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Whats your opinion of Richard Dawkins?

 
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Jun, 2010 11:05 pm
@farmerman,
farmerman wrote:
Dawkins is just hawking books for fun and profit. If that floats yer boat Thomas, go for it.

I will grant you that I prefer Dawkins's style of hawking his books over Steven J. Gould's namby-pamby non-overlapping-magisteria bullshit. Nevertheless, that isn't what floats my boat. What floats my boat is the content of the books itself. I'm glad to hear we mostly agree on content.

farmermn wrote:
Heres a paragraph from God Delusion
Quote:
The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character if all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving, control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously, malevolent bullyā€¯

... which strikes me not just as funny, but also as utterly correct. It's precisely this manner of calling a spade a spade that is so sorely missing in the lukewarm prose of Steven J. Gould.

farmerman wrote:
Hell, in our discussions herein, setanta and our departed friedn Timberlandko, did the same paragraph much more succinctly and cleverly. Tell me that this kind of **** is worth a space in some book that attempts to be a convincing argument.?

This paragraph is worth its space in some book that attempts to be a convincing argument---especially in the opening paragraphs of such a book. (Dawkins justifies each of his adjectives in the chapters that follow.) Indeed, I notice that for all your derogatory rhetoric, you yourself aren't claiming that Dawkins is saying anything false in this paragraph. As an aside, I think Timber was, and Setanta is, a good writer. If Dawkins had written a paragraph of lesser quality than one of Setanta's or Timber's, there would be no shame in that.

farmerman wrote:
NOW, having said that , I WILL REPEAT MYSELF just so you didnt miss the poiint. DAwkkins latest two books "The ANcestors Tale" and "The GBreatest Show on Earth" are actually quite good.

I didn't miss the point. We just had a mismatch on what Dawkins's two latest books are. Whatever its merits, The God Delusion (2006) is a book, and it came between An Ancestor's Tale (2003) and The Greatest Show on Earth (2009).

farmerman wrote:
Dont be angry because I dont agree with you Thomas. Im afraid, like Dawkins you will realize that Im firm on this one.

I'm not angry with you. I quite enjoy disagreements with well-informed correspondents.
Thomas
 
  5  
Reply Fri 18 Jun, 2010 11:15 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs wrote:
The plain fact is that Dawkins simply hates religion and naturally attracts others who feel the same way.

He doesn't hate it, he just thinks it's bullshit. And he's right.
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Jun, 2010 11:29 pm
@Thomas,
How does one acquire such rhetorical flair?
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Jun, 2010 11:33 pm
@jeeprs,
I'm a natural. And, thanks for the compliment.
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Jun, 2010 03:45 am
@Thomas,
Stephen Gould never really took the position that Dawkins did. He was usually tralking in terms of scientific evidence than just inflammatory rhetoric. Dawkins had given some hard times to evolution especially in the arena of public awareness. WIth Gould, people merely tried to argue his arguments and always failed, with Dawkins they took him on for his rudeness (The very thing we often see and tackle in the more aggressive Creationists posts).
Mybe Im a coward but I dont like my own minor events in talks or debates to be thwarted by someone whose rhetoric is over-the-top. I dont think that, just cause we "have the evidence and the fossils" gives us any right to sink to the level of the Creationist debators. Ive heard Dawkins in public and was often amazed that someone didnt pop him. Thats just uncalled for , it really doesnt help the understanding nor does it accomplish his goal of "Mass Conversions " of the Evangelicals.
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Jun, 2010 04:33 am
@farmerman,
Quote:
Ive heard Dawkins in public and was often amazed that someone didnt pop him.


I presume that was because he was taking advantage of the law rather than of evolutionary principles. Like a dog which barks at big dogs from inside a locked car or on a leash.

He hasn't tried a soap box in the Bogside market square has he? He prefers secure arrangements. The Kremlin walls situation. Not to be compared to Jesus.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Jun, 2010 02:46 pm
@farmerman,
farmerman wrote:
Stephen Gould never really took the position that Dawkins did. He was usually tralking in terms of scientific evidence than just inflammatory rhetoric.

Oh, come on. Steven J. Gould's non-overlapping-magisteria framework was a thinly veiled political device to secure the support of moderate Christians for his campaign against creationism. There is no scientific evidence to support it whatsoever.

Indeed, it's almost certainly false. Hypothetically, suppose that forensic archeologists were to examine the Jerusalem tomb in which Jesus is alleged to be buried. Suppose they found DNA evidence that the man in that tomb had no biological father---because he was born by a virgin. (As you know, virgin births are no big deal elsewhere in the animal kingdom, so we know what such DNA would look like.)

How many Christian theologians do you think would dismiss it? "We don't care. Wrong magisterium. It's irrelevant whether Jesus was born of a virgin or not!" The answer is they wouldn't. Even Gould's moderate Christian allies would be thrilled to embrace scientific evidence in their field, if only it confirmed Christian theology for a change. Granted, they currently are happy with Gould's separate-but-equal paradigm for the dealings between theology and science. But that's for one reason only: Religion has lost every conflict with science that it ever had. Better to pretend there are no further conflicts than to risk yet another embarrassing knockout.

farmerman wrote:
Dawkins had given some hard times to evolution especially in the arena of public awareness.

1) No public intellectual has the power to give hard times to evolution. Evolution happens, whether the American public is aware of it or not.

2) In my opinion, no public intellectuals should ever self-censor what they write because it's inconvenient for a political cause---not even for a good political cause such as the teaching of evolution in school.

farmerman wrote:
Thats just uncalled for , it really doesnt help the understanding nor does it accomplish his goal of "Mass Conversions " of the Evangelicals.

But "mass conversions of the Evangelicals" were never Dawkins's goal. He has repeatedly stated that his goal is to help Atheists come out of the closet. And my impression is that on this goal, he succeeded.
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Jun, 2010 03:31 pm
@Thomas,
Quote:
Religion has lost every conflict with science that it ever had.


It won't lose this one. And it's the big one. Science has little left to give us except sparky flavours of the month. It's arid and sterile and alienating. It's boring.

Quote:
1) No public intellectual has the power to give hard times to evolution. Evolution happens, whether the American public is aware of it or not.


But fm was using the word as shorthand for the activities which surround "evolution". That evolution happens is a different sense of the word. Evolution in the latter sense might be said to have shown that choices of religion and the ceremonials associated with it are similar to those blind choices birds make in having different plumages. Or choices sport's administrators make in choosing their rules. Of course evolution happens. It happens for screw top bottles.

Quote:
2) In my opinion, no public intellectuals should ever self-censor what they write because it's inconvenient for a political cause---not even for a good political cause such as the teaching of evolution in school.


I have reason to think Thomas has me on Ignore. One might presume he has everything else on Ignore that bothers his position enough or is inconvenient for his cause which I guess is emotional rather than political. Hence he self-censors his own self. Hence what he writes has been censored due to him having limited the inputs which are the only source of what he writes.

Quote:

But "mass conversions of the Evangelicals" were never Dawkins's goal. He has repeatedly stated that his goal is to help Atheists come out of the closet. And my impression is that on this goal, he succeeded.


But my theory is that it is not atheists who Dawkins ables to come out of the closet but those who wish to behave in a way the Christian religion disapproves of. And such a theory should be challenged or accepted. To Ignore it is fatuous. Science doesn't Ignore somebody's theory. It challenges it. Anything else is unscientific.

Simply list the behaviours the Christian religion disapproves of and guess at the number of people who have a deep personal interest in undermining religion. Dawkins seeks to undermine religion. He leads a party. Most of them don't give a damn whether they are atheists or not.
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Jun, 2010 07:03 pm
@Thomas,
You are guilty of taking sides in the "Darwin Wars" popularized by the writings of critique between Gould and DAwkins. I dont think that either position has been well demonstrated.
I, for one, dont buy the "gene centered" evolution of Dawkins . Nor do I buy Gould and Lewontins "Non adapyive spandrels bullshit". I am always amazed at adptive radiation among common ancestral types exposed to many different environments. In many cases , both DAwkins and Gould seem to ignore the species that have gone extinct (In the process of evolcing an adaptive solution to a new environment). For example, after the KT boundary, e know that there were already 7 different groups of mammalian orders that were adapting to everal different conditions. Of these , after the Paleocene, we were down to 4 and then into the Eocene we are down to the three we know today.
ALL of the species within 2 of these orders (marsups and placents)
have all the same "fossil" genes that are just turned off by virtue of some environmental adaptation (no doubt). So , in that respect, Goulds "Genes are merely the bookkeepers of evolution" makes the most sense. However, Gould believed in his "spandrels and punctuated equilibrium " till his death .

Taking sides gets to be like "rooting for a hometeam". I really dont want any part of it because its the arguments that have the merit (or none).
WHen Dawkins left the scientific realm as an ethologist and became a Pop cuulture icon, he left me cold. If you like his arguemnts and they give you some sort of comfort , fine. My needs are different. Im often left with having to argue a point of religion with a kid in 251 stratigraphy because some thing that DAwkins wrote or spoke on TV got this kids ire up.
Critical thinking is only valid when the kids understand the entire spectrum of a topic including the embarrasing stuff and the material that some English Hoynm is using to make some point that is good for his TV face.

I still do like Dawkins latest book and "The ANcestors Tale" as good pieces of natural history and not some diatribe against a particular religious sect that he finds idiotic.

I think that of someone is parading in public as an intellectual, he should get his bones from the strength of his arguments, not from tearing down what he declares as fairy tales.

When he does that, hes no longer an objective scientist (He was a noted ethologist at one time), hes just a "stand-up filosopher"
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Jun, 2010 03:33 am
@farmerman,
Quote:
I really dont want any part of it because its the arguments that have the merit (or none).


What about the argument that a species, like a plant, a culture, a cosmos and a man, has a lifespan. A birth, a growth, a flowering and a decay and death.

Spengler and Goethe. According to Spengler the Civilisation phase comes from the growth of cities and their power over the countryside (Flyover states) and represents the latter stages of a Culture and is characterised by intellectualism, atheism, journalism and socialism.

See The Decline of the West.
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Jun, 2010 05:34 am
@spendius,
Quote:
What about the argument that a species, like a plant, a culture, a cosmos and a man, has a lifespan. A birth, a growth, a flowering and a decay and death.


This sounds like the remarkeable theory of the brontosaurus , which was first verbalized by Dr Ann Elk. It was her theory alone, and she thought of it.
spendius
 
  -1  
Reply Sun 20 Jun, 2010 06:07 am
@farmerman,
How very scientific fm. Are you trying to promote smoking by associating it with the cutting edge of modern wit aka the Black Hole of humour.

Obviously, I understand your reluctance to comment on the theory I mentioned. I don't suppose it is ever discussed in any of your high-powered scientific mutual back-scratching sessions. Hence the second-hand brain fart.
0 Replies
 
electronicmail
 
  1  
Reply Mon 21 Jun, 2010 09:12 am
@farmerman,
Hi are you a geologist? Can you help with some background here please http://able2know.org/topic/144532-9#post-4182550
0 Replies
 
qwertyportne
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Jun, 2010 10:39 am
@ebrown p,
ebrown p wrote:
...because the word "atheist" has (thanks to people like Dawkins) come to mean anti-religion, I refuse to call myself atheist.


I agree. That label only says what a person is NOT but ignores all the other things he or she IS. Some things need to be opposed, and perhaps religion, or at least some of its nastier developments, is one of them, but in my opinion there is more peace and fulfillment in finding something to be FOR than in beating the bushes for something to be AGAINST...

--Bill
0 Replies
 
qwertyportne
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Jun, 2010 10:44 am
@fresco,
fresco wrote:
I don't think music or poetry have directly incited or justified war. Smile


Fresco, you apparently have never been in a coffee shop during a slam... Smile
Eorl
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Jun, 2010 07:54 pm
@qwertyportne,
qwertyportne wrote:

fresco wrote:
I don't think music or poetry have directly incited or justified war. Smile


Fresco, you apparently have never been in a coffee shop during a slam... Smile


or attended a Nazi Youth rally
0 Replies
 
Jason Powell
 
  1  
Reply Sun 27 Jun, 2010 03:31 pm
@Thomas,
Dawkins's ideas on the meme are an appalling sort of writing. These ideas of the mind as a 'meme machine' are like some hocus pocus a child will make up so that they can seem to be thinking new things. Awful.
Apart from these memes, which somebody else on this thread has already mentioned in relation to religion as a sort of virus (something laughable), what else has he ever done besides a sort of compendium of GCSE/A Level biology?

In my view he is himself a sort of minister; one day a special guilt will form in him and he will have a conversion. He does not tell the truth in his books (I mean, he lies so as to make his point), so he would never tell you if faith increased in him.
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Sun 27 Jun, 2010 04:20 pm
@Jason Powell,
hi Jason Powell - only just met you and already I like you! Very Happy
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Sun 27 Jun, 2010 04:34 pm
@Jason Powell,
Jason Powell wrote:
Dawkins's ideas on the meme are an appalling sort of writing.

That's a matter of taste, which can't really be argued rationally. Personally, I like the way he writes. Indeed he's one of my role models for precise writing about complex scientific fields, yet doing it in plain English.

Jason Powell wrote:
Apart from these memes, which somebody else on this thread has already mentioned in relation to religion as a sort of virus (something laughable),

Again, I disagree. His analogy---that religion relates to the human brain as a computer virus relates to a computer---is apt.

Jason Powell wrote:
what else has he ever done besides a sort of compendium of GCSE/A Level biology?

Dawkins is a zoologist, more precisely an ethologist. He has published widely in it in professional journals---including over five in Science and Nature, which by common assent make up the top of the food chain for scientific articles. Your insinuation that Dawkins is a crank flies in the face of reality. For details, see Wikipedia's list of Dawkins's publications, under "academic papers".

Jason Powell wrote:
In my view he is himself a sort of minister; one day a special guilt will form in him and he will have a conversion. He does not tell the truth in his books (I mean, he lies so as to make his point), so he would never tell you if faith increased in him.

That's a lot of rhetoric, backed up with no evidence at all. Which specific lies are you alleging that Dawkins has told?
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Sun 27 Jun, 2010 05:03 pm
@Thomas,
Quote:
That's a matter of taste, which can't really be argued rationally. Personally, I like the way he writes. Indeed he's one of my role models for precise writing about complex scientific fields, yet doing it in plain English.


What a neat way of basking in self praise without anybody under the age of 5 noticing. Complex scientific fields my arse. And as for plain English your's is as plain as it gets Thomas.

Quote:
His analogy---that religion relates to the human brain as a computer virus relates to a computer---is apt.


What a load of bollocks. It's the opposite of apt. (see Roget). You need to really believe that your readers are as thick as two short planks to publish shite of that nature.

Quote:
Which specific lies are you alleging that Dawkins has told?


That last one will do for a start. The guy's a pillock. He looks like a pillock, he walks like a pillock, he talks like a pillock and I daresay he smells like one.
0 Replies
 
 

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