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'Mommy, why are atheists dim-witted?'
Jerusalem Post ^ | 12-18-06 | JONATHAN ROSENBLUM

Posted on 12/18/2006 8:12:55 AM PST by SJackson

Reviewers have not been kind to The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, professor of something called "the public understanding of science" at Oxford. Critics have found it to be the atheist's mirror image of Ann Coulter's Godless: The Church of Liberalism - long on in-your-face rhetoric and offensively dismissive of all those holding an opposing view.

Princeton University philosopher Thomas Nagel found Dawkins's "attempts at philosophy, along with a later chapter on religion and ethics, particularly weak." Prof. Terry Eagleton began his London Review of Books critique: "Imagine someone holding forth on biology whose only knowledge of the subject is the British Book of Birds, and you have a rough idea of what it feels like to read Richard Dawkins on theology."

Dawkins's "central argument" is that because every complex system must be created by an even more complex system, an intelligent designer would have had to be created by an even greater super-intellect.

New York Times reviewer Jim Holt described this argument as the equivalent of the child's question, "Mommy, who created God?"

Nagel provides the grounds for rejecting this supposed proof. People do not mean by God "a complex physical inhabitant of the natural world" but rather a Being outside the physical world - the "purpose or intention of a mind without a body, capable nevertheless of creating and forming the entire physical world."

He points out further that the same kind of problem Dawkins poses to the theory of design plagues evolutionary theory, of which Dawkins is the preeminent contemporary popularizer. Evolution depends on the existence of pre-existing genetic material - DNA - of incredible complexity, the existence of which cannot be explained by evolutionary theory.

So who created DNA? Dawkins's response to this problem, writes Nagel, is "pure hand-waving" - speculation about billions of alternative universes and the like.

As a charter member of the Church of Darwin, Dawkins not only subscribes to evolutionary theory as the explanation for the morphology of living creatures, but to the sociobiologists' claim that evolution explains all human behavior. For sociobiologists, human development, like that of all other species, is the result of a ruthless struggle for existence. Genes seek to reproduce themselves and compete with one another in this regard. In the words of the best-known sociobiologist, Harvard's E.O. Wilson, "An organism is only DNA's way of making more DNA."

THAT PICTURE of human existence, argues the late Australian philosopher of science David Stove in Darwinian Fairytales: Selfish Genes, Errors of Heredity and Other Fables of Evolution, constitutes a massive slander against the human race, as well as a distortion of reality.

The Darwinian account, for instance, flounders on widespread altruistic impulses that have always characterized humans in all places and times. Nor can it explain why some men act as heroes even though by doing so they risk their own lives and therefore their capacity to reproduce, or why societies should idealize altruism and heroism. How, from an evolutionary perspective, could such traits have developed or survived?

The traditional Darwinian answer is that altruism is but an illusion, or a veneer of civilization imposed upon our real natures. That answer fails to explain how that veneer could have come about in the first place. How could the first appeal to higher moral values have ever found an author or an audience? David Stove offers perhaps the most compelling reason for rejecting the views of those who deny the very existence of human altruism: "I am not a lunatic."

IN 1964, biologist W.D. Hamilton first expounded a theory explaining how much of what appears to us as altruism is merely genes' clever way of assuring the propagation of their type via relatives sharing that gene pool. The preeminent defender of Darwin - Dawkins - popularized this theory in The Selfish Gene.

Among the predictions Hamilton made is: "We expect to find that no one is prepared to sacrifice his life for any single person, but that everyone will sacrifice it for more than two brothers [or offspring], or four half-brothers, or eight first cousins," because those choices result in a greater dissemination of a particular gene pool.

To which Stove responds: "Was an expectation more obviously false than this one ever held (let alone published) by any human being?" Throughout history, men have sacrificed themselves for those bearing no relationship to them, just as others have refused to do so for more than two brothers. Here is a supposedly scientific theory bearing no relationship to any empirical reality ever observed. Stove offers further commonsense objections: Parents act more altruistically toward their offspring than siblings toward one another, even though in each pair there is an overlap of half the genetic material. If Hamilton's theory were true, we should expect to find incest widespread. In fact, it is taboo. Finally, the theory is predicated on the dubious proposition that animals, or their genes, can tell a sibling from a cousin, and a cousin from other members of the same species.

SOCIOBIOLOGY, Stove demonstrates, is a religion and genes are its gods. In traditional religion, humans exist for the greater glory of God; in sociobiology, humans and all other living things exist for the benefit of their genes. "We are... robot-vehicles blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes," writes Dawkins. Like God, Dawkins's genes are purposeful agents, far smarter than man.

He describes how a certain cuckoo parasitically lays its eggs in the nest of the reed warbler, where the cuckoo young get more food by virtue of their wider mouths and brighter crests, as a process in which the cuckoo genes have tricked the reed warbler. Thus, for Dawkins, genes are capable of conceiving a strategy no man could have thought of and of putting into motion the complicated engineering necessary to execute that strategy.

Writing in 1979, Prof. R.D. Alexander made the bald assertion: "We are programmed to use all our effort, and in fact to use our lives, in production." And yet it is obvious that most of what we do has nothing to do with reproduction, and never more so than at the present, when large parts of the civilized world are becoming rapidly depopulated. Confronted with these obvious facts about human nature and behavior, sociobiologists respond by ascribing them to "errors of heredity."

As Stove tartly observes: "Because their theory of man is badly wrong, they say that man is badly wrong; that he incorporates many and grievous biological errors." But the one thing a scientific theory may never do, Stove observes, is "reprehend the facts."

It may observe them, or predict new facts to be discovered, but not criticize those before it. The only question that remains is: How could so many intelligent men say so many patently silly things? For Dawkins, the answer would no doubt be one of those evolutionary "misfires," such as that to which he attributes religious belief.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: dawkinsthepreacher; liberalagenda; richarddawkins; sociobiology
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1 posted on 12/18/2006 8:12:57 AM PST by SJackson
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To: SJackson
Son, don't be an atheist!
They get no holidays.

BENNY HILL
2 posted on 12/18/2006 8:14:45 AM PST by HuntsvilleTxVeteran ("Remember the Alamo, Goliad and WACO, It is Time for a new San Jacinto")
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To: SJackson

I am amazed how much atheism is growing around the world..
Many say they are fed up with organized religion, but denying GOD out of exsistence is pure travesty for the human race...


3 posted on 12/18/2006 8:16:28 AM PST by TaraP
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To: SJackson
Dawkins is funny.

Southpark definitely nailed him to the wall in "Cartman In The 23rd Century".

4 posted on 12/18/2006 8:16:43 AM PST by muawiyah
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To: SJackson

"Imagine someone holding forth on biology whose only knowledge of the subject is the British Book of Birds, and you have a rough idea of what it feels like to read Richard Dawkins on theology."

LOL!


5 posted on 12/18/2006 8:18:40 AM PST by Varda
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To: HuntsvilleTxVeteran
Son, don't be an atheist! They get no holidays.

Yes they do, April 1st.
Psalm 14:1 Only fools say in their hearts,“There is no God.”
6 posted on 12/18/2006 8:21:34 AM PST by absolootezer0 (stop repeat offenders - don't re-elect them!)
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To: 1st-P-In-The-Pod; A_Conservative_in_Cambridge; af_vet_rr; agrace; albyjimc2; Alexander Rubin; ...

"It's not enough to not believe in G-D. You also have to be a d**k to everyone who doesn't think like you.

FRmail me to be added or removed from this Judaic/pro-Israel/Russian Jewry ping list.

Warning! This is a high-volume ping list.

7 posted on 12/18/2006 8:21:45 AM PST by Alouette (Psalms of the Day: 120-134)
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To: TaraP
I am amazed how much atheism is growing around the world..

Why? The Bible tells us that it would be this way.

8 posted on 12/18/2006 8:22:15 AM PST by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: ShadowAce

That's true...Things are definetly coming to a head...


9 posted on 12/18/2006 8:23:50 AM PST by TaraP
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To: SJackson

Apparently, God also created atheists, agnostics, and idiots.


10 posted on 12/18/2006 8:25:15 AM PST by westmichman (The will of God always trumps the will of the people.)
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To: TaraP
Many say they are fed up with organized religion, but denying GOD out of exsistence is pure travesty for the human race...

Maybe they've seen the vociferously religious at work and it turned them off...

11 posted on 12/18/2006 8:27:46 AM PST by Junior (Losing faith in humanity one person at a time.)
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To: SJackson

read later


12 posted on 12/18/2006 8:29:24 AM PST by LiteKeeper (Beware the secularization of America; the Islamization of Eurabia)
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To: TaraP

Atheism is an organized religion.


13 posted on 12/18/2006 8:30:59 AM PST by <1/1,000,000th%
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To: SJackson

Fundamentalist Atheists are perhaps the most obnoxious yet defensive group on the planet.

Pray for W and Our Troops


14 posted on 12/18/2006 8:32:02 AM PST by bray (Redeploy to Iran)
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To: <1/1,000,000th%

Organized how?

I was on a yahoo religion web-site and someone asked this question.
Do you believe in GOD and where are you from?

50 people identified themselves from the UK and only 3 said they believe in GOD.


15 posted on 12/18/2006 8:35:56 AM PST by TaraP
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To: <1/1,000,000th%
Atheism is an organized religion.

No, it's not. It's a philosophical position, like pre-tribulation rapture, or belief in reincarnation. It may be that there is some subset of atheists who are organized into an association, but they are a small minority. There is nothing comparible to the Catholic Chruch or the the Mormon Church that has millions (hundreds of millions) of dues paying members. Atheists do not get together with other atheists to celebrate atheism every Sunday.

16 posted on 12/18/2006 8:38:31 AM PST by Jack Black
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To: Alouette

"It's not enough to not believe in G-D. You also have to be a d**k to everyone who doesn't think like you."

Unfortunately, the if you remove the word "not" from this sentence, it describes a lot of religious people.

I don't pretend to understand the nature of life, the universe, and everything. I don't find conventional religions convincing, so I don't follow any of them, but I also don't look down on those who do have faith. I'd like to think I'd get the same level of respect from them.


17 posted on 12/18/2006 8:39:28 AM PST by -YYZ-
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To: Jack Black
Atheists do not get together with other atheists to celebrate atheism every Sunday.

Indeed. They wait until May Day.

18 posted on 12/18/2006 8:40:00 AM PST by wideawake ("The nation which forgets its defenders will itself be forgotten." - Calvin Coolidge)
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To: SJackson

Like many evolutionists, Dawkins can twist any behavior or phenomenon to conform with Darwinian evolution.

You might be interested in a review I wrote of Dawkins' book The Blind Watchmaker at http://RussP.us/Dawkins.htm


19 posted on 12/18/2006 8:41:41 AM PST by RussP
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To: SJackson
According to the article, evolutionary theory "...flounders on widespread altruistic impulses that have always characterized humans in all places and times. Nor can it explain why some men act as heroes even though by doing so they risk their own lives and therefore their capacity to reproduce, or why societies should idealize altruism and heroism...The traditional Darwinian answer is that altruism is but an illusion, or a veneer of civilization imposed upon our real natures."

While no longer a devout atheist, I do subscribe to evolutionary theory and don't think, based on Darwin's own foreword to the first edition of 'Origin of Species', that his theory was ever meant as a counterargument to the existence of God. That cranks like Dawkins do so neither supports nor detracts from the validity of Darwin's ideas.

And about the 'altruism' argument; that is, that altruism and selfless sacrifice argue against evolution. That particular argument against Darwinian theory is a feeble weapon with which do discredit it, the intellectual equivalent of a rubber knife or a toy gun. While no one can (currently) determine with absolute certainty the evolutionary benefits of altruistic behavior or selfless sacrifice, it is also true--particularly among herd and pack mammals--that young males protect members of the herd, particularly females and the young, from predators regardless if those young males have sired any of the young. The evolutionary rationale driving such behavior is evident, at least to me. Community--the pack, the herd, the tribe--is genetically advantageous.

It might turn out Darwin was wrong, but if so, let his ideas be disproven based on traditional means of empirical reasoning and observation, not emotive, either/or appeals to one's religious sensibilities.
20 posted on 12/18/2006 8:43:57 AM PST by Rembrandt_fan
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To: SJackson
If someone is "apolitical", they have no politics...they don't scream and whine about politics, or try to prevent others from having political opinions.

By definition of the language, this guy is not an "a-theist", that is, having no real desire to have theism. What he should be called correctly is an "anti-theist". As I have said before, an anti-theist would be the kind of person who, having decided volentarily to have no breakfast of his own, would come over and whizz in your Wheaties.

21 posted on 12/18/2006 8:47:00 AM PST by 50sDad (I respect other religions by allowing them the right to worship. But they still are wrong.)
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To: Jack Black; TaraP
Atheists do not get together with other atheists to celebrate atheism every Sunday.

Sure they do. Communist groups all the time. Left-wing environmentalists have meetings. Universities have dozens of meetings all over the country. The ACLU has an enormous following.

They're everywhere.

22 posted on 12/18/2006 8:49:07 AM PST by <1/1,000,000th%
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To: Junior
"Losing faith in humanity one person at a time."

That's just pitiful jr. But then I suppose you didn't have much faith to begin with.

23 posted on 12/18/2006 8:49:49 AM PST by Pietro
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To: TaraP

I am amazed how much atheism is growing around the world..

_______

Atheism. like liberalism, has become a religion.


24 posted on 12/18/2006 8:49:50 AM PST by rightinthemiddle (Without the Media, the Left and Islamofacists are Nothing.)
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To: Rembrandt_fan

We can speculate all we want about whether or not altruism is consistent with Darwinian evolution. I agree that the widespread existence of altruism does not by itself "disprove" Darwinism. But I also think that attempts to depict it as consistent with Darwinism are speculative at best.

Speculation is fine, but the problem is that too many evolutionists take that speculation as tantamount to additional corroboration of Darwinism. As long as any Darwinian explanation is *plausible*, they are contented. In other words, they simply believe what they want to believe and belittle anyone who does not see it the way they see it.


25 posted on 12/18/2006 8:52:03 AM PST by RussP
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To: <1/1,000,000th%

Okay I get what you mean here....

That's why I like to watch The Andy Griffith Show reminds me of the days when no one ever heard or spoke of the ACLU, The Taliban, ISLAM, Atheists or botox..:)


26 posted on 12/18/2006 8:55:28 AM PST by TaraP
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To: SJackson
Evolution depends on the existence of pre-existing genetic material - DNA - of incredible complexity, the existence of which cannot be explained by evolutionary theory.

Nagel succinctly makes the point I have tried to make on numerous evolutionary threads. There is really no satisfactory way of explaining how something so incredibly complex and interlinked could have evolved, even over billions of years of time.

It was possible to imagine lower forms of life developing from inanimate matter and gradually evolving into higher forms until cell biology came along and the true complexity of even simple life forms was understood. Now, if you look at the facts, such a simplistic view is simply impossible.

That's why Darwinists tend not to work in these innovative scientific fields, but rather to spend their time pontificating or going into the teaching profession so they can brainwash young students by maintaining their monopoly in the educational field with the help of corrupt judges and the ACLU.

I find Darwinism impossible to credit not because of my religious beliefs, but because it offends mortally against my scientific and mathematical training. The ONLY way you can justify evolutionary theory is by introducing God into the equation, or, if you prefer to put revealed religion aside for the moment, by introducing an unknown Intelligent Designer, and arguing that He chose to create life through a guided evolutionary process. Mere chance cannot explain the supposed process.

27 posted on 12/18/2006 9:00:21 AM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: <1/1,000,000th%

It's difficult to imagine what an atheist would celebrate.


28 posted on 12/18/2006 9:03:01 AM PST by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: RussP

Wow, this was posted at 11:13 and here it is 12:00 and the Darwinists are yet to get going on this thread. Maybe they don't like to be put in the position of having to defend atheisism. Maybe, I dunno.


29 posted on 12/18/2006 9:03:47 AM PST by mc5cents (Show me just what Mohammd brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman)
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To: <1/1,000,000th%
Communist groups all the time. Left-wing environmentalists have meetings. Universities have dozens of meetings all over the country. The ACLU has an enormous following.

Are you sure those are all really atheists?

30 posted on 12/18/2006 9:05:07 AM PST by tacticalogic ("Oh bother!" said Pooh, as he chambered his last round.)
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To: <1/1,000,000th%
You are of course correct, although atheist will deny that position.

If you subscribe to atheism, you must be able to defend your position. Saying, "I don't know, I just do not believe" shows a juvenile philosophy and requires no thought. It would seem if atheism is not a religion, then we would never hear from them

I respect agnostics much more, at least they admit they are clueless.
31 posted on 12/18/2006 9:08:47 AM PST by alarm rider ("O thou who changest not, abide with me!")
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To: RussP
You wrote, "In other words, they simply believe what they want to believe and belittle anyone who does not see it the way they see it."

Agreed, which is why I was careful to qualify my statement about instinctive herd mentality as a possible explanation for altruism. I'm a commercial artist, not a scientist, so I just go where the logic takes me--with the caveat 'Well, I could be wrong.'

I think that is what bothers me the most about the whole debate: guys like Dawkins claim reason as their champion, yet commit any number of fallacies that would disqualify a freshman member of the high school debating team. Creationists, on the other hand, act as if the Bible was designed as a science textbook, which it most emphatically isn't. I don't recall God explaining atomic structure to Moses, for example.

Scientists should concern themselves with the How, not the Who. For that matter, Christian preachers and theologians should keep their own eyes on the prize. All of this time and energy expended attempting to disprove evolution and to promote Creationism is a costly distraction, in my view. Is salvation dependent on non-belief in evolutionary theory? I doubt even the most religiously devout, literalist opponent of Darwin's ideas would make that claim.
32 posted on 12/18/2006 9:13:06 AM PST by Rembrandt_fan
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To: SJackson
"We are... robot-vehicles blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes," writes Dawkins. Like God, Dawkins's genes are purposeful agents, far smarter than man.

And no doubt, far smarter than Dawkins. But after reading some of the things he's been credited with saying, that isn't too much of a stretch.

33 posted on 12/18/2006 9:18:06 AM PST by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: Cicero

Absolutely!


34 posted on 12/18/2006 9:20:11 AM PST by RussP
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To: Rembrandt_fan; RussP
Creationists, on the other hand, act as if the Bible was designed as a science textbook, which it most emphatically isn't.

We keep hearing that accusation all the time and I don't know ANY that make that claim. Could you provide us with some examples of those who have stated that? And could you then explain why you make a blanket statement about all creationists based on your perception of what some have allegedly said?

35 posted on 12/18/2006 9:23:23 AM PST by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: Alouette
"It's not enough to not believe in G-D. You also have to be a d**k to everyone who doesn't think like you.

I take it you fail to see the hypocrisy of such a statement in a thread titled "'Mommy, why are atheists dim-witted?'"

36 posted on 12/18/2006 9:23:36 AM PST by qam1 (There's been a huge party. All plates and the bottles are empty, all that's left is the bill to pay)
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To: SJackson
a mind without a body, capable nevertheless of creating and forming the entire physical world."

We're all figments of God's imagination, in some sense.

37 posted on 12/18/2006 9:30:20 AM PST by My2Cents (In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. -- George Orwell)
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To: qam1

I take it you did not see the episode of "South Park" the quote is taken from.


38 posted on 12/18/2006 9:30:59 AM PST by Alouette (Psalms of the Day: 120-134)
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To: SJackson; marron; Alamo-Girl; hosepipe; FreedomProtector; .30Carbine
Here is a supposedly scientific theory bearing no relationship to any empirical reality ever observed.

LOLOL!!! Exactly how I feel!

If just loved this: "If Hamilton's theory were true, we should expect to find incest widespread. In fact, it is taboo." Evidently, Steven Pinker is particularly incensed to find a taboo here. It puzzles him.... That is, he can't explain it.

But here is the piece de resistance:

"Because their theory of man is badly wrong, they say that man is badly wrong; that he incorporates many and grievous biological errors." But the one thing a scientific theory may never do, Stove observes, is "reprehend the facts."

Great post, SJackson! Thank you so much!
39 posted on 12/18/2006 9:31:06 AM PST by betty boop (Beautiful are the things we see...Much the most beautiful those we do not comprehend. -- N. Steensen)
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To: metmom
Hi metmom! Meant to ping #39 to you....

Thanks for the head's-up!

40 posted on 12/18/2006 9:32:36 AM PST by betty boop (Beautiful are the things we see...Much the most beautiful those we do not comprehend. -- N. Steensen)
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To: Cicero

Sorry, but the Theory of Evolution does not concern itself with how life got here or how the very first lifeforms were created. Obviously, inanimate objects did not "evolve" into life anymore than H20 "evolves" from hydrogen and oxygen.

It doesn't matter if life began as a random chemical reaction, implanted by space aliens or if god poofed it into existence. THE THEORY OF EVOLUTION STILL WORKS. We should make this clear, evolution has been observed enough that it is considered FACT. It is also a Theory (just like GRAVITY, another fact and theory). Wikipedia can explain it better that me:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_as_theory_and_fact

And your statement about "DARWINIST" (whatever that is) not working in innovative scientific fields is totally ridiculous. Evolution is the foundation of biology and is definitely used in everything from developing antibiotics to industrial fermentation.(microbiology anyone?).


41 posted on 12/18/2006 9:33:17 AM PST by LiberalGunNut
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To: mc5cents; RussP
Wow, this was posted at 11:13 and here it is 12:00 and the Darwinists are yet to get going on this thread.

12:30 and so far it's just crickets...

42 posted on 12/18/2006 9:35:27 AM PST by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: metmom
You wrote, "We keep hearing that accusation all the time..."

And you will keep hearing it, since Creationism--as a movement, as a set of ideas--is a literal interpretation of the creation story in the Book of Genesis. Any time any Creationist claims that the world was made in literally six days, then that person is claiming the Bible as a source of scientific authority. There are, of course, other, more scientifically mainstream arguments against evolution that do not rely upon interpretation of Biblical texts, but that isn't what we're talking about when we're talking about Creationism, is it?
43 posted on 12/18/2006 9:37:13 AM PST by Rembrandt_fan
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To: SJackson
.... why are atheists dim-witted?

They operate ONLY on self-centered emotion-based "rationale"

They refuse to ask ALL the right questions, therefore only find the answers to the questions that seem to suit their [intentionally] fractured worldview.

44 posted on 12/18/2006 9:37:57 AM PST by Wings-n-Wind (The answers remain available; Wisdom is obtained by asking all the right questions!)
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Comment #45 Removed by Moderator

To: LiberalGunNut

"Sorry, but the Theory of Evolution does not concern itself with how life got here or how the very first lifeforms were created. Obviously, inanimate objects did not "evolve" into life anymore than H20 "evolves" from hydrogen and oxygen."

This claim always amazes me. We have no clue how the first living cell could have come to be without ID, but we know for "fact" that all life after that can be explained by random mutation and natural selection with no ID.

How anyone can actually hold such inconsistent views is beyond me.

I need to get to work, so I'm bailing on this thread for now at least.


46 posted on 12/18/2006 9:39:54 AM PST by RussP
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To: LiberalGunNut
Sorry, but the Theory of Evolution does not concern itself with how life got here or how the very first lifeforms were created.

Of course not, because it would complicate things too much and blow the theory apart, but it is a perfectly logical question to ask.

Obviously, inanimate objects did not "evolve" into life anymore than H20 "evolves" from hydrogen and oxygen.

So then, where did life come from? What's the dividing line between living and non-living?

47 posted on 12/18/2006 9:40:38 AM PST by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: mc5cents

The Darwin Central crowd have apparently stormed off of FR in a huff. They may be back, but clearly they were frustrated that their agenda wasn't making much headway here.


48 posted on 12/18/2006 9:40:52 AM PST by My2Cents (In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. -- George Orwell)
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To: SJackson

Calling all atheists dimwitted because of Dawkins makes about as much sense as calling all evangelical leaders gay drug addicts because of Haggard.


49 posted on 12/18/2006 9:41:52 AM PST by Stone Mountain
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To: absolootezer0

Good one! :)


50 posted on 12/18/2006 9:43:38 AM PST by dmw (Aren't you glad you use common sense, don't you wish everybody did?)
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