The God Delusion - Chapter 1

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The God Delusion - Chapter 1

Post #1

Post by otseng »

I'll kick off the debate on chapter 1 with a few questions. Feel free to add more questions for us to debate.

What does Dawkins mean by "deserved respect"?
Does religion really have "undeserved respect"?

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Post #41

Post by otseng »

BohemianBanjo wrote: So, you dislike the use of the word delusion because of the pathological connotations, but you suggest hypothesis? As in The God Hypothesis?
It is Dawkins that introduces the word hypothesis, not me. "Contrary to Huxley, I shall suggest that the existence of God is a scientific hypothesis like any other." (page 50)
God is not a hypothesis. There is no collection of alternatives, no outline of predictions, no list of testable outcomes delineating just how God is falsifiable, etc.
To you it might not be. But it is clearly a scientific hypothesis to Dawkins.
Delusion may be provocative, but it fits the book very well.
Since Dawkins states that it is a scientific hypothesis, delusion is then not appropriate.
You'll have to convince us that he doesn't really care about the subject, and is just writing for a buck.
I've never stated that he doesn't care about the subject or is just writing for a buck.

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Post #42

Post by achilles12604 »

My apologies for coming in so late. I was on my honeymoon and frankly, debating wasn't a high priority right then. . . 8-)

Before reading through the writings and posts of others thus far I wanted to throw in my 2 cents.

First, On page 11 I find it interesting that Dawkins writes:
In his boyhood at least, my Chaplin was presumably not aware (nor was I) of the closing lines of The Origin of the Species - the famous 'entangled bank' passage . . . . . If he had, he would certainly have identified with it and, instead of priesthood, might have been led to Darwin's view. . . .
I actually smiled as I read this section. Dawkins conviction against religion is almost admirable in a strange way. He certainly doesn't pull any punches. I of course totally disagree with his implications here. I felt that he was implying that anyone with basic knowledge of science will by default reject religion. However, I for one know this isn't true as I have a fairly decent understanding and acceptance of science yet I am also religious.


Second, Dawkins addresses my signature, which basically demanded a comment from me.

He asks if this quote contradicts his later words
[center]
It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this . . .
[/center]


I happen to agree with Dawkins assessment of these passages. I recognize what Einstein thought of as "god". However, his quote is still very true even in its true context.


I also agree with Dawkins concerning the quotes he has "cherry picked" (to borrow his own words) from letter to Einstein. those passages are as malicious as he purports. However, I highly doubt that Dawkins bothered to check out every letter written with equal fervor. Albert Earhert (spelling?) was a fellow physicist and friend of Einstein. They apparently had many debates and discussions regarding religion (as he was Christian) yet I doubt if they would have remained friends had such malice been presented. So by deduction, it is easy to conclude that Dawkins has begun to paint a very negatively slanted picture of religion which, although entirely expected and almost required, should certainly be considered for the remainder of this book. Careful examination of his "evidence" and the counter arguments should be made and simple acceptance of his view should not be granted, IMO.
It is a first class human tragedy that people of the earth who claim to believe in the message of Jesus, whom they describe as the Prince of Peace, show little of that belief in actual practice.

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Re: The God Delusion - Chapter 1

Post #43

Post by achilles12604 »

otseng wrote:I'll kick off the debate on chapter 1 with a few questions. Feel free to add more questions for us to debate.

What does Dawkins mean by "deserved respect"?
Does religion really have "undeserved respect"?
I believe that the undeserved respect Dawkins refers to is the tendency for people to simply leave anything associated with religion alone, regardless of merit, worth or even ethics.
To some extent I agree with Dawkins here. Religion is a very protected entity. Occasionally it is so protected that it goes overboard. On the other hand, I do not feel that it is ALWAYS overprotected. In some cases it is flat out attacked (like what occurs on occasion with the ACLU). It has certainly been shut down recently like with the creation lawsuits in Penn.

Regarding these circumstances, Dawkins is incorrect that religion is given undeserved respect.

In my opinion, religion (in the USA) is protected to a good degree. Not to much, not to little on average. Of course there are instances which overstep "normal" boundaries, but on average, I'd say the defense of religious values is well balanced with reasonable acceptance of opposing views.

Deserved respect I believe refers to aspects of society which have been tested. Science for example is able to be tested. Since Dawkins is a scientist, it doesn't surprise me that he would try and compare science and religion despite the fact that religion can never be tested in the same manner as science and is therefore set up for failure when given the "Dawkins Deserving Test".
It is a first class human tragedy that people of the earth who claim to believe in the message of Jesus, whom they describe as the Prince of Peace, show little of that belief in actual practice.

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Post #44

Post by Confused »

achilles12604 wrote:My apologies for coming in so late. I was on my honeymoon and frankly, debating wasn't a high priority right then. . . 8-)

Before reading through the writings and posts of others thus far I wanted to throw in my 2 cents.

First, On page 11 I find it interesting that Dawkins writes:
In his boyhood at least, my Chaplin was presumably not aware (nor was I) of the closing lines of The Origin of the Species - the famous 'entangled bank' passage . . . . . If he had, he would certainly have identified with it and, instead of priesthood, might have been led to Darwin's view. . . .
I actually smiled as I read this section. Dawkins conviction against religion is almost admirable in a strange way. He certainly doesn't pull any punches. I of course totally disagree with his implications here. I felt that he was implying that anyone with basic knowledge of science will by default reject religion. However, I for one know this isn't true as I have a fairly decent understanding and acceptance of science yet I am also religious.


Second, Dawkins addresses my signature, which basically demanded a comment from me.

He asks if this quote contradicts his later words
[center]
It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this . . .
[/center]


I happen to agree with Dawkins assessment of these passages. I recognize what Einstein thought of as "god". However, his quote is still very true even in its true context.


I also agree with Dawkins concerning the quotes he has "cherry picked" (to borrow his own words) from letter to Einstein. those passages are as malicious as he purports. However, I highly doubt that Dawkins bothered to check out every letter written with equal fervor. Albert Earhert (spelling?) was a fellow physicist and friend of Einstein. They apparently had many debates and discussions regarding religion (as he was Christian) yet I doubt if they would have remained friends had such malice been presented. So by deduction, it is easy to conclude that Dawkins has begun to paint a very negatively slanted picture of religion which, although entirely expected and almost required, should certainly be considered for the remainder of this book. Careful examination of his "evidence" and the counter arguments should be made and simple acceptance of his view should not be granted, IMO.
Of course his view is slanted. Did you miss the title of the book? However, thus far, I don't think anything you have said here is presenting any negative press. I think thus far, you have affirmed his evidence. You say you "highly doubt" he has done every letter, etc... But you cannot say this for certain. So you present less evidence than he.
What we do for ourselves dies with us,
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and is immortal.

-Albert Pine
Never be bullied into silence.
Never allow yourself to be made a victim.
Accept no one persons definition of your life; define yourself.

-Harvey Fierstein

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Post #45

Post by QED »

Congratulations seem to be in order achilles12604 :D

Unfortunately, I think the question of undeserved respect is a very tangled one. I personally cringe at the sight of Church officials in their ecclesiastical finery holding their hands up to the sky in absolute conviction that they're on the leading edge of the interface between mankind and the creator of the universe.

I appreciate the occasional need for a shepherd in a flock -- there are many matters to contend with due to out finite nature and our slightly less finite minds -- but these matters are deeply philosophical and the religious solution is really quite simplistic when we realise that at base it is built upon trust in human instinct and nature.

It may seem like a harmless simplification, but when it comes to any kind of authority I feel it should always be questionable. For any notion to be scientific it must be falsifiable. If we grant authority on a non-scientific basis then how are we to challenge it? It is the unchallengeable nature of religion that gives me the creeps.

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Post #46

Post by achilles12604 »

Confused wrote:
achilles12604 wrote:My apologies for coming in so late. I was on my honeymoon and frankly, debating wasn't a high priority right then. . . 8-)

Before reading through the writings and posts of others thus far I wanted to throw in my 2 cents.

First, On page 11 I find it interesting that Dawkins writes:
In his boyhood at least, my Chaplin was presumably not aware (nor was I) of the closing lines of The Origin of the Species - the famous 'entangled bank' passage . . . . . If he had, he would certainly have identified with it and, instead of priesthood, might have been led to Darwin's view. . . .
I actually smiled as I read this section. Dawkins conviction against religion is almost admirable in a strange way. He certainly doesn't pull any punches. I of course totally disagree with his implications here. I felt that he was implying that anyone with basic knowledge of science will by default reject religion. However, I for one know this isn't true as I have a fairly decent understanding and acceptance of science yet I am also religious.


Second, Dawkins addresses my signature, which basically demanded a comment from me.

He asks if this quote contradicts his later words
[center]
It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this . . .
[/center]


I happen to agree with Dawkins assessment of these passages. I recognize what Einstein thought of as "god". However, his quote is still very true even in its true context.


I also agree with Dawkins concerning the quotes he has "cherry picked" (to borrow his own words) from letter to Einstein. those passages are as malicious as he purports. However, I highly doubt that Dawkins bothered to check out every letter written with equal fervor. Albert Earhert (spelling?) was a fellow physicist and friend of Einstein. They apparently had many debates and discussions regarding religion (as he was Christian) yet I doubt if they would have remained friends had such malice been presented. So by deduction, it is easy to conclude that Dawkins has begun to paint a very negatively slanted picture of religion which, although entirely expected and almost required, should certainly be considered for the remainder of this book. Careful examination of his "evidence" and the counter arguments should be made and simple acceptance of his view should not be granted, IMO.
Of course his view is slanted. Did you miss the title of the book? However, thus far, I don't think anything you have said here is presenting any negative press. I think thus far, you have affirmed his evidence. You say you "highly doubt" he has done every letter, etc... But you cannot say this for certain. So you present less evidence than he.
LOL.

Well thus far he hasn't really put forth any evidence at all. What he as presented is his opinion about the nature of Religion and how it interacts with today’s society. And I agreed in part with the more obvious of his conclusions.

As for the letters portion of Dawkins chapter, these can hardly be considered "evidence". They are nothing more than Dawkins propaganda against religion and ultimately end up with Dawkins committing the logical fallacy of Hasty Generalization.

In short, Dawkins paints an aggressive and angry picture of religion by focusing on only THREE letters written by persons in high ranking (and therefore much more traditional or fundi) positions regarding the church. In fact I'm not really sure WHY this section is even included. Dawkins was discussing the factors of Einsteinium religion Then very suddenly he writes "Some of his own religious contemporaries saw him very differently. . . Begin anti-religious rant" Then when he is done with this rant, he concludes , "The one thing all his theist critics got right was that Einstein was not one of them."

But this point was already made before Dawkins even began talking about Einsteinium religion. He proved this point using Einstein's own quotes.

So I am not sure of the purpose of this rant except to try and cast religion into dis-light using a logical fallacy (one I commonly see used here by several individuals).

Now, as for "evidence" concerning my claim that Einstein had Christian friends who were also well known and acknowledged scientists and that these people probably wouldn't have agreed with the attacks upon Einstein, I refer you to Sir Arthur Eddington

In short, this man was a well respected scientist and good friend of Einstein's. So when I made the claim that not everyone was angry with Einstein over his letter and that Dawkins had probably hand picked some of the worst (with the intention of using them to dislighten religion), I still feel that it is very probable that I am correct in this opinion. This is more true given the remarks of Dawkins while analyzing the letters. Writing things like, "What a devastating letter! Every sentence drips with intellectual and moral cowardice" , while true, really served no purpose, especially given that Dawkins doesn't really give a clear purpose for the entire section to begin with.

He is simply throwing flame bait in this section. A hasty generalization and look how evil religious people are towards poor Mr. Einstein.


At any rate, as this section has very little to do with either the OP or any form of evidence at all, I am letting it go for now and moving on to chapter two.
It is a first class human tragedy that people of the earth who claim to believe in the message of Jesus, whom they describe as the Prince of Peace, show little of that belief in actual practice.

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Re: The God Delusion - Chapter 1

Post #47

Post by Confused »

achilles12604 wrote:
otseng wrote:I'll kick off the debate on chapter 1 with a few questions. Feel free to add more questions for us to debate.

What does Dawkins mean by "deserved respect"?
Does religion really have "undeserved respect"?
I believe that the undeserved respect Dawkins refers to is the tendency for people to simply leave anything associated with religion alone, regardless of merit, worth or even ethics.
To some extent I agree with Dawkins here. Religion is a very protected entity. Occasionally it is so protected that it goes overboard. On the other hand, I do not feel that it is ALWAYS overprotected. In some cases it is flat out attacked (like what occurs on occasion with the ACLU). It has certainly been shut down recently like with the creation lawsuits in Penn.

Regarding these circumstances, Dawkins is incorrect that religion is given undeserved respect.

In my opinion, religion (in the USA) is protected to a good degree. Not to much, not to little on average. Of course there are instances which overstep "normal" boundaries, but on average, I'd say the defense of religious values is well balanced with reasonable acceptance of opposing views.

Deserved respect I believe refers to aspects of society which have been tested. Science for example is able to be tested. Since Dawkins is a scientist, it doesn't surprise me that he would try and compare science and religion despite the fact that religion can never be tested in the same manner as science and is therefore set up for failure when given the "Dawkins Deserving Test".
I think I have to disagree here, sorry. In terms of undeserved respect: I agree in what it means, however, I do think it is overused. I think the court case with the childs t-shirt he wore to school is a good example. Had one worn a t-shirt that said blacks should be slaves, would the courts decision be the same? These may be seen as rare examples, but they are extreme enough to warrant a tipping balance towards underserved respect. The lawsuit in Penn wasn't cut off because of religious aspects, it was cut off because it was trying to use ID as an alternative to evolutionary theory, ie. a scientific theory. The problem is that ID isn't a scientific theory. So this doesn't give an opposing example that would negate the claim made by Dawkins.
What we do for ourselves dies with us,
What we do for others and the world remains
and is immortal.

-Albert Pine
Never be bullied into silence.
Never allow yourself to be made a victim.
Accept no one persons definition of your life; define yourself.

-Harvey Fierstein

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Re: The God Delusion - Chapter 1

Post #48

Post by achilles12604 »

Confused wrote:
achilles12604 wrote:
otseng wrote:I'll kick off the debate on chapter 1 with a few questions. Feel free to add more questions for us to debate.

What does Dawkins mean by "deserved respect"?
Does religion really have "undeserved respect"?
I believe that the undeserved respect Dawkins refers to is the tendency for people to simply leave anything associated with religion alone, regardless of merit, worth or even ethics.
To some extent I agree with Dawkins here. Religion is a very protected entity. Occasionally it is so protected that it goes overboard. On the other hand, I do not feel that it is ALWAYS overprotected. In some cases it is flat out attacked (like what occurs on occasion with the ACLU). It has certainly been shut down recently like with the creation lawsuits in Penn.

Regarding these circumstances, Dawkins is incorrect that religion is given undeserved respect.

In my opinion, religion (in the USA) is protected to a good degree. Not to much, not to little on average. Of course there are instances which overstep "normal" boundaries, but on average, I'd say the defense of religious values is well balanced with reasonable acceptance of opposing views.

Deserved respect I believe refers to aspects of society which have been tested. Science for example is able to be tested. Since Dawkins is a scientist, it doesn't surprise me that he would try and compare science and religion despite the fact that religion can never be tested in the same manner as science and is therefore set up for failure when given the "Dawkins Deserving Test".
I think I have to disagree here, sorry. In terms of undeserved respect: I agree in what it means, however, I do think it is overused. I think the court case with the childs t-shirt he wore to school is a good example. Had one worn a t-shirt that said blacks should be slaves, would the courts decision be the same? These may be seen as rare examples, but they are extreme enough to warrant a tipping balance towards underserved respect. The lawsuit in Penn wasn't cut off because of religious aspects, it was cut off because it was trying to use ID as an alternative to evolutionary theory, ie. a scientific theory. The problem is that ID isn't a scientific theory. So this doesn't give an opposing example that would negate the claim made by Dawkins.
Taking the case of the t-shirt, I do not see what was really wrong with it.

It was expressing his opinion. No where does it say that we should persecute attack or anything else because those people are sinning. It simply says they are sinning or wrong.

Even Dakwins points out that the shirt would have been defendable based on freedom of speech. The fact it was defended based on a different clause brings me to ask "so what?". It was defendable under both, so why make a big deal about which path of defense was taken? All it indicates is that freedom of religion coincides with freedom of speech under these circumstances.

Is there a problem with freedom of religion and freedom of speech resulting in the same decision?

How is this evidence that religion is given undeserved respect? If anything THIS example should show that the religious defense had DESERVED respect since it agreed with a decision which didn't use religion at all.
It is a first class human tragedy that people of the earth who claim to believe in the message of Jesus, whom they describe as the Prince of Peace, show little of that belief in actual practice.

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Post #49

Post by jjg »

I'll agree with Dawkins that the T-shirt thing was a bit stupid.

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Post #50

Post by achilles12604 »

jjg wrote:I'll agree with Dawkins that the T-shirt thing was a bit stupid.
Define stupid.

I also think that it was stupid. I believe that many of the arguements held in courts today are stupid. I think that people are hypersensitive to almost everything.

I don't believe it should have even made it to a courtroom since the shirt was not advocating violence and was easily protected by the freedom of speech.

As I said before, this is why I find this example of Dawkins to be very poor if he was trying to show that religion is "over-protected" since this particular shirt was also protected under freedom of speech.



You know what would have been a great example of religion being over protected?




If creationists had won thier court case. If they had been protected by courts dispite the fact that it has little science to support it, THAT would have been a good example of baseless over-protection of religion. But they lost . . . . . .

So . . .

Wouldn't this go against Dawkins theory right from the start?
It is a first class human tragedy that people of the earth who claim to believe in the message of Jesus, whom they describe as the Prince of Peace, show little of that belief in actual practice.

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