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Friday, September 07, 2012

At Least He Doesn't Call them IDiots!

I don't agree with everyhting Richard Dawkins says in this video but he's got the important parts right. Notice that he doesn't stoop to calling them IDiots, like I do. He uses other words.


  1. Ugh, he repeats the whole "Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist" line he keeps using. No he didn't. The fact that an atheist had no good explanation for perceived teleology before Darwin doesn't automatically mean the theistic explanation of it is a tenable one.

    1. I agree; it's a really awful line. If anything, it could better be used in referring to Galileo than Darwin. But there have always been atheists,long before either of those scientists, and I doubt that many of them, throughout history, went around thinking, "I'm just not intellectually fulfilled!"

      Like so many things concerning Dawkins, it's completely subjective. All he is really saying is that Darwin made it possible for HIM to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.

    2. Except that Galileo was and remained a Catholic and not an atheist and these days it's atheists who essentially claim the privileges of scholastic scholars such as Galileo complained of to Kepler:

      .... what would you say of the learned here, who, replete with the pertinacity of the ass, have steadfastly refused to cast a glance through the telescope? What shall we make of all of this? Shall we laugh or shall we cry?

      Only they give it the shorthand "The Courtier's Reply" when they claim it. Of course, ironically, "The Reply" was invented to excuse Dawkins when he argued out of ignorance.

      Um, creationists have got science and, I'd say, Genesis, pretty much wrong but they've got some other things right. They can read the documentary record that's there for anyone to see.

    3. Oops, I believe that's a typo, "ass" should read "asp", only I'd have to go look it up and the sense of it is pretty much the same, either way. Though I expect the pertinacity of the Dawkinsites will prove as stubborn as that of Galileo's opponents, no matter what.

    4. As an evolutionary biologist in the forefront of the effort to keep creationism out of public policy, and given the limitations for the medium of TV, Dawkins perforce looks at atheism primarily through the lens of evolution.

      Certainly it was possible to be an atheist before Darwin but until that time it was more difficult to refute the argument for design.

      As Dawkins has put it:

      Even before Darwin's time, the illogicality was glaring: how could it ever have been a good idea to postulate, in explanation for the existence of improbable things, a designer who would have to be even more improbable? The entire argument is a logical non-starter, as David Hume realized before Darwin was born. What Hume didn't know was the supremely elegant alternative to both chance and design that Darwin was to give us. Natural selection is so stunningly powerful and elegant, it not only explains the whole of life, it raises our consciousness and boosts our confidence in science's future ability to explain everything else.

    5. But, as Wallace pointed out to Darwin, his formulation of "Natural Selection" provided many people with reasons to see teleology within evolution. Wallace, who wasn't an atheist, was rather upset with him for that seven years after the first edition of On the Origin of Species came out, as subsequent editions didn't remove it.

      Darwin, himself, told Asa Gray that his theories didn't preclude a belief in God.

      I'd argue with what Dawkins said about Hume but I'd rather not open another can of worms over him.

    6. steve wrote
      "As an evolutionary biologist in the forefront of the effort to keep creationism out of public policy..."
      yes, in other words, subjectively.
      "...and given the limitations for the medium of TV"
      understood, and yet Dawkins has used this same line in the past.
      There is nothing particularly egregious about speaking subjectively. To a certain extent, we all must. But the problem is that Dawkins has a tendency to take natural selection a bit beyond biology, and move it into a sort of universal force. For example, when talking about the origin of life, he said in an interview that when scientists ultimately do discover it, they will find that it was "Darwinian". How could he possibly know that? Why is it even a logical assumption that a mechanism that is used to explain diversification of life forms would also be a mechanism that led to the emergence of life itself? When the basic imperative of natural selection is, presumably: procreate more/hunt better/escape more efficiently - what would that have to do with the emergence of something that had no need to hunt or escape?
      What Dawkins attempts to do in all his glowing descriptions of natural selection is liken it to a universal force such as gravity. It almost seems that in some portions of The God Delusion he is trying to insert it into a Unified Field Theory.
      For all we know at this point, in this universe containing trillions of stars, 'natural selection' may only be occurring on this one rock, and for perhaps no more than a fifth of the life of the universe. Dawkins clearly has another agenda - a non-scientific one, for likening Darwin's theory to a sort of elemental force of the universe.

    7. cont.
      And what might that agenda consist of? First, and most obviously, is his admitted goal of discrediting religion. That's fine; GFI, Richard. But he has to play fair.
      Saying that the origin of life itself would almost certainly be 'Darwinian' with no evidence to support this is hardly fair. He is trying to wrap up ALL questions about life into ONE question about life and claim that they have been decidedly answered, no god necessary.
      Likewise his murkier, somewhat strange, attempt to equate natural selection with universal laws. Remember his quote, "Darwin made it possible....."
      Religious people can STILL say, okay, Richard, we'll give you natural selection. But who made the universe? How do you know God didn't create the vastness of space and just allow evolution to happen according to his prior plan?
      By extending natural selection beyond biology, he is attempting to take all 'god of the gaps' arguments and deal with them at one swipe. This is simple laziness.
      The other reason for his idolizing Darwin is probably far more provincial, and patriotic. By aligning himself, Galahad-like, with this great hero of naturalism and bolstering his status as a Giant Among Men, fellow Englishman Dawkins can add luster to his own stature, sell more books, and perhaps secure his own place in history.

    8. I think you miss Dawkins' point if you think, Darwin = idea of evolution, full stop. Darwin gave us the most complete view of the evolution of species, yes. The thing is, it was an astoundingly sophisticated and prescient view of how life actually works, and he wrote before even knowing what the biological mechanisms were. And, of course, what Darwin provided atheists was a beautiful expression of awe in the face of nature-as-such, not nature plus-some-miraculous-stuff. Darwin's "there is grandeur in this view of life..." still rings the church bells of the scientifically, rather than the spiritually minded. Darwin's contribution in this respect was unique.

    9. Kerry, I don't for a minute think that Darwin = idea of evolution, full stop. Pretty much anyone who comes to this particular site doesn't think that. But Richard Dawkins is someone who goes pretty far in that direction, as is Jerry Coyne. Their books, 'Ascending Mount Improbable' and 'Why Evolution is True', make the case for lay readers that natural selection - the molding of forms and functions according the demands and opportunities the environment presents to species - explains all the diversity of life forms, behavior (think our OWN behavior, the activities of ants, bees, beavers, etc), reproduction cycles (think cicadas and monarch butterflies, for example) and everything else connected to biology.
      Many people here think that genetic drift plays a bigger role.
      I personally believe that there is something out there that has not been fully explained yet that is playing a role.
      I agree that Darwin came up with a great idea - natural selection via random mutation - but I am not convinced it is up to the task of explaining all there is to be explained concerning biology.

  2. Q. "Which one [God] are you?"
    A. Exodus 3:14 (NKJV)
    14 And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.”

    Q. "Why did you take such great pains to conceal yourself to hide away form us"
    A. Romans 1:18 (NKJV)
    "18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

    24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

    26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

    28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality,[c] wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving,[d] unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them."


    John 3:16 (NKJV)
    "16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
    17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved."


    It pains me to be called unscientific because I don't believe in Evolution. I love science, because it helps us understand this great mystery called life which is so wonderful to be apart of. I stayed up late watching Curiosity land, I marvel at how our DNA functions and love seeing new technology come about. Real Christians, love science because it leads to truth. Evolutionists, please look deep within yourself and test your motives for rejecting God. Please don't hate God because of what other humans have done. Please don't feel like there's no hope because of the suffering you see around you. Jesus has defeated evil and will come back for those who believe in Him.

    1. Be pained, how can you be scientific and ignore evidence?

    2. You should pick up a copy of "The Christian Delusion" by John W. Loftus, will do good for you.

    3. I pretty sure Dawkins was referring to this loving god: "for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me” (Exodus 20:4-5).

      And this one: "It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter." Proverbs 25:2

      And this very loving one as well: "And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of." Genesis 22:2

  3. TwoCenter 1, most of the people who accept the reality of evolution are religious, most of those in the United States are Christians.

    If you want to overturn evolution you've got quite a job ahead of you because it is the most massively massively documented fact in science by sheer bulk and diversity of physical evidence. I don't believe for a second that science has anything near a complete understanding of it and I doubt it ever will but all of the physical evidence points to evolution, even as many of the past explanations of it are shaky.

    Just because psychology continually comes up with seriously wrong, pseudo-scientific holdings that tumble rather spectacularly -as I expect evo-psy will - it doesn't mean that peoples' minds aren't real.