how some of you misunderstand Dawkins

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Coggins7
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Post by Coggins7 »

It is the rules of logic and the scientific method that have allowed human beings to progress beyond the stage at which we were stuck for many centuries. Religion didn't pull us out of that stage - science and logic did, both of which provide ways to DISCIPLINE our thinking in order to avoid the very errors to which we are all susceptible - and which religion does nothing to control.



This is just barely worth responding to for the reason that, quite beyond the fact that it is nothing but pure prejudice, the idea that science and logic created Akkad, or Sumer, or Egypt, or Handel's Messiah, or Eliot's poetry, or the Analects of Confucius, or the Tao De Ching, or Beethoven's ninth symphony, or the Beatitudes, or any of the great art, literature, music, and great ideas that are really at the base of that which "pulled us out" of some hypothetical "stage" you claim "we were at" at some point is utterly fatuous.

If material progress is your only concern, then science and technology are as important as you claim, but science and technology own much of their own progress and development to religion and religious people. Science and technology flourished in ancient Greece, in ancient Muslim lands, and many of the earliest scientists were devout Christians, as devout as those who burned them at the stake.

I disagree that it was logic and scientific method that, in and of themselves, put us where we are today. Science and logic are intellectual tools used to discover and then apply the laws of nature (technology) to human progress. But the environment in which these tools became as useful as they have become is far more important than the tools themselves. That environment is the one created by principles extracted from the great religions, In particular Christianity, and in particular, the concepts of unalienable rights, equality under the law, the rule of law, and the framework of Judeo/Christian moral/ethical concepts without which science and technology need give us nothing more than what Nazism and Communism gave us during the 20th century.

All of the above were understood to have emanated from "nature and nature's God" and from a sense of the existence of an ultimate and overarching authority and ground of all human values and rules of conduct in human relationships. Without those, there would be no science and technology at all because no human recivilization would ever have developed beyond that of 10th century Viking culture.

Your childlike faith in "rationality" and its capabilities are as naïve and simplistic as is your knowledge of comparative religion and the history of science.
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Coggins7
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Post by Coggins7 »

It is the rules of logic and the scientific method that have allowed human beings to progress beyond the stage at which we were stuck for many centuries. Religion didn't pull us out of that stage - science and logic did, both of which provide ways to DISCIPLINE our thinking in order to avoid the very errors to which we are all susceptible - and which religion does nothing to control.



One wonder if Beastie considers the Golden rule to be less important than the discovery of the internal combustion engine, or Newtonian mechanics, and if so, why?

Beastie has at last descended to the intellectual slovenliness of Madalyn Murry O' Hair in making the typical facile arguments against God that are too easily argued against to be really even challenging. One can be forgiven for wishing many atheists would consult their own sacred canons of rationality and logical thought before pontificating to others of the benefits of these intellectual templates.
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Post by The Nehor »

beastie wrote:It is the rules of logic and the scientific method that have allowed human beings to progress beyond the stage at which we were stuck for many centuries. Religion didn't pull us out of that stage - science and logic did, both of which provide ways to DISCIPLINE our thinking in order to avoid the very errors to which we are all susceptible - and which religion does nothing to control.


Depends on what your religion entails. I personally find logic and science combined with the use of curiosity and revelation is the only way to both find the difficulties within my worldview, my understanding of God, and understanding of the Universe and get the answers.
"Surely he knows that DCP, The Nehor, Lamanite, and other key apologists..." -Scratch clarifying my status in apologetics
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Post by Ray A »

Coggins7 wrote:

One wonder if Beastie considers the Golden rule to be less important than the discovery of the internal combustion engine, or Newtonian mechanics, and if so, why?

Beastie has at last descended to the intellectual slovenliness of Madalyn Murry O' Hair in making the typical facile arguments against God that are too easily argued against to be really even challenging. One can be forgiven for wishing many atheists would consult their own sacred canons of rationality and logical thought before pontificating to others of the benefits of these intellectual templates.


Cog, you took the words right out of my mouth.

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Post by guy sajer »

Jason Bourne wrote:
In order to believe in something for which there is no evidence, one must "turn off" the will to think critically and analytically - in a disciplined way. Once the tendency develops to "turn off" that faculty, it becomes easier and easier to turn it off in general.


Again the believer finds much evidence for God in many things. What qualifies as evidence really is the question.


That's a very good question. The issue does indeed turn on this question.

I'd say "objectively verifiable" evidence qualifies.

Note, witness of the spirit does not qualify.

I'm interested in whatever objectively verifiable evidence you or anyone else can muster for God's existence.
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Post by beastie »

Despite all the bravado, I guarantee that if Ray and Cog were to develop a disease like, say, meningitis, they'd go to a doctor for antibiotics instead of simply relying on a priesthood blessing.

This conversation has followed a very predictable pattern. The discussion is about reliable tools for ascertaining the validity of certain truth claims, that exist external to oneself. Yet believers cannot resist changing the topic to beauty, art, and internal values. I'm surprised that none has yet questioned if I believe in love.

If the belief of God is simply the equivalent of high art, beauty, or love, then why even pretend to have claim to "evidence" that should satisfy?

Actually, now that I think about it, placing the belief in God on the same plane as good art has a lot of good sense behind it. It's not about an external reality that can be objectively identified - it's about how it makes you feel.

And once again, when believers wish to demean atheism, they turn it into a religion. :O
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Post by Ray A »

beastie wrote:Despite all the bravado, I guarantee that if Ray and Cog were to develop a disease like, say, meningitis, they'd go to a doctor for antibiotics instead of simply relying on a priesthood blessing.


I actually have what might be called "doctor-phobia" and "dentist-phobia", but it has nothing to do with relying more on PH blessings. I did in fact have an infected wisdom tooth a couple of weeks ago and needed antibiotics. That dentist gave me a summary of what needed to be done, in the long term, and will cost me just over $1,000. Yet in 1999 another dentist told me I needed work which could cost between $5,000 - $10,000. Now both are unlikely to be right, or maybe one of them is just a little more keen on money, or maybe there's some snag I'm missing. I have had similar experiences with doctors, and one doctor told me they don't always get it right, and sometimes misdiagnose. In fact, more people die in hospitals than anywhere else. I could be sarcastic, but obviously I respect medicine, but I don't believe it's as reliable as many think. In the 1940s Nathan Pritikin got heart disease and was basically told to go home and prepare to die. Don't exert yourself at all, whatever you do, he was told. On top of that he also got cancer, which he was told was also terminal. Pritikin decided to give conventional science a miss because it offered him no hope, and he studied the dietary habits of the of the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico, who were famous for their long distance running feats. He eventually created the Pritikin diet, and not only beat heart disease and cancer, but ran 5-10 kilometres a day. The cancer came back in his mid 60s. For years Pritikin was ridiculed by "conventional science", and branded a heretic, yet today the basic principles of what he discovered long before the professionals is now common knowledge. Debates about diet still continue, of course, and even his diet is not perfect, though it also saved the life of marathon runner Rolet deCastella, father of Rob, who was a world class marathon runner of Olympic standard. Rolet was baffled why he suffered a heart attack as he was so fit, and he was told by his doctors never to run marathons again. Rolet completely overcame heart disease through the Pritikin diet, and within five years was running marathons again, and as far as I know is still alive today. Point? What is considered "heresy", or "silly" today may be commonly accepted tomorrow. I realise God has never been proved, but 76% of US doctors still believe in God. Maybe it's all fluff, silly stuff, but they have their reasons for believing. It might be "silly" to you, but it's not to them. I would not consider someone who got through medical school a dummy, or maybe we can just class them too in the question as to why smart people believe silly things. It seems to be, then, a the case with some atheists, "everybody is mad, except me and thee, and sometimes I even suspect thee".

beastie wrote:This conversation has followed a very predictable pattern. The discussion is about reliable tools for ascertaining the validity of certain truth claims, that exist external to oneself. Yet believers cannot resist changing the topic to beauty, art, and internal values. I'm surprised that none has yet questioned if I believe in love.

If the belief of God is simply the equivalent of high art, beauty, or love, then why even pretend to have claim to "evidence" that should satisfy?


I do not pretend any such thing. I have mentioned before that I have never experienced real romantic love, but I've talked to many people who have, and they tell me there's nothing like it. I have read their poetry, and their deep thoughts on this thing called "love". Should I assume, because I have never experienced it, that it doesn't exist? Where is the evidence, for me? No where. Yet I do believe what these people say, even if I can't internalise such intense feelings.

beastie wrote:Actually, now that I think about it, placing the belief in God on the same plane as good art has a lot of good sense behind it. It's not about an external reality that can be objectively identified - it's about how it makes you feel.


No, not external reality, internal reality. Is love real?

beastie wrote:And once again, when believers wish to demean atheism, they turn it into a religion. :O


The unbelievers have already done a perfect job of that.

Beastie, your logical mind is working overtime, and there's far, far more to life than pure logic, and much that we personally experience cannot be proved to others. You want this experience defined in a lab, and if it can't be defined - it's an illusion.

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Post by beastie »

I chose one very clear example - the use of antibiotics to treat an illness that is proven to respond to antibiotics. (the fact that the medical field isn't always reliable is a completely different discussion) The fact that antibiotics cure certain diseases, due to the fact that the diseases are caused by bacteria, is an external reality - one that can be tested and verified. One you don't have to believe in before it will work. It works whether or not you believe in it, because it is an external, objective reality.

If God truly does exist, then his existence is an external, objective reality. He exists whether or not I believe he exists. If, in addition, that God also intervenes in mankind, that is another external, objective reality.

That is what Dawkins is talking about, not subjective states such as appreciation of beauty and love. Coggins diverted the conversation to subjective states for a reason, and that reason is that Dawkins is correct, and the only way Coggins can challenge it is to attempt to change the topic and hope no one notices.

If you agree there is no evidence of God's existence that should satisfy, then what are we debating? Dawkins is, in fact, correct.

The assertion that atheists turn atheism into a religion is nonsense, dependent upon changing the meaning of the word "religion".
We hate to seem like we don’t trust every nut with a story, but there’s evidence we can point to, and dance while shouting taunting phrases.

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Post by why me »

Some Schmo wrote:Dawkins also wanted to point out in his last book the danger of imposing a set of religious beliefs on children, and raise consciousness of the fact that they aren't Mormon children, muslim children, or catholic children; they are children of Mormon, muslim, or catholic parents.

Yes, that is right. However, Dawkins perhaps misunderstood the socialization process that all children experience. And although it may be true that children receive there religious belief from parents in the main, they also receive other behavioral patterns from children. And if Dawkins has children, it can be assured that he has given them his own socialization process. A person cannot live in a social void without experiencing some form of belief system from others.

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Post by guy sajer »

why me wrote:
Some Schmo wrote:Dawkins also wanted to point out in his last book the danger of imposing a set of religious beliefs on children, and raise consciousness of the fact that they aren't Mormon children, muslim children, or catholic children; they are children of Mormon, muslim, or catholic parents.

Yes, that is right. However, Dawkins perhaps misunderstood the socialization process that all children experience. And although it may be true that children receive there religious belief from parents in the main, they also receive other behavioral patterns from children. And if Dawkins has children, it can be assured that he has given them his own socialization process. A person cannot live in a social void without experiencing some form of belief system from others.


I agree. Here's one area in which I part company with Dawkins. I think he goes overboard on the "religion is child abuse" argument. Parents have (with perhaps some exceptions) a perfectly legitimate right to pass their beliefs and values down to their children. Socialization is, IMHO, one of the primary roles of parents.

I do not believe, however, that parents have an equally legitimate right to demand or expect their children to adopt their beliefs and values. I firmly believe that people possess an inherent right (to the extent possible) to determine their own beliefs and values and to follow their own path in life, regardless of others' exectations.
God . . . "who mouths morals to other people and has none himself; who frowns upon crimes, yet commits them all; who created man without invitation, . . . and finally, with altogether divine obtuseness, invites this poor, abused slave to worship him ..."

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Post by wenglund »

I'll re-ask this question since it went unanswered the first go-around:

Sethbag wrote:Yes, you're right. There ought to be another one.

5. There is plenty of evidence showing that believing in things for which there is no evidence undermines one's critical and rational thinking faculties and proves, one way or another, to be detrimental in our society.


What studies does Dawkins supposedly site in support of this assertion?

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Post by guy sajer »

wenglund wrote:I'll re-ask this question since it went unanswered the first go-around:

Sethbag wrote:Yes, you're right. There ought to be another one.

5. There is plenty of evidence showing that believing in things for which there is no evidence undermines one's critical and rational thinking faculties and proves, one way or another, to be detrimental in our society.


What studies does Dawkins supposedly site in support of this assertion?

Thanks, -Wade Englund-


That strikes me as the null hypothesis. What we should be looking for is studies demonstrating that it doesn't undermine one's critical and rational thinking facilities.

I wonder, would insertion of religious dogma into mainstream science curricula be determinental to society?

Do we really need a study to demonstrate this before we start to worry about it?
God . . . "who mouths morals to other people and has none himself; who frowns upon crimes, yet commits them all; who created man without invitation, . . . and finally, with altogether divine obtuseness, invites this poor, abused slave to worship him ..."

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Post by Jason Bourne »

The sort of evidence that will be in accord with the rules of logic and science.* This is the only way human beings can eliminate - or at least control - all the errors in thinking to which we are naturally prey.

Like Dawkins, I believe everything in the universe can be explained without the existence of a godbeing, so the addition of a godbeing is an necessary, extraordinary, complication. So the type of evidence I want will not only be in accord with logic and science, but will be inexplicable by anything other than the godbeing.



But many find the scientific method lacking and see a higher designer of the world, life and Universe. So they believe there is evidence and that it meets a reasonable level. Why are they wrong?
What we have now is the same sort of evidence that people offer for things like alien abductions. All anecdotal - no hard evidence, despite the many opportunities these people would have to obtain hard evidence.


Not so. The evidence of creation is not anecdotal.

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Post by Jason Bourne »

Again the believer finds much evidence for God in many things. What qualifies as evidence really is the question.


That's a very good question. The issue does indeed turn on this question.

I'd say "objectively verifiable" evidence qualifies.

Note, witness of the spirit does not qualify.



I agree.Personal witnesses are just that. Personal. It may confirm to the individual their own faith and belief but it is subjective and is not evidence that can be used to prove God to another.
I'm interested in whatever objectively verifiable evidence you or anyone else can muster for God's existence.



IMO creation, the world, life, the universe is the best evidence. Science is good at explaining so much of this but not what is behind it all. Chance? Not good enough for me. I see a creator behind it. He, it whatever, may have used evolution to do it but it is still powered by more then chance. When I doubt God the most I still see a God in the world we live in.

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Post by Gadianton »

But many find the scientific method lacking and see a higher designer of the world, life and Universe. So they believe there is evidence and that it meets a reasonable level. Why are they wrong?


and what kinds of methods, superior to the "scientific method" do these 'many' use?
FARMS refuted:

"...supporters of Billy Meier still point to the very clear photos of Pleiadian beam ships flying over his farm. They argue that for the photos to be fakes, we have to believe that a one-armed man who had no knowledge of Photoshop or other digital photography programs could have made such realistic photos and films..." -- D. R. Prothero

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Post by Jason Bourne »

Gadianton wrote:
But many find the scientific method lacking and see a higher designer of the world, life and Universe. So they believe there is evidence and that it meets a reasonable level. Why are they wrong?


and what kinds of methods, superior to the "scientific method" do these 'many' use?


Perhaps it is better said that while science provides much about how it does not answer why and leaves it all to chance. Many think that a creation evidences more then just chance.

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Post by Tarski »

beastie wrote:If God truly does exist, then his existence is an external, objective reality. He exists whether or not I believe he exists. If, in addition, that God also intervenes in mankind, that is another external, objective reality.

That is what Dawkins is talking about, not subjective states such as appreciation of beauty and love. Coggins diverted the conversation to subjective states for a reason, and that reason is that Dawkins is correct, and the only way Coggins can challenge it is to attempt to change the topic and hope no one notices


This diversionary change of subject to that of love and sunsets is so old and pointless. The whole world, atheist, Buddhist, and catholic can agree that such things exist in the appropriate (often subjective) sense. But religion is not about this at all. Religion makes claims about the objective world--about angels, special books, special authorities, devils, demons, heavens and hells and above all about gods.
As long as the topics is what things exists in fact and what rules do thy follow, then science is center stage. Since objective knowledge is of paramount importance to making good decisions, science has indeed pulled us out of a prior more dark time into a brighter time.
This either elludes Coggins and Ray or they are purposefully obfuscating.

by the way, art, beauty, love and puppies dogs don't need religion.
when believers want to give their claims more weight, they dress these claims up in scientific terms. When believers want to belittle atheism or secular humanism, they call it a "religion". -Beastie

yesterday's Mormon doctrine is today's Mormon folklore.-Buffalo

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Post by Gadianton »

Jason Bourne wrote:
Gadianton wrote:
But many find the scientific method lacking and see a higher designer of the world, life and Universe. So they believe there is evidence and that it meets a reasonable level. Why are they wrong?


and what kinds of methods, superior to the "scientific method" do these 'many' use?


Perhaps it is better said that while science provides much about how it does not answer why and leaves it all to chance. Many think that a creation evidences more then just chance.


Question for you: Why did the virgin mary's face appear in the toasted cheese sandwich?
FARMS refuted:

"...supporters of Billy Meier still point to the very clear photos of Pleiadian beam ships flying over his farm. They argue that for the photos to be fakes, we have to believe that a one-armed man who had no knowledge of Photoshop or other digital photography programs could have made such realistic photos and films..." -- D. R. Prothero

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Post by wenglund »

guy sajer wrote:
wenglund wrote:I'll re-ask this question since it went unanswered the first go-around:

Sethbag wrote:Yes, you're right. There ought to be another one.

5. There is plenty of evidence showing that believing in things for which there is no evidence undermines one's critical and rational thinking faculties and proves, one way or another, to be detrimental in our society.


What studies does Dawkins supposedly site in support of this assertion?

Thanks, -Wade Englund-


That strikes me as the null hypothesis. What we should be looking for is studies demonstrating that it doesn't undermine one's critical and rational thinking facilities.


What you just suggested strikes me more as the "null hypothesis" (the word "doesn't" being the biggest clue). Either way, I am interested in reading the so-called "plenty of evidence" for Dawkins alleged main point #5 above.

I wonder, would insertion of religious dogma into mainstream science curricula be determinental to society?

Do we really need a study to demonstrate this before we start to worry about it?


I think that depends upon which "dogma" is being inserted (As a Special Ed instructor in the public school system, I have incorporated religious precepts "such as the Golden Rule" into my behavioral rules, to the demonstrable benefit of all parties, and I also believe the religiously motivated interjection of the notion of sexual abstinence taught to teens during health sciences, has had a positive social effect) where in the curricula and/or how closed one's mind is to subject. ;-)

What pre-study worries do you have?

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Post by guy sajer »

wenglund wrote:
guy sajer wrote:
wenglund wrote:I'll re-ask this question since it went unanswered the first go-around:

Sethbag wrote:Yes, you're right. There ought to be another one.

5. There is plenty of evidence showing that believing in things for which there is no evidence undermines one's critical and rational thinking faculties and proves, one way or another, to be detrimental in our society.


What studies does Dawkins supposedly site in support of this assertion?

Thanks, -Wade Englund-


That strikes me as the null hypothesis. What we should be looking for is studies demonstrating that it doesn't undermine one's critical and rational thinking facilities.


What you just suggested strikes me more as the "null hypothesis" (the word "doesn't" being the biggest clue). Either way, I am interested in reading the so-called "plenty of evidence" for Dawkins alleged main point #5 above.

I wonder, would insertion of religious dogma into mainstream science curricula be determinental to society?

Do we really need a study to demonstrate this before we start to worry about it?


I think that depends upon which "dogma" is being inserted (As a Special Ed instructor in the public school system, I have incorporated religious precepts "such as the Golden Rule" into my behavioral rules, to the demonstrable benefit of all parties, and I also believe the religiously motivated interjection of the notion of sexual abstinence taught to teens during health sciences, has had a positive social effect) where in the curricula and/or how closed one's mind is to subject. ;-)

What pre-study worries do you have?

Thanks, -Wade Englund-


The golden rule is not religious dogma but has roots going back a long, long way. It is a common sense moral rule that captures the importance of empathy, which is, I believe, the basis for human moralit (in a non-religious way). Nor is the golden rule a scientific principle, unless one is looking at evolutionary explanations for human morality.

I'm talking more about inserting junk science, such as Intelligent Design, or generally teaching that feelings/faith can and do trump evidene or that gaining knowledge can be done via questionable epistemic methods (which includes pretty much all religious belief).

The null hypothesis states, to put it simply, the "current state of knowledge" that one wants to disprove. I think that the current state of knowledge at the very least anecdotally shows clearly the deletrious effect of magical and superstitious thinking on human behavior and the capacity to reason (one case in point, witch hunts). As I see it the burden of proof is solidly on you to demonstrate the converse, if that's what you're arguing.

The interesting thing is that religious adherents are likely to agree with this argument in just about every other context, except religious belief. To shift the burden of proof, or null hypothesis, to their opponents, they need to demonstrate why religion is a unique case. I don't think they can do that; at least I've never seen a compelling argument in this direction.
God . . . "who mouths morals to other people and has none himself; who frowns upon crimes, yet commits them all; who created man without invitation, . . . and finally, with altogether divine obtuseness, invites this poor, abused slave to worship him ..."

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Post by wenglund »

guy sajer wrote:
wenglund wrote:
guy sajer wrote:
wenglund wrote:I'll re-ask this question since it went unanswered the first go-around:

Sethbag wrote:Yes, you're right. There ought to be another one.

5. There is plenty of evidence showing that believing in things for which there is no evidence undermines one's critical and rational thinking faculties and proves, one way or another, to be detrimental in our society.


What studies does Dawkins supposedly site in support of this assertion?

Thanks, -Wade Englund-


That strikes me as the null hypothesis. What we should be looking for is studies demonstrating that it doesn't undermine one's critical and rational thinking facilities.


What you just suggested strikes me more as the "null hypothesis" (the word "doesn't" being the biggest clue). Either way, I am interested in reading the so-called "plenty of evidence" for Dawkins alleged main point #5 above.

I wonder, would insertion of religious dogma into mainstream science curricula be determinental to society?

Do we really need a study to demonstrate this before we start to worry about it?


I think that depends upon which "dogma" is being inserted (As a Special Ed instructor in the public school system, I have incorporated religious precepts "such as the Golden Rule" into my behavioral rules, to the demonstrable benefit of all parties, and I also believe the religiously motivated interjection of the notion of sexual abstinence taught to teens during health sciences, has had a positive social effect) where in the curricula and/or how closed one's mind is to subject. ;-)

What pre-study worries do you have?

Thanks, -Wade Englund-


The golden rule is not religious dogma but has roots going back a long, long way. It is a common sense moral rule that captures the importance of empathy, which is, I believe, the basis for human moralit (in a non-religious way). Nor is the golden rule a scientific principle, unless one is looking at evolutionary explanations for human morality.

I'm talking more about inserting junk science, such as Intelligent Design, or generally teaching that feelings/faith can and do trump evidene or that gaining knowledge can be done via questionable epistemic methods (which includes pretty much all religious belief).

The null hypothesis states, to put it simply, the "current state of knowledge" that one wants to disprove. I think that the current state of knowledge at the very least anecdotally shows clearly the deletrious effect of magical and superstitious thinking on human behavior and the capacity to reason (one case in point, witch hunts). As I see it the burden of proof is solidly on you to demonstrate the converse, if that's what you're arguing.

The interesting thing is that religious adherents are likely to agree with this argument in just about every other context, except religious belief. To shift the burden of proof, or null hypothesis, to their opponents, they need to demonstrate why religion is a unique case. I don't think they can do that; at least I've never seen a compelling argument in this direction.


I have simply asked to see the "plenty of evidence" that is claimed to be in support of Dawkins argument #5 (Please note that I am talking here not about some supposed religionist counter-argument, but the argument that Dawkins is alleged to have made, which argument bears the burden of proof). If that can't be done, then just say so--your ironic and misguided attempts at shifting the burden of proof to religionist notwithstanding.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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