Religion

Dawkins vs Lennox debate

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This debate is really worth a listen. Lennox speaks very well. What follows are some classic Richard Dawkins statements. What do you think? (A, B C refer to the sound files 1 2 and 3 form the download, and the number to the time into the sound file.)

A14 I lost my faith because Darwin left me with no good reason to believe.

B2 Life is explained by Darwin. Cosmology is waiting for its Darwin.

B6 I invoke the Anthropic principle … and the multiverse.

B18 I would not for a moment say that all religion is bad or all religion is dangerous or Christianity is dangerous. Only a minority of religious people are bad or do bad things.

B20 The one belief I would give to a child is scepticism.

B28 I am not trying to say that religious people do bad things.
I do think there is a logical path from religion to doing terrible things.
If you really believe … then it is possible for an entirely rational person to do hideous things.

I cannot conceive of a logical path that says because I am an atheist therefore it is rational for me to kill or murder or be cruel.

B30 Once you grant them the premise of their faith then the terrible things that they do follow logically.
The terrible things that Stalin did did not follow from his atheism.
You will not do terrible deeds because you are an atheist – not for rational reasons.

B34 If you base your morals on the Christian Bible, your morals are likely to be hideous.
We are all to a greater or lesser extent moral. Whether we are moral or not has nothing to do with whether we read the Bible.

B35 How do I know what is moral? I don’t on the whole.

B36 Everyone knows by common sense that “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you” is moral. You don’t need a holy book to tell you to do that.

B37 As an evolutionist I say that …. the Darwinian pressure to be good is no longer so strong nor  is the Darwinian pressure for lust as strong as it once was. That doesn’t matter.
There is something “in the air” about what it means to be moral and it clearly has nothing to do with religion because it doesn’t come from scripture.

C1 Maybe the world IS a hideous world. That doesn’t make it not true! If it is a hideous world, it gives us something to rise above. We can do a grand job of rebelling against the blind hideous physical forces that put us here.

We understand that we are here as a result of a truly hideous process. Natural Selection is an ugly process that has beautiful consequences.

http://richarddawkins.net/article,1707,n,n

47 Replies to “Dawkins vs Lennox debate

  1. 1
    Berceuse says:

    Some of the commentators posting in that richarddawkins.net link can be so volatile and tactless…

    Hopefully I’ll have time later to listen to the audio.

  2. 2
    shaner74 says:

    “The one belief I would give to a child is scepticism.”

    Ah…that’s what you call it when you attempt to destroy a young childs belief in Santa Claus.

    “I cannot conceive of a logical path that says because I am an atheist therefore it is rational for me to kill or murder or be cruel.”

    Of course he can. We are clumps of matter fighting to spread our selfish genes. That must be accomplished through any means or we fail as fortuitously organized clumps of matter. Like duh.

    “Everyone knows by common sense that “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you” is moral. You don’t need a holy book to tell you to do that.”

    Darwinism leads to “common sense” which leads to altruism? Interesting. I wish atheists would stop co-opting Christianity when it suits them.

    “We understand that we are here as a result of a truly hideous process. Natural Selection is an ugly process that has beautiful consequences.”

    Huh?? Who says they are hideous? By what does he compare them to? Is there a higher truth to which we can judge what is hideous and what is beautiful? I thought the universe was nothing but “blind, pitiless indifference”???

  3. 3
    leo says:

    shaner74,

    but of course “Do unto others…” is not only Christianity, it is a basic premise of just about all religions/philosophies. Certainly atheists are allowed to make moral arguments because, of course, why do we need to look to a higher truth. We can come to a consensus on how we feel about moral issues as individuals and as a population. So what he is saying (or at least what I think he is saying) is that “We” as a society see the process as hideous and ugly (as it is the result of countless deaths, I think the population would agree with him on this so I think the “We” is justified) but the end result is us and the rest of the living world – something I believe the population would (for the vast majority I think) see as beautiful. He is not asking the universe to make moral judgments, only the humans who live in it.

  4. 4
    XtremeCamera says:

    shaner74; Are you saying that The Golden Rule is Christian? That to recognize it, live by it, is to co-opt Christianity?

    I’m not a christian, never was. My parents never talked religion, I was never brainwashed to believe anything actually. But, I believe I live my life by the Golden Rule. The reason? I simply don’t have any desire to cause anyone any harm. I am quite happy to see others prosper, and I enjoy helping others when I can. There is no religion on my part in being altruistic.

  5. 5
    mullerpr says:

    I set my alarm for 2:00 (Local South Africa time) to listen to this debate, live. It was worth it because Dr. Lennox’ debate was beautiful. I previously listened to some other debates of Dawkins and think that Dr. Lennox did a great job.

    Dr. Lennox concluded his debate standing on the ruins of the poor arguments against Christianity victoriously declaring Christs’ deity and resurrection confirming the Christian faith.

    Dawkins had only points to score with a community of people who like to hear that atheism is fun – regardless of its truth claims. There was very little arguments and therefore his rhetoric focused on absurdities as mentioned above. However, I think his mentioning of sexual orientations that is driven by hedonistic “righteousness” is a dangerously effective corrupter of an already baseless moral atheistic society. This part of atheist rhetoric must be confronted and I know it might be difficult in modern society.

  6. 6
    Tina says:

    I am convinced that Richard Dawkins knows the contents of his book verbatum!

  7. 7
    bornagain77 says:

    shaner74..LOL…Frustrating to try to find reason in his logic isn’t it???
    Consistency is apparently not one of Dawkin’s strong suits… I was always impressed about how intelligent he seems on the outside and how utterly shallow his arguments are upon examination!

  8. 8
    professorsmith says:

    XtremeCamera
    If you grew up in the US or in a European country then you have indeed co-opted a Christian ideal, albeit you probably didn’t realize it. You got it from your parents who took it from the world around them, which was infused by Christian principles. It is inescapable; Christian principles have been so prevalent in the Western World that our culture is inextricably linked to Christian morality.

  9. 9
    bFast says:

    Dawkins, “I cannot conceive of a logical path that says because I am an atheist therefore it is rational for me to kill or murder or be cruel.”

    There was a lively descussion on this site a while back on the relationship between darwinism and eugenics. Hitler was clearly a darwinist. After all, where did he get this idea of a “superior” arian race.

    As I see it, Dawkins has three possibilities when it comes to Hitler. He can conclude that what Hitler did was actually “good” because it was built on the root of darwinian morality, or he can conclude that his statement above is wrong.

    The darwinian doctrine simply says that the fit thrive, the unfit die. How can this doctrine not lead to “kill or murder or be cruel.”

  10. 10
    leo says:

    bfast,

    I doubt that Plato was a big follower or Darwin, yet he was a strong supporter or eugenics.

    From what I know the aryan myth came about through what was thought of as a common language source developed by the “Aryans”, the writers of the Vedas and living in what is now India around 1700-900 BC. People made the jump that common language meant common beginning race. And seeing as the Vedas and Sanskrit itself are widely considered of the most beautiful written word, this gave a sense of cultural superiority to those who thought they were of that common race (including some Germans). Oxford scholar Friedrich Max Muller (Professor of Sanskrit) once said the Aryans had a “mission to link all parts of the world together through the chains of civilization, commerce and religion” and they were “the rulers of history”. I hasten to add that he warned against making simplistic conclusions about race.
    (All taken from ‘India: A History’ John Keay, 2000).
    As for Dawkins, he can quite easily say that Hitler was morally wrong. After all, Darwin says that those who are most fit (those who are most able to produce healthy offspring) will pass on their genes better than those who do not. It makes no moral argument at all.

  11. 11
    BarryA says:

    bFast, what is the third possibility? we are all waiting for the other shoe to drop.

  12. 12
    BarryA says:

    FIRST: “I cannot conceive of a logical path that says because I am an atheist therefore it is rational for me to kill or murder or be cruel.”

    THEN: “How do I know what is moral? I don’t on the whole.”

    It is truly amazing when one need not even add commentary to show that a person’s statements are self-contradictory. The extent of the fatuity of this Oxford professor beggers belief.

  13. 13
    nullasalus says:

    “I cannot conceive of a logical path that says because I am an atheist therefore it is rational for me to kill or murder or be cruel.”

    It’s actually a deceptive way of looking at the question. There’s no ‘logical path’ from a mere lack of belief in God (or a belief in no God, take your pick) to anything at all. But that’s not the problem; the problem is that atheism itself provides no impediments to “killing or murdering or being cruel”.

    Sure, you can look in the bible or even an individual faith and start constructing arguments for a Christian to do such things. But notice how Dawkins never actually provides such a logical path – because he knows the moment he does, he’s going to have it shown how that path is responded to by Christians, and also have the logical impediments to such a path highlighted, and the paths to other conclusions explained. Meanwhile, atheism provides no encouragement or discouragement for anything on its own; it does not encourage altruism any more than it discourages genocide. So you need something in addition, like a philosophy, social or political beliefs, and so on. And – surprise! – there come your logical paths to horrible things, supplied by sources that vary from Ayn Rand to Peter Singer.

    By the way, I thought Lennox did a marvelous job. But he can’t take all the credit: Dawkins did a bad job on his own. No surprise; atheists tend to be used to being on the offense when it comes to discussing beliefs. But thanks to Dawkins and other modern atheists, now they have to play defense – that’s where they tend to shatter.

  14. 14
    John Kelly says:

    Get your ring-side tickets to The God Delusion show!!!

    To me, it seems like there is an odd blanket of commercialism being thrown over this so-called “debate”. Maybe the broadcast commentators can develop a blow-by-blow commentating technique to keep the listening audience continuously mesmerized and on edge. Throw in a few product endorsements between topics:
    “This topic sponsored by……”. Set a few Hollywood elites on the front row. Maybe sell it to ESPN as the next big sporting event………

    Does this debate serve any REAL purpose other than entertainment? It’s obvious Dawkins stirs up controversy just to sell books. Look at the titles of them. They have “evolved” specifically for that purpose. And now, we get to read The God Delusion Book, listen to The God Delusion show, and watch The Root of All Evil? show.

    He is using the name of God and he is using proponents of God to put himself at the apex of controversy, which is bringing him lots of fame, making him lots of money, and broadly spreading his word.

    It is despicable. My attention will not be turned toward him again.

  15. 15
    bevets says:

    My favorite is A 36.20:

    Dawkins: We only need to use the word ‘faith’ when there isn’t any evidence.

    Lennox: No, not a’tall. I presume you’ve got faith in your wife — is there any evidence for that?

    Dawkins: Yes. Yes, plenty of evidence.

    Lennox: Hmmm

    It ranks right up there with the 18 seconds of silence.

    It was an odd format — having Dawkins repeat his argument, and then giving Lennox a fresh crack, and not leaving room for Dawkins to rebut. However Dawkins signed off on the format and he did have the opening and closing argument.

  16. 16
    magnan says:

    professorsmith (7):
    “XtremeCamera,
    If you grew up in the US or in a European country then you have indeed co-opted a Christian ideal, albeit you probably didn’t realize it. You got it from your parents who took it from the world around them, which was infused by Christian principles. It is inescapable; Christian principles have been so prevalent in the Western World that our culture is inextricably linked to Christian morality.”

    I think many influential liberal humanists would differ with this, as far as a description of our current society.

    As far as the Golden Rule is concerned, is this strictly a Christian dictum? It seems to me this is nearly universal as a common sense ideal of behavior that thinking people realize promotes the common welfare on the average. This is not to say it is followed most of the time.

  17. 17
    BarryA says:

    magnan, of course the Golden Rule is universal among all person, whether or not they are Christian. This is exactly what Christian doctrine states. Read the first three chapters of the book of Romans.

  18. 18
    Gods iPod says:

    Very odd. Every simple time I listen to Dawkins, even when he’s appeared on CNN or other news outlet, it makes me very sorry for him. Surely there must be much better apologists for Darwinism than he? I really feel he does his side a disservice. He is inarticulate, he contradicts himself, his arguments are so weak. No wonder there are Atheists and Darwinists who wish he would shut up and stop representing them.

    Well done to Lennox. Clearly a fan of CS Lewis. I am just right now halfway through rereading Mere Christianity, and many of his arguments were quoted verbatim.

    Interesting. I think it serves anyone who is opposed to Darwinism to debate Dawkins publicly. I think he shoots himself in the foot so well, that it’s best to let people hear his views than not.

  19. 19
    russ says:

    It seems to me this is nearly universal as a common sense ideal of behavior that thinking people realize promotes the common welfare on the average.

    Which raises the question of why I should be concerned about the common welfare on those occasions when it doesn’t serve my self-interest.

  20. 20
    Tina says:

    When Dawkins speaks of religion he fails to realize he is speaking about something that has been around for longer than the wheel! If he thinks he can get rid of it with words like “superfluous/irrational/evil” then he is the one who is deluded.

  21. 21
    Berceuse says:

    Dawkins has consistently described how our behaviors are dictated by Darwinian mechanisms, and yet near the beginning of part C he describes how we humans can do “a grand job of rebelling” against the forces of nature that put us here, citing contraceptives as an example. How can we rebel against Darwinism and yet be dictated by it? Furthermore, in bringing this up Dawkins comes dangerously close to elucidating that we really aren’t just another animal.

  22. 22
    Tina says:

    ‘BECAUSE’ don’t you think someone should tell Mr Dawkins that we have escaped animal reality…our primary motivators of emotion and intellect should be evidence enough that we are far removed from the wise and unified instinct driven animals.

  23. 23
    Robo says:

    I find it interesting that flicking thru Dawkin’s website, the comments all heartily support his victory in the debate. Having listened to it myself, I think Dawkins came off second best and very well bruised. Lennox did an excellent job but was perhaps too polite for my liking (but better than over-polite as per Alister McGrath). Certainly a better debate than the McGrath one too.

  24. 24
    leo says:

    Robo,

    Of course they all (or most) think Dawkins won over there and it is the opposite over here. That is the nature of these kind of things, which is why they are essentially pointless.

  25. 25

    That is the nature of these kind of things, which is why they are essentially pointless.

    Yes, and no offense to anyone in particular, but it is also highly indicative of the fact that neither side is self-honest, because it’s all about an ideologically warped culture war, not reality.

    Which brings me to…

    B2 Life is explained by Darwin. Cosmology is waiting for its Darwin.

    Maybe so, but Dawkins is willfully ignoring the fact that the evolutionary process is *PRACTICALLY* enabled by the environmental features that make up the goldilocks enigma, and that’s strictly cosmology, Dick.

    The culture war is the reason that observations that support this fact that have been made by materialist scientists like; Lynn Margulis, James Lovelock, James Kay, Eric Schneider, Dorion Sagan, Scott Sampson… etc… are not given equal time.

    B6 I invoke the Anthropic principle … and the multiverse.

    Anthropic **selection** from a non-observed multiverse of potential possibilities isn’t a principle, much less a cosmological principle, so you have just proven Brandon Carter’s original point:

    The anthropic principle is an IDEOLOGICAL STATEMENT that produces a “Line of [cosmological] reasoning”, “as a reaction against conscious and subconscious – anticentrist dogma”, that he called, “exagerated subserviance to the Copernican Principle”, which leads to absurdities by ideologically predispositioned scientists.

    He was talking about counter-reactionism among scientists against old historical beliefs about geocentrism that causes them to automatically dismiss any relevance to features of the universe that also permit our existence, and this leads to equally absurd Copernican-(like) cosmological extensions, which do not agree with observation.

    Carter’s example was as follows:

    Unfortunately, there has been a strong and not always subconscious tendency to extend this to a most questionable dogma to the effect that our situation cannot be privileged in any sense. This dogma (which in its most extreme form led to the “perfect cosmological principle” on which the steady state theory was based) is clearly untenable, as was pointed out by Dicke (Nature 192, 440, 1961).
    -Brandon Carter

    How Carter’s point applies, including the strength of the statement, depends on the cosmological model that is being assumed, so Brandon Carter’s own multiverse interpretation differs from what is actually observed, because the closest actual natural approximation to what is actually observed to be in effect is a biocentric structure principle, which produces a goldilocks enigma of commonly balanced habitable zones that appear over very specifically defined region of the observed universe.

    It would appear that “being priveledged in some sense ” means that we are only as priveledged as the next galaxy over within the intergalactic habitable zone of the observed universe, so there is no established reason to claim that the principle is strictly anthropic.

    If anything, Carter’s point is even more true and applicable today, than it was then, except that the AP is now the target of the very politicians of science who are interested only in abusing the physics to their own selfish end, and regardless of the lack of integrity that this generates.

    By invoking Anthropic [selection] … and the multiverse, Richard has effectively extended the Copernican principle to derive yet another idealized absurdity.

  26. 26
    vjtorley says:

    Is Richard Dawkins a closet theist?

    That’s the question I find myself asking after listening to the exchange between Professor Dawkins and Dr. Lennox. For it seems to me that his objections to the concept of God – especially the Judeo-Christian one – are theologically motivated. Rather than view him as an ideological enemy, I suggest that we regard his arguments as a purifying fire that will, in the end, serve to refine our concept of God, and clarify our arguments for God’s existence.

    To be honest, if I were an adjudicator, I’d give the debate to Dawkins – and I say so as a Christian. His Achilles’ heel was the issue of morality, where he failed to put forward satisfactory reasons for behaving ethically. However, the criticism he made of standard religious explanations for the order and beauty in the world we see around us was a telling one, and it was not properly addressed. This was a great pity, because his points here could have been answered much better.

    Dawkins began by railing against the great temptation to say “God made it,” whenever we are confronted with the order in the universe. Clearly, Dawkins sees God as a science-stopper, while Lennox sees God as a science-enabler who created the laws and keeps the world orderly. That’s fine, so far as it goes, but I think Dawkins is right to say that such an attitude can encourage intellectual laziness on our part. There IS a temptation to stop at some point of enquiry (e.g. the Big Bang) and declare: well, this is how God did it, and that’s all we can say. Dawkins is saying that scientists should be perpetually restless: they should never be happy with a pat answer like that. I think he’s right, but I think his underlying motivation for saying so, whether he realizes it or not, is theological.

    Einstein famously remarked that God does not play dice. Dawkins’ point is that God’s modus operandi is not ad hoc. Decreeing six constants of nature into existence by divine fiat, and twiddling knobs to ensure that they have the right values, DOES sound unworthy of a Deity. I think Dawkins’ theological instincts are sound here – for that’s what they are.

    Here are some questions I’d like to see theists paying more attention to:

    (1) The only really effective way to counter the charge that belief in God stultifies science is to come up with a better concept of God: God must be the kind of Being who not only permits scientific enquiry, but positively mandates it. In other words, NOT to engage in scientific enquiry, and push it as far as it can go, must be a kind of blasphemy.

    Now what kind of God would that be? The only kind of God who could justifiably command us to push science as far as we could would be a maximally science-friendly God: one who had designed the universe in such a way that as science progressed, more and more evidence of His existence would become apparent. This is the kind of Deity that Guillermo Gonzalez and Jay Wesley Richards argue for in “The Privileged Planet” – a Creator who designed the cosmos for discovery. In other words, the more science we do, the more layers of meaning in the universe become apparent, and the closer we get to the mind of God. The fact that the fundamental constants of nature do not “hang together” in an elegant fashion should alert us to the fact that our task of uncovering the mind of God is far from over, for we have yet to find the “message” in the laws of physics. It is not enough for believers to say that if the laws were different, we would not be here; rather, the laws themselves have to tell us something about God. So far, we have not found that “something.” We have a fine-tuned set of laws, but no “cosmic code” – as yet.

    Dr. Lennox made an interesting point in this connection about semiotics. I would have very much liked to have heard him develop that point further.

    (2) Re the multiverse: Dawkins’ main point was that at least it fares better than theism, as an explanation of phenomena. Rather than heaping philosophical scorn on the multiverse – which is very easy to do – we should instead take a deep breath, step back and ask ourselves: assuming for argument’s sake that there is a multiverse, why would God want to create the universe in that way? (As Dr. Robin Collins has argued on his Web site, a multiverse need not be considered atheistic: after all, it too must operate according to a set of laws, which require explanation.) If that line of enquiry proves unproductive, then is there a way of creating the universe which attests even better to God’s existence – for instance, one which allows God to create a cosmos with more “layers of meaning” discernible by finite human minds, as we are now discovering in DNA? (I’m alluding here to an earlier thread, a few days ago, on this site, which contained a newspaper report on latest developments in this field.)

    (3) Speaking of design and DNA, I think ID theorists should bite the bullet and make a testable prediction. Design – especially by a Deity – should be OPTIMAL in relation to (i) some goal(s) and (ii) the engineering trade-offs that inevitably arise when attempting to realize multiple goals which may come into conflict at some point. If God designed the DNA code, then it must be optimal in just such a fashion. If scientists ever find a way to encode the same information – in all its multiple levels – more efficiently than DNA does, then that falsifies the hypothesis that it was designed. Likewise, if scientists ever manage to formulate a simpler set of laws than those we have, and demonstrate that they could give rise to complex life forms, then that would disprove the fine-tuning hypothesis. If, on the other hand, scientists succeed in demonstrating that the DNA molecule is optimally efficient at encoding – i.e. incapable of being improved – or that the constants of nature are not only fine-tuned (allowed to vary within a narrow range) but ideal at precisely the values they possess, then that would tell in favor of theism. And if the “semiotics of DNA” proved to be inexhaustible – i.e. beyond the capacity of the world’s best minds to fully fathom, even when aided by the best computers at their disposal, then it would be senseless to refuse to call the cause of DNA intelligent. After all, anything that can produce a message whose meaning perpetually eludes the grasp of the world’s best minds must be just that: intelligent.

    Here, once again, I think Dawkins is right in pushing believers to put their reputations on the line and make some quantifiable, testable predictions.

    Dr. Lennox seemed to think that God’s eternity is enough to disqualify the question, “Who made God?” I would have to disagree with him on this point. Even an everlasting being can have a cause of its existence, as Aquinas realized. I also think that Dawkins has a valid point when he argues that since a designer is even more complex than the artifacts it designs, the mere hypothesis of a designer of the universe, by itself, does nothing to explain complexity.

    In order to effectively discredit Dawkins’ argument, we need to: (i) carefully distinguish the various senses of the terms “simple” and “complex”; (ii) decide what kind of complexity (if any) can legitimately be attributed to God; and (iii) explain why a Being instantiating this kind of complexity does not require further explanation. I have discusssed this in an earlier post, so I won’t repeat myself at length here. In brief: if God, even though complex, is composed of parts which are inseparable because they “hang together” perfectly, then there can be no external explanation for what prevents God from falling apart, like Humpty Dumpty. God must therefore possess what I call integrated complexity, which is even “tighter” than irreducible complexity (where the parts, although they are inter-dependent, can still fall apart).

    Dawkins’ criticism of the Resurrection as “so petty, so trivial, so local, so earth-bound … not worthy of a Deity” sounds petulant to Christian ears, but we should recognize that what lies behind such a remark is that Dawkins has an exalted concept of what a Deity should be like. Dawkins seems to think that a Deity worthy of the name should be able to design a cosmos in which what goes around comes around, for each and every one of us. Hence miracles (such as the Resurrection) should not be necessary. We need to make a persuasive case in one of two ways: EITHER argue that no Deity could design a cosmos like that, OR argue that even if God could design such a universe, it could only be by rigging the initial conditions of the universe in a very precise manner, to bring justice to each person – and that such rigging would be just as ad hoc as performing miracles.

    Finally, it is easy to take offence at Dawkins’ claim that there is a logical path from religion to doing terrible things: if you believe that God will let you enter paradise if you commit an atrocity, then you’ll do it. Nevertheless, Dawkins does have a point. To answer him, it’s not enough to say that most religions don’t urge their followers to commit atrocities. Rather, what we need to do is ask: is there any specific concept of God that one would need to have, in order to commit a religious atrocity? I would argue that there is: a concept of God as a Being whose will is inscrutable. This is the root of the problem. Some who believes that “Ours is not to reason why” God commands as He does IS liable to go and commit atrocities. The only effective way to cure humanity of such a terrible propensity is not to indoctrinate children with atheism, but to replace this false concept of God with a more exalted one: a God who positively demands that we question the reasons that lie behind the Divine will, and “put the spirits to the test” whenever we are faced with puzzling commands from God, that seem to fly in the face of our own limited reasoning – especially anything apparently at odds with natural law. A God who encourages questioning in this way sounds like the maximally science-friendly Deity that I described above.

  27. 27
    mynym says:

    Of course they all (or most) think Dawkins won over there and it is the opposite over here.

    Not exactly. Many seem to see the need for excuses or explanations which presume that Dawkins was weak, so they blame the format or his lack of knowledge about cosmology and so on. It seems to me that it’s lame to blame the format when he obviously broke with it, not to mention the fact that when given that amount of time you should be able to make a case that withstands the other guy getting the last word.

  28. 28
    mynym says:

    How can we rebel against Darwinism and yet be dictated by it?

    Not to mention the fact that his admission of sentience and intelligence leads to the question: “So, how long has Darwinism failed to apply, how long have organisms had the capacity to make intelligent selections against natural selection and what role might this play in your mythological narratives of naturalism?” It also leads to questions over whether or not such “rebellion” is natural or fitting with naturalism.

    As the philosopher David Stove already noted the millions of abortions, millions of uses of contraceptions, possibly hundreds of thousands of celibate priests and so on and so forth are all patterns of empirical evidence that falsify Darwinism in the case of mankind. So to me the question becomes how far back in the evolution of mankind might such “rebellion” play a role?

  29. 29
    Robo says:

    Leo,

    I think the debate was excellent, and the format appeared to work really well. It just hit me hard, reading comments from Dawkin’s forum, how the 2 sides see things so completely differently.

    Sure, I’m not entirely objective, but I think Dawkins won against McGrath (because McGrath was way to defensive and polite) but he certainly lost against Lennox.

    Could the other side EVER admit Dawkin’s lost?

    Btw, where are the MP3s for this debate? Dawkins has them on his site but the clowns who hosted the debate appear to have hidden the files from joe public.

  30. 30
    jerry says:

    The files at the top of page on Dawkins site are Quicktime files. Quicktime player is free from Apple for both the Mac and PC.

    If there are no mp3 files available it may be due to licensing. Though, someone at the bottom of the page has a link for mp3 files.

  31. 31
    jstanley01 says:

    Robo,

    Could the other side EVER admit Dawkin’s lost?

    No. But their chagrin is detectable.

    To see it, you’ve got to translate the prose of a bunch of brown-nosing acolytes, whose practice of the fine arts of vituperation and propaganda in their relentless production of self-congratulating blather — evidently designed to be as devoid of facts and as question-begging as possible — has crippled them from being able to ever admit anything anywhere close to the truth.

    Here’s a few stabs at translation:

    BLATHER: There were to [sic] many logical fallacies to keep track of.

    TRANSLATION: Oh man, he kicked our rear ends!

    BLATHER: I sense that Richard is somewhat frustrated by the format of the debate.

    TRANSLATION: Oh man, he kicked our rear ends!

    BLATHER: Lennox spews nonsense but is very good at coming up soundbites and muddling the water with sophistry which a careless listener may find compelling.

    TRANSLATION: Oh man, he kicked our rear ends!

    BLATHER: Lennox is a nut.

    TRANSLATION: Oh man, he kicked our rear ends!

    BLATHER: I was so pissed off by the fact that Lennox always had the last word in.

    TRANSLATION: Oh man, he kicked our rear ends!

    BLATHER: This was not a debate – it was an ambush. And having walked into it the Prof got a bit of a kicking.

    TRANSLATION: Oh man, he kicked our rear ends!

  32. 32
    Carl Sachs says:

    In re: (29) —

    Of course, “they” (the “other side”) think of you (“your side”) exactly the same way — i.e. as being so blinded by dogma as to be incapable of revising one’s beliefs through argument and evidence.

    What fascinates me is how precisely each side is a mirror of the other.

    That’s what happens whenever “sides” are formed.

  33. 33
    mike1962 says:

    “I do think there is a logical path from religion to doing terrible things. If you really believe … then it is possible for an entirely rational person to do hideous things. I cannot conceive of a logical path that says because I am an atheist therefore it is rational for me to kill or murder or be cruel.”

    Hah hah hah.

    This guy really is something else.

  34. 34
    Gods iPod says:

    Is it wrong to distribute this debate as an iPod compatible audio book in one single file instead of the 3? servantisrael@gmail.com

  35. 35
    jerry says:

    Carl Sach,

    “What fascinates me is how precisely each side is a mirror of the other.”

    I think this is a cop-out. I am not sure it holds up. There are 4 groups in this debate and 3 of the 4 are ideological based and for these groups there does not seem to be any reason to what they say or will accept, only ideology. For the 4th group, there are plenty who are willing to listen to reason and evidence.

  36. 36
    Carl Sachs says:

    It may be a cop-out, Jerry.

    I was just struck by how someone here wants to represent “them” as unable to concede defeat, unable to even consider the evidence, unable to permit oneself to become vulnerable to the argument wherever it leads —

    — whereas “they” think exactly the same things about those of you on “this side” of the debate.

    As an experiment, I’m going to make this same point over “there” and see what happens.

  37. 37
    Carl Sachs says:

    In re: (33)

    Mike, I’m really fascinated (and confused) by your derision of Dawkins. What part of his statement merits it?

    Feel free to respond at carl.sachs@gmail.com if you’d like. Otherwise, here is fine by me.

  38. 38

    Carl Sach,
    That’s what happens whenever “sides” are formed.

    After seven years of independent research into the antrhopic physics (as a previously completely naive fool about it), I can say this as a general fact:

    If there is only one universal truth that requires compromise from both “sides” in order to be realized, then it may as well not even exist.

    This goes for all sides including the highest levels of physics research, where they dogmatically deny the biocentric implications of WMAP anomalies that just won’t go away… no matter how much they try to “explain-away” and willfully ignore the implication of the evidence.

    If truth lies dead-center between ideologies, then we’d be done for as a species, were it not for the fact that this precarious balance between extreme diametrically opposing runaway tendencies also derives an anthropic coincidence.

    That’s reality…

  39. 39
    tribune7 says:

    What fascinates me is how precisely each side is a mirror of the other.

    How do you figure that? Who on our side is trying to shut someone up/ruin someone’s life/destroy someone’s reputation for honest criticisms of ID?

    Who on our side falsely presents the positions of our opponents — at all, much less akin to “ID is creationism”?

    Maybe if we ran the academy — weak and fallen beings that we are — we might be tempted. But I’d like to think if that were the case, I’d be sticking up for the honest evos.

  40. 40

    Mirror of each other?

    It is our presuppositions which ultimately lead us to different conclusions. The best thing to do is to test those presuppositions.

  41. 41
    Carl Sachs says:

    (38) I wonder if perhaps there’s a difficulty in communication between us. You seem to me to be ‘framing’ this as a scientific one. It may be, but not in any obvious sense. Because much o what is at stake here is what is going to count as science. And that question or problem — about what is going to count as science — is not only scientific but also — and this is not a bad thing! — metaphysical, epistemological, cultural, and political.

    Since I’m looking at the ‘debate’ in those terms — i.e. as much more of a cultural debate than a ‘scientific’ one — I’m as interested in rhetoric as I am in content (argumentation).

    And so I’m interested in the deployment of similar rhetoric on both sides — e.g. how each vilifies the other side.

    One would not think, based on the rhetoric used here or on richarddawkins.net, that either side regards the other as comprised of people who are basically reasonable and well-intentioned.

  42. 42
    mike1962 says:

    “Carl Sachs”

    Firstly, in that statement, he compares apples to oranges. He compares “religion” with “atheism” as if they were opposites. They are not. The opposite of atheism is theism, and generically has no religious dogma associated with it. Religious are ideologies, and everybody has one, theists and atheists.

    Secondly, he assumes that atheism has no impact on, or with, the ideology that a given atheist would have. This is sheer nonsense. Do you really think Joseph Stalin’s atheism had no impact on his decision to murder 50 million people in the name of his ideology?

    Get real.

  43. 43
    Carl Sachs says:

    Mike,

    With regards to your first paragraph, I find your use of terms idiosyncratic but I appreciate your candor.

    With regards to your second paragraph, I think that human psychology is a tangled skein of beliefs and desires, both conscious and unconscious, and it’s almost impossible to determine the “impact” of a philosophical position on the decision to commit genocide.

    Whether an atheist takes the route of Stalin or Russell, or whether a Christian takes the route of Torquemada or King, Jr., is indeterminable with respect to one’s views regarding the metaphysical status of the god called God.

    In that respect I agree with Dawkins that there is no logical argument with atheism as a premise and the moral permissibility of murder (let alone genocide) as a conclusion.

  44. 44
    mike1962 says:

    Carl Sachs: “In that respect I agree with Dawkins that there is no logical argument with atheism as a premise and the moral permissibility of murder (let alone genocide) as a conclusion.”

    Try this logic on:

    1. The construction of Utopia is the greatest good.

    2. I believe I am qualified and mandated to implement Utopia.

    3. Since Utopia is the greatest good, the lives of individuals must be sacrificed in whatever manner necessary, including death, when there is a conflict of interest.

    4. There is no higher power, God, etc, that I should be plausibly be concerned about, who may have conflicting views with my own, particularly with regards to premise #3, therefore I shall act according to premises 1 thru 3.

  45. 45

    How to break a dogma weilding neodarwinian cosmologist

    I’d recommend that anyone who is interested in the cosmological argument, check out comments 254 thru 256 to see how “i” am doing it:

    http://richarddawkins.net/arti.....age6#77415

    http://richarddawkins.net/arti.....age6#77416

    http://richarddawkins.net/arti.....age6#77418

  46. 46
    StephenB says:

    Carl Sachs wrote, “Whether an atheist takes the route of Stalin or Russell, or whether a Christian takes the route of Torquemada or King, Jr., is indeterminable with respect to one’s views regarding the metaphysical status of the god called God.”

    Well, not exactly. To the fanatical Christian, one can always say, “stop violating the life-affirming principles set forth in your doctrine.” Even when those principles are violated, the potential for reformation is built in. (We are made in the image and likeness of God, and we should treat one another accordingly).

    No other thought system, not atheism (Darwin-monism etc.) or religious (Islam) contains such a concept. No other world view insists on the “inherent dignity of the human person.”

    Neither Atheism, nor Islam contains an inherent fail-safe mechanism to curb its destructive side. Islam teaches that we are all slaves to an unapproachable God. We do not bear his imprint or resemble him in any way. Therefore, we do not “deserve” to be free.

    Darwinism teaches that we are all products of a undirected, purposeless, mindless process. That means there can be no design, no purpose, and no inherent dignity.

    Only the Judeo-Christian ethic affirms both the sanctity of human life and the imporance of political freedom. Its fanatics, therefore, are not nearly so numerous as are those of Atheism or Islam, nor are there actions nearly so rationalized by their peers.

  47. 47
    Tedsenough says:

    Dawkins is becoming more and more inconsistent. He also seems to be drifting away from his strong stance to a more moderate stance as can be seen in this quote; “I would not for a moment say that all religion is bad or all religion is dangerous or Christianity is dangerous. Only a minority of religious people are bad or do bad things.”

    In short periods of time he appears to flow from frustrated and annoyed with the opposing view, to unwilling to even engage the opposing view, to accepting certain propositions from the opposing view.

    While he still seems it at times, he no longer appears as confidently smug as he use to.

    I think that this points to the foundation for his belief system being crumbled away. Becoming less and less tenable for Dawkins to hold.

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