3) time repeats itself. The big crunch at the end of the universe begins again as the big bang at the beginning...

Notice that #s 1 and 3 are the same.
Briefly, the problems w/ each, as I've already stated...
1a) There were an infinite amount of seconds before now, and we have just added a second, now two, now three, etc, to infinity.
1b) To sustain your objection to a strong theistic argument, you just thrust aside The Laws of Thermodynamics; if energy is neither created nor destroyed and the universe is infinitely old, the finite amount of energy in the universe would have been a victim of entropy long before now.

#2 is also logically impossible b/c nothing causes nothing. If there's nothing, then there's nothing.

Chris continues to insist that the answer "God did it" is unacceptably improbable. And what if it is? It's still the only logically possible option offered so far.


-Therefore, Dawkins concludes, the same kind of rational reasoning can be applied to the God Hypothesis as to any other scientific question.

"Rational," yes. "Scientific," no. Science has no mechanism to test whether God exists one way or the other.

-Dawkins concludes that the argument from design is the most convincing

I think it's a good argument but it's far from the 'most convincing.' It's not "convincing" at all for a hardened fundamentalist like Dawkins anyway, so that's a poor choice of words by either Dawkins or the wiki author.

-The extreme improbability of life and a universe capable of hosting it requires explanation, but Dawkins considers the God Hypothesis inferior to evolution by natural selection as explanations for the complexity of life.

Stop the press!
But when I see Dawkins' sloppy reasoning and the massive holes in Darwinian evolutionary models, I see no reason to accept what he says.

-he redirects the argument from complexity in an attempt to show that God must have been designed by a superintelligent designer


The moment he does so, he stops responding to the Christian worldview.
Maybe that's part of his problem - he's arguing against a religion of his own making, or some kind of finite godism. On Christianity, God is the Uncaused First Cause, the Undesigned Designer. Arguing that He needed a designer is to continue to commit the infinite regress fallacy that so many atheists are so wedded to in their ideas of the universe (including Chris Severn w/ his "cyclical universe" model). Just b/c atheists want to continue in idiocy doesn't mean Christians have to.

-Fred Hoyle reportedly stated that the "probability of life originating on Earth is no greater than the chance that a hurricane, sweeping through a scrapyard, would have the luck to assemble a Boeing 747.


I'd argue it's much, much less probable, but the principle is the same.

-The basic argument against empirical theism dates back at least to David Hume, whose objection can be popularly stated as "Who designed the designer?"


Wow, so impressive! Either one ends up w/ the God that atheists don't like or one ends up in logical impossibility. Personally, I've never considered it all that rational to pass up rational thought just b/c I don't like it. But that's just me.

-to show that where design fails to explain complexity, evolution by natural selection succeeds and is the only workable solution


It doesn't work, for one thing.

DAWKINS' ARGUMENT:

-1. One of the greatest challenges to the human intellect, over the centuries, has been to explain how the complex, improbable appearance of design in the universe arises.
2. The natural temptation is to attribute the appearance of design to actual design itself. In the case of a man-made artefact such as a watch, the designer really was an intelligent engineer. It is tempting to apply the same logic to an eye or a wing, a spider or a person.


So far so good.

-3. The temptation is a false one, because the designer hypothesis immediately raises the larger problem of who designed the designer. The whole problem we started out with was the problem of explaining statistical improbability. It is obviously no solution to postulate something even more improbable.

The loud guffaws you hear in the bkgrd are coming from me. That's the best that internationally-renowned atheist and Oxford scholar Dawkins can do?
I should take Dawkins' say-so that God's existence is improbable? And, again, I should be willing to follow him into idiotic reasoning that leads me AWAY from a logically non-impossible option (God) and BACK INTO a logically impossible one? Sign me up!

-4. The most ingenious and powerful crane so far discovered is Darwinian evolution by natural selection. Darwin and his successors have shown how living creatures, with their spectacular statistical improbability and appearance of design, have evolved by slow, gradual degrees from simple beginnings.


This is a minor point, but, again, evolutionary theory is full of huge problems that, to me, are insuperable.

-5. We don't yet have an equivalent crane for physics


But we will! Believe us!!! Or we'll label you morons and fools! And we'll make sure to try to re-educate your children!!!

-Some kind of multiverse theory could in principle do for physics the same explanatory work as Darwinism does for biology.


Speaking of "no evidence" and "improbability"...

-But the anthropic principle entitles us to postulate far more luck than our limited human intuition is comfortable with.


Dawkins' personal preferences surface again. Why should anyone care what he thinks? That's serious, not rhetorical. B/c of his reasoning? Haha, it's lame. B/c of his reputation? In this area, it's 100% unwarranted. B/c of his clipped English accent? It's the best thing he's got going for him.

-Richard Swinburne reasons that theism is parsimonious because it only invokes a single substance, God, as a cause and maintainer of every other object. This cause is seen as omnipotent, omniscient and totally free.


Otherwise known as one of the core doctrines of Christianity. Credit to the author - he correctly represented Christianity here.

-Dawkins believes postulating such an entity doesn't explain anything and usurps the role of science.


1) It explains origins in a way that's actually logically possible.
2) Unlike anythg Dawkins has offered.
3) This is a perfect example of Dawkins' inability to confine science to what it can actually do.
What materials could one test to determine whether God exists? What repeatable experiment? Science is not the only way to arrive at truth. In cases of metaphysics, it's nearly worthless and leads you to act like an idiot, like someone who does NOT have a Ph.D from a prestigious university.

-He suggests that a God that controls every atom and listens to all our prayers cannot be something simple, and his existence would require a "mammoth explanation" of its own.


I hope his argument is any better than what he's offered above.
"Mammoth explanation" has been provided in the Bible, for one thing. And I'd be happy to recommend several extremely large volumes of systematic theology.
And this is not what I would call a "mammoth explanation."

-[Natural selection], as far as we know, is the only process ultimately capable of generating complexity out of simplicity.


It's not my fault that you artificially level the playing field.


-Dawkins's response to criticism
According to Dawkins, the strongest response was the objection that he was imposing a scientific epistemology on a question that lies beyond the realm of science.


Yes, thank you.

-Dawkins writes that he didn't get the impression that those employing this "evasive" defence were being wilfully dishonest, but were "defining themselves into an epistemological Safe Zone where rational argument could not reach them because they had declared by fiat that it could not."


OK, then the burden is on him to demonstrate how science could test whether God exists using the scientific method.
You know, it MIGHT be that his critics were waiting for him to engage the question using a relevant and applicable methodology.

10 comments:

Matthew said...

Oh brother, not the old "747" argument. Didn't Plantinga (and a host of others) already pwn this mercilessly?

Anyway, good show Alan...

Rhology said...

Heh, yeah maybe I should've linked to them rather than present a much poorer version by myself.

Kyle said...

Rhoblogy said:
"Science is not the only way to arrive at truth. In cases of metaphysics, it's nearly worthless and leads you to act like an idiot, like someone who does NOT have a Ph.D from a prestigious university."

Ha! Ha! Ha! This line was a real zinger and I got a big kick out of it.

It's nice to read rational dialogue responding to atheists. I am currently tired of being steamrolled by Atheists who are so sure they are right and you are an idiot when they cannot even answer simple questions about their beliefs or demonstrate the consistency of their use of moral language. The emperor has no clothes and Atheists have no foundation for morality in their worldview. Booyah! Suck it Atheists. Oh, excuse me, I mean God loves you and the gospel offer of eternal life is free for all who turn to Jesus on his terms and embrace the Truth he taught.

Peace and clear thinking to all,
Kyle

MothandRust said...

Some kind of multiverse theory could in principle do for physics the same explanatory work as Darwinism does for biology.

Speaking of "no evidence" and "improbability"...

I'm amazed at the audacity some scientists have to discard creation concepts and adopt this multiverse nonsense. I enjoyed this post Alan. Creation via God is starting to look more reasonable than the alternatives, but what do I know? No degrees in either studies.

Rhology said...

Wow, MothAndRust...

An unexpected comment, and much appreciated.

chooseDoubt said...

Hi Rhology,

Not wanting to detract from our morality debate, which I hope is going to turn into a full on exchange of ideas, but I feel compelled to comment on this post also. First off the 747 Gambit was not proposed by Dawkins originally or any atheists for that matter. It was first proposed by Fred Hoyle as an argument for the existence of a god. Hoyle said that the probability of life originating on Earth is no greater than the chance that a hurricane sweeping through a scrap yard would have the luck to assemble a Boeing 747 and so a designer is required. All that Dawkins did was examine the argument by examining how much less probable the spontaneous existence of an entity capable of simultaneously controlling every atom in the universe must be in comparison to the emergence of life.

You say:

"Anyone paying attention to my argumentation w/ Chris will know that my contention is that, w/o God, there IS no universe at all. It wouldn't just be "different." There would be nothing."

And you can say it all you want, but it doesn't constitute evidence or a supported argument. I can equally say "It is my contention that without a god the universe would be made entirely of pickled lemurs" but I wouldn't expect you or anybody else to mistakenly assume that there is any inherent value to my contention. Fortunately we don't rely on contention to reach conclusion, instead we prefer to look at evidence. The existence of the universe certainly does not support the existence of your God any more than it supports the existence of any other proposed gods that have been claimed responsible. The fact of the universe offers no support to the existence of your God because it simultaneously offers the same support to the existence of all others and all secular theories also. The net result for support for any one particular theory is zero – for your God, for Lord Brahma, for Wenabozho, for the Big Bang, whatever. The existence of the universe supports none of the arguments. Other evidence is needed in the form of specific properrties of the universe that does exist.

In the case of the Big Bang we have millions of independent and corroboratory observations that demonstrate the expansion of the universe from a point – the Big Bang. The theory was postulated as a result of observations demonstrating expansion. Mathematical models then predicted further observations which were then made and continue to be made. The expansion of the universe is extremely well supported and not at all contradicted, as is its age of around 13.66 billion years. This directly contradicts the biblical account, which is your sole evidence for your God hypothesis.

What Dawkins was doing in turning the 747 argument back on the theists was entirely valid. We'll get back to it a bit later when other relevant sections of your argument have been examined.

You talk a about the "other possibilities" of the universe, such as it has always existed, it popped spontaneously into existence out of nothing with no cause and that time repeats itself. You then add some argument against these options which are not in agreement with empirical evidence. I'm not going to go into criticising your suggestions as to understand the criticism you would need to dedicate several years of study (and before you ask, yes I did study physics at university), but there is an important point that can be made here without any reliance on your familiarity with the subject. The point is very simple. The scientific perspective admits of ignorance. The scientist is able to say "Right now we don't know, but we are working on it". Your position is nothing more than one of claiming certainty despite having absolutely no means by which to know the information you claim full knowledge of. Furthermore your certainty is based on highly discredited accounts from highly discredited sources and those sources are also internally contradictory and contradicted by actual observation.

You go on to say:

"Stop the press!
But when I see Dawkins' sloppy reasoning and the massive holes in Darwinian evolutionary models, I see no reason to accept what he says."


But you haven't actually demonstrated any holes in Dawkins reasoning. In fact, you haven't even read Dawkins reasoning as you proudly proclaim:

"I'll comment on Dawkins' thinking as presented by the wiki article, 'cause I can promise you I'm not going to waste time reading Dawkins' book."

Perhaps the fact that you make no other argument other than "I know god did it" is because you actually don't have any other argument to offer. Dawkins on the other hand, if you would care to read any of his books (or better all of them), has a vast catalogue of arguments to make supported by millions of independent evidences and contradicted by none (other than Bronze Age religious texts) and it may well open your eyes a bit to explore them. These arguments are about life, not god, but they are supported by evidence and they directly contradict the biblical version of events. But that is not to say that these arguments do not have something to say about the existence of a god, because they do. Evolution describes the emergence of complexity and it is entirely consistent with ALL observation from a vast array of fields of scientific and historical study. By answering the problem of complexity it sheds light on other hypothesis relating to complex things – such as a god hypothesis – and what it has to say is that all the arguments used against complexity without a designer (such as Hoyle's 747 argument) can be equally applied, in fact must be equally applied, to the alleged designer with disastrous consequences for the credibility of such hypotheses.

You say that the god hypothesis is logically possible and Dawkins arguments show clearly that it is not and that further more logic demands such explanations for all complex entities if such an explanation is demanded for any single one. Again, science says "we're working on it" and religion says "God, God, God" despite the fact that the very logic theists have tried to use against evolution has been very successfully applied to demonstrate the truth of the answers provided by scientific endeavour.

You raise a few times the idea of how could science test the existence of a god. It's a good point and one that science admits is not directly answerable. But similarly it is not answerable by you to test the existence of Lord Brahma or Poseidon. What is true is that your "Mammoth explanation", the Bible, contains many claims that are contradictory within the same text. It is also true that many Biblical hypotheses are testable and have been discredited. The Earth is not the centre of the solar system, it is not 6000 years old, whales are not fish and Jesus could not see all the nations of the world by climbing a mountain, Noah could not have kept two of each animal on the planet on his Ark, and so on.

I would go on to say that science could very easily detect the existence of a god that interferes as Christianity says it does. Studies of intercessory prayer have done just this and despite all the millions that visit Lourdes there has yet to be one confirmed miracle. This has very powerful implications for your argument. An argument where there is an intervening god and yet not one demonstrated violation of the so far described laws of nature is quite damning for your belief, yet scientists admit that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. However specific evidence against specific beliefs is another matter. The evidence against a young Earth is overwhelming. The evidence supporting evolution and contradicting a designer is so far flawless. You say that evolutionary theory is full of holes yet you have not described a single one of them. To be perfectly honest I suspect you think it is full of holes because you don't explore the statements of those that have firmly plugged those holes. As far as I am aware there is not one designer argument left standing – every single one has been answered not just with theory but with empirical evidence. Please feel free to raise any of these arguments that you think are still valid. I'll provide you with the counter argument and the evidence and I trust that once you have actually read the relevant information that you will be honest enough to admit that, even if you don't personally believe in evolution, that you do not have a single coherent argument against it based on anything other than the Bible.

You say:

-Dawkins writes that he didn't get the impression that those employing this "evasive" defence were being wilfully dishonest, but were "defining themselves into an epistemological Safe Zone where rational argument could not reach them because they had declared by fiat that it could not."


OK, then the burden is on him to demonstrate how science could test whether God exists using the scientific method.
You know, it MIGHT be that his critics were waiting for him to engage the question using a relevant and applicable methodology.



This is absolutely the reverse of the truth. The burden of proof is on the party making the claim and in this case it is the theists that are claiming the existence of a god. Is the burden of proof upon you to disprove the Raelians or the Scientologists? If that burden is not on you then why is it on Dawkins for your own particular claim? It simply isn't. Regardless of this, science has revealed a great deal of data relevant to your myths, indeed flatly contradicting them, and every claim made by science is indeed demonstrated with evidence. Science has debunked many of your claims but it was never its task to do so. The damage done to your myths is consequential and if you want to continue to support them then it is entirely on your shoulders that the burden rests of demonstrating proof.

Anyway, I highly recommend that you read Dawkins books. Whether you end up agreeing with him or not is beside the point. At the very least you will understand which of the arguments you rely upon have already been thoroughly answered and that may help you in directing your efforts to new ground where conceivably it is possible that you may make some head way. Also try to understand that scientists, especially Dawkins, would welcome such new challenge. Science is not dogma and in science no idea is sacred, even the best respected and supported theories. As soon as evidence contradicts a theory the theory is thrown out. That is why science is the progressive accumulation of knowledge and religion is the stagnation of understanding in the realm of dogmatically enshrined ignorance. This is demonstrated by the fact that science admits doubt but faith permits only certainty. Your certainty isn't even based on an examination of the counter arguments so read the books and then comment.

All the best,

CD

Rhology said...

hi ChooseDoubt,



First off the 747 Gambit was not proposed by Dawkins originally or any atheists for that matter

The article Chris Severn directed me to was from Dawkins. But, yes, the wiki says specifically it's a response to Hoyle's contention.


All that Dawkins did was examine the argument by examining how much less probable the spontaneous existence of an entity capable of simultaneously controlling every atom in the universe must be in comparison to the emergence of life.

And that's the crux of the issue.
1) How could one possibly make a scientific statement to that effect?
2) Again, nobody is arguing that God "spontaneously existed". He *always* existed. If He *began* to exist, then we're back at the same impossible quandary of infinite regress.

What I'm trying to express is that, no matter how many "biblical contradictions" you might bring up and how many inconsistencies you think exist between "modern science" and the Bible, the problem is the *origin*. I haven't been talking so much about what happened AFTER the Big Bang. You yourself said:

In the case of the Big Bang we have millions of independent and corroboratory observations that demonstrate the expansion of the universe from a point – the Big Bang.

In that point existed, presumably, all the matter and energy that would become the universe as we know it. I want to know how that point got there.
We've had three options:
1) the universe has always existed
2) matter, energy, 'and' the universe popped spontaneously into existence out of nothing w/o a cause
3) time repeats itself. The big crunch at the end of the universe begins again as the big bang at the beginning...

Again, note that #s 1 and 3 are the same.

The arguments against them are cited above. I think those arguments are where you need to center your effort and argumentation, if I may suggest. If you have no idea, then why should I just *assume*, like you apparently do, that science *will* figure it out someday? For one thing, I can't speak for you, but Chris Severn has expressed support for #3. If Dawkins says, "I don't know the answer, but it can't be God!" then he's making a totally unscientific statement that also happens to be logically untenable. If Dawkins expresses support for one of these options, then he's not doing what he should do b/c it's pitiful in its inadequacy. If he has another idea, I'd be glad to hear it, and I'd hope for his sake that it has more promise than these 3 discussed here so far. I'd add I heard William Lane Craig cite Peter Atkins, Oxford Prof of Chemistry, to the effect that before the Big Bang existed all kinds of mathematical lines, points, etc, of perfectly balanced electrical charge, which came together to form the universe. His idea means either that nothing exists or simply pushes the question back one step, which is not helpful. We can call that option #4.

Do you happen to know, Chris or ChooseDoubt, what Dawkins would propose for the problem of the origin of the universe? Ie, *before* the Big Bang?


Your position is nothing more than one of claiming certainty despite having absolutely no means by which to know the information you claim full knowledge of.

Well, that's very much begging the question, CD. That's what we're trying to figure out! :-D
And empirical means are not the only way to know sthg.


your certainty is based on highly discredited accounts from highly discredited sources and those sources are also internally contradictory and contradicted by actual observation.

I don't think I've cited any sources so far in this post (for better or for worse). Rather I've based my arguments on the naturalist's inability to admit their inability to answer the question of origins and their hypocrisy in begging the question when criticising the answer I give.

Perhaps the fact that you make no other argument other than "I know god did it" is because you actually don't have any other argument to offer.

I'm asking for y'all naturalists either to advance a workable alternative or to admit you have no idea. Keep holding on to logical impossibilies and you won't be impressing anyone, least of all me.


Dawkins on the other hand, if you would care to read any of his books (or better all of them), has a vast catalogue of arguments to make supported by millions of independent evidences and contradicted by none (other than Bronze Age religious texts)

Richard Dawkins knows the answer to the question of origins? Why didn't he just say so rather than implying that he thought maybe the answer was some multiversal theory? He could nail me to the wall if he had such an answer. Since you seem to know his stuff better, could I ask you to summarise it?


Evolution describes the emergence of complexity

It does so badly, but I'm not really in the mood to talk about it now. Too much on my plate.


By answering the problem of complexity it sheds light on other hypothesis relating to complex things – such as a god hypothesis – and what it has to say is that all the arguments used against complexity without a designer (such as Hoyle's 747 argument) can be equally applied, in fact must be equally applied, to the alleged designer with disastrous consequences for the credibility of such hypotheses.

I don't think I'm following you here. What argument brought against complexity is disastrous for the God hypothesis?

You say that the god hypothesis is logically possible

Absent any proof to the contrary, yes. But I invite rebuttal.


demands such explanations for all complex entities if such an explanation is demanded for any single one.

This may be what you meant by applying the arguments to the God hypothesis above. If so, for one thing, we're not just talking about "complexity," or at least I'm not. I'm talking about *origins*, specifically the need for an Uncaused 1st Cause (God).

science says "we're working on it"

Here you seem to contradict what I thought you were implying above, that Dawkins holds the answer. I'll wait for you to clarify which you meant.
But one thing science seems to KNOW FOR SURE: God couldn't be the answer. Any rational seeker for truth should be concerned about the wanton closed-mindedness.

But similarly it is not answerable by you to test the existence of Lord Brahma or Poseidon.

Well, it's certainly answerable, but I would never use a "scientific" test to test whether those exist. It's a metaphysical question.


the Bible, contains many claims that are contradictory within the same text.

1) You as a naturalist cannot account for the laws of logic, reason, or induction, so this claim means nothing to me.
2) I'd be happy to deal w/ a few. But see my discussion w/ Chris Severn where he asks the same question.

The Earth is not the centre of the solar system

The Bible doesn't claim it is.



it is not 6000 years old

This is begging the question.
IF the Bible is true (which is partly the question whenever you and I discuss), then the earth is 6-10000 years old. And that could easily (and logically) mean that all the pitiful reasonings, tests, and instruments of tiny mankind are easily wrong and deceived. *IF* the Bible is true, your scientific instrumentation could easily be influenced by the Devil to lead you away from the idea that there is a personal God Who gives laws, punishes sin, and offers mercy in favor of a humanistic, self-sufficient, and arrogant attitude.
You won't like it, of course. You don't accept it, I know. But *IF* the Bible is true, then what I've said is easily seen to follow.


whales are not fish

The Bible is not a science textbook and doesn't concern itself w/ exact cladistics. Whales swim. In the ocean. W/ fins, and their bodies closely resemble the run-of-the-mill fish. The msg got across. Besides, experts like Henry Gee are proposing new ways of looking at cladistics and taxonomy. Your answer (whatever it may be) holds great promise...to be changed radically.


Jesus could not see all the nations of the world by climbing a mountain

If Jesus was God, then He easily could see them all supernaturally.


Noah could not have kept two of each animal on the planet on his Ark

It is very possible that there were fewer "kinds" (that's a biblical term) of animals than there are today.
The flood was supernatural. The Ark could have been supernaturally aided, indeed seems to have been at least at the beginning, since God "shut the door" in the text.

I have limited patience for dealing w/ biblical "contradictions," but if you want to bring your best 5 in a subsequent comment I'll deal w/ them and then be done w/ it. It's been done 1000 times before me; if you want the answers they are easily found.

Studies of intercessory prayer have done just this and despite all the millions that visit Lourdes there has yet to be one confirmed miracle.

The alleged spiritual activity at Lourdes is not Christian; it's Roman Catholic/demonic. I'll join you in condemning it, indeed in demanding scientific verification of those 'miracles'.

An argument where there is an intervening god and yet not one demonstrated violation of the so far described laws of nature is quite damning for your belief,

Were I willing to grant that naturalistic science has any way to account for logic, reason, or induction, I'd present the Resurrection of Jesus as the best and brightest example of supernatural activity. That and the Creation of the universe. ;-)
OTOH, it's a bit difficult to take such critiques seriously b/c of the problems in accting for those 3 necessary elements of argumentation.

The evidence supporting evolution and contradicting a designer is so far flawless.

Contradicting a designer?
Scientifically, you can prove there's no designer? Even if "he" used evolution to do his designing? How could you know that?

The burden of proof is on the party making the claim and in this case it is the theists that are claiming the existence of a god.

Dawkins is making a claim that science can test that God doesn't exist.


Is the burden of proof upon you to disprove the Raelians or the Scientologists?

The way I would do so is to take on, for the sake of argument, their position and examine how it comports w/ reality. Theirs doesn't, so I reject it. Yours doesn't either, BTW.


Also try to understand that scientists, especially Dawkins, would welcome such new challenge.

Perhaps they would (though Dawkins refuses to debate William Lane Craig, for one thing, which is pitiful), but this is not Dawkins' area of expertise. Dawkins should stick w/ science, not metaphysics. When he goes into metaphysics he gets lost very quickly and makes stupid claims.


Your certainty isn't even based on an examination of the counter arguments so read the books and then comment.

I've listened to a few hours of Dawkins in interaction w/ Christians and others...I have standards of what info I'll spend my limited time on. Call it 'willful ignorance' if you like; I guess you're entitled. I call it being a bit more picky; I don't waste time on debating 4th graders for very long. If the arguments presented in the wiki are representative of the quality of the books, well...
And besides, here's a review of "The God Delusion" that says what I would say, only better. I read reviews often before I read books written by fundies such as Dawkins; if Dawkins won't interact w/ serious Christian scholarship, I'm not too interested.


I know that I have introduced a new line of argumentation, namely that naturalistic materialism has no way to acct for reason, logic, or induction. Perhaps that could be the subject of a future blogalogue. I realise it's impossible to get to everythg in a combox; that's the problem w/ these kinds of convos I guess.

Peace,
Rhology

Geno said...

Alan,
I saw your comment over at "A Load of Bright" - I thought I was the only christian over there. Good jod on your part.

As to Dawlins, I had challenged Tobe38 with this query about Dawkins and his thinking. All I received as a response was a threat to be removed.

"Where does a person’s “science” take them, when applied to life issues – those issues that dictate how to live your life? Well, let’s look at one.

Science has led today’s top science / philosopher to state that it is better to molest a child than to take him to Sunday School. (now that should start a fight in the science community if one of our’s has reached that conclusion.)

Richard Dawkins – The God Delusion - Page 317
“Once, in the question time after a lecture in Dublin, I was asked what I thought about the widely publicized cases of sexual abuse by Catholic priests in Ireland. I replied that, horrible as sexual abuse no doubt was, the damage was arguably less than the long-term psychological damage inflicted by bringing up a child Catholic in the first place.”

He also likened child abuse to just being “an embarrassing but otherwise harmless experience…” page 316

Now those are “fighting words!”

I hope you continue to press Tobe with the "How did reason come from non reason issue" - I keep telling him that he must borrow from the Bible to get to his morality.

Rhology said...

What? Tobe38 a bit on the angry side? Hard to imagine...

Guess we'll see how he reacts to me.

OTOH, though, I would not argue that it's *science* that has led Dawkins to say the idiotic things he says about religion and its relationship to society. It's his corrupt, bizarre, and jaundiced FAITH STANCE that leads him to do so, and to take on airs of credibility he jumps around and points to his Ph.D and Oxford professorship: "LOOK AT ME!!! I'm not REALLY a crazed fundamentalist! I'm a SOBER, RATIONAL science person! BeLIEVE me! Or I'll lobby to have your children taken away from you! Bwa HAHAHA!"

it is better to molest a child than to take him to Sunday School.

If he said that (and to be honest, I don't doubt he did), then that's just one example of the amazingly stupid things he can say. It's amazing how such a brilliant mind related to one field can be so moronic in another. That's what hate'll do to you, I guess.

Geno said...

Alan,
When I said that Dawkins said;
"it is better to molest a child than to take him to Sunday School." - that was my way of crytalizing what he said in my quote of page 317.

So, in essence that is what he thinks.

His conclusion about the origins and development of morality are just as comical. I think it was chapter 4 and he pretty much concludes with "neener, neener - well you don't have an answer either."

Today's new atheists (just a meaner version of the rest) are starved for meaning.