Skip to comments.'Mommy, why are atheists dim-witted?'
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.
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:
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?).
12:30 and so far it's just crickets...
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.
"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.
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?
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.
Calling all atheists dimwitted because of Dawkins makes about as much sense as calling all evangelical leaders gay drug addicts because of Haggard.
Good one! :)
I don't think a truly devout person would look on you disrespectfully, but out of love for their fellow human. What you may perceive as disrespect, may just actually be an effort on the part of that person to look out for the well-being of your soul.
Had a wry smile when I heard the Vatican had appointed an Astronomer.
Like Mother Theresa? Or Ronald Reagan? Or Billy Graham?
I've seen the vociferously atheistic at work in the form of Stalin, Lenin; Pol Pot, and other political leaders that kind of turned me off towards atheism.
The appearance of the very first living cell is outside of the scope of the Theory of Evolution, plain and simple.
No matter how that first cell got here, it wouldn't effect one iota of the Theory of Evolution. Is it really that hard to understand?
No Doubt! - It's the great falling away that was prophesied in God's word; God has hardened their hearts as he said he would, lest they believe and be saved.
Dawkins isn't worth this thread, but maybe you are Junior. Has God hardened your heart?
(Of course not, because it would complicate things too much and blow the theory apart, but it is a perfectly logical question to ask.)
No it wouldn't. You can insert ANY reason for how the first living cell arrived on earth and the Theory of Evolution STILL WORKS. You can say God created the first living cell. It doesn't change ONE IOTA of the Theory of Evolution.
(So then, where did life come from? What's the dividing line between living and non-living?)
There are a few explanations as to where life came from. Every single on is outside of the Theory of Evolution. Meaning, if all of the current ideas about the Origin of life were debunked, the ToE would remain unaffected. I don't know why this is so hard to understand.
Do you deny that evolution has been observed? Google "FRUIT FLIES AND EVOLUTION" and you will find a very good example of observed evolution.
*Scientific authority* is not the same as your previous statement that creationists act as if the Bible were designed as a science textbook. This was your previous quote...Creationists, on the other hand, act as if the Bible was designed as a science textbook, which it most emphatically isn't. So which creationists act as if the Bible was designed as a science textbook?
Besides, the definition of creationism is simply your definition. Where did you get it? What authoritative source specifically requires it to be a *literal* interpretation? Evos rarely speak of creation without trying to cram it into the *literalist* box.
Well that isn't very convincing.
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