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Dawkins, asked to address an obvious point, flubs it

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From the blog of a medic named Bruce Charlton, October 26, 2011:

A few years ago I met Richard Dawkins at a small, relaxed party.

I had a question I wanted to put to him.

I had discovered that over the same period of the twentieth century that the US had risen to scientific eminence it had undergone a significant Christian revival.

Yes, that was when Billy Graham was big, and it was okay to be a Christian even if you were an astronaut, and the liberal denominations were practically in hiding from members who sang “Amazing Grace” and meant it, and were hard to deprogram …

The point I put to Dawkins was that the USA was simultaneously by-far the most dominant scientific nation in the world (I knew this from various scientometic studies I was doing at the time) and by-far the most religious (Christian) nation in the world.

How, I asked, could this be – if Christianity was culturally inimical to science?

Unfortunately I lack Boswell’s ability to recall conversion verbatim, and I would not like to misquote.

But Dawkins simply shook-off this point, with a shake of his head looking downwards, and the comment to the effect that the scientists and Christians were two entirely different groups of people.

(Even if broadly true, my point had been about US culture, not individuals.)

I had thought that this was a genuinely interesting and challenging paradox from Dawkins perspective and looked forward to some kind of analysis; but it was rapidly obvious that I was wasting my time and that no engagement with my point was going to happen.

The mind was decided, the manner was impatient, irritable.

Bruce, the Brit Tax TV hosts don’t talk to him that way; they’re in awe of his supposed great intellect.

William Lane Craig would though, which is why Dawkins can’t debate him.

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8 Replies to “Dawkins, asked to address an obvious point, flubs it

  1. 1
    markf says:

    Bruce, the Brit Tax TV hosts don’t talk to him that way; they’re in awe of his supposed great intellect.

    Denyse – your obsession with how things are funded is bordering on clinical. Dawkins is regularly interviewed on UK commercial channels well as the BBC. His treatment is not noticeably different. The controversial “Root of All Evil” series was on Channel 4 (a commercial channel). I am struggling to find a series he made for the BBC – although there may be one.

    You want interviewers to give him a hard time – but it is nothing to do with how they are funded.

  2. 2

    markf,

    A simple search on YouTube would have given you:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pm4HbqUKmY0

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9DC09lDye4

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7hEwYhMhdO8

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....8A48C1C572

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xogutYFLVRg

    The list goes on and on and on…..literally!

    Does it have to be a “series?” Or does significant airtime count?

  3. 3
    markf says:

    It has to be a series. Of course he has been interviewed many times on the BBC – as he has on every other channel.

  4. 4
    News says:

    Markf, you miss the point. Countries with Tax TV front celebs who don’t have to pull their weight, any more than a civil servant does.

    The private stations go along because they’re usually fairly controlled too.

    It’s good for Darwinists and fronters of fleabag theories generally; bad for the rest of us.

    Canada has the same problem. Who would have known, for example, that most Canadians dismiss the anti-civil rights legacy of the supposedly great Pierre Trudeau and see Terry Fox as a way bigger hero.

    Never heard of Terry Fox? No, that’s just the trouble. A nation grieved when he broke down, 40 km east of Thunder Bay … The obits for our late masters are just show, dutifully covered by Tax TV. Mourning for Fox was real.

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    Leave it to markf to completely miss the ‘elephant in the living room’ point of the article solely to focus on a completely irrelevant ‘non-issue’,,Particularly this point that he innocently ‘missed’:

    Bruce Charlton’s Miscellany – October 2011
    Excerpt: I had discovered that over the same period of the twentieth century that the US had risen to scientific eminence it had undergone a significant Christian revival. ,,,The point I put to (Richard) Dawkins was that the USA was simultaneously by-far the most dominant scientific nation in the world (I knew this from various scientometic studies I was doing at the time) and by-far the most religious (Christian) nation in the world. How, I asked, could this be – if Christianity was culturally inimical to science?

    markf, exactly why should this be if atheism were truly the only ‘rational’ religion???

    further notes:

    Jerry Coyne on the Scientific Method and Religion – Michael Egnor – June 2011
    Excerpt: The scientific method — the empirical systematic theory-based study of nature — has nothing to so with some religious inspirations — Animism, Paganism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Shintoism, Islam, and, well, atheism. The scientific method has everything to do with Christian (and Jewish) inspiration. Judeo-Christian culture is the only culture that has given rise to organized theoretical science. Many cultures (e.g. China) have produced excellent technology and engineering, but only Christian culture has given rise to a conceptual understanding of nature.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....47431.html

    Science and Theism: Concord, not Conflict* – Robert C. Koons
    IV. The Dependency of Science Upon Theism (Page 21)
    Excerpt: Far from undermining the credibility of theism, the remarkable success of science in modern times is a remarkable confirmation of the truth of theism. It was from the perspective of Judeo-Christian theism—and from the perspective alone—that it was predictable that science would have succeeded as it has. Without the faith in the rational intelligibility of the world and the divine vocation of human beings to master it, modern science would never have been possible, and, even today, the continued rationality of the enterprise of science depends on convictions that can be reasonably grounded only in theistic metaphysics.
    http://www.robkoons.net/media/.....ffd524.pdf

    Christianity Gave Birth To Each Scientific Discipline – Dr. Henry Fritz Schaefer – video
    http://vimeo.com/16523153

    The following video is far more direct in establishing the ‘spiritual’ link to man’s ability to learn new information, in that it shows that the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) scores for students showed a steady decline, for seventeen years from the top spot or near the top spot in the world, after the removal of prayer from the public classroom by the Supreme Court in 1963. Whereas the SAT scores for private Christian schools have consistently remained at the top, or near the top, spot in the world:

    The Real Reason American Education Has Slipped – David Barton – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4318930

    You can see that dramatic difference, of the SAT scores for private Christian schools compared to public schools, at this following site;

    Aliso Viejo Christian School – SAT 10 Comparison Report
    http://www.alisoviejochristian.....at_10.html

    It turns out that rationality does not even have a basis atheism/materialism:

    “Atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning…”
    CS Lewis – Mere Christianity

    Random Chaos vs. Uniformity Of Nature – Presuppositional Apologetics – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/6853139

    Dr. Bruce Gordon – The Absurdity Of The Multiverse & Materialism in General – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5318486/

    Materialism simply dissolves into absurdity when pushed to extremes and certainly offers no guarantee to us for believing our perceptions and reasoning within science are trustworthy in the first place:

    Should You Trust the Monkey Mind? – Joe Carter
    Excerpt: Evolutionary naturalism assumes that our noetic equipment developed as it did because it had some survival value or reproductive advantage. Unguided evolution does not select for belief except insofar as the belief improves the chances of survival. The truth of a belief is irrelevant, as long as it produces an evolutionary advantage. This equipment could have developed at least four different kinds of belief that are compatible with evolutionary naturalism, none of which necessarily produce true and trustworthy cognitive faculties.
    http://www.firstthings.com/ont.....onkey-mind

    Verse and Music

    John 15:5-7
    “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.”

    Casting Crowns – Until The Whole World Hears W/Lyrics
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C9jVK9cZ2aw

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    footnote:

    The following interview is sadly comical as a evolutionary psychologist realizes that neo-Darwinism can offer no guarantee that our faculties of reasoning will correspond to the truth, not even for the truth he is giving in the interview, (which begs the question of how was he able to come to that particular truthful realization, in the first place, if neo-Darwinian evolution were actually true?);

    Evolutionary guru: Don’t believe everything you think – October 2011
    Interviewer: You could be deceiving yourself about that.(?)
    Evolutionary Psychologist: Absolutely.
    http://www.newscientist.com/ar.....think.html

  7. 7
    Robert Byers says:

    it is christianity, Protestant, that is the origin for the rise and still prevalence over mankind in the matters of intelligence. ‘Science’ just another one.
    Especially the Anglo-american civilization because it was most protestant (or Puritan/evangelical).
    It was religious motivation that raised all boats.
    NOT trickle down smarts from a few italians in the 1500’s.
    Never helped Italy.

    It is logical that a more intelligent people would more quickly overthrow error in great presumptions made about the natural world.
    Yes there is a powerful conviction in the bibles accuracy as a witness to origins.
    Yet still it is about us being more intelligent then the others. It always is this way.
    In fact I see the UK as way behind North America now. (Off the record)

    its my satisfaction that creationism (s) are most pwerful, man for man, in North America.
    it would be that way if evolution was unfounded and plain wrong in most of its conclusions.
    A line of reasoning.

  8. 8
    markf says:

    This is a bit OT but it is a passion of mine.

    Countries with Tax TV front celebs who don’t have to pull their weight, any more than a civil servant does.

    Can you give any evidence to back this up in the case of the BBC?  Or is it just based on a general feeling that anything that is not funded commercially must be a soft option?

    BBC presenters get sacked just like commercial presenters both for bad behaviour and low ratings.  Interviewers such as Jeremy Paxman and John Humphries are famous for putting politicians and other interviewees on the spot.  David Frost made his reputation with hard hitting satire and interviews on the BBC (before going on to a career where he moved between commercial and public television in the UK and the USA without any obvious difference in his style and content).

    Just because Paxman didn’t give Dawkins a hard time it doesn’t mean that BBC presenters are not doing a good job. It just means he didn’t agree with you on what makes good TV.

    I admit we don’t have the equivalent of Glenn Beck – is that a weakness?

    Actually the license fee arrangement allows the BBC to be more independent than any commercial or government station.  This was Reith’s famous insight when he set it up and lead to it becoming the acknowledged source of independent information round the world for much of the 20th century (particularly in the second world war and during the cold war). 

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