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Dawkins on Evolution

 
 
richrf
 
Reply Sun 13 Sep, 2009 07:30 am
Hi all,

Richard Dawkins ran a piece in the Weekend Wall Street Journal, here is some of my critique on the article. His quotes are in italics.

1) He begins the article with: Evolution is the universe's greatest work.

This is the crux of his whole article. All he has done is substituted the word Universe for God. That is basically it. So you don't have to read any further if this doesn't interest you.

2) What is so special about life? It never violates the laws of physics.

Well, that is because there is no law of physics for life.

3) But although life never violates physics, it pushes them into unexpected avenues that stagger the imagination.

So, life keeps evolving in ways that stagger the imagination. How? Why? What is the impetus? Dawkins doesn't care. Life is doing it on its own. The Universe (God) is doing it.

4) never a pebble that crawled like a beetle seeking a mate, never a grain that swam like a water flea.

So whatever Dawkins hasn't view, never happened. Dawkins is presenting himself as omniscient. He does remark earlier that it is also very unlikely that there isn't alien life. He is just using opinion and making it fact.

5) Never once are the laws of physics violated, yet life emerges into uncharted territory.

This is because the laws of physics are constantly being modified in order to match observed results. E.g. Newtons laws were modified to match the orbit of mercury. Relativity made light a constant in all frames of references. But this is all beside the point. Physics does not pretend to have a law for life, and Dawkins pretends it does.

6) Darwinian evolution, the nonrandom survival of randomly varying coded information.

Dawkins offers no evidence that survival is nonrandom, he just supposes so because everything that survived, survived. He then goes on to speculate that evolution is randomly varying coded information. How does he arrive at the fact that evolution is the result of random information? He does not say. He doesn't even suggest that it may possibly be the other way around because his own biases (nor does the money he makes from his books) doesn't allow him to entertain the thought.

7) But, however god-like the aliens might seem, they would not be gods, and for one very important reasons. They did not create the universe; it created them, just as it created us.

Dawkins substitutes Universe for God again. Sounds to me like his God is Einstein's and Spinoza's God. He believes in a creator but the creator is everything.

The rest of the article is redundant. Dawkins has nothing new to offer that Spinoza hasn't already said before, but he appears to have found a niche for his books.

Rich
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Khethil
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Sep, 2009 07:39 am
@richrf,
Do you have a link for that article or was it not on the web? I'd be very interested to read if its electronically available.
richrf
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Sep, 2009 07:43 am
@Khethil,
Khethil;89978 wrote:
Do you have a link for that article or was it not on the web? I'd be very interested to read if its electronically available.


These are the two articles. Dawkins' piece is half way down. I didn't read the companion piece yet, which appears first in the online version.

WSJ Online Article on Man vs. God

Rich
0 Replies
 
richrf
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Sep, 2009 10:13 am
@richrf,
I just read the other essay that appeared alongside Dawkins' essay. Karen Armstrong makes two key points:

1) If biblical text contradicted reputable science, it mus be interpreted allegroically. This remained standard practice in the West until the 17th century, when in an effort to emulate the exact scientific method, Christians began to read scripture with a literalness that is without parallel in religious history.

2) Most cultures believed that there were two recognized ways of arriving at truth. The greeks called them mythos and logos. BOth were essential and neither was superior. to the other .. Logos ("reason") was the pragmatic mode of thought that enabled us to function effectively in the world ... but it did not assuage human grief or find ultimate meaning in life's struggle. Fo that people turned to mythos, stories that made no pretensions to historical accuracy but should rather be seen as an early form of psychology,; if translated into retual or ethical action, a good myth showed you how to cope with mortality, discover and inner source of strength, and endure pain an sorrow with serenity.

I think Armstrong makes some good, creative points about the nature of human spiritual evolution through the ages.

Rich
rhinogrey
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Sep, 2009 12:20 pm
@richrf,
richrf;90006 wrote:
1) If biblical text contradicted reputable science, it mus be interpreted allegroically. This remained standard practice in the West until the 17th century, when in an effort to emulate the exact scientific method, Christians began to read scripture with a literalness that is without parallel in religious history.

This is telling. If we on the whole could read the biblical scriptures as mythological texts with beautiful messages about cosmogony, ethics, etc., then I think we could gain from its insights without being so dogmatic about it. This literalism obviously came from a power-struggle between the Priests who wanted to hoard spiritual knowledge as a source of power.


I've always found Dawkins to be a hypocrite, basically kneeling at the altar of science and ruthlessly condemning those who would dare find faith in a different sort of divinity.

Quote:
2) Most cultures believed that there were two recognized ways of arriving at truth. The greeks called them mythos and logos. BOth were essential and neither was superior. to the other .. Logos ("reason") was the pragmatic mode of thought that enabled us to function effectively in the world ... but it did not assuage human grief or find ultimate meaning in life's struggle. Fo that people turned to mythos, stories that made no pretensions to historical accuracy but should rather be seen as an early form of psychology,; if translated into retual or ethical action, a good myth showed you how to cope with mortality, discover and inner source of strength, and endure pain an sorrow with serenity.


And this is exactly what it stems from. We in the West take our intellectual traditions from the Greeks (which of course had influences from other Eastern cultures), but for some reason ignore the emphasis the Greeks placed on, shall we say, non-rational modes of thought/experience. For some reason we have filtered out that Dionysian aspect of the Greek mind from our institutional worldview. Dawkins is a public intellectual of great stature in the Academy, and it is important for the System that these positions are filled with those whose views are politically correct and will help further the interests of a techno-industrial civilization on the verge of collapse.
Zetetic11235
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Sep, 2009 01:11 pm
@richrf,
Here are my thoughts on your critique. I think you may overcomplicate what is going on, some of his quotes are really just tautologies (and so it is kind of insane that he would state what he does as if it were something novel).

richrf;89975 wrote:
Hi all,

Richard Dawkins ran a piece in the Weekend Wall Street Journal, here is some of my critique on the article. His quotes are in italics.

1) He begins the article with: Evolution is the universe's greatest work.

This is the crux of his whole article. All he has done is substituted the word Universe for God. That is basically it. So you don't have to read any further if this doesn't interest you.

Clearly figurative and somewhat odd. Evolution is part of the Universe. I assume he is saying that life is the finest and most interesting phenomena in the known universe. The fact remains that he is saying this as though it were a fact rather than an opinion.

richrf;89975 wrote:
2) What is so special about life? It never violates the laws of physics.

Well, that is because there is no law of physics for life.


I'm not sure I get what you mean. As far as Dawkins goes: There are no real laws of physics period. There are only good estimates based on what we have seen in the past. If we think that something can 'violate the laws of physics' it is because we have forgotten that the 'laws'of physics are supposed to reflect what happens, if something happens that contradicts the 'laws' that means that the 'laws' need to be revised and rethought.

In conclusion, to say that 'life does not violate the laws of physics' is the same as saying 'life is logically possible'. Now, I do think it a possibility (and quite probable) that Dawkins meant that life follows from the current picture of physics. If this is the case, that quote is taken out of context. In anycase, it doesn't make life any more special than rainbows or the sun or a piece of concrete for that matter.


richrf;89975 wrote:
3) But although life never violates physics, it pushes them into unexpected avenues that stagger the imagination.

So, life keeps evolving in ways that stagger the imagination. How? Why? What is the impetus? Dawkins doesn't care. Life is doing it on its own. The Universe (God) is doing it.


Saying the 'universe is doing it' really just means that 'it is happening'. It is a pointless statment to make. I'm sure Dawkins does care since he has published a number of research papers on the subject of evolution that are not strictly mumbo jumbo.

richrf;89975 wrote:
4) never a pebble that crawled like a beetle seeking a mate, never a grain that swam like a water flea.

So whatever Dawkins hasn't view, never happened. Dawkins is presenting himself as omniscient. He does remark earlier that it is also very unlikely that there isn't alien life. He is just using opinion and making it fact.


Your point is kind of strained here Rich. I think he is simply using a literary technique to express the wonder with which he views the phenomena of life rather than trying to assert the impossibility of a rock rolling along a beach of its own accord.

richrf;89975 wrote:
5) Never once are the laws of physics violated, yet life emerges into uncharted territory.

This is because the laws of physics are constantly being modified in order to match observed results. E.g. Newtons laws were modified to match the orbit of mercury. Relativity made light a constant in all frames of references. But this is all beside the point. Physics does not pretend to have a law for life, and Dawkins pretends it does.


Good point, though I'm not sure about the last sentence. Where does Dawkins assert that physics has a law for life? He seems to just be saying that life is consitent with current physics.

richrf;89975 wrote:
6) Darwinian evolution, the nonrandom survival of randomly varying coded information.

Dawkins offers no evidence that survival is nonrandom, he just supposes so because everything that survived, survived. He then goes on to speculate that evolution is randomly varying coded information. How does he arrive at the fact that evolution is the result of random information? He does not say. He doesn't even suggest that it may possibly be the other way around because his own biases (nor does the money he makes from his books) doesn't allow him to entertain the thought.

Well, nonrandom in the sense that on average it is likely that species more suited to their environment will outlive species that are not as well suited. Still, there can certainly be mitigating factors like comets (and alien intervention if you are into that kind of speculation)

richrf;89975 wrote:
7) But, however god-like the aliens might seem, they would not be gods, and for one very important reasons. They did not create the universe; it created them, just as it created us.

Dawkins substitutes Universe for God again. Sounds to me like his God is Einstein's and Spinoza's God. He believes in a creator but the creator is everything.
Rich


He believes that everything has a mechanism that brings it into being and defines the universe as the totality of all things. Thus his conclusion is logically necessary given his premises. There is a bit of hand waving in his premises.
Dave Allen
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Sep, 2009 02:41 pm
@richrf,
richrf;90006 wrote:
("reason") was the pragmatic mode of thought that enabled us to function effectively in the world ... but it did not assuage human grief or find ultimate meaning in life's struggle.

So whatever Armstrong hasn't viewed, never happened! Armstrong is presenting herself as omniscient! She is just using opinion and making it fact!
LWSleeth
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Sep, 2009 04:29 pm
@richrf,
richrf;89975 wrote:
3) But although life never violates physics, it pushes them into unexpected avenues that stagger the imagination.

So, life keeps evolving in ways that stagger the imagination. How? Why? What is the impetus? Dawkins doesn't care. Life is doing it on its own. The Universe (God) is doing it.


[SIZE="3"]If you study Dawkins' reasonings in his many papers and books, they are packed with logic fallacies. But here his point would be merely irrelevant if it were true, which it isn't. It is irrelevant because there is no reason why God might not be constrained by physical laws, laws that a creator may have set up to work within in the first place. So just because the laws of physicalness are always obeyed doesn't mean God hasn't been at work.

However, it has not been demonstrated that the laws of physicalness aren't violated with life because it has never been demonstrated that physicalness can self-organize in ways that would produce the quality of organization found in living systems.

Many laypersons following this debate know, and it is admitted by candid scientists, that the potentials of self-organizing chemistry seem highly limited, and that randomness cannot be shown to be behind the series of genetic changes needed for organ systems . . .all in all, I'd say that amounts to physicalness behaving outside the boundaries of what physics has (so far) been shown capable of.[/SIZE]
richrf
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Sep, 2009 05:41 pm
@rhinogrey,
rhinogrey;90013 wrote:
This literalism obviously came from a power-struggle between the Priests who wanted to hoard spiritual knowledge as a source of power.


Yes, I agree. In the movie, All the President's Men (about the Nixon White House), the famous phrase was follow the money.


rhinogrey;90013 wrote:
I've always found Dawkins to be a hypocrite, basically kneeling at the altar of science and ruthlessly condemning those who would dare find faith in a different sort of divinity.


I was surprised that he had so little to say. I thought a person who has spent his life looking into this question might have come up with something more telling, revealing, or creative. Instead, he simply says that the Universe created evolution. Nothing much there for someone who is apparently doing quite well selling this idea.

rhinogrey;90013 wrote:
And this is exactly what it stems from. We in the West take our intellectual traditions from the Greeks (which of course had influences from other Eastern cultures), but for some reason ignore the emphasis the Greeks placed on, shall we say, non-rational modes of thought/experience.


This thought was new to me, so I was interested in reading it.

rhinogrey;90013 wrote:
For some reason we have filtered out that Dionysian aspect of the Greek mind from our institutional worldview.


Maybe it will find its way back in again. I think it would be fabulous study.

rhinogrey;90013 wrote:
Dawkins is a public intellectual of great stature in the Academy, and it is important for the System that these positions are filled with those whose views are politically correct and will help further the interests of a techno-industrial civilization on the verge of collapse.


It seems so. When I read this essay my first thought was: Is that it????

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me. Enjoyed reading it.

Rich
0 Replies
 
ahmedjbh
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Sep, 2009 06:17 pm
@richrf,
I agree with the general pattern of thought here.

However I think what Dawkins is trying to do, is say that theists have no "right" to say that evolution is God driven, he is just saying, that there is a theory its just universe driven, its just the natural way of the universe, just like gravity or magnetism.

It follows the same line of thought as his FSM idea, once you prove there is a God, how do you think link it to your version of God? why is it not the FSM or simply the universe?

I do not agree with him, I have my own reasons for that, I would just like to see what you guys have to say.
Mr Fight the Power
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Sep, 2009 08:21 pm
@ahmedjbh,
The important thing is that genetic variation appears to be random. Whether it is actually random or not, all that matters is how it appears.

The fact that we cannot disprove a guiding consciousness does nothing to prove that there actually is one.

At best, your argument here is that there is no evidence either way. This is a perfectly fine argument, I am an agnostic myself. But you are still in the wrong for throwing an entity in without any meaningful basis.

Quote:
1) If biblical text contradicted reputable science, it mus be interpreted allegroically.


You ooze with hypocrisy.
pagan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Sep, 2009 08:47 pm
@ahmedjbh,
i read the god delusion. More like the delusion of "look at me i am a philosopher". Very poor in places.

Dawkins is an entertainer and a very good one. His programmes on topic of evolution are excellent, but his thoughts off topic are just provocation. His tricks are cheap when he ridicules any form of spirituality. Most often bringing forward someone who is not very clued up on science, and then saying "look at this idiot".... "this is the correct answer" and then regurgitates his simplistic biological determinism.

I don't take him seriously.
richrf
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Sep, 2009 09:07 pm
@Zetetic11235,
Zetetic11235;90020 wrote:
some of his quotes are really just tautologies (and so it is kind of insane that he would state what he does as if it were something novel).


I would agree. I was generally underwhelmed. I thought that someone who spent all this time on a subject would come up with something a bit more substantial. It just convinces me that anyone can make good money by preaching to the choir, if it is done right.

Zetetic11235;90020 wrote:
Clearly figurative and somewhat odd. Evolution is part of the Universe. I assume he is saying that life is the finest and most interesting phenomena in the known universe. The fact remains that he is saying this as though it were a fact rather than an opinion.


That was my feeling. And he just kept repeating the same theme throughout the article. One iteration would have been enough for me. Maybe if he wrote a poem about how beautiful is the universe, I would have found it more interesting.

Zetetic11235;90020 wrote:
I'm not sure I get what you mean. As far as Dawkins goes: There are no real laws of physics period.


It that is what he is saying, I missed it. He kept repeating that no one has ever seen the laws of physics disobeyed. Its no big deal. He doesn't make much of an argument now matter what he is saying.

Zetetic11235;90020 wrote:
There are only good estimates based on what we have seen in the past. If we think that something can 'violate the laws of physics' it is because we have forgotten that the 'laws'of physics are supposed to reflect what happens, if something happens that contradicts the 'laws' that means that the 'laws' need to be revised and rethought.


Yes, I agree you. So, I don't know what he is saying. But, I also would go a bit further. Most of what happens in a person's life has nothing to do with the laws of physics. For, example, there is no law that says who I like and who I want to date, or what may or may not happen in our relationship.

Zetetic11235;90020 wrote:
In anycase, it doesn't make life any more special than rainbows or the sun or a piece of concrete for that matter.


Probably so. But how does he make a living with such bland ideas? That is what I would like to know.

Zetetic11235;90020 wrote:
Saying the 'universe is doing it' really just means that 'it is happening'. It is a pointless statment to make.


I thought so. But he said a little more than this. He said that evolution was the universe's greatest work. Now, is that any different than saying that evolution is God's greatest work?

Zetetic11235;90020 wrote:
Your point is kind of strained here Rich. I think he is simply using a literary technique to express the wonder with which he views the phenomena of life rather than trying to assert the impossibility of a rock rolling along a beach of its own accord.


You might be right. Maybe an ode to the universe would have been more entertaining.

Zetetic11235;90020 wrote:
Good point, though I'm not sure about the last sentence. Where does Dawkins assert that physics has a law for life? He seems to just be saying that life is consitent with current physics.


My point is that physics really doesn't have much to say about life. I can list innumerable things that happen in life that physics has nothing to say. And I don't think that anyone has ever studies whether life obeys the Theory of Relativity or Quantum Mechanics. How could one?

Zetetic11235;90020 wrote:
Well, nonrandom in the sense that on average it is likely that species more suited to their environment will outlive species that are not as well suited. Still, there can certainly be mitigating factors like comets (and alien intervention if you are into that kind of speculation)


I see people all the time that are big, small, thin, meek, thoughtful, romantic, antagonistic, loyal, liars. All kinds of people. And I see all kinds of species. I think it is a stretch to say that each one of these people were somehow the result of being most suited to their environment and only the environment. My guess is that there are innumerable reasons. Maybe the ability to cheat or maybe the ability to make someone smile? It is here, where I was looking for something more substantial other than a statement which Dawkins presents as a fact, as if the reader is suppose to lay down and accept it without any thoughtfulness.

Zetetic11235;90020 wrote:
He believes that everything has a mechanism that brings it into being and defines the universe as the totality of all things. Thus his conclusion is logically necessary given his premises. There is a bit of hand waving in his premises.


Yes, I agree. He states his premise and then restates it as a conclusion. Well, if you accept the premise then the conclusion is automatic since they are the same. Nice job. But I would be embarrassed to present this essay as the product of years upon years of work. I think a six grader could do the same - only his teacher would probably tell him that you can't use your premise as your conclusion.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Rich
0 Replies
 
LWSleeth
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Sep, 2009 09:10 pm
@Mr Fight the Power,
Mr. Fight the Power;90069 wrote:
The important thing is that genetic variation appears to be random. Whether it is actually random or not, all that matters is how it appears.


Except, that isn't true at all. At one time we believed the universe revolved around Earth, that the Earth was flat, that the universe was static, and then when we realized it was expanding, believed it was expanding at a constant rate when actually the rate of expansion was increasing . . . all that from "appearances." If those examples aren't enough I could provide a thousand more instances where we've judged incorrectly on appearance; so we have more than enough experience to tell us that appearances are not to be trusted.

Furthermore, randomness is being given one hell of a lot of faith given that randomness is a known cause of disorder (not order). Why else do we plan when we want success with complex projects? If randomness were such an able partner in physical self-organization, then why don't we leave all our projects to random circumstance?

Even a single cell is a complex production factory, and an entire organism is immensely more complex and capable. To assume randomness can be trusted as an evolutive factor, as though it has a proven history of dependability in complex organizing efforts, is anti-empirical (since science requires the observation of hypotheses). No, randomness is assumed, not because experience tells us it can be trusted to help evolve, but merely because it allows a physicalistic theory.


Mr. Fight the Power;90069 wrote:
The fact that we cannot disprove a guiding consciousness does nothing to prove that there actually is one.


Of course! But isn't that true of randomness too? Why is it with so-called "objective" evolutionists that randomness can be assumed true if no one can disprove it's what decides genetic change, while a conscious universe hypothesis is more likely to be dismissed out of hand?


Mr. Fight the Power;90069 wrote:
At best, your argument here is that there is no evidence either way. This is a perfectly fine argument, I am an agnostic myself. But you are still in the wrong for throwing an entity in without any meaningful basis.


There is a basis, and that is consciousness is the only known force in the universe that behaves evolutively, and we are looking for something that might account for the progressive organizing found behind the evolution of life. I don't know about you, but I am an obsessive evolver, as most healthy consciousnesses are. It isn't that far fetched that we are descended from a more basic field that has been part of the universe from the start.

And there are, after all, several thousand years of people reporting they have experienced a conscious universe, and experience is the basis of empiricism.

I think to seriously consider if the universe might be within some sort of conscious field, religion has to be left out of modeling such a conscious field. Even if someone in religion has experienced the greater field of consciousness, their expressions about it tend to be poetic or devotional, and very seldom made with the intent of realistically modeling what they were experiencing (or how the universe might work in conjunction with it).
richrf
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Sep, 2009 09:22 pm
@Dave Allen,
Dave Allen;90036 wrote:
So whatever Armstrong hasn't viewed, never happened! Armstrong is presenting herself as omniscient! She is just using opinion and making it fact!


I am always uncomfortable stating a belief as a fact, which is why I usually preface my beliefs by clearly saying that I believe .... But then I get told that I should say I believe, so I don't know.

In any case, I think she is stating a belief that something more is needed to assuage grief in life, and people turn to mythos for this help. Logos and Mythos are reasonable concepts to explore, but I do agree, that these are all beliefs on her part.

Rich
prothero
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Sep, 2009 09:56 pm
@richrf,
It is necessary to engage in speculative philosophy or metaphysical assumption to construct an "adequate" worldview.
One should not abandon reaosn, ignore fact (science) or ignore experience in the construction of a worldview but it is necessary to go beyond what is or can be "known".
The other option is to just call it all a "mystery" and leave it at that.
The task of philosophy is to offer a tenative explanation for "total reality"and a guide to lving well.
0 Replies
 
Kielicious
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Sep, 2009 10:13 pm
@pagan,
pagan;90073 wrote:
i read the god delusion. More like the delusion of "look at me i am a philosopher". Very poor in places.



I agree. His 'philosophy' is more introductory than anything, but his knowledge of biology is unparalleled. I always thought Dawkins was overrated and after reading his book The God Delusion my conclusions were validated.

BTW this thread makes me laugh
0 Replies
 
Mr Fight the Power
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Sep, 2009 05:42 am
@LWSleeth,
Sleeth,

First off, genetic mutation is random in that it does not appear to have any direction to it. The randomness of mutation has been confirmed experimentally, as mutations have been shown to be just as likely to be useless or harmful as they are to be useful.

We can control for certain negative environmental factors, and we can observe that the mutation does not respond to the negative environmental factors. Therefore we say it is random because we can derive no meaning or reason to it.

I don't know the context of the quote from Dawkins, but I don't think any scientist would propose that we have proven mutation to be completely random and not directed by some supreme consciousness. Something like is nonfalsifiable and outside the realm of science. I believe the qualifier "as far as we can tell" would be used more often than not.

So randomness is not just some crazy assumption. It is what we can see in our experiments. We cannot see any direction or purpose to mutation. We can control all environmental factors and none of them influence the utility of mutations (although they may influence the frequency of mutations). To us, mutation is random.

Quote:
There is a basis, and that is consciousness is the only known force in the universe that behaves evolutively, and we are looking for something that might account for the progressive organizing found behind the evolution of life. I don't know about you, but I am an obsessive evolver, as most healthy consciousnesses are. It isn't that far fetched that we are descended from a more basic field that has been part of the universe from the start.


This is convoluted. You assume there is a progressive organization which is what you are trying to prove, and you equating definitions of "evolve".

Quote:
And there are, after all, several thousand years of people reporting they have experienced a conscious universe, and experience is the basis of empiricism.


There are several thousands of years of people reporting they have inferred a conscious universe, and most of their inferences are conflicting and not exactly the result of controlled observation.

If you can tell me how to experience a conscious universe, do so, and I will begin my experiments. Otherwise I will continue to accept that these are biased inferences.

Quote:
I think to seriously consider if the universe might be within some sort of conscious field, religion has to be left out of modeling such a conscious field. Even if someone in religion has experienced the greater field of consciousness, their expressions about it tend to be poetic or devotional, and very seldom made with the intent of realistically modeling what they were experiencing (or how the universe might work in conjunction with it).


Well this much is very true. There is no room for dogmatism.
0 Replies
 
richrf
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Sep, 2009 07:42 am
@LWSleeth,
[QUOTE=LWSleeth;90047] So just because the laws of physicalness are always obeyed doesn't mean God hasn't been at work.[/QUOTE]

I agree. Dawkins doesn't seem to have thought anything through. Complete non-sequitors. I have no idea what are his arguments. He seems to be writing a poem about the beauty of the universe and physics.

Rich

---------- Post added 09-14-2009 at 08:49 AM ----------

ahmedjbh;90058 wrote:
However I think what Dawkins is trying to do, is say that theists have no "right" to say that evolution is God driven, he is just saying, that there is a theory its just universe driven, its just the natural way of the universe, just like gravity or magnetism.


If all he is doing is replacing the word God with the word Universe, then that is OK. But he seems to be saying that there is some weight of science behind his approach, by mashing some science ideas together with his poetic ideas about how evolution is created by the Universe. It is really nothing different than Creationist Science, he is just exchanging one word for another. I would be happier if he just said, that he has no idea how the universe began or how we got to where we are, but here is my guess.

ahmedjbh;90058 wrote:
It follows the same line of thought as his FSM idea, once you prove there is a God, how do you think link it to your version of God? why is it not the FSM or simply the universe?


Armstrong addresses this in her companion essay. There seems to be something within all cultures that calls for a greater feeling of spirituality than is addressed by science alone. For some, including myself, science is just a small part of life, not life in total. For some reason, scientists like Dawkins want to limit ideas to that part of life that they feel comfortable in. I feel no need for such artificial limitations.

ahmedjbh;90058 wrote:
I do not agree with him, I have my own reasons for that, I would just like to see what you guys have to say.


Thanks for your thoughts.

Rich

---------- Post added 09-14-2009 at 08:52 AM ----------

Mr. Fight the Power;90069 wrote:
At best, your argument here is that there is no evidence either way.


Yes. And I think that is a reasonable portrayal of the situation, and people should just figure out for themselves how they wish to view the nature of life.

Rich

---------- Post added 09-14-2009 at 08:59 AM ----------

prothero;90082 wrote:
It is necessary to engage in speculative philosophy or metaphysical assumption to construct an "adequate" worldview.


No reason not to, since that is what everyone is doing any way. One can take the view that one will just not think about it, but I find this approach untenable as I grow older. Most people, sooner or later start speculating about the origin and nature of life. One good speculation like Dawkins' is as good as another.

prothero;90082 wrote:
One should not abandon reaosn, ignore fact (science) or ignore experience in the construction of a worldview but it is necessary to go beyond what is or can be "known".


I guess the point of my critique of Dawkins' is where is the reason? He begins by talking about the Evolution being created by the Universe. This sounds a lot like Genesis to me. Then he goes on with a series of non-sequitors about randomness and the laws of physics and Life. And then he writes a beauty ode to the beauty of the universe. He may make for a nice poem, but for me it is just another tale.

prothero;90082 wrote:
The other option is to just call it all a "mystery" and leave it at that. The task of philosophy is to offer a tenative explanation for "total reality"and a guide to lving well.


Certainly an option. But I have found it generally untenable. I do not know of anyone my age, who at least has not formed some personal thoughts about Life and its meaning.

Thanks for your comments.

Rich
0 Replies
 
Dave Allen
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Sep, 2009 08:00 am
@richrf,
richrf;90079 wrote:
I am always uncomfortable stating a belief as a fact, which is why I usually preface my beliefs by clearly saying that I believe .... But then I get told that I should say I believe, so I don't know.

In any case, I think she is stating a belief that something more is needed to assuage grief in life, and people turn to mythos for this help. Logos and Mythos are reasonable concepts to explore, but I do agree, that these are all beliefs on her part.

Rich
Well, my point was not that I thought her opinion was unreasonable, but that it seemed unreasonable of you to say that her position that (I paraphrase) "rationality alone never led the Greeks to comfort" was a good point, but that Dawkins was pretending to omniscience when he claimed (I paraphrase again) "a pebble never got up and walked".

I think it shows your bias.

Both are fairly reasonable general statements made for rhetorical purposes. It's not like either Armstrong or Dawkins are strangers to hardcore phenomenology - but they just don't see it as their duty to adopt this position all the time. They talk about their enthusiams without having to endlessly couch their arguments in tedious "of course no one can actually ever really know anything" caveats (though Dawkins does take this line if subjected to the hardcore phenomenologist viewpoint, he acknowledges it at some length in books such as "The Greatest Show on Earth").

Perhaps (I believe) because they realise (as far as I can tell) how boring (in my opinion) and weak (ditto) arguments (assuming they are such) sound (do we really hear? I mean is what I call hearing the same sensation we both get in our inner ears when air vibrates or what?) when they are made with the (relatively) hardcore (probably some less hardcore as well - thinking about it) phenomenologists (assuming they actually exist) in mind (by my reckoning).

As it stands, of the two assumptions, I'd sooner believe a person can live contentedly without spirituality than a mundane stone can walk.

But this is - just to be clear - my opinion.
 

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