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The Irrationality of Richard Dawkins

The Irrationality of Richard Dawkins
April 27, 2011, 05:51:00 PM
I would like to share this interesting article and read the opinions of the forum.

Quote

    The Irrationality of Richard Dawkins

    By Francis J. Beckwith
    Wednesday, June 20, 2007, 6:47 AM

    In his 2006 book, The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins laments the career path of Kurt Wise, who has, since 2006, held the positions of professor of science and theology and director of the Center for Theology and Science at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. Prior to that, Wise had taught for many years at Bryan College, a small evangelical college in Dayton, Tennessee, named after William Jennings Bryan, three-time Democratic presidential candidate and associate counsel in the 1925 Scopes “Monkey Trial.”

    According to Dawkins, Wise was at one time a promising young scholar who had earned a degree in geology (from the University of Chicago) and advanced degrees in geology and paleontology from Harvard University, where he studied under the highly acclaimed Stephen Jay Gould. Wise is also a young-earth creationist, which means that he accepts a literal interpretation of the first chapters of Genesis and maintains that the earth is less than ten thousand years old. It is not a position I hold, and for that reason I am sympathetic to Dawkins’ bewilderment at why Wise has embraced what appears to many Christians to be a false choice between one controversial interpretation of Scripture (young-earth creationism) and abandoning Christianity altogether.

    At one point in his career, Wise began to understand that his reading of Scripture was inconsistent with the dominant scientific understanding of the age of the earth and the cosmos. Instead of abandoning what I believe is a false choice, he continued to embrace it, but this lead to a crisis of faith. Wise writes: “Either the Scripture was true and evolution was wrong or evolution was true and I must toss out the Bible. . . . It was there that night that I accepted the Word of God and rejected all that would ever counter it, including evolution. With that, in great sorrow, I tossed into the fire all my dreams and hopes in science.” So Wise abandoned the possibility of securing a professorship at a prestigious research university or institute.

    Dawkins is disturbed by Wise’s judgment and its repercussions on his obvious promise as a scholar, researcher, and teacher. Writes Dawkins: “I find that terribly sad . . . the Kurt Wise story is just plain pathetic—pathetic and contemptible. The wound, to his career and his life’s happiness, was self-inflicted, so unnecessary, so easy to escape. . . . I am hostile to religion because of what it did to Kurt Wise. And if it did that to a Harvard educated geologist, just think what it can do to others less gifted and less well armed.”

    Of course, some Christians may be just as troubled as Dawkins. So one need not be an atheist to raise legitimate questions about Professor’s Wise’s intellectual and spiritual journey. But, given Dawkins’ atheism, there is something odd about his lament, for it seems to require that Dawkins accept something about the nature of human beings and the natural moral law that his atheism seems to reject.

    Let me explain what I mean. Dawkins harshly criticizes Wise for embracing a religious belief that results in Wise’s not treating himself and his talents, intelligence, and abilities in a way appropriate for their full flourishing. That is, given the opportunity to hone and nurture certain gifts—for example, intellectual skill—no one, including Wise, should waste them as a result of accepting a false belief. The person who violates, or helps violate, this norm, according to Dawkins, should be condemned, and we should all bemoan this tragic moral neglect on the part of our fellow(s). But the issuing of that judgment on Wise by Dawkins makes sense only in light of Wise’s particular talents and the sort of being Wise is by nature, a being who Dawkins seems to believe possesses certain intrinsic capacities and purposes, the premature disruption of which would be an injustice.

    So the human being who wastes his talents is one who does not respect his natural gifts or the basic capacities whose maturation and proper employment make possible the flourishing of many goods. In other words, the notion of “proper function,” as Alvin Plantinga puts it, coupled with the observation that certain perfections grounded in basic capacities have been impermissibly obstructed from maturing, is assumed in the very judgment Dawkins makes about Wise and the way by which Wise should treat himself.

    But Dawkins, in fact, does not actually believe that living beings, including human beings, have intrinsic purposes or are designed so that one may conclude that violating one’s proper function amounts to a violation of one’s moral duty to oneself. Dawkins has maintained for decades that the natural world only appears to be designed. He writes in The God Delusion: “Darwin and his successors have shown how living creatures, with their spectacular statistical improbability and appearance of design, have evolved by slow, gradual degrees from simple beginnings. We can now safely say that the illusion of design in living creatures is just that—an illusion.”

    But this means that his lament for Wise is misguided, for Dawkins is lamenting what only appears to be Wise’s dereliction of his duty to nurture and employ his gifts in ways that result in his happiness and an acquisition of knowledge that contributes to the common good. Yet because there are no designed natures and no intrinsic purposes, and thus no natural duties that we are obligated to obey, the intuitions that inform Dawkins’ judgment of Wise are as illusory as the design he explicitly rejects. But that is precisely one of the grounds by which Dawkins suggests that theists are irrational and ought to abandon their belief in God.

    So if the theist is irrational for believing in God based on what turns out to be pseudo-design, Dawkins is irrational in his judgment of Wise and other creationists whom he targets for reprimand and correction. For Dawkins’ judgment rests on a premise that—although uncompromisingly maintained throughout his career—only appears to be true.

    Francis J. Beckwith is an associate professor of Philosophy & Church-State Studies at Baylor University. His most recent book is Defending Life: A Moral and Legal Case Against Abortion Choice. Cambridge University Press, 2007).


http://doubtingdarwin.blogspot.com/2007/06/irrationality-of-richard-dawkins.html
You're quite hostile.

I got a right to be hostile, man, my people been persecuted!

Re: The Irrationality of Richard Dawkins
April 27, 2011, 09:19:54 PM
That article requires an awful lot of words to get across that without god, there is no intrinsic purpose to life. It's not really an interesting point, as this has already been addressed by both Nietzsche and this site many many times. Choosing to value knowledge over ignorance is not 'irrational'.

Re: The Irrationality of Richard Dawkins
April 27, 2011, 10:29:23 PM
I closed the tab the second I saw he was an Intelligent Designist.
Information is not knowledge, knowledge is not wisdom, wisdom is not truth, truth is not beauty, beauty is not love, love is not music, music is the BEST.
~ Frank Zappa

Re: The Irrationality of Richard Dawkins
April 28, 2011, 08:33:00 AM
Quote
'Personally, I do believe in God. I believe in God and creationism and intelligent design. And the reason I believe in God and creationism and intelligent design is because of the existence of the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins. Because Richard Dawkins is so clever and complex and beautiful and intricate that I don’t really see how anyone could think that something like Richard Dawkins could just have evolved by chance. At best, Richard Dawkins has been put here by God to test our faith. Like fossils. And facts.'

Re: The Irrationality of Richard Dawkins
April 28, 2011, 12:30:40 PM
Chains: No, he does not say life is meaningless without god, anywhere in the article. He says from richard dawkins point of view (total materialism) there is no base from wich to say what he did because why would there be a moral duty to not throw away one's intellectual gifs?

Niko: Only a fucking beast wouldn't see that we are designed. People see designers of lots of things, and think that they design. Ok. The silly thing is, they think those people are the ONLY designers: Before humanity, there were NO designers. NO creation. Yeah, right. We, the human race of Gods, are the ones in the universe who design stuff. Nevermind it is rational to believe that what manifests here was probably already stored in potential somwhere else (like our traits in dna). Our creativity, will to design, intelligence to design and create, our brains wich we use to this, etc....? Oh those things came about without no one designing it! Yeah right. People don't even realize the word design and its meaning were also a product of something higher than us.

You're quite hostile.

I got a right to be hostile, man, my people been persecuted!

Re: The Irrationality of Richard Dawkins
April 28, 2011, 12:46:29 PM
Only a fucking beast wouldn't see that we are designed. People see designers of lots of things, and think that they design. Ok. The silly thing is, they think those people are the ONLY designers: Before humanity, there were NO designers. NO creation. Yeah, right. We, the human race of Gods, are the ones in the universe who design stuff
Well, evolution demonstrates quite clearly that all organisms are self-defining and self-improving (self-"designing" if you must use the lexicon of the fashion pages) through near-replication and the mixing and matching of successful and abundant lines of DNA. You should read through The Blind Watchmaker as Dawkins is explaining science in that book rather than goading stultifyingly ignorant catholics.

Re: The Irrationality of Richard Dawkins
April 28, 2011, 12:59:06 PM
I know. But consider this: If there was intelligent design, I suppose it would be of a higher intelligence than ours. Our intelligence we figured out is related to brain, DNA, and other things (I believe in extra-physical intelligence). Consider how long we took to see our brain and DNA on microscopes, and that's just analyzing our intelligence. Imagine how hard it would be to realize the intelligence that created us? It is good for intelligent design that we can't see the designer: If we did, and could talk to him like another human, then he would'nt be so high after all.

A good example is the painting: Realized in it's fullness by a human, for the ant passing above it, it is just a bunch ofcolored areas seen one at a time.

It is known that what we perceive is less than 90% of what exists in reality.

But I'm no believer in antropomorphic God or jesus. Nor that there was a guy up there who created us. I just think this view is closer to the truth than what richard dawkins says. Maybe we were the designers of ourselves.

Anyway I'm not writing about this stuff anymore: All I want is opinion on the validity of the philosophical argument the author makes: Do you think he is wrong, and why:
You're quite hostile.

I got a right to be hostile, man, my people been persecuted!

Re: The Irrationality of Richard Dawkins
April 28, 2011, 01:26:24 PM
Chains: No, he does not say life is meaningless without god, anywhere in the article. He says from richard dawkins point of view (total materialism) there is no base from wich to say what he did because why would there be a moral duty to not throw away one's intellectual gifs?

Niko: Only a fucking beast wouldn't see that we are designed. People see designers of lots of things, and think that they design. Ok. The silly thing is, they think those people are the ONLY designers: Before humanity, there were NO designers. NO creation. Yeah, right. We, the human race of Gods, are the ones in the universe who design stuff. Nevermind it is rational to believe that what manifests here was probably already stored in potential somwhere else (like our traits in dna). Our creativity, will to design, intelligence to design and create, our brains wich we use to this, etc....? Oh those things came about without no one designing it! Yeah right. People don't even realize the word design and its meaning were also a product of something higher than us.


There have been far more intricate threads on the existence of god than this one on this forum, and you've been here long enough to follow them, but fine, if you need the 101 version.

There is no moral duty. There need not be a moral duty to find choosing ignorance over knowledge detestable. If Richard Dawkins happened to use the words 'moral duty', which I see nowhere cited, then good for you, you've figured out why most people on this forum have a problem with secular humanism and why we take a nihilistic view towards ethical questions rather than an absolutist one.

If it is so obvious that we are designed, you should have no problem proving this to us fucking beasts, rather than posting snide pictures that ridicule nothing but the creator's own ignorance of physics and biology.Hint: 'yeah right' is not considered proof.


Re: The Irrationality of Richard Dawkins
April 28, 2011, 01:40:06 PM
This topic is not about belief in god: I would like to know, from a materialist point of view, why should richard dawkins react that way about the geologist, since saying that what he did was (choose your word) wrong, bad, not good, implies a metaphysical truth, something wich he denies.

I would like to know the opinions of members on the philosophical points the article makes

Posting pictures in posts is truly ridiculous, but considering the post I was responding to, it was worth it. It was an irrelevant post.

As for "proving" that we are designed, what do you feel is more rational: Design is something that we humanity created, we do it, we design, nothing else designs. OR, design appeared here because the potential for it already existed beyond our realm and we manifest it in our creations, but we are a creation ourselves?

The very fact that there is DNA, a information storage system (and who knows what else) shows us there is a design. What's the first thing a person does before designing a house? The plans. Or a painting? The sketch. Etc. But did we create this idea? Did we come up with the idea of planning a sketch before creation, or is this something that was already present millions of years ago (information stored in dna forms creature)?

There was something dawkins did, he scrambled a phrase in a random letter generator, and left it on random for some time, until the phrase rearanged itself again, random. This was an example of he wanting to prove that things can come out of randomness.

OK dawkins, but what about this: The phrase was already created before, by you. It took intelligence. It took a system (letters and reading). It took intelligence to interpret that. It took a whole hyper-complex system (computer and software) to make the experiment. It took an even greater system (human intelligence) to interpret it. etc.

There's more: How the hell are people going to say intelligence exists only in humans? If the thing that made us exist (be it god or whatever materialists believe) is not exactly human? Saying that intelligence, curiosity, etc. came about only in humanity is to deny that the lower comes from the higher.
You're quite hostile.

I got a right to be hostile, man, my people been persecuted!

Re: The Irrationality of Richard Dawkins
April 28, 2011, 01:49:06 PM
Jumping in for a moment...

Design is something that we humanity created, we do it, we design, nothing else designs. OR, design appeared here because the potential for it already existed beyond our realm and we manifest it in our creations, but we are a creation ourselves?

The very fact that there is DNA, a information storage system (and who knows what else) shows us there is a design. What's the first thing a person does before designing a house? The plans. Or a painting? The sketch. Etc. But did we create this idea? Did we come up with the idea of planning a sketch before creation, or is this something that was already present millions of years ago (information stored in dna forms creature)?

There's more: How the hell are people going to say intelligence exists only in humans? If the thing that made us exist (be it god or whatever materialists believe) is not exactly human? Saying that intelligence, curiosity, etc. came about only in humanity is to deny that the lower comes from the higher.

This is full of false dichotomies.

Carry on!

Re: The Irrationality of Richard Dawkins
April 28, 2011, 01:52:23 PM
So the human being who wastes his talents is one who does not respect his natural gifts or the basic capacities whose maturation and proper employment make possible the flourishing of many goods. In other words, the notion of “proper function,” as Alvin Plantinga puts it, coupled with the observation that certain perfections grounded in basic capacities have been impermissibly obstructed from maturing, is assumed in the very judgment Dawkins makes about Wise and the way by which Wise should treat himself.

But Dawkins, in fact, does not actually believe that living beings, including human beings, have intrinsic purposes or are designed so that one may conclude that violating one’s proper function amounts to a violation of one’s moral duty to oneself. Dawkins has maintained for decades that the natural world only appears to be designed. He writes in The God Delusion: “Darwin and his successors have shown how living creatures, with their spectacular statistical improbability and appearance of design, have evolved by slow, gradual degrees from simple beginnings. We can now safely say that the illusion of design in living creatures is just that—an illusion.”

But this means that his lament for Wise is misguided, for Dawkins is lamenting what only appears to be Wise’s dereliction of his duty to nurture and employ his gifts in ways that result in his happiness and an acquisition of knowledge that contributes to the common good. Yet because there are no designed natures and no intrinsic purposes, and thus no natural duties that we are obligated to obey, the intuitions that inform Dawkins’ judgment of Wise are as illusory as the design he explicitly rejects. But that is precisely one of the grounds by which Dawkins suggests that theists are irrational and ought to abandon their belief in God.

So if the theist is irrational for believing in God based on what turns out to be pseudo-design, Dawkins is irrational in his judgment of Wise and other creationists whom he targets for reprimand and correction. For Dawkins’ judgment rests on a premise that—although uncompromisingly maintained throughout his career—only appears to be true.

You're quite hostile.

I got a right to be hostile, man, my people been persecuted!

Re: The Irrationality of Richard Dawkins
April 28, 2011, 02:06:29 PM
If you win the lottery, you have chosen a combination of 6 numbers from a total of maybe 50 numbers, where that 6-number selection has possibly 14 million combinations.

Now, if you did that once then the statistic would suggest that you are a God: you had one single chance to make a 1 in 14M bet and you did it right first time. You must be a deity.

But that ignores the other 20M people playing who have covered all other alternative combinations plus some more besides. They are the ones who did not make it. They are forgotten as irrelevant, of course.

And what you are failing to do is remember those organisms that failed. Only through this biological "fling as much shit to see what sticks" are humans here at all.

Re: The Irrationality of Richard Dawkins
April 28, 2011, 02:44:57 PM
If you win the lottery, you have chosen a combination of 6 numbers from a total of maybe 50 numbers, where that 6-number selection has possibly 14 million combinations.

Now, if you did that once then the statistic would suggest that you are a God: you had one single chance to make a 1 in 14M bet and you did it right first time. You must be a deity.

But that ignores the other 20M people playing who have covered all other alternative combinations plus some more besides. They are the ones who did not make it. They are forgotten as irrelevant, of course.

And what you are failing to do is remember those organisms that failed. Only through this biological "fling as much shit to see what sticks" are humans here at all.

Even if I consider the bizarre statement that getting lottery numbers right is somehow related to God, God reigns supreme because, for the lottery to occur, intelligence was needed: Computers, humans playing, the laws of physics, etc... The game lottery may be "random" (It actually is not random at all. It takes a deliberate, objective planning and intelligence to come up with the game, and it took intelligence to come up with a system of random numbers generator, whatever the system is. And again, the system only appears to be "random", as not even computers can create randomness: They use parameters wich I don't really know, but can be exemplified by, mouse position, temperature, etc. The apparent randomness of lottery is actually a small part of it, it actually is a deliberate system born of intelligence. If the system used is that of a big ball spinning with little balls with numbers inside, it is not random either. The laws of physics will select on ball based on numbers of times the big ball spinned, position of other balls,wind, etc), but for it to occur, it was necessary to have intelligent beings playing it, intelligent beings managing it, intelligent beings interpreting the data, etc...

You're quite hostile.

I got a right to be hostile, man, my people been persecuted!

Re: The Irrationality of Richard Dawkins
April 28, 2011, 02:59:09 PM
If you win the lottery, you have chosen a combination of 6 numbers from a total of maybe 50 numbers, where that 6-number selection has possibly 14 million combinations.

Now, if you did that once then the statistic would suggest that you are a God: you had one single chance to make a 1 in 14M bet and you did it right first time. You must be a deity.

But that ignores the other 20M people playing who have covered all other alternative combinations plus some more besides. They are the ones who did not make it. They are forgotten as irrelevant, of course.

And what you are failing to do is remember those organisms that failed. Only through this biological "fling as much shit to see what sticks" are humans here at all.

Even if I consider the bizarre statement that getting lottery numbers right is somehow related to God, God reigns supreme because, for the lottery to occur, intelligence was needed: Computers, humans playing, the laws of physics, etc... The game lottery may be "random" (It actually is not random at all. It takes a deliberate, objective planning and intelligence to come up with the game, and it took intelligence to come up with a system of random numbers generator, whatever the system is. And again, the system only appears to be "random", as not even computers can create randomness: They use parameters wich I don't really know, but can be exemplified by, mouse position, temperature, etc. The apparent randomness of lottery is actually a small part of it, it actually is a deliberate system born of intelligence. If the system used is that of a big ball spinning with little balls with numbers inside, it is not random either. The laws of physics will select on ball based on numbers of times the big ball spinned, position of other balls,wind, etc), but for it to occur, it was necessary to have intelligent beings playing it, intelligent beings managing it, intelligent beings interpreting the data, etc...



So your assertions are that nothing can happen without intelligence because well it can't, and lottery isn't random because computer RNG's aren't really RNG's. Rightoh.

Re: The Irrationality of Richard Dawkins
April 28, 2011, 03:12:11 PM
Yes. Are you a body who has consciousness, or a consciousness who has a body?
You're quite hostile.

I got a right to be hostile, man, my people been persecuted!