Dawkins-The Greatest Show on Earth

by KateWild 189 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • braincleaned

    Well done Cofty... but wait for it... wait for it.... the goalposts are about to change!

  • braincleaned

    but Dawkins is not a scientist.

    Wow... Etude, really?... do you actually realize how disingenuous you sound?
    I am flabbergasted...

  • braincleaned

    You see, it's at this point that I take my leave on a thread.
    I can't stand bad-faith.

    Have fun without me.

  • Etude

    bohm: I guess you do know jack shit. That's my point. However it's characterized, it's still shit if you chose to ignore what other scientists say.

    braincleaned: The same applies to you. I did not make the statement that Dawkins is not a scientist. It was made by the biologist Edwin Willson. If it comes down to your opinion of Dawkins and that of Willson, I'll take his any day, any time.

  • bohm

    Etude: where am i ignoring what other scientists are saying?

    i dont get your point at all. dawkins is fameous for his ability to write about science. His credentials are rather unimportant, they just happends to be very good.

    you on the other hand have demonstrated a complete inability to perform even the most trivial bit of research to support your overall point which seems to be nothing but pompeous ad-hominem...

  • adamah

    Etude said-

    I just don’t see most serious scientists doing that.

    Well, no kidding, but that's because Dawkins is not writing as a scientist who's writing articles for professional journals to be read by his colleagues, but he's writing for the public, the layperson. He's not even writing textbooks to sell in that marketplace (college bookstores), but he's writing books to sell at the local Barnes and Noble, etc. Same goes for Carl Sagan, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, etc. They are AUTHORS who have a real talent for communicating in a manner that makes esoteric subjects accessible to the lay person, much like Bart Ehrman and Elaine Pagels are able to write interesting books on THEIR subject matter (Bible scholarship) that makes it accessible to almost everyone. Think of Dawkins et al as AMBASSADORS of their respective areas.

    Don't forget as you're reading that you're NOT geting into the 'ugly details' of biochemistry, biology, etc (eg the Kreb's cycle, photosynthesis, etc) which is needed for it to 'click', but the reader is given an OVERVIEW. Most readers aren't able to drop everything in their lives to earn a degree in the field.

    If it were easy to write for a general audience, EVERY expert on a subject would be hawking their books; the fact is, it's not easy to explain complex subjects, since many experts cannot turn off the technospeak that they'd use to write for colleagues who've agreed to common definitions, etc. In fact, Ehrman says he's constantly bombarded by other Bible scholars who ask how they can get into the writing business like he did, and they usually think it's simply a matter of locating the right publisher, etc. It's not so simple to distill down current discussions and ideas presented on the scholarly level without sacrificing the 'meat', OR writing on a subject which people will want to pay to read.


  • Etude


    I don’t besmirch Dawkins’ ability to write. I praised him before for having a commanding control of English. I think he’s a good writer. I just don’t think that what he writes rises to the level of other serious scientists who have way more credentials then Dawkins. I mentioned two in other posts. Did you look them up? From this last reaction, I take it you didn’t. Even so, the important thing is why and how they feel that Dawkins is wrong about many of his assumptions.

    I realize he is famous. But he is not famous the way or for the parallel reason Stephen Hawking is famous. It’s the significance of the work that has made Stephen Hawking famous. Google Sierra Cartwright and you’ll find a lot of information. She writes erotic novels and has probably made a ton of money for it. That doesn’t mean that, even if she’s able to stimulate your gonads, she is the equivalent of a Masters or Johnson.

    Keep telling yourself whatever you’re stating here and miss the point of what I’m saying. Your obtuseness is becoming evident. You misconstrue my assessment of Dawkins by insinuating he doesn’t have admirable qualities. I see why. You don’t want to invalidate the less decorous ones that support your myopic view.

  • Etude


    Well, no kidding, but that's because Dawkins is not writing as a scientist who's writing articles for professional journals to be read by his colleagues, but he's writing for the public, the layperson.

    EXACTLY! And on that point, you contradict bohm. I’ve been communicating all along that while Dawkins uses science to illustrate his point, he is not putting forth sanctioned scientific explanations in Natural Selection. That other scientists contradict him at least brings his postulates into question. He is a “populist” writer, in my opinion. He has interesting premises. I just don’t swallow all of them hook, line and sinker. This is why I search for what other heavies are saying.

    Now, tell me if I’m wrong in assuming that the characterization of Dawkins by some here has not been one of a purveyor of scientific facts. Tell me if at any time, I have said that Dawkins doesn’t know jack shit. I realize it’s not so simple to distill a complicated subject for the general public. Nevertheless, there are plenty of people who do and do it well enough to not venture beyond what can be said about a subject. That’s not Dawkins’ aim and that’s why other “experts” dispute him. I for one am not afraid of the “'ugly details' of biochemistry, biology, etc.”

    If you’re referring to Bart D. Ehrman (I’ve read “Jesus Interrupted” and “Misquoting Jesus”), I also consider him a very good writer. But, he is not without his critics (many of them erudite scholars) who also criticize his conclusions. For me, the only criticism I have of Ehrman is that in spite of his exposing the inherent problems and contradictions of canonical writings, he holds to the idea that they are valuable for the more benign “message” of love and understanding. I don’t agree. I think those values can be had without any religious writings.

  • bohm

    Etude: what i get is your inability to distinguish dawkins as a popular writer from dawkins as advancing certain ideas. your bias is very clear and show itself in for instance your idea Dawkins had not published anything when in fact he had a top-rate career at elite universities.

    You might not like dawkins as a popular writer but you are in the vast minority. Stephen pinker for instance single out dawkins as an excelent technical writer, but i dont care for a debate over taste; i think you for instance write like a self-important buffoon (sorry, profound buffoon?) but i dont expect that to convince you of the fact.

    I dont get your random reference to erotic litterature; whatever floats your boat and quite frankly i prefer that you do real life masturbation than the written variety, for instance: "You misconstrue my assessment of Dawkins by insinuating he doesn’t have admirable qualities. I see why. You don’t want to invalidate the less decorous ones that support your myopic view."

  • adamah

    Adam stated:It seems you're confusing Dawkin's position on the existence of God (AKA atheism, a position which is outside of the realm of science, but well within the domain of skepticism, i.e. not believing in anything until AFTER there's evidence to justify the belief) with his position on the theory of evolution.

    Etude said- I really don’t think so. Here’s why: From his book “The God Delusion”, Dawkins makes it clear that Natural selection is ultimately responsible for the condition of life as we know it. He believes in the inevitability of it which brought us to our present condition, which includes religion. While he feels that religion is useless and a problem in the world, he feels that Science must be able to answer its emergence in terms of the inevitability of Natural Selection. (See “religion as a by-product of something else” p. 172) From that and from the numerous commentaries in his book about religion (see chapts. 8 and 9 of “The God Delusion"), I infer that his position on Evolution leads him directly the absurdity of religion.

    Well, there's part of the problem: you're reading a book intended for lay-people and expecting it to be a published journal study. Think of the 'God Delusion' as an essay, or even as an editorial, not as a presentation of a study written for publication in a professional journal.

    BTW, have you taken a course in evolution for bio majors (it's generally offered in the 3rd/4th year, since the student needs to have a strong foundation in anatomy, plant/animal physiology, invertrebrate zoology, marine biology, plus the requisite inorganic/organic chem)? If not, I suspect you're still carrying JW "sticking thinking" on evolution, and really don't understand the concepts of evolution as well as you think you do.

    Etude said- I deliberately used “profound” with agnostic to make a point. Many people think that agnosticism is the position of neither believing nor disbelieving in God or that of sitting on an ethical or ideological fence.

    The question of belief is binary: you either do or don't (and I'd advise using a legal definition to decide, such as "beyond a reasonable doubt", etc. Of course, one shouldn't be 100% firm on their beliefs, either way, since that's dogmatism and/or completely deluded). Despite the inherent folly of quantifying beliefs (due to self-delusions), I think it IS valuable to consider what you believe (i.e. what you accept as 'true', and use to make life decisions), since, if for no other reason, it helps to communicate your position to others.

    'Agnostic' literally means "not know", and hence if there's not enough evidence (a form of knowledge) on which to decide, the reasonable, rational and skeptical thing to do is to NOT believe in something for which insufficent evidence exists! I mean, that's just common sense! Thus 'agnostics' who are skeptical thinkers would fall under the 'atheist' category (specifically 'soft atheists', which is equivalent to the agnostic position).

    Many agnostics don't WANT to be atheists, since they don't WANT to have tell others they don't believe in God, but instead find the 'agnostic' label to be a more socially-acceptable position (eg theists think they're only confused, and hold out hope for them finding Jesus by asking him to open their hearts, etc, etc).

    The problem with the 'agnostic' term is it's ambiguity, since it doesn't specify what the individual actually BELIEVES (i.e. accepts as true); as my last post showed, there are both 'soft' theists and 'soft' atheists. Some people LIKE and RELISH that ambiguity, and hide behind it. I prefer to reduce ambiguity in everything, but then I'm comfortable with MY beliefs, and don't feel the need to hide behind anything.

    Etude said- Dawkins makes it a particular point to consider agnostics on an even keel with theists (see “The Poverty of Agnosticism” p. 46 of “The God Delusion”). This is why he criticized Paul Davies for saying that science must assume (a form of scientific faith) that the quantum laws are correct (obviously from experimentation), even if they cease to function (brake down) when applied to the sub-particle (the quantum) realm. I was not dissing other agnostics, just making emphasis on what it really means.

    Sure, but I think the greatest abuse of the English language is how believers are not called on the carpet for creating a false equivalency by using a single word ('faith') to support beliefs in theology AND science. That's why I like to reserve 'faith' for theology, and use a word like 'conviction' for science/law. It's a fallacy to compare beliefs which are backed by concrete repeatable observations with those backed on unseen evidence (Hebrews 11).

    Etude said- I think you failed to make that distinction above by stating: “If you say, "I'm not sure, since the evidence is inconclusive" AND you are a skeptic…”, etc. Yes, I am a skeptic. Agnosticism shares the skepticism and doubt of Atheism regarding religion. So that you understand it from my perspective as an agnostic, I am not in doubt about the existence of God per se. The idea is essentially meaningless because there is no valid or scientific means available to show such existence. That would encapsulate the fallacy of proving that the invisible man isn’t there. In the absence of some verification or evidence, it would be logically foolish to conclude that there is one. But that doesn’t mean that while there is no verification there can’t ever be one.

    Logically, we cannot dismiss the possibility, however remote, that some explanation for the support of a deity can arise, however unlikely. Atheism, on the other hand, does not entertain that possibility. A true scientist will never tell you that it is impossible for all the Oxygen atoms in a room to collect themselves in a single corner and suffocate you. What s/he may say is that the possibility is so remote as to make it highly improbable. Get it?

    You seem to think atheism is dogmatic and cannot change position, when you're quite mistaken (I suspect you're relying on 'Pascal's Wager' type of thinking).

    It has nothing to do with what evidence might be presented in the future, but what HAS been shown. OF COURSE all things are possible in the future (including evidence for unicorns/fairies being discovered, etc), so I remain open to examining new evidence, but the evidence MUST be presented BEFORE I accept the belief. ALL scientists must remain receptive to examining new evidence, since to refuse to do so is foolish (AKA dogmatism). That's where you are incorrect in your understanding of the implications of atheism.

    So on the day when the clouds part and God reveals Himself in only a way that He, as an omniscient being, fully-understands that an atheist such as myself would demand in order to believe in things, then I'll believe at that point; I, will CHANGE MY POSITION and be the best damned hard theist in existence. But NOT a moment before, since I need to see the evidence to support that belief FIRST.

    Got it?


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