The God Delusion - Chapter 2

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otseng
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The God Delusion - Chapter 2

Post #1

Post by otseng »

Not a whole lot of action in chapter 1 so far. So, I'll go ahead and start up chapter 2. Discussions can still continue in chapter 1, but hopefully by starting chapter 2 more people will want to get involved.

I'll repost McCulloch's proposed questions:
- Is the God Hypothesis ("there exists a super-human, supernatural intelligence who deliberately designed and created the universe and everything in it, including us") "a scientific hypothesis like any other", one that should be treated with as much skepticism as any other hypothesis?
- Is Stephen Jay Gould’s concept of non-overlapping magisteria valid?
- Does the inability to disprove the existence of God provide a positive reason to believe?

I'll also throw in some other questions:
- Is agnosticism impoverished?
- What exactly does Dawkins have against Michael Ruse?

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Post #51

Post by Confused »

otseng wrote:I see there to be much more evidence for the existence of a God than against. Even in the book, Dawkins only presents one argument against the existence of a God.
I think thus far, and even into chapters 3 and 4, Dawkins doesn't do the best job at disproving God as an entity, rather the concept of God as man understands Him. He has taken the arguments for the existence most commonly used and dispelled them. This alone doesn't disprove God, but it does put a heavy blow on the current and historical arguments used to prove God.
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Post #52

Post by jjg »

Ah, Confused is confused.

That's ok. I was speaking of some of the posts here, not Dawkins.

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Post #53

Post by Confused »

jjg wrote:Ah, Confused is confused.

That's ok. I was speaking of some of the posts here, not Dawkins.
See post 15 of yours.
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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Post #54

Post by Confused »

Confused wrote:
jjg wrote:Ah, Confused is confused.

That's ok. I was speaking of some of the posts here, not Dawkins.
See post 15 of yours.
Sorry, meant 47.
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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Post #55

Post by FinalEnigma »

Confused wrote:
Confused wrote:
jjg wrote:Ah, Confused is confused.

That's ok. I was speaking of some of the posts here, not Dawkins.
See post 15 of yours.
Sorry, meant 47.
Confused i think what he actually meant to say in post 47 was instead of this
The justify yourselves in the chapter 3 thread instead of agreeing with one liners like Dawkins wrote off these arguments.
actually mote like this
Then justify yourselves in the chapter 3 thread instead of arguing with one liners like-
"Dawkins wrote off these arguments."
Or at least that's what he appears to be saying he said.

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Re: The God Delusion - Chapter 2

Post #56

Post by achilles12604 »

otseng wrote:Not a whole lot of action in chapter 1 so far. So, I'll go ahead and start up chapter 2. Discussions can still continue in chapter 1, but hopefully by starting chapter 2 more people will want to get involved.

I'll repost McCulloch's proposed questions:
- Is the God Hypothesis ("there exists a super-human, supernatural intelligence who deliberately designed and created the universe and everything in it, including us") "a scientific hypothesis like any other", one that should be treated with as much skepticism as any other hypothesis?
- Is Stephen Jay Gould’s concept of non-overlapping magisteria valid?
- Does the inability to disprove the existence of God provide a positive reason to believe?

I'll also throw in some other questions:
- Is agnosticism impoverished?
- What exactly does Dawkins have against Michael Ruse?
- Is the God Hypothesis ("there exists a super-human, supernatural intelligence who deliberately designed and created the universe and everything in it, including us") "a scientific hypothesis like any other", one that should be treated with as much skepticism as any other hypothesis?
Again I am late, but I am catching up.

The way I read this question, I see really two area's to comment on.

1) Is the God Hypothesis a scientific hypothesis? - No. I do not believe it is. I have explained why before but to keep it simple, science is a finite tool which is an improper device to test an infinite hypothesis.

Paper bag analogy again - We are little tiny people inside of a paper bag. We have been given a wonderful tool, a flashlight (science) to explore out surroundings with. We have used our flashlight to investigate every corner of our bag and everything in it. We are comfortable that we now know everything about our bag.

However, our flashlight (science) has left us totally unaware of the man sitting on the chair, right next to our bag. Same goes for God. Our tool of science is a wonderful tool. But it is not the correct tool to examine God.

There is one exception to this which QED touches on.
I don't understand this at all. We shouldn't digress too much but if, for instance, miracles are the effects of God's intervention upon the physical, then the science of physics would have something to say on the matter.
If the man opens the bag and inserts his thumb, for the duration of his being in our world, we could use science to test him. We could also use science to examine the aftermath of his thumb smashing our mountains into a huge crater.

Outside of this exception, if God didn't want to insert himself into our existence, I see no reason to expect science to have the ability to comment on him.

2) should be treated with as much skepticism as any other hypothesis? - More and more I agree with this statement. Examine everything and hold fast to what is good and true. I for one am not afraid to examine the faith critically and adjust my beliefs where needed. I agree with Dawkins on point two just as much as I disagreed with him about point one.
Is Stephen Jay Gould’s concept of non-overlapping magisteria valid?
I would say in places it is valid, and in other places it is not. In general, proofs of science and proofs of God are separate entities as the tools to prove these things are very different. However, as I pointed out there are times where we can use the tools of this world to examine the possibility of the supernatural impacting our existence. Miracles for example would be free game. The cause of the universe / multiverses / multi-dimensions have the potential of being another area which could overlap, although for now we don't have the technology needed to conduct experiments to support any of the various theories out there.

In general, I think that there are places where religion and science can and have overlapped. However the evidence for these is, as with everything, open to interpretation, and much of it has yet to be explored especially concerning origin of the universe.

Still, there are many more places where science and theology can never intersect and really should be expected to.
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 #57

Post by achilles12604 »

On a different topic, I found a point Dawkins repeats several times to be very interesting.

On several occasions Dawkins writes things like, "Would he have sung a different tune if the Benson study had succeeded in demonstrating the power of prayer? Maybe not but you can be certain that plenty of other pastors and theologians would. . . . A double blind experiment can be done and was done. It could have yielded a positive result. And if it had, can you imagine that a single religious apologist would have dismissed it on the grounds that scientific research has no bearing on religious matters? Of course not." (65)

These types of passages give me pause. Is Dawkins insinuating that Christians only give weight to evidence which supports their position while downplaying evidence that goes against their conclusions?

If so my response would be, "well duh." ANY time someone is trying to support a point they have a tendency to do this. Dawkins does it throughout this ENTIRE book. Why, because it makes sense. It wouldn't make a lot of sense for the Christians to focus on the evidence against their position while downplaying the evidence for their position.

I just found it interesting that Dawkins repeatedly hammers on this very obvious, and logical point as if it was something bad or abnormal that he would never do.
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 #58

Post by QED »

achilles12604 wrote:On several occasions Dawkins writes things like, "Would he have sung a different tune if the Benson study had succeeded in demonstrating the power of prayer?
The problem is, we have an extensive catalogue of claims for paranormal abilities that have never been established in controlled environments. That not one claim is true we can be sure of because of the commercial value of any such supernatural capacity. So there becomes a standard excuse that the very act of verification disperses the "magic", so we are left with no reassurance other than faith. This is worthless if we wish to present something supported on faith as support for something else in turn.

This is the problem with your paper bag story. We can't see beyond our horizon and any theory about what lies beyond cannot be supported by matters of faith. If we wish to say "well I think a provident creator-god is more plausible than our self-selection from a multiverse because we have supernatural goings-on within our horizon" then we have to be able to demonstrate those things on demand.

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Post #59

Post by achilles12604 »

QED wrote:
achilles12604 wrote:On several occasions Dawkins writes things like, "Would he have sung a different tune if the Benson study had succeeded in demonstrating the power of prayer?
The problem is, we have an extensive catalogue of claims for paranormal abilities that have never been established in controlled environments. That not one claim is true we can be sure of because of the commercial value of any such supernatural capacity. So there becomes a standard excuse that the very act of verification disperses the "magic", so we are left with no reassurance other than faith. This is worthless if we wish to present something supported on faith as support for something else in turn.

This is the problem with your paper bag story. We can't see beyond our horizon and any theory about what lies beyond cannot be supported by matters of faith. If we wish to say "well I think a provident creator-god is more plausible than our self-selection from a multiverse because we have supernatural goings-on within our horizon" then we have to be able to demonstrate those things on demand.
The point of the paper bag story is to demonstrate that Dawkins (and MANY other non-theist's) demand for science to be the tool to test God, is an illogical demand. It is simply the wrong tool.

Some things my paper bag story was not intended to accomplish include:

1) Prove God's existence

2) Exist even as EVIDENCE for his existence

3) Support the idea of scripture proofs of anything else as "better" evidence for examining God.

4) get you to buy paper bags

5) anything else.


The ONLY purpose for my paper bag story was to show that Dawkin's claim that
God should be able to be tested by science and therefore he doesn't exist,
is incorrect and illogical.

Did it accomplish this task?
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 #60

Post by QED »

achilles12604 wrote: The ONLY purpose for my paper bag story was to show that Dawkin's claim that
God should be able to be tested by science and therefore he doesn't exist,
is incorrect and illogical.

Did it accomplish this task?
What I think remains correct and logical is that no God that interacts with the world in any way exists if science can't detect it.

You're saying science is the wrong tool because God is entirely outside of the paper bag. That's a view that I don't think is all that widely held. A God that is of your description is one which cannot be dis-proven but neither can it be influencing events within our world. For all practical purposes I think we could say that the existence of such a God was moot as well. It hardly sounds like the God that's the object of so much worship and petitioning.

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