New Statesman: famous atheists explain why they don't believe in God...what is Hawking saying?

by unshackled 72 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • designs

    Come here and give me a BIG HUG!! and a Big HUG back at ya

  • AGuest

    Done... and done!


    SA, on her own...

  • unshackled

    Shelby, I'm familiar with that thread you referred to but haven't read all the comments. Unfortunately, I also missed the show on Discovery.

    If I follow you, you're saying atheism is no different than religious belief. And also, that the more well-known atheists argue amongst themselves. And further, that these well-known atheists like Stephen Hawking carry themselves with an air of superiority that if you don't think like them, then you're just common folk. In a nutshell, is that it?

    If so, I would say the attitude of superiority may apply to some, but not all. There isn't a brush big enough to paint them all that color. I can see how some would feel Richard Dawkins can appear that way, he has a certain disadvantage of being a rather starchy, dry Brit. I wouldn't apply that to Stephen Hawking though. Christopher Hitchens? Yes, but that's what's great about him…he does it with a swagger that is infectious, IMO.

    I would hope they would argue amongst themselves. That keeps each other honest, peer review and continually scrutinizing with critical thinking is the backbone of the scientific method.

    As for atheism being no different than religious belief, I'll use Sam Harris' words from that article:

    The most common impediment to clear thinking that a non-believer must confront is the idea that the burden of proof can be fairly placed on his shoulders: "How do you know there is no God? Can you prove it? You atheists are just as dogmatic as the fundamentalists you criticise." This is nonsense: even the devout tacitly reject thousands of gods, along with the cherished doctrines of every religion but their own. Every Christian can confidently judge the God of Zoroaster to be a creature of fiction, without first scouring the universe for evidence of his absence. Absence of evidence is all one ever needs to banish false knowledge. And bad evidence, proffered in a swoon of wishful thinking, is just as damning.

  • unshackled

    What a human can see with the naked eye and what reality is are different because we don't see all of the light bands for instance and our depth persception is limited.

    Designs, this is true and viewed from the right perspective an exciting time to be alive. There is still so much to discover. I'm reading a book titled "13 Things That Don't Make Sense: The Most Baffling Scientific Mysteries of Our Time" So I've been reading up on Dark Matter and Dark Energy. As you likely know, we can only account for 4% of our universe, the other 96% has been labelled Dark Matter...we don't know what it is, but know it is there because of gravitational pull. Dark Energy applies to the unknown "cause" of the universe's expansion actually is accelerating. Previously thought that it would slow.

    Point is...there is so much we indeed do not know. But that doesn't mean we can invoke "causes" that can't be proven with evidence. It really is okay to wait until all the evidence is in.

  • bohm

    I think hawkins is stating the scientific account is complete as far as describing what happends in a human brain, but unable to give quantitative answers for a range of questions due to the complexity (to many equations).

    People then make alternative (bad!) models which include God. God exist in that sence.

    Aguest, may you have pease and reconsider your passive-agressive behaviour. you spend a good part of that thread calling me arrogant, hypocrit and making a barely coherent personal analysis of me all while you compared science to a religious cult and claimed science was so easy a child could understand it. If you despite this think you got crucified in the midst of making honest inquieries (rather than a large set of self-validating questions) i recommend you take that up in a more direct manner or just leave it at that. playing victim and making badly veiled snide remarks accomplish nothing.

  • Twitch
    What a human can see with the naked eye and what reality is are different because we don't see all of the light bands for instance and our depth persception is limited. It is similar with the brain, we draw conclusions based on a limited frame of reference.

    It's theorized that the nearly infinite "resolution" of even what the eye sees is lost by merely being seen, in that the receptor cells are only so far apart, among other reasons. Our brains interpret the visual data and "fill in" resolution and details to a degree, based on past experience as we process the "now". Much of what we physically see exists in our mind's eye. Indeed, all our senses. (Is God A Number?)

    Time magazine had an article relating that variations in genetics can shift the visible spectrum of some people, slightly into the infared or towards ultraviolet. Perhaps not to the degree of a pit viper or honeybee but a shift outside the norm nontheless. Interesting idea, and one that might explain a great many ghost stories,...;)

    But yea, what would it be like to be able to see radio waves? Would you see some things and not others? Drywall, concrete, steel. What if you could "see" sunlight in infared or cosmic rays sizzling the sky. Fascinating, captain.

  • Mad Sweeney
    Mad Sweeney

    I would prefer we keep this thread on topic but I have little doubt that it is going to end up being all about Shelby.

  • Twitch

    Yea, same old song and dance.

  • unshackled

    Agreed Sweeney. Certainly don't mind different thoughts and views outside of the OP...there's lots to discuss in those articles. BUT this isn't the thread to continue on where the other left off. That is horse is dead.

    What I found equally as interesting as Hawking's comment, is Harris' reaction of "I have no idea what Hawking is talking about." Why do you think Harris made that comment? Simply because he would consider human behavior very much part of the science of it?

  • bohm

    sorry, didnt mean to derail anything, but it is quite annoying to have shelbys editorialization over a previous discussion aimed ones way in 3rd person format, particulary when shelby choosed to avoid direct communication in the thread where the discussion which apparently still annoy her was made.

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