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(14,204 posts)
10. "...under direct attack by many people who use misinformation, lies, and ignorance as their weapons.
Tue Dec 20, 2011, 05:36 PM
Dec 2011

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.
You have a point, but you could easily say the same thing about Tim Tebow RZM Dec 2011 #1
Don't know, never followed that particular controversy... Humanist_Activist Dec 2011 #5
This is random thoughts, so maybe not as eloquent as I could be. Goblinmonger Dec 2011 #7
I don't think he's so controversial over here in the U.K. mr blur Dec 2011 #2
Exactly, also a big fan of David Attenborough myself... Humanist_Activist Dec 2011 #4
"Fundamentalist materialist" tama Dec 2011 #8
A fellow "Scientist" who believes in telepathy and generational memory... Humanist_Activist Dec 2011 #9
...or like Ernst Mayr who also disagreed with Dawkins Lost-in-FL Dec 2011 #19
Being both tama Dec 2011 #21
A great experimentalist? He derives conclusions from... Humanist_Activist Dec 2011 #27
Are talking about the same guy? tama Dec 2011 #33
Ancedotal evidence is useless without repeatability, do you understand... Humanist_Activist Dec 2011 #42
Read again. tama Dec 2011 #48
Who are these "authoritarian orthodoxies" the ones who couldn't... Humanist_Activist Dec 2011 #54
Perhaps tama Dec 2011 #55
An honest person would say the results are inconclusive... Humanist_Activist Dec 2011 #61
That's what Sheldrake tama Dec 2011 #63
What evidence? Humanist_Activist Dec 2011 #75
Belief tama Dec 2011 #77
There is no valid edhopper Dec 2011 #14
It is quite common tama Dec 2011 #22
Stop misrepresenting science. You can believe whatever the fuck you want... Humanist_Activist Dec 2011 #28
Stop misrepresenting science. You can believe whatever the fuck you want... tama Dec 2011 #34
Like telepathy edhopper Dec 2011 #50
Like the belief tama Dec 2011 #51
Oh good edhopper Dec 2011 #64
To tell you the truth tama Dec 2011 #70
So basically you got nothing as far as evidence is concerned? n/t Humanist_Activist Dec 2011 #76
How was your day? tama Dec 2011 #78
He's willing to take them on. rrneck Dec 2011 #3
Because he's critical of religion, and possibly also because he's pro-evolution LeftishBrit Dec 2011 #6
"...under direct attack by many people who use misinformation, lies, and ignorance as their weapons. Jim__ Dec 2011 #10
This is interesting... Humanist_Activist Dec 2011 #11
That is the conclusion of the argument. Jim__ Dec 2011 #12
You attack the whole Dawkins's God Delution based on a paragraph made to be a 'filler'? Lost-in-FL Dec 2011 #25
No. I'm merely pointing to one paragraph that demonstrates why his book was attacked. Jim__ Dec 2011 #29
So that justifies death threats? Humanist_Activist Dec 2011 #32
There are people who like philosophy tama Dec 2011 #39
I prefer conversations that are useful and relevant to the discussion at hand... Humanist_Activist Dec 2011 #41
You are entitled to your opinion tama Dec 2011 #43
"Fuck Kant"? tama Dec 2011 #38
The difference between me and a coffee house philosopher is... Lost-in-FL Dec 2011 #46
You are always wrong tama Dec 2011 #52
... Lost-in-FL Dec 2011 #58
First mover tama Dec 2011 #23
Big Bang cosmology doesn't require either "metaphysical" presumption... Humanist_Activist Dec 2011 #26
Indeed tama Dec 2011 #36
Then all things in motion do not need to be put in motion. edhopper Dec 2011 #16
What is the basis for your "then"? Jim__ Dec 2011 #18
Aquinas says all thing must be put in motion. edhopper Dec 2011 #20
No, he doesn't: Now whatever is in motion is put in motion by another. Jim__ Dec 2011 #30
Poor phrasing on my part. Emphasis on put, as in - all things in motion MUST be put in motion. edhopper Dec 2011 #49
Dismantled Aquinas'argument? Jim__ Dec 2011 #56
I see that he did. edhopper Dec 2011 #65
Big Bang tama Dec 2011 #24
What does the Big Bang have to do with a branch of philosophy? Humanist_Activist Dec 2011 #31
What does 'causality" have to do with a branch of philosophy tama Dec 2011 #35
Science moved beyond philosophy by the late 19th century... Humanist_Activist Dec 2011 #40
And philosophy came back tama Dec 2011 #44
So not only are you misrepresenting science, but history as well? Humanist_Activist Dec 2011 #53
20th century tama Dec 2011 #57
Since when were all of them philosophers? Humanist_Activist Dec 2011 #60
For the purpose of this discussion tama Dec 2011 #62
What you don't seem to understand in your all too broad edhopper Dec 2011 #66
Perhaps you are unawere tama Dec 2011 #71
Quite well aware edhopper Dec 2011 #72
Partial explanation tama Dec 2011 #74
They threaten the power structure. Deep13 Dec 2011 #13
"Challenging people's core values and beliefs always makes them a bit grouchy." tama Dec 2011 #37
Simply because he is an outspoken atheist. Lost-in-FL Dec 2011 #15
Spoken like a true believer. MarkCharles Dec 2011 #45
Ahem... Lost-in-FL Dec 2011 #47
Then you FAILED to state how. MarkCharles Dec 2011 #68
Don't give yourself a heart attack over nothing. Lost-in-FL Dec 2011 #69
MC, you might get a little less needlessly upset if you go into A&A and write iris27 Dec 2011 #59
Why would I spoil the fun ? MarkCharles Dec 2011 #67
Pretty sure everyone else got it, because most here do take note of who posts what. iris27 Dec 2011 #73
I can't say I read the whole thing--- digonswine Dec 2011 #17
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