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Thread: A softer Dawkins

  1. #1 A softer Dawkins 
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    A recent video from Richard Dawkins, who's become infamous among many Evangelicals for his vociferous tone against creationism and god-based religions in general. Now in his 70s it's rather nice to see him talk from the positive side of science, rather than coming across like a rapid attack dog.


    Richard Dawkins - Video Library - The New York Times


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    still, that's what i thought when Dawkins brought out The Ancestor's Tale, and guess what his next book was ?
    exactly, The God Delusion

    if Dawkins appears to go soft, it usually because he thinks it's going to serve his cause better to sound a bit less strident for a while


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    Dawkins allows us to play good atheist/bad atheist. Dawkins softens up the religious, making them believe that non believers are strident. When one of us talks to that religious guy, and comes across as reasonable and willing to listen, it knocks them back and makes them more amenable to the non believer philosophy.

    Not to mention the fact that Dawkins is very, very smart, and makes very telling points.
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    Yes, Dawkins is smart, and makes his point everytime with reasoned argument,
    but feel, with respect, he misses an important concept, that there can be life
    and a blueprint for life, without a 'god'as we understand the description.
    nokton
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    I've never noticed much stridency from Dawkins, and the people asserting it (often stridently, btw, and noticeably so) seem to end up either skipping the evidence or pointing to stuff that is by turns reasonable in tone and simply misunderstood by them.

    If one might hazard a guess, the impression of stridency in some appears to arise from disappointment of complacent assumptions of deference. Dawkins talks about religion as one would talk about ideology or art or sports or music.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nokton View Post
    Yes, Dawkins is smart, and makes his point everytime with reasoned argument,
    but feel, with respect, he misses an important concept, that there can be life
    and a blueprint for life, without a 'god'as we understand the description.
    nokton
    And yet you have yet to demonstrate a "Blueprint" that does not involve an intelligent interference.
    If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. -Thorin Oakenshield

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    Never had a problem with Dawkins. He's straight talking, and he knows what he's talking about. Always found him refreshing.
    Don't bother visiting my Earth Sciences forum, it died a death due to lack of love
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Not to mention the fact that Dawkins is very, very smart, and makes very telling points.
    You think? Plenty of professional philosophers and theologians think his arguments lack substance.

    Personally I agree with them for the most part.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sox View Post
    Plenty of professional philosophers and theologians think his arguments lack substance.Personally I agree with them for the most part.
    Coming from a group of philosophers and theologians, that shows quite a lack of self-awareness and is IMO rather funny.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by nokton View Post
    Yes, Dawkins is smart, and makes his point everytime with reasoned argument,
    but feel, with respect, he misses an important concept, that there can be life
    and a blueprint for life, without a 'god'as we understand the description.
    nokton
    And yet you have yet to demonstrate a "Blueprint" that does not involve an intelligent interference.
    Oh my, Paleo, what can I say. It has nothing to do with intelligence as we understand the concept.
    Allow me to put it this way, intelligent design, or interference as you put it, would not take 250 million
    years to create an intelligent species that could look to the stars, and ask, are we alone.
    In the study of evolution Paleo, certain things not sit very well with me. I am an highly trained analyst.
    The fact that as life evolves it becomes more complex, and, beauty and form, become more predominant
    intrigues me. I have no explanation,I can only say that .
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    if its not intelligence as defined by man, then don't equate it as such by using the term.

    beauty and form are extremely subjective concepts that do not have a set definition in the way you are using them.
    If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. -Thorin Oakenshield

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    Quote Originally Posted by inow View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by sox View Post
    Plenty of professional philosophers and theologians think his arguments lack substance.Personally I agree with them for the most part.
    Coming from a group of philosophers and theologians, that shows quite a lack of self-awareness and is IMO rather funny.
    Don't quite understand what you mean by that, but I'm glad I amused you in some way! lol

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    Quote Originally Posted by sox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by inow View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by sox View Post
    Plenty of professional philosophers and theologians think his arguments lack substance.Personally I agree with them for the most part.
    Coming from a group of philosophers and theologians, that shows quite a lack of self-awareness and is IMO rather funny.
    Don't quite understand what you mean by that, but I'm glad I amused you in some way! lol
    I think iNow read your post as saying that you agree with those who think Dawkins' arguments lack substance. But you probably meant to say you agree with most of Dawkins' arguments, or not? Your post is kind of ambiguous like that.
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    Nah I meant I don't think most (though not all) of his arguments have any substance.

    I apologise for any ambiguity, over the past few years my English has got steadily worse... alarming given that I've lived in the UK my whole life!

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    good you are, as long as Yoddish you dont start speaking
    If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. -Thorin Oakenshield

    The needs of the many outweigh the need of the few - Spock of Vulcan & Sentinel Prime of Cybertron ---proof that "the needs" are in the eye of the beholder.
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    Nah I meant I don't think most (though not all) of his arguments have any substance.
    I am the opposite; I think most (but not all) of his arguments are valid. I am curious, is there a certain flavour of his arguments you disagree with? Perhaps his complete denouncing of all religion?
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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    I find his overall approach to be quite hypocritical. Nor do I think his arguments concerning evolution are up to much. Those are the two that I can think of off the top of my head.

    If you want to discuss things further I'd be happy to in PM's.

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    I always feel like he fails to consider that science and all its incomplete theories needs quite a bit of blind faith too, at least for us normal mortals. But then again I only read so much of his work and that is already quite some time ago. He seemed almost rude at times though.
    "the cake is not a lie, you just won't get any" - girl on the next floor
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum View Post
    if its not intelligence as defined by man, then don't equate it as such by using the term.

    beauty and form are extremely subjective concepts that do not have a set definition in the way you are using them.
    With respect, you surprise me now. can you not grasp the concept of organic molecules (carbon-hydrogen linked), being
    formed just after the 'big bang'? And then seeding the universe with the potential of life to evolve in any suitable environment.
    Man cannot by default, define intelligence, unless of course we consider ourselves the pinnacle of thought and reason,
    which is an aspiration not yet realised. We don't understand our basic problems of gravity, and dream up scenarios of dark
    matter and dark energy to try to explain something we do not understand as yet.
    Beauty and form are not subjective, ask the female puffin searching for a mate, she selects her mate on the basis of geometrical
    pattern and colour, the same with coral reef fish, and many birds, what has this to do with reproduction and survival of the fittest.
    Socrates, on his deathbed, described to his disciples the law of opposites, Have you studied that and evaluated it?
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    Ok, clearly you do not understand the big bang and the progression of the element formation that happened. Complex molecules such as organics did not form right after the big bang.

    and everyone sees and evaluates beauty and form differently, so yes they are subjective.
    If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. -Thorin Oakenshield

    The needs of the many outweigh the need of the few - Spock of Vulcan & Sentinel Prime of Cybertron ---proof that "the needs" are in the eye of the beholder.
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    The video seems like ordinary Dawkins to me - he doesn't seem to have changed much in tone or basic approach, beyond the settings of age and the circumstances of the interview.

    But I never had much sympathy with the perception of him as strident, rude, "rabid attack dog", or anything of the kind. Withholding a unique and quite obviously unearned deference to religious establishment, talking about religious institutions and ideologies and intellectual works in the same calm manner as one would soberly discuss politics, literature, art, music, philosophy, etc, hardly seems "rabid".
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum View Post
    Ok, clearly you do not understand the big bang and the progression of the element formation that happened. Complex molecules such as organics did not form right after the big bang.

    and everyone sees and evaluates beauty and form differently, so yes they are subjective.
    Not understand the theory of the big bang? Indeed I do, but have issues with the sudden and brief hyper
    expansion phase. Lightspeed was exceeded, and physics as we now undersand them, turned on its head.
    Just, or right after, the the big bang, is a matter of timescale. My point, which you seem to keep avoiding,
    was, and is, organic molecules were formed in the early universe, so the precursors of life were present
    billions of years ago, and given the right environment, flourished.
    As to your comment beauty is in the eye of the beholder, you missed my point entirely, abstract appreciation
    of artform is something we humans possess, in the case of birds and fish it is the drive to select mates on a basis
    of colour and geometric perfection that interests me.
    A professor at Cal Tec once told me, a trained mind is a closed mind, keep thinking out of the box
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    It is becoming clear to me now Paleo, that reasoned debate with you is out of the question.
    You insist on denigrating any opinion I propose and explain, without evaluating it.
    You respond by terse comments better suited to the uninitiated. rather than a response
    to a reasoned argument, you assume total knowledge of any point in question,
    that is arrogence that betrays who, and what, you are.
    More than that, you take it upon yourself to make judgements of my knowledge and
    learning without knowing anything about me.
    I was studying science before your momma put a nappy on you
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    Quote Originally Posted by nokton View Post
    I was studying science before your momma put a nappy on you
    But apparently you learned very little
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura View Post
    The video seems like ordinary Dawkins to me - he doesn't seem to have changed much in tone or basic approach, beyond the settings of age and the circumstances of the interview.

    But I never had much sympathy with the perception of him as strident, rude, "rabid attack dog", or anything of the kind. Withholding a unique and quite obviously unearned deference to religious establishment, talking about religious institutions and ideologies and intellectual works in the same calm manner as one would soberly discuss politics, literature, art, music, philosophy, etc, hardly seems "rabid".
    Hear, hear.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nokton View Post
    It is becoming clear to me now Paleo, that reasoned debate with you is out of the question.
    You insist on denigrating any opinion I propose and explain, without evaluating it.
    You respond by terse comments better suited to the uninitiated. rather than a response
    to a reasoned argument, you assume total knowledge of any point in question,
    that is arrogence that betrays who, and what, you are.
    More than that, you take it upon yourself to make judgements of my knowledge and
    learning without knowing anything about me.
    I was studying science before your momma put a nappy on you

    Hmmm, just a little patronizing. I will point out that if you were studying before I was born, then it would explain the out of date information that you seem to be basing your assertions on.
    If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. -Thorin Oakenshield

    The needs of the many outweigh the need of the few - Spock of Vulcan & Sentinel Prime of Cybertron ---proof that "the needs" are in the eye of the beholder.
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    if im not mistaken,didn't carbon take several billion years to form?
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    The early complex array of large atoms and of organic molecules most probably did not form till about 8 billion years ago. Is this 'early universe'? Depends on your definitions.
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    Quote Originally Posted by brane wave View Post
    if im not mistaken,didn't carbon take several billion years to form?
    No it was created when the first massive stars went supernova, a few million years after they were born...a rough guess would be less than a billion years after the BB.
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    agreed. i could have been optimistic...did you see the 12 years old 'genius' who said it would take several billions years for carbon to be created? not heard about him for ages tbh...i always agree with the concessus,as experience taught me/us
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by nokton View Post
    It is becoming clear to me now Paleo, that reasoned debate with you is out of the question.
    You insist on denigrating any opinion I propose and explain, without evaluating it.
    You respond by terse comments better suited to the uninitiated. rather than a response
    to a reasoned argument, you assume total knowledge of any point in question,
    that is arrogence that betrays who, and what, you are.
    More than that, you take it upon yourself to make judgements of my knowledge and
    learning without knowing anything about me.
    I was studying science before your momma put a nappy on you

    Hmmm, just a little patronizing. I will point out that if you were studying before I was born, then it would explain the out of date information that you seem to be basing your assertions on.
    That is just the response I expected from you. Not intelligent and meaningful discourse, but denigration of any opinion
    that conflicts with yours.
    nokton.
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    nokton, may I ask what in your comment i responded to was I expected to start a meaningful discourse on?
    If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. -Thorin Oakenshield

    The needs of the many outweigh the need of the few - Spock of Vulcan & Sentinel Prime of Cybertron ---proof that "the needs" are in the eye of the beholder.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum View Post
    nokton, may I ask what in your comment i responded to was I expected to start a meaningful discourse on?
    Paleo, thanx your response, let us have meaningful discourse pertaining to our respective positions here.
    You are a trained, learned, and highly qualified contributer here. I have no such merit in that respect.
    I am self taught in all matters of science, which is a passion to me, and spent most of my working life
    as an analyst for a very well respected company.
    I read, study, compare, and evaluate, then form or adjust my opinion. No offence intended by this comment,
    I have no rote learning that may influence my objectivity. Please take the above in the spirit it is intended.
    nokton
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    You never answered his specific question. You just went on about something else.

    Can you read and answer his question?
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    I answered it in my last post, in the spirit of undersanding different points of view and
    trying to explain mine. With respect, it seems there is only one point of view on this forum.
    We are right and you are wrong, and then denigrate the poster and make assumptions on
    the posters learning and education, just because the posters opinion does not suit you.
    That sort of response does not come from a scientific mind, rather a piece of paper saying
    I passed. Therefore I am superior to you. A bit of humble pie might be in order.
    I know your response before you make it, don't bother, am out of here.
    nokton.
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