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Offline rangerrebew

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A reponse to Richard Dawkins
« on: October 04, 2013, 11:27:26 AM »

A Response to Richard Dawkins

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

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This past Friday CNN conducted an interview with Richard Dawkins, the British biologist most widely known for his polemics against religion and on behalf of atheism.


Asked "whether an absence of religion would leave us without a moral compass," Dawkins responded: "The very idea that we get a moral compass from religion is horrible."

This is the crux of the issue for Dawkins and other anti-religion activists -- that not only do we not need religion or God for morality, but we would have a considerably more moral world without them.

This argument is so wrong -- both rationally and empirically - that its appeal can only be explained by a) a desire to believe it and b) an ignorance of history.

First, the rational argument.

If there is no God, the labels "good" and "evil" are merely opinions. They are substitutes for "I like it" and "I don't like it." They are not objective realities.

Every atheist philosopher I have debated has acknowledged this. For example, at Oxford University I debated Professor Jonathan Glover, the British philosopher and ethicist, who said: "Dennis started by saying that I hadn't denied his central contention that if there isn't a God, there is only subjective morality. And that's absolutely true."

And the eminent Princeton philosopher Richard Rorty admitted that for secular liberals such as himself, "there is no answer to the question, 'Why not be cruel?'"

Atheists like Dawkins who refuse to acknowledge that without God there are only opinions about good and evil are not being intellectually honest.

None of this means that only believers in God can be good or that atheists cannot be good. There are bad believers and there are good atheists. But this fact is irrelevant to whether good and evil are real.

To put this as clearly as possible: If there is no God who says, "Do not murder," murder is not wrong. Many people or societies may agree that it is wrong. But so what? Morality does not derive from the opinion of the masses. If it did, then apartheid was right; murdering Jews in Nazi Germany was right; the history of slavery throughout the world was right; and clitoridectomies and honor killings are right in various Muslims societies.

So, then, without God, why is murder wrong?

Is it, as Dawkins argues, because reason says so?

My reason says murder is wrong, just as Dawkins's reason does. But, again, so what? The pre-Christian Germanic tribes of Europe regarded the Church's teaching that murder was wrong as preposterous. They reasoned that killing innocent people was acceptable and normal because the strong should do whatever they wanted.

In addition, reason alone without God is pretty weak in leading to moral behavior. When self-interest and reason collide, reason usually loses. That's why we have the word "rationalize" -- to use reason to argue for what is wrong.

What would reason argue to a non-Jew asked by Jews to hide them when the penalty for hiding a Jew was death? It would argue not to hide those Jews.

In that regard, let's go to the empirical argument.

Years ago, I interviewed Pearl and Sam Oliner, two professors of sociology at California State University at Humboldt and the authors of one of the most highly-regarded works on altruism, The Altruistic Personality. The book was the product of the Oliners' lifetime of study of non-Jewish rescuers of Jews during the Holocaust.

The Oliners, it should be noted, are secular, not religious, Jews; they had no religious agenda.

I asked Samuel Oliner, "Knowing all you now know about who rescued Jews during the Holocaust, if you had to return as a Jew to Poland and you could knock on the door of only one person in the hope that they would rescue you, would you knock on the door of a Polish lawyer, a Polish doctor, a Polish artist or a Polish priest?"

Without hesitation, he said, "a Polish priest." And his wife immediately added, "I would prefer a Polish nun."

That alone should be enough to negate the pernicious nonsense that God is not only unnecessary for a moral world, but is detrimental to one.

But if that isn't enough, how about the record of the godless 20th century, the cruelest, bloodiest, most murderous century on record? Every genocide of the last century -- except for the Turkish mass murder of the Armenians and the Pakistani mass murder of Hindus in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) was committed by a secular anti-Jewish and anti-Christian regime. And as the two exceptions were Muslim, they are not relevant to my argument. I am arguing for the God and Bible of Judeo-Christian religions.

Perhaps the most powerful proof of the moral decay that follows the death of God is the Western university and its secular intellectuals. Their moral record has been loathsome. Nowhere were Stalin and Mao as venerated as they were at the most anti-religious and secular institutions in Western society, the universities. Nowhere in the West today is anti-Americanism and Israel-hatred as widespread as it is at universities. And Princeton University awarded its first tenured professorship in bioethics to Peter Singer, an atheist who has argued, among other things, that that "the life of a newborn is of less value than the life of a pig, a dog or a chimpanzee" and that bestiality is not immoral.

Dawkins and his supporters have a right to their atheism. They do not have a right to intellectual dishonesty about atheism.

I have debated the best known atheists, including the late Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Lawrence Krauss ("A Universe from Nothing") and Daniel Dennett. Only Richard Dawkins has refused to come on my radio show.

Dennis Prager's latest book, "Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph," was published April 24 by HarperCollins. He is a nationally syndicated radio show host and creator of PragerUniversity.Com.

COPYRIGHT 2013 CREATORS.COM


http://www.dennisprager.com/columns.aspx?g=6367ed8e-c131-460a-ba71-fb72be390c36&url=a-response-to-richard-dawkins-n1713700
« Last Edit: October 04, 2013, 11:29:19 AM by rangerrebew »
"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim tribute to patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness -- these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. . . . reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principles."
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Offline jmyrlefuller

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Re: A reponse to Richard Dawkins
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2013, 11:32:01 AM »
Evil minds like Dawkins are not deserving of a response.
"Just because people in positions of authority are stupid, it doesn’t mean you have to go along with it." —Arlo Guthrie

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Offline GourmetDan

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Re: A reponse to Richard Dawkins
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2013, 12:26:44 PM »
Evil minds like Dawkins are not deserving of a response.

Atheists like to position themselves as being more rational than those who accept the idea of a creator.

What they do not acknowledge is that their position is just as much a belief as those who accept a creator.

The atheist must accept (without proof) the idea that the 'scientifically-observable' reality-set is equal to the actual reality-set.  This is unprovable and is just as much a belief as any accepted religious position. 


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Re: A reponse to Richard Dawkins
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2013, 12:38:35 PM »
Atheists generally think it is better to live in a society that is based on the truth than one that is based on a lie.  And yet, most of them supported OPapaDoc.  What more evidence could one ask for that they are delusional?

No true scientist could ever be an atheist.  Agnostic? Yes.  Atheist?  Based on what is presently known about physics, genetics and the nature of our existence?  Hardly.

No scientific theorist should ever be so wedded to his theories that he is unwilling to consider alternative explanations to phenomena, at least until such time that theories become scientific law.  The "No God" theory is not accepted as scientific law. 

There simply is no evidence to support the proposition that there is no God.  Admittedly, there's very little evidence to support the proposition that there is, but atheists are invested in the first proposition, not the second.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2013, 12:40:33 PM by massadvj »
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Offline GourmetDan

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Re: A reponse to Richard Dawkins
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2013, 12:46:56 PM »
There simply is no evidence to support the proposition that there is no God.  Admittedly, there's very little evidence to support the proposition that there is, but atheists are invested in the first proposition, not the second.

Depends on how much weight you give to the observation of the tremendous organization present in life.  This organization is independent of the properties of the materials that life is based on.  Much like the information in an encyclopedia is independent of the properties of paper and ink.




"The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left." - Ecclesiastes 10:2

"The sole purpose of the Republican Party is to serve as an ineffective alternative to the Democrat Party." - GourmetDan

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Re: A reponse to Richard Dawkins
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2013, 01:14:36 PM »
Depends on how much weight you give to the observation of the tremendous organization present in life.  This organization is independent of the properties of the materials that life is based on.  Much like the information in an encyclopedia is independent of the properties of paper and ink.

It's interesting that you say this because if you've read Dawkins book "The Selfish Gene" he talks about how humans and most other organisms are actually just temporary holding devices for genes to go on living forever.  It is the genes who are actually the masters, acting in accordance to certain principles stemming from the principles that guide the non-organic universe. 

It never seems to occur to him that the fundamental rules of the universe might be programmed. 
"She only coughs when she lies."

Offline olde north church

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Re: A reponse to Richard Dawkins
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2013, 01:15:43 PM »
Actually, the two greatest mass murders weren't technically genocides but ideolocides (soviet union and peoples republic of china).
Why?  Well, because I'm a bastard, that's why.

Offline Lipstick on a Hillary

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Re: A reponse to Richard Dawkins
« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2013, 01:34:47 PM »
Quote
It's interesting that you say this because if you've read Dawkins book "The Selfish Gene" he talks about how humans and most other organisms are actually just temporary holding devices for genes to go on living forever. 

Spiritual people would substitute the word "genes" for the word "souls".

Offline GourmetDan

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Re: A reponse to Richard Dawkins
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2013, 01:44:50 PM »
It's interesting that you say this because if you've read Dawkins book "The Selfish Gene" he talks about how humans and most other organisms are actually just temporary holding devices for genes to go on living forever.  It is the genes who are actually the masters, acting in accordance to certain principles stemming from the principles that guide the non-organic universe. 

It never seems to occur to him that the fundamental rules of the universe might be programmed.

Except that those principles don't exist.

Genes are simply collections of atoms and molecules.  Atoms and molecules couldn't care less whether they are part of a living being or not.  They are inanimate objects.


« Last Edit: October 04, 2013, 01:50:20 PM by GourmetDan »
"The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left." - Ecclesiastes 10:2

"The sole purpose of the Republican Party is to serve as an ineffective alternative to the Democrat Party." - GourmetDan

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Re: A reponse to Richard Dawkins
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2013, 01:47:23 PM »
Spiritual people would substitute the word "genes" for the word "souls".

That's a very poetic answer, but if it were true, it would means that each of us has about 30K souls, because that's the number of individual genes in our genetic make-up.
"She only coughs when she lies."

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Re: A reponse to Richard Dawkins
« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2013, 01:52:05 PM »
Except that those principles don't exist.

Genes are simply collections of atoms and molecules.  Atoms and molecules couldn't care less whether they are part of a living being or not.

Dawkins acknowledges this, although at times his book reads like the genes are acting on their own.  He uses it as a literary device.  His point is that we are slaves to the genes, whether we or they know it or not.

Although I disagree with Dawkins' atheism, that doesn't make "The Selfish Gene" a bad book.  He doesn't touch on religion at all in it, merely explains how genetic evolution works, in words any layman can understand.  I found his book interesting and provocative.  In fact, at the time it came out many years ago in England it was embraced heartily by Thatcher loyalists because it articulates rules that are as relevant social evolution as they are to physical evolution.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2013, 01:58:17 PM by massadvj »
"She only coughs when she lies."

Offline GourmetDan

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Re: A reponse to Richard Dawkins
« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2013, 01:55:48 PM »
Dawkins acknowledges this, although at times his book reads like the genes are acting on their own.  He uses it as a literary device.  His point is that we are slaves to the genes, whether we or they know it or not.

So he admits that his premise is false, yet pretends that it is true.

I'm sure that qualifies as moral atheistic behavior...


"The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left." - Ecclesiastes 10:2

"The sole purpose of the Republican Party is to serve as an ineffective alternative to the Democrat Party." - GourmetDan

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Re: A reponse to Richard Dawkins
« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2013, 02:00:33 PM »
So he admits that his premise is false, yet pretends that it is true.

I'm sure that qualifies as moral atheistic behavior...

You should read his book.  There is a lot in it that conservatives would like, not having to do with religion, but having to do with the rules of nature, survival of the fittest, cost/benefit analysis and so on.  At least I thought so.
"She only coughs when she lies."

Offline GourmetDan

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Re: A reponse to Richard Dawkins
« Reply #13 on: October 04, 2013, 02:25:58 PM »
You should read his book.  There is a lot in it that conservatives would like, not having to do with religion, but having to do with the rules of nature, survival of the fittest, cost/benefit analysis and so on.  At least I thought so.


Again, the belief in naturalism is equivalent to any religious belief.  Just because he says it isn't doesn't mean it's true.

The rules of nature that Dawkins thinks support evolution, don't.  Survival of the fittest is a tautology and the fact that life exhibits any particular behavior is not proof that the behavior 'evolved'.

We just demonstrated that the whole premise of the 'selfish gene' is false.  Atoms and molecules have no natural property that makes them accumulate into living organisms.

If you haven't see this before, see Richard Dawkins response when he is asked to "give an example of a genetic mutation or an evolutionary process which can be seen to increase the information in the genome."

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zaKryi3605g" target="_blank" class="aeva_link bbc_link new_win">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zaKryi3605g</a>





"The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left." - Ecclesiastes 10:2

"The sole purpose of the Republican Party is to serve as an ineffective alternative to the Democrat Party." - GourmetDan

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Re: A reponse to Richard Dawkins
« Reply #14 on: October 04, 2013, 03:59:41 PM »
If you haven't see this before, see Richard Dawkins response when he is asked to "give an example of a genetic mutation or an evolutionary process which can be seen to increase the information in the genome."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zaKryi3605g


You seem hell-bent on discrediting Dawkins, so I will just leave this thread be.  As I said, I don't agree with his atheism, or his scientific rationale for it, so we agree on that.
"She only coughs when she lies."


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