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Missing: One messiah-like portrait of Richard Dawkins

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A few months ago I painted this portrait of noted evolutionary biologist and writer Richard Dawkins. I shipped the portrait to England on May 15th, 2015, destined for Cambridge, UK CB3. It was shipped from Burlington, Ontario, Canada. It hasn’t been seen since.

If you have any information on the whereabouts of this very special portrait, please contact me at heather “at” heatherhorton “dot” com. Thank-you very much…

We have no idea where the portrait is.

Except Canada Post, absent a tracking number, is a black hole.

To judge from the portrait, if Dawkins believed in God, it could be a Sunday School poster.

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24 Replies to “Missing: One messiah-like portrait of Richard Dawkins

  1. 1
    Box says:

    The atheistic messiah is right here. He’s got an important message for all of us.

  2. 2
    Mapou says:

    This guy is proud to wear a t-shirt that says “consciousness is an illusion”? He’s rich and famous because of what again?

  3. 3
    goodusername says:

    I’m not sure what’s “messiah-like” about the portrait.

    Mapou,

    No, this is the original image. That image was manipulated by someone who believes that with atheism that “consciousness is an illusion”. (Which is a claim that I can never understand: Who’s having the illusion?)

  4. 4
    News says:

    Hey, Mapou at 2: Trust me, if Dawkins thinks that consciousness is an illusion, Canada Post is a slam dunk for his position. The portrait could turn up in a staff fridge or broom closet somewhere, eventually.

    On the other hand, fyi only, people have made big mistakes assuming that everything in Canada is zombie time. It usually isn’t. And we are scaling back Canada Post.

  5. 5
    Mapou says:

    goodusername:

    No, this is the original image. That image was manipulated by someone who believes that with atheism that “consciousness is an illusion”.

    Well, Box was being less than truthful about that link. It fooled me.

    (Which is a claim that I can never understand: Who’s having the illusion?)

    The atheist/materialist would say that the brain is having the illusion of being conscious. The “consciousness is an illusion” meme is obviously a way for the atheist/materialist to deny the existence of the soul. As if science and nature gave a rat’s behind about deniers. But why do they want to deny the existence of the soul? It’s only because their motivation was never about science in the first place. They got a beef with established religions and they must contradict religious teachings as much as they can.

    In so doing they created their own chicken shit religion. They now believe in their own lies. They are convinced that not having a soul gives them the means to achieve immortality: upload the contents of your brain into a machine et voila! You are now the immortal anti-soul of the machine.

  6. 6
    Box says:

    Goodusername: (…) “consciousness is an illusion”. (Which is a claim that I can never understand: Who’s having the illusion?)

    Under materialism? Blind particles in motion for sure — since that is all that exists.

    ** BTW Dawkins does hold that consciousness is an illusion.**

  7. 7
    goodusername says:

    Box,

    ** BTW Dawkins does hold that consciousness is an illusion.**

    Do you have a quote to that effect?
    It’s possible he said something like that (although he certainly didn’t in all the times I’ve seen him speak about the subject) but if he did I’d ask him the same thing I ask theists: Who’s having the illusion?

    Under materialism? Blind particles in motion for sure — since that is all that exists.

    How can particles have an illusion unless they are conscious? And what does it mean to say that a conscious being is having an illusion of consciousness? To say that something/someone is having an illusion presupposes a consciousness.

  8. 8
    bornagain77 says:

    as to: “Who’s having the illusion?”

    Given materialism, there is no ‘who’ to have an illusion.

    The amazing thing about Dawkins, and other militant atheists, in their claim that God does not really exist, is that, in their denial of the reality of God, also end up denying that they really exist as real ‘persons’.
    In other words, given atheistic/materialistic premises, there really is no such person named Dawkins, (or Coyne or etc..), there is only a neuronal illusion of a brain who thinks, (if illusions could think), that it is a person named Dawkins, etc..

    Faith and Science – Dr. Raymond Bohlin – video – (2015) (48:46 minute mark)
    https://youtu.be/vTIp1kgSqzU?t=2552

    Who wrote Richard Dawkins’s new book? – October 28, 2006
    Excerpt: Dawkins: What I do know is that what it feels like to me, and I think to all of us, we don’t feel determined. We feel like blaming people for what they do or giving people the credit for what they do. We feel like admiring people for what they do.,,,
    Manzari: But do you personally see that as an inconsistency in your views?
    Dawkins: I sort of do. Yes. But it is an inconsistency that we sort of have to live with otherwise life would be intolerable.,,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....02783.html

    “What you’re doing is simply instantiating a self: the program run by your neurons which you feel is “you.””
    Jerry Coyne
    https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2015/04/04/eagleton-on-baggini-on-free-will/

    The Confidence of Jerry Coyne – January 6, 2014
    Excerpt: But then halfway through this peroration, we have as an aside the confession that yes, okay, it’s quite possible given materialist premises that “our sense of self is a neuronal illusion.” At which point the entire edifice suddenly looks terribly wobbly — because who, exactly, is doing all of this forging and shaping and purpose-creating if Jerry Coyne, as I understand him (and I assume he understands himself) quite possibly does not actually exist at all? The theme of his argument is the crucial importance of human agency under eliminative materialism, but if under materialist premises the actual agent is quite possibly a fiction, then who exactly is this I who “reads” and “learns” and “teaches,” and why in the universe’s name should my illusory self believe Coyne’s bold proclamation that his illusory self’s purposes are somehow “real” and worthy of devotion and pursuit? (Let alone that they’re morally significant: But more on that below.) Prometheus cannot be at once unbound and unreal; the human will cannot be simultaneously triumphant and imaginary.
    http://douthat.blogs.nytimes.c.....oyne/?_r=0

    “that “You”, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules. As Lewis Carroll’s Alice might have phrased: “You’re nothing but a pack of neurons.” This hypothesis is so alien to the ideas of most people today that it can truly be called astonishing.”
    Francis Crick – “The Astonishing Hypothesis” 1994

    “We have so much confidence in our materialist assumptions (which are assumptions, not facts) that something like free will is denied in principle. Maybe it doesn’t exist, but I don’t really know that. Either way, it doesn’t matter because if free will and consciousness are just an illusion, they are the most seamless illusions ever created. Film maker James Cameron wishes he had special effects that good.”
    Matthew D. Lieberman – neuroscientist – materialist – UCLA professor

    The Heretic – Who is Thomas Nagel and why are so many of his fellow academics condemning him? – March 25, 2013
    Excerpt:,,,Fortunately, materialism is never translated into life as it’s lived. As colleagues and friends, husbands and mothers, wives and fathers, sons and daughters, materialists never put their money where their mouth is. Nobody thinks his daughter is just molecules in motion and nothing but; nobody thinks the Holocaust was evil, but only in a relative, provisional sense. A materialist who lived his life according to his professed convictions—understanding himself to have no moral agency at all, seeing his friends and enemies and family as genetically determined robots—wouldn’t just be a materialist: He’d be a psychopath.
    http://www.weeklystandard.com/.....tml?page=3

    Darwin’s Robots: When Evolutionary Materialists Admit that Their Own Worldview Fails – Nancy Pearcey – April 23, 2015
    Excerpt: This is an amazing case of Orwellian doublethink. Minsky says people are “forced to maintain” the conviction of free will, even when their own worldview tells them that “it’s false.”
    When I teach these concepts in the classroom, an example my students find especially poignant is Flesh and Machines by Rodney Brooks, professor emeritus at MIT. Brooks writes that a human being is nothing but a machine — a “big bag of skin full of biomolecules” interacting by the laws of physics and chemistry. In ordinary life, of course, it is difficult to actually see people that way. But, he says, “When I look at my children, I can, when I force myself, … see that they are machines.”
    Is that how he treats them, though? Of course not: “That is not how I treat them…. I interact with them on an entirely different level. They have my unconditional love, the furthest one might be able to get from rational analysis.” Certainly if what counts as “rational” is a materialist worldview in which humans are machines, then loving your children is irrational. It has no basis
    within Brooks’s worldview. It sticks out of his box.
    How does he reconcile such a heart-wrenching cognitive dissonance? He doesn’t. Brooks ends by saying, “I maintain two sets of inconsistent beliefs.” He has given up on any attempt to reconcile his theory with his experience. He has abandoned all hope for a unified, logically consistent worldview.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....95451.html

    [Nancy Pearcey] When Reality Clashes with Your Atheistic Worldview – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0Kpn3HBMiQ

    Existential Argument against Atheism – November 1, 2013 by Jason Petersen
    1. If a worldview is true then you should be able to live consistently with that worldview.
    2. Atheists are unable to live consistently with their worldview.
    3. If you can’t live consistently with an atheist worldview then the worldview does not reflect reality.
    4. If a worldview does not reflect reality then that worldview is a delusion.
    5. If atheism is a delusion then atheism cannot be true.
    Conclusion: Atheism is false.
    http://answersforhope.com/exis.....t-atheism/

  9. 9
    bornagain77 says:

    Sam Harris’s Free Will: The Medial Pre-Frontal Cortex Did It – Martin Cothran – November 9, 2012
    Excerpt: There is something ironic about the position of thinkers like Harris on issues like this: they claim that their position is the result of the irresistible necessity of logic (in fact, they pride themselves on their logic). Their belief is the consequent, in a ground/consequent relation between their evidence and their conclusion. But their very stated position is that any mental state — including their position on this issue — is the effect of a physical, not logical cause.
    By their own logic, it isn’t logic that demands their assent to the claim that free will is an illusion, but the prior chemical state of their brains. The only condition under which we could possibly find their argument convincing is if they are not true. The claim that free will is an illusion requires the possibility that minds have the freedom to assent to a logical argument, a freedom denied by the claim itself. It is an assent that must, in order to remain logical and not physiological, presume a perspective outside the physical order.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....66221.html

    (1) rationality implies a thinker in control of thoughts.
    (2) under materialism a thinker is an effect caused by processes in the brain.
    (3) in order for materialism to ground rationality a thinker (an effect) must control processes in the brain (a cause). (1)&(2)
    (4) no effect can control its cause.

    Do You Like SETI? Fine, Then Let’s Dump Methodological Naturalism – Paul Nelson – September 24, 2014
    Excerpt: “Epistemology — how we know — and ontology — what exists — are both affected by methodological naturalism (MN). If we say, “We cannot know that a mind caused x,” laying down an epistemological boundary defined by MN, then our ontology comprising real causes for x won’t include minds.
    MN entails an ontology in which minds are the consequence of physics, and thus, can only be placeholders for a more detailed causal account in which physics is the only (ultimate) actor. You didn’t write your email to me. Physics did, and informed you of that event after the fact.
    “That’s crazy,” you reply, “I certainly did write my email.” Okay, then — to what does the pronoun “I” in that sentence refer?
    Your personal agency; your mind. Are you supernatural?,,,
    You are certainly an intelligent cause, however, and your intelligence does not collapse into physics. (If it does collapse — i.e., can be reduced without explanatory loss — we haven’t the faintest idea how, which amounts to the same thing.) To explain the effects you bring about in the world — such as your email, a real pattern — we must refer to you as a unique agent.,,,
    some feature of “intelligence” must be irreducible to physics, because otherwise we’re back to physics versus physics, and there’s nothing for SETI to look for.”,,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....90071.html

    And although Dr. Nelson alluded to writing an e-mail, (i.e. creating information), to tie his ‘personal agent’ argument into intelligent design, Dr. Nelson’s ‘personal agent’ argument can easily be amended to any action that ‘you’, as a personal agent, choose to take:

    “You didn’t write your email to me. Physics did, and informed the illusion of you of that event after the fact.”
    “You didn’t open the door. Physics did, and informed the illusion of you of that event after the fact.”
    “You didn’t raise your hand. Physics did, and informed the illusion you of that event after the fact.”
    “You didn’t etc.. etc.. etc… Physics did, and informed the illusion of you of that event after the fact.”

    Dr. Craig Hazen, in the following video at the 12:26 minute mark, relates how he performed, for an audience full of academics at a college, a ‘miracle’ simply by raising his arm,,

    The Intersection of Science and Religion – Craig Hazen, PhD – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?f.....qlE#t=746s

    What should be needless to say, if raising your arm is enough to refute your supposedly ‘scientific’ worldview of atheistic materialism, then perhaps it is time for you to seriously consider getting a new scientific worldview?

    Verse and Music:

    Romans 1: 21-22
    For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools

  10. 10
    Box says:

    Goodusername:

    Box: ** BTW Dawkins does hold that consciousness is an illusion.**

    Do you have a quote to that effect?

    Here — during his debate with Rowan Williams — you can hear Dawkins say it.
    – – –
    During the debate Rowan Williams asks ”If consciousness is an illusion…what isn’t?”.

  11. 11
    bornagain77 says:

    at 37:51 minute mark of following video, according to the law of identity, Richard Dawkins does not really exist as a person: (the unity of Aristotelian Form is also discussed)

    Atheistic Materialism – Does Richard Dawkins Exist? – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVCnzq2yTCg&t=37m51s

  12. 12
    goodusername says:

    Box,

    Here — during his debate with Rowan Williams — you can hear Dawkins say it.

    He does come kinda close:

    “I think there are some philosophers that believe that consciousness should be seen as a kind of illusion to bring together the different aspects of the mind.”

    But a couple of things: He said this in response to Rowan saying something similar about the soul – that different aspects of the brain or mind may work together in concert to give rise to the soul. (I don’t have access to the video right now to quote him directly).

    And so Dawkins was essentially just responding with ”how interesting, there are some philosophers that say something similar…” So he wasn’t necessarily backing the idea, he was just adding to what Rowan was saying.

    In fact, when Rowan argued against the idea that Dawkins presented, he seemed to agree with Rowan’s objections. And so it was more of a conversation than a debate at that point.

    Also the “illusion” that Dawkins was referring to was merely that certain aspects of consciousness may be an illusion. That instead of consciousness being a singular “thing”, that it’s several things working together that produces consciousness, even though it kinda feels like a single thing.

    It’s certainly not meant in the sense that “we aren’t actually conscious” or that “consciousness doesn’t actually exist” or other similar things I’ve heard people say that would supposedly be a consequence of materialism.

    I think Rowan also makes a good point that even if consciousness is the product of several aspects of the mind working together that it doesn’t make sense to call it an “illusion”. (Again, I don’t have access to his exact words right now.)

    I agree that even if that is how consciousness is produced, “illusion” is probably the wrong word to describe it.
    Calling it an illusion would imply that our sense of consciousness is somehow “wrong”, which seems very strange to me.

  13. 13
    psypaul says:

    In ref to the t-shirt: Consciousness is an illusion….to whom? Who is being deceived? Isn’t ‘self’ an illusion as well? Doesn’t the concept of ‘illusion’ require a perceiver (person)? Absurdity.

  14. 14
    goodusername says:

    psypaul,

    In ref to the t-shirt: Consciousness is an illusion….to whom? Who is being deceived?

    Yeah, pretty much my point with the question of “who’s having the illusion?” I can’t make any sense of the statement (which is one of the reasons I was pretty sure Dawkins didn’t wear such a shirt).

  15. 15
    Box says:

    A consistent materialist is compelled to believe that consciousness does not exist. Central to consciousness is the notion that one is ‘one being’. Under materialism this simply cannot be the case, since numerous particles in motion constitute reality, the brain and consciousness / oneness. So, under materialism, in reality there cannot be ‘one being’, not ‘a person’. Therefor the notion that one is one being must be an illusion.

    ** “To who?” **

    Now that is an excellent question.

  16. 16
    goodusername says:

    A consistent materialist is compelled to believe that consciousness does not exist. Central to consciousness is the notion that one is ‘one being’. Under materialism this simply cannot be the case, since numerous particles in motion constitute reality, the brain and consciousness / oneness. So, under materialism, in reality there cannot be ‘one being’, not ‘a person’. Therefor the notion that one is one being must be an illusion.

    None of that makes sense to me. The dispute between materialists and non-materialists isn’t whether consciousness exists, but as to the source of consciousness. Is it the brain? A soul? (Or an interaction between the brain and soul?)
    Not sure why the brain being composed of numerous particles should be an issue.

  17. 17
    Box says:

    Goodusername, suppose that lego bricks are ontologically fundamental. We have a universe consisting of only lego bricks — nothing else.
    My question to you is: is a construction consisting of 7 lego bricks ‘one thing’ or is it (in reality) ‘7 lego bricks’?

  18. 18
    goodusername says:

    Goodusername, suppose that lego bricks are ontologically fundamental. We have a universe consisting of only lego bricks — nothing else.
    My question to you is: is a construction consisting of 7 lego bricks ‘one thing’ or is it (in reality) ‘7 lego bricks’?

    If there are 7 legos used to construct a chair – I’d say it’s a chair, and thus one thing. One thing composed of 7 legos.

    The chair I’m sitting on is actually composed of many parts. How many? No idea. It’s not relevant to anything (at least not since putting it together). I just call it a chair.

    Let’s say it turns out that consciousness is produced by a single particle with the brain instead of multiple particles working in tangent. Should we then view consciousness fundamentally differently than we did before? I don’t think I would. It would only be an interesting bit of trivia.

    I’m in agreement with Rowan – it makes no sense to call consciousness an illusion just because it’s the result of multiple particles working together.

  19. 19
    News says:

    Hey, the hardworking staff at Uncommon Descent News have come up with a plan:

    Once the painting is found, instead of bothering with Canada Post, we were at first going to use homing pigeons. But were advised by British hobbyists that pigeons could not possibly carry anything that big.

    So we are breeding homing turkeys instead. It will take a while. Turkeys are not terribly smart or long-flighted, in their natural state.

    The Canada geese refused all contact with our project, as they are supporters of design in nature, and don’t care if the painting is stacked with firewood.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Co9f8ecXEvw

  20. 20
    Box says:

    Goodusername #18: If there are 7 legos used to construct a chair – I’d say it’s a chair, and thus one thing.

    What is this ‘chair’? What is this ‘one thing’? What makes this chair irreducible to 7 lego bricks?

  21. 21
    goodusername says:

    What is this ‘chair’? What is this ‘one thing’? What makes this chair irreducible to 7 lego bricks?

    I could quote to you the definition of a chair, but that would probably be condescending. Although I have no idea what it might be, I’m guessing you have a larger point. The reason a chair requires multiple lego bricks is because there is no single “chair lego”.

  22. 22
    Box says:

    Goodusername, our starting point is a universe which consists solely of Lego bricks — nothing else. These Lego bricks are irreducible — ontologically fundamental.
    My first question to you was: “Is a construction consisting of 7 lego bricks ‘one thing’ or is it (in reality) ‘7 lego bricks’?”
    Your answer: “If there are 7 legos used to construct a chair – I’d say it’s a chair, and thus one thing. One thing composed of 7 legos.”
    You seem to hold that a chair is ‘something more’ than 7 Lego bricks. I would like you to explain to me what that ‘more’ is. Is ‘chair’ something real in our fictional universe which consists solely of Lego bricks?

  23. 23
    goodusername says:

    You seem to hold that a chair is ‘something more’ than 7 Lego bricks. I would like you to explain to me what that ‘more’ is. Is ‘chair’ something real in our fictional universe which consists solely of Lego bricks?

    Are lego bricks not used to construct… “things”? 7 legos arranged and put together as a chair is different than 7 separate legos. The difference is the former can serve the purpose and definition of a chair and individual lego bricks cannot. It’s therefore a distinct “thing”. Just like my chair is a “thing”.

    But, of course, our universe is much complicated than the one you’re describing. Atoms aren’t like legos. Oxygen atoms have properties that individual protons or neutrons don’t. H2O has properties that individual atoms do not. And a river has properties that a water molecule doesn’t. And a pack of connected neurons has properties than an individual neuron doesn’t.

  24. 24
    Box says:

    goodusername: 7 legos arranged and put together as a chair is different than 7 separate legos. The difference is the former can serve the purpose and definition of a chair and individual lego bricks cannot.

    Is ‘serving the purpose of a chair’ or ‘serving the definition of a chair’ intrinsic to the arrangement of Lego bricks?
    Suppose there are no persons in the ‘Lego universe’, and therefor ‘chairs’ serve no purpose and suppose that in the Lego universe there is no person who can define what a chair is — IOW suppose ‘chair’ has no meaning in the Lego universe — would the arrangement still be one thing?

    goodusername: It’s therefore a distinct “thing”. Just like my chair is a “thing”.

    Two questions:
    Is a heap of sand ‘one thing’? If not, why not?
    Define “thing”?

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