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Tue Dec 20, 2011, 03:54 PM

 

Why is Dr. Dawkins and some others such controversial figures?

This is something I simply fail to understand. I wanted to talk about Dawkins in particular since he's the most visible "face" of atheism in mainstream media, but this also applies to others. Now, frankly I've seen and read Dawkins quite extensively for years, even as far back as when was a theist because as a Catholic I was taught that evolution was a fact, and I was fascinated by it and wanted too learn more.

The thing is, that even when Dawkins became more outspoken as an atheist, I didn't see so much a change in tone as a change in outspokenness. Even in his earliest works he was dismissive of religion in general. But the fascinating bit is more recent, and it doesn't have to do with him, in particular, but in his detractors. I'm not saying he's above criticism, however, it seems to be so over the top its almost comical if it weren't for the fact that too many people would put words into action if they could.

The first thing that needs to be cleared up is this, Dawkins is, first and foremost, a scientist, and one who is an educator of science to the general public at large, that was his job for years at university. In this sense he is no different than, for example, Neil Degrass Tyson in the United States, and in this regard, they are probably equally as popular to the general public in their respective countries, Dr. Tyson probably less so in the United States due to the abhorrent state of our science education.

Dr. Tyson is also less controversial, at least in the United States, even though both him and Dr. Dawkins are both nonreligious and dismissive of religious claims in general. Tyson, however, is notably less critical of religion, I don't think because he views it as less ridiculous but rather that his field of study, astrophysics is not considered such a direct confrontation to religious beliefs, and is also so much more esoteric that many don't understand it, and when he does explain it, its in rather simplified terms.

Dr. Dawkins is an evolutionary biologist, and hence, to many religious people, his field of study is a direct threat to their dogma. His field is, as a consequence, under direct attack by many people who use misinformation, lies, and ignorance as their weapons. In a sense, Dawkins is put in an unenviable position of being on the defensive so much more often. In addition I think a cultural difference also comes into play, the fact that being critical of religion is more acceptable in Great Britain than in the United States. Tyson, wanting to popularize science to a country where the overwhelming majority is Christian, wouldn't want to directly antagonize the religious, but rather chip away at the edges of non-rational belief, for example, in his staunch criticism of astrology.

Yet Dawkins is, at least in his home country, decidedly less controversial than he is in the United States, again, reflecting differences in cultural attitudes. This is reflected in the visceral and vicious reactions he gets whenever a statement of his is reflected in media that is open for all to comment on. The fringe religious in Britain and a large segment of the American commentators compare him to being a Grand Wizard of the KKK, condemn him to hell, post death threats, etc. Gross overreactions to his opinions on religion and it seems that you would think that he would never be a guy who gets invited on children shows in Great Britain to explain the evolution of the eye, but he is. Of course, he courts controversy as well, because it increases the visibility of his arguments and of the facts about evolution and science he wishes to popularize.

Of course, he's also a victim of quote mining, and misstatements attributed to him, in fact, I would say that his most staunchest detractors never even bothered to watch a single show or talk by him or any that he participated in. The worse you can say about Dawkins is that he doesn't suffer fools gladly, especially when it comes to creationists, he shuts them down eloquently and passionately. The most memorable was when he shut down Ted Haggard(before his, um, fall, for lack of a better word) when he said he believed that we didn't come about through random chance, and the look on Dawkins face was memorable, its like Ted Haggard grew two heads, or said the world was flat, that's how idiotic the argument was, and Dawkins told him this very simply.

Of course, Ted, being a "man of faith" simply decided to continue believing his lie. But to put it simply, is Dawkins really the hatemonger so many claim he is? I don't think so, above criticism? Of course not, indeed I don't agree with him on all points, but in balance I really don't understand the hatred so many espouse against him.

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Reply Why is Dr. Dawkins and some others such controversial figures? (Original post)
Humanist_Activist Dec 2011 OP
RZM Dec 2011 #1
Humanist_Activist Dec 2011 #5
Goblinmonger Dec 2011 #7
mr blur Dec 2011 #2
Humanist_Activist Dec 2011 #4
tama Dec 2011 #8
Humanist_Activist Dec 2011 #9
Lost-in-FL Dec 2011 #19
tama Dec 2011 #21
Humanist_Activist Dec 2011 #27
tama Dec 2011 #33
Humanist_Activist Dec 2011 #42
tama Dec 2011 #48
Humanist_Activist Dec 2011 #54
tama Dec 2011 #55
Humanist_Activist Dec 2011 #61
tama Dec 2011 #63
Humanist_Activist Dec 2011 #75
tama Dec 2011 #77
edhopper Dec 2011 #14
tama Dec 2011 #22
Humanist_Activist Dec 2011 #28
tama Dec 2011 #34
edhopper Dec 2011 #50
tama Dec 2011 #51
edhopper Dec 2011 #64
tama Dec 2011 #70
Humanist_Activist Dec 2011 #76
tama Dec 2011 #78
rrneck Dec 2011 #3
LeftishBrit Dec 2011 #6
Jim__ Dec 2011 #10
Humanist_Activist Dec 2011 #11
Jim__ Dec 2011 #12
Lost-in-FL Dec 2011 #25
Jim__ Dec 2011 #29
Humanist_Activist Dec 2011 #32
tama Dec 2011 #39
Humanist_Activist Dec 2011 #41
tama Dec 2011 #43
tama Dec 2011 #38
Lost-in-FL Dec 2011 #46
tama Dec 2011 #52
Lost-in-FL Dec 2011 #58
tama Dec 2011 #23
Humanist_Activist Dec 2011 #26
tama Dec 2011 #36
edhopper Dec 2011 #16
Jim__ Dec 2011 #18
edhopper Dec 2011 #20
Jim__ Dec 2011 #30
edhopper Dec 2011 #49
Jim__ Dec 2011 #56
edhopper Dec 2011 #65
tama Dec 2011 #24
Humanist_Activist Dec 2011 #31
tama Dec 2011 #35
Humanist_Activist Dec 2011 #40
tama Dec 2011 #44
Humanist_Activist Dec 2011 #53
tama Dec 2011 #57
Humanist_Activist Dec 2011 #60
tama Dec 2011 #62
edhopper Dec 2011 #66
tama Dec 2011 #71
edhopper Dec 2011 #72
tama Dec 2011 #74
Deep13 Dec 2011 #13
tama Dec 2011 #37
Lost-in-FL Dec 2011 #15
MarkCharles Dec 2011 #45
Lost-in-FL Dec 2011 #47
MarkCharles Dec 2011 #68
Lost-in-FL Dec 2011 #69
iris27 Dec 2011 #59
MarkCharles Dec 2011 #67
iris27 Dec 2011 #73
digonswine Dec 2011 #17

Response to Humanist_Activist (Original post)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 04:05 PM

1. You have a point, but you could easily say the same thing about Tim Tebow

 

For the record I'm not a person of faith. I like Richard Dawkins a lot too. And I don't really follow the NFL or care much about the Broncos or Tim Tebow.

But I'm also puzzled by how much controversy he has generated. Radio host Joe Madison ('The Black Eagle,' for those who don't know about him) pointed out the other day that many black athletes have been publicly displaying their faith and connecting it to their performance for decades, but nobody has ever really cared much about that one way or another. So why the hullabaloo over Tebow? I think he has a point.

I honestly don't understand why Tebow is so controversial. He's a football player who's all about some Jesus. Maybe he takes it a bit further than most have, but it's still nothing new.

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Response to RZM (Reply #1)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 04:19 PM

5. Don't know, never followed that particular controversy...

 

indeed, it seems to be confined as a joke more than anything else. Particularly on the internet.

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Response to RZM (Reply #1)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 04:24 PM

7. This is random thoughts, so maybe not as eloquent as I could be.

 

The reason Tebow is getting so much heat is probably for two reasons:

1. He is much more vocal than other athletes about this. Or more in your face.

2. I think the race thing is interesting. The other reason I think he is getting so much hate is because more people are hopping on his prayer bandwagon. Perhaps that is because he is white and the RW crowd can identify with him more than the black athletes.

OH, and a third possible reason: He's not that great but everyone is acting like he is the second coming.

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Response to Humanist_Activist (Original post)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 04:11 PM

2. I don't think he's so controversial over here in the U.K.

 

He's a scientist who presents (eloquent) TV programmes debunking "Woo" alternative therapies, for example. And we have David Attenborough who is no less of an advocate of evolution than Dawkins, and Attenborough is considered a National Treasure. Also, atheism isn't considered the vile abomination that it is in the U.S., over here, with at least half the country identifying themselves as having "no religion".

As a nation, we don't really care.

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Response to mr blur (Reply #2)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 04:16 PM

4. Exactly, also a big fan of David Attenborough myself...

 

In the U.K. any controversy seems to be confined to the fringe religious, even the mainstream religious people in the U.K. seem to be apathetic at best.

However, he seems to be confined to be a controversial character in the United States, in contrast, and that's even evident on this board.

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Response to mr blur (Reply #2)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 04:44 PM

8. "Fundamentalist materialist"

 

There are controversies with fellow scientists also:

http://www.sheldrake.org/D&C/controversies/Dawkins.html

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Response to tama (Reply #8)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 05:27 PM

9. A fellow "Scientist" who believes in telepathy and generational memory...

 

wouldn't it be more interesting to have a criticism from Stephen J. Gould or another real scientist?

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Response to Humanist_Activist (Reply #9)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 07:46 PM

19. ...or like Ernst Mayr who also disagreed with Dawkins

...on particular points relating to Dawkins's own views of the modern evolutionary synthesis.

But then Evangelical pseudo scientists wouldn't understand the scientific reasoning behind Dawkins, Gould or Mayr's different takes. They just vomit incoherence that in the eyes of the ignorant sound like 'science we could all understand'.

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Response to Humanist_Activist (Reply #9)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 08:05 PM

21. Being both

 

unorthodox and great experimentalist is a scientific merit, not fault.

Unless, of course, one confuses science as ideal and methodology with this or that paradigmatic orthodoxy.

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Response to tama (Reply #21)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 08:29 PM

27. A great experimentalist? He derives conclusions from...

 

inconclusive data, the epitomy of bad science, even those who worked with him on such studies think his methodology is sloppy and criticize him for the conclusions he draws on his own hypothesis.

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Response to Humanist_Activist (Reply #27)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 08:52 PM

33. Are talking about the same guy?

 

Sheldrake does not outright refute and exclude anecdotal evidence about most common "Real Life" telepathic experiences (phone telepathy, sensing staring at back, animal telepathy etc), but devices simple and honest experiments to test those phenomena both as reliably as possible (also refining his methods according to constructive criticism from skeptics) and as "naturally" as possible.

I don't know what conclusions you refer to, AFAIK Sheldrake says that his experiments show undeniable effects, as they do under standard methodology which nobody is denying, which merit further study, but does not offer any conclusive explanations, only speculates that physicalist explanation could be found in the realm of 'quantum mind' hypothesis. He offers also a worthy caveat, "unless there is something peculiar with standard statistical math that we use", which is also possibility - especially given the Shnoll effect.

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Response to tama (Reply #33)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 09:47 PM

42. Ancedotal evidence is useless without repeatability, do you understand...

 

the scientific method at all? If they can't be repeated, especially in a controlled environment how are we to supposed to confirm a phenomena exists? You disqualified this Guy as a reputable scientist right in your first sentence. If you can't even articulate middle school level of scientific understanding, how do you expect anyone to take you seriously?

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Response to Humanist_Activist (Reply #42)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 10:16 PM

48. Read again.

 

Sheldrake used anecdotal evidence from "Real Life" to find what phenomena to test with scientific *repeatable* rigor - which he and then others have done. Repeatedly.

Supporters of authoritarian orthodoxies deny anecdotal evidence that challenges their world view. Experimental scientists like Sheldrake et alii look at anecdotal evidence and "thought experiments" to find out what to test in scientifically controlled environment.

Then theoretical scientist look at the scientific data and try to come with explanation and more tests to support or falsify those explanations, and the game goes on.

Hope this helps you to gain preliminary understanding of the scientific method.

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Response to tama (Reply #48)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 10:40 PM

54. Who are these "authoritarian orthodoxies" the ones who couldn't...

 

repeat his claimed results?

Is there a huge conspiracy to keep telepathy a secret? *snicker*

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Response to Humanist_Activist (Reply #54)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 10:59 PM

55. Perhaps

 

a look in the mirror is a correct answer?

The results have been repeated many times by many people, also by "skeptics".

If you want to call neuroplastic system to keep telepathy a "secret" a "conspiracy", you are entitled to do so.

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Response to tama (Reply #55)

Wed Dec 21, 2011, 09:12 AM

61. An honest person would say the results are inconclusive...

 

after 20 years of study in many cases, yet you are insisting this is untrue. Who is being unscientific here? No positive results are still results, even if it holds an answer you don't like. It seems both you and this "scientist" have science completely ass backwards.

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Response to Humanist_Activist (Reply #61)

Wed Dec 21, 2011, 10:39 AM

63. That's what Sheldrake

 

and other honest persons say, that the results are inconclusive but merit further study. Sheldrake says: let's look at the evidence. Dishonest person like Dawkins refuses to discuss the evidence - despite former explicit promise to do so when asking Sheldrake to appear on his debunking show - and engages only in rhetorical defense of dogmatically held belief systems.

Only prejudice and refusal to look at the evidence can conclude that in this matter Sheldrake is the dishonest one, not Dawkins who broke his promise and refused to discuss evidence.

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Response to tama (Reply #63)

Wed Dec 21, 2011, 04:38 PM

75. What evidence?

 

You claim Dawkins is dishonest yet you contradict yourself in the same post. An honest person wouldn't believe in telepathy without evidence, yet here you are advocating that there is and isn't evidence for it, so which is it?

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Response to Humanist_Activist (Reply #75)

Wed Dec 21, 2011, 05:08 PM

77. Belief

 

or active disbelief in telepathy is your problem, not mine. So could you please stop bothering me with your confusion about the matter and inability to understand English, as this is leading nowhere.

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Response to tama (Reply #8)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 07:07 PM

14. There is no valid

scientific evidence for telepathy. Dawkins would have probably done the same thing if he wanted to talk about Alien Abduction. Sheldrake is a crackpot who holds unscientific theories. Just because some one is a maverick doesn't make them right.

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Response to edhopper (Reply #14)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 08:07 PM

22. It is quite common

 

to confuse science with orthodoxy.

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Response to tama (Reply #22)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 08:32 PM

28. Stop misrepresenting science. You can believe whatever the fuck you want...

 

but don't pretend that it has scientific merit.

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Response to Humanist_Activist (Reply #28)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 08:53 PM

34. Stop misrepresenting science. You can believe whatever the fuck you want...

 

but don't pretend that it has scientific merit.

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Response to tama (Reply #34)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 10:19 PM

50. Like telepathy

something that people believe in that has no scientific merit. Like that?

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Response to edhopper (Reply #50)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 10:21 PM

51. Like the belief

 

that telepathy has no scientific merit.

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Response to tama (Reply #51)

Wed Dec 21, 2011, 11:39 AM

64. Oh good

could you refer me to the peer reviewed work that shows telepathy as viable?

Rhetorical ? if you didn't know.

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Response to edhopper (Reply #64)

Wed Dec 21, 2011, 03:00 PM

70. To tell you the truth

 

I'm not interesting about debating about telepathy scientifically, especially with representatives of the pseudoskeptical doctrine. Been there, done that, and it's waste of time and energy. It was HA that first brought up the issue in response to me mentioning scientific controversy related to Sheldrake and dishonest behaviour by Dawkins, the topic of this thread. I've issued only general scientific principles and ideals concerning this matter, and have no problems discussing those further.

As for "telepathy" as phenomenological experience instead of theoretical speculation, I can now only say that it is something I live with, but don't feel comfortable discussing further at this time and place, or generally in any environment that I perceive as hostile - rightly or wrongly.

If you have genuine interest in scientific studies of telepathy, you can Google it.

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Response to tama (Reply #70)

Wed Dec 21, 2011, 04:40 PM

76. So basically you got nothing as far as evidence is concerned? n/t

 

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Response to Humanist_Activist (Reply #76)

Wed Dec 21, 2011, 05:12 PM

78. How was your day?

 

Christmas shoppings all done?

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Response to Humanist_Activist (Original post)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 04:11 PM

3. He's willing to take them on.

That willingness probably has as many advantages as disadvantages. Nobody does anything for just one reason. When you stick your head up somebody will throw a brick at it. Engaging in such a controversial subject is also a good way to sell a lot of books and collect a lot of speaking fees.

I've never read a single one of his books, nor do I plan to. I'm sure they're very good and very interesting, but I'm kinda busy. I gather from what I have read about him from those on both sides of the issue he is throwing more than a few hand grenades. Some may be justified, some not. I don't care. That's how cultures work. There will always be a few anarchists willing to chuck a bomb into the crowd. Intellectually speaking, they need to be thrown. More power to him.

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Response to Humanist_Activist (Original post)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 04:22 PM

6. Because he's critical of religion, and possibly also because he's pro-evolution

Having said that, he's not nearly as much of an issue here as he seems to be in the USA.

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Response to Humanist_Activist (Original post)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 05:36 PM

10. "...under direct attack by many people who use misinformation, lies, and ignorance as their weapons.

Dawkins can easily be accused of using these very weapons in The God Delusion and that is why it was so vociferously attacked.

Yes, Dawkins is an expert biologist. I enjoyed reading his books on biology.

Creationists criticized Dawkins for his arguments on biology. However, the criticisms that I see now, criticisms coming from philosophers and theologians have to do with Dawkins' attempt to argue philosophy and/or theology. He speaks with contempt about theology and then tries to refute certain of its claims.

For instance, my copy of The God Delusion is Houghton Mifflin 2006. On page 77, he tries to refute Aquinas' unmoved mover argument (The ellipsis in the quote just covers Dawkins' presentation of: The Uncaused Cause argument and The Cosmological argument):

1. The Unmoved Mover. Nothing moves without a prior mover. This leads us to a regress, from which the only escape is God. Something had to make the first move, and that something we call God.

...

All three of these arguments rely upon the idea of a regress and invoke God to terminate it. They make the entirely unwarrented assumption that God himself is immune to the regress. Even if we allow the dubious luxury of arbitrarily conjuring up a terminator to an infinite regress and giving it a name, simply because we need one, there is absolutely no reason to endow that terminator with any of the properties normally ascribed to God: omnipotence, omniscience, goodness, creativity of design, to say nothing of such human attributes as listening to prayers, forgiving sins and reading innermost thoughts. ...



Aquinas in Summa Theologica on Question 2 Article 3 (his unmoved mover argument):

I answer that, The existence of God can be proved in five ways.

The first and more manifest way is the argument from motion. It is certain, and evident to our senses, that in the world some things are in motion. Now whatever is in motion is put in motion by another, for nothing can be in motion except it is in potentiality to that towards which it is in motion; whereas a thing moves inasmuch as it is in act. For motion is nothing else than the reduction of something from potentiality to actuality. But nothing can be reduced from potentiality to actuality, except by something in a state of actuality. Thus that which is actually hot, as fire, makes wood, which is potentially hot, to be actually hot, and thereby moves and changes it. Now it is not possible that the same thing should be at once in actuality and potentiality in the same respect, but only in different respects. For what is actually hot cannot simultaneously be potentially hot; but it is simultaneously potentially cold. It is therefore impossible that in the same respect and in the same way a thing should be both mover and moved, i.e. that it should move itself. Therefore, whatever is in motion must be put in motion by another. If that by which it is put in motion be itself put in motion, then this also must needs be put in motion by another, and that by another again. But this cannot go on to infinity, because then there would be no first mover, and, consequently, no other mover; seeing that subsequent movers move only inasmuch as they are put in motion by the first mover; as the staff moves only because it is put in motion by the hand. Therefore it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, put in motion by no other; and this everyone understands to be God.


They make the entirely unwarrented assumption that God himself is immune to the regress? The whole argument leads to the conclusion that there is a need for an unmoved mover. You can call the argument invalid; but you can't claim the claim that the conclusion is an entirely unwarrented assumption.

As to his claim about the lack of argument for the attributes of God, here is an excerpt from the Table of Contents. The attributes are derived based on the arguments given with respect to the existence of God (i.e. the one's Dawkins is referencing):

...
4. The Perfection of God
5. Of Goodness in General
6. The Goodness of God
7. The Infinity of God
8. The Existence of God in Things
9. The Immutability of God
10. The Eternity of God
11. The Unity of God
12. How God Is Known by Us
...


Dawkins' claims here (and elsewhere) are just wrong; and 5 minutes of research would tell him that. This is not to claim that Aquinas' arguments are right. They have been rather famously refuted - for instance, by Kant. Dawkins could have just cited Kant. Instead he tries to refute the argument himself and fails even to state it correctly.

So, yes, The God Delusion was attacked for the sloppiness of its arguments.

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Response to Jim__ (Reply #10)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 05:52 PM

11. This is interesting...

 

This is the assumption:

Therefore it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, put in motion by no other...

That leads to the conclusion that it is an unwarranted assumption of immunity to regress. Are you saying its a warranted conclusion, and if so, where is your evidence?

As far as the second, no idea, have no interest in bullshit fields of study such as theology(or parapsychology like a BS posted in another post in this thread).

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Response to Humanist_Activist (Reply #11)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 06:31 PM

12. That is the conclusion of the argument.

Aquinas' argument is (in part):

Now whatever is in motion is put in motion by another
...
If that by which it is put in motion be itself put in motion, then this also must needs be put in motion by another, and that by another again.
...
But this cannot go on to infinity, because then there would be no first mover, and, consequently, no other mover
...
Therefore it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, put in motion by no other


As to your question:

Are you saying its a warranted conclusion, and if so, where is your evidence?


Read my post #10:

... The whole argument leads to the conclusion that there is a need for an unmoved mover. You can call the argument invalid; but you can't claim the claim that the conclusion is an entirely unwarranted assumption.

...

This is not to claim that Aquinas' arguments are right. They have been rather famously refuted - for instance, by Kant. Dawkins could have just cited Kant.


As to:

As far as the second, no idea, have no interest in bullshit fields of study such as theology(or parapsychology like a BS posted in another post in this thread).


Your interest is quite beside the point. You asked why Dawkins was attacked. In this instance, his claims were attacked because he claimed:

Even if we allow the dubious luxury of arbitrarily conjuring up a terminator to an infinite regress and giving it a name, simply because we need one, there is absolutely no reason to endow that terminator with any of the properties normally ascribed to God: omnipotence, omniscience, goodness, creativity of design, to say nothing of such human attributes as listening to prayers, forgiving sins and reading innermost thoughts.


But, as I stated in my post, Summa Theologica goes on to derive God's attributes based on the previously given existence arguments. Again, I'm not arguing for the correctness of Aquinas' arguments; just that to claim they are not even there is, to say the least, extreme sloppiness, and, as such, subject to attack.

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Response to Jim__ (Reply #12)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 08:24 PM

25. You attack the whole Dawkins's God Delution based on a paragraph made to be a 'filler'?

Why you suggest using Kantian philosophy in Dawkins argument when it isn't needed. In the words of Nietzsche, "Fuck Kant".

Dawkins is not trying to prove that God does not exist. He clearly says in the same book that he is agnostic about the mere idea of gods. He even goes as far as placing himself on a scale from 1 to 8 as number 7, trying to point out that at this point is unknowable to say if he exists or not. The manipulation... err... interpretation of Aristotle's First Cause is now a Theological Theory (which does not mean much) thanks to Summa Theologica, and it is Christianity what Dawkins is trying to attack. Summa Theologica is to philosophy what Intelligent Design is to science, a way of shoving religion down upon us.

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Response to Lost-in-FL (Reply #25)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 08:33 PM

29. No. I'm merely pointing to one paragraph that demonstrates why his book was attacked.

I'm pointing to Kant's argument because it is correct - a vast improvement over the argument Dawkins made. And, I'm pointing that out because the OP asked why Dawkins gets attacked.

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Response to Jim__ (Reply #29)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 08:39 PM

32. So that justifies death threats?

 

I asked why people wish Dawkins was roasting in hell, not pseudo-intellectual arguments about minutiae in one of his books.

I find it illuminating and disturbing that some can't tell the difference.

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Response to Humanist_Activist (Reply #32)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 09:27 PM

39. There are people who like philosophy

 

and philosophical discussions. If you don't, why whine and try to boss about what and how others discuss? Are you some kind of control maniac?

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Response to tama (Reply #39)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 09:33 PM

41. I prefer conversations that are useful and relevant to the discussion at hand...

 

Cramming together the big bang and metaphysics is decidedly offtopic to this discussion.

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Response to Humanist_Activist (Reply #41)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 09:56 PM

43. You are entitled to your opinion

 

of what is offtopic and what is relevant, just don't try to shovel it down to other throats.

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Response to Lost-in-FL (Reply #25)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 09:24 PM

38. "Fuck Kant"?

 

You are just too much of an coffee house philosopher to spell 'see you' in short, and so don't get any...

(sorry, third guinness on the way and feeling witty)

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Response to tama (Reply #38)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 10:09 PM

46. The difference between me and a coffee house philosopher is...

That I am open to criticism and willing to correct myself when I am wrong. I also appreciate criticism based on factual evidence. That's the way I roll.

Besides, I never think of myself as a philosopher... far from it. The "Fuck Kant" thing was said as a joke.

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Response to Lost-in-FL (Reply #46)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 10:27 PM

52. You are always wrong

 

and it's all your fault, anyways. That is if you want to keep on getting Kant...

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Response to tama (Reply #52)

Wed Dec 21, 2011, 01:03 AM

58. ...

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Response to Humanist_Activist (Reply #11)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 08:19 PM

23. First mover

 

is idea based on two metaphysical presumptions:
1) linear causality
2) dislike of infinite regress (or generally anything infinite)

Same metaphysical presumptions are behind the Big Bang cosmology.

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Response to tama (Reply #23)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 08:26 PM

26. Big Bang cosmology doesn't require either "metaphysical" presumption...

 

Instead its an unknown at this time. Indeed time is required for causality, and up to after the big bang happened, it didn't exist.

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Response to Humanist_Activist (Reply #26)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 09:15 PM

36. Indeed

 

certain (metaphysical and/or psychological) notion of time is equivalent with linear unidirectional causality. The concepts are inseparable.

Contemporary science, however, has abandoned or is in the process of abandoning newtonian ideas about absolute time and and adopting relativistic subluminal 4D-time-space for "classical" causality and "wierd" multidimensional geometric notions of time (and causality) with arrows of time going both ways or more in quantum realm and unificatory theories. Stuff that blows your mind, when you dig deeper...

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Response to Jim__ (Reply #10)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 07:13 PM

16. Then all things in motion do not need to be put in motion.

So the argument that there had to be a first mover is made invalid by the very argument.
Besides the Big Bang has made all this moot.

I actually find Dawkins' argument compelling and valid.

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Response to edhopper (Reply #16)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 07:37 PM

18. What is the basis for your "then"?

Dawkins claims that the conclusion of the unmoved mover argument is an unwarranted assumption. It's not an assumption - that is just plain sloppiness.

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Response to Jim__ (Reply #18)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 08:01 PM

20. Aquinas says all thing must be put in motion.

The first and more manifest way is the argument from motion. It is certain, and evident to our senses, that in the world some things are in motion. Now whatever is in motion is put in motion by another (let's not talk about the fact that he had know knowledge of physics.)

But then he says there must be something that did not need to be in motion. ie God. Therefore EVERYTHING does not need to be put in motion. By his own admission. Further Dawkins questions why. even if this were so, do you jump to the conclusion that it is an intelligent, all-knowing being?
I think he does a good job at showing that Aquinas' argument for the unmoved mover is weak to nonexistent and merely an attempt to justify something for which there is no evidence. (I believe that is called apriori in philosophy, not sure)

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Response to edhopper (Reply #20)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 08:35 PM

30. No, he doesn't: Now whatever is in motion is put in motion by another.

I hope you can see the difference.

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Response to Jim__ (Reply #30)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 10:18 PM

49. Poor phrasing on my part. Emphasis on put, as in - all things in motion MUST be put in motion.

Except God, which doesn't need to be put in motion.

Anyway, Dawkins wrote an all audience book on the way he sees the lack of evidence for any God. You accuse him of using, and I quote
"lies and ignorance" when in fact you just don't like the way he dismantled Aquinas' argument and didn't get into a more "inside" philosophy debate showcasing Kant.

Here he is actually addressing one of the main christian philosophers, not going after the loony, low hanging fundamentalist fruit he is often accused of.

So I really don't see the justification of the attacks on him, other than the target of his polemic.

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Response to edhopper (Reply #49)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 11:00 PM

56. Dismantled Aquinas'argument?

He failed to address Aquinas' argument.

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Response to Jim__ (Reply #56)

Wed Dec 21, 2011, 11:42 AM

65. I see that he did.

And again, even if you don't see it that way. Why is what you view as an inadequate response to Aquinas a reason for the acrimony leveled at him?

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Response to edhopper (Reply #16)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 08:23 PM

24. Big Bang

 

has not made "first mover" moot, it is manifestation of exactly same sloppy metaphysics.

You can't prove "First Mover Big Bang" any more than you can prove "First Mover God". Both are thought constructs derived from sloppy metaphysical ideas about causality and infinity.

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Response to tama (Reply #24)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 08:36 PM

31. What does the Big Bang have to do with a branch of philosophy?

 

One that is not relevant to the subject.

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Response to Humanist_Activist (Reply #31)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 08:58 PM

35. What does 'causality" have to do with a branch of philosophy

 

called 'science' or 'physics'?

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Response to tama (Reply #35)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 09:30 PM

40. Science moved beyond philosophy by the late 19th century...

 

Learn to keep up.

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Response to Humanist_Activist (Reply #40)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 10:00 PM

44. And philosophy came back

 

with vengeance in the early 20th century with Einstein and quantum physics.

You are welcome to keep up. Newton - even though he was spiritualist alchemist - was not the final say in science.

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Response to tama (Reply #44)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 10:32 PM

53. So not only are you misrepresenting science, but history as well?

 

Newton lived in the 17th and 18th centuries. I was referring to the branch of philosophy called naturalism that matured to become what we term as modern science. The stuff(I wouldn't dare call them ideas, that's insulting to ideas) that you espouse is pseudo-intellectual dribble that was popularized since the 1960s or so in philosophical circles in academia. They take terms and generalized ideas from science and repackage them in a post-modernist veneer wrapped in woo and claim all sorts of fringe ideas while at the same time blasting scientists for being closed minded because they don't accept such misapplications of scientific discoveries.

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Response to Humanist_Activist (Reply #53)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 11:12 PM

57. 20th century

 

didn't start in 1960s. I was referring to much earlier philosophers like Boltzmann, Schrödinger, Heisenberg, Bose, Einstein, Bohm, Gödel, Pauli, Bohr, von Neumann etc. etc.

I took a quick look at the wikipedia article about naturalism and saw only names of second rate philosophers without any noteworthy contributions to science but only lot of strong opinions about how science SHOULD be practiced - by others.

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Response to tama (Reply #57)

Wed Dec 21, 2011, 09:09 AM

60. Since when were all of them philosophers?

 

They were scientists, you claim them as philosophers as well, and I guess, given your definition of philosophers, that would make sense, most of them also would have thought your idea of telepathy being "scientific" was laughable.

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Response to Humanist_Activist (Reply #60)

Wed Dec 21, 2011, 10:22 AM

62. For the purpose of this discussion

 

I define philosophy as the art of thinking. Explaining observable phenomena such as relativity and quantum phenomena in scientific terms depends from ability to think outside the box of commonly held believes or basic assumptions about time, space, causality etc. Creative philosophical art of thinking is essential in theoretically creative scientific work, and all great scientists are also great philosophers.

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Response to tama (Reply #62)

Wed Dec 21, 2011, 12:04 PM

66. What you don't seem to understand in your all too broad

definition of philosopher, which I guess would include all artists, writer, historians etc... is that these scientist arrived at their ideas mainly through the mathematics involved, not just abstract thought.

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Response to edhopper (Reply #66)

Wed Dec 21, 2011, 03:20 PM

71. Perhaps you are unawere

 

that in the first Academy, philosophical school established by Plato, the only entrance requirement was knowledge of geometry - aka mathematics. Contemporary science, especially mathematical physics, is based on the philosophical Platonistic axiom that phenomenological world can be reduced to world of mathematical forms. In that sense mathematical thinking is the highest form of theoretical philosophical thinking. Of course, philosophy is much wider field than only theoretical thinking, including also practical philosophy etc.

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Response to tama (Reply #71)

Wed Dec 21, 2011, 03:46 PM

72. Quite well aware

but I also understand that scientific thing has progressed in the last 2300 years.

And I still find your characterization of Einstein, Bohr, Ferme etc as philosophers to be so broad as to lose all meaning.

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Response to edhopper (Reply #72)

Wed Dec 21, 2011, 04:02 PM

74. Partial explanation

 

could be that continental European and Anglo-Saxon cultures have somewhat different characterizations of philosophy and philosophers. For example Boltzmann, cf English and German wikipedia articles:

English: "...was an Austrian physicist"
German: "...war ein österreichischer Physiker und Philosoph."
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludwig_Boltzmann.

To dig further on cultural differences, most famous American quantum physicist Richard Feynman is a classical example of American pragmatism and anti-philosophical attitude in his most famous quotation "Shut up and calculate".

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Response to Humanist_Activist (Original post)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 06:52 PM

13. They threaten the power structure.

The values of society are informed by religion if if the society is post-religious. Dawkins etc. make no apologizes for barbecuing the sacred cows. Challenging people's core values and beliefs always makes them a bit grouchy.

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Response to Deep13 (Reply #13)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 09:17 PM

37. "Challenging people's core values and beliefs always makes them a bit grouchy."

 

You noticed?

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Response to Humanist_Activist (Original post)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 07:07 PM

15. Simply because he is an outspoken atheist.

He should stop encouraging people to come out of the atheist closet where they all belong.

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Response to Lost-in-FL (Reply #15)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 10:01 PM

45. Spoken like a true believer.

 

Let's see, people who do not believe as you do should "stay in the closet"?

How democratic and egalitarian!

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Response to MarkCharles (Reply #45)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 10:13 PM

47. Ahem...

I was being sarcastic.

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Response to Lost-in-FL (Reply #47)

Wed Dec 21, 2011, 01:03 PM

68. Then you FAILED to state how.

 

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Response to MarkCharles (Reply #68)

Wed Dec 21, 2011, 01:55 PM

69. Don't give yourself a heart attack over nothing.

I answered your question about what was the beef christians have against Dawkins and I stated the most obvious reason as to why they hate him, cause he is atheist… plain and simple. Just remember that preposterous post about Hitch being single-handedly responsible for more deaths than Kim jong il simply because of his position relating to Iraq.

If I spoke like a 'true believer' it is because some of those are predictable.

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Response to MarkCharles (Reply #45)

Wed Dec 21, 2011, 01:22 AM

59. MC, you might get a little less needlessly upset if you go into A&A and write

down the screennames of who generally posts there. Most DU posters don't use the sarcasm icon when they are being sarcastic.

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Response to iris27 (Reply #59)

Wed Dec 21, 2011, 01:02 PM

67. Why would I spoil the fun ?

 

Some people who post here actually think atheists are the devil incarnate.

I'm sure they can tell who they are. And If that post above mine was intended as sarcasm, it failed miserably.

I don't read who posts what, that's biasing and prejudicing the precise literal message they post.

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Response to MarkCharles (Reply #67)

Wed Dec 21, 2011, 03:52 PM

73. Pretty sure everyone else got it, because most here do take note of who posts what.

And I think you're over the top in your assessment of "some people here". But whatever. If it's somehow more "fun" for you to rail at atheists' sarcasm, by all means, go right ahead. Just don't blame us for your eventual coronary.

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Response to Humanist_Activist (Original post)

Tue Dec 20, 2011, 07:21 PM

17. I can't say I read the whole thing---

I think it not only stems from his being outspoken--but from the fact that he would appear to consider religious indoctrination to be child abuse. This was in The God Delusion--it is strident and, perhaps, presumptive. I don't know that I would have made that claim---but I also don't know it is false. Certainly, many have weighed their decisions against the threat of damnation, which is, of course, nonsense.

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