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The Dawkins Delusion
Posted: 13 January 2007 08:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]  
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[quote author=“Joad”]Dawkins analogy that belief in God is the same as belief in Santa is absolutely correct.

Santa is meant to be a finite entity in empirical reality. God is not. That seems like a pretty big disanalogy.

The fact is that theology is 100% IRRELEVANT to discussions of God.

It’s relevant because Dawkins relies on some awful theology that he dreamed up himself. Like when he says that the existence of God should be treated as a scientific hypothesis. Well, maybe he got this understanding of God from creationists, but he should still know better.

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Posted: 13 January 2007 08:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]  
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[quote author=“Bad_Conduct”]

That’s what we need. More educated people expressing their ideas about how the world should be run.

And if they’re wrong?

Are you just going to put all your money in one bank and assume it will never go bankrupt?

There are too many variables to cross your fingers and make a conclusion today.

In all likelihood they are wrong, about everything. Our theories are imperfect. However, they are useful, and they are useful enough to realize that they are imperfect; And where there is imperfection there is room for improvement.

Science is just an excellent foundation because it has a monopoly on facts. It doesn’t have all the facts, but it has most of them. The facts that scientists have gathered not only speak for themselves but together allow the scientists to tell the story. They try to let the facts speak for themselves and then they detail whatever story best describes reality at any given time. The story is not to be taken so literally to be taken as absolute truth. There is always mystery. Sciences thrive upon this mystery. Unraveling the mystery is like pulling on the thread that will eventually lead to wherever it takes us.

So if we’re wrong, we’re not really learning as much as we really are even though it feels like we’re being overwhelmed with enough knowledge and information to propel the human race steadily into the future.

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Posted: 13 January 2007 10:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]  
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climacus,

Santa and god are both invisible friends. Seems a bit absurd to discuss how big their houses are.

I tend to agree with you about Dawkins. God should not be a scientific hypothesis.
Belief in god should be a legitimate study in psychology.

I’m sure I saw a McGrath thread on the Dawkins forum.

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Posted: 14 January 2007 12:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]  
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Yes, Turner is a good guy. He even concedes the possibility of being wrong. But his advocacy of theism seems silly to me as he argued in the Atheist tapes he seems to be a Christian because of the literary and philosophical appeal of the story of ‘Jesus’ but that has nothing to due with the existence of a deity and certainly not its place within modern cosmology…

As for Mcgrath I have read his book, the Dawkin’s God, memes, genes, blah, blah….and found it quite wanting. His lectures don’t impress me and he is not nearly as eloquent as Turner…maybe I will read his next book….

In particular I find his argument about adults believing in God as opposed to Santa Claus rather silly. 3000 years ago, adults in Greece and Western Anatolia apparently believed in numerous deities (Zeus, Ares, Athena, etc.) and all manner of creatures to boot, including Satyrs, Pegasus, Cyclops, Centaurs…so I fail to see what his point is. In truth it is a classic argumentum ad populum, using the vast numbers of adult people with theistic belief as a ‘basis’ for truth…it is not however…funny how a bright guy like him could fall for that one…oh well

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Posted: 14 January 2007 12:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]  
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[quote author=“Climacus”][quote author=“Joad”]Dawkins analogy that belief in God is the same as belief in Santa is absolutely correct.

Santa is meant to be a finite entity in empirical reality. God is not. That seems like a pretty big disanalogy.

The fact is that theology is 100% IRRELEVANT to discussions of God.

It’s relevant because Dawkins relies on some awful theology that he dreamed up himself. Like when he says that the existence of God should be treated as a scientific hypothesis. Well, maybe he got this understanding of God from creationists, but he should still know better.

Tell me man of the Windy City…who declares that God is outside of reality, non-finite and impervious to empirical testing? Humans do…humans declare by fiat that God is outside human understanding…this is a bad argument. The same could be said of the Invisible Pink Unicorn (may her pineapple pizza be blessed)...

Theology works from the basis of a presupposition of God’s existence…theology is an empty discipline…it should be dismantled from academia…

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Get with it. Millions of galaxies of hundreds of millions of stars, and a speck on one in a blink. That’s us, lost in space. The cop, you, me… Who notices?
-Vincent

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Posted: 14 January 2007 02:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]  
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Jgrice said

Dawkins wants to call all of these people ill as though they are infected with some kind of virus. What is the scientific proof for this? Its nonextant. To say they are ill is merely an assumption based on worldview preference and dogmatic intellectualism, not scientific evidence.

Either you haven’t read dawkins’ book or you misunderstand the concept of memes.  They do not imply illness they are a theory to explain concepts that grow and evolve into more advanced concepts.  Religion is a very widespread meme and easy to study.  If you look at history, religion began as animism, then evolved into polytheism which evolved into monotheism.  Another example of the evolution of the meme of religion is the many different ritualistic practices.  He does compare memes to viruses, however, just as evolving and self-replicating ideas.  In fact, the idea that all viruses cause illness is Mcgrath’s viewpoint and is not true.  Some viruses are symbiotic and help transfer genetic material, this is sometimes helpful to the infected organism. 

Jgrice, you also ignored my arguments the Mcgrath ignored much of dawkins supporting evidence for his disbelief.  Mcgrath does not deal with things such as the first cause argument.  Obviously he restricts his counterpoints to concepts that he can easily argue against while avoiding those that he cannot argue against.  Finally, as I’ve said before, attacking the author that you disagree with by calling him militant and antisemite are not debunking his ideas merely diverting the audience with self serving antatheist bigotry.

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Posted: 14 January 2007 03:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]  
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[quote author=“stardusk”]Tell me man of the Windy City…who declares that God is outside of reality, non-finite and impervious to empirical testing? Humans do…humans declare by fiat that God is outside human understanding…this is a bad argument. The same could be said of the Invisible Pink Unicorn (may her pineapple pizza be blessed)...

Theology works from the basis of a presupposition of God’s existence…theology is an empty discipline…it should be dismantled from academia…

This, above all, resonates with me.  Thank you, stardusk.  I hope for a world peopled by those whose “worldview” is shaped by what they they know through proof and not myth. This is type of thinking that seems to me to be the only way to avert total destruction.  Theology courses ought to at least be re-thought under these terms.

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Posted: 14 January 2007 03:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]  
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Jgrice, you also ignored my arguments the Mcgrath ignored much of dawkins supporting evidence for his disbelief. Mcgrath does not deal with things such as the first cause argument. Obviously he restricts his counterpoints to concepts that he can easily argue against while avoiding those that he cannot argue against.

That, or he restricted his argument to what can fit into a 40 minute speech.  I’m sure he would have responses to your questions.  To criticize him for not covering a 400 page book in 40 minutes (that would be to cover 10 pages a minute in case you wondered) seems a little absurd.  McGrath’s book is not even out yet so I’m not sure you can argue that he ignored anything at all.  Yet here you are, doing exactly that.  Do what you must…

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Posted: 14 January 2007 03:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]  
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In truth it is a classic argumentum ad populum, using the vast numbers of adult people with theistic belief as a ‘basis’ for truth

Actually, he doesn’t do that at all.  His point was to expose the weaknes of the analogy and nothing more.  Have you never seen someone attack the veracity of an analogy?  It is rather easy since most analogies have an inherent weakness, its just a matter of exposing it.  That was the sole purpose of McGrath’s critique.  In exposing the weakness of Dawkins analogy it does not follow that McGrath subsequently proved theism rational.  The only think you can infer is that the two are not, as Dawkins argued, analogous after all - at least, not in the sense that Dawkins wants them to be.

On the other hand, it sounds to me like Dawkins does present an argumentum ad populum as well as circular reasoning with respect to modern day scientists.  Others on this board have done the exact same thing.  The logic seems to follow as such:

(1) True scientists do not believe in God.
(2) Most scientists today do not beleive in God.
(3) Scientists who do beleive in God are not true scientists because true scientists do not believe in God.

In other words, the reasoning of many on this board, if not Dawkins himself, is that since most scientists do not believe in God then their position must be correct (argumentum ad populum) and everyone else who disagrees with this notion is not a true scientists after all (circular reasoning).  Maybe that is not what Dawkins does but after listening to people on this board I get the feeling that is exactly what he does.

[ Edited: 14 January 2007 04:02 AM by ]
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Posted: 14 January 2007 04:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]  
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Theology works from the basis of a presupposition of God’s existence…theology is an empty discipline…it should be dismantled from academia…

By this logic we could say the same thing about science which works from the basis of a presupposition that we can know things based on empirical evidence.  I believe we can know things and I don’t think we should totally discredit science because of its presupposition which cannot be proven empirically.  It seems to me perfectly rational to accept that we can know things based on empirical evidence.  It also seems to me perfectly rational that God exists.

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Posted: 14 January 2007 04:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]  
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Praise be to Allah… lol.

That’s great news, Sean.  Islam is one step removed from Christianity!  You are almost there…

LOL

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Posted: 14 January 2007 04:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]  
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That, or he restricted his argument to what can fit into a 40 minute speech.

He certainly had time to perform ad hominem attacks and mislead the forum on the meme theory.

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Posted: 14 January 2007 04:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]  
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That’s great news, Sean. Islam is one step removed from Christianity! You are almost there…

And here is islam in action.  It demonstrates some islamic ritual and the sharia (islamic law) in action.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iby-oQ-HMkg

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Posted: 14 January 2007 05:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]  
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[quote author=“JGrice02”]Theology works from the basis of a presupposition of God’s existence…theology is an empty discipline…it should be dismantled from academia…

By this logic we could say the same thing about science which works from the basis of a presupposition that we can know things based on empirical evidence.  I believe we can know things and I don’t think we should totally discredit science because of its presupposition which cannot be proven empirically.  It seems to me perfectly rational to accept that we can know things based on empirical evidence.  It also seems to me perfectly rational that God exists.

That which God exists? The Christian one, or Vishnu, or Zeus?

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Posted: 14 January 2007 05:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]  
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[quote author=“JGrice02”]Theology works from the basis of a presupposition of God’s existence…theology is an empty discipline…it should be dismantled from academia…

By this logic we could say the same thing about science which works from the basis of a presupposition that we can know things based on empirical evidence.  I believe we can know things and I don’t think we should totally discredit science because of its presupposition which cannot be proven empirically.  It seems to me perfectly rational to accept that we can know things based on empirical evidence.  It also seems to me perfectly rational that God exists.

What a silly comment.

By any reasonable definition of “knowing”, we “know” what we experience, i.e, empirical evidence is a trivial subset of our knowledge base.
That of course, does not mean we necessarily “understand” that which we know, or that we are able to extrapolate that knowledge in a correct manner.

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