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Dawkins certainly isn't deluded by God

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#1
Ungodly

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THE GOD DELUSION by Richard Dawkins (Bantam)

JOAN BAKEWELL

In September 1997 Richard Dawkins allowed an Australian film crew into his Oxford home, only to realise in the course of a particularly inept interview that they were creationists trying to trap him. Tumbling to this, he paused for some moments while deciding whether to throw them out or attempt a long and thoughtful explanation that they didn

#2
Jinny the Squinny

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[quote]With his usual rational skills he sets about dissecting the arguments for the existence of a God. He takes on all comers: Aquinas

#3
Frozenwolf150

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It looks as though he is focusing specifically on the so-called "proofs" that religious fundamentalists use to justify their belief in God.  If so then those brain-dead idiots deserve whatever they get.  Anyone basing their faith on something they feel needs to be "proven" is likely very insecure to begin with.  If he's out to deconvert such people, I think it would be a good thing for both atheism and theism.

I know Dawkins is no fundamentalist, but I can't help but be concerned about what will happen if the book becomes associated with fundamentalist atheists who end up using it inappropriately.

Anyway, I've been looking for something new to read for quite some time.  I hope he puts the final stake in the kalam argument.

#4
Seti

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It wouldn't be if people stopped letting religious people define the word "God"

I don't want to restart that arguement, but it isn't about religious people's definitions of the word "God." The term can only be ascribed to something transcendental, outside of the natural universe. If it were something within the natural universe, it wouldn't be possible to define it as "God" because it would have to obey the laws of the natural universe, and that would make it something completely different. So however much you may try to fudge the definition, it comes down to this: Are you talking about something outside the natural universe or within it?
:fi_lone_ranger: 

#5
The White Coyote

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This is where I always get misunderstood as well. I don't believe inna big bearded guy who controls everything from hurricanes to flattulence yet I have never been able to put a good handle on the power that would be our natural world. Because it isn't a thing, an entity or being it shouldn't be referred to as God, yet what would you call the energy or power that is the creation? Not the creator. That is why I have always said that God is a verb, not a being.

#6
Ungodly

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Mr White Coyote, sir, I think you really are an atheist. As Seti correctly points out, doG is supposed to operate outside the laws of nature.

But what you revere, and quite rightly so IMHO, is nature itself. You respect what really does exist instead of an Imaginary Bearded Sky Daddy. That meets most definitions of atheist.

#7
The White Coyote

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Mr. White Coyote Sir? ? ?  Getting awful formal here. I suppose you are right but it just doesn't seem to fit my twisted sick way of thinking. They need another word. There's never enuf words.

#8
Ungodly

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Mr. White Coyote Sir? ? ?  Getting awful formal here. I suppose you are right but it just doesn't seem to fit my twisted sick way of thinking. They need another word. There's never enuf words.


How about nontheist or non-theist. Because you don't profess belief in a deity. I can understand a person being reluctant to apply the word atheist t themselves, and of course labels are not important anyway.

It's mostly our words and deeds that are important. And I have to respect a man that greets Mor(m)ons at his door with a garden hose. I will not soon forget that story!

#9
The White Coyote

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Is "Untheistical" already taken? Fuqit! It's too hard to try and think up new words. How about a Heretic, does that suit? I like that title. :alien:

#10
Jinny the Squinny

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It wouldn't be if people stopped letting religious people define the word "God"

I don't want to restart that arguement, but it isn't about religious people's definitions of the word "God." The term can only be ascribed to something transcendental, outside of the natural universe. If it were something within the natural universe, it wouldn't be possible to define it as "God" because it would have to obey the laws of the natural universe, and that would make it something completely different. So however much you may try to fudge the definition, it comes down to this: Are you talking about something outside the natural universe or within it?
:fi_lone_ranger: 


I don't mind discussing the point with someone who disagrees AT ALL. If it's being done in a civilized manner. :roll:

I have to disagree with your definition. Forgive me if you find that "fudging". But it's a central tenet of theism that God is both immanent and transcendent. So asking me if I'm talking about one or the other is completely meaningless, since the definition of God I subscribe to as the most plausible entails God being both internal and external to the universe. God is something that should be able to be experienced in some way through all of Creation. I think that "wow!" feeling we get when pondering nature is a perfectly natural experience of the "divine". The sheer utter fabulousness of Creation. I asserted in the other place that Dawkins ought to see the perpetuation of DNA as more exciting and fabulous. I certainly have a Wow! moment when I ponder it. The more amazing science gets, the more "divine" it is, heh.

Why do you suppose God must be one or the other? This is not an idea that should be being expressed by Christians, so I'm wondering where you picked it up. Though I'm not truly surprised that most Christians don't understand the definition of theism, because they aren't theists or Jesusists, they are church-ists and most preachers these days don't have a theological or philosophical education worth shit.

Hey! I've just thought of a label for myself... I'm a Jesus Theist. :-)

#11
Ungodly

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Jinny,

I also get that feeling of reverent awe and inspiration sometimes when I behold this beautiful planet, but I do not see this as a reason to believe in something supernatural. Quite the contrary, I see the beauty (which I perceive) of this planet as being all that much more of a reason to believe in and subscribe to a reality-based lifestyle.

I'm also aware that this perception of beauty I have is strictly an internal process, probably largely modulated by internal secretions of my body, but nonetheless I thoroughly enjoy seeing a  rose in our back yard, or visiting a far away place.

So I share your joy in the beauty we can observe, but I see no connection between that and any supernatural being.

I still like you, but on this point I respectfully disagree.

#12
Frozenwolf150

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Mr. White Coyote Sir? ? ?  Getting awful formal here. I suppose you are right but it just doesn't seem to fit my twisted sick way of thinking. They need another word. There's never enuf words.

"Spiritual atheist".  Like myself.  Buddhists would probably also fall into this category, although they tend to be more agnostic than atheist.

#13
Jinny the Squinny

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Jinny,

I also get that feeling of reverent awe and inspiration sometimes when I behold this beautiful planet, but I do not see this as a reason to believe in something supernatural. Quite the contrary, I see the beauty (which I perceive) of this planet as being all that much more of a reason to believe in and subscribe to a reality-based lifestyle.


I don't believe in ANYTHING "supernatural". If God exists, then God is the most "natural" thing there is.

I'm also aware that this perception of beauty I have is strictly an internal process, probably largely modulated by internal secretions of my body, but nonetheless I thoroughly enjoy seeing a  rose in our back yard, or visiting a far away place.


It's an internal process that is triggered by the input of certain data. Why should a flower trigger such happiness?

So I share your joy in the beauty we can observe, but I see no connection between that and any supernatural being.

I still like you, but on this point I respectfully disagree.


Sharing the joy is the important thing, really. It's the joy that's important. People who know joy find it a lot harder to wish misery on others when they could be spreading joy. It doesn't matter that we disagree on what the ultimate origin of the joy is, the thing is that we know joy, appreciate it, and wish to share it.

Does it worry you as much as it worries me that we are ruled by people who would rather nuke a rose than appreciate its beauty?  :roll:

#14
Seti

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it's a central tenet of theism that God is both immanent and transcendent... Why do you suppose God must be one or the other?

Excuse my paraphrasing the quote. I still think you're playing about with words here, trying to have it both ways. A "god" which is immanent must be subject to the same rules as the rest of the universe and therefore could not be in any part transcendent. A "god" which is in any part transcendent would inevitably be supernatural - "having existence outside the created world, free from the limitations inherent in matter." 

The immanent "god" I don't have too much trouble with. This is Spinosa's god, Einstein's god who doesn't play dice, Hawkings god who created the integers, the White Coyote's "natural god." The "god" which is the universe, which is in all life and which all live is part of. I don't see this as a god to be worshipped, though I may hold it in awe. It isn't something you can pray to as it won't - can't - intervene in the laws of nature because it is the laws of nature; but you can tune into it through meditation or walking in the park on a moist autumn morning. It may occasionally throw up a wise person - entirely by accident - who may offer some useful philosophical guidance or sensible warning. But it certainly would never have sent a son to releive us of sin, because the concepts "sent" "son" and "sin" have absolutely no meaning to it. Come to that, it doesn't give a stuff for burquas or kosher meat - though in hot, dusty climates it might recommend (through lengthy periods of trial and error) certain safety or hygeine practices.

The supernatural "god" however I have no truck with. Pointless, utterly pointless.
:fi_lone_ranger:

#15
Frozenwolf150

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That reminds me of one of my objections to the cosmological argument.  The part of God that is said to exist outside of time, outside of the universe, and that operates outside the laws of nature, is nothing that we need to be concerned with, because it doesn't relate to or affect our lives in any way whatsoever.  The only way for God to be meaningful is through its interactions with us.  A being that lives outside of known reality is not a god at all, but rather an alien.  It doesn't make much sense to believe in something that doesn't believe in you.

#16
The White Coyote

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The supernatural "god" however I have no truck with. Pointless, utterly pointless.


I agree with this because I find the Supernatural God neither super or natural in any way. The supernatural God can't even grow back an arm or leg but my little "natural god" grows back all kinds of stuff! Lizard tails, starfish and octopussy arms, even grows some worms back to whole after they been chopped in two! Let's see old sky daddy do that trick with one of his humans! :snork_lach: :snork_lach: :snork_lach:

#17
Jinny the Squinny

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Excuse my paraphrasing the quote. I still think you're playing about with words here, trying to have it both ways. A "god" which is immanent must be subject to the same rules as the rest of the universe and therefore could not be in any part transcendent. A "god" which is in any part transcendent would inevitably be supernatural - "having existence outside the created world, free from the limitations inherent in matter." 

The immanent "god" I don't have too much trouble with. This is Spinosa's god, Einstein's god who doesn't play dice, Hawkings god who created the integers, the White Coyote's "natural god." The "god" which is the universe, which is in all life and which all live is part of. I don't see this as a god to be worshipped, though I may hold it in awe. It isn't something you can pray to as it won't - can't - intervene in the laws of nature because it is the laws of nature; but you can tune into it through meditation or walking in the park on a moist autumn morning. It may occasionally throw up a wise person - entirely by accident - who may offer some useful philosophical guidance or sensible warning. But it certainly would never have sent a son to releive us of sin, because the concepts "sent" "son" and "sin" have absolutely no meaning to it. Come to that, it doesn't give a stuff for burquas or kosher meat - though in hot, dusty climates it might recommend (through lengthy periods of trial and error) certain safety or hygeine practices.

The supernatural "god" however I have no truck with. Pointless, utterly pointless.
:fi_lone_ranger:


Being immanent to Creation doesn't necessarily bind God to the laws of Creation. His immanence isn't being a *part* of the universe and thus subject to its laws, it's more like... hmmm... pantheism? Being the inherent source and sustainer of all being. Something like that.

It might help to clarify that I hold little truck with "worship" or "prayer" either. To me, the WOW! is worship. Prayer is like blogging for the mind. Religion is just metaphysics and mythology gone mental.

#18
Seti

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Being immanent to Creation doesn't necessarily bind God to the laws of Creation. His immanence isn't being a *part* of the universe and thus subject to its laws, it's more like... hmmm... pantheism? Being the inherent source and sustainer of all being. Something like that.

No, you're still trying to have it both ways. If there is a part of "God" which is not part of the universe and subject to it's laws, then that part is transcendental, outside of nature, and since we have absolutely no evidence that it exists I take leave to beleive that it does not. The immanent part, the source and sustainer, which some identify as pantheistic, is integral and inseparable from the natural world, it is the natural world, the sum of all the forces, the reality which created us and which we create. It isn't purposive, it has no concept of "sin" - it has no concept of "concept." It just is.

Maybe this is what you're really talking about, and we're both constrained by the limitation of having to use words to explain what we're thinking. If you think your "Wow" of worship will be noted in any way by what you see as "God" then we aren't talking about the same thing.
:fi_lone_ranger:

#19
Jinny the Squinny

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Being immanent to Creation doesn't necessarily bind God to the laws of Creation. His immanence isn't being a *part* of the universe and thus subject to its laws, it's more like... hmmm... pantheism? Being the inherent source and sustainer of all being. Something like that.

No, you're still trying to have it both ways. If there is a part of "God" which is not part of the universe and subject to it's laws, then that part is transcendental, outside of nature, and since we have absolutely no evidence that it exists I take leave to beleive that it does not. The immanent part, the source and sustainer, which some identify as pantheistic, is integral and inseparable from the natural world, it is the natural world, the sum of all the forces, the reality which created us and which we create. It isn't purposive, it has no concept of "sin" - it has no concept of "concept." It just is.

Maybe this is what you're really talking about, and we're both constrained by the limitation of having to use words to explain what we're thinking. If you think your "Wow" of worship will be noted in any way by what you see as "God" then we aren't talking about the same thing.
:fi_lone_ranger:


I agree with you that words are a huge problem... human language can't even adequately say what coffee smells like.

Why can't God have an immanent aspect and a transcendent aspect? We have both mind and body, yet you can't poke at the mind in a petri dish. Sometimes we know something actually exists only because we can see the results of its existence. We know we have a mind because we use it yet there's still dispute about how mind and body work. It's a very limited analogy but why can't God be both "mind" and "body"?

#20
Seti

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The mind isn't transcendental. When the body, the brain, ceases to exist, the mind too ceases to exist. OK, maybe it doesn't, but there is no evidence of its continuing existance, and frankly no point to its continuing existance. It cannot interact in any way with those whose brains are still alive and hence whose minds are still active - well, unless you're David Acorah of course, but let's not go there!

I think of the mind being to the brain as the music is to the orchestra (or the CD!) You cannot find the music by taking apart the instruments, or xraying them or putting them under a microscope - although if you experimentally twang a couple of strings you'll get a sound which might give you a clue about what's going on. Only please don't stretch the analogy too far by starting to talk about "someone" being needed to play the instruments!!!
:fi_lone_ranger:


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