The Problem with God: Interview with Richard Dawkins

The renowned biologist talks about intelligent design, dishonest Christians, and why God is no better than an imaginary friend.

guttersaint

08/17/2007 10:40:37 PM

I don't see anything different about his atheism. It's just the same old atheism. Belief in God doesn't inhibit the inquisitive mind or damper curiousity. Nor does it present an obstacle to the faculty of reason. One can believe in God and still be excited about science, I've heard others say that science inspires their faith.

Fea_Istra

05/30/2007 10:26:08 PM

in the end, materialism is only 'likely' in people's minds because they have decided from the beginning that the spiritual is made up. there is no evidence that suggests materialism or naturalism. instead of asking "which is right?" many people ask "which seems more smart?"..and this is defined by society. there are many assumptions in the secular world.

Fea_Istra

05/30/2007 10:22:51 PM

it's not true that creationists don't understand evolution..I took several courses on evolution, read secular books about it, etc. i'm still a creationist. yes, evolution is about "by which genes survive and which genes don't survive", but in an atheistic world, the foundations of the world are random: molecules appeared randomly, etc. scientists have found 20 numerical constants that describe different aspects of the universe. if even one of them, say electromagnetic force, were just a bit different, the universe would not exist (there wouldn't be stars, etc). the odds of one of these numbers being 'perfect' is close to 0: something like 1/infinity. a designer is simply more probable. as to evolution, i support micro evolution (adaptations within species), but macro evolution has not been directly observed (you can't observe it). i think that mostly, it's just misinterpreted evidence. there isn't that much evidence out there.

Melchizedek1

04/17/2007 11:59:17 AM

"Truth will make you free"(J8:32).Truth of:formal science, natural science, humanities...philosophy, theology; From Tales.....St.Thomas Aquinas...Einstein ..A.Tarski....R.E.Brown SS I recommend St.Thomas AQUINAS, 13th.A.D.The Division and Methods of The Sciences+K.Popper(On the "evolution")etc.,... esp.John Paul II, Fides et Ratio.Wake up!Do not provoke...Judgment (2P3:3)!!! In the poll's questions:there is a mixing of material and formal mode od speach!!!These are NOT only possible choices.

kevist

04/09/2007 03:03:18 PM

The burden of proof concerning the afterlife is currently on the believer. Atheists should state, I don't know or the probability may be low, which is intellectually honest. However the question, Does consciousness exist outside of the body? Is valid enough for science to study.

flatebo

03/12/2007 10:07:57 PM

"On what evidence does Dawkins catgorically deny afterlife and reincarnation?" One might bear in mind that Dawkins position is not subject to proof, as one cannot prove a negative. His position is based upon the lack of evidence which he finds convincing. Is he not entitled to exercise his own judgment in this matter? Is he not entitled to express that judgment? Men have failed for millenia to prove the existence of a soul. Could one not on that ground alone reject belief in an afterlife? Should anyone succeed in proving the soul's existence, then we may intelligently discuss whether, and in what form, an afterlife exists. At the moment, all such assertions lack crucial evidentiary support. Perhaps the Egyptians were right, and we all have three souls. Maybe we're all condemned to being Cerberus' chew-toys. Do I have to prove these contentions wrong before being allowed to reject them? Am I required to accept them until they have been disproven?

chrisrkline1960

02/17/2007 03:43:12 PM

Dawkins does not need to provide evidence that there is no afterlife. If someone says they have been to Dallas, we accept that because there is ample evidence that Dallas exists, and that people visit it. We can see the place. If I say I have been to Pluto, and provide convincing descriptions while under hypnosis, and it is clear I am telling the "truth" you are still under no obligation to believe that I have been there. Nor are you required to prove that I have not been there, even if many others make the same claim. But an afterlife is completely different. Descriptions made by living people of something they experienced when they were near-death (alive,) is not proof. And these "experiences" have nothing to do with whether we are mere "decomposing matter." I can prove that we decompose. The world is full of decomposers—wonderful, profound and beautiful decomposers. Mere decomposers? Not to me. I find this life sublime. I don’t need to imagine another.

sheri1555stl

02/10/2007 08:58:15 PM

On what evidence doe Dawkins catgorically deny afterlife and reincarnation. Does he discount the near-death (clinically dead) testimonies of those who have said that they came back from the 'other side,' because they don't fit that reduction to biologically decomposing matter that life is to him? Is that "believing where the evidence takes us/leads us to"? He accuses the theists of dishonesty. Is Dawkins being honest?

sheri1555stl

02/10/2007 08:41:50 PM

"...owes us no condolence or consolation." Right. God is love, not because it's owed to us or we deserve it. Why does the Designer need a designer? Why can't what the scientist sees in the eternality of the universe have intellect? They have no problem accepting the universe as without cause, only the Earth being caused by Big Bang, and then life by evolution. If they can have caused things(the Earth and life on earth) caused by an uncaused thing(the universe), then why does the religionist have to answer the question of who caused God regressing ad infintum? the univers takes the place in the scientist's paradigm that God is in in the religionist's. Could it be that underlying worldview belief in the primordial nature of matter the culprit again? God being a vastly unknowable, basicly undefinable entity beyond full understanding would HAVE to be mere myth/superstition, no more than irrational, hypothetical, dogma-producing fantasy, in that God is not simply reducible to matter.

sheri1555stl

02/10/2007 08:04:47 PM

Funny how Dawkins admits that he can't always examine all of the evidence, but takes things on "trust" said by those in certain scientific communities; but the religionist, who can't examine evidence, can't take on "trust" the writings about heroes in his/her community by those in his/her respective community. Could it be because reductionist materialism is already characteristic/ descriptive of Dawkins' worldview (preliminary mindset) as RoyJoseph seems to be suggesting, so he'll filter all evidence through that paradigm, even evidence that may lead to a theological conclusion, rather than "believe whatever the evidence leads him to," as he suggests?

sheri1555stl

02/10/2007 07:57:40 PM

I'll accept that take, lylat. I think any strongly held belief though, not just faith - say, such as racism and believing in white supremacy - leads to the very same excuse-making justification for violence towards those who don't agree and those who are the objects of hate. Too bad there isn't agreement among the atheists, as Sam Harris doesn't even maintain that religion doesn't necesarily lead to violence, in that he makes no distinction btween moderate and fundamentalist theists. They only seem to agree that religion, in any expression, is dangerous, to be avoided, and unfounded, as there is no God.

halw108

12/23/2006 12:01:00 PM

If the majority of pro-religionist dealt with their subject with the same rigour as Dawkins handles his own subject there would be much less flabby, self-deceptive, and superficial thinking in this whole area. The world around us (and the greater universe beyond that) is the most detailed religious 'text' in existence. We may come to different conclusions, but Dawkins proposal of evidence, rigorous process and clear thought is to be welcomed over endless mythological speculation.

RoyJoseph

11/23/2006 10:21:37 PM

wow, what do you call a person who discounts the supernatural or God as a fantasy? I think Materialism is a good word to describe that position unless you mean to suggest that Dawkins is a pantheist or an occultist. I don't think he would be comfortable with any of these categories. Atheists are comfortable with the term 'materialists.' So I don't know what the fuss is about the term. Religion leads to intolerance which Usually leads to violence!!!hmm. The same argument could hold for any ideology not just religion. Cheers Roy

Lylat

11/22/2006 03:44:34 AM

Come on, stop attacking Dawkins. He doesn't say in this interview that religion invariably leads to violence. What he says, if you honestly try to read his books, is that faith encourages intolerance, which can lead to violence. He actually writes - more eloquently than I can paraphrase - in "Religion's Misguided Missiles" that religious differences themselves are not the driving forces in sectarian violence, but only a convenient excuse when the motivation for violence already exists. Faith, as opposed to (sound) reason, is an enabler of violence - it, in its various forms, makes violence seem more acceptable where it is not. It does not invariably cause violence - it just makes it easier. By the way, I don't think Dawkins has ever called himself a "materialist", although I may be wrong. Basing one's beliefs on evidence - merely going with what seems most likely - does not require a statement of materialism, only skepticism.

RoyJoseph

11/21/2006 12:46:28 AM

Dawkins invokes the age-old 'religion invariably leads to violence' argument and offers it as an irrefutable fact. Simple problem. So could secularism, materialism, scientism or any other ideology that is employed for diabolical reasons. Using the crusades, Al Qaeda as prime examples is both rhetorical legerdemain and a fallacy of composition and division (not to mention false generalization). In a self-congratulary note, Dawkins asserts that scientists such as himself are open to correction while religious believers are captive to dogma. Dawkins either conceals or is unaware of the fact that materialists tautologically are wedded to materialism as the ultimate metaphysical presupposition. A few modifications or refinements does not belie his preconceived enterprise. Tu Quoque is the name of the fallacy. Btw, religious revelation can be seen as a form of deductive reasoning. royjos@gmail.com

Gerry_O_Brian

11/19/2006 10:19:05 PM

Enjoyed this interveiw. But talk about 'loaded' questions. Sorry but futureWatcher, Are your commenting on the Interview with Richard Dawkins? Where did u get, "Can I place Love in a test tube?" or "Can I see the Evidences of love? Yes, and the same with God" from the interveiw? And wot objective evidence is there for love anyhow? If so, how is it the same with God, esp the OT God? As for the Einstein quote. Are you FutureWatcher trying to say, "He who only knew 10% of all human knowledge, he then had acknowledged the existance of God"? Dawkins writes alot about Einstein in his book. He understands most religions people of science to hold an Einstein like veiw on god. Which is "I believe in Spinoza's God, Who reveals Himself in the lawful harmony of the world, not in a God Who concerns Himself with the fate and the doings of mankind." http://www.einsteinandreligion.com/spinoza.html It's a good site if ya intresting in Einstein

FutureWatcher

08/24/2006 09:17:33 PM

"The problem with Dawkins" His arguments, are based on what HE calls facts and evidences; He admits, some things can NOT be proved, yet he believes in them. Strange, coming from a man who, having a scholarly background, treats various beliefs from an almost infantile perspective. Can I place Love in a test tube? No. Can I see the Evidences of love? Yes, and the same with God. He comes off much more as one actually afraid of hearing any facts and evidences FOR Creation, but dismisses all, as religious irrationality. Einstein himself once said, he only knew 10% of all human knowledge, and then, had acknowledged the existence of God. I am sure that Dawkins also does not posess more than 10% of all human knowledge, and by that, he would have to then acknowledge the existence of God.

timeforchange

06/19/2006 08:29:41 PM

i think the poll about creation and evolution is misleading with the 3rd option. "God" and religion are two different things. rituals and dogma about "God" make religion. Im not religious but I do beleive in a higher intelligence just from the simple philosphy of a first cause. The answer to who is write science or the existence of God will never be discovered...ever. Its impossible to know either way. The answer, both for science and for those that beleive in God, will always be elusive. If we can all find peace within ourselves whether you are athiest or religious, it would no longer matter what you beleive in.

demise140

05/25/2006 09:47:50 AM

Richard Dawkins makes some very interesting points. I do have to say that I agree with him about a good bit. We are confused about evolution as a country. Unfortantly like he said about having to trust some one else for truth, that is what religion is all about. Trust, faith, are main keys to believing. Plus, we might have evolved to our current state, I can beleive that, but just because you can explain how something works or what has helped mold it, does not mean you can explain who made it. Scienctists agree, the creation of this world is nearly impossable, just a little help from something had to happen. Does that mean it is the Jewish god, Muslim god, or any other? No, it just means our puny minds can not comprehend what has taken place. We are not what the sun circles around, we circle the sun. Remember that.

dannyuk2

03/20/2006 04:22:19 PM

I like this article. I'm religious but i have to say Richard Dawkins has hit the nail right on the head with religion being "an imaginary friend". theres little difference between the two really. both have no physical proof of existence, not everyone has them, but to the individual concerned they are real. The only major difference is that one is nearly always dismissed as nonsensical, possibly a sign of mental problems, and the other is highly revered with temples and institutions dedicated to it. Continued below:

dannyuk2

03/20/2006 04:21:49 PM

Continued from above: Socially, its unwise to talk of "imaginary friends" yet religious belief is discussed all the time - sometimes in a fiery tone to non-beleivers, yet both are alarmingly similar. And its something a large portion of society is afflicted by. Largely its influence is either helpful or benign, but in a growing number of cases (religious right anyone?) its affecting our laws and way of life. Im no atheist, i too beleive in higher beings on a spiritual level, but I think this subject is an area well worth looking into from a scientific perspective.

fearrewardlove

03/18/2006 09:50:56 AM

Signofthetimes.... I would very much like to hear of your SOMETHING!!! It must have happened to you in a very deep profound way...as ultimate reality is such. Would you care to share any of it? Sounds like your mental road map of how the world works collided with SOMETHING and folded like a house of cards (to say the least) and was replaced with SOMETHING by SOMETHING. Must have taken a lot of thought work. Please share for I also am a fellow sufferer. Please share how you awoke from your sleep of deep slumber. There is an ancient interpetation of what happened to you...and it is stunning, beyond fantastic, some people say it just doesnt happen but you know it does. You have that first hand experience. If you are ready please share any part that you fell comfotable.

filmalicia

01/18/2006 02:11:30 PM

Continued... Lewis was speaking of his desire to meet his late wife, Joy Gresham, in the afterlife. He didn't abandon his faith in God, he did however, with great intellectual honesty, reject an infantile fantasy of God. This was near the end of Lewis's life.

filmalicia

01/18/2006 02:09:20 PM

I readily admit my belief in an afterlife might only be my own egotism, my desire to see those loved ones I've lost after I die only a form of sentimentality. C.S. Lewis, now so beloved of fundmentalists, said in "A Grief Observed" about our belief that we will "meet our loved ones in the sweet by and by" -- Lewis said something to the effect that We (as in We mature adults) just know heaven can't be like our childish or childhood picture of it...

Heretic_for_Christ

01/16/2006 02:36:28 PM

I've read Dawkins before on the topic of evolution, where he clearly knows his subject. This is the first time I have ever read his statements on philosophical issues, and I am equally impressed. This man seems to have a vibrantly alive spirituality. The fundamentalists will miss that entirely, because they mistakenly regard their own dogmatism as spirituality, not even realizing that dogmatism and spirituality are diametric and irreconciable opposites. Dawkins doesn't believe in the fundamentalists' dyspeptic god of wrath and vengeance, but he clearly believes in a spiritual foundation to the universe, manifest in our capability to learn, to create, and to treat each other with respect and kindness. Wouldn't it be a hoot if both Dawkins, who doesn't believe in an afterlife, and SolidStand, who presumably thinks Dawkins is heading for hellfire, wake up to find themselves neighbors in heaven! Who would be more surprised?

spiritualnaturalist

01/15/2006 08:36:34 PM

Good for Dawkins! I get so frustrated by all of the religious people who attribute everything to "God" conciously doing something, or listening, or whatever. The people who are unable to fathom how natural events could happen without some supernatural intelligence causing everything. They don't even try to listen to the valid, scientific explanations. Yet, they listen to absurd fairy tales like the Bible. The fools claim that there is "no evidence of evolution," but they do not admit that there is no evidence of their idea of "God!" They are so ignorant! I'm glad that the scientific community is stepping up to meet the religious fanaticism that seems to be popping up in recent years. Thank goodness for people like Richard Dawkins! We need some keepers of sense and logic in the world.

SolidStand

01/13/2006 10:28:26 PM

Whats really a laugh, is going to be the uneducated, illiterate idol worshipping cannibal whos religious understandings much more closely reveal Gods true pattern of right thinking as compared to the british biologist and refuter of theologians etc etc. Judgment day is going to be a real eye opener for Dawkins, but stranger yet, he may come to Christ and find eternal life. God is gracious that way. He was to me. It would be wonderful to read the recantations of this guy. Not that I want to set you all on guard against depending upon human will, you all well know its fallible condition. Solid

SolidStand

01/13/2006 10:20:52 PM

I wrote on another board on how to develope an evolutionary theory. This guy has masterfully taken my points and run amuck. Its great to be right about a guy who is writing books about why God cant be true. I do love Gods humor, He even grants life and existence to a creature who flatly denies the creator exists. I suppose If I were to copy his book and put my name on it as the author, he would sue..why? because he is the creator the author of the work, I know its so elementary and ridiculous, but the irony shouldnt be ignored. Solid

kpax101

12/28/2005 09:33:01 PM

I find nothing to fault your latest contribution, LivingEZ123.

LivingEZ123

12/24/2005 09:30:45 AM

K: I also posted a defense of Dawkins. Often what an “atheist” does not believe is a “concept” going by the word God. The word God actually has no consistent meaning. I focus on “reality”, including the development and continuity of behavior norms, as expressed through law and morals. I also find valuable the understanding of the various ways humans conceive of reality including human purpose. I have no actual concept of “God” since the source of creation is beyond time, space and existence. In that sense God does not “exist”. To ascribe even “existence” to God is limiting God to our human understanding. The God is love concept, created by Hallmark greeting cards, is at least harmless, even if intellectually hollow. I still consider my own religious heritage as morally authoritive, even if much of the “God” concept is anthropomorphic. I have also settled on a “God” concept which I know intellectually is flawed. I call it a “God” paradigm. I am within Judaism’s conceptual orthodoxy.

kpax101

12/22/2005 03:59:16 PM

I've come late to the discussion, people, but I tend to side with Dawkins, especially if the 'god' in question is the traditional biblical one. A thorough inspection of the Bible (and the Koran for that matter) identifies the deity as a ridiculous fellow - capricious, petulant, and cruel. In regards to so-called intelligent design, well, I just haven't seen any compelling arguments.

jacknky

12/21/2005 09:51:06 AM

Thank you all.

paul.bello

12/20/2005 07:59:08 PM

I agree, thank you guys for a wonderful conversation. It's rare to see people actually open up and discuss what they actually believe, rather than argue one side or another of an issue as partisans. Warm holiday wishes to each of you :) Best, Paul

Eyentao

12/20/2005 06:32:00 PM

to all, an excellent conversation. the best i've had on this site for sure.

Eyentao

12/20/2005 06:25:41 PM

nnmns, "I think it's the most honest answer, period." I totally sympathize with this sentiment, but I think we have to be careful ranking the value of beliefs - even agnostic beliefs. As I stated below, I believe in god and always have. I acknowledge that part of this belief is founded in the psychological, and much more importantly, cultural, role a belief in god serves for me. that doesn't mean i think my belief is better for any one else. i don't know if a god exists for anyone else. it's not important for me to make others believe anything. i know i believe in god. this belief, as i formulate it in my head, makes me a more tolerant person. but i don't objectively believe that people should or shouldn't believe in god. the only reason i'm challenging you is that my affirmative belief in god serves ME better than "i don't know" would. so i think it would be ashame for me to flounder on this belief for the sake of intellectual honesty when the belief serves me well.

nnmns

12/20/2005 05:58:19 PM

"I vacillate back and forth between atheist and agnostic. Sometimes I think "I don't know" is the most honest answer I can give." I think it's the most honest answer, period.

jacknky

12/20/2005 03:58:17 PM

paul, I am interested but don't know if I'll be able to hold the thought through the holidays. We'll see. Thanks for the offer. BTW, a lot of what you're writing is over my head.

jacknky

12/20/2005 03:55:44 PM

nnmns, I vacillate back and forth between atheist and agnostic. Sometimes I think "I don't know" is the most honest answer I can give.

paul.bello

12/20/2005 03:40:02 PM

jack: Actually, there are several wannabe theologians who advance the hypothesis that human "theory of mind" or our native psychology concerning the mental states of persons (including ourselves), may be implicated in why we are able to imagine unembodied agents such as God. A lot of these claims are pieced together from what we know about autism, and impairment of social reasoning. I've been working on developing computational models of theory-of-mind acquistion/usage. At some point if you're interested in that stuff, gimme a holler off-board, and we can prolly chat without boring the rest of these poor folks to tears :P Cheers, Paul

nnmns

12/20/2005 02:40:19 PM

Great discussions you guys are having! As an avowed atheist let me give my personal pov. I consider myself fairly scientific and rational, and I've never seen evidence of a god existing. Clearly that doesn't rule one out but given the common descriptions of "God" in the areas of the US where I've lived, It could clearly make its existence known if it had any desire at all to, and given the presumed seriousness of not believing it exists when it does (Hell forever) it behooves It to make itself known! If I want to use the "Y" I claim belief but to myself restrict it to belief in, say, the laws of physics, whatever they may turn out to be. I can't rule out existence of a conventional god of some sort but I'd say the probability is down well below one one millionth. So it seems wimpy to call myself agnostic and I don't. But if a god actually gave strong evidence it existed I'd change my tune. Of course most believers, having put their money on the wrong horse, would need to do that also.

jacknky

12/20/2005 01:47:33 PM

Paul, "i suppose there is some kind of inconsistency in this," Sometimes I think consistency can be the refuge for the unimaginative or unaware. You seem neither.

jacknky

12/20/2005 01:44:44 PM

Paul. "Andrew Newberg's work with fMRI scans of monks and nuns during prayer/meditation are pretty interesting stuff..." Is that with the Dalai Lama's monks? I read about it in Buddhist magazines. The Dalai Lama was asked what Buddhists would do if science ever contradicted the Buddhist teachings. He said: "Change the teachings." refreshing... Did you see the article in this month's Atlantic about, and this is my poor memory speaking, research indicating that the presupposition toward the supernatural begins in early childhood and is a result of the dualistic way we learn the world? very interesting.

Eyentao

12/20/2005 01:40:35 PM

jack and paul, in answer to your question: are we innately predisposed to believe in god - i really have no idea. i think that are upbringing shapes are religious beliefs and, just as importantly, are interpretation of our own "spiritual" or "transcendantal" experiences. personally, i was raised a very liberal reformed jew. as a result, i believe in a god that has some sort of covenant with the jewish people (but, in my mind, the covenant is a big barrage of liberalism...LOL). but i realize the religious belief is so deeply subjective and filled with paradox, that i would never claim a greater "truth" of any of my beliefs. i think of them as personal and don't make the leap that's "what's true to me is true to everyone." i suppose there is some kind of inconsistency in this, but religion is so filled with passion, paradox, and sujectivity, that my 'religious relativism' seems in line.

paul.bello

12/20/2005 01:16:11 PM

Personally, as a Catholic, I was taught to understand the Bible as a mix of revelation, historical text, allegory, and culturally-contexualized writings. It's a very ecumenical way to look at scripture, but I feel that in the end (as a theist), it's probably closer to the mark than more extreme interpretations (literalism or pure allegory). So to briefly answer, now that I've rambled: yes, I think that we are "wired" to experience more than our mundane 4-dimensional world. How we do so is still a matter of speculation :) Cheers, Paul

paul.bello

12/20/2005 01:16:06 PM

Eye: Good points here. Although I still feel that God is a pervasive enough principle in social discussion to rule out a person as somehow not ever considering the question of It's existence. Jack: Following the former, there are a number of different neuroscientific (and genetic) bases for belief in a God-like entity. Andrew Newberg's work with fMRI scans of monks and nuns during prayer/meditation are pretty interesting stuff...and his work is only the tip of the iceberg. contd..

jacknky

12/20/2005 01:06:33 PM

Paul/Eyentao, Do you think each of us is born an atheist and must be taught to believe in a god or do you think some of us innately believe in a higher power? I personally think the latter. I was raised in a Christian family and I honestly tried to believe as those around me did. But I never could. It was (is) as though this Holy Book teaches the sky is red but when I look I see blue. It literally feels as though I lack the belief gene. (Yes, I'm serious.) I think some of us early on have an intrinsic need or ability to believe in the supernatural. Each society teaches them which version of the supernatural to believe in. As an atheist I would contend that I'm no more able to believe in God than you are to not. This issue of non-control is not addressed by the dictionary.

Eyentao

12/20/2005 12:37:52 PM

perhaps the "indifferent" people i'm talking about aren't definitionally atheists, but they are not agnostics and not theists. they are not agnostics because agnostics at least wrestle with the question of gods or existence, or at least have considered as a relevant question. theists have confronted the question with a positive answer. you seem to assume that every atheist has acknowledged the question: "does god exist" and either made an affirmative choice to dismiss the question or answer it "no." to some atheists, the question "does god exist?" is like asking "who is your favorit cricket player?" to someone who has never heard of cricket. an ommission, in this case, is a denial only in so far as the answer plays no part in the person's thinking. but the person is not making an assumption about the question "does god exist," they just aren't asking it. the only people who read an assumption into the omission of the question are theists who read their world view into that of atheists.

Eyentao

12/20/2005 12:31:03 PM

Paul, I understand what you are saying about the axiomatic method. Belief in anything must rely on certain axioms that are presumed to be true. For this reason, it is important for various disciplines to be aware of their own limitations. I don't believe that science tries to find absolute truths. Rather, within the assumptions on which science predicated upon, science uses a method to attempt to find certain types of knowledge and better understanding of certain aspects of our world. there is no faith here because there is no presumption of absolute truth. however, as a system, science seems productive. science is analogous to a civil society where people follow certain laws. these laws don't necessarily correspond to some objective abstract moral truths, but adherence to laws makes the system efficacious.

paul.bello

12/20/2005 12:16:48 PM

As for the etymology of the word "atheist" and what it entails..right from dictionary.com: "Atheist: One who disbelieves or denies the existence of God or gods" "Agnostic: One who believes that it is impossible to know whether there is a God. (a) One who is skeptical about the existence of God but does not profess true atheism. (b)One who is doubtful or noncommittal about something." Agnostics may reasonably adopt the "negation-as-failure" approach that you've taken to the status of your belief in a higher power. You have no positive evidence, therefore a lack of justified belief. But by the very nature of "not having positive evidence," you imply the logical possibility of such evidence, and therefore cannot commit to outright disbelief. Cheers, Paul

paul.bello

12/20/2005 12:09:19 PM

Eye: The axiomatic method requires the adoption of a set of axioms. All of mathematics (can be) built from varieties of set theory (usually ZFC). It's nice that these axioms are "self-evident," but they are indeed faith-based presumptions. Poor Frege almost had the whole thing licked until Bertrand Russell came along with his paradox of self-reference, and flipped the whole project on its kiester. Indeed, so-called "axioms" are no better than the degree to which there are no direct counterexamples to the theories they comprise. The point of all of this is that the axiomatic method, axioms are presumed to be true, and anything provable via those axioms (insofar as they are sound, since the notion of completeness for the Peano axioms was destroyed ala Kurt Goedel) is also presumed to be true. contd..

Eyentao

12/20/2005 11:33:54 AM

also, i don't think theoretical science is based on no evidence. its just making grand theories that are not entirely backed up by evidence. those the believe in the big bang do find evidence that the world is expanding. its just not conclusive. but scientific theories are not based on faith, especially because scientists don't presume them to be true. scientist presume them to be the best we've got this far.

Eyentao

12/20/2005 11:33:41 AM

Paul, I think there are many who are indifferent who call themselves "atheists." the reason is that they have no positive belief in god. god plays no part in their world view, so, by implication, there worldview does not include a role for a god. however, what i was meaning to say, is that the notion of faith requires a positive "leap of faith." atheists don't have a positive leap of faith in the "lack of a god," they just don't believe in one like I don't think Sammy Sosa is my favorite baseball player. I just have never considered a probably never will, but if asked "is sammy sosa your favorite baseball player" i would, by default, say "no."

paul.bello

12/20/2005 09:58:22 AM

Eye: If this is the case, you probably aren't an atheist. Seems to me as if you are agnostic or indifferent. Atheists attempt to provide arguments for the non-existence of deity. Given that this is the case, they must provide a closed system for explaining reality. So far, science has done a reasonable job, but (and uncontroversially so) it doesn't have ALL the answers :) You are correct in asserting that science takes faith in a process. Evidence-based science (rather than pure theoretical stuff) does require a certain set of (potentially false) assumptions be made about the purity of the data you collect. It's easy to not include the proper set of experimental controls, or to not properly isolate the phenomena you are interested in studying. More than this, empirical science has no facts, only theories. I agree that this is a point of divergence between theists and non-theists.

Eyentao

12/20/2005 09:15:36 AM

paul, i actually don't think scientific atheism necessarily takes faith. this is true for two reasons: 1. scientific atheists often never answer the question "does god exist?" many atheists simply don't confront the question any more than I would confront the question: do you believe in the lochness monster. my answer is: i don't care. 2. science only takes faith in a process while theism has faith in the outcomes. i don't think science takes faith in facts, it only embraces a certain methodology. theism has faith in facts and, maybe, looks at the methodology later. i think both are important, but they serve different functions and need not overlap.

Eyentao

12/20/2005 09:12:20 AM

Jimmy, you make an excellent point. most people, scientists included, believe that a Higher Power had some role in the creation of the universe. the problem is - when this view gets cannonized in public school science curriculum, there is a constitutional dilemma. this debate has nothing to do with atheism or theism. it has to do with the appropriate parameters of publicly funded science.

jimmyrow

12/20/2005 01:44:15 AM

I believe in Intelligent Design. I believe there is a Divine Architect behind the process of evolution and behind the unfolding of life itself. That said, I don't trust the intentions of the Taliban-like theocracy pushing for Intelligent Design for they want to abolish evolution, ideas, and questions contrary to their beliefs. Science and Religion are two ways of answering the same question - flip sides to the same coin. We ought to teach evolution in school as it's what we've discovered and measured so far in the physical world. However, rather than giving them an answer about the existence of God and creation, maybe we should just the pose the question to the kids and let them decide for themselves. They'll learn far more about themselves and the nature of God and reality by examining the question rather than getting some supposed answer in school.

paul.bello

12/20/2005 12:35:22 AM

2. Under separation of Church and State, it is unconstitutional for the government to (officially) endorse any religious ideas, without an escape mechanism (i.e. non-participation) for people of varying belief systems. Evolution should be taught in classrooms, as it is the leading scientific theory explaining speciation, however, when this explanation is extended past available experimental data, and enters into the realm of speculation about origins, or about undiscoverable psychological mechanims (which may or may not be Darwinian adaptations), I think a terrible disservice is being done to uninformed young minds. Cheers, Paul

paul.bello

12/20/2005 12:35:08 AM

Two general points re: the Ed/nnmns discussion: 1. It takes faith of a particular variety to be an atheist. Theists have a deductively closed explanation for all phenomena: God did (or is doing) it. I think that mosr reasonable theists see science as a human-centric way to explain God's plan for the universe (regardless of any attributions such as omnipotence, omnibenevolence, etc.). Atheists don't have the luxury of deductive closure, and either have to claim ignorance on certain key matters (i.e. instant before the big bang, origins, etc.), or wait for science to provide a warrented explanation. For folks of either disposition, there's a kind of "we'll get to an explanation eventually, but until we do, either a) God did it (in the case of theists) or b) science will be able to figure it out (in the case of atheists). contd..

Eyentao

12/19/2005 04:24:22 PM

Ed, it's not about which is more true: evolution or creationism. that is a matter of faith which everyone must decide for themselves. it's about: 1. what the government can endorse constitutionally. and 2. what is considered good science. i would never stop someone from, theologically and spiritually, believing in creationism. but creationism is a religious expression that should not be endorse by the state. also, creationism falls within the realm of spirituality, not science, so it shouldn't be discussed in scientific circles just like a million other things shouldn't be discussed in such cirlces.

nnmns

12/19/2005 02:09:14 PM

"You argue as an atheist and an evolutionist." I've been doing that for some time now and plan to continue. Have at. But for a little while I must take leave. Cheers.

jacknky

12/19/2005 02:07:39 PM

Can I play?

CowboyEd

12/19/2005 02:00:04 PM

nnmns It is sad that Dr. D can not be here to defend himself. When you and I define his terms, we can not prove to each other what he really meant. We will get lost in translation or interpretation. Without clarification from Dr. D, we can only draw incomplete conclusions about his perspective. Since I doubt he will join us, I have a suggestion. I will argue as a theist and a creationist. You argue as an atheist and an evolutionist. The benefit to this discussion is we will no longer have to debate what someone else meant or said. If these terms are not acceptable, we can continue arguing what we think Dr. D meant or said. Ed

nnmns

12/19/2005 12:48:34 PM

Ed, you asked what in your post is not understood by me. Here are two things: "Your [Dawkins'] value system takes more internal revelation or faith than any other value system known to man." I presume you mean his atheism. Since atheism does not require faith in any deity it seems to me to require less faith and no particular internal revelation, so I'm curious what you mean by that. "The problem I have is trusting Dr. D’s scientific research because it is based on his "internal revelation or faith" which he states should not be trusted in." I believe it's the other way around. His science led to his atheism. "My personal feeling is that understanding evolution led me to atheism." It's always possible it went the other way and he's not aware or saying it, but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. Do you still go by the statement above?

davidchai

12/19/2005 12:02:59 PM

any WORK of literature

davidchai

12/19/2005 12:02:20 PM

jack, Does not say much for humans does it? But I agree, because it is humans that determine what are an are not deities (since I still believe that the OT & NT are no more divinely inspired than any worth of literature, music or other human endeavors, and therefore get no greater or lesser respect, except that they have been used to both elevate and denigrate others), science has no business addressing this issue and it has no place in science classes. PS, the spaceship blew up due to bad manufacturing!

davidchai

12/19/2005 11:56:44 AM

Cowboy, Complete. After all, we know that there is a tangible being known as Dr Dawkins. BTW. I do not happen to have a substantial amount of repsect for Dawkins or the way he expresses his views. I am NOT a Darwinian, and do not think that everything was a random crap shoot. But I also do not think that evolution requires that perpective either. Evolution has evolved so far beyond Darwin (sorry for the pun) and what was known for the first half of the 20th century that much of the criticims of the old concept of evolution are not valid anymore.

Eyentao

12/19/2005 11:52:31 AM

cont'd from below: additionally, science does not call for trust, because science acknowledges that it's data adds up to theory, not hard fact. thus, dawkins simply calls upon people to look at the evidence and make the most logical inference from the data at hand. this is not faith or revelation, it is adding two plus two and getting four.

Eyentao

12/19/2005 11:48:09 AM

Ed, I don't think that it is fair to say that Dawkins is asking people to enter into selective trusting is some sort of inconsistent or fallacious way. Dawkins just states that science has a specific method, which bases knowledge on empirical verification. "trust" has very little to do with this. rather, dawkins ask that, when participating in scientific discourse, scientists should follow the rules of science. that is only a matter of trust in so far as it trusts that scientists should practice science. not much of a leap. also, i think that trusting what one observes in experiment is different that trusting that there is a god that created life. in the case of the former, we just trust that we are not hallucinating in everything we do or see. in the latter case, we are trusting something based on faith. i think the difference is apparent.

CowboyEd

12/19/2005 11:31:04 AM

nnmns Thank you for responding with intelligence. I am glad we can forgo insulting each other. “Striking out” should probably be defined. If you mean “attack” then you are wrong. If you mean “seek to understand” then you are right. I understand that you think Dr. Dawkins is asking us to participate in “selective trusting” which is equal to “selective hearing" or “selective answering.” According to your interpretation of Dr. D’s interview, we should trust the result of scientific research. I have no problem trusting the result and the expertise of scientific research. The problem I have is trusting Dr. D’s scientific research because it is based on his "internal revelation or faith" which he states should not be trusted in. Before I continue, please understand this is not an attack. I am seeking to understand. So, which part of what I said is not understood by you? Ed

jacknky

12/19/2005 09:45:47 AM

davidchai, "It could just be a desinger tht has notdesire to be worshipped and does not view itself as a deity. After all the designer gets to decide if it is a deity." No, I think it is we humans who get to decide. I think it doesn't matter whether or not there really is a god or ID. We humans seem to have a need to create one. "The whole thing is sort of moot since there it is unlikely that humanity will EVER get even close to figuring it out so any idea is a valid one)." or none are. Personally, if an idea doesn't meet my criteria for reasonableness I tend not to accept it. That's why the chances are slim I'll be committing suicide so my soul can join the spaceship behind the comet.

nnmns

12/19/2005 09:42:51 AM

Ed, I was describing your posts as I see them. You say I responded to evidence with insult but I saw no evidence, just charges. It appears to me Dr. Dawkins' comments have challenged your beliefs and you can only strike out at him. "You use terms like "brain f**t" because you have a limited vocabulary." Yes, sorry I didn't come up with a better term. Let's just say an “internal revelation of faith” could just as well be a figment of the imagination. I believe Dawkins is hoping we will base our decisions on stronger stuff. If you did read the article before you posted I apologize for assuming you hadn't. But then I don't understand why you didn't realize Dawkins' "taking things on trust" had nothing to do with trusting anyone's "internal revelation or faith" but rather with the results of science. Cheers.

CowboyEd

12/19/2005 01:35:50 AM

Dear nnmns, I know exactly what Dr. Dawkins is talking about. And I agree with you that he is asking me to think for myself. So I did. And when I do, you insult me by assuming I did not read the article. After you assume I did not read it, you accuse me of the same by actually asking me to read the article before I post. Whoever you are, there are a few things you should consider. A web site titled beliefnet.com asks "what do you believe?" Not only does it ask what I believe, but it invites me to respond with a post. I did. Then you insult me. Did I insult you? If I did, then I apologize.

nnmns

12/18/2005 09:27:00 PM

Ed, normally I only comment on things strikingly right or wrong in a posting, but yours is so full of strikingly wrong thinking I’m going to have to comment on a lot of it. “Dear Richard Dawkins, In your interview with Laura Sheahen, you said we should "not accept things because of internal revelation or faith, but purely on the basis of evidence." Then, in the very same paragraph, you tell us there is a "certain amount of taking things on trust." Which is it? Evidence or faith?” Ed, Dr. Dawkins was talking about trusting the results of scientific inquiry, with its peer-reviewed studies as methods of catching errors. One’s “internal revelation of faith” is more likely to be a brain f**t than a message from a deity. And let’s face it, different people claim to hear from very different deities. continued below

nnmns

12/18/2005 09:26:11 PM

continued from above “Trust, is belief in someone else's "internal revelation or faith." If that is complicated for you, let me make it simple. You are asking me to trust your internal revelation or faith, but not anyone else's internal revelation or faith?” No, Ed. He’s asking you to think for yourself and come up with your own, based on evidence. He’d probably like you to consider more than what you picked up at your mother’s knee or in Bible school. “Your value system takes more internal revelation or faith than any other value system known to man.” This makes no sense. What do you base this claim on? “Are you the only person in the world who has internal revelation or faith that the rest of us should trust in?” And what’s that about? Where did he ask you to believe what he does? He just hoped that everyone would come to decisions based on evidence as much as possible. Next time, Ed, please read an article before you post about it.

davidchai

12/18/2005 08:29:56 PM

Cowboy, God on Dawkins? So you want Laura to write a compete work of fiction?

paul.bello

12/18/2005 07:25:02 PM

eyentao: I generally agree w/ you. When it does become a problem is when kids bring those speculations home to parents, who have tried to balance off faith-based traditions with elaborating on what the kids are taught in school. I have an incredible amount of repect for teachers in general, having taught at the college level myself. My gf is also a teacher..so I have some understanding of what it feels like to have a student ask an uncomfortable question. It's best to have pre-scripted answers to some of these harder questions, so that you don't have to have it out with parents. It's not worth it for either party. Anyhow, thanks for the great discussion :) Good times. Cheers, Paul

CowboyEd

12/18/2005 05:17:44 PM

Dear Laura Sheahen I have an idea for your next article. The title would be "The Problem with Richard Dawkins: Interview with God Sincerely Ed Shively

CowboyEd

12/18/2005 05:06:21 PM

Dear Richard Dawkins, In your interview with Laura Sheahen, you said we should "not accept things because of internal revelation or faith, but purely on the basis of evidence." Then, in the very same paragraph, you tell us there is a "certain amount of taking things on trust." Which is it? Evidence or faith? Trust, is belief in someone else's "internal revelation or faith." If that is complicated for you, let me make it simple. You are asking me to trust your internal revelation or faith, but not anyone else's internal revelation or faith? Your value system takes more internal revelation or faith than any other value system known to man. Are you the only person in the world who has internal revelation or faith that the rest of us should trust in? If you want me to accept your internal revelation or faith, then I need evidence. I am waiting for your evidence, which I believe is based on your internal revelation or faith. Sincerely Ed Shively

Eyentao

12/18/2005 04:34:38 PM

Paul, I used to work as a public school teacher, and you just have to realize that, as teachers are human, speculation comes with the territory. no teacher has an absolute mastery of their subject. but students have other mediating sources of information - home, temple, media, et. - to give them other perspectives, so don't worry. it seems like your obsessing over whether teachers say "scientists aren't sure about the origins of life but most think that..." or "scientists believe that..." It's really not that important, in the scheme of this debate. a lot of science, as you know is theory. and teachers should let kids know when science isn't sure, but i think that's usually done, in my experience as a teacher.

paul.bello

12/18/2005 02:15:26 PM

nnmns: Just a few points: Re: "throwing the baby out with the bathwater." Oh. I totally agree with you there. But public school is not academe, and teachers shouldn't be allowed to teach opinion or speculation. If they do so, they should be removed or reprimanded. The "warning" label idea that was misapplied to evolution in Georgia should really be about the origins question. THat takes the onus off of the high-school teacher. Re: "Being shaky in philosophy and biology." Evolutionary theory has nothing to do with philosophy, and that's the whole problem. Evaluating the efficacy of a natural scientific theory is a well-defined process, separate from philosophical inquiry. Cheers, Paul

nnmns

12/18/2005 09:17:31 AM

'And as for the mathematical argument, check out "The Design Inference: Eliminating Chance through Small Probabilities" In general, I think Dembski is sorta wierd, but the mat in the book seems pretty reasonable.' I don't care to support Dembski or his cause by buying his book or urging a library to get it. Is there some place on the web to see his mathematical arguments? Or some place they are being debated in detail?

nnmns

12/18/2005 09:07:00 AM

"As a scientist, I have little doubt about evolution. I just get aggravated when the young become innocent victims of misinformation." Yes. We all have our beefs with the quality of school teachers and in a better world they would be required to show more knowledge of their subjects. But that doesn't mean to throw the baby out with the bath water. If a person gets a bit of mis-information but realizes evolution is the guiding biological principle they will be in good shape. If they are taught evolution is shaky and believe that, they will be crippled in biology and philosophy.

paul.bello

12/18/2005 01:35:42 AM

jack: Oh, there are plenty. Certainly this is less of an issue among professional biologists than it is with high school teachers. I'm feel reasonably good about the professional scientist-types. But they aren't the people who have to answer a 14-year old kid's questions. For a curious kid, the question is natural. How to answer it is the real problem. As a scientist, I have little doubt about evolution. I just get aggravated when the young become innocent victims of misinformation. The responsible answer to the 14-year old's question was given by most serious churches. There is still plenty of room for God in the development of life, without having to alter one iota of scientific evidence. Unfortunately, it's not the answer that's often given. Cheers, Paul

davidchai

12/17/2005 09:59:02 PM

Jack, 1. It could just be a desinger tht has notdesire to be worshipped and does not view itself as a deity. After all the designer gets to decide if it is a deity. 2. By the circular concept fo time (it is a valid concept when dealing with the "beginning of the universe" ) jst because humans think it is the beginnig does nto mean that other beings ouwld and they might be the designers. The whole thing is sort of moot since there it is unlikely that humanity will EVER get even close to figuring it out so any idea is a valid one).

jacknky

12/17/2005 06:14:51 PM

Paul, "All I've ever said is that Darwin's program shouldn't be extended to origins speculation as of yet." Are there scientists, or teachers for that matter, who do propose that the theory of evolution explains how life began? I didn't think that was a real issue amongst scientists and have read concerning evolution that we still don't understand how the spark of life began. (I believe it was in National Geographic.)

jacknky

12/17/2005 06:10:26 PM

Davidchai, "ID in its pure base does NOT require the designer be God or a deity." I know that's what's said but I don't quite understand how that would work. It sounds like semantics evolving from the Creationist philosophy to get around the issue of pushing religion in the schools. (Did you catch the irony? "evolving"? LOL) How could the Universe have an Intelligent Designer and it NOT be God or a deity?

paul.bello

12/17/2005 10:33:37 AM

jacknky and eyentao: Thanks for the comments. I think you're starting to get my point now. All I've ever said is that Darwin's program shouldn't be extended to origins speculation as of yet. I have absolutely no issue w evolution as it stands. It's the only game in town. But on the question of origins, we're still fairly lost. I'm not talking about college profs...I'm talking about high school science teachers, who still Miller-Urey is a great reason for beliving in the primordial soup hypothesis. Our kids shouldn't be misinformed by science, or by folks pushing a religious agenda. I just want them to learn stuff which accurately reflects the state of the field. And as for the mathematical argument, check out "The Design Inference: Eliminating Chance through Small Probabilities" In general, I think Dembski is sorta wierd, but the mat in the book seems pretty reasonable. Have a nice weekend guys :) Paul

julesh304

12/17/2005 09:33:47 AM

I agree with jacknky. The Divine, that which we call God, is so vastly beyond our ken. The Holy Books just try to explain It. Science seeks to understand the mechanics of our universe. Each new answer brings even more puzzling questions, and so much more we have yet to learn. To expect perfect answers creates obstacles on the road to discovery. What if Alexander Fleming had thrown away that penicillin petri dish as a failed experiment? We don't have to have all the answers to appreciate the miracles of our universe. A bumblebee defies the laws of aerodynamics, yet flies. We trust they will continue to do so every time we board a plane. It only means that we don't understand everything about aerodynamics. And indeed, if we weren't so certain about the workings of evolution, we would not be fretting about bird flu. To me, evolution is the greater miracle.

davidchai

12/17/2005 09:01:55 AM

ctek, ID in its pure base does NOT require the designer be God or a deity. Also the idea that they are talking about the "beginning of time" for the designer presumes linear time. Linear time is NOT an absolute. IT is what humans can currently comprehend but that does NOT mean it is true. Multidimensional time would allow for a continuum with no single designer. Just a thought.

jacknky

12/17/2005 07:05:46 AM

ctek, "But all this from chance? I dont get those odds anywhere." Why not? In an infinite Universe anything is possible because there are infinite possibilities. Besides, positing a god "causer" still brings up the question "What caused God?" The odds are the same. It all had to start somewhere.

Eyentao

12/17/2005 02:07:07 AM

"I think ID is just trying to meet science in the middle part," okay, if ID is on one end, and science on the other and "ID is just trying to meet science in the middle" then ID, by your very own words is not itself science. maybe in some contexts ID is useful, but its not science so it shouldn't be taught in the science classroom.

ctek

12/17/2005 12:47:06 AM

Also on the subject of intelligent designer. IF there is no designer then it must be random occurance. Evolution as presented to me stated the fish grew the legs and went on land. There was those little shrimp fish that were like our embroyos, We evolved from apes. etc. Sorry but that was the package. If its not the case then science should publicly dump it and maybe remove it from the textbooks. Say Darwin had a idea but weve improved on it and now this is the way it is. On ID maybe God is at the core of the intelligence, why dance around it. But all this from chance? I dont get those odds anywhere. I think ID is just trying to meet science in the middle part, and then it can be debated laater if the big bang was chance or had help. :-)

ctek

12/17/2005 12:22:11 AM

ps I said ID could be part of science, not that it is. But Paul is dealing with the whole subject much more accurately than I.

ctek

12/17/2005 12:18:41 AM

jacknky The sea separate, you mention why it never happens anymore then say that if there was a parting it would do wonders for skeptics. Ya missed my point entirely, Even though they saw the things they still were strubbon & went their own way. Kinda like showing a tar filled lung to a smoker and he puffs away saying ya I know but I will keep smoking. Even Christ said that signs & wonders were only so useful, what mattered was how one treats another. Wonders are addictive, people crave more and rely on the experience Then they can avoid addressing their attitude. That is a literal truth that can be banked on.

Eyentao

12/16/2005 03:41:01 PM

Paul, I think what you are really saying is: something must have caused the origin of life. that everyone can agree on. evolutionary biology, at present, and maybe indefinitely, cannot definitively account for what caused the origins of life. what different teachers tell there students is a matter of speculation, but i don't think textbooks say that evolution can explain origins for sure. i think it would be referred to as the "leading scientific explanation" which it is. the big difference in what we are arguing for is that in intelligent design, there is a designer who is INTELLIGENT, which implies a type of agency and deliberativeness. how it can ever be verified that a creator that existed at the beginning of time deliberately created life in a certain way is not a question science is equipped to handle. not calling this being 'supernatural' is just mixing words when you have creator who intentionally created life in a certain way and whose existence cannot be verified.

jacknky

12/16/2005 02:32:02 PM

(cont'd) If your point simply is that there isn't a good explanation then I agree with you. I don't believe that's the main point of ID proponents. But it is illogical to assume that our lack of knowledge implies an ID. I'm reminded of the "cargo cults" in the South Pacific who, upon seeing airplanes for the first time, created airplane alters and worshipped the airplane. While it's human nature to ascribe the unknown to supernatural causes, perhaps our awareness of that tendency can be put to good use as we seek answers and see beyond and more clearly. Peace...

jacknky

12/16/2005 02:31:47 PM

Paul, Ya'll are having such a good discussion. I too don't know much about the mathematical argument of which you speak. I would be interested to get some info I could google, including the noted scientists you refer to. I don't know of any scientists who have claimed that the theory of evolution "explains" the emergence of life. I also have not read or heard of (m)any scientists proposing that, since we don't know how life emerged, it must have been caused by an Intelligent Designer. I would submit to you that's because proving an uncaused designer would be scientifically impossible. I suppose the scientific question would then be "What caused the causer?". If the causer was natural then science has a shot at figuring it out. If the causer was supernatural that takes it out of the realm of science which, it seems to me, is the study of the natural Universe, not possible supernatural ones.

jacknky

12/16/2005 01:49:08 PM

ctek, "I meant they watched the sea separate, followed a pillar of fire/smoke had visible evidence of God..." Ever wonder why those "visible evidences" don't happen today? A few parting of the seas and pillars of fires might do wonders for all this skepticism. But the fact is that the only reason to believe the Bible is literally true is because the Bible says so. same for any other Holy Book.

jacknky

12/16/2005 01:26:53 PM

ctek, "Although Evolution is part of science, the arguement can be made so is ID." No, it can't. That's the point. ID isn't science. You don't hear scientists making the point that ID is science. You only hear religionist. You have to be wearing "religion colored glasses" to think that ID is science.

paul.bello

12/16/2005 12:57:40 PM

Eyentao: Did I even once invoke a supernatural explanation for the rise of life? No. What I have claimed is that Darwinian ideas are irresponsibly conveyed in classrooms by people who know even less about evolution than the anti-evo people they complain about. It's not that they have bad intentions, it's just that in general, they have no training in the philosophy of science. All I have ever claimed is that as of the present, evolutionary theory cannot satisfactorially explain the emergence of life. That isn't a statement about a supernatural agent, it's a statement about lack of a good explanation. Assuming that evolution is somehow tied into the origins question, and using Darwinian explanations by default is an anathema to the scientific method. Cheers, Paul

Eyentao

12/16/2005 11:47:38 AM

Paul, I suppose I would need to read more about the mathematical argument you are referring to. However, I think your argument highlights a lot of the problems with intelligent desigjn. There is a natural phenomenon: life emerging from non-life, complexity from simplicity. evolutionary biologists don't yet know the answer to the question for sure. so IDers come along and say, well, we're having trouble finding the answer "how did life arise from non-life" so we're going to postulate that "someone must have made life arise from non-life." this seems a betrayal of principles of persistent scientific inquiry. there are certainly many hypotheses attempting to explain this phenomenon. just because evolution hasn't found a steadfast answer yet doesn't mean it's time to call on "god" or "a big invisible alien" or "whatever" to fill in the gaps. i would venture to guess that most biologist do not buy the mathematical argument as a vast majority of the world's leading biologist completely reject ID.

paul.bello

12/16/2005 11:14:39 AM

Eyentao: I don't disagree that the majority of proponants of ID would be sentimental to almost all of your a-d from your last post. However, you missed my point. The point is that at the core of ID, there is a solid mathematical argument for factoring out pure chance as a mechanism for synthesis. Ignoring everything else regarding supernatural agency, this argument should not be casually dismissed. It has been supported throughout the years by many notable scientists, both evolutionary biologists, chemists, physicists and cosmologists alike. Like it or lump it, evolution has little to nothing to seriously say about the origins of life question. It is (currently) outside of the domain of evolutionary theory, and should remain there until substantial evidence emerges to the contrary. Assigning academic credit to speculations such as these defines only one field, and that is philosophy. Cheers, Paul

Eyentao

12/16/2005 09:45:42 AM

Paul, Intelligent idea is a religious idea for a few reasons: 1. the idea that there is some agent that designed the universe is a code for saying god exists. this is true because: a. this entity must be self-caused and pre-existent to the universe and b. this entity must be all powerful and eternal, so as to create the universe. c. this entity is unverifiable by nature. believing in a creator being through faith speaks of religion. d. just cause we don't name the creator only begs the question "what or who created us" this is just saying 'god' without the g-o-d. 2. The notion that we must be designed in a certain way assumes that some sort of destiny or transcendant standard exists for how being should function, as opposed to the development of species being nature's response to circumstance.

paul.bello

12/16/2005 09:07:02 AM

Eyentao: It is rediculous to claim that the design inference is a religious idea, unless you name the designer, enumerate His/Her qualities, and appeal to personal revelation. In its most rigorous mathematical form (Dembski's Design Inference), ID makes a statement about liklihood regarding unguided/undirected synthesis. Explain to me how this constitutes a religious idea? If anything, all it really claims is that currently accepted theory does a poor job at explaining a particular phenomena which has occured sometime in the Earth's past. But you cannot discount the academic appeal of Dembski's work, just because he associates with some neo-creationist yahoo's. All of this "ID is not science" is just a bunch of cheerleading for a community overflowing with cheerleaders (AAAS, Sigma Xi, etc.) Best, Paul

paul.bello

12/16/2005 08:57:55 AM

Jacknky: I agree with you wholeheartedly re: seeing the world through colored glasses. Even though I'm a professed Roman Catholic, it's mostly by philosophical inclination due to the rigor of Catholic theological exploration. In a way, the search for meaning and spirituality is a lot like theory development. Simpler explanations are replaced by deep personal insights. All that aside, you made an excellent point: science is falliable. Empirical theories stand or fall on the proper usage of abductive inference. I think all that folks like Dembski and his lot mean to argue is exactly that point. All the best to you, Paul

suzannejb

12/16/2005 01:37:36 AM

meditative, I am not sure what you're referencing when you talk about psi. I have looked it up on wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psi), and the only thing I find is a psychic theory; not a scientific theory. Do you have a pointer to which psi you are referencing? I am curious to learn.

meditative

12/15/2005 08:32:05 PM

I have always believed that science and Religion exist together. So to find a Religion that teaches that (the Baha'i Faith) has added to my experience. So many of the Holy Texts, reveal scientific knowledge which when discovered by scientists seems to become their property.I pose a question to the scientific world. Can you solve this for me? The world was created with a word. That word was unspoken (A thought?) The psi has apparently it's own thought pattern or memory according to some scientific theory. Using Einsteins theory E=MC squared, speed creates mass. the speed of light is huge. Question:- Is the speed of the psi faster? is it fast enough to create mass? If not what is?

ctek

12/15/2005 08:23:31 PM

1. I had evolution/creation in grd 7 then that was it. Evolution was taught as the fact the rest of the time. It wasnt a particular subject just referenced in other topics mainly bio. Then again my bio teacher in grade 10 taught plants rather than people, she wasnt religious maybe just tired of grade 10 boys. 2. Its ok to teach religion isnt it? Just dont have alter calls. 3. Im not sure we are connecting with the calf. I meant they watched the sea separate, followed a pillar of fire/smoke had visible evidence of God & the minute He wasnt fullfilling every wish like a puppet they turned. Just to show to some, God could write Hello & it wouldnt be enough because they would then want Him to do more. What are you thinking with the calf and fact?? they found it? To think if something in the bible is true, science could show some points but only the ones to do with science I would agree. The bible deals with other topics ie love & life etc.

Eyentao

12/15/2005 08:00:04 PM

ctek, well said. thank you for clarifying. i think the problems are a couple: 1. not teaching evolution in biology is like not teaching gravity in physics. evolution is probably the most important scientifc theory of the last 2 centuries. 2. the reason ID shouldn't be taught is because its a religious idea, and that's unconstitutional. 3. also, there really is no evidence for ID. the fact that you mention the golden calf kind of articulates the point. the golden calf might show that some things in the bible correlate with fact. but, in science, you would never presume that what must be in the bible must be true. evidence only works for ID if you assume that ID is true to begin with.

ctek

12/15/2005 07:23:08 PM

As for the scientific community it should be given creedence at least on a respect level. If science is about investigation it should be, archology uses biblical text etc. I think this is how the whole ID thing got started, by looking at science and creation together. once. Its brought up frequently about the lack of hard evidence. Well even when there was, still some would not acknowledge what their eyes saw. So its not a argument to state there is no particular evidence. Those that escaped Eygpt still built the calf, hard headed is a strong human trait that keeps us from seeing, not only wonders but each other.

ctek

12/15/2005 07:02:31 PM

I understand what you mean re personal beliefs. to answer 2 first I will sum The best way for science class is to just get down to science, labs, processes, etc. If the classroom avoids (which I find mostly the case anyway) Evolution and Creation or ID as its now known could be touched on as this is what is said about each and now back to class. Although Evolution is part of science, the arguement can be made so is ID. So present then leave alone for individual study. But it ends debate as all sides of origin of us is presented. Beside evolution ends up again in the science books anyway. Its just a idea, actually how I was taught. I didnt bother with God stuff till later when I lost my mind ;-)

Eyentao

12/15/2005 06:35:13 PM

ctek, I'm very confused about your position. I don't think anyone would argue with a personal belief in intelligent design. people can believe whatever religious beliefs they choose. but the context of this debate is about: 1. intelligent design should be given creedence within the scientific community and 2. whether intelligent design should be mentioned in biology class in public schools. the answer seems to obviously be no, to both of these, but there's nothing wrong with personally believing in intelligent design.

doodles216

12/15/2005 05:05:30 PM

I do not believe that atheism has much to do with Darwin or the theory of evolution. It's merely another opinion. An opinion that has been recorded since practically the beginning of recorded history. There have been more than one evolution theory going, Darwin or Richard Dawkins weren't the first, and they won't be the last. Personally, I believe in a combination of the two: Creationism and Evolution.

davidchai

12/15/2005 04:30:15 PM

Verndigger, If that is the best you can do you have done nothing.

ctek

12/15/2005 04:07:56 PM

jacknky Why is science clear glasses and theists coloured? Good science according to you is to look through clear glasses. Seems to me if God is about the same goal, for one to see things as they are, if ya want I could get quotes.

ctek

12/15/2005 03:59:02 PM

Paul Wonderful I forgot about all that! When I read Lewis he refers to different arguments amoung the intellectuals of the day.

Eyentao

12/15/2005 03:55:53 PM

what this is supposed to say is: the only argument challenging that Darwin wrote Origins is to challenge the very notion that arguments can be substantiated by evidence. on the other hand, there is no evidence for creationism that hold up unless its conclusion is assumed in the first place.

Eyentao

12/15/2005 03:42:12 PM

Verndigger, this is a clever trap. This is where evolutionists say something like: "his name is on the book" or "people witnessed darwin writing the book." the creationists say: "tricked you. trusting those things as evidence takes faith. see, everything is based on faith, even evolution, which is just like a religion." the problem is, the only evidence that suggests that darwin didn't write Origins is that reality itself is to challenge the very basis of 'evidence' itself as a notion. ID, however, does not have any evidence that holds up unless you assume its conclusion, making it, at best, a circular argument. science works under certain assumptions. that's fine. that may imply a kind of 'faith.' what it really implies though is that all disciplines have parameters which must be adhered to maintain the discipline itself.

Verndigger

12/15/2005 03:34:32 PM

hmmm, I would like to see your infallible proof that Darwin wrote the Origin of the Species.

jacknky

12/15/2005 03:12:29 PM

paul, Like all human endeavors, science falls short of the ideal. My point is about the intent of science versus religion. The intent of good science is, to my knowledge, objectivity, to look at the Universe through clear glasses. While most theists would probably argue this, their intention does not seem to be to see the Universe with clear glasses but rather the colored glasses that sees (and proves) supernatural causes to this natural world.

paul.bello

12/15/2005 02:32:16 PM

Jacknky: Quite to the contrary, science is one of the most expertly disguised popularity contests going. While I refuse to comment on how evolutionary theory (as it stands) is the product of overzealous marketing by the intelligencia, you can be assured of the fact that perfectly sound theories are blocked from publication in journals merely because the authors refuse to pay homage to currently accepted thought, and regardless of their scientific merit. Again, I won't go as far as to claim that some of the underlying principles in ID have been treated as such (in fact, ID probably belongs in technical philosophy journals). This phenomena occurs with scientific work which is much less prone to spark public controversy. Cheers, Paul

Eyentao

12/15/2005 01:54:18 PM

ctek, the origins is not fact, because almost nothing in science is fact. gravity isn't fact. the idea that the earth orbits the sun isn't fact. the notion that matter is made of subatomic particles is not a fact. none of it can be absolutely proven. we could be hallucinating. an evil demon could be playing a trick on us, etc. but, using the scientific method, the scientific community believes in some form of evolution. this form is constantly amended as new evidence is found and as new experiments are conducted. but that doesn't mean we bring in religious text that are 100% outside of the realm of science.

Eyentao

12/15/2005 01:51:04 PM

ctnek, why do you think that even most religious jews don't want the bible to be brought up at all in public schools?

ctek

12/15/2005 01:50:26 PM

As for compare Origins with the Bible that was the topic at hand. I will have to read if Dawkins spoke of the Koran. And if they want sure state the giant turtle that the earth sits on as another view of origins. (BTW that was covered in my science class). If the Koran has a version of origin then put it in too. If one wants to keep creation out of science then Origins has to go too. As its not fact. One doesnt need to know evolution to know how things work and do a science experiment. Maybe thats a better answer to the whole debate. A question when you say the bible isnt science, thats right theres alot more than science. But the original topic was the creation topic from it. And just to be clear you do realise the bible does address science and medical ideas?? Alot of people have the assumption the bible hates science.

ctek

12/15/2005 01:36:55 PM

jacknky I did clarify the wording on my next post but I see the word "move" is still bothering you. Let me explain further, I do not mean it as a emotional experience as the music moves you. So there is no popularity contests. I said read and study both consider and decide.

jacknky

12/15/2005 01:15:17 PM

ctek, "Look at both books decide on what moves you," Again, science isn't about "what moves you". It's about going where the evidence takes you despite your pre-conceived notions. Science is not a popularity contest where we choose what makes us feel the best.

jacknky

12/15/2005 01:12:20 PM

ctek, Why should we compare "Origins" with the Bible and not the Koran or Upanishads or the countless Holy Books in other religions? "Doesnt get more basic than that." Yes, it does. Keep the Bible and other theistic documents out of science class. The Bible isn't science. That's truly basic.

ctek

12/15/2005 12:57:05 PM

Eventao I was speaking of Origins and the Bible not science, read each consider each of its own merits and decide. Without assumptions about the intellect or emotions of anyone. Read them for what they say not what others tell you they say. And if its in class do the same, state them then get onto science experiments, labs, etc. Doesnt get more basic than that.

davidchai

12/15/2005 12:38:47 PM

ctek, It has not exactly stood unchanged. The translations of the orignal hebrew of the Tanakh are, as a whole, problematic. And Tanakh has ALWAYS been oopne to interpretation from the time it was written. That is the basis of Rabbinic and Talmudic study.

Eyentao

12/15/2005 12:18:56 PM

ctek, is there scientifically verifiable proof that god wrote the bible? is there scientific evidence to back up the claims of the bible? science is not about 'what moves you.' science is about what can best be proven by empirical evidence. i'm not telling anyone not to believe in the bible. what i'm saying is that the bible and intelligent design, the very notion of god and spirituality, have no place in a science classroom because they fall outside of the scope of science.

ctek

12/15/2005 11:59:45 AM

Eventao I didnt say God was right, I said God said what He said, you decide what to make of it. Just the same if you read Origins then you decide what to make of it. Always strawman, tidy label. Look at both books decide on what moves you, makes sense and go forward, make a decision what to think.

ctek

12/15/2005 11:53:08 AM

davidchai Once again respect, I credit Darwin writing his book because scientists say he did. The bible is written by God inspired men. Has stood the test of time unchanged. Just because some people decide on a different interpertation doesnt change what was written. Thats where the biggest arguments come in when people try to change things to suit them. The book remains.

Eyentao

12/15/2005 11:32:15 AM

ctek, i can prove that darwin wrote the origin of species. can you prove that god wrote the bible? can you prove that this god is write and other religious texts are wrong? where is the evidence that says that god exists - beyond one's own faith? this kind of reductionism, "both books are based on evidence" is a strawman. the bible is not based on the scientific method. nor does it claim to be. evolutionary thought is. that's all.

ctek

12/15/2005 11:26:40 AM

iacknky God of Old Testament as per article. Darwin has Origin of Species, God has the Bible, both books have observations, and while the bible has a few yrs on Orgin both have been studied. Its a misunderstanding to claim that scientists study better than theologians because of emotion. That stems from stereotypes of scientist being intellectual & cold and believers being stupid & emotional. Who was it that mentioned respect for one another?

Eyentao

12/15/2005 10:53:41 AM

one of the things that bothers me most about the discourse of creationists is that creationists take the humility of science and exploit it. science claims that evolution is a theory and IDers jump on that to show that evolution is somehow based on faith, while religion is somehow fact. scientists admit that science can only attain truth in the physical world and in certain parts of our consciousness. creationists use this to argue that science doesn't account for so much, while religion is endless in its scope of truth. all scientists claim is that the scientific method is useful in gaining understanding in some areas of knowledge. god, spirituality, and consciousness need not enter into a scientific conversation. not because there inferior, but because they are outside the scope of science.

davidchai

12/15/2005 10:35:09 AM

jack, Actually it is not Darwin stating his idea and God stating his. IT is Darwin stating his idea (since Darwin actually wrote his book) and humans stating what they THINK their deity thinks (based on a book that other humans wrote based on THEIR beliefs.) Big difference.

jacknky

12/15/2005 10:22:05 AM

ctek, "Darwin stated his idea, and God stated His. Thus the battle." Which god? There are thousands. Which god's version of creation? There are thousands. Darwin supported his theory of evolution with observations. Scientists have been supporting the theory with observations for over a hundred years. not so with religion which relies on emotion and Holy Books. This is really not a matter of opinion or "majority rules".

jacknky

12/15/2005 10:16:49 AM

joshua, "His mistake is believing that intellect is all. Human conscious is so much more than thought, logic, processing information, analyzing evidence." I don't believe he said that. Science deals with the natural world, not a supernatural one. Why condemn it for that?

jacknky

12/15/2005 10:13:43 AM

Uriah, "Mostly Christians are his target. Of course he gets the largest return for his money by attacking them." I believe it is creationists who have been attacking science, particularly the theory of evolution, which appears to answer many of the questions religion once had a monopoly on. "Science has become religion to college emplyees like Dawkins." No, science at least attempts to verify. Religion doesn't and can't. That is the nature of religious faith. It's unverifiable. "Lest we forget, he makes money on all of this." Is that a "sin"? If so, there are a lot of evangelists much more sinful. Lest we forget, Dawkins is basically defending science from attacks such as yours.

jacknky

12/15/2005 10:04:23 AM

zigzag, "It is through thinking that we realize the world for what it is......" No, I believe it is through seeing clearly that we realize the world for what it is. We may think the tooth fairy leaves a dollar under our pillow but when we look clearly we really can't find a tooth fairy. Thoughts are our own projections. They seem real because they are a part of us. But we can learn to look beyond our thoughts. This is one of the basics of Buddhist philosophy. Peace...

davidchai

12/15/2005 10:03:14 AM

ctek, See, THAT is science. It was NOT backpeddling. Scieince entails putting forth a hypothesis which turns into a theory which beomces a paradigm. But, unlike the bible (which some think is to be taken literally) the paradigms are able to be modified and fine-tuned as new technology reveals new information. Evolution, as a general concept, never relied on the ape-to-man idea. At the time, it seems a logical progression, but now we can see a shared ancestor, not a linear progression. THAT is science. And it has NOTHING to so with faith. Uriah, Faith is usually blind, science requires eyes to be open. The old 0 x 1 = evolution is pure garbage.

Eyentao

12/15/2005 09:41:04 AM

ctek, i don't understand why there should be an substantive discussion of creationism in science class. the only reason that 'western/ christian creationism' as opposed to native american creation myth or some other 'creation myth,' is because christians are a majority of americans. that's why religious minorities, such as myself, get so up in arms about creationism in science class but some christians "don't see what the big deal is." also, if creationism is not science, why is it taught at all in a science class. there isn't one mention of native american myth, extraterrestial egyptology, scientology, etc. why creationism?

ctek

12/15/2005 09:39:24 AM

Eventao I was taught we were direct descendents of apes. They just needed the missing link and it would all fall together. Over the years that hasnt panned out and I see back peddling, stated as science is the process of discovery. But it started out with the ape march. Our zoo actually had a mural of it. No one realises how much the whole thing was pushed.

ctek

12/15/2005 09:32:26 AM

Like my class as stated earlier, what happened in science was the main point not its origins. Like its said by joshua I agree, God is a fan of science, He has no problem with it. Science has no problem with God. ONLY when it gets into Origins, Darwin stated his idea, and God stated His. Thus the battle. So in the class state each version of "Orgins" then leave it and study science.

Eyentao

12/15/2005 09:31:30 AM

Uriah fan, What is the implication of the argument that evolution takes some faith? If evolution takes some faith and christianity takes some faith, may we just as well teach strictly christian dogma in public school? after all, christianity and evolution are just leaps of faith.

Eyentao

12/15/2005 09:28:03 AM

ctek, i'm confused about why you don't like the idea that humans came from apes. to explain, evolutionists don't believe that humans came from apes in a pejorative sense. they believe it in the same way that rock and roll originated with a cave man hitting a stick against a rock rhythmically. then, over millions of years, music changed to become more complex and popular. it doesn't mean that rock and roll music is the equivalent of hitting a stick, it just means that's where it's origins lie. if this issue is that the idea that humans have primate ancestry is just unpleasant, that isn't much of an argument. lots of realities are imperfect from how we ideally envision them. for example, disease exists. it would be absurd for me to argue that disease doesn't exist because the existence of disease is an unpleasant fact. that's just how it is.

Uriah_fan

12/15/2005 09:24:51 AM

Yes, but when you look at the product peddled by Dawkins, you see that he indeed uses science to extinguish religion and the religious. The evolution of evolution has been this very thing. Though 0 x 1 = evolution and they refuse to acknowledge their faith based belief in Darwin's silliness. Mostly Christians are his target. Of course he gets the largest return for his money by attacking them. Science has become religion to college emplyees like Dawkins. Lest we forget, he makes money on all of this.

Eyentao

12/15/2005 09:17:41 AM

joshua, your points are very well put. I would like to add though that, in the science classroom, cold logic and rationalism is all that should be taught, simply because such a style is what makes up the scientific discipline. we need to remember the context of this debate - as Joshua stated - it's not about theism v. atheism. it's mostly about what should be taught in our schools. if the answer to "what created the creator?" is "the creator is an unchanging eternal spirit" then ID has no place in the classroom. science teachers shouldn't have to answer questions with spiritual ideas like "the creator is an unchanging spirit." save that for church.

joshuaclementgood

12/15/2005 01:35:20 AM

May I? A brief addendum: Dawkins is right about the importance of evolution in biological sciences. His mistake is believing that intellect is all. Human conscious is so much more than thought, logic, processing information, analyzing evidence. Cold, hard, scientific rationalism prevents him from seeing, or even looking for the "evidence" for God. As a scientist, distrust of personal revelation is rational. As a human being hoping to connect with the universal consciousness, revelation is welcomed as a gift from the divine.

joshuaclementgood

12/15/2005 01:32:34 AM

Dawkins defends the integrity of science from attacks by religious fundamentalists, who mistakenly believe that evolutionary science is antithetical to religion. The fact that Dawkins is an atheist BECAUSE of his understanding of evolution is unfortunate; it helps perpetuate the myth that one must choose between belief in God or belief in science. This is NOT a debate between atheists and believers, despite what some people claim. It isn't anti-religious to study and understand evolution. It isn't anti-scientific to know or believe that God is real. The problem is that some Christians want to derive their entire world view from scripture, and can't abide actual reality, or ideas that might threaten their mythology. Dawkins doesn't present evidence refuting the opposition's arguments because their views are nonsensical and contrived, conjuring up crackpot explanations for non-existent phenomena like "irreducible complexity." Educated people know the futility of "negative proof."

ctek

12/14/2005 11:33:48 PM

Hey ya happy elf I was taught we came from apes, studied that long line of change from ape to man. Evolution may have changed over the years away from that. But it began there. Maybe if scientists somehow denounced that then some people would look again. But then theyre getting far away from Darwin arent they?

happylittleelf

12/14/2005 11:26:58 PM

Good reasons to teach evolution: 1. Some seem to think that "changes over a large amount of time" involves jumping phyla or class rather than gradually changing into different species. 2. Some also think evolution means "we came from apes." I was taught we were similar to them DNA-wise and may share a similar ancestor. Oh, and popplsa, just because one believes in evolution doesn't mean 1. They believe in the big bang theory 2. They believe we come from the same ancestor as an ape 3. They are atheistic In regards to miracles, nnmns, there are different definitions of what makes a miracle. "When you do things right, people won’t be sure you've done anything at all." – possibly God, or what could be the remains of a computerized space probe that crashed into God (Futurama). Some might say surviving a wreck or coming out of a coma is a miracle. Stuff like that is good enough for me, whether or not they are works of some divine force or not.

ctek

12/14/2005 11:17:43 PM

If one wants to look at thought as a designer then one has to look at who had the thought. If the thought can design then it is intelligent. What or who would be capable, suggestion is, God.

zigzagstardust

12/14/2005 10:33:17 PM

The point Mr. Dawkins misses about inteligent design is that it is not God nessisarily doing the designing but rather it is "thought that is the designer". It is through thinking that we realize the world for what it is......

ctek

12/14/2005 10:03:06 PM

Eventao et el natural phenomenon is just that, hurricanes, snow is the earth doing what it does, no punishing. If there is punishing I think there will be no guess work, as there was none before. When I took science moons ago, Creation and Evolution were taught. Basic ideas of both. Then we moved on to labs experiments and how things work and left how they started to mull around in our own minds. My husbands class had a debate, but non of it was a huge part of class. Learning how things work was.

goodnightloving

12/14/2005 09:46:20 PM

I was actually quite satisfied with the interview with Dr. Dawkins. I admit that I was raised as a very conservative Protestant Christian, but the more I hear and read about this debate, the kookier the Intelligent Design theory sounds.

ctek

12/14/2005 09:31:47 PM

Im wondering why is he making science to a level of poetry? Being spiritual about science? It sorta makes a point, that we long for something else that science alone cannot provide.

jimsaxon

12/14/2005 09:23:22 PM

Dawkins resorts to lots of "name calling" and belittling the other side of this debate and doesn't spend enough time on simply presenting the evidence. And, I am a strong proponent of the basic concept of evolution, though we are probably a ways from getting the whole picture. Let's simply state the facts and present the evidence, as he urges us to do, and avoid resorting to labeling or judging the other side. And, don't say it is too complicated for laymen, that we need to trust scientists. That has a ring of dogmatic religion to me. He doesn't score many debate points in this interview, I am afraid.

ctek

12/14/2005 09:17:13 PM

creater created was the question to add to popplsa (if thats ok) When Christ said I AM I Am the First and the Last Alpha and Omega Begining and End I Am simply is

popplsa

12/14/2005 08:24:46 PM

The belief in a creator is that the creator is eternal, unchanging, spirit. His creation changes, but He changes not and neither do His truths. Lousy job? The creator created a perfect world. His creatures fouled it with sin, which actuated death and flaws. That's what I believe. I'm not a scientist, but I have a scientific interest in how things work, etc., as well as a creative nature. Even with the flaws that we brought into God's creation, I marvel at the beauty and complexity and getting a glimpse of the perfection that was. I've heard it said and I agree that it takes more faith to be an evolutionary atheist than it does to believe in a creator God.

nnmns

12/14/2005 08:05:13 PM

Yes, what formed the former? What created the creator? What designed the designer? And why did the designer do such a bad job? And where has this critter been all these years? Why no evidence of its existence (especially pertinent if it's like a deity from the Bible, which was in the miracle business but now seems to restrict itself to making the occasional statue cry).

Eyentao

12/14/2005 07:57:32 PM

also, many atheists don't have a problem with god. they just don't believe in god. i believe in god. some people don't. i don't believe in, for example, an instrinsic notion of beauty, and some people do. that doesn't mean that i hate beauty, it just means that 'intrinsic beauty' is a belief i don't have. it's like, DViger, you don't believe in Zuess. Hopefully you don't hate or scorn zuess, you just don't believe in zuess. there's nothing wrong with atheism. i'm not an atheist, but there's nothing wrong with atheism.

Eyentao

12/14/2005 07:49:26 PM

DNViger, Jr. Then who formed the former?

DNVigerJr

12/14/2005 07:33:36 PM

The problem most atheists have with God is that if there is one, then what they do or don't do they are accountable for. Why is mankind so unique in all the universe from the rest of life forms here, if it were not part of a larger purpose and plan for mankind, and why is mankind male and female, married, makes moral decisions, and the list goes on? For things to be formed, there has to be a former. For things to be created or matter organized, there must be an organizer. That is more logical than what Dawkins postulates.

windbender

12/14/2005 07:17:52 PM

Dawkins asks; "How can a civilized country have adult people in positions of leadership who know so stunningly little about the leading biological concept?" Is he kidding? Since when is having a coherent grasp of the facts and a level eye on real evidence the criteria for leadership? Guess he missed today's speech.

Eyentao

12/14/2005 04:33:01 PM

smwill, your belief is very interesting a well-articulated. but it doesn't disprove either intelligent design or evolution. it is your belief, which you are more than entitled to, but "I believe it" is not much of an argument against competing theories.

smwill

12/14/2005 04:26:51 PM

Both sides of this issue are totally wrong. The Christian "God" is as in the First Chapter of the "History of God" - "In the beginning human beings created God". As Richard Dawkins says: "God is no more than an imaginary friend". Bust... Dawkins is wrong on "intelligent Design". I, as a human "mind" with many past lives, am an "intelligent designer'. I have many science grants as "evidence". I believe in a "Collective Inteligent Design", a collective mind if you must call it., that was there long before human BODIES evolved after many milenia to contain that collective intelligence.

Eyentao

12/14/2005 03:52:45 PM

what if find so frustrating is that the debate about creationism now exists outside of theological disciplines? i have no problem with people believe in ID. but it's not science and it shouldn't be taught in science classrooms. how do IDers answer more profound theological questions like: how can evil exist? or why are there natural disasters? on a scientific level. the answers to these questions are theological ones like: god has a mysterious plan or god is punishing sinners. it would be odd if science teachers had to start saying "god is punishing sinners" as explanation for natural phenomenon.

jacknky

12/14/2005 12:22:47 PM

All this ID stuff reminds me of a book and movie from the 70's- "Chariots of the Gods". That was pseudo-science that posited early humans were visited by extra-terrestrials. He would take something like the huge Nazca plains animal inscriptions and say something like "WHAT ELSE COULD IT BE but a landing strip for extra-terrestrial space ships?" This ID stuff has the same pseudo-scientific ring to it. Animals are very complex. WHAT ELSE COULD IT BE but Intelligent Design? Science requires that a hypothosis be measurable, repeatable and verifiable. Pseudo-science requires that it sounds reasonable to untrained people. big difference.

Eyentao

12/14/2005 11:36:24 AM

QUOTE: 4. ID doesn't meet the definition of science because its based primarily on authority and faith, and only observation, experiment, and empirical verification secondarily. Strefanash: this precisely why atheist evolution is to be rejected, based on authority and faith. maybe i wasn't clear. i meant that ID is based more on faith and authority than evolution. sorry i mixed my pronouns.

Eyentao

12/14/2005 09:40:14 AM

also, atheistic evolution isn't based on faith, it's based on positivism - the idea that the only things one can speculate about are things that can be supported by some sort of empirical data. evolution itself cannot necessarily be observed, by comparisons of fossils and changing bone structures in species serves as some sort of empirical basis for evolution. the atheism comes as a product of the fact that proof for god can't be observed in an empirical way consistent with scientific positivism. science doesn't adhere to facts that can't be empirically supported. but sciences priority is by no means proving atheism. that is just a tangential belief of dawkins.

Eyentao

12/14/2005 09:36:49 AM

strefnash, 1. ID is a step towards theocracy because it mandates that a religious idea be taught in public schools. notice how no religious minorities support teaching ID in public schools. 2. The argument that because we seem designed, we must have a designer is circular: the only reason we seemed designed, as opposed to created as a product of circumstance, is because we assume that there is a god who designed us. there is no intrinsic reason to believe we were designed just because we are complex. additionally, how does ID account for things like extinction? or the fact that we have an appendix that seems to do little good? the only possible response is "god has a mysterious plan" and that, in the classroom, is theocracy, not science.

strefanash

12/14/2005 01:25:38 AM

believe it or not there are creationsist christians who utterly oppose theocracy. myself, for example. to hold to atheism for fear of theocracy is as crude as killing a fly with a shot gun

strefanash

12/14/2005 01:23:52 AM

evolutionist richard Lewontin made it perfectly clear why he is an evolutionist. it has nothing to do with evidence and everything to do with the idea that the fact of God is totally unacceptable. He says so explicitly, as i read somewhere. Dawkins is acting like aHigh Priest throwing anathemas at those who dare disagree with him. I do notbetay science, i do reject the mishmash of imperical observation tainted with philosophical mindset that is at the root of Dawkins' thought: the philosophic prejudice taints his interpretation of data and even decalres some data inadmissable

strefanash

12/14/2005 01:19:21 AM

QUOTE: 4. ID doesn't meet the definition of science because its based primarily on authority and faith, and only observation, experiment, and empirical verification secondarily. Strefanash: this precisely why atheist evolution is to be rejected, based on authority and faith. true ID is not based on authority and faith. no one, for example, can account for the evolution of the lizard scale into a birds flight feather whereby each intermediary is a functional entity sufficiently functional to be selected for further evolution they reject the rational inference that a certain kind of order indicates in intelligent designer becauewe they have done a smoke and mirors trick and defined it as unscientific

strefanash

12/14/2005 01:15:16 AM

I believe in God the Holy Creator and righteous Judge because of the evidence. Dawkins can and does flatter hinself when he thinks that faith is dishonest. he himself is dishonest when he commits straw man fallacy by caricaturing christian faith as belief in an "invisible friend". he is no scientist, he is also a relgious ideologue, but his religion is scientism and atheism. A good christian apologist can tear his arrogant arguiments to shreds in an instant

Eyentao

12/14/2005 12:20:29 AM

5. if science is just as based on faith as evolution, why not just teach straight from the christian bible in all gov't sponsored institutions, all 'faith' being equal? (see reason 3 for answer, among others)

Eyentao

12/14/2005 12:20:16 AM

3. the constitution outlaws establishing religion, not because religion is false, but because theocracy is dangerous. 4. ID doesn't meet the definition of science because its based primarily on authority and faith, and only observation, experiment, and empirical verification secondarily. the only response to that is "maybe we should change the definition of science." but that's like saying "social studies class doesn't involve under water basket weaving, so maybe we should change the definition." if we change the definition of science to allow for faith in the supernatural then, tautologically speaking, science no longer exists. thus, in science class, if we want to preserve science as a useful concept, ID has no place. if, in social studies, the view of ID is taught as one view of the cultural wars, then that's fine. cont'd above

Eyentao

12/14/2005 12:15:36 AM

rsinnen, the problem with legitimizing creationism is not that its more or less of a theory than evolution. evolution takes the belief in certain postulates and in that sense, like all beliefs, is somewhat a matter of faith. the problem with teaching creationism in school is: 1. it doesn't adhere to as scrupulous a scientific method as does evolution, so students don't get the same critical thinking skills they do learning the scientific method 2. it doesn't get us anywhere. even if ID is true, its unverifiable, which means we may as well use other disciplines, like science, to try to at least cover all of our bases in the search for truth. cont'd above

rsinnen414

12/13/2005 07:55:38 PM

Trenobar- I never claimed to be a scientist. Just a normal person asking questions an unknowledgable person would ask. Any wrong science- whatever you are speaking of- I have learned from creation scientists' articles. Maybe I don't say what they say as eloquently as they do. So now are you saying that scientific fact is only fact if it coincides with what you believe as fact? What do you do when two scientists have different facts about the same thing? And I don't reject Evolution on religious grounds. I "turned religious" because my religion makes more sense than evolution does to me and it also has more to offer me in my life. And, well, it's true--in my humble opinion.

trenobar

12/13/2005 07:32:31 PM

rsinnen- Your posts are filled with scientific ignorance. You can reject evolution on religious grounds, but if you're going to do it on scientific grounds, then my friends your just going to have to get the science right.

rsinnen414

12/13/2005 07:19:44 PM

I've never seen anything turn into anything else. Your flowers are still the same flowers, they didn't turn into roses. And the squirrels in my back yard, if you can call it a yard, every year bury their nuts. The inly adaptation they have made is to figure out how to chew into my nice warm roof instead of sleeping in a tree. The fact that it takes a million years for something to change is definitly a matter of faith. NO ONE has seen anything from a couple million years ago, nor is there any scientific proof that there was anything to see. I suppose you'll say fossils, but even the carbon dating could possibly be wrong. I know they've dated snail shells and the dating said they were anchient but they weren't. You never know.

JamesTheApostate

12/13/2005 06:40:23 PM

rsinnen: A number of years ago, I planted some four-o'clocks for my mother. They've come up every year since, and how they've changed. red, yellow, and a sort of orange have become spotted yellow-red-orange. They've cross fertilized, you see, and "dramatic differences" (collors) have become mixed. This is just one example of what david was referring to as adaptation. The overall process takes millions of years, but, over-all it's the same thing. If you want evidence for Evolution, watch the wildlife in your backyard... Frater Serpens Ascendans

davidchai

12/13/2005 06:15:52 PM

The evolutionary process has been observed in its minor steps. Adaptation is a form of evolution and many species have adapted to meet changing climates and environments. The major steps can take millions of years.

davidchai

12/13/2005 06:13:33 PM

I am not sure if I would call what Dawkins believes a faith. And he does have hope for the future. The future of humanity.

rsinnen414

12/13/2005 06:13:02 PM

It's already in Science classes only you call it Evolution instead of Lutheran, Catholic, Buddist, Muslim, or whatever! What is the definition of Science? Out of Webster's, it says: systemmatized knowledge derived from observation,study and experimentation. How has anyone oberserved or experimented the "theory" of Evolution? Hmmm... You can't- or at least I can't think of a way to. That is why it is theory and takes faith to believe it. Just like religion is based on faith. A+B=C theory + faith =evolution just as Bible + faith =religion.

davidchai

12/13/2005 06:10:18 PM

Giraffes have bigger herds than lions so the giraffe survived by sheer numbers. Also, to my understanding when the stop at water holes some "Stand guard" so the chance of survival is fairly great. It has nothing to do with evolution (and the valve comment was pretty ridiculous) except that they learned to have good survival instincts.

rsinnen414

12/13/2005 06:03:34 PM

Exactly, that's what I'm trying to say. We all have our faith in something. My faith gives me hope of the future and some peoples faith gives them nothing more than hope of death. I spoke nothing about abortion. My point with Joesephus was nothing more than to say why I believe Jesus was alive- I mentioned nothing of religion or who I believe Jesus was as that would be pointless, wouldn't it? Some people take the obvious and turn it into a complex issue. My question still stands about Giraffes. Why can't someone answer it, instead of saying how ridiculus the question is?

davidchai

12/13/2005 05:55:14 PM

Keegon, I know no one who has "faith" in apes and many people who believe in God (whether Jesus is part of the equation or not) who accept evolution as scientific fact. I do not care what others believe as long as they keep religion out of science classes.

keegon

12/13/2005 05:44:34 PM

Popplsa, I agree with you that individualism is the lack of malcontent and I also believe God is the answer! :) David, It's still a matter of faith - some have faith in Jesus and some in apes..do we really care what others faith is or do we just like to try to prove each other wrong? :)

davidchai

12/13/2005 05:29:34 PM

And even if the so-called morality of the major religions was followed, there would still be need for birth control and the termination of pregnancy to protect the health of the woman. Remember, Tanakh does not limit sex to procreation. Sex is for pleasure too.

davidchai

12/13/2005 05:27:36 PM

Poppsla, I am fairly sure that "the people who died" nnms ius talking about are those who died of AIDS. Unless the mothers dies, no people die in an abortion.

davidchai

12/13/2005 05:25:56 PM

Rsinnen, You giraffe analogy has no scientific validity. I can't even imagine a scientist thinking it was a valid response against evolution. As for Jesus having existed, that is NOT an issue here. So what if he existed, that means he was a human being who lived, breathed, eat, excreted and died. Nothig else. Josephus proves nothing and is only analogous to the man Jesus having livbed, but nothing else. The fact that the writers of the bible put real geological and historical occurances in with their reilgious beliefs does not mean their religious beliefs are true. There are other more logical explanations for why some things happened thatn religious reasons.

rsinnen414

12/13/2005 05:18:07 PM

I do think it is a matter of faith. I know George Washington was a president cuz there are records that say so, Egyptians cuz there are records, and even the news is based on someone seeing something. Now I know no one saw Creation but no one saw the Big Bang either. But there are other historical writings (Joesephes being one) that speak of Jesus and so i beleive he was real. Many scholars would agree that the Bible is historically correct, too. That is why it is easier to believe than a few people opinions or theories. If a scientist with every credential possible, says peanuts came from China because he found a shell there and maybe someone else did too, does that make it a fact or law instead of an opinion or theory? Also, why are there still Giraffes? Why didn't the lions eat them as they were passed out next to the river before they had evolved the valve that stops the flow of blood to their brains when they bend over to drink?

popplsa

12/13/2005 05:09:45 PM

nnmns: "... And there are all the people who've died because the "more religious" people demanded condoms not be distributed here and there. And on and on. For me, as long as religion left me alone I'd be content to leave it alone. But religion isn’t leaving us alone." Religion isn't the cause for your malcontent. Nor is the lack of distribution of condoms the cause of more abortions. If the morality embraced by the major religions were actually practiced, there would be no need for condoms or abortions. Religion isn't the cause of the world's ills or anyone's discontent. The cause is individualism - which I would define as the opposite of selflessness. And I would say that selflessness is at the heart of Christianity, but the motive in the case of the Christian is devotion, love and honor for God through Jesus Christ. It's so easy to blame religion for the ills of the world. I happen to believe that God is the answer.

Eyentao

12/13/2005 04:40:20 PM

rsinnen, i don't understand complex evolutionary theory either. that doesn't mean that its a matter of faith. i also don't totally understand einsteinian gravitational theory. that doesn't mean i think god makes things fall. the people who do understand such things, i.e. the biological community, find good evidence to support some form of evolution, athough the nuts and bolts are not agreed upon. just because an idea, in its simplest forms seems off-putting or counter-intuitive doesn't mean that the idea is wrong.

davidchai

12/13/2005 04:26:55 PM

rsinnen, You have been taught incorrect info. The concept is that both humans and apes evolved from the same primate ancestor. But the idea also staes that there may be a few or many steps between what we see now and what that orginal creature was. It is possible that apes went through fewer steps than we did. That they stopped evolving in any noticable way (or may be in an evolutionary stasis point). Also, just because scientists cannot force evolution does not mean it is not valid.

rsinnen414

12/13/2005 04:00:38 PM

My understanding of evolution is that we started out as apes, and over millions of years those apes evolved into us. That would mean an ape born a million years ago, evolved into a human, an ape born 100,000 years ago, should still be evolving into a human, an ape born 1,000 years ago should be and one born yeasterday should just be just starting. If the theory of evolution were true, where are these evolving creatures? I see apes and I see humans, nothing inbetween. I personally believe that it takes more faith to believe I came from a one celled organism in a pond than to believe God made me and everything else. It is also my understanding that as many times as scientists have tried, they cannot get a one celled organism to multiply- maybe divide so you have two one celled organisms but never multiplying to make a new creature.

davidchai

12/13/2005 02:04:28 PM

A friend who is a science professor once sent me this. Theory: A theory is more like a scientific law than a hypothesis. A theory is an explanation of a set of related observations or events based upon proven hypotheses and verified multiple times by detached groups of researchers. One scientist cannot create a theory; he can only create a hypothesis. In general, both a scientific theory and a scientific law are accepted to be true by the scientific community as a whole. Both are used to make predictions of events. Both are used to advance technology. The biggest difference between a law and a theory is that a theory is much more complex and dynamic. A law governs a single action, whereas a theory explains a whole series of related phenomena.

happylittleelf

12/13/2005 01:14:46 PM

Sorry to bring up technicalities jackny, but something is a theory because it can't be tested. After all, we can't turn back the clock (big bang) or test in every medium/area there is or might be yet undiscovered (atomic theory, theory of relativity, cell theory). However just because something is a theory doesn't mean it isn't true. Theories lack all but the seal of "law;" the science fits in with known logic and testing. ID relies on faulty science and urban legends, but to be nice I'll call it a hypothesis.

davidchai

12/12/2005 05:32:10 PM

jackny, Thank you.

jacknky

12/12/2005 05:16:49 PM

Whether or not there is a god (or many gods) that created the Universe is a matter of opinion, or faith, if you will. But it isn't science because the premise isn't testable and measurable. As far as scientific knowledge is concerned, it's not evolution on trial, it's ID. Evolution is accepted by science.I wish the proponents would stop trying to tear down evolution and deal with the real issu ID. Science is not a popularity contest. We all don't get to vote and if enough of us like it then it becomes science. You can tear down evolution all you want (in your minds) but that doesn't make ID science.

Eyentao

12/12/2005 01:43:45 PM

right on ravyne, the difference between dawkins trying to convince people of his views and IDers trying is that Dawkins has evidence! that's a pretty big difference when it comes to science. people of faith don't have evidence, they have faith! your faith does not convince me, it convinces you! why would i take something on faith because you take in on faith!? And dawkins has no agenda to get rid of religion. he doesn't want religion in schools and neither does the constitution. or does the fact that america is a 'christian nation,' (perhaps the most exclusionary idea i've heard in my life time)override even the document that our nationhood is founded upon?

ravyne

12/12/2005 12:26:16 PM

I think that he truly believes that God does not exist. I also think that he does not spend anymore time trying to convince people of this (his belief) then Christians spend trying to convince people that God does exist (their beliefs). Christian go to extraordinary lengths to beat their religion into everyone they come into contact with AND it is top priority that the government also validates their beliefs. So how is that any different that Mr. Dawkins is doing that as well? Oh - that's right! I forgot we are dealing with Christians who believe in "my way or the highway". The very same people who are crying about someone using "Happy Holidays" because it somehow minimizes their "Christmas" - these are the same people who insisted that "Halloween Party" be changed to "Fall Festival" or "Harvest Home" or some such thing. Gee - can anyone say "hypocrisy"?

Eyentao

12/12/2005 11:10:43 AM

hermeneutical, 1. if god is entirely not material, how can god create material things? 2. i think that argument is a cop out. scientifically, something would never be attributed to pure spirit. dawkins is a scientist and ID is apparently a scientific argument. the idea of "pure spirit" is a religious notion.

avann

12/12/2005 09:13:19 AM

To a child an imaginary friend is probably as real as any other friend. Is the child believing in a lie (let's say "non-fact"), if he/she knows that the friend exists as anything else in this world? What if the thought actually made the thing true? If I believe that I have good luck today, it's going to be a self-realizing prophecy. I cannot "know" if I'm gonna have good luck, but because I have to have some approach towards the day, why shouldn't I have one that gets me happy and warm inside instead of just thinking: "There's no-one out there, and my existence is all insignificant. I have to believe this because it's the truth."? That statement is just as true/untrue as everything else in this world, not more of one than another.

hermeneuticalsquare

12/12/2005 08:23:32 AM

Dawkins does not explain WHY the designer of biological organs would have to be more complicated than the organs he designs. He does not think that such an explanation is necessary because he assumes that the designer, like the thing being designed, is also a material being. Certainly, if God is material, then God could design biological organs ONLY IF He were more complicated than things He was designing. BUT if God is pure spirit, then God would actually simpler rather than more complicated, for a pure spirit has no parts. Hence if God is pure spirit, Dawkin's criticism does not apply. In assuming that God must have parts, Dawkins assumes that only material beings exist. But in that case he is guilty begging the question-- a fallacy that one learns not to commit in Logic 101.

JamesComerota

12/12/2005 02:45:47 AM

Richard Dawkins is not even a good scientist, in my opinion, as he abandoned a promising career as a biologist in order to try to eradicate religion. If this statement is true, it would mean that anyone who has ever abandoned success in order to stand up for their principles is a failure. Dawkins is in very honorable company. If he truly believed that God does not exist and that religion is nonsense, why has he spent so much time and effort trying to convince others of this? Why is it so important to him? I can only provide the answer that I gave recently, when asked why I would study religion if I don't believe in it. It didn't take me that long to figure out that religion was foolishness. It has taken the rest of my life to try to unravel why it is that this is not obvious to more people. I'm still working on it.

nnmns

12/11/2005 07:24:37 PM

"If he truly believed that God does not exist and that religion is nonsense, why has he spent so much time and effort trying to convince others of this? Why is it so important to him?" I can't speak for Dawkins but here's a valid reason: Religion has impinged on his field. Those whose version of Christianity can't survive in a world where life evolves are trying to remove evolution from biology teaching. So it could well be in self defense. And it could be that in teaching he's come across students whose minds are closed by their religion, a tragedy. It sounds from the interview like this could be an important reason. continued below

nnmns

12/11/2005 07:24:11 PM

continued from above And he may be concerned about all the schools where real sex education can't be taught because of objections by "religious" people. And he may be concerned because the worst President in at least recent history was put over the top by the "more religious" among us. And there are all the people who've died because the "more religious" people demanded condoms not be distributed here and there. And on and on. For me, as long as religion left me alone I'd be content to leave it alone. But religion isn’t leaving us alone.

davidchai

12/11/2005 07:14:04 PM

Actually, the idea that there are multiple creators is more along the lines of what I was saying. Just because there may have been a creator does not make that creator all knowing, or worthy of worship. We could have beeen the result of a really bad case of creator heartburn or gas. Also consider that the creator could have died or ceased to exist eons ago. ID, as a scientific theory, would not exclude that possibility, nor would it require worship of the creator. The idea of a creator is not necessarily religious. It is only religious if one imbues that creator with some form of divinity which is irrelevant to science. Consider that the god of the bible may be a creation too.

Eyentao

12/11/2005 06:47:46 PM

symes, i'm not that concerned with dawkins character. maybe he himself is an arrogant guy. but his science isn't arrogant. it's science. ID is a fine idea in a religious context, but it is simply not scientific and a scientist should be threatened with ID being used in a scientific context. just because somebody in a certain discipline disagrees with an idea's inclusion in that discipline, doesn't make the person arrogant. that's just an ad hominem attack. it doesn't get at any of dawkins' arguments.

Eyentao

12/11/2005 06:44:18 PM

David, Not calling the creator being 'god' doesn't make it not god, it just means we're calling it something else. teaching christianity in schools and calling it "Blarbljousudf," doesn't make it any less religious in nature, it just gives in a different name. the idea that a creator created the universe is a religious idea, whether we call that creator, god, satan, michael bolton, or onion. or whatever. still smells as sweet, you get the point.

davidchai

12/11/2005 04:27:01 PM

So Dawkins is just a arrogant in his views as Creationists and Religious IDers are in theirs. A modified form of ID (which incorporates a modfied evolutionary process) may be viable as long deity is not a required part of the concept. God (postiive or negative) is irrelevant to the equation.

Symes

12/11/2005 03:25:33 PM

The arrogance of some scientists is beyond comprehension. Richard Dawkins is not even a good scientist, in my opinion, as he abandoned a promising career as a biologist in order to try to eradicate religion. If he truly believed that God does not exist and that religion is nonsense, why has he spent so much time and effort trying to convince others of this? Why is it so important to him? Perhaps because he suspects that people who believe in God possess something valuable. Open your mind, Richard, and remember that no one has ever managed to prove the non-existence of God.

dplatt

12/11/2005 02:12:28 PM

Evolution is only troubling if you believe in an anthropocentric God. When I hear that I share DNA with chimpanzees (although I believe the 97% stat is misleading)I am humbled because it means that we are connected to them. The main religious question is how you interact with the world around you. It's the main question of existence, period. I don't see how aknowledging the spirituality of the rest of the world can be bad.

thefish

12/11/2005 11:34:08 AM

"Don’t kid yourself that you’re going to live again after you’re dead; you’re not. Make the most of the one life you’ve got. Live it to the full." My take on this statement is that he is saying that your physical body will not live again. There are many who believe in the "physical" resurrection and truly believe that bodies will rise out of their graves on judgement day. He is correct. YOU, you're physcial self will never come back to life again. But I believe in reincarnation...getting a new body...makes more sense to me. So in my humble opinion, this IS the "afterlife"...And there is absolutely nothing wrong with the advice that "this is the one life you have, make the best of it!" Peace <

RioLion

12/11/2005 10:19:44 AM

Like Dawkins, I really do not trust the religious establishment. They all too often advocate policies that hinder investigation and theories that do not confirm to their belief system. I remember Galileo in his view of the sun being the center of the universe, simply that the church interpretation of scripture has to be incorrect in view of the solid evidence he found. While I distrust the religious establishment, I am troubled by the probabilities of the evolutionary process; having taught statistics at the college level. Therefore I do not believe in everything advocated by the evolutionists. If the evolutionary model fits, then use it but logically, I really can accept the view (or theory) that there has to be some kind of intelligent designer to create our universe simply in view of the probabilities involved.

Merlock

12/10/2005 08:43:23 PM

Don’t kid yourself that you’re going to live again after you’re dead; you’re not. Make the most of the one life you’ve got. Live it to the full. _______________ I was just thinking of the way Mr. Dawkins says this; I can just hear him saying this so confidently, as if the idea of an Afterlife was absurd. I can't offer much proof that there is an Afterlife, I admit---but why is he so completely sure there isn't? Truth is, science will never be able to prove or disprove that God exists; there is no such thing as a Godometer that can measure levels of holiness, no probe that can be sent to Heaven, and if one really thinks of it, no way to assure that every bit of scientific data ever discovered was tampered with by the Creator. We all just have to go along, taking guesses based on faith and reason. But you can't rule anything out for sure---theism or atheism. God bless!

silence782

12/10/2005 06:13:34 PM

Can you name some scientists, Pedro? I'd really be interested in finding out more info if it's legit.

silence782

12/10/2005 06:10:24 PM

Merlock, If your asert that there is life after death, the burden of proof is on you, not Dawkins.

PurpleKU77

12/10/2005 05:24:41 PM

I think that it is interesting that we share around %55 of our genetic makeup with earthworms, and %99 with chimpanzees. This tells me that, while we are clearly apes, we are also connected to everything else on the planet. This would give the lie to the idea that people are a "special creation" that fundies like to banter about. We are the same as every other species on the planet.

happylittleelf

12/10/2005 04:55:27 PM

I suggest the curious read "The Beak of the Finch," a study a couple did on the finches on an island in the Galapagos. When most people hear "species," they think of man and fish, man and ape, etc. but the former are much further separated (at class, I believe) and man and ape differ in the genus (the step above species). Actual species separation is much smaller. The book taught me how small of a difference there is between species (ex. beak size). Different species can't interbreed...at first. At one point in the book, the couple was overjoyed to find that two species of finches were breeding, and had a nest. Does this mean a species can hop to a different kingdom? No, but it does mean most people didn't pay attention in Biology, and thus can't properly use terms. Again, I recommend the book, or at least a basic science class on what makes species, genus, order, etc.

Norskie2080

12/10/2005 11:14:09 AM

Interesting to me is the intellecutal evolution occuring on these very pages.

nnmns

12/10/2005 09:04:59 AM

"That's micro-evolution. Nobody denies the existance of micro-evolution. What ID advocates deny is macro-evolution (a species evolving into a completely separate species)." I'm sure people used to deny that, but they were driven by evidence to admit it. Creationism evolves. But, keeping in mind animals are of different species if they can't interbreed, do you really think two groups of animals can undergo continuing, different micro-evolutions over thousands of years and still be able to interbreed? That's faith!

Merlock

12/09/2005 09:53:14 PM

Mr. Dawkins may be right about some things, but I ask him---he states so certainly that there is no life after death. Granted that you can find little evidence to assure there is, can he find one shred of evidence to prove that there ISN'T? God bless!

taqiyy

12/09/2005 08:59:37 PM

Bismillah. well what about the flu virus? each year it changes, becomes more virulent and resistant to treatment, isnt that a form of evolution? That's micro-evolution. Nobody denies the existance of micro-evolution. What ID advocates deny is macro-evolution (a species evolving into a completely separate species). I think as a theory, ID is just as worthy for examination as evolution theory. I don't know that science can deny that models other than evolution are theoretically probable. Peace.

dannyuk2

12/09/2005 07:48:50 PM

well what about the flu virus? each year it changes, becomes more virulent and resistant to treatment, isnt that a form of evolution?

nnmns

12/09/2005 06:56:25 PM

"My understanding is that even under srictly controlled lab conditions, scientists have not been able to create one species from another, even with organisms like bacteria, whose life cycle can be a matter of hours, thus allowing ten of thousands of generations to be observed." Possibly, I doubt it, but the definition of "species" is different for bacteria. Here are some quotes I found: 'A bacterial species is "a population of cells with similar characteristics."' 'Bacterial species resemble the way fossil species are distinguished (i.e., phylogenetic species concept). continued below

nnmns

12/09/2005 06:55:39 PM

continued from above Normally plant and especially animal species are defined as populations of interbreeding or potentially interbreeding individuals that don't breed with individuals of other, like-defined populations. For fossils, on the other hand, it cannot be determined who interbred, or could have, with whom. Consequently, fossil species are defined only in terms of character resemblance, just as are bacteria.' So if someone wants to claim or deny a new species of bacteria has developed they have some wiggle room.

CheesyMonkey

12/09/2005 05:59:52 PM

Ditto. ^^

pedro_ld_23

12/09/2005 05:56:50 PM

I gotta go home. It's been elightening. When we all keep an open mind, it amazing how much we can learn. Happy trails.

pedro_ld_23

12/09/2005 05:41:58 PM

cheesy, As I said below, "The problem that you equate the scientific evidence for Intelligent Design with the religious belief that there must be a creator." I promise you that if you do the research, you will find legitimate scientists who do not believe in God or hold to any religion, who accept the science behind ID. Based on the evidence, they have concluded that there are aspects of nature that reflect design and rule out random mutation or chance.

pedro_ld_23

12/09/2005 05:33:41 PM

nnmns, My understanding is that even under srictly controlled lab conditions, scientists have not been able to create one species from another, even with organisms like bacteria, whose life cycle can be a matter of hours, thus allowing ten of thousands of generations to be observed. Now, like you, I can't claim to even hang with the scientists who are doing the lab work. I am just relaying what I have researched in articles and books for the layperson. The whole point of evolution (macro) is that it is not observable. No one living today was around when human beings first came on the scene. All the proof that Darwinists present attempts to piece together a history that will probably alwaus remain a mystery. For this reason, I think it is only responsible to teach kids the aspects of Darwins theory that is scientifically supportable, and those areas which remain unprovable hypotheses.

CheesyMonkey

12/09/2005 05:30:45 PM

I'm sorry, but I couldn't find any examples of proof that you're talking about. I don't think that ID can be scientifically proven. Is there any experiment that can prove a designer/higherpower exists? I sincerely doubt it. ID is discredited because it asks people to take a blind jump of faith. Faith in something that can not be proven. I'm sure there is probably *some* sort of scientific this or that for ID, but the basic principle of it, that being a designer created everything, is not scientific or factual at all, because it has never been actually proven. And, for a moment, say there *was* some higher power designing every complexity in life, who made the designer? Where did the designer come from in the first place? No offense, but ID seems like an attempt at answering a difficult question with a feel-good answer.

pedro_ld_23

12/09/2005 05:04:10 PM

cheesy, I've listed examples of the science involved in ID below. A lot of it is really complex, occuring at the level of mitochrondria and protein enzymes. These are processes that were not observable when Darwin published Origin of the Species, or even until the last decade. It shows how misunderstood the area of ID is that no one arguing against even thinks that it is based on scientific study. Perhaps it says more about how well the guardians of Darwin have succeeded in discrediting and marginalizing anyone who challenges their position.

nnmns

12/09/2005 04:56:32 PM

I should have said that better. "...so we probably don’t know whether some pair Of KINDS of animals that spring from the same species have become so changed from each other they can’t interbreed any more in just the last few years.

nnmns

12/09/2005 04:53:21 PM

"Macroevolution has never been tested nor observed in a lab." I'm not sure whether this is true. Probably we haven't seen changes in animals large enough to observe by eyeball alone, because they all have generations measured in days, months or years and most lab experiments just don't last several hundred or thousand times that long. And two animals are considered to be in different species if they can’t interbreed, but it’s awkward to go around getting pairs of animals to try to breed so we probably don’t know whether some pair of animals that spring from the same species have become so changed from each other they can’t interbreed any more in just the last few years. continued below

CheesyMonkey

12/09/2005 04:52:37 PM

"ID is simply the collection of science that exposes the flaws of Darwinism and presents evidence that the universe exhibits characteristics consistent with a design, not random chance and mutation." Again, what science? What proof of ID is there? You keep saying how ID presents scientific evidence of a designer, but where is it?

nnmns

12/09/2005 04:52:24 PM

continued from above I can't say whether it's been seen in a lab in, say, bacteria. And since bacteria don't breed I'd think it's hard to say when they can interbreed. (You can probably tell by now I'm no expert here either.) So I don't know that there's any species with short enough generations but enough like us to expect to have seen a new species develop. Note I'm not saying it hasn't happened in a lab, just that I'm not aware it has.

pedro_ld_23

12/09/2005 04:36:21 PM

Cheesy, We have to distinguish between macroevolution and microevolution. The former deals with small, scale intra-species changes that Darwin observed in the Galapagos; the latter deals with the origin of life which Darwin postulated began with single cell organisms and evolved into life as we know it now. The fervor over this debate is not whether finches beaks get longer. No one challenges this. The challenge is to the theory that life evolved from primordial slime over billions of years. ID is simply the collection of science that exposes the flaws of Darwinism and presents evidence that the universe exhibits characteristics consistent with a design, not random chance and mutation.

CheesyMonkey

12/09/2005 04:22:16 PM

Pedro, You seem to be saying that ID is more scientific than evolution, which, no offense, doesn't make much sense to me. I mean, evolution has proven itself again and again. You even gave examples of it yourself. As for macroevolution, how could it possibly be tested in a lab? Evolution takes thousands of years. It's a slow process, but it's there. If it was blind faith, how could evolution provide us with countless evidence? Fossils, extinction, evidence on the cellular level, etc. How is ID, the idea of a higher power designing life, more scientific? What scientific proof can you present to show this is true? You say there is science behind ID, I'm sorry, but I just don't see it. If Darwinism is on a shaky throne, ID is standing in the middle of an earthquake. With ID you *have* to have "blind faith" in what can't be proved. I've yet to see any hard, scientific evidence that a higher power exists.

pedro_ld_23

12/09/2005 04:09:16 PM

I guess you played all the cards in your deck. Nice chatting with you.

pedro_ld_23

12/09/2005 03:22:38 PM

jacknky, "ID can't be measured and tested. Evolution can. The theory of evolution is as accepted in the scientific community as the theory of electricity. It can be seen and seen repeatedly, unlike ID." I disagree with this. Macroevolution has never been tested nor observed in a lab. Sure, we know that finches can grow longer beaks to catch those wiley grubs, or moths can turn darker to propagate their species. However, there is no evidence that organisms can evolve across species, which is the cruxt of the macro-evolution theory. The only "evidence" is that pretty much anything can happen over a hundred gazillion years. Please, that is not science. It's blind faith. Secondly, it can and has been proven that many biological components of the body could not have developed in a process, because they are irreducibly complex. I guarantee you that the science behind ID will not only stand in the years to come, it will topple Darwinism off it's very shaky throne.

pedro_ld_23

12/09/2005 03:10:53 PM

jacknky, "To put it in even simpler terms, because we can't yet explain everything about everything, then there must be a god (ID)." The problem with this statement is that you equate the scientific evidence for Intelligent Design with the religious belief that there must be a creator. It is a fact that there are numerous, reputable scientists who do not come to this conclusion, yet accept the evidence for ID. The scientific evidence both for Intelligent Design as well as for the impossibility of macro-evolution is there, whether you want to accept it or not. Which is precislely why you keep playing the "creationism" card, and the "just give science more time to discover the truth" card.

jacknky

12/09/2005 03:10:19 PM

pedro, "The only challenge that you can bring to ID is religious and philosophical, not scientific." That's because ID is not a real scientific theory. How do you challenge something scientifically that isn't real science? ID can't be measured and tested. Evolution can. The theory of evolution is as accepted in the scientific community as the theory of electricity. It can be seen and seen repeatedly, unlike ID. Simply because the theory of evolution can't be accepted by some theists doesn't make it bad science, just bad religion... which science doesn't pretend to be. Is faith so shallow that one must distort science to justify it?

jacknky

12/09/2005 03:02:06 PM

Somebody said that comparing ID with science isn't comparing apples to oranges, it's comparing apples to screwdrivers. Why must some people try to use science, the study of the NATURAL world to justify their beliefs in the SUPERNATURAL world? That's why it's called religious faith, not religious knowledge.

jacknky

12/09/2005 02:53:19 PM

Pedro, "To put it in less technical terms, the most fundamental component of life is not matter but information -- a.k.a. DNA. It is this simple fact that leads to ID, because information -- like a computer program -- cannot develop randomly by chance.' To put it in even simpler terms, because we can't yet explain everything about everything, then there must be a god (ID). Do you see the fallacy of that reasoning? Why is it that science must explain everything and ID "theorists" simply imagine an ID that really explains nothing? "Causeless cause" is a mental conception, not a scientific theory. Give us a measurable and repeatable test of this ID. Let's put that "theory" on trial for awhile.

nnmns

12/09/2005 02:46:14 PM

"1) Most organisms do not have a fossils record that would reveal progressive changes in their species. 2) Quite often, there are fossils of less-evolved organisms that through carbon-dating have been determined to be younger (more recent) than other more-developed fossils of the same species. 3) In general, the fossil record does not provide the evolutionary timeline that Darwinists propose that it does." I'm no expert and I'm going to trust what you say (often dangerous with creationists/ID'rs) continued below

nnmns

12/09/2005 02:45:32 PM

continued from above 1) More precisely, we haven't found that fossil record. It may exist or it may be all those bones decayed. No proof they don't have it. 2) Two things: who's to say what's less or more evolved? Not all less evolved critters died out at the same time. 3) That would only prove the biologists don't have the details right yet, and I expect most of them would agree they probably don't. Again that doesn't invalidate the principles of evolution.

jacknky

12/09/2005 02:44:58 PM

Brian, "Evolution is incorrectly called a scientific theory." WOW! Those poor scientists. Have you told them this yet? I believe you just proved Windsinger's point.

nnmns

12/09/2005 02:21:39 PM

But now that I think about it, if He/She/It wrote "I exist, dammit!" across the sky in all languages at once then He/She/It would also need to describe Him/Her/Itself so we'd know just what kind of god we were dealing with. There are so many in different peoples' heads!

pedro_ld_23

12/09/2005 02:19:30 PM

nnmns, there are several issues with the fossil record that I refer to: 1) Most organisms do not have a fossils record that would reveal progressive changes in their species. 2) Quite often, there are fossils of less-evolved organisms that through carbon-dating have been determined to be younger (more recent) than other more-developed fossils of the same species. 3) In general, the fossil record does not provide the evolutionary timeline that Darwinists propose that it does. As I stated above, quite often, it contradicts it.

nnmns

12/09/2005 02:10:30 PM

"For example, any bit of science that contradicts the theory of evolution -- like the fossil record, for example -- is chalked up to a deficiency of scientific discovery, not of the theory itself. With this mindset, there is literally nothing that God could ever do to convince everyone of His existence." I'm not aware of anything in the fossil record that contradicts evolution. I hear of changes in beliefs of details of evolution based on the fossil record, but I don't know of anything that threatens the ideas of evolution. But as far as proving "His" existence, why not write "I exist, dammit!" across the sky in flaming letters in all languages at once. That's not subtle but it would convince a LOT of people, maybe even me.

pedro_ld_23

12/09/2005 02:06:38 PM

jacknky, the term irreducible complexity refers to a biological mechanism that cannot function without the presence of every component. In other words, scientists have discovered that key enzymes in the body that process proteins for energy, are so complex that they could not have evolved from a less-developed, incomplete state. To put it in less technical terms, the most fundamental component of life is not matter but information -- a.k.a. DNA. It is this simple fact that leads to ID, because information -- like a computer program -- cannot develop randomly by chance.

jacknky

12/09/2005 01:58:11 PM

pedro, "nor will they examine the evidence of irreducible complexity, which is the cruxt of ID." What do you mean by "irreducible"? Scientist examine nature's complexity all the time but complexity does not "prove" ID. ID is an intellectual and logical leap of faith, not a natural phenomena that can be measured and tested. ID may make for good religion but lousy science, which is why most scientist don't "examine" it. They know how to examine natural phenomena, not supernatural.

jacknky

12/09/2005 01:52:18 PM

Theory, Can you give me undeniable evidence that the earth was not created by the Tooth Fairy?

GodKnowsWho

12/09/2005 01:46:50 PM

Has anyone here ever heard of "Intelligent Design" proponent Guillermo Gonzalez? He is definitely a bona fide scientist and his book 'The Privileged Planet' is probably worth a look. . .

brian73

12/09/2005 01:41:37 PM

Windsinger-"For example, I've yet to meet a proponent of ID who knows what a scientific theory IS." I'm sure that ID proponents know what a scientific theory is. Ironically, Evolution is incorrectly called a scientific theory. A scientific theory MUST be able to be tested, replicated & produce observable results. This is not the case for either evolution or creation since neither is repeatable or observable.

pedro_ld_23

12/09/2005 01:40:50 PM

nnmns, the problem is not that the evidence doesn't exist, it's that we don't want to allow it lead us to certain conclusions. For example, any bit of science that contradicts the theory of evolution -- like the fossil record, for example -- is chalked up to a deficiency of scientific discovery, not of the theory itself. With this mindset, there is literally nothing that God could ever do to convince everyone of His existence. For this reason, I believe that He leaves the evidence of Creation on the table and allows each of us as individuals to be open to whatever conclusions it might lead us to. BTW, I fully respect your beliefs and conclusions about life and the non-existence of a Creator. I just hope that you would be open to any consclusions that the evidence might lead you to.

nnmns

12/09/2005 01:27:40 PM

Theory, you are sure certain about people you don't seem to know very well. Yes, I'm sure enough there's no god to call myself an atheist. But if faced with overwhelming evidence (my call) I'd change my mind. Heck, then I might even prostrate myself if it seemed called for. And since it's probably easier to prove that a thing which exists does exist than to prove a thing which doesn't exist doesn't, I don't expect to be able to prove to your satisfaction there's no god. But I can wonder at peoples' persistence in believing there is a god in the face of the total lack of evidence. Let's face it, a god that created this amazing universe should, it would seem, be able to do things that leave no doubt on anyone's part It exists. But that's just not happening. And all the things we do see seem explainable based on things we know or things we can reasonably hope to know. Nope, no evidence for a god.

Windsinger

12/09/2005 01:26:17 PM

It's hard to debate with people who just get basic facts completely wrong and then frame their arguements in such a way that one must spend time educating people on basic facts. For example, I've yet to meet a proponent of ID who knows what a scientific theory IS.

pedro_ld_23

12/09/2005 01:22:05 PM

I have a real issue with Dawkins and other Darminists who won't debate the flaws and theories of evolution, nor will they examine the evidence of irreducible complexity, which is the cruxt of ID. Macro-evolution is a theory and, I would argue, a religion unto itself. Darwinists have long claimed to hold the high ground of science in this debate, but this is changing with ID, and you can tell from their fear of engaing in true debate that their position is slipping.

theory54

12/09/2005 01:14:50 PM

from my perspective proofs are not a one way street and most of us do not call it spiritual belief because we can touch it physically. So I would challenge any of the naysayers in the world to also give me hardcore undeniable evidence that there isn't a Creator God before they go spouting that message as undeniable proof that there isn't. Can tell you one thing for sure right now - it ain't gonna happen and chances are no one will change their mind either one way or the other or will be afraid to even if they see substantiation one way or the other, because now they've created a label for themselves and want the world to believe that they're in control of their own irrefutibility - how amazing. Radical Fundamentalism is Radical Fundamentalism no matter what belief is at the center of the issue. nuff said...

jacknky

12/09/2005 12:56:55 PM

To me, the most truthful position as to the existence of gods is: "I don't know." I understand the power of experience. That's why Buddhist meditation is such a powerful force in my life- the experience of (trying to) learn to see the world without judging. Because the Universe is awesome, because we don't have all the answers, doesn't mean there is a Creator. It means the Universe is awesome and mysterious. We can either create answers or accept that we don't know. I choose to accept the unknown.

nnmns

12/09/2005 11:33:36 AM

"To me, the "lie" in religion is that we can KNOW there is a God. It is no lie at all for anyone who has a direct personal religious experience of God of one variety or another." It probably would not be a lie but it could well be an error. Magicians fool us. Advertisers and politicians convince us. We aren't perfect, or even necessarily good, observers or interpreters of what we experience, so if someone has a strange feeling and has been taught "God" speaks to people that way it's not surprising if they feel they've just experienced a god. But that's in no way proof they did. And isn’t it strange the wide variety of gods that are experienced that way! But for a religious institution, leaders of which have to be aware of these facts, to claim this proves there is a god. That’s a lie.

davidchai

12/09/2005 11:09:52 AM

To claim that the designer MUST be god is a stretch. IF there is a designer, the designer may just be the designer. The Abrahamic god as with the other deities that exist may be separate entities from the designer. We may never know.

GodKnowsWho

12/09/2005 10:07:44 AM

jacknky said - To me, the "lie" in religion is that we can KNOW there is a God. It is no lie at all for anyone who has a direct personal religious experience of God of one variety or another. When Carl Jung was asked by a BBC interviewer if he believed in God he replied by claiming to KNOW that God exists based on his own experience of, or research into, unusual spiritual phenomena such as "synchronicity" I expect. I have no reason to believe that Carl Gustav Jung was lying. Likewise any bona fide prophet KNOWS that God exists and KNOWS a few things about God. Many other more ordinary human beings can with honesty and integrity claim to KNOW that God exists based on their own mystical experiences or other spiritual experiences. I do believe that if "Intelligent Design" proceeds to its final destination of scientifically revealing the "Creator of the Universe" that those scientists will have every right to claim to KNOW that God exists. . .

GodKnowsWho

12/09/2005 09:59:13 AM

Well said rbethell! Theists just happen to believe that that eternity is vital, intelligent, and engaged.

GodKnowsWho

12/09/2005 09:56:10 AM

Hi nnmns, I agree 100% with what you said below. Those scientists who choose to study "Intelligent Design" most certainly should study the "Designer" aka "The Great Architect of the Universe" aka "The Creator" aka God from the standpoint of what "Intelligent Design" reveals about what we human beings generically refer to as God. The God revealed by modern science is a rather more impressive "Supreme Being" than the God revealed in the Bible, the Koran, and various other ancient religious scriptures with the possible exception of some Hindu scriptures. . .

ChanLacAn

12/09/2005 09:39:54 AM

tonygalli, As an ordained Buddhist lay teacher and lifelong Buddhist practitioner, I do understand that when Westerners like Ken Wilbur who, as you say, grow up in an environment with little contact with Buddhism they do bring their assumptions to the religion, even when they study with good teachers. I'm sure that his intentions are good, but when we bring our own assumptions and ideas to our learning about the Dharma, we're more likely to subvert the teachings than learn from them. I've taken classes on a variety of topics from wonderful teachers, but that doesn't mean that I'm an equal expert with them. On the other hand, I do hope that Ken Wilbur will some day listen to the Dharma as the Buddha suggests, with an open mind free of his favorite concepts and allow the Dharma rain to penetrate his heart. He'll find no separate "non-material spiritual reality" that he has to attain.

nnmns

12/09/2005 09:19:37 AM

"Conventional" scientists, religious or atheistic, leave "designers" out of their practice, so they would not face such questions as "Why such poor designs?" But a "scientist" who brings a designer into her practice is, it seems to me, called upon to study this "designer".

nnmns

12/09/2005 09:13:02 AM

"The problem of evil, of suffering, and why there is imperfection in the world, are not new problems in religious thought. … Different schools of thought have their answers, and I won't go into all of them now, only to say that it's something that is certainly addressed." tony, I make no claims to any original thoughts. But my point was that ID’rs claim it’s a science and real scientists look for answers, they don’t say here’s a blank wall we’ll never be able to penetrate. Since there’s no sign ID’rs are doing that, I claim that’s yet more evidence it is not a science. And, yes, they are questions any religious adherents should surely demand answers for from their deities (unless their deities wisely started the universe and then stood back and watched).

Uriah_fan

12/09/2005 09:09:36 AM

I've had some fun with this topic and relegated Dawkins to a circus performer, but, really he is just a guy with an opinion. No more important (or less) than anyone at anytime. The facts of the creation are under our feet and over our heads. In fact are in us. Our physicaL body is not all that important and many of us know it. Some do not. That seems to be part of a plan too.

rbethell

12/09/2005 09:02:52 AM

Dawkins get to the heart of why many atheists are atheists: "Because it doesn't explain where the designer comes from." But scientists of an atheist bent do tend to accept a steady state cosmological model of some sort: although an eternal universe is out the door thanks to the Big Bang discoveries, they typically believe in a concept as unfalsifiable and as unverifiable as God - the multiverse. In short, both atheists and monotheists put faith in an unprovable eternity of sorts. Theists just happen to believe that that eternity is vital, intelligent, and engaged.

eastcoastlady

12/09/2005 08:47:02 AM

Jeremiah175 12/8/2005 11:40:20 PM For me there really is no question as to why we are designed the way we are, just as there is no 'problem of evil' for me. I view this life as a process of testing, reinement, and education, as the journey and not the destination. As such, I expect there to trials and hardships of varying frequency and intensity. You are so on the mark! Are you sure you're not Jewish? 8-)

jacknky

12/09/2005 08:39:40 AM

Daldianus, "If there's an intelligent designer then why has the human body so many imperfect parts???" The Universe is what it is. Labels like "perfect" and "imperfect" are merely human opinions.

jacknky

12/09/2005 08:37:37 AM

Jeremiah, "to believe that we are designed or random is a matter of faith." Just as an aside, it's my understanding that the theory of evolution is not really random. It's survival of the fittest.

gilbert9992002

12/09/2005 04:11:41 AM

" The very fact that we exist makes us want to understand the process of life. How and whence have we come into existence and what happens after death. The discovery of theory of evolution by modern science, does not fully satify us for it deals with the physical only and does not account for the higher plans of manifestaion, which are the spiritual spiritual one.The ancient sage realized that there could be no evolution without involution.the fact that something cannot come out of nothing proves that involution must precede evolution. to know the later one must understand the former, just to know the effect we must know the cause. The two are inseperable. Husley posted: 'Like the doctrine of evolution itself, that of transmigration has its roots i nthe realm of reality. none but hasty thinkers will reject it on the ground of inherent absurdity.'"Param Sant Kirpal Singh Ji

Daldianus

12/09/2005 02:20:46 AM

If there's an intelligent designer then why has the human body so many imperfect parts???

tonygalli

12/09/2005 12:16:00 AM

ChanLacAn, Ken Wilber has studied under Zen teachers, as well as a Tibetan master. I believe Goenka as well, though I don't know how authentic he is in his views on Vipassana. I know the Tibetan guy (I forget his name) has legit creditentials. When you grow up in an environment with little contact with said religion, it's difficult not to be affected by different assumptions. Buddhism is not, and has never been static. In countries with a history of Confuscian thought, Buddhism has a different tenor than in other cultures. Same too with Communist countries. For a fuller perspective, it's good to read scholarship from different perspectives. One important area is the phenomenon of what Lopez calls "Modern Buddhism" and how Buddhism in Asia has been shaped by colonial and post-colonial encounters.

tonygalli

12/09/2005 12:08:16 AM

nnmns, The problem of evil, of suffering, and why there is imperfection in the world, are not new problems in religious thought. In fact, such questions often form the backbone of religious thinking. Different schools of thought have their answers, and I won't go into all of them now, only to say that it's something that is certainly addressed.

jeremiah175

12/08/2005 11:40:19 PM

For me there really is no question as to why we are designed the way we are, just as there is no 'problem of evil' for me. I view this life as a process of testing, reinement, and education, as the journey and not the destination. As such, I expect there to trials and hardships of varying frequency and intensity. As to 'ID' itself, I'm not overly interested in the debate or whether or not it is a proven, peer reviewed, and/or published theory. In the end, to believe that we are designed or random is a matter of faith. JVS

nnmns

12/08/2005 10:33:43 PM

"Wouldn't one expect God to be beyond our grasp in terms of origin and complexity?" Not if ID is a science. And not if it involved any interested scientists. But where are their published articles on ID, as opposed to just articles picking at evolution? Some obvious questions to be investigated: What does it say about an "Intelligent Designer" when our own bodies attack us with cancer and immune system diseases? Why make us with such foul tempers? For some religious people the biggest question would surely be Why design us so we deserve to be tortured forever unless we believe the right strange thing?

davidchai

12/08/2005 10:29:57 PM

The fascinating thing is that at its basic level ID does NOT require that the "designer" be god or a deity. Only certain proponents require that. Maybe there is a designer, maybe not. In the end point it is irrelevant, it just does not matter.

jeremiah175

12/08/2005 10:03:49 PM

Dawkins on intelligent design: "...it doesn’t explain where the designer comes from. If they’re going to emphasize the statistical improbability of biological organs—"these are so complicated, how could they have evolved?"--well, if they’re so complicated, how could they possibly have been designed? Because the designer would have to be even more complicated." It seems he is attempting to discredit the idea of 'ID' due to it's failure to explain where God 'came from' or that it's (ID) just too improbable due to how 'complicated' the designer would have to be. Wouldn't one expect God to be beyond our grasp in terms of origin and complexity?

cknuck

12/08/2005 05:04:56 PM

"they just don't necessarily think there was a morally presupposed order to the development of humanity. it doesn't mean there's no right and wrong." I'm confused.

Eyentao

12/08/2005 12:40:05 PM

the real question is, why does any of this matter? it does matter - and that's where the real %$#@ hits the fan. the reason its important to creationists that god created the universe is because, then, there is a christian moral order intrinsic to the universe. that's a problem for, oh, i don't know, EVERYBODY ELSE. but people who support evolution, aren't against morality, they just don't necessarily think there was a morally presupposed order to the development of humanity. it doesn't mean there's no right and wrong.

nnmns

12/08/2005 12:23:06 PM

I meant to say: 2. Anything that could "design" the universe, with physics and all, however it turns out, had to be pretty smart or else maybe it's producing out scads of universes and seeing how they turn out. And we happen to live in one that works. But of course if one didn't “work” we couldn't live in it anyway. So where did that pretty smart critter itself come from.

costrel

12/08/2005 12:22:03 PM

Sheahen to Dawkins:You said in a recent speech that design was not the only alternative to chance. The Gnostic alternative is stupidity. That the so-called materialistic God Yahweh (who is not the actual spiritual/psychic God of love) created the world and matter out of his sheer ignorance and stupidity. That's rather ironic: Idiot Design rather than Intelligent Design.

nnmns

12/08/2005 12:21:25 PM

"The reason I say God is that it is very hard for me to accept that natural sources can create something more intelligent than itself." Oldrehab (interesting name)two responses: 1. If intelligence will make for better survivability, and it sometimes apparently does, the rules of evolution will allow it to develop, via mutation and selection. A few simple rules and eons for probability to work can lead to marvels. 2. Anything that could "design" the universe, with physics and all, however it turns out, had to be pretty smart or else maybe it's producing out scads of universes and seeing how they turn out. And we happen to live in one that works. But of course if one didn't “work” we couldn't live in it anyway.

jacknky

12/08/2005 12:17:30 PM

Tony, "Therefore, there is no way you could "lie" about a religious belief, because that would imply being intelligent enough to grasp science, which a believer is simply incapable of in the first place in this view" To me, the "lie" in religion is that we can KNOW there is a God.

costrel

12/08/2005 12:12:54 PM

One of the problems I see with interviewing scientists about "God" is that it seems as if the only God that is discussed is the Jewish or Christian one. Where are the interviews discussing goddesses, or polytheism, or non-theistic origin explanations like in Buddhism, or Native American origin myths? Why MUST it always be Christian creationism that is discussed? Not all Americans are Christians or Atheists.

jacknky

12/08/2005 12:09:31 PM

"Dawkins - I think she’s much too intelligent to do that, but that’s her decision." As an atheist I find this an extremely unfortunate remark. As far as I can tell, intelligence has nothing to do with a belief in God. There are theists way smarter than this skeptic. The difference lies elsewhere. Did anyone see the article in this month's Atlantic magazine about where the notions of God comes from? It's too complicated to summarize here but it indicates that the human predisposition to believe in the supernatural arises from the way we learn to deal with the world as children. I've felt that I simply lacked the "belief" gene but maybe it has to do with childhood learning too. Peace...

Eyentao

12/08/2005 12:09:10 PM

Uriah fan, et al: "to an audience desperate to find a cure for their complicity and culpability in immorality, that plagues their seared minds." it is time to give this idea up. people who believe are atheists can still be good people. people who are atheists are not mad at themselves for being atheists. some people believe in Dawkins' ideas because they find them convincing, not because they are so mad at themselves for not being good christians that they don't know where else to turn. that's a mere projection. and it's ignorant.

jacknky

12/08/2005 12:02:41 PM

poetographer, "Science neither proves nor disproves the existence of God, just some of the theories that theists have sloppily extrapolated to science." I can't argue with that. I apologise.

jacknky

12/08/2005 11:57:59 AM

God knows, "What you don't seem to bec aware of is that the person who you accused of using fear was not really doing so. She said that Dawkins would "grieve" when he faced his Creator." Are we playing a linguistic game? You don't see the implied threat (fear) in the statement?

oldrehab

12/08/2005 11:57:17 AM

If the big bang theory is true, and I believe it is, then all started with energy and all is energy as we know it, including God. The reason I say God is that it is very hard for me to accept that natural sources can create something more intelligent than itself. By the way, I'm intelligent and educated, also.

ChanLacAn

12/08/2005 09:38:28 AM

logophilos, It sounds like Ken Wilbur is making some of the typical mistakes that Westerners make in trying to understand the basics of Buddhism. Rather than going into the distinctions here, if you'd like to learn more about the BuddhaDharma, I'd highly recommend learning from a qualified Buddhist teacher, not from someone who wants the concepts of Buddhism to fit into his views.

godislovenpeace

12/08/2005 09:14:21 AM

All I believe and will believe is that sing of the coming of the hour is the return of Jesus. I put my faith in that, you're either part of the problem or part of the solution. Jesus will bring justice to the world, so therefore the answer to the inequities we faced with, lies with the coming of Jesus, but what would evolutionist have me believe that the world is not pre-destined and there is no end of time. I do not put my faith in Christianity or Islam or Judaisn or with science and progress or with the other religions, what the theory of evolution will become is another ideology, but one always must be open minded not closing the door on intellectual reasoning and accepting revelation as the be all and end all of everything. As long as it is part of the solution not the problem, I'd agree with it.

JamesComerota

12/08/2005 08:53:43 AM

andrewcyrus- Suppose we take the writings of your farmer's wife 'prophetess', Ellen White, and put them up for public inspection. I wonder how much respect her views would garner in the light of day?

tonygalli

12/08/2005 06:06:10 AM

I can't give an exact tally of how many people believe in a God that is a higher Self. I could give a list of thinkers, writers, and esoteric schools. But I suppose saying they are "esoteric" clearly shows they are a minority. That is not surprising, there is some evidence that thinking processes are subject to adaptation, change, evolution if you will. Some developmental psychologists hold that's a matter of degree, whereas others hold that cognitive processes change qualitatively. Ex.) A child who only think concrete operational can never understand more abstract thought. For example, some have made a case that the Abrahamic God, seen as a personal and anthropormic, can't be anything but invisible, interior awareness, higher Self, etc. Rather than being a superimposition on the religious texts (Tanakh, Bible, Qu'ran, etc.) they claim it's the correct reading of the texts. According to them, the majority is, or should be, conceiving God in that way.

tonygalli

12/08/2005 05:51:11 AM

nnmns, don't mind me, I'm a longwinded writer. I didn't even see your posts until after all mine were done. I was carrying on with my own internal dialogue, not responding to you. Since there is little space to put all my views, I often make multiple posts. Perhaps I should save it for my blog; it's so hard for me to stop until I've looked at an issue from every angle I can think of.

tonygalli

12/08/2005 05:47:13 AM

"If I could have a word with a would-be suicide bomber or plane hijacker who thinks he’s going to paradise, I would like to disabuse him. I wouldn’t say to him, 'Don’t you see what you’re doing is wrong?' I would say, 'Don’t imagine for one second you’re going to paradise. You’re not. You’re going to rot in the ground.'" Here's a prime example. What happens to the body is irrelevant, what matters to that particular believer is the soul, held as a separate entity from the body. This is theology 101. Some Christians and Muslims believe the actual body is ressurected into heaven, but there is far from uniformity on this issue. The belief in a mind-body, soul-body duality is more common. I myself would try to use actual arguments from theology to try to dissuade him or her. Failing that, I'd use any number of techniques I've learned from my work at a crisisline (including a law enforcing body if need be).

nnmns

12/08/2005 05:39:37 AM

tony, I agree you can call those things "god" and if you do you'll have a much more functional god than those who take any religious books literally. As I said below, I find it a little dishonest to claim a "god" like that but I'll do it if society makes it necessary for me to get something I need. Normally I'll call myself an atheist. I wonder how many "believers" actually believe in a god of that sort.

nnmns

12/08/2005 05:34:14 AM

"Dawkins is a biologist, not an expert on religion. It's obvious by his comments that he is rather ignorant that evolution might apply, say, to the history of religious thought, that religion is not a static thing but something that itself is changing with the times." All likely true. To the extent he is antagonistic against religion I'm guessing it's mostly against the literalists who are trying to make it hard for people in his field to do their jobs. I imagine he has religious friends of other kinds and pleasant chats. But I don't know.

tonygalli

12/08/2005 05:33:37 AM

Now, I do think it's highly unlikely that God is, literally, an invisible man sitting in the clouds looking at us, judging us, thinking as humans think. Not a lie exactly, just really unlikely. It's not an accurate portrayal of modern theology either, it's a cartoon version of medieval beliefs. To simplify, a bit, God can stand for the heart, our conscience, our higher Self, our inner witness to reality, etc. For some, notions of God are predicated on a notion that intelligence itself is an inherent characteristic of the universe, rather than an accident. In other words, the cosmos is not an accident of the cosmos, and neither is awareness. How the universe happened, the course it took, from the big bang on, is a matter for scientists to study. And indeed, many of those scientists have no problem with an intelligent universe, however they conceive of that intelligence.

tonygalli

12/08/2005 05:27:49 AM

To him, this is an emotional need (which in some respects is true) that leads to simply replacing one empirical claim for another. I suppose it never occurs to him that reality can be structured differently, that something can exist objectively in the physical world, or subjectively in the mental realm, and it's not a question of absolute opposites, real versus unreal, but perception and interpretation. A rock is still a rock, no matter what meaning you give it. Whether you like it, hate it, think it has no purpose, think it reflects an infinite intelligence, does that change that it's a rock. The meaning you give it does not somehow negate its existence, it only affects how you feel about it.

tonygalli

12/08/2005 05:27:43 AM

To him, this is an emotional need (which in some respects is true) that leads to simply replacing one empirical claim for another. I suppose it never occurs to him that reality can be structured differently, that something can exist objectively in the physical world, or subjectively in the mental realm, and it's not a question of absolute opposites, real versus unreal, but perception and interpretation. A rock is still a rock, no matter what meaning you give it. Whether you like it, hate it, think it has no purpose, think it reflects an infinite intelligence, does that change that it's a rock. The meaning you give it does not somehow negate its existence, it only affects how you feel about it.

nnmns

12/08/2005 05:27:07 AM

"Comparing Oxford employees past and present . . . C. S. Lewis or Richard Dawkins? Mmmmm, I'm going with Lewis." Apples and oranges. I'm going with both of them.

nnmns

12/08/2005 05:24:18 AM

"If you take the time to understand probability as a mathematical concept you will realize that just because the chances are slim does not mean that there is no chance of the event. It means that the event will ‘probably’ not happen very often, i.e., life on a planet such as Earth." Yes, but we need to try to comprehend, or at least allow for, the incredibly vast time and space on a planet like earth for life to have developed. If it was on the land surface, there's a Lot of that. If it was by vents on the ocean floor there's probably not so much of that measured in length but perhaps a lot measured in ocean bottom surface area nearby and in ocean water nearby. If it's in the oceans there's a vast amount of opportunities. And if it was on rock surfaces of underground cracks there's an enormous amount of room for it to have happened. I believe all those are considered possibilities. And remember even one billion years is a LONG time.

tonygalli

12/08/2005 05:19:04 AM

"Wouldn’t it be lovely to believe in an imaginary friend who listens to your thoughts, listens to your prayers, comforts you, consoles you, gives you life after death, can give you advice? Of course it’s satisfying, if you can believe it. But who wants to believe a lie?" A lie implies you know something to be true but say something different. That would contradict his view of religion, which he cleared stated was a matter of intelligence. If you understand, what he considers, an undeniable fact, that requires comprehension. Therefore, there is no way you could "lie" about a religious belief, because that would imply being intelligent enough to grasp science, which a believer is simply incapable of in the first place in this view.

nnmns

12/08/2005 05:16:32 AM

"How could any one be an expert, I mean truly an expert?" Study a LOT of physics and math and astronomy. And be real smart. Not too many real experts. "God is natural, is the natural laws, and is the whole of the universe. God the universe is energy and forces like magnetism and gravity, matter, the absents of matter and the functions by which they all interact and develop, not some being inside the universe a' wheeling and dealing." Yes, on the occasions I need to claim a belief in god to swim or something that's the kind of god I have in mind. But given the usual meaning of "god" I personally find it a little dishonest to claim to believe in a god. But that's just me.

tonygalli

12/08/2005 05:11:55 AM

All that said, Dawkins seems to know very little about the complexity, plurality, and sophistication of theological thought. Dawkins is a biologist, not an expert on religion. It's obvious by his comments that he is rather ignorant that evolution might apply, say, to the history of religious thought, that religion is not a static thing but something that itself is changing with the times. We can sidestep that issue that some, and that is some, religious beleifs hinge on what are supposed to be historical realities (Jesus raising from the dead, Moses receiving the 10 commandments, etc.) It's moot because there are plenty of religious people who can understand that there is meaning in such events, even if they don't take them literally.

tonygalli

12/08/2005 05:10:09 AM

I don't doubt Dawkins understanding of science. I myself have no qualms with evolution, and I'm no believer in Intelligent Design, at least, not the fundamentalist Christian notion of it (there's some mystery, so let's fill in the blank with a specific, literal understanding of the Bible. Even though we can't prove its more valid than the metaphysical beliefs of other religions, it just is, because it's our religion). I'm rather fond of this qoute by Robert Wright "After all, no one ever said that natural selection produces random conglomerations of matter. Rather, it is said to produce complex, functional arrangements of matter. In fact, according to evolutionary biologists, it produces arrangements that look for all the world as if they were composed by an intelligent designer."

wyote

12/08/2005 04:59:35 AM

Funny thing about science. It corrects itself. Funny thing about everything else. It doesn't.

MKimble515

12/08/2005 03:33:47 AM

Funny thing about science. It's always been right, and it's always been based on the facts. Trouble is, the facts keep changing. If that wasn't true, all the scientific evidence from the 14th century would still be true today. Scientific arrogance has stopped us from finding the truth in the past, and it will surely do the same in the future. Dawkins claims that scientific leaders are ignorant of science, well I think there might be some scientific leaders ignorant about religion. It is the nature of the beast. You don't know about what you don't look into.

iamnemo

12/08/2005 03:14:10 AM

Oh, yes, if only we mere humans had the good judgement and wisdom of the Abrahamic creator god. Just think.....when our children don't obey, we would simply throw them into a fiery furnace instead of gently disciplining them as we stupid humans currently do. And we would also have the brilliant sense to nail our son on a cross, so that we can finally forgive our other children of their unacceptable behavior. Yes, we can only hope that someday we too can become as intelligent as our creator ;~)

Uriah_fan

12/07/2005 11:48:00 PM

Comparing Oxford employees past and present . . . C. S. Lewis or Richard Dawkins? Mmmmm, I'm going with Lewis.

PsycheSailor

12/07/2005 11:28:30 PM

I also meant to address the argument of the small probability of life, as we humans know it. If you take the time to understand probability as a mathematical concept you will realize that just because the chances are slim does not mean that there is no chance of the event. It means that the event will ‘probably’ not happen very often, i.e., life on a planet such as Earth.

PsycheSailor

12/07/2005 11:14:08 PM

“God, which is the universe it's self, doesn't have much to do with religions, but religions thinks they have everything to do with God,” as I have writing before. I have never figured out why people think the only proof of God is some 'supernatural' event. I don't think God is supernatural, and that's why science can't prove God in those terms. The religious and the scientists fight because both don't understand that God is natural, is the natural laws, and is the whole of the universe. God the universe is energy and forces like magnetism and gravity, matter, the absents of matter and the functions by which they all interact and develop, not some being inside the universe a' wheeling and dealing. Religions are blinded by their systems of reasoning, that often doesn’t fit with the natural proofs of God that Dawkins studies. Dawkins is blinded by those social definitions of a God so calls himself an atheist in social defense, and doesn't recognize God when he is studying Him.

LivingEZ123

12/07/2005 10:35:20 PM

Kabala, fits with “cause and effect” and avoids literal anthropomorphic thinking. Not all religion is simple minded. Ein Sof (God) has no attributes. Secular scholars have described Kabala as a Mystical agnosticism. It creates a model (not literal) of how the qualities we call divine manifest in creation. It creates space for the “spiritual” but does not tamper with physics. Torah is the “blue print of creation”. Torah embraces creation as well as civilization. Theosophy is a poetic model of reality. 12th century Jewish philosopher’s understood the language of Torah as metaphor. The process of gaining understanding is spiritual. God’s is outside of time, space and creation. Kabala talks about divine process, not “God” but “Godliness” within creation. There are uplifting mysteries to be solved. The contemplation of the universe, complexity of life and human civilization are inspirational. It makes life worthwhile to study them. It is what inspired the Mystics and the philosophers.

logophilios

12/07/2005 10:19:08 PM

ChanLacAn The nonmaterial sacred reality I spoke of is not supernatural at all and cannot be substituted for the supernatural. You must be thinking of the god of supernatural theism, whereas I spoke of the "divinity" of panENtheism (not pantheism). I disagree that Buddhism rejects nonmaterial reality. Many Buddhist schools promote Big Mind, Mind-Only, Buddha Nature, etc., none of which are physically quantifiable material processes or objects. With the core mysticism of other religions, Buddhism asserts a "Consciousness" which is non-detectable except through practice. As the Buddha said, Nirvana is not equivalent to any non-nirvanic mental or physical state. Not being material, its neurological _correlates_ may be observable via brain research, but the "Thing Itself" can only be _experienced_ subjectively by one's eye of contemplation, as Ken Wilber affirms.

cknuck

12/07/2005 10:17:02 PM

How could any one be an expert, I mean truly an expert?

nnmns

12/07/2005 09:49:39 PM

" I think the tougher question is asking why these laws exist in the form that they do, given the infinite number of possiblities for physical theories." Paul, yes those are the interesting questions we can speculate on without having to be experts.

paul.bello

12/07/2005 09:45:55 PM

nnmns: All that I was trying to get at in my previous post is that according to currently accepted scientific theory, we have the following two hypotheses: 1) string theory (which we know little about), and the 7 other dimensions we cannot perceive directly (and know even less about). 2) a nearly zero probability event in which all the mass in the universe must have popped into existance at the same spatial location. Dunno about you, but I'll hedge my bets on the first hypothesis, given the sheer room for discovery within that paradigm. Who knows, there may be some non-trivial causal connection between them. Even so, we can only state each in terms of the physical laws which we know about. I think the tougher question is asking why these laws exist in the form that they do, given the infinite number of possiblities for physical theories. Cheers, Paul

nnmns

12/07/2005 09:19:23 PM

“I can think of no effect without a cause and where did these intial energies come from.” tb, I don’t find the book I read this in so I looked for explanations on the web. They should do a much better job than I would, anyway. Here is an article apparently for a Physics for Poets class that covers the sort of theory I suggested. This is indeed “theory” in the sense of speculation trying to be supported, not in the very strong sense of the “theory” of evolution. Scan or read down at least to the section on Quantum Fluctuations, about half way down. continued below

nnmns

12/07/2005 09:18:35 PM

continued from above Sorry to take two posts but the long URLs count against total characters. Here are notes for another course. Probably easier to read. It mentions a few speculative theories. And here is an enjoyable set of class notes from a Philosophy(?) class that goes over the physics real fast but illustrates the same sorts of questions we’ve had. Sorry I didn’t find the great explanation.

GodKnowsWho

12/07/2005 08:54:13 PM

:and God helped design the systems that run the universe. God designed and created alone. There was no one else around to help. . . :And God would be thrilled with people that try to understand the systems - instead of blindly accepting the Bible. I expect so. So God should be thrilled by "Intelligent Design" proponents and others God believing people like me who by no means blindly accept the Bible or any other religious scripture. There are a lot of believers like that you know. . .

nnmns

12/07/2005 08:15:33 PM

“why is it not good enough for your average person who places some trust in theologians, prophets, and religious leaders?” Well here are two reasons: They come up with widely varying religions and versions of religions. And what they stress changes from time to time with no “discoveries” to explain it. Prophets and religious leaders profit by convincing people. Sometimes a lot. So, why should they be trusted, especially when they don’t nearly agree. When scientists disagree about a particular thing they design experiments to try to tell what’s true. When preachers disagree they just talk louder or try to be more convincing. These are two different worlds. I’m sorry so many posters apparently got through school without learning something of what science is about.

nnmns

12/07/2005 08:08:14 PM

"So what if the available evidence of existing religious beliefs, or indeed direct personal revelatory experience of God of some variety, judged on its merits. . . leads people to belief in God?" Rea also mentioned this. Apparently people who do are led to different gods. I think to influence science this experience would have to be examinable and in some sense repeatable. I've no idea how it could be described in a scientific way but someone else may. Part of it might be genetic differences. There's been talk of a "god gene" that may make people more prone to such experiences. And part may be social. If people are going up to be "saved" it might make it more likely a friend would also do it and feel he/she had experienced something. I don't mean to be insulting, I just don't have any such experiences. Possibly the closest I come is awe at beautiful scenery or some really neat idea. But this religious experience may be quite hard to get into a laboratory. Or maybe not.

thunderbrew

12/07/2005 07:02:20 PM

Lee Strobel (sp?) Has anybody read Cause for a Creator? (I think thats the name) I am currently reading it. Just wanted to know what everyone thought about some of the scientific theories they discuss. nnmns I can think of no effect without a cause and where did these intial energies come from.

donkeyhotay

12/07/2005 06:42:51 PM

I'll stick with Pascal's wager. Pascal, Newton, Einstein... if I believe in the possibility of God, and am wrong, at least I am in good company.

Starrrrr

12/07/2005 06:26:04 PM

She said that Dawkins would "grieve" when he faced his Creator. Grief is sorrow, regret, remorse not fear. Her comment was also a thinly veiled threat to those who have no proof of God.

GodKnowsWho

12/07/2005 06:06:55 PM

jacknky said - Fear is used by many Christians. If you don't believe God will get you and you'll spend eternity in hell. Or it may be as simple as the fear giving that we can't truly be happy unless we believe in the supernatural being. Were you not aware of this? Who isn't aware of this jacknky? What you don't seem to bec aware of is that the person who you accused of using fear was not really doing so. She said that Dawkins would "grieve" when he faced his Creator. Grief is sorrow, regret, remorse not fear.

GodKnowsWho

12/07/2005 06:03:21 PM

nnmns said - I'd guess his meaning was that the smarter you are the less likely you are to become religious, not that no quite smart people are religious. No corner here. Sorry I can't take time to look at your other corners you seem so sure of. "Guess" all you want nnms but what Dawkins actually said was that he believed that his daughter is "much too intelligent" to "become religious". The clear implication of that statement is that it is "not too intelligent" to "become religious" or indeed "be religious". The intellectual corner that Richard Dawkins backed himself into is there for all too see. As is the foot-in-mouth disease that he talked himself into. . .

poetographer

12/07/2005 05:58:28 PM

nnmns wrote: "a Truly Amazing place outside time for it to exist." Quantum physics stresses the likelihood of MANY "Truly Amazing Places (Dimensions)" outside the 4th dimensional limits of time. 19 or so according to the last book I read. By definition, these are not knowable/ measurable by human instrumentation, and require belief in a non-intuitive, virtually non-comprehensible, totally imperceptible reality. How does one apply Occam’s razor to that? So my earlier post about unknowable realities affecting our own, that jacknky described as religion, not science, is in fact a widely accepted scientific theory. Even though, in my experience, scientists pay lip service to the fact that current theories are not the be-all and end-all of knowledge, in reality they are as human as everyone else, as vested in advocating their own arguments, and as susceptible to vanity and irrationality as the rest of us. Dawkins is a smart guy that knows a lot of stuff, but even he can't know the unknowable.

GodKnowsWho

12/07/2005 05:53:18 PM

ChanLacAn you're comparing medical apples to religious oranges. . . but I will play along with you. You can have bad medical science, incompetent doctors, and medications that are very harmful even after having been through rigorous quality control. You can have incompetent and indeed harmful religious leaders but you can also have highly competent and professional ones, who have been through rigorous quality control. . . There is plenty of information informing belief in a Creator God if you bother to look for it. I have already provided some in previous posts here. You are not limited to taking my own or anyone else's word for it. You can learn, discuss, and go for a second opinion. Lots of information is available to you. Beliefnet is but one starting point. . .

jacknky

12/07/2005 05:45:15 PM

"Since when is "grief" aka "sadness" or "remorse" equivalent with "fear"?" Fear is used by many Christians. If you don't believe God will get you and you'll spend eternity in hell. Or it may be as simple as the fear giving that we can't truly be happy unless we believe in the supernatural being. Were you not aware of this?

GodKnowsWho

12/07/2005 05:39:00 PM

Backing Richard Dawkins into an intellectual corner no. 5 - Dawkins - I have to take what physicists say on trust, for example, because I'm a biologist. Even though he just said that even physicists "can’t evaluate the evidence for quantum physics." Richard Dawkins "trust" sounds a lot like "faith" to me. If it's good enough for Dawkins with respect to physics, especially untestable quantum physics, why is it not good enough for your average person who places some trust in theologians, prophets, and religious leaders?

ChanLacAn

12/07/2005 05:37:34 PM

GodKnowsWho: So when you get sick, do you need to go to medical school so you can understand all the pathophysiology and pharmacology needed to be treated? Probably not, but it's not that you have blind faith in your doctor, or at least, I hope not! Instead, you can have confidence that the science of medicine is valid and verifiable, that your doctor is a competent professional, and that the medications you take have been through rigorous quality control. You can learn, discuss, and go for a second opinion. Lots of information is available to you. There is no similar confidence or information informing the belief in a Creator God - I can only take your word for it. There is a big difference to having confidence in science and having blind faith in God/god(s).

poetographer

12/07/2005 05:34:03 PM

jacknky wrote: "Good. We are all free to believe what we want. There are no limits to what we can believe. I can believe that the Tooth Fairy is God if I want to. But that's not science. Limiting itself to what can in some way be measured and observed is what science is. It isn't religion. Why criticize it for not being what it makes no pretense to being? " I'm not getting where we disagree. I am not critizing SCIENCE, and certainly do not defend ID as science. I am criticizing folks like Dawkins who want God kept out of the discussion of scientifically knowable things (and I agree), but then hypocritically extrapolate science to disprove the scientifically unknowable. Science neither proves nor disproves the existence of God, just some of the theories that theists have sloppily extrapolated to science.

ChanLacAn

12/07/2005 05:31:12 PM

logophilos said: "You mentioned my post which invoked Ken Wilber and spoke of Buddhamind. You are quite mistaken. I never called Buddhamind supernatural. I called it a nonmaterial spiritual reality which is detectable by meditation and perceived by Wilber's "eye of contemplation" as opposed to the only "eye" permitted by Dawkins, the eye of flesh. Please read more carefully and do (not) misrepresent my words. Thanks." In my post, substitue "non-material spiritual reality" for supernatural. The meaning will be the same. In Buddhism, there is no non-material spiritual reality. Ken Wilbur is free to create his own belief system, but should leave Buddhism out of it unless he presents it accurately is all.

nnmns

12/07/2005 05:28:55 PM

"Interviewer - How would you feel if your daughter became religious in the future? Dawkins - I think she’s much too intelligent to do that, but that’s her decision. Thus if anyone every becomes religious or indeed already is religious they are lacking in intelligence or at least much less intelligent than Richard Dawkins daughter. . ." I'd guess his meaning was that the smarter you are the less likely you are to become religious, not that no quite smart people are religious. No corner here. Sorry I can't take time to look at your other corners you seem so sure of.

nnmns

12/07/2005 05:26:10 PM

"So scientists create the "hypothesis" of singularity. All the universe was compacted into one singular point and expanded, which it is still doing today (theory). This effect, must have a cause. What the cause was might be the question?" It may or may not be what happened, though it's a popular theory now. And one theory, as I understand it (very little, actually) is that it might have come about by a random appearance of energy at a very localized spot, as quantum mechanics seems to suggest must happen. Just how this avoids violating conservation of mass/energy, or whether it does, I can't say right now. I might pull out a book later and try to find out. continued below

nnmns

12/07/2005 05:25:13 PM

continued from above “An effect without a cause or belief in "a critter capable of creating this amazing universe and a "place" outside of time for it to exist". Which would we apply Ocaam's Razor to?” No, an effect without a cause we fully understand (hence, for now at least, Truly Amazing), but might some day, or BOTH a Truly Amazing critter AND a Truly Amazing “place” outside time for it to exist. Occam’s razor would pick the single hypothesis with hope for explaining it over two hypothesis whose believers never try to learn more about them.

GodKnowsWho

12/07/2005 05:20:01 PM

Backing Richard Dawkins into an intellectual corner no. 4 - Dawkins - Not everybody can evaluate all evidence; we can’t evaluate the evidence for quantum physics. So it does have to be a certain amount of taking things on trust. So according to Dawkins it's perfectly OK not to be able to evaluate the evidence for quantum physics, and thus be obliged to take a certain amount of things on trust, (dare I say faith?) but it is NOT OK to do so with respect to evaluating the evidence for God, and taking a certain amount of things on trust in God. . .

GodKnowsWho

12/07/2005 05:12:48 PM

Backing Richard Dawkins into an intellectual corner no. 3 - Interviewer -If you were able to teach every person, what would you want people to believe? Dawkins - I would want them to believe whatever evidence leads them to; I would want them to look at the evidence, judge it on its merits, not accept things because of internal revelation or faith, but purely on the basis of evidence. So what if the available evidence of existing religious beliefs, or indeed direct personal revelatory experience of God of some variety, judged on its merits. . . leads people to belief in God?

GodKnowsWho

12/07/2005 05:06:19 PM

Backing Richard Dawkins into an intellectual corner no. 2 - Interviewer - How would you feel if your daughter became religious in the future? Dawkins - I think she’s much too intelligent to do that, but that’s her decision. Thus if anyone every becomes religious or indeed already is religious they are lacking in intelligence or at least much less intelligent than Richard Dawkins daughter. . .

smc93

12/07/2005 04:27:31 PM

Dawkins Schmawkins! I can defend evolution without kicking God out of the evolutionary process. Just look at the smug look on his face... or better yet, don't! Some folk think they are smarter than... our imaginary friend! PTL, s

GodKnowsWho

12/07/2005 04:17:45 PM

In response to "One day, not too far from now, poor Mr. Dawkins will stand before his Creator and grieve" jacknky said - ahhh there it is... the theology of fear. Since when is "grief" aka "sadness" or "remorse" equivalent with "fear"? Don't cry wolf. . .

jacknky

12/07/2005 04:07:48 PM

"One day, not too far from now, poor Mr. Dawkins will stand before his Creator and grieve" ahhh there it is... the theology of fear.

jacknky

12/07/2005 04:06:29 PM

poetographre, "I for one believe it's likely that there are many substances/energies (for lack of better terms, since by definition I can't comprehend what they are!) which humans, with our limited senses and imaginations, will never be able to perceive." Good. We are all free to believe what we want. There are no limits to what we can believe. I can believe that the Tooth Fairy is God if I want to. But that's not science. Limiting itself to what can in some way be measured and observed is what science is. It isn't religion. Why criticize it for not being what it makes no pretense to being?

thunderbrew

12/07/2005 04:02:00 PM

nnmns, if scientist really believed that the universe started from nothing, we would have a violation of the laws that we (I am a scientist) hold true: Law of Conservation of Mass and Energy. Something out of nothing??? So scientists create the "hypothesis" of singularity. All the universe was compacted into one singular point and expanded, which it is still doing today (theory). This effect, must have a cause. What the cause was might be the question? An effect without a cause or belief in "a critter capable of creating this amazing universe and a "place" outside of time for it to exist". Which would we apply Ocaam's Razor to?

jacknky

12/07/2005 04:00:47 PM

Godknows, "but Dawkins and no shortage of other scientists would dogmatically refuse to even responsbly investigate evidence for "intelligent design"" Since science is the study of the natural world, and since ID posits a supernatural causation, how do you propose these narrow-minded scientists go about observing and measuring this supernatural causation? It's apples and oranges. Why not criticize the Catholic Church for not developing quantum physics?

rea_1219

12/07/2005 03:57:26 PM

The arguments that many of you atheists are using (apparently?) to try to *convince* us theists that God doesnt exist tell me that you just dont *get* why it is we believe what we do. Have none of you considered that our experiences may have been very different from your own and that we may actually have *evidence* for our beliefs too?? We didnt just roll out of bed one morning bent on deluding ourselves. I really believe of the two: the wise man is the one who admits he doesnt *know* the unknowable; its the fool who thinks he does. (And he also thinks that everyone who doesnt believe as he does is stupid.)

GodKnowsWho

12/07/2005 03:52:00 PM

Surely you mean his stale if not outright rotten peanut butter peotographer. As much as I like peanutb butter cups I generally prefer my chocalate to be pure and even indiluted by milk. . . I fully agree that evolution/science, indeed any bona fide form of science. . . and theology are complementary, not exclusive. I have said elsewhere that each and every verifiable scientic discovery is a small 'r' revelation of the mind of GOD.

poetographer

12/07/2005 03:43:25 PM

myue75 wrote: "science is based only on what we CAN perceive and observe in nature. That is why Intelligent Design should not be discussed within the field of science. ID is an explanation to be discussed in a philosophy class as opposed to within scientific circles." I couldn't agree more. My point is, Dawkins has about as much to say about God's existence or non-existence as the Pope has to say about evolutionary biology. I'm a former (for many reasons) Catholic, but I respected JP2's stance that evolution/science and theology are complementary, not exclusive. To me, it's analagous to trying to determine someone's thought by watching his body: they co-exist, but may seem contradictory to an observer. Dawkins can keep his peanut butter out of the theist's chocolate - the mix is less than delicious.

nnmns

12/07/2005 03:38:27 PM

"At least in the Abrahamic faiths, God is construed as not existing in 4-dimensional (x,y,z,t) space. Since the classic atheistic argument for who caused the first cause depend on temporal notions inherent in our conception of causation, they fail." Again. I'll give that idea some more thought but notice it requires two Truly Amazing Things: a critter capable of creating this amazing universe and a "place" outside of time for it to exist. On the other hand believing the universe started from nothing requires believing in only one Truly Amazing Thing. Occam's razor suggests the non-deity version.

nnmns

12/07/2005 03:25:17 PM

"At least in the Abrahamic faiths, God is construed as not existing in 4-dimensional (x,y,z,t) space. Since the classic atheistic argument for who caused the first cause depend on temporal notions inherent in our conception of causation, they fail." Paul, since String Theory is suggesting 11 dimensions or so I guess there's room for a critter out there. Maybe several. But of course any resemblance to customary gods is a stretch. And there are a world of questions one can ask about the behavior of an entity that can see all of time and space at once. Just as one instance, how entertaining can it be to be prayed to for something when you already know how everything is coming out?

paul.bello

12/07/2005 03:14:12 PM

nnmns: Thanks for your commentary. Some good points made here. Just to offer my own opinion: * Theological arguments dealing with the existence or non-existence of a God-like entity pre-suppose a proper definition of what it means for something to exist. At least in the Abrahamic faiths, God is construed as not existing in 4-dimensional (x,y,z,t) space. Since the classic atheistic argument for who caused the first cause depend on temporal notions inherent in our conception of causation, they fail. * In the same respect, talking about "when" God decided to do this or that, or to create our universe, seems rather shaky as well. Also, the implausibility of God's existence as being infinite doesn't seem to shore up either. -P

myue75

12/07/2005 03:11:25 PM

poetographer wrote: "I for one believe it's likely that there are many substances/energies (for lack of better terms, since by definition I can't comprehend what they are!) which humans, with our limited senses and imaginations, will never be able to perceive." This may be true, however, science is based only on what we CAN perceive and observe in nature. That is why Intelligent Design should not be discussed within the field of science. ID is an explanation to be discussed in a philosophy class as opposed to within scientific circles.

nnmns

12/07/2005 03:11:02 PM

"Dawkins and no shortage of other scientists would dogmatically refuse to even responsbly investigate evidence for "intelligent design" in the *life form* of the universe even when it is staring them in the face. . ." It's always dangerous to state what someone else would unequivocally do, but assuming that's true it leaves the field more open for some enterprising young scientists. I would like to see research on what it says about a Designer if its top of the line products attack their own bodies, e.g. cancers and immune system diseases. And what does it say if they have such foul tempers they can't even have a discussion about ending a war without calling each other horrible names? And the biggest question, for some religious folk, what about a Designer whose products all deserve to be tortured forever and can only be "saved" from it by holding strange beliefs?

nnmns

12/07/2005 03:00:25 PM

"He may ridicule my and others faith in GOD but ultimately he will lose more if he is "wrong" about his beliefs than I and others would if we were "wrong"." Well that's just silly. With all the gods people worship, and heck, all the potential gods people might some day worship, the odds you are worshiping an actual god are miniscule. And if a god existed, it might take a dimmer view of worshiping a false god than of worshiping none. So that old Argument from Fear just makes no sense.

poetographer

12/07/2005 03:00:05 PM

One of the issues I have with arguments like Dawkins' is that there seems to be an assumption that everything that IS can be observed through our senses, or by converting it to an analog of our senses (e.g., radio waves to sound). Claiming that things we can't observe must NOT affect our material reality are as ignorant as insisting that things we can't observe MUST affect it. I for one believe it's likely that there are many substances/energies (for lack of better terms, since by definition I can't comprehend what they are!) which humans, with our limited senses and imaginations, will never be able to perceive. I'm not insisting this imperceptible "stuff" is God, just that if it's out there, it's well beyond our comprehension.

nnmns

12/07/2005 02:55:11 PM

"Like most followers in a blind-faith shell, Mr. Dawkins seems to have a certain edge of rage in his words. Richard Dawkins meet Jerry Falwell. Same thing." I think you are way wrong on this. But it never hurts to claim someone you oppose rages. It worked for Bush on McCain. But Dawkins is a scientist and if actual evidence of existence of some God actually appeared I expect he would consider it, and if it were strong enough (and for me it would have to be mighty strong!) he'd likely accept it. Since it's harder to prove a thing doesn't exist than that it does, you probably don't have to worry that positive evidence no god exists will show up. But your continued belief in one, especially a particular one out of all the candidates, with no evidence to support it, says something about how our brains work.

oophelia46

12/07/2005 02:34:27 PM

"Nietchze is dead" ~ God One day, not too far from now, poor Mr. Dawkins will stand before his Creator and grieve, because he had all the knowledge of the world at his fingertips, yet believed not.

Bravo88

12/07/2005 02:33:46 PM

He may ridicule my and others faith in GOD but ultimately he will lose more if he is "wrong" about his beliefs than I and others would if we were "wrong". I do pray that he will become a wiser man, not in man's wisdom which is foolishness, but that he might receive some of GOD's wisdom.

Bravo88

12/07/2005 02:31:10 PM

I read this article with as open a mind as possible and all I can say is that I feel sorry for Richard Dawkins. He uses attacks in his statements and suggests that he would never "discourage" someone else's beliefs even as he says how he would refute them so in a way he is lying to himself. If he wants to believe in evolution and "trust" in the integrity and "perfection" of aim of his fellow scientists then so be it, he is entitled to do so. He might want to learn how to show compassion towards others rather than mocking them.

davidchai

12/07/2005 02:28:40 PM

Andrewcyrus, That there may have been a great flood a long long time ago does not confirm the creation story. Those stories existed BEFORE the bible was written and may have been included because it was a known part of mythology. I have not heard your comment about the sun. I’ll have to research that before I take your word for it.

GodKnowsWho

12/07/2005 02:22:47 PM

Henri 1 said - Mr.Dawkins faith (Atheism) seems quite exclusive and fanatical. Like most followers in a blind-faith shell, Mr. Dawkins seems to have a certain edge of rage in his words. Richard Dawkins meet Jerry Falwell. Same thing. That is precisely why GodKnows Who quite justifiably refers to Richard Dawkins and his ilk as "fundamentalist atheists". . .

GodKnowsWho

12/07/2005 02:19:09 PM

The Problem with Dawkins: An Interview with GOD ;-)

GodKnowsWho

12/07/2005 02:18:22 PM

GOD on Richard Dawkins. . . "Who Wants To Believe A Lie?"

henry1

12/07/2005 02:17:36 PM

Mr.Dawkins faith (Atheism) seems quite exclusive and fanatical. Like most followers in a blind-faith shell, Mr. Dawkins seems to have a certain edge of rage in his words. Richard Dawkins meet Jerry Falwell. Same thing. God / Science / The Truth in a box - now the world makes sense. Now you can have a sense of control. May Peace Be With You.

nnmns

12/07/2005 02:05:57 PM

Some folks have claimed the designer doesn't need to be designed or the creator doesn't need to be created. If that were the case Michelangelo and Darwin always existed because they certainly created. Seriously, let’s talk about a Creator that wasn’t created. That would mean either It always existed or at some point It came into being from something or nothing. If It always existed an obvious question is why, at some point, after an infinite amount of time, It suddenly decided to design horses, mosquitoes, people and syphilis, and then make a universe, galaxies, quicksand, and perhaps original sin? What was it doing all that time before this idea came into its head? Making other universes? Infinitely many other universes, given infinite time? (If so, are they still “out there”, or does It destroy its universes after while?) continued below

nnmns

12/07/2005 02:05:18 PM

continued from above Or was It just thinking infinite thoughts about this and that, with no external reference since there was no external? But if the idea of making our universe suddenly came into its head, isn’t that a lot like the bud of a universe suddenly popping into existence out of nothing? On the other hand, if this Creator just suddenly came into being from something or nothing you definitely have the problem of what created It, because if, say, eyes are too complex to evolve then something that can design an eye is surely too complex to just appear! No, this whole God idea has inherent logical fallacies. The idea of a bud of a universe suddenly appearing is tough to get around, I admit, but not as hard as the idea of a God either existing forever or a God coming into existence from nothing.

rogar131

12/07/2005 02:04:42 PM

Sorry GodKnows, but I think those that "misread" the metaphors are the problem, not users like Dawkins.

GodKnowsWho

12/07/2005 01:55:40 PM

Sorry rogar131 but I am not taking metaphor literally at all. I am taking it for exactly what it is. A cosmic methaphor aka "Sign In The Heavens" of God's divine omniscience. http://revelationisnotsealed.homestead.com Oh. . . I see now that you are actually referring to Richard Dawkins' *life form* "metaphor". It took my God believing substandard "intelligence" a few seconds to figure that out. . .

GodKnowsWho

12/07/2005 01:55:34 PM

God forbid that I would ever want to ban Richard Dawkins or anyone else from metaphorically or even literally referring to the Universe as a *life form*. I think that he is largely right. I that he should devote some more rational thought to his "metaphor". Who knows he just might end up scientifically proving the existence of that intelligent *life form* that is commonly referred to as God! If Richard Dawkins doesn't want people to misread his "metaphor" is suggest that he should try wrapping his mind around the big concepts without it. . . Allah prochaine, GodKnowsWho

rogar131

12/07/2005 01:44:07 PM

Sorry, shoud read. Not speaking for Dawkins, but here is another case of someone taking metaphor literally. Are you going to ban the use of metaphor in science now? Try wrapping your mind around the big concepts without it.

myue75

12/07/2005 01:41:31 PM

joninokc007, Did Jesus save you from all those near-death experiences and give my devout Catholic mother-in-law cancer? Were the angels not fast enough to pick up all the believers who were carried away during hurricane season? Sorry for drifting off the subject at hand, but this caught my eye.

rogar131

12/07/2005 01:35:06 PM

I don't believe in a god myself, but I have a great love of world mythology, and think these stories contain a great deal of truth. I do not believe that Zeus literally sent down that thunderbolt, or that Izanagi's spear created the islands of Japan, or that Yahweh made Adam out of clay. I can appreciate metaphors without having to falsely proclaim them scientific facts. Read more carefully, and I think you will see that is what Dawkins is saying. He may be a bit harsher in his manner, but think of it as tough love.

nnmns

12/07/2005 01:33:14 PM

"Some people have gods of eternal wisdom and they seem to think that they are it." I love it, cknuck! "His thoughts on people who are comforted by religion - "if it causes you to despair, that's tough" - seems a little bit callous to me." I'd say he's being honest. He faces the universe without an invisible friend, as do I, as did my father and mother all the time I knew them, including when they died. It would no doubt take getting used to at first but it works just fine.

paul.bello

12/07/2005 01:17:02 PM

Ah, More ranting from Dawkins. Doesn't this rant ever get old for him? I find it incredulous that a zoologist such as himself would resort to a simplistic (and refuted) atheistic argument against ID: who designed the designer? Not that I'm a tremendous proponent of ID, but it seems odd to me that someone with such a strong distaste for theism must resort to turning himself into a half-baked philosopher of religion to make his point. To this effect, I can't see how evolution can lead anyone to believe that there is no Creator. This seems to be a cosmological question, rather than a biological question. Cheers, Paul

thunderbrew

12/07/2005 01:16:21 PM

*stereotyping

thunderbrew

12/07/2005 01:14:25 PM

Becareful of sterotyping all Christians into one easy package that fits want you want to believe in.

sinsonte

12/07/2005 12:17:49 PM

Science is the best explantion for the natural world and it is a system that is constrantly changing as new discoveries are made and new hypotheses are formed. It's not a system for those who want absolutes, unchanging truths, or comforting certainties. Science is the best story we have for ourselves and the cosmos. The supernatural may offer a security blanket, but it's a comfort woven from slight of hand and coincedences.

Daldianus

12/07/2005 12:06:49 PM

Richard Dawkins is right. God is indeed an imaginary friend. And as long as it makes you feel better and lets you lead a better life, it's very ok to have an imaginary friend!

logophilios

12/07/2005 11:59:50 AM

Correction to final line of previous post: obviously, should read "please do NOT misrepresent my words." Thanks.

thunderbrew

12/07/2005 11:57:25 AM

Belief in science as an absolute truth is belief in a constantly changing system.

thunderbrew

12/07/2005 11:52:40 AM

The Problem with Richard Why do many biologist and atheist equate evolution as proof that God does not exist? The late Pope thought there was no interference between the two. How foolish are we to think that science explains reality? Science is a human exploration of our world, which is inevitably flawed by our own ignorance and prejudices. Will we not look back centuries from now and debunk some of the current theories we have today. Do we not do that to our past well-respected scientist. Science is our best explanantion of our current surroundings as we know it.

logophilios

12/07/2005 11:48:52 AM

ChanLacAn You mentioned my post which invoked Ken Wilber and spoke of Buddhamind. You are quite mistaken. I never called Buddhamind supernatural. I called it a nonmaterial spiritual reality which is detectable by meditation and perceived by Wilber's "eye of contemplation" as opposed to the only "eye" permitted by Dawkins, the eye of flesh. Please read more carefully and do misrepresent my words. Thanks.

joninokc007

12/07/2005 11:43:24 AM

Dawkins has a faith, and that faith is scientism, not science. Scientism is the new state religion, also known as secular humanism, which is based on the faith that flawed humans are honest in science, when they are dishonest and have agendas in every other area of human endeavor. I am a heretic of science, after observing the venal, self serving way that science has been conducted in history, and how anyone with data contradictory to the tenets of scientism is abused. Healing from many illnesses due to prayer, two near death experiences in which Jesus brough me back from certain death, feeling the arm of an angel lift me from being run down by a car, and the power of God freeing me from certain electrocution from a downed lamp post with high current flowing into me, have shown me that God is a reality, and not just a wish fulfillment. Dawkins can challenge my honesty and belief all he wishes, but all hearts stop with time, and the reality of his faith will not stand up in eternity.

VigCyn

12/07/2005 11:05:31 AM

I choose to believe in a God and an afterlife because both ideas comfort me, but I don't find this man arrogant at all. I think those who do are threatened by what he thinks and has to say.

hootie1fan

12/07/2005 10:06:35 AM

My religious beliefs are based in faith. I don't need or want anyone to "prove" the existence of God and Christ. Unfortunately, too many Christians have taken to trying to prove the absolute facts of their brand of this religion and are ignoring the facts of reality that might go against what they want the rest of the world to believe.

ChanLacAn

12/07/2005 09:49:02 AM

For the person who wonders how one can be comforted by the loss of a loved one without a God/god or the hope of being reunited in a supernatural realm, I would say that the comfort of knowing that we are all interconnected with each other is far more comforting to me. I know that I have inter-being with my loved ones, and I am united with them in the here and the now - I don't have to wait to walk in "heaven" until I die. When I walk mindfully on the Earth, I'm already there in peace and freedom.

ChanLacAn

12/07/2005 09:48:26 AM

As a life long Buddhist, I do want to clarify that while a post mentioned Ken Wilbur and implied that "Buddhamind" is a supernatural force, that is not so. One of the principles that all Buddhists agree on is that there is no creator God. The Buddha himself was very clear that he was not a god. While many Buddhists do believe in supernatural things, not all of us do. What I've learned leads me to believe that in terms of Buddhism, we're far better off letting go of the desire to believe in and hope for the mystical and magical.

shaner

12/07/2005 09:21:32 AM

If Dawkins wasn't so arrogant it may have been a good interview. Reading it though, he come's off as 'smarter than thou'.

iris_alantiel

12/07/2005 09:02:08 AM

(cont'd from below) I can't imagine how his belief system would help in a situation where Dawkins lost his mother/father/wife/child/etc. I mean, it's one thing to believe that you yourself have no life after death, but it's quite another to think that the person you've loved most in life is gone and you will never see them again. But maybe that's just my own personal limitation. In any case, though, I think it's not right to imply, as Dawkins did when he said his daughter was too intelligent to become religious, that only unintelligent people believe in a higher power. It's unfair and smacks of antagonism towards people who believe differently from what he does.

iris_alantiel

12/07/2005 09:01:43 AM

As for my own personal opinion, I think that complete faith in science at the expense of all other ways of understanding the world can be as dangerous as blind, unquestioning obedience to any religion. Science is a belief system, and it IS influenced by human values systems. Even when there is hard evidence, we still see what we want to see. And I think it's all the more dangerous when science insists that it has no biases instead of admitting to them and working with them in mind. As for Dawkins himself, I agree with Bill that Dawkins is just bullying people who believe differently than he does. His thoughts on people who are comforted by religion - "if it causes you to despair, that's tough" - seems a little bit callous to me. (to be continued above)

cknuck

12/07/2005 07:57:05 AM

nnmns; Some people have gods of eternal wisdom and they seem to think that they are it.

nnmns

12/07/2005 07:32:32 AM

"An eternal, all-powerful being who will come in glory to judge the quick and the dead for what they have done on earth, meteing out either eternal reward or punishment?" Well, some Christians have gods like that. Some seem to have gods that only demand you get "born again" and you are in. Others have gods that apparently plan to pick people at random to send to heaven and burn the rest.

nnmns

12/07/2005 07:29:10 AM

"It's okay, Mr. Dawkins, if you don't believe in God. He believes in you..." Not only that, the Easter Bunny believes in you and the Great Pumpkin believes in you and Dumbledor believes in you. You are in good hands!

cknuck

12/07/2005 07:19:23 AM

andrewcyrus: Like your post.

boldly_question

12/07/2005 03:23:03 AM

“I’ll believe in evolution when I see a tailed monkey give birth to a human.” A non-theist might reply: "I'll believe in theology when I see a virgin give birth to a baby."

Firebird81

12/07/2005 01:34:40 AM

Interesting article. I do disagree with him mostly on one point. I think he is deluding himself to imagine that the idea of God (at least the Christain God) is very satisfying or comforted, at least to anyone who thinks seriously about Him. An eternal, all-powerful being who will come in glory to judge the quick and the dead for what they have done on earth, meteing out either eternal reward or punishment? Not to comforting when put up against Dawkin's belief system. Sure, you gotta wrap your mind around that whole mortality thing, but how hard is that, once you accept you won't be around forever? I can do whatever I feel like, and at the end of the road-- that's it. I don't have to answer. Of course, I can find motivation to be kind, good, etc, etc but-- there are really no lasting personal consequences if I don't. The ride was good, now I'm getting off. No consequencs -or the Great Judgment-- If I got to choose, I know what I would pick. If only I could buy into it.

andrewcyrus

12/07/2005 12:56:04 AM

"Natural selection is anything but random. Natural selection is a guided process, guided not by any higher power, but simply by which genes survive and which genes don’t survive." And when that old ape of a man get's so natural he spilts the atom to find out about SUPERNATURAL power - Nuclear power - holocaust- and why exactly was there so much POWER locked up in that intsy tiny microscopic atom, You know what INTELLIGENT design was holding it together that it got so HELLATIOUS HOT that it annihilates every above ground thing at ground zero. And why it that only man can invent ways to annihilate himself.. Is it because he is drunk on himself being the SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST? How fitting is it when the earth's atmoshpere dies because he was smarter than those Ahmish dudes who horse and carriage it to the market and back?

mlyons619

12/07/2005 12:40:20 AM

It's okay, Mr. Dawkins, if you don't believe in God. He believes in you...

andrewcyrus

12/07/2005 12:23:12 AM

Hay Billthinks4himself, "I guess now they're going to tell me Santa Clause is dead." There is a rumor going around: Last I heard he got stuck in the chimney of a closed mind and burned to ashes.

andrewcyrus

12/07/2005 12:17:46 AM

What I don't understand with Richard Dawkins is how he can allude to dishonest christians while recognizing there is an intelligent design inherent in the make-up DNA of life.. And that he can discount this intelligence by calling our imaginary friend? Who is honest? Do intelligent people twist the truth and call it a lie? I don't think so.

andrewcyrus

12/07/2005 12:14:21 AM

I like how science has confirmed the creationist story. That practically every ancient culture tells of great flood. That scientists have estimated that Sun is burning up at the rate of 5 million tons per second, and that if it's age was anymore than 10,000 years old it would have been large enough to burn the earth out of existence.

rea_1219

12/07/2005 12:07:55 AM

Bamaboy, I know it can be a little confusing. I dont know about the specific example to which youre referring but that isnt how it happens. The flower doesnt *know,* it just happens to survive while the other flowers around it are killed off, because it is better suited to survive than the others. And of course it is then able to make little baby flowers ; ) like itself that are also better equipped to survive and so on...Those flowers that are ill equipped to survive die off, dont reproduce their own kind, and so eventually youre left with a field of white flowers.

Strawberry_Fields_Forever

12/06/2005 11:49:39 PM

I cannot accept this humanistic/athiestic clap-trap that people like Richard Dawkins are promoting.

logophilios

12/06/2005 11:16:50 PM

Dawkins wants us to follow evidence "wherever it leads" but he's unwilling to allow nonmaterial evidence that points to nonmaterial realities. What Ken Wilber calls "the eye of contemplation" uses spiritual lenses - meditation, contemplation, prayer, metaphor - to focus on nonmaterial realities. As long as Dawkins restricts reality to materiality, and lenses to physical methods, he unfairly and prejudicially invalidates the evidence that points to Spirit, God, Buddhamind - to spiritual reality which can only be evidenced nonmaterially.

iamnemo

12/06/2005 10:44:11 PM

I have complete faith in the scientists that if they were to find God, or evidence of God, they would be more than happy to tell us about it. Let us not forget that the whole desire of science is to find and prove the truth, whatever that turns out to be. Science is not "prejudiced" against new ways of looking at things. Religion is very prejudiced, and they all try to protect their own belief system, of which there are hundreds of different ones!

BillThinks4Himself

12/06/2005 10:30:01 PM

I guess now they're going to tell me Santa Clause is dead.

nnmns

12/06/2005 09:29:56 PM

bamaboy, you didn't learn your biology too well. I'd think the flower mutated into various colors and the white ones survived better. Check out your text. Maybe it has more to say about it. Or use the internet to investigate.

Credenza

12/06/2005 09:28:18 PM

'Intelligent Design' is a total copout. It is along the lines of saying "Dad said so" When Dad is long gone, and never said any such thing anyway. If there was such a thing as "Intelligent" design - then we would think of god as an Engineer and God helped design the systems that run the universe. And God would be thrilled with people that try to understand the systems - instead of blindly accepting the Bible. Although there is nothing wrong with the Bible - as a myth and an allegory and a spiritual study guide. Actually quite a lovely book - but not the literal truth. And it has been through too many translations and reinterpretations to be taken seriously as the literal word of God. Be realistic, every time a human copies a book they put their own stamp on it, editing bits that don't suit them and adding their own flourishes.

bamaboy04

12/06/2005 09:16:14 PM

This semester in biology we learned many things, (all of which is useless to my major, social work, but hey its required.) Its hard for me to except certain things he says about adaptation. Ex. A white flower makes itself white in the artic. Flowers dont have eyes how does it no its surrounded by white. How does it no that all the green flowers around it gets eaten at a faster rate. Thats just an example.

davidchai

12/06/2005 09:14:32 PM

I have never heard ID proponents talk about anything but the solar system and maybe the galaxy but not the universe.

davidchai

12/06/2005 09:12:49 PM

IS, as it is currently discussed, deals with the solar sytem as humans are able to define it. IT does not deal with the universe. PS - the big bang is not the same as evolution.

tdogg18

12/06/2005 09:10:08 PM

pointof clarity - the designer in ID is at the beginning. Nothing before. As the Big Bang Theory is at the absolute beginning, ID has the designer at the beginning.

davidchai

12/06/2005 08:27:57 PM

Uriah, It is an A and it is not a try but a logical anaylsis. BTW, Behe says that ID does not imply a deity.

Uriah_fan

12/06/2005 07:51:39 PM

David, Nice try. Now go for an "A" because sooner or later you have to.

davidchai

12/06/2005 07:43:54 PM

So it is not 0 x 1. It is ((A x B) + (C/D)) = E (for evolution)

davidchai

12/06/2005 07:41:59 PM

Uriah, Evolution does not say that everything started from nothing. Remember, Evolution deals with this planet or solar sytem ONLY. It is well within the evolutionary process that once the planet cooled a meteor with living organism or micro-organisms from another part of the universe crashed on the earth and life on THIS planet started from that. Dawkins has NEVER said that that is not possible or even likely. In fact the probability of that being the case is fairly high.

Uriah_fan

12/06/2005 06:55:19 PM

gadje, You proved my point about suspecting a salesman. Dawkins pays his bills by preaching every bit as much as a TV evangelist. It's fun to watch who buys what and why. BTW, going to church is free. How much to go and be badgered by Dawkins in one of his "freethinkers" classes? Better have rich parents and plenty of ear plugs. What's really enjoyable, is that Dawkins really thinks he is important. But in the end, he's just trying to stay popular with some hallway clique. He stayed in school too long.

gadje

12/06/2005 06:45:20 PM

tdogg18 12/6/2005 6:33:58 PM I am curious, how is the cause supposed to be an effect of something?" Because science has to continually question things that an otherwise religious person as yourself would find blasphemous.

gadje

12/06/2005 06:42:18 PM

Uriah_fan 12/6/2005 6:33:45 PM This college employee is amusing. He has "mad a name for himself." That's about it. And, of course, makiing a buck at the same time." How 'bout that, theologians do the same thing.

tdogg18

12/06/2005 06:33:57 PM

"Yes, because it doesn’t explain where the designer comes from." I am curious, how is the cause supposed to be an effect of something?

Uriah_fan

12/06/2005 06:33:44 PM

This college employee is amusing. He has "mad a name for himself." That's about it. And, of course, makiing a buck at the same time. Interesting that we hold people that hang out in school jobs as somehow "smarter" than the average schmo. No matter what, Dawkins is trying to sell 0 x 1 as equaling something! And he thinks Christians are odd. He must have a heck of a time balancing his check book. He is good for a chuckle or two. How many lives are bettered by not following his accidental road? I'd like to see Dawkins' "survival" power in an inner city late at night.

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