Do you like how Dawkins, Hitchens et al. represent atheists?

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by francois, Jul 31, 2007.

  1. francois Schwat? Registered Senior Member

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    Ahh, jetzt Ich sehe...
     
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  3. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    If you really do see, that is marvelous.

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  5. francois Schwat? Registered Senior Member

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    He does a lot of speculation, but when he does that sort of thing, he is normally very explicit about it being mere speculation. He likes to talk about ideas and think about stuff. So do I. But he's usually explains it's speculation and he won't give it much bearing unless it's backed up. When he's talking about scientific claims, I find they're usually backed up with experimental/empirical data... can you give some examples of massive fallacies he's made?
     
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  7. one_raven God is a Chinese Whisper Valued Senior Member

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    I think the whole concept of there even being an "Atheist Community" is rather silly.

    Then you are as blinded by your faith as Theists.
    Supernatural is simply what science has not yet been able to explain - it does not mean it does not exist.
    Oh, because you have never experienced one, right?
    Are you that self-centered that if you haven't seen it with your own eyes, then you think it is impossible?
    There is a line between logical skeptic and blind disbeliever.
    The logical skeptic would not have automatically accepted that the giant squid existed - the blind disbeliever would have said that it did not exist and anyone who said otherwise was crazy.
    The blind disbeliever is at one far end of the spectrum the blind believer is at the other - and as much as neither would like to admit it, they have a lot in common.

    Again, how is that any less ignorant than Theists saying that Atheists are immoral?
    Can you honestly say that it is impossible to believe in God and still be an intelligent person?
    If you believe that, then you are pratcicing selective ignorance, and what could be more irrational than that?
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2007
  8. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    He may present it as speculation, but he also goes off on long drawn descriptions of evolutionary "thought" and "behaviour"; frankly speculation is all good and fine, I use my imagination for scientific research too, but I stop and wait to confirm one hypothesis before moving onto another. No question that I enjoy his books, but promoting theories like memetics in the guise of science really makes no sense to me.

    The sad part is, it is not scientists but philosophers who will probably understand better what I am saying.

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  9. Xev Registered Senior Member

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    He has a point:

    http://www.lhup.edu/~dsimanek/sci_relig.htm

    http://blog.case.edu/singham/2006/02/08/the_religious_beliefs_of_scientists1

    There seems to be a definite correlation between intelligence and athiesm/agnosticism.

    SAM:
    I've read The Selfish Gene - Dawkins does a good job of popularizing his theories. And in The God Delusion, he takes the stance of a rationalist, someone concerned about the welfare of our species, to attack religion. So what does he misrepresent?

    -Edit-
    It might fall under the aegis of information theory or the human "sciences." Does he claim memes to be anything more than a useful concept, portray them as scientific fact?
     
  10. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    Popularising a theory does not make it science.

    And if he is concerned about the welfare of our species he would not be polarising it.

    Is there any other data on intelligence (not related to NAS) and atheism? I could say that the director of the Human Genome Research is a theist, does that make him less intelligent than his contemporaries?
     
  11. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    Has he come out and said that it is merely a theory? That it should not be considered scientific fact? As a scientist that should be his primary concern, right?
     
  12. one_raven God is a Chinese Whisper Valued Senior Member

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    I would say there may be a correlation between intelligence and belief either way, perhaps.

    Hard Atheists are not a whole lot different, in my view, than Theists.

    Then again, how do we measure intelligence?
    It is capability to learn and reason in the material world.
    Do you think it would not automatically favor materialists?
    I would not expect someone who has spent his entire life in spiritual pursuits to score as highly as someone who has spent his entire life in material pursuits.
    Would you?

    The question, then, would be whether materialism is somehow better or more valuable than spiritualism.
     
  13. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    You said it much better than I.
     
  14. one_raven God is a Chinese Whisper Valued Senior Member

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    I think that, as in everything else in life, balance is the key.
     
  15. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    Agreed.

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    Extremists of all kinds scare me.:m:
     
  16. francois Schwat? Registered Senior Member

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    I don't think he ever has promoted memetics as a true scientific theory. Like I said, he likes to speculate and think about things. Indeed, memetics is an interesting theory, but he hasn't written any books about it. He's merely devoted a chapter or two on it. He just posits it as interesting speculation.

    It's not a misrepresentation. In The Selfish Gene and with other books he uses it to illustrate that evolution doesn't require RNA or DNA. Natural selection happens whenever the criteria which allows it exists, such as when there is a means for patterns to reproduce themselves with sufficient fidelity, and when those copying mechanisms have a high enough mutation rate for them to create variation. There is nothing special about DNA. Natural selection happens whenever it can. That's what memetics illustrates.
     
  17. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    Scientifically it means nothing; if I remove the RNA and DNA, there is no evolution. Not even if I write 10 books on it.

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  18. francois Schwat? Registered Senior Member

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    What is a "hard" atheist? That seems like a redundant term to me. Atheists don't believe there is a god. People believe, or they don't... or they don't know, in which case they're agnostic.

    So I guess I'm a "hard" atheist, because I don't believe in God. I think it's possible that he exists, but I don't think it's the case. So, in your view, I'm not much different from a theist?
     
  19. francois Schwat? Registered Senior Member

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    You think there can't be evolution without DNA/RNA?
     
  20. Xev Registered Senior Member

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    SAM:
    No, as a scientist his primary concern should be research. I don't believe he ever presented it as scientific fact, but I read the Selfish Gene about 7 years ago, so I do not remember it well.

    I never claimed that it did. I claimed that he did well to popularize evolutionary theory, which is science.
    You could say many of the same things about Watson (or Crick?) writing The Double Helix, or Carl Sagan popularizing SETI.
    No offense, but I think you're being a bit condescending to laypeople - I think they're clever enough to tell the difference between "Richard Dawkins says that the population of Galapagos finches doubled when x happened" and "Richard Dawkins says that it doubled because of y."

    TO him, it is a polar issue. That is like saying, if I really care about US involvement in Iraq, I would not take a political stance that would alienate Bush supporters.
    I'm not saying that I agree - I think some of his arguments are downright stupid - but to him, it is a matter of opposing religious belief for the greater benefit

    That would be anecdote, I am talking about statistics. And no, I don't believe the patently false argument you are trying to ascribe to me. I am simply noting a trend.
     
  21. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    Like I said, I do not believe he means to deliberately mislead, however his work does appear to generate a belief in directed evolution, which is in itself misleading.

    And the road to hell is paved with good intentions, but one would assume a rationalist would know better than to ascribe to the ones that directly lead there.

    I would genuinely like to see the data on IQ and atheism, if there is any, it would be interesting if nothing else. I wasn't ascribing any false argument to you, I have heard this argument several times and it seems rather selective to me. As I do not believe that IQ measures all types of intelligence.

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  22. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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  23. Xev Registered Senior Member

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    A hard athiest is a male athiest after looking at the special athiest nudie mags. I'm a girl, so even though I don't believe in God, I can't be a hard athiest.

    Joking aside, I think a "hard athiest" is someone who vehemently denies even the possibility of God. It's basically a strawman invented by stupid and intellectually dishonest people. I'm sure that people do hold that idea, but using it to describe all athiests, or to imply that atheists who do not take that leap of faith are "soft" or "weak" is just annoying.

    Sam:
    Really? I got the opposite impression: that Dawkins does a lot to dissuade people from thinking that evolution is telological.

    I agree on all points: sorry to sound snarky, I've been fighting with my boyfriend and boss today.
    It is interesting to see how the breakdown works, though: people in more abstract fields seem more open to mystic ideas.

    I didn't mean to present that as my argument, either. There's correlation between being highly educated and being athiest/agnostic, but I'm sure the answer is more complex than a simple matter of intelligence.

    But you could use any molecule capable of reproduction: protiens, for instance.

    Edit:
    It's not my field, I'm just going on what I know of chemistry - why would the molecule HAVE to be a nucleic acid?
     

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