How many of you believe or do not believe in God?

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Re: How many of you believe or do not believe in God?

Postby City_of_F » Thu Apr 15, 2010 12:41 am

[quote="Gelert"][quote="Asleep on a sunbeam"]Any other forum and I'd expect an influx of "omgz you would quote a cultural Christian who wants to arrest the pope!!!" replies :lol: .

Fixed that for you, using another quote of his.
Arguably Dawkins has done more to discourage rational inquiry than he'd like to admit by the simple expedient of being a weapons grade pillock.
Whenever he climbs into his pulpit, it's fairly obvious that while he argues for the apparent diametrical opposite of the men of faith, his modus operandi is very much the same as them. Biggest evangelist of them all.


Dawkins is pushing for reason instead of blind faith... yes, he chooses public forums and to be "saved" in athiesm means you don't give him or anyone else your will. You are responsible for yourself as a human being within a society of other human beings. You also realize that the idea that there is a father-figure in the sky watching over us makes for a nifty bedtime story, but lacks any kind of supporting evidence.

Dawkins doesn't speak in tongues, he doesn't ask for your loyalty, he doesn't expect anything from you besides using reason to sort the facts out from the faith. I can also quote Hitchens, Dennett, and Harris; so I don't really believe that Dawkins is the only voice out there, but he is the most well-known.

This makes him an evangelist?

Public forums are how politicians get elected, how commercials push products and how several public services are annouced... are we all "Cultural Christians"?

As for scientific credentials; Dawkins is still winning awards for science, has worked as a professor, has a long history in evolutionary biology and has a long, successful sceintific career.

Oh, and Dawkins did respond to that particular charge actually with the "arrest of the pope" He responded with the following:

http://richarddawkins.net/articles/5341
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Re: How many of you believe or do not believe in God?

Postby mabli » Thu Apr 15, 2010 7:46 am

[quote="Gelert"]Just watched an interesting documentary on BBC4 about the work of Jim Lovelock and "his" Gaia hypothesis

Really interesting wasnt it? what an amazing guy we need more polymaths!
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Re: How many of you believe or do not believe in God?

Postby Gelert » Thu Apr 15, 2010 8:57 am

Indeed. As Lovelock himself pointed out, most scientists are locked into just looking at one or two problems, sometimes just one or two aspects of a problem, enslaved almost. And it's getting worse. Perhaps for many of the reasons below.

[quote]Dawkins is pushing for reason instead of blind faith... yes, he chooses public forums and to be "saved" in athiesm....


[quote]This makes him an evangelist?


In a word, yes. You've made a better case for that than I ever could with your prior quote.

[quote]Public forums are how politicians get elected, how commercials push products and how several public services are annouced... are we all "Cultural Christians"?


No. Dawkins explains it in these terms.

[quote]I'm a cultural Christian in the same way many of my friends call themselves cultural Jews or cultural Muslims...I like singing carols along with everybody else


I think the full quote notes how he still goes to Church and such.


[quote]As for scientific credentials; Dawkins is still winning awards for science, has worked as a professor, has a long history in evolutionary biology and has a long, successful sceintific career.

Negative.

If it weren't for the books for laypeople, he would have been out on his arse. Do a simple search of his scientific output using Web of Science.

I believe his actual last first author scientific paper was in 1981. Since then he has contributed to a few, but they are far more overwhelmed by opinion pieces in august publications such as New Scientist, Scientific American and the Times Literary Supplement.

In the UK, each academic department has to submit to a review every couple of years, a system previously known as a Research Assessment Exercise and currently known as the Research Excellence Framework. Essentially each academic submits four selected papers which they believe represents a portfolio of their most significant contributions to science in the intervening years. These are then judged by peer review for their significance in the international context. The better the body of work, the better the scientist does, and the more scientists like that submitted in one of these reviews, the more likely an academic department is to survive thanks to government funding and attracting grants and bright students.

By any measure of this, Dawkins is not REF submissible, and has probably not been for nearly thirty years.

For the rest of us, to fail to be REF submissible once one has the slightest modicum of scientific maturity is to essentially write the death warrant on your career. The entire system is based upon a kind of Darwinism, and I suppose it has to be.

There are many arguments as to why this is a crap system, but it does provide some measure as to whether someone is a practising scientist, and the quality and quantity of their work. When you consider Dawkins in a bibliometric sense at the very least, he stopped making an original contribution to science sometime in the eighties. Arguably his career as a scientist lasted for not much more than fifteen years, and that largely under the patronage of Niko Tinbergen. Dawkins turned to writing the Selfish Gene in 1976 because he could not keep his lab running, albeit partly because of the economic conditions of the UK at the time.

You say he is a Professor. As if that were his measure as a scientist. This is inaccurate for several reasons.

First, a technicality. He *was* a Professor. Some people are appointed Professor on their merit whereas others gain a Professorship as an endowed chair. Dawkins was one of these - appointed Charles Simonyi Professor for Public Understanding of Science (PUS). He retired and is no longer Charles Simonyi Professor for PUS. I believe Marcus du Sautoy is the incumbent Professor. As such Dawkins doesn't hold the title of Professor any more, except perhaps as an emeritus.

Secondly, and most significantly - there is a major difference between a Professor in a field of Science and a Professor in the Public Understanding of Science. The two fields are very different. It's a bit like being a propagandist for science. I say that as someone who has been active in PUS for the last five or six years. When I go out and evangelise for science to schools and such, I feel what credibility I have as a speaker is enhanced by the fact that I'm still working as a scientist. If I became a plumber, and still did these activities in twenty years' time I'd have to think carefully!

All this said, Dawkins deserves considerable respect for his achievements in the field of public understanding of science, inf making science more accessible. But this is distinct from his achievements in science, and I also believe that he compromises his achievements in the former by his style, but that's just my taste.

My main criticism is that to portray him as someone at the cutting edge of science is to misrepresent him fundamentally. And that opens up several questions about what he actually has to tell his audience - (because unquestionably, every speaker implies loyalty to their version of things - I'm asking you to buy in to this post in the way RD asks his audience to buy into his take on rationality!) when it is presented as science from a practicing scientist. I'm sure we're all familiar with Gillian McKeith "Ph.D." and her message as a more extreme example of this phenomenon and its repercussions.
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Re: How many of you believe or do not believe in God?

Postby City_of_F » Sat Apr 17, 2010 2:21 am

Let's try something else here...

Would you say that Dennett, Harris or Hitchens had anything of value to say, or are their degrees and/or scribblings worth discrediting as well?

Also, which side are you on in this argument? I'm okay with saying I'm not an authority when it comes to verifying Dawkin's references as I'm don't live with the man, nor have I followed every moment of his career, but it seems like most intelligent people give up the idea that there is a heavenly father-figure who looks out for us and is passing judgment on us.

Are you a believer, or are you simply stating that Dawkins himself kind of pisses you off?
It`s a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don`t keep your feet, there`s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” -Tolkein
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Re: How many of you believe or do not believe in God?

Postby xrodolfox » Sat Apr 17, 2010 3:01 am

Crap, I'm an athiest, and I can't stand Dawkins. Perhaps I've read the man wrong, but I can't stand him.
"The worker has the right to leave his boss, but can she do it? And if she does quit him, is it in order to lead a free life; where she will have no master but herself? No, she leaves to sell herself to another employer. She's driven by the same hunger. Thus the worker's liberty is only a theoretical freedom, lacking any means of realization; an utter falsehood."
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Re: How many of you believe or do not believe in God?

Postby Johnboy74 » Sat Apr 17, 2010 7:06 pm

Whoa you do have issues with Richard Dawkins don't you Mr Gelert!
Personally I don't see him as a scientist per se but a scientific philosopher if that makes sense.
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Re: How many of you believe or do not believe in God?

Postby Gelert » Sat Apr 17, 2010 10:43 pm

[quote]
Are you a believer, or are you simply stating that Dawkins himself kind of pisses you off?


Neither of the above. Although he does irritate me somewhat, I actually have some sympathy with Dawkins. I ionce watched a clip of him opening his hatemail. Poor bugger. My grip is with a something I hope is a little more subtle than just a personal irritation. It's to do with misrepresentation, as exemplified by the propping up of Dawkins as a scientist. He most certainly is not a practicing scientist. JB74 is nearer the mark. As exemplified by the presentation of an agenda, arguably one of militant atheism, as reason and science in and of itself. Lies are best sandwiched between two truths, and so it is with this kind of thing. Spin. The last century showed how various agendas - eugenics, Nazism, Lysenkoism as three examples - were sold as science. So it's worth scratching beneath the surface a little.

[quote="City_of_F"]I'm okay with saying I'm not an authority when it comes to verifying Dawkin's references as I'm don't live with the man, nor have I followed every moment of his career...


Not to make this ad hominem, but I find this interesting in the light of what you said yourself earlier:


[quote]Dawkins is pushing for reason instead of blind faith



Can't quite say how much due dilligence one has to put into things, personally I don't consider myself the most critical evaluator of the arguments someone develops and their validity in general - certainly not compared to some. But I don't think you'd have to live with someone or follow every moment of their career when some simple cross checking means you can apply reason to their argument rather than blind faith. For example, Dawkins builds his public persona upon the foundations of his being a scientist. So spend five minutes evaluating his scientific output.

Because it seems, rather ironically, people are listening to his apparent voice of reason out of little more than faith.

[quote]Would you say that Dennett, Harris or Hitchens had anything of value to say, or are their degrees and/or scribblings worth discrediting as well?


Take them on their merits. As with Dawkins. There is a big difference between critically evaluating something and discrediting. Take away the name and the fame and consider the scribblings. You are evaluating critically what I have to say here as someone with no name and no fame, and apparently no qualifications in the area.It's a level playing field then.
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Re: How many of you believe or do not believe in God?

Postby City_of_F » Sun Apr 18, 2010 11:59 pm

[quote="Gelert"][quote]
Take them on their merits. As with Dawkins. There is a big difference between critically evaluating something and discrediting. Take away the name and the fame and consider the scribblings. You are evaluating critically what I have to say here as someone with no name and no fame, and apparently no qualifications in the area.It's a level playing field then.


I think we can agree here. Critical thought it rather important.

As for ad hominem, I would say that we were discussing this on opposite sides of the fence. You don't have to agree with me, but it seems like you dislike Dawkins... or was I mistaken and you simply don't approve of his work?

I know you're basically stating he is misrepresenting himself, but I was curious if it was personal, so I was attempting to follow that line of reason...

Let me put it this way, I would be more interested in your stance on religion than on Dawkins. I'm not so attached to Dawkins that I am willing to blindly follow him; I tend to agree with a lot of what he says, so I am inclined to use him as a reference, but I don't have to like everything that a person is to agree with certain things they may have said.

I could care less as long as people begin to use critical thinking when it comes to their beliefs.
It`s a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don`t keep your feet, there`s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” -Tolkein
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Re: How many of you believe or do not believe in God?

Postby CrossleyAREsq » Tue Apr 20, 2010 12:52 pm

I believe that God is.

I'm reading the Holy Qur'an, read the bible; it is beautiful peotry, almost finished the Richard Dawkins book 'the God Delusion' I might be a closet buddhist allowing for a belief in the omnipotent God, and I am half way through a book on sikhism called the Guru Granth with info on the granth sahib and other scripture.
I believe that God is; I have faith yet I don't believe in religion unquestioningly though I enjoy gong to church.
There is alot to be said for the study of langauge and semantics.
In fact it is a complex question. Like who were the warmongering sons of Adam who destroyed the tower of Babel? In Hebrew, did you know Adam is a word similar to that of English 'earth' just like 'hume'
I am not certain about the personal God like that of Einstein quoted in the God Delusion, but I believe in the God. God without agenda; possibly like the Hindu impersonal God qouted earlier.

Many people are confused on this issue that God is male. Why attribute God a sex? Allah hath no partner. There is only Allah and there are none similar. Jesus on the other hand shows that God the parthenogenetic-egg like single but duplicating parent is truely separate and interactive. God doesn't watch idly while tradgedies occur but experiences them us with each atom and thought. Make sense of it if you like or do something else productive like example a way of clinical tests for medicine and science that offers safety & quality assurance yet does not involve the horrors of current animal testing.
And then on Friday God made them in our image. We were created in God's image - I think this means God experienced the vision of humblekind evolving.
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Re: How many of you believe or do not believe in God?

Postby CrossleyAREsq » Sat Apr 24, 2010 8:22 pm

bit of a rant that last post :arrow: being my first proper post and all.. God is; enough said, In my opinion.
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Re: How many of you believe or do not believe in God?

Postby Fallen_Horse » Mon Apr 26, 2010 5:07 am

[quote="Fallen_Horse"]If you are atheist, I am wondering what your pro-atheist argument is...

Nobody wants to bite eh?
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Re: How many of you believe or do not believe in God?

Postby Johnboy74 » Mon Apr 26, 2010 10:31 am

[quote="Fallen_Horse"][quote="Fallen_Horse"]If you are atheist, I am wondering what your pro-atheist argument is...

Nobody wants to bite eh?

I will :D
My atheism is based on evidence provided by scientific enquiry, that doesn't rely on leaps of faith for an answer to the big questions in life. The universe from what we think we know, is a series of chance happenings. From the initial big bag, with intense heat, matter formed from the cooling down of basic building blocks of the universe to create all matter through a process of asymmetry, which is a natural law. From the cooling process complexity arises, equations for the actions of all things frozen with values that allow for formation of matter and life. Over billions of years natural events have formed ever more complex matter. The history of everything is 1% matter 99% history. There is no need for a creator to explain how things have unravelled.
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Re: How many of you believe or do not believe in God?

Postby downhillingdemon » Mon Apr 26, 2010 10:48 am

I'm hoping he doesn't exist in the form promoted by the major religions cos if he does I'm gonna be VERY hot for a VERY long time
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Re: How many of you believe or do not believe in God?

Postby Fallen_Horse » Mon Apr 26, 2010 3:41 pm

[quote="Johnboy74"][quote="Fallen_Horse"][quote="Fallen_Horse"]If you are atheist, I am wondering what your pro-atheist argument is...

Nobody wants to bite eh?

I will :D
My atheism is based on evidence provided by scientific enquiry, that doesn't rely on leaps of faith for an answer to the big questions in life. The universe from what we think we know, is a series of chance happenings. From the initial big bag, with intense heat, matter formed from the cooling down of basic building blocks of the universe to create all matter through a process of asymmetry, which is a natural law. From the cooling process complexity arises, equations for the actions of all things frozen with values that allow for formation of matter and life. Over billions of years natural events have formed ever more complex matter. The history of everything is 1% matter 99% history. There is no need for a creator to explain how things have unravelled.

Thanks John!

1. We still don't know what caused the big bang, and what came before. This is unexplainable today. This could be easily attributed to a God.
2. I would like more of a proof that God doesn't exist. IMO an atheist needs to provide proof of God's non-existence, or the argument is flawed. Similarly, the religious need to be able to provide proof of Gods existence, which they cannot, therefore I am not religious. What would you say the atheist 'proof' is?
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Re: How many of you believe or do not believe in God?

Postby Asleep on a sunbeam » Tue Apr 27, 2010 12:26 am

Fallen_Horse:
Can you give me a detailed definition of what God is, nothing vague or abstract.
You can't refute that which is undefinable.

Also atheism can come in the form of "we can't know" or "God definitely doesn't exist".
When talking about the real world the only objective fact is "something exists" really.
Anything a priori is subject dependent, and based around categories.

As we can never get past our own perception we're fucked in that regard.

Edit:
I mean this in a cheery non smarmy way, but the 3 embedded quotes fucked me over :lol:
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