This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

← Dawkins et al bring us into disrepute

Dawkins et al bring us into disrepute - Comments

mrjohnno's Avatar Comment 1 by mrjohnno

Fucking guardian

Mon, 02 Nov 2009 17:43:00 UTC | #410641

Mark Jones's Avatar Comment 2 by Mark Jones

A truly appalling article. Amazing that he's allowed it to be published - I think a 10 year old child could read through this and point out the howlers within.

Mon, 02 Nov 2009 17:45:00 UTC | #410642

Mr Blue Sky's Avatar Comment 4 by Mr Blue Sky

PZ said it right "Clueless Gobshite"!

Mon, 02 Nov 2009 17:46:00 UTC | #410644

mrjohnno's Avatar Comment 3 by mrjohnno

Anyone who thinks that the perpetuation of irrationality is in any way good should be shot.

Mon, 02 Nov 2009 17:46:00 UTC | #410643

EvidenceOnly's Avatar Comment 5 by EvidenceOnly

If Michael Ruse and Richard Dawkins were a math teachers, Richard Dawkins would say that people who believe that 1 plus 1 is 5 are delusional and Michael Ruse would say (a) that Richard Dawkins is offending those people by being too blunt when he says that 1 plus 1 is 2, (b) that all those who believe that 1 plus 1 is 2 need to accept that those who believe that 1 plus 1 is 5 may have valid reasons for their beliefs, and (c) that most of them are good people who are accomplished in other disciplines which means that we should not criticize their beliefs.

That's what I'm reading in his nonsense.

Mon, 02 Nov 2009 17:48:00 UTC | #410646

Demotruk's Avatar Comment 6 by Demotruk

Why is the word "schism" being used so frequently these days? It implies there was some unified atheist school of thought we all followed in the past. Yet we are defined only by one thing, a non belief in God. Our viewpoints on all other things can, do and always did vary wildly.

Mon, 02 Nov 2009 17:48:00 UTC | #410648

Rickuinox's Avatar Comment 7 by Rickuinox

Interesting. However I would argue that the Quakers and evangelicals were inspired by their innate human empathy to want the slaves to be free. And without religion as a motivation, would anyone fly a plane into a building? maybe, but I bet they would be more against it if they saw death as annihilation. Religion gives people an escape when life gets tough. A tough life is easier to cope with when you diminish the importance of that life. I understand that.
But there is a huge price to pay when diminishing the importance of this amazing life we so improbably acquired. The players never take the dress rehearsal seriously.

Mon, 02 Nov 2009 17:49:00 UTC | #410649

Sciros's Avatar Comment 8 by Sciros

I confessed to seeing why true believers might find the Kentucky Creationist Museum convincing
Oh, I'll confess that too. It's all about the zonkey.


Why do they have a zonkey? It's a creationist museum! Why do they have a zonkey???

Seriously, though, this guy is an total asshat.

Mon, 02 Nov 2009 17:51:00 UTC | #410650

Nunbeliever's Avatar Comment 9 by Nunbeliever

Trying to understand how God could need no cause, Christians claim that God exists necessarily. I have taken the effort to try to understand what that means.


Oh Bollocks! If he's actually an philosopher, then MAYBE before starting his discussion he should ask what GOD is... Before he can give us a meaningful definition we can't even start to think about the necessity of god.


Thus, like a first-year undergraduate, he can happily go around asking loudly, "What caused God?" as though he had made some momentous philosophical discovery.


Yes, and his answer to this is?..... NOTHING. Not a word. If Dawkins is so naive and childish, then would it not be a child's play for Ruse to point out these obvious fallacies. BUT NO! How come they NEVER give any arguments???

How on EARTH did this fool get his degree??? Anyone???

Mon, 02 Nov 2009 18:00:00 UTC | #410653

severalspeciesof's Avatar Comment 10 by severalspeciesof

Sigh...

At least the comments on the link to this article, for the most part, are worth reading...

Mon, 02 Nov 2009 18:02:00 UTC | #410655

Chrysippus_Maximus's Avatar Comment 11 by Chrysippus_Maximus

Ruse has written some really good articles on this issue in the past. These issues of methodology and so on are sort of a side-bar to the real substantive issue that concerns atheists and theists, and metaphysicians, and scientists alike (namely, the answer to the question "What is there?")

Reacting to any criticism (valid or not) with condemnation of the person in the way that some here are doing with Ruse, and have done with others, is just adding fodder to that side-issue, and this empowers those we think are WRONG about the substantive issue (precisely because it avoids it).

And actually, that's probably part of Ruse's point.

Mon, 02 Nov 2009 18:03:00 UTC | #410656

bendigeidfran's Avatar Comment 12 by bendigeidfran

Comment #428951 by Sciros

Funny you should post that picture today. Last night I dreamt I could play the bray-piano with my teeth and when I woke up I had eaten a zonkey.

Mon, 02 Nov 2009 18:07:00 UTC | #410657

Rob Schneider's Avatar Comment 15 by Rob Schneider

comment #428957 by Spinoza has a valid point: Being cordial, and dealing with the weaknesses in this man's article, does not mean you're an accommodationist.

All the "gobshite" "ass-hat" comments do is beat the believer at their own game... off-topic name calling.

Mon, 02 Nov 2009 18:10:00 UTC | #410661

A's Avatar Comment 14 by A

"meaning"

Michael Ruse, go fuck yourself sweety.

I'd stop around and explain, but I am tooling up for the schism.

Mon, 02 Nov 2009 18:10:00 UTC | #410660

God fearing Atheist's Avatar Comment 13 by God fearing Atheist

Second, unlike the new atheists, I take scholarship seriously. I have written that The God Delusion made me ashamed to be an atheist and I meant it. Trying to understand how God could need no cause, Christians claim that God exists necessarily. I have taken the effort to try to understand what that means. Dawkins and company are ignorant of such claims and positively contemptuous of those who even try to understand them, let alone believe them. Thus, like a first-year undergraduate, he can happily go around asking loudly, "What caused God?" as though he had made some momentous philosophical discovery


I'm getting tired of hearing this. Its like a pantomime sketch - "Dawkins doesn't understand theology" - "Oh yes he does" - "Oh no he doesn't" ... "Oh no he doesn't".

Instead of just repeating the mantra, why can't we have an explanation?

I have taken the effort to try to understand what that means.


but are you going to share it with us? "Oh no 'e's not" ...

Mon, 02 Nov 2009 18:10:00 UTC | #410659

adamd164's Avatar Comment 16 by adamd164

Ruse makes some sweeping generalisations about the beliefs of the "new atheists".

Assuming he includes within this group those of us who do not think that Dawkins' dismissal of theological fodder was dishonest or inaccurate, then he'd better explain on what basis he claims us all to think that religion is solely a source of evil?

Plenty of us are prepared to accept that both good and evil can be done in the name of religion; we merely contend that religiousity per se is not necessary for goodness, and that certain acts of evil could not have had secular inspiration (suicide bombings, I agree with Dawkins, fall into this category).

Ruse is just as dismissive and ignorant of the "new atheism" movement as he claims us to be of theology; yet our arguments are far more lucid and substantive than those of any theologian.

Mon, 02 Nov 2009 18:15:00 UTC | #410662

Sciros's Avatar Comment 17 by Sciros

All the "gobshite" "ass-hat" comments do is beat the believer at their own game... off-topic name calling.
Hey that's one more front we got them beat on, then.

Ruse is an atheist. He's not writing his nonsensical essays for the believers, and I submit that they do not really want to hear what he has to say anyway. Whether Ruse likes it or not, he's on our side as far as nearly all theists are concerned, so his handwavy attempts to equate the [relatively] uncompromising position of Dawkins and others with that of dogmatic theists falls mostly on deaf ears, and I'd say is only really appreciated by other such accommodationists (and of course flea authors looking for a quote or two to mine).

In short, he's not even making himself worth anyone's time.

Mon, 02 Nov 2009 18:19:00 UTC | #410664

Apathy personified's Avatar Comment 18 by Apathy personified

First

I have written that The God Delusion made me ashamed to be an atheist
You-fucking-what? Let's break that down. Because of TGD, you are ashamed that you do not believe in a god, or gods? Seriously, how the fuck does that work?

If, as the new atheists think, Darwinian evolutionary biology is incompatible with Christianity, then will they give me a good argument as to why the science should be taught in schools if it implies the falsity of religion? The first amendment to the constitution of the United States of America separates church and state. Why are their beliefs exempt?
So now atheism is a religion? Evolutionary science is a religion?

Me thinks he believes in belief a bit too much and has had his empty head filled with post modern shite.

Mon, 02 Nov 2009 18:22:00 UTC | #410668

MarcCountry's Avatar Comment 19 by MarcCountry

Mr. Ruse is aptly named.

""What or who is an atheist?" If you mean someone who absolutely and utterly does not believe there is any God or meaning..."

A-Theist. Not A-meaningist. Idiot. There's a famous Ad Reinhardt cartoon, where a gallery-goer looks at an abstract painting, and scoffs "What's it MEAN?", and the painting comes alive and retorts, "WHAT DO YOU MEAN?" What's the meaning of a person? What's the meaning of a banana, for that matter (other than to cause atheist nightmares, of course)?

"The Quakers and the Evangelicals were inspired and driven by their religion to oppose slavery, and a good thing too."

Obviously false. They shared their religion, Christianity, with the worst slavers. What "inspired" their opposition to slavery was their human moral sense, which they share with atheists. It is morality, not religion, that is the motivator, here. Duh.

"...young men who flew into the World Trade Centre towers were infected by the alienation and despair of the young in Muslim countries in the face of poverty..."

Retarded. These were not poor people. They were very well funded. What absolutely disgusting apologia.

I'm tired of this ruse...

Mon, 02 Nov 2009 18:24:00 UTC | #410669

hungarianelephant's Avatar Comment 20 by hungarianelephant

Here is where I gave up:

The troubles in Northern Ireland were surely about socio-economic issues also, and the young men who flew into the World Trade Centre towers were infected by the alienation and despair of the young in Muslim countries in the face of poverty and inequalities.

Because seriously, you can't throw a tea brack in North or West Belfast without hitting at least a couple of people banging on about socio-economic issues. And of course the young men who flew into the World Trade Centre are very different from those whose last words as they ran Flight 93 into the ground were "Allahu Akhbar".

Now if the point is that religion is not the only factor in these things, that is well made. But Richard and co are very clear on this issue. Who's the cherry picker here?


9. Comment #428954 by Nunbeliever
If Dawkins is so naive and childish, then would it not be a child's play for Ruse to point out these obvious fallacies. BUT NO! How come they NEVER give any arguments???

They have learned well from Mr Blair. "I refer to my previous evasions on that subject."

Actually the charge here is "first year undergraduate", which is a variation on the usual "sophomoric". It's an interesting type of put-down. It suggests intelligence, but a certain lack of sophistication and background knowledge. But why is this such a bad thing anyway? Sometimes you need simplicity to cut through the crap which accumulates around a particular subject. It is perfectly valid, for example, to ask for evidence of the existence of deities before going on to discuss what kind of biscuits they like with their coffee - even if that is a "first year undergraduate" question. Peering over your glasses and saying "Young man, perhaps you haven't considered the biscuitology problems on page 879 ..." simply doesn't cut it.

Mon, 02 Nov 2009 18:24:00 UTC | #410670

Chrysippus_Maximus's Avatar Comment 21 by Chrysippus_Maximus

In short, he's not even making himself worth anyone's time.


Why don't you read his essay "Creation-Science is Not a Science" in the journal Science, Technology, and Human Values Vol. 7 No. 40 (Summer 1982). (Here's a link: http://sth.sagepub.com/cgi/reprint/7/3/72 )

He's been making worthwhile, solid, meaningful contributions to this debate for nearly (actually perhaps more than... I'm not quite sure when he began weighing in, though he was an expert witness testifying in a case of creationism in the classroom in 1981) 30 years now. To write him off in this way is just absurd.

If you don't like what he says in the article, address the concerns of the article properly. This ad hoc dismissiveness is absurd, it just proves his point.

Mon, 02 Nov 2009 18:27:00 UTC | #410671

mirandaceleste's Avatar Comment 22 by mirandaceleste

What a horrid and nasty article from a willfully confused/ignorant/arrogant author. Wow.

This passage is especially frustrating and wrongheaded:


But that is no excuse for political stupidity. If, as the new atheists think, Darwinian evolutionary biology is incompatible with Christianity, then will they give me a good argument as to why the science should be taught in schools if it implies the falsity of religion? The first amendment to the constitution of the United States of America separates church and state. Why are their beliefs exempt?


WHAT? That makes NO sense whatsoever, completely distorts and misrepresents the First Amendment's religious clauses, and is an utterly ridiculous piece of nonsensical and clueless bullshit.

Who else is going to be responding to the Guardian's question ("Is there an atheist schism?")? I don't see that mentioned anywhere on the site.

Mon, 02 Nov 2009 18:28:00 UTC | #410672

clunkclickeverytrip's Avatar Comment 23 by clunkclickeverytrip

We want disrepute - bring it on. And don't say "us" without asking to be in our gang first. We may not want you.
TGD is the scientific approach - it is the only rational way to approach the question. No philosophy needed, thanks anyway. Define the monotheist god, look for evidence for and against it's existence and reach a conclusion:
2000 year old made-up stories (no evidence for any god per se - plenty of evidence for the power of brainwashing children so they believe in a supernatural power as adults and repeat the cycle);
vs.
4 billion years of life as a result of evolution by natural selection (no evidence for supernatural intervention).

Mon, 02 Nov 2009 18:34:00 UTC | #410674

Chrysippus_Maximus's Avatar Comment 24 by Chrysippus_Maximus

No philosophy needed, thanks anyway.


Well, I certainly hope Richard Dawkins doesn't think that (and I'm fairly certain he doesn't).

Is this sort of nonsense a way of avoiding dealing with criticism?

Mon, 02 Nov 2009 18:37:00 UTC | #410675

Sciros's Avatar Comment 25 by Sciros

Why don't you read his essay "Creation-Science is Not a Science" in the journal Science, Technology, and Human Values Vol. 7 No. 40 (Summer 1982). (Here's a link: http://sth.sagepub.com/cgi/reprint/7/3/72 )

He's been making worthwhile, solid, meaningful contributions to this debate for nearly 30 years now. To write him off in this way is just absurd.

If you don't like what he says in the article, address the concerns of the article properly. This ad hoc dismissiveness is absurd, it just proves his point.
Come on, Spinoza bro... you referred me to an article of his from 1982! That is 27 years ago! And it's in a journal of a society (4S) that as of last year has a grand total of 1200 members. Whoo-wee.

If you don't like what he says in the article, address the concerns of the article properly.
Ruse is repeating himself and other accommodationists in making statements that have been refuted countless times. Why should I repeat what so many others have already said in response (to this particular essay and others)? Besides, what I had to say was far from just a personal attack.

If you're buddies with Ruse, then fair enough; at least I understand why you're trying to make sure people attack the ideas rather than the person. But honestly I just have no respect for the guy and he's done nothing to earn it. Writing baseless, handwavy admonishments seems to be his M.O. these days. His past work may stand on its own merit, but this isn't about his past work.

Mon, 02 Nov 2009 18:42:00 UTC | #410676

Chrysippus_Maximus's Avatar Comment 26 by Chrysippus_Maximus

Michael Ruse wrote:

Second, unlike the new atheists, I take scholarship seriously. I have written that The God Delusion made me ashamed to be an atheist and I meant it. Trying to understand how God could need no cause, Christians claim that God exists necessarily. I have taken the effort to try to understand what that means. Dawkins and company are ignorant of such claims and positively contemptuous of those who even try to understand them, let alone believe them. Thus, like a first-year undergraduate, he can happily go around asking loudly, "What caused God?" as though he had made some momentous philosophical discovery. Dawkins was indignant when, on the grounds that inanimate objects cannot have emotions, philosophers like Mary Midgley criticised his metaphorical notion of a selfish gene. Sauce for the biological goose is sauce for the atheist gander. There are a lot of very bright and well informed Christian theologians. We atheists should demand no less.


Indeed. This set of comments on his article is starting to prove exactly why Ruse said this.

If you DON'T think that this is a fair reconstruction of the argument in The God Delusion, provide a plausible reconstruction of it that does better.

If you don't care to do that, you're committed to exactly the thing Ruse accuses you of -- You clearly don't care about understanding what's going on in the debate.

I should add that I think Richard's view on this issue is better than he is given credit for, and certainly more cogent than the dumbed-down version of it he is often accused of championing. That is, I think a reconstruction is possible that avoids mis-characterizing the arguments. Richard has often said that if your view of God is of the Einsteinian sort, he's got no problem with that (and that in some sense this IS his view).

Einstein's view is largely consistent with his Spinozism, and thus with the ontological argument in propositions 1-15 of the first part of The Ethics (read it, it's great!)

The issue becomes substantive when you ask what such logical commitments entail, substantively, as far as the properties of the necessary existent thing you've got at must have.

Theists are going to try to push "mind" or "consciousness" into the ontological argument, and a good atheist (that is, one who cares), is going to try and show them why they can't do this. And it isn't as simple as the arguments in The God Delusion.

As I said, though, I think Richard's got a way out -- I almost wish Ruse would take a step back and see it too (as I see it), and help reconstruct the "Who just did God, then?" argument in a more elegant, systematic, logical way.

Mon, 02 Nov 2009 18:47:00 UTC | #410677

InYourFaceNewYorker's Avatar Comment 27 by InYourFaceNewYorker

The writer of this article seems to forget that Dawkins made it clear that he doesn't expect to "convert" people who are "dyed-in-the-wool faith-heads" but rather people who are on the fence or haven't given it much thought.

Mon, 02 Nov 2009 18:55:00 UTC | #410679

Mango's Avatar Comment 28 by Mango

Sciros wrote

Come on, Spinoza bro... you referred me to an article of his from 1982! That is 27 years ago!


Spinoza's point was completely lost on you; he's arguing that Ruse has been considering these issues for a very long time, and even if you disagree with his views, argue against the views and not the man (i.e. ad hominem). His views are worth understanding.

Mon, 02 Nov 2009 18:57:00 UTC | #410680

Russell Blackford's Avatar Comment 29 by Russell Blackford

Udo Schuklenk and I have co-authored a piece in this same series that Comment is Free is publishing this week. Needless to say, we take a rather different view from Ruse's.

Ophelia Benson also has a piece in the series. Not sure who else.

There will be a new answer to the "atheist schism" question each day.

Mon, 02 Nov 2009 18:58:00 UTC | #410682

Sciros's Avatar Comment 30 by Sciros


Indeed. This set of comments on his article is starting to prove exactly why Ruse said this.

If you DON'T think that this is a fair reconstruction of the argument in The God Delusion, provide a plausible reconstruction of it that does better.

If you don't care to do that, you're committed to exactly the thing Ruse accuses you of -- You clearly don't care about understanding what's going on in the debate.
Why are you being so unusually bothersome in this particular case?

What reconstruction of the TGD argument? Ruse makes no attempt at one; why pretend that his rather out-of-context tidbit quoting Dawkins as saying "who created god?" even amounts to a reconstruction of an argument? It's a straw man at best. The whole idea of "god necessarily existing" as a response to the idea of everything-but-god needing a cause is indeed utterly nonsensical, and to "understand" it as Ruse has claimed to do, is the purest bullshit. Does Ruse even attempt to elaborate on his attempt to "understand" the free pass that the god concept gets regarding origin? (No.)

As for the reference to the metaphorical "selfish gene," the fact that it is a metaphor means that criticizing it as if it's literal is nonsense, so case closed there. Don't fall for Ruse's word games, Spinoza. And stop challenging us to waste further time on that disreputable hack by pretending he has anything of value to actually say (anymore, if ever).

Mon, 02 Nov 2009 19:01:00 UTC | #410683