Richard Dawkins - The God Delusion Page 3

  • CerealKey 19 Oct 2006 09:15:13 2,860 posts
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    Went to see Dawkins do a reading at the Birmingham Book Festival.

    He came across quite well, but then there wasn't really much of a challenge from the audience, he was preaching to the choir.

    When my mate asked a fairly challenging, if light-hearted question, there was an audible groan from the audience.

    His wife, who played Romana in Dr Who, was there doing some of the reading.
  • Whizzo 19 Oct 2006 09:42:17 44,807 posts
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    You tease, what was the question he asked?
  • CerealKey 19 Oct 2006 10:44:10 2,860 posts
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    There was a quote in the reading about how the religion of today is the subject of entertainment, and how individual religions are devalued by time.

    He just asked Dawkins thought the same would be said of science.
  • Deleted user 19 October 2006 10:50:09
    CerealKey wrote:
    He came across quite well, but then there wasn't really much of a challenge from the audience, he was preaching to the choir.

    When my mate asked a fairly challenging, if light-hearted question, there was an audible groan from the audience.

    This is primarily why I dislike Dawkins (not necessarily his viewpoint). He doesn't leave any room for actual debate (very much an "I'm right, and that's about it" attitude), and instead of aiming towards putting his point to people who may not agree, he seems to just re-enforce people who do.
  • Genji 19 Oct 2006 10:50:48 19,682 posts
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    Dawkins interview with Salon. Click on the "Site Pass" button if you can't read all of it.

    Honestly, he sounds like a real dick, the personification of what I like to call the "asshole atheist".

    Edited by Genji at 10:52:28 19-10-2006
  • Deleted user 19 October 2006 10:55:44
    Onny wrote:
    Extract from the BBC website. Interesting read.
    Wow, a great advert for what seems to be a 300 page straw man arguement.

    Not sure if I'll put this onto my 'to buy' list.
  • Deleted user 19 October 2006 10:57:19
    It's interesting that you link those two words -- intelligent and atheistic. Are you saying the more intelligent you are, the more likely you are to be an atheist?

    There's a fair bit of evidence in favor of that equation, yes.

    That sounds like an elitist argument. Do you want to cite that evidence?

    It's certainly elitist. What's wrong with being elitist, if you are trying to encourage people to join the elite rather than being exclusive?

    "Call yourself an atheist and gain 50 free IQ points!"
  • The_Aardvark 19 Oct 2006 11:01:00 3,063 posts
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    CerealKey wrote:
    Went to see Dawkins do a reading at the Birmingham Book Festival.

    He came across quite well, but then there wasn't really much of a challenge from the audience, he was preaching to the choir.

    When my mate asked a fairly challenging, if light-hearted question, there was an audible groan from the audience.

    His wife, who played Romana in Dr Who, was there doing some of the reading.

    I saw Dawkins a couple of weeks ago as well, and was a little disappointed.

    He was reading extracts from his book. He spent lots of time pointing out how full of wacky shit the old testament is - which is hardly challenging - got to the chapter where he put the philosophical arguments that "disprove" the existence of god, basically said "ooh that's to complex to summarise so I'll go back to hating on yhvh"
  • FairgroundTown 19 Oct 2006 11:03:42 2,522 posts
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    Having now finished the book, I have one criticism...

    RD seems to feel the need to deny (without actually stating any argument) that Jesus (the man) didn't exist. This seems to me a) irrelevant, and b) possibly brining much of the rest of the argument into disreput because there is reasonable evidence that he DID exist. So, he states a fact without providing any evidence (which is exactly what he accuses the xtains of doing); the fact is very possibly wrong; and it is not even a necessary to his argument - who cares if he existed or not - the important bit is that he was not the son of God!
  • FairgroundTown 19 Oct 2006 11:06:02 2,522 posts
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    The_Aardvark wrote:
    CerealKey wrote:
    Went to see Dawkins do a reading at the Birmingham Book Festival.

    He came across quite well, but then there wasn't really much of a challenge from the audience, he was preaching to the choir.

    When my mate asked a fairly challenging, if light-hearted question, there was an audible groan from the audience.

    His wife, who played Romana in Dr Who, was there doing some of the reading.

    I saw Dawkins a couple of weeks ago as well, and was a little disappointed.

    He was reading extracts from his book. He spent lots of time pointing out how full of wacky shit the old testament is - which is hardly challenging - got to the chapter where he put the philosophical arguments that "disprove" the existence of god, basically said "ooh that's to complex to summarise so I'll go back to hating on yhvh"
    Well, the "taking the mickey out of the old testament" bits are the most amusing, and therfore most amenable to a reading.

    And the proof that God doesn't exist* is a rather lengthly argument, but a good one, and not something I had encountered before in quite the terms expressed.


    * NB that he doesn't actually say it is a proof that God doesn't exist - just a proof that he almost certainly does not exist!
  • Ginger 19 Oct 2006 11:06:32 7,256 posts
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    The_Aardvark wrote:
    CerealKey wrote:
    Went to see Dawkins do a reading at the Birmingham Book Festival.

    He came across quite well, but then there wasn't really much of a challenge from the audience, he was preaching to the choir.

    When my mate asked a fairly challenging, if light-hearted question, there was an audible groan from the audience.

    His wife, who played Romana in Dr Who, was there doing some of the reading.

    I saw Dawkins a couple of weeks ago as well, and was a little disappointed.

    He was reading extracts from his book. He spent lots of time pointing out how full of wacky shit the old testament is - which is hardly challenging - got to the chapter where he put the philosophical arguments that "disprove" the existence of god, basically said "ooh that's to complex to summarise so I'll go back to hating on yhvh"
    Indeed - if you take the time to read the book there's about 50 pages on why all the philosophical and "scientific" arguments are all a complete load of pap.

    50 pages is a lot to summarise in 10 minutes, although he could easily have given one example.
  • Deleted user 19 October 2006 11:08:54
    FairgroundTown wrote:
    And the proof that God doesn't exist* is a rather lengthly argument, but a good one, and not something I had encountered before in quite the terms expressed.


    * NB that he doesn't actually say it is a proof that God doesn't exist - just a proof that he almost certainly does not exist!
    Any chance of a summery, or an online source of reference? This is probably the only part of the book I'm actually interested in!
  • Shrimp 19 Oct 2006 11:09:15 1,081 posts
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    It's a bit of a shame that after a career of making frankly awesome insights into evolutionary biology, he's now turned to making a cock of himself and needlessly and unproductively antagonising religious people.

    His take-no-shit attitude seems much more appropriate when picking holes in criticisms of the selfish gene approach. (such as "So you're justifying personal selfishness?" No!)

    I think E. O. Wilson might be a good antidote to Dawkins' current attitude. There was a good interview with him in New Scientist recently.
  • jellyhead 19 Oct 2006 11:11:21 24,348 posts
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    I liked Dawkins up until the tv show he did on God and Atheism.
    As others have said, he came across as being as being a bit arrogant and even i found his extremism annoying but as one of the people on the Jonathan Miller programme said Dawkins is more an Anti-Theist rather than an Atheist. I can see what Dawkins means about religion potentially stifling childrens minds and turning them into brainwashed idiots but he's a bit too aggressive for me.
    Some good arguments but he seems to be extremely frustrated and shouty about the whole issue. Maybe he's right and us Athists need to shout more but i'd rather talk quietly and carry a big stick.
  • Deleted user 19 October 2006 11:14:29
    jellyhead wrote:
    Maybe he's right and us Athists need to shout more but i'd rather talk quietly and carry a big stick.
    That seems to be the way that all fundamentalist camps (Theist, Atheist or Anti-Theist) seem to be going - shout bollocks more, talk sense less.

    God I hate it.

    /buys earmuffs
  • TwistidChimp 19 Oct 2006 11:26:57 8,825 posts
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    Stickman wrote:
    He's too self-centred for my liking. It's always meme, meme, meme with him.

    /coat
    /taxi
    /flight

    lol
  • souljah 19 Oct 2006 11:40:29 4,705 posts
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    Shrimp wrote:
    It's a bit of a shame that after a career of making frankly awesome insights into evolutionary biology, he's now turned to making a cock of himself and needlessly and unproductively antagonising religious people.

    His take-no-shit attitude seems much more appropriate when picking holes in criticisms of the selfish gene approach. (such as "So you're justifying personal selfishness?" No!)

    I think E. O. Wilson might be a good antidote to Dawkins' current attitude. There was a good interview with him in New Scientist recently.

    Agreed. While I find myself completely agreeing with a lot of what he has to say on the subject of religion and deitism and the negative effects it has had (and continues to have) on human affairs, I find myself feeling rather cold and to an extent, uncomfortable in it's delivery.

    It's like an interesting debate where some excellent points are being made, when all of a sudden, the drunk roommate comes in and starts shouting over everyone else and glaring and spitting at anyone who dares to provide a counterpoint.

    I'll still buy the book but it will probably be an experience in reading my own views - circa 1996 at the height of my "fuck the church" phase.
  • jellyhead 19 Oct 2006 11:41:33 24,348 posts
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    I'm an atheist but i've been visiting Ship of Fools for a few years now. Great site.
    I like their conclusion
    Could the world do with a bit less religion? Quite possibly. But what we really need is fewer fanatics.

    Amen Brother ( and Sister ).
  • Amajiro 19 Oct 2006 11:50:33 2,214 posts
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    Much as I would like to weigh into this discussion, I haven't read the book yet (although I do have it downstairs and it's next on my list).

    However:

    - it's impossible for an athiest to be fundamentalist, as there is no fundamental belief system to apply
    - "anti-theist" seems to me to be a rather empty buzzword. It implies "against those who believe in God" but I don't think that's Dawkins' position at all. Rather he's againts the belief itself and the systems that support it.


    Personally, I like Dawkins' approach. His "enough is enough, it's time to grow up you weak-minded fools" resonates with me.
  • tiddles 19 Oct 2006 11:52:23 3,555 posts
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    Preaching to the choir, then? :)
  • Deleted user 19 October 2006 11:55:12
    Amajiro wrote:
    - it's impossible for an athiest to be fundamentalist, as there is no fundamental belief system to apply
    ..apart from not believing in a God, that is.
  • generica 19 Oct 2006 11:56:38 4,279 posts
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  • generica 19 Oct 2006 11:57:39 4,279 posts
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    I personally just want to distance my self as much as possible from arguing over the existence of God*. It's the most pointless debate you can have as you will never change someone's viewpoint. The only time I think we should interfere is when there is actually a problem, creationism being taught in schools for instance. Aside from that there is no reason to get involved with someone's life so personally.

    I'm sure I agree with Dawkins, I know God doesn't exist but I think discussing it is almost boring.

    *aside from in the thread where I pretended to be a Christian for a laugh
  • generica 19 Oct 2006 11:57:41 4,279 posts
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  • souljah 19 Oct 2006 11:57:51 4,705 posts
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    disussedgenius wrote:
    Amajiro wrote:
    - it's impossible for an athiest to be fundamentalist, as there is no fundamental belief system to apply
    ..apart from not believing in a God, that is.

    How is not believing suddenly a belief?
  • Amajiro 19 Oct 2006 12:00:12 2,214 posts
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    disussedgenius wrote:
    Amajiro wrote:
    - it's impossible for an athiest to be fundamentalist, as there is no fundamental belief system to apply
    ..apart from not believing in a God, that is.

    So applying an absence of something results in what, exactly? If I apply an absence of paint to a fence, the fence itself is change not at all. Don't confuse atheism with nihilism.

    I for one have a highly complex and subjective belief system that happens not to include God. It evolves and changes with my life experiences and and has a shifting base of non-fundamental principles that steer it.
  • Deleted user 19 October 2006 12:01:25
    souljah wrote:
    How is not believing suddenly a belief?
    Just switch round the words.

    "I believe there is no God"

    That's what separates Atheism with Agnosticism (which is a bit less likely to be fundamentalist). It stops it being a passive disbelief and turns it into an active descision made. When it gets to the point where this viewpoint is the only acceptable choice then that's when it gets fundamentalist.
  • souljah 19 Oct 2006 12:02:17 4,705 posts
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    Bill Door wrote:
    You have a belief there is no God. Easy :)

    But I know there is no god. Just as I know that I if I close my eyes and open them again, Ghandi wont be standing in the room with an apple tart in his hand.
  • Amajiro 19 Oct 2006 12:03:14 2,214 posts
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    Harry wrote:
    Amajiro wrote:
    - it's impossible for an athiest to be fundamentalist, as there is no fundamental belief system to apply

    Wrong. Being a fundie about something has absolutely nothing to do with faith in God. It's about the way you support a position, whether scientific, sporting, religious or political.

    Dawkins is perhaps the strongest fundie I've heard discussing religion in ages. He makes the nutters with megaphones on Oxford Street seem like rank amateurs.

    Then I dispute your term. He may be bullish, opinionated, outspoken, dogmatic, poorly argued or whatever else you want to call him, but to call him a "fundie", thereby in some way placing him on the same level as religious fundamentalists is plain incorrect. Arguing strongly is not the same as blind adherence to codified fundamentals.
  • Shrimp 19 Oct 2006 12:03:54 1,081 posts
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    I'm with Amajiro here.

    Isn't fundamentalism about literal interpretation of religious texts, or more generally about returning to the belief system of the early days of the religion?

    Zealotry, intolerance maybe, but fundamentalism seems a wrong choice of word.
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