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Re: Richard Dawkins and the politicalization of science

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  • Jorge Castro
    2009/10/13 Bruno Marchal ... Hi I think I got your point that you don t believe in the God which Dawkins disbelieves in . But, having
    Message 1 of 36 , Nov 4, 2009
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      2009/10/13 Bruno Marchal <marchal@...>

      >
      >
      > >Actually, I liked very much "The Selfish Gene", by Dawkins, but with
      > >his "The God Delusion" he succeeded in definitely convinced me that
      > >atheism is a variant of christianism.
      >
      > >I like to say, like someone else, that I don't believe in the God
      > >which Dawkins disbelieves in. (*)
      >
      >
      > >I can't say that God exists, but I can explain why any universal
      > >machine introspecting itself cannot avoid meeting something
      > >unnameable, and develop some theories about that(**).
      >
      > >By making ridicule christian theologies, atheists perpetuate them, and
      > >especially the less rigorous among them. I think.

      Hi

      I think I got your point that "you don't believe in the God which Dawkins disbelieves in".

      But, having explained why any universal machine introspecting itself cannot avoid meeting something unnameable would you not also have to explain how this "unnameable thing" could be rationally conceived by that machine as being capable of creating the universe and the machine?

      Or, are you saying that any "unnameable thing" that every universal machine cannot avoid to meet is by itself a hint to the existence of a universal Creator either inside or outside of "the fabric of reality"?

      Jorge Castro
    • Elliot Temple
      ... That priests and lovers do X is not evidence there is a biological imperative to do X. That s perfectly compatible with other explanations, even if it were
      Message 36 of 36 , Dec 1, 2009
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        On Nov 11, 2009, at 12:48 PM, Charles Goodwin wrote:

        >> Most people I know completely ignore religion. They don't even think
        >> it's interesting enough to warrant calling themselves atheists or
        >> agnostics, just as they don't seriously consider the question of
        >> whether Santa Claus exists and whether it would be possible for him
        > to
        >> get down all those chimneys in one evening. Nor are they especially
        >> into any political or other ideology. Would this mean they all have
        >> unusual genes?
        >
        > Not necessarily. The religious impulse, if there is such a thing (there was
        > a furore about the discovery of the "God spot" in the brain a few years ago
        > - whatever happened to that?) is IMHO based upon some biological imperative,
        > for example both priests and lovers feel the need to worship another being.

        That priests and lovers do X is not evidence there is a biological imperative to do X. That's perfectly compatible with other explanations, even if it were *all* priests/lovers (which it isn't).

        > Then again, most cultures develop some form of religion independently, so it
        > seems to be inherent in humans in SOME sense.

        No, that doesn't follow. It could be inherent in logic, for example. Or be true. Or inherent in the logic of the shared situation present on Earth for primitive cultures. Or coincidence. Or it wasn't really independent development. Or the ones that were different aren't actually religions, but seem to be when interpreted by people who do have religion.

        > To answer your question would
        > require disentangling the relevant genetic / neurological mechanisms,
        > assuming they exist, finding out how specialised towards religion they have
        > become in humans, if at all (I suspect religion is a "social perversion" of
        > whatever impulse this is rather than something that's hard wired, so IMHO
        > probably not at all/not very much) and - well, and so on. I'm sure that some
        > people have diverted their "religious impulses" into, say, a belief in
        > free-market capitalism, communism, feminism or some other ideology, or into
        > patriotism, or something else - art or music or comic book collecting,
        > perhaps. Without knowing what's going on in depth - having a complete
        > science of the mind/brain - we're probably just dealiing with epiphenomena,
        > and making judgements about the genetics involved would be rather premature.
        > IMHO.

        I don't think this withholding judgment policy is wise. People make decisions, today, based on their best theories, today.

        If, say, philosophers refuse to offer any judgment, they'll simply get on with life without even the limited amount of help that could have been available.

        Aubrey de Grey pointed this out in regards to giving estimates related to life extension, and that's why he does give them. His estimates are inaccurate, but more accurate than what people will guess on their own.


        As an aside, some people think the appropriate expert to ask would be a scientist. That's a mistake. The most relevant discipline is epistemology. That's b/c the question is where some knowledge is coming from and the mechanism(s) by which it moves around (e.g. nature or nurture). And the secondary question is how to change that knowledge, or if it can be changed. (Of course knowledge can be changed. The idea it can't is connected to not knowing the issue has to do with knowledge at all.)

        -- Elliot Temple
        http://curi.us/
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