Anybody want to debate the book The God Delusion?

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otseng
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Anybody want to debate the book The God Delusion?

Post #1

Post by otseng »

I finally got a copy of The God Delusion by Dawkins from the library. And as I was reading it, I was thinking that I'd love to debate this book. Anybody want to debate this book? (It'll probably be several weeks before I can engage in a debate. I'd like to finish the current debate on Nature's Destiny first.)

If you would like to participate in the debate, please post in this thread "Sign me up" and I'll add you to the list of participants.

As of 4/30, these are the participants:
Furrowed Brow - Atheist
achilles12604 - Christian
McCulloch - Atheist, Agnostic
BohemianBanjo - Atheist
jjg - Catholic
QED
bernee51 - Atheist
OldChurchGuy
Cogitoergosum
bunyip
Cathar1950 - Agnostic, Deist
JamesBrown - Atheist, Agnostic
Confused - Atheist
Joe
NGR
otseng - Christian
FinalEnigma - Atheist
AClockWorkOrange - Atheist
Pista Gyerek - Atheist
atheisthumanist
Paul D
Chad
Last edited by otseng on Sat Jun 09, 2007 9:10 am, edited 8 times in total.

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Confused
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Post #21

Post by Confused »

I will. Though I didn't care much for the book, it has its high points. :)
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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achilles12604
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Post #22

Post by achilles12604 »

hmmm. we have a lot of newbies. should be interesting.
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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A suggestion ...

Post #23

Post by McCulloch »

I suggest that in looking at The God Delusion we do it as a series of debates rather than as a book discussion. Each chapter makes a point which could be a question or questions for debate.
  1. A deeply religious non-believer
    • Is there a level of equivocation used by religious apologists when referring to the non-supernatural pseudo-religious expressions of various eminent scientists?
    • Are religious ideas given an unfair advantage in society?
  2. The God hypothesis
    • Is God Hypothesis ("there exists a super-human, supernatural intelligence who deliberately designed and created the universe and everything in it, including us") is "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?
  3. Arguments for God's existence
    • Does God provide a natural terminator to the infinite regresses?
    • Is there any validity to Anselm's Ontological Argument?
    • Is the Argument from Beauty valid?
    • Is the Argument from Personal Experience valid? Is it being used or is this Dawkins' strawman?
    • Is the Argument from Scripture valid? Is this another strawman?
    • Does anyone use the Argument from Admired Religious Scientists?
    • Let's not re-do Pascal's Wager
    • Is there any validity to Bayesian Arguments promoted by people such as Stephen Unwin?
    • Did Dawkins leave out or misrepresent any major argument for God's existence?
  4. Why there almost certainly is no God
    • Does evolution by natural selection demonstrate that the argument from design is wrong? He suggests that a hypothetical cosmic designer would require an even greater explanation than the phenomena that they intended to explain.
  5. The roots of religion
    • Is religion as an accidental by-product – a misfiring of something useful?
  6. The roots of morality: why are we good?
    • Does our morality have a Darwinian explanation?
  7. The 'Good' Book and the changing moral Zeitgeist
    • Is there is a moral Zeitgeist that continually evolves in society, often in opposition to religious morality?
    • Do believers really use the Bible as a source of their moral values?
  8. What's wrong with religion? Why be so hostile?
    • Is religion itself bad or just certain instances of religion?
    • Are non-believers justified in being hostile to religion?
  9. Childhood, abuse and the escape from religion
    • Is the indoctrination of children into religious beliefs morally justified?
  10. A much needed gap?
    • Even with all of its flaws, does religion serve a useful and needed purpose in society?
Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
First Epistle to the Church of the Thessalonians
The truth will make you free.
Gospel of John

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Post #24

Post by bunyip »

> Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD "

This sort of precludes any notion of who's in charge here, doesn't it?

Although, on second thought, this is something to consider. The last bloke that tried to "reason" with the deity cited ended up on the receiving end of some rather devastating responses. Pore ol' Job took a bit of thumpings, if i remember my readings of the source.

the bunyip

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Post #25

Post by bunyip »

> "All you atheists should be excited about debating this book."

Elsewhere, i've had some discussions about the use of this term and what it means - if anything. The term "you atheists" is a bit vague, and "atheist" doesn't really lend it itself to grouping. For that and other reasons i find it pejorative, which isn't a favourable atmosphere for "debate" or even discussion.

Richard, Daniel C. Dennett and others have tried, with scant success, to favour "non-theist" which is less condemnatory and far more accurate and meaningful.

the bunyip

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Re: A suggestion ...

Post #26

Post by otseng »

McCulloch wrote:I suggest that in looking at The God Delusion we do it as a series of debates rather than as a book discussion. Each chapter makes a point which could be a question or questions for debate.
I like the idea of subdividing it and having one thread per chapter. That would give more structure to what could otherwise by a very long thread.

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Post #27

Post by otseng »

bunyip wrote:For that and other reasons i find it pejorative, which isn't a favourable atmosphere for "debate" or even discussion.
Atheist? Pejorative? How so? Dawkins uses the term quite often in his book.

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Re: A suggestion ...

Post #28

Post by Confused »

McCulloch wrote:I suggest that in looking at The God Delusion we do it as a series of debates rather than as a book discussion. Each chapter makes a point which could be a question or questions for debate.
  1. A deeply religious non-believer
    • Is there a level of equivocation used by religious apologists when referring to the non-supernatural pseudo-religious expressions of various eminent scientists?
    • Are religious ideas given an unfair advantage in society?
  2. The God hypothesis
    • Is God Hypothesis ("there exists a super-human, supernatural intelligence who deliberately designed and created the universe and everything in it, including us") is "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?
  3. Arguments for God's existence
    • Does God provide a natural terminator to the infinite regresses?
    • Is there any validity to Anselm's Ontological Argument?
    • Is the Argument from Beauty valid?
    • Is the Argument from Personal Experience valid? Is it being used or is this Dawkins' strawman?
    • Is the Argument from Scripture valid? Is this another strawman?
    • Does anyone use the Argument from Admired Religious Scientists?
    • Let's not re-do Pascal's Wager
    • Is there any validity to Bayesian Arguments promoted by people such as Stephen Unwin?
    • Did Dawkins leave out or misrepresent any major argument for God's existence?
  4. Why there almost certainly is no God
    • Does evolution by natural selection demonstrate that the argument from design is wrong? He suggests that a hypothetical cosmic designer would require an even greater explanation than the phenomena that they intended to explain.
  5. The roots of religion
    • Is religion as an accidental by-product – a misfiring of something useful?
  6. The roots of morality: why are we good?
    • Does our morality have a Darwinian explanation?
  7. The 'Good' Book and the changing moral Zeitgeist
    • Is there is a moral Zeitgeist that continually evolves in society, often in opposition to religious morality?
    • Do believers really use the Bible as a source of their moral values?
  8. What's wrong with religion? Why be so hostile?
    • Is religion itself bad or just certain instances of religion?
    • Are non-believers justified in being hostile to religion?
  9. Childhood, abuse and the escape from religion
    • Is the indoctrination of children into religious beliefs morally justified?
  10. A much needed gap?
    • Even with all of its flaws, does religion serve a useful and needed purpose in society?
I like this format much better :)
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

Joe
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"The God Delusion Debate"

Post #29

Post by Joe »

You can add me and I will try and find the time to see if this is worth joining in on. I'm not actually a debater, but have my own views which in some cases disagree with Dawkins and others like him, even though they are atheists.
Actually what it would appear to me is in fact being debated is "Does God exist?" and in my mind a truly interesting debate would be on when did religion first arise and in what form? Being an evolutionist I am interested in the evolution of intelligent life from it's earliest beginnings, and not just the last 10,000 years or so since settlements began.
I have listened to many debates and most often they appear to be a challenge of who can use the longest words and no more than an exhibit of vocabulary. I prefer intelligent discussion in which each person tries to be precise in describing their position. Even many simple words in the English language have imprecise definitions, and as a result often debates are won by the vocabulary used and not the content of what has been said.

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Post #30

Post by NGR »

Count me in also. I will see if I can find the time to contribute. I haven't read anything by Dawkins so this will give me the opportunity to see what all the fuss is about. Incidently I just checked at the local library and this book appears to be very popular. The several copies of the book they hold have a huge waiting list so I may end up purchasing the book.

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