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Richard Dawkins' Enemies of Reason, Monday, Channel 4, 8pm. watch

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    (Original post by AS)
    And some of his claims - and of the claims of Humanism in general - require just as much of a leap of faith as does belief in God.

    I think my beef with Dawkins stems primarily from his status as a figurehead and idol for the more, not to put too fine a point on it, self-satisfied members of the atheist community.
    Absolutely.
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    (Original post by TML)
    We wouldn't know where to start when imagining a world where religion didn't exist. It's so indented into the fabrics of ancient societies. Sure, you can probably imagine that crusades wouldn't happen - however perhaps some other disasters by other dictators may have replaced the crusades. Everbody has beliefs, and that's basically what religion is all about. By imagining a world without religion then you imagine a society of robots. And it's very easy to pick out the bad things which religion has done to history, yet also very easy to ignore the good that religion has done.
    Why do you keep banging on? I all ready said that no one suggested the idea was realistic, unless you're trying to change topic and discuss whether the world would be better or worse without religion. So if you are I'll address that in another post as there are many flaws in what you're saying.
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    Why do you keep banging on? I all ready said that no one suggested the idea was realistic, unless you're trying to change topic and discuss whether the world would be better or worse without religion. So if you are I'll address that in another post as there are many flaws in what you're saying.
    Okay, Mensan :rolleyes: I'll be quiet.
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    (Original post by Mensan1)
    Well you're very easily exposed to arguments of a reductio ad absurdum nature. You also do not have any evidence that god isn't an invisible evil break-dancing elephant called Nancy, so you wouldn't bet your house that, that doesn't exist? And the myriad other stupid things that have no evidence to support it, for conceivable reasons.
    That's not a reductio, you know.

    TML hasn't made the obviously invalid argument that:
    1. There is no evidence that God does not exist (true)
    2. Therefore, God exists

    Quit straw-manning.
    (Original post by Mensan1)
    Well I agree that I am, technically, an agnostic when it comes to god but only in the same way that you are when it comes to Islam and Santa Clause
    I don't have any beliefs about Islam. And I don't believe that Santa Claus does not exist because there's no evidence for him. I believe that Santa Claus does not exist because I have scads of evidence that he does not exist (for instance, we know that parents make up the Santa Claus myth in order to tell their children etc).
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    (Original post by TML)
    We wouldn't know where to start when imagining a world where religion didn't exist. It's so indented into the fabrics of ancient societies. Sure, you can probably imagine that crusades wouldn't happen - however perhaps some other disasters by other dictators may have replaced the crusades.
    This is no decent argument to almost defend the crusades, or, at least, not make them seem so bad. There's no good in saying 'if there was no September 11, who knows, perhaps it would have been replaced by other crackpots inflicting damage on the same scale at some other point.


    (Original post by TML)
    Everbody has beliefs, and that's basically what religion is all about. By imagining a world without religion then you imagine a society of robots.
    That is a behemoth statement and it is equally fatuous. There are many atheists in the world right? So let's imagine that we gathered them in one country. Do you think they will turn into a 'society of robots'?
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    (Original post by phawkins1988)
    That's not a reductio, you know.

    TML hasn't made the obviously invalid argument that:
    1. There is no evidence that God does not exist (true)
    2. Therefore, God exists

    Quit straw-manning.
    Even if it's not a reductio (which it is), it wouldn't be straw-manning would it? How did you even come to that conclusion?

    And it is a reductio. I presume you know what that is, so again I don't know how you even came to that conclusion. Unless he/she really wouldn't bet his house that god isn't an evil invisible paink elephant named Nancy, in which case he/she is not very sensible.

    (Original post by phawkins1988)
    I don't have any beliefs about Islam. And I don't believe that Santa Claus does not exist because there's no evidence for him. I believe that Santa Claus does not exist because I have scads of evidence that he does not exist (for instance, we know that parents make up the Santa Claus myth in order to tell their children etc).
    So do you have evidence that Islam isn't true? Or that there was once X (replace with the silliest thing your imagination can conjure up)
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    This is no decent argument to almost defend the crusades, or, at least, not make them seem so bad.
    Correct me if I'm wrong but I don't think I ever did. What I do ask you to do though is examine the historical context. What I'm sayin is that you can't just say that eradicating religion would be better because a) you don't know how the world would be different [for example, something more wicked may have replaced religion and b) you can't ignore the benefits of religion as well.

    Religion was indented into the very hearts of ancient primitive societies, and arguably helped us move into the society we have today. Marriage [monogamy], for instance, is most probably derived from one of the religious tribes in the past.

    Secondly, the Crusades were more a result of culture than religion [if they are separable, of course].
    There's no good in saying 'if there was no September 11, who knows, perhaps it would have been replaced by other crackpots inflicting damage on the same scale at some other point.
    Society would be totally different if religion never existed [an implausible idea in the first place]. You can't attack religion whilst ignoring the positive effects of religion.
    That is a behemoth statement and it is equally fatuous. There are many atheists in the world right? So let's imagine that we gathered them in one country. Do you think they will turn into a 'society of robots'?
    If you deny people the right to have a religion, then yes, you would be turning everyone into robots because you'd be denying them a freemind to investigate these important questions in life for themselves.
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    So do you have evidence that Islam isn't true? Or that there was once X (replace with the silliest thing your imagination can conjure up)
    Most probably because phawkins believes that the evidence in favour of Christianity trumps the evidence in favour of Islam. For example, Jesus matches all the Old Testament predictions. That's quite remarkable. Equally, Muslims would say there religion is correct because they take a different perspective. Likewise, you take a different perspective as an atheist. Theists can embrace all these beliefs and make up their own minds. They don't necessarily have to fit the stereotype that they blindly follow a religion. Certain Biblical themes are remarkably accurate when judged against some people's philosophical perspective on life [i.e. that we're all sinful].

    And Mensan, I'm not saying that God exists because He's not been disproven. That would be ad ignorantium.
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    (Original post by Mensan1)
    Strong atheism isn't a religion.
    Agreed, but I think it is a belief system - or at least a belief. Strong atheism, as distinct from the weak atheism that comes at the atheistic end of the spectrum of agnosticism, requires a certain leap of faith.
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    (Original post by 1.9.8.4.)
    Like I said before, there are times when Dawkin's sort of steers of the rails, but most of the time, he does make it very clear that his position is one of a sceptic agnostic.

    To call Dawkin's general stance a 'belief' would be silly in my opinion, although there are moments when he does make a leap of faith.
    Mmkay. Makes sense.
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    (Original post by Agent Smith)
    Agreed, but I think it is a belief system - or at least a belief. Strong atheism, as distinct from the weak atheism that comes at the atheistic end of the spectrum of agnosticism, requires a certain leap of faith.
    The very fact that Dawkins is trying to gain converts to his belief system makes it sound very much like a religion to me.
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    (Original post by Mensan1)
    Just as you probably and hopefully believe that there isn't sufficient evidence for Zeus or wotan. I wouldn't call it apart of your belief system though. Would you?
    Yes. My "belief system" is the sum total of everything I believe, from my suspicion of Scientology to my deeply-held belief that the music of Beethoven is better than that of Mozart. Otherwise I'd have to have two sets of beliefs - 1: "My Belief System" and 2: "Other Things I Also Happen To Believe". Which seems a bit of a strange division to make.
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    (Original post by UniOfLife)
    The very fact that Dawkins is trying to gain converts to his belief system makes it sound very much like a religion to me.
    Trying to gain converts doesn't make a belief system a religion. If that were the only criterion required, Liberalism would be a religion and Judaism would not.
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    The terms "religion", "cults" [etc.] are fairly loose terms anyway, and will differ from dictionary to dictionary. However it is possible to get atheist forms of religion.
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    (Original post by Agent Smith)
    Trying to gain converts doesn't make a belief system a religion. If that were the only criterion required, Liberalism would be a religion and Judaism would not.
    True. But when atheists try to convince others that they're right and that religion is wrong it becomes so similar to the theists that it is difficult to see the difference between the two.

    With political systems, the arguments are about human nature, economics and other tangible and (to some extent) measurable factors. Their discussions are logical and reasonable.

    With god any discussion must be purely hypothetical and theological. Thus to try and convince someone that god doesn't exist is as religious as convincing someone that god does exist. The only difference is that while theists recognise that what they are doing is an act of religion, the atheists remain convinced that they are acting logically and scientifically in an inherently unscientific area.
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    (Original post by Mensan1)
    Even if it's not a reductio (which it is), it wouldn't be straw-manning would it? How did you even come to that conclusion?

    And it is a reductio. I presume you know what that is, so again I don't know how you even came to that conclusion. Unless he/she really wouldn't bet his house that god isn't an evil invisible paink elephant named Nancy, in which case he/she is not very sensible.
    A reductio is where you show that the opponent's view entails a contradiction. Anselm's ontological argument counts as an attempt at a reductio. You've done no such thing.

    It's a straw-man because TML wasn't using the argument form you were criticising.
    (Original post by Mensan1)
    So do you have evidence that Islam isn't true? Or that there was once X (replace with the silliest thing your imagination can conjure up)
    What? I don't need to rule out all other alternatives to believe something.
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    (Original post by UniOfLife)
    True. But when atheists try to convince others that they're right and that religion is wrong it becomes so similar to the theists that it is difficult to see the difference between the two.

    With political systems, the arguments are about human nature, economics and other tangible and (to some extent) measurable factors. Their discussions are logical and reasonable.

    With god any discussion must be purely hypothetical and theological. Thus to try and convince someone that god doesn't exist is as religious as convincing someone that god does exist. The only difference is that while theists recognise that what they are doing is an act of religion, the atheists remain convinced that they are acting logically and scientifically in an inherently unscientific area.
    I'm still not convinced - a religion is more than simply believing in God. Atheists don't have rituals, nor do they have Scriptures (if you don't count the venerated sacred texts of Darwin and Dawkins, that is).
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    (Original post by phawkins1988)
    What? I don't need to rule out all other alternatives to believe something.
    On what basis do you arrive at your beliefs, then?
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    (Original post by Agent Smith)
    I'm still not convinced - a religion is more than simply believing in God. Atheists don't have rituals, nor do they have Scriptures (if you don't count the venerated sacred texts of Darwin and Dawkins, that is).
    And thus we enter the murky waters of trying to define what a religion is.

    For simplicity allow me to rephrase my earlier statement:

    The very fact that Dawkins is trying to gain converts to his belief system means it shares characteristics with the very religions that it despises.
    Is that any better?
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    (Original post by UniOfLife)
    Is that any better?
    Much. I agree with that one
 
 
 
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