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Response to the God Delusion - Comments

Munger's Avatar Comment 1 by Munger

An interesting rebuttal. While I didn't agree with many of his counter-arguments, I thought they were well presented. Then he goes off the deep end and says that the church doesn't ask for "blind faith."

Of course, it all adds up to a rather meek counter-attack. All the good Reverend does is redefine terms to fit his particular point of view. Suddenly, evolution is fine and not contrary to the bible (though ask a fundamentalist who reads the bible literally if that's true) and faith can be as reasonable and well-thought out as scientific observation.

The Reverend is clearly another person who doesn't really know what it is to believe in his own religion.

Sun, 22 Jul 2007 15:09:00 UTC | #54776

drive1's Avatar Comment 2 by drive1

On the positive side, he does use plain English. But it's the usual fare, with the speaker misunderstanding the 'god of the gaps' argument, claiming RD lacks humility, and that belief in the christian god is not 'evidence free' (yup, he refers to the Bible for the evidence). Love the bit at the end of part 1 where he correctly states that RD's position is that we can not conclusively prove god doesn't exist. But, of course, the rev is convinced god does exist (in part 3 he refers, several times, to the 'historical truth' of the resurrection of JC). Yet he doesn't see the irony of stating a scientist with an open mind lacks humility but a total believer, with no 'evidence' beyond a compendium of ancient texts, has humility.

Part 3 is just total testes. Sadly, despite talking at length about the 'writer' of Genesis, he doesn't offer us a name. All I learned from this section is that when JC came back to life, he wasn't wearing a dinner plate on his head. I do worry about the symbolism of green curtains, though.

Sun, 22 Jul 2007 15:25:00 UTC | #54779

DV82XL's Avatar Comment 3 by DV82XL

The usual drivel that passes as rebuttal. Well presented perhaps, but by no means anything more than an ad holmium attack dressed up as a dissenting opinion.

I have yet to hear or read one critique that addresses the central tenets of TGD and provides a reasoned rebuttal of the ideas presented therein.

The Revd. Steve Midgley is only trying to sandbag the flow of reasonable doubt that is beginning to grow in the minds of the many that have been paying lip-service to some church or faith. Every time someone like him attacks the book they are probably creating more doubt about the bible than they are of TGD.

Sun, 22 Jul 2007 15:26:00 UTC | #54780

Chris Roberts's Avatar Comment 4 by Chris Roberts

15 minutes in and I have lost interest.
Too many examples of incompetant arguments.
Why must life be either a supernatural event or scientifically explained:

Why does it have to be an either/or?

Phenomenon of radical theory change - McGrath's argument that science is weak because it is constantly changing and improving?
*shakes head in dispair*
C- Steve, must try harder.

Sun, 22 Jul 2007 15:57:00 UTC | #54781

LeeLeeOne's Avatar Comment 5 by LeeLeeOne

Had to stop listening to it... literally had to STOP. When the speaker mentioned the "watch in a box" and "designer for this watch."

Come on, this is pathetic. I could take a crushed sea shell, put it in a box, shake it around and come up with the same results! An "alleged designer's creation" - the sea shell, and in the box, mixed around as the watch is, come up with the same results!

Is this all they can come up with to refute "supernatural design, power, etc.)?


Sun, 22 Jul 2007 16:03:00 UTC | #54782

mjwemdee's Avatar Comment 6 by mjwemdee

Oh dearie dearie me. I'm still listening to the good Revd. and I'm afraid I want to smack him and say 'stop being so silly!'

His definition of the word 'evidence' is pitiful. 'See, it says Jesus invited Doubting Thomas to look at his wounds - plenty of evidence, so there, Mr Dawkins, nur-nurny-nur-nur, not so clever now, are you?'

Excuse me. I must now go and smash a few plates.

Sun, 22 Jul 2007 16:07:00 UTC | #54783

Chris Roberts's Avatar Comment 7 by Chris Roberts

Part 2 - Genesis is written more like a poem in the first instance and based upon the number seven so we shouldn't take it literally.
Because god made the universe in an ordered way, he paved the way for science.... BS
I wish the Rev. would join in on here, I'd love to ask him why god created life over 3 billion years ago and waited until recent times to speak to his creation - unless the dinosaurs had a bible after he revealed himself to them that is.
Then, when it went tits-up why did he drown 99.9% of everything?
Why not just a click of the fingers or whatever he did in the first place?
And when we evolved (under his guidance?) into aggressive beings, why did he not just tinker with the DNA to make us a little less murderous or inquisitive?
Why then change tactics and have your own son betrayed and murdered so that we can be happy?
Crazy, just crazy.
But check out the prayer at the end:

we know that there is much that we do not know... it is not wrong for us to enquire and puzzle.... we know that knowledge will never be a saving knowledge... where we yet doubt your existance, give us the courage to enquire

Unless any of the above contradicts the ancient fairy stories that is.

Sun, 22 Jul 2007 16:25:00 UTC | #54786

VinceMcD's Avatar Comment 8 by VinceMcD

This "rebuttal" is simply the rehashing of quasi arguments.

Midgley gives 4 basic argumets:

1. Dawkins is seting up a 'Straw Man' since the story of creation isn't the only reason to belive.

What RD does in TGD is lay out why there is no reason at all to believe in god. He illustrates the overwhelming evidence for evolution versus absolutely none in favor for design. His thesis is not however that religious belief hinges only on this point. The good reverend missed that I guess.

2. Dawkins gives us a false choice. Why can't god be not only in the gaps.

Hmmm....OK but this doesn't offer any more reason to subscribe to religion. If you want to tell me that water boils at 100 degrees because god deemed it to be so, OK fine, but you still give no REASON to believe this. This falls under the infinite regression column.

3. Dawkins has a lack of humility. Throughout history many theories we believed to be true were later overturned through 'radical theory change'. Dawkins should be more humble.

The reverend would almost have half a point...EXCEPT RD is not proffering a theory AT ALL about god. Dawkins et al are merely saying that there is no reason WHATEVER to believe in god. If Midgley was referring to evolution then first I would remind him that Dawkins did not actually come up with that one.

4. Dawkins falsely accuses religious faith as being 'blind faith'. Christianity has never advocated belief in the absence of evidence.

Clearly reverend Midgley was suffering from some sort of hypoglycemic event here having droned on for such a long bit. He even cites the story of Jesus allowing Thomas to probe his wounds as encouraging a healthy sense of doubt. The fundamental problem with this argument is that Thomas had the benefit(according to the story) of being provided with physical evidence to assuage his doubts and give him a reason to believe that his good buddy was indeed resurrected. Lucky him. The rest of us BY DEFINITION are expected to have faith since no evidence has been so presented to us and nor is any forthcoming.

Midgley states that "Dawkins admits science will never be able to disprove the existence of god".

Someone tll the poor reverend about the FSM!

He fails to see that the burden of proof is on THEM to prove what they claim not on us to disprove it.

In all, none of the "arguments" are new, or particularly cogent.

Sun, 22 Jul 2007 16:35:00 UTC | #54788

PeterK's Avatar Comment 9 by PeterK

Just another bloke preaching to his choir; a choir who he presumes is familiar with TGD and needs some theistic voice of authortity to reassure their pleads of "Say it isn't so, Joe!"
He again simply pounds home the same arguments
that have always convinced the choir that theism indeed remains a valid worldview.

"Let us pray."

..Organ blares in all its diatonic splendor.

..small, proud grins of reassurance fill the congregation

Sun, 22 Jul 2007 17:06:00 UTC | #54794

PeterK's Avatar Comment 10 by PeterK

Sun, 22 Jul 2007 17:14:00 UTC | #54796

Henri Bergson's Avatar Comment 11 by Henri Bergson

"I am ... appalled by football hooliganism, but it doesn't make me doubt the existence of David Beckham."

- The 'analogy' being that Dawkins is appalled by religious terrorism and therefore doubts the existence of God.

- What a stupid, false analogy. This is not why Dawkins, or any thinking person, doubts God's existence. Therefore the 'analogy' is fake, but prima facie sounds solid as hooliganism doesn't disprove Beckham.

If you're going to use logic, make sure it's logical.

Megatron must be stopped, no matter the cost.

Sun, 22 Jul 2007 17:39:00 UTC | #54800

VinceMcD's Avatar Comment 12 by VinceMcD

Comment #57976 by PeterK
Just another bloke preaching to his choir;

Courtesy of Monty Python:

Let us praise God.
O Lord...
Ooh, You are so big...
So absolutely huge.
Gosh, we're all really impressed down here, I can tell You.

Sun, 22 Jul 2007 17:48:00 UTC | #54803

Chayanov's Avatar Comment 13 by Chayanov

Seriously, why don't the theists just say they have total, unquestioning, blind faith in their religion, they have no evidence beyond their beliefs, they don't want any evidence, and if any of it appears to contradict reality that's just because God can perform miracles and do whatever he wants precisely because he's God?

I would have absolutely no way to respond to that (beyond derision, that is, but what should they care? Supposedly they have faith).

Yeah, I know -- they worry deep down that faith isn't enough and they don't have any evidence to support their beliefs, but they don't have to let the atheists know that.

Sun, 22 Jul 2007 17:55:00 UTC | #54804

automath's Avatar Comment 14 by automath

From the Steve Midgley talk

Part 1

11:20 First I'd like to suggest that this is a strawman.

11:32 You see, Dawkins seems to think that belief in the existence of god rests almost entirely on the argument from design.

12:29 The truth be told, paleys argument was never terrifically persuasive. Within 50 years a theologian of the day was exposing what paley was writing. Even before Darwin had come on the scene this theologian had exposed that his argument wasn't a powerful one for the existence of god. For that reason it's never been a main stay in defending the case for gods existence.

13:06 But Dawkins seems convinced that it is, he seems to think that if he can undermine paley, well then, he can eliminate god. But it is a strawman, everything doesn't hinge on the argument from design in the way Dawkins seems to think.

13:23 So, firstly, he is setting up a strawman...



Sun, 22 Jul 2007 18:38:00 UTC | #54811

Friend Giskard's Avatar Comment 15 by Friend Giskard

Comment #57962 by DV82XL

Well presented perhaps, but by no means anything more than an ad holmium attack dressed up as a dissenting opinion.

As DV82XL points out, this lecture is just another sad case in the rising tide of attacks against the lanthanide community. When will it end?


Sun, 22 Jul 2007 19:20:00 UTC | #54814

petermun's Avatar Comment 16 by petermun

So red herrings beat "alleged" straw men do they?

Sun, 22 Jul 2007 21:58:00 UTC | #54817

He-man Daunted World's Avatar Comment 17 by He-man Daunted World


Sun, 22 Jul 2007 22:47:00 UTC | #54819

Ben Hope's Avatar Comment 18 by Ben Hope

It is particularly amusing how in Part 1 he dismisses the design argument as unimportant and hardly used by theologians anymore, and then proceeds to use it implicitly when talking about order in Part 3!

Sun, 22 Jul 2007 23:58:00 UTC | #54823

sbooder's Avatar Comment 19 by sbooder

I love the way in part three that he uses language to interpret Genesis as he feels he wants it to be... and then says at the end of that bit, "this dose not mean I can make it mean what I want it to mean" just did.

Mon, 23 Jul 2007 00:08:00 UTC | #54824

doodinthemood's Avatar Comment 20 by doodinthemood

The question is: Assuming this guy has read and understood Dawkins work, why did he remain this illogical? and, What would be able to make him think logically about the matter?

Mon, 23 Jul 2007 00:57:00 UTC | #54829

mikebreed's Avatar Comment 21 by mikebreed

It's extraordinary. Every attempt by a religious figure to 'rebut' scientific critiques like Dawkins' ends up once more simply in unsupported statements about Jesus Christ, or quotations from the Bible. At the end, this sermon does the same thing: degenerates once more into "This is the way it is", with support only from the Bible. Perfect circular arguing, meaningless as a response to scientific approaches. Surely there must be a clergyman - or woman - out there who at least understands *why* this is so unsatisfactory, even if they can't offer a solution.

Mon, 23 Jul 2007 01:55:00 UTC | #54833

pewkatchoo's Avatar Comment 22 by pewkatchoo

Why are you behaving like a total bampot in the Ali thread and yet are quite normal and lucid here? You are confusing me, please stop at once!

Mon, 23 Jul 2007 02:32:00 UTC | #54843

Vinelectric's Avatar Comment 23 by Vinelectric

On Genesis: the first two sentences have word counts as multiples of seven. But this does not hold true for the following verses and there are 143 of them.

Also the claim was made that the word 'God' was mentioned 35 times (a multiple of seven). I started counting the word 'Elohim' in Bere'shit (Genesis) but stopped counting at 37.

Mon, 23 Jul 2007 02:34:00 UTC | #54844

Vinelectric's Avatar Comment 24 by Vinelectric

I have to say that the more I listen to Christian sermons the more I wish RD/CH would spend more time engaging with muslim apologists instead.

Whether it be the linguistic structure, numerology, quasi-scientific referrences or other arguments used to persuade people into believing the divinity of the Quran we are still some way ahead of the Judaeo-Christians. Even the theology sounds more 'intact'.

Mon, 23 Jul 2007 02:44:00 UTC | #54845

VinceMcD's Avatar Comment 25 by VinceMcD

Comment #57998 by Friend Giskard
As DV82XL points out, this lecture is just another sad case in the rising tide of attacks against the lanthanide community. When will it end?


Too funny. Please allow me to retort:

I was magnetically drawn to your argument at first but in light of the obvious typo am repelled by it now.

We should be more noble and not go on ad caesium ridiculing someone's keyboard miscue.

Mon, 23 Jul 2007 02:56:00 UTC | #54848

BicycleRepairMan's Avatar Comment 26 by BicycleRepairMan

First he claims Paley is irrelevant with this whole silly "design" argument..

Then he attacks Dawkins for seeing design as the only God-argument , a direct lie, since Dawkins address all the known arguments, atleast 8 different ones, (ontological, scripture,bayesian etc..) That all of these arguments are rather silly and/or variations of the same, doesnt exactly make Dawkins position weaker..

Then comes the exciting moment when the Rev. prepares to present his argument, presumably a new, good one.. And it turns out to be Paley all-over. intermixed with evolution and God hiding in the gaps, badly re-phrased and he even mentions beauty.

He also shows a lack of understanding of evolution, which not only works without God, but it works precisely BECAUSE there is no God, no "guide" to it, had there been one, the process would not work, and the fossil records etc would look all together different, and less wasteful, for instance. Because of the sheer amount of "waste", non-surivors, failed and extinct species, we KNOW that evolution works without Gods interference. At best God is a wishful addition, at worst, he destroys the process itself..

Then, as a last act of complete ignorance, he attacks science for its ability to change its mind, which of course, to the reverend, mean that what you think is true is more uncertain.

For instance, if I say that "I dont think there will be a war here in Norway in the next five years, it seems extremely improbable given the current peaceful situation here now, but of course, I could turn out to be wrong" VS "I know, for sure there WILL be a war in 5 years, and even if the situation is just as stable and peaceful in 4 years and 11 months, there is no way in hell I will change my mind!"

It seems obvious to me, that the first method is almost infinitely superior, and atleast as likely to be true.

He also, as all theists, disregard the difference in certainty that exist within science, there is no way that evolution by natural selection can be wholly disregarded for instance, the evidence is in, and we know it like we know the earth is sphere-shaped. New evidence wont make the earth banana-shaped.

Mon, 23 Jul 2007 03:49:00 UTC | #54853

RascoHeldall's Avatar Comment 27 by RascoHeldall

"Seriously, why don't the theists just say they have total, unquestioning, blind faith in their religion, they have no evidence beyond their beliefs, they don't want any evidence, and if any of it appears to contradict reality that's just because God can perform miracles and do whatever he wants precisely because he's God?

I would have absolutely no way to respond to that (beyond derision, that is, but what should they care? Supposedly they have faith).

Yeah, I know -- they worry deep down that faith isn't enough and they don't have any evidence to support their beliefs, but they don't have to let the atheists know that."
Quite. Accepting there is no reason for them to hold the opinions they do would be the first step to admitting to themselves that they know their religion isn't true. And taking that step alone is a step out of the comfort zone too far for many theists. On some intellectual level, that they don't quite allow themselves to acknowledge, intelligent people such as Midgely probably do know they're wrong. But their investment in the fantasy is so ingrained that the ordeal required to reject it is too great for them to overcome. Hopefully as we non-theists grow in number and voice, secure in our lack of supernatural attachment and the confidence with which we accept the world for the way it is, we can demonstrate to theists that their attachment to this ancient silliness really, really isn't the be-all-and–end-all they obviously feel it is.

Mon, 23 Jul 2007 06:26:00 UTC | #54870

Thrall's Avatar Comment 28 by Thrall

This guy, as a logical thinker, is pretty piss poor... A couple of rebuttals to his points

1) "Dawkins gets into things he doesn't know enough about"... See the new introduction of TGD, and the PZ Myers "emperor has no clothes" analogy.

2) "For dawkins, the sky crane only brings up the fact of who made the sky crane." Exactly. If a building was built on Dawkins property, he would like to know where it came from. Religous people would point to the sky crane and say "see, it came from the crane". Dawkins would say, "yes, but who OWNS the crane!? Get this off my property", and they would say "you doubt the crane? You can't question the crane. You can't even question where the crane came from, because I believe in the crane. It's proposterous to ask where the crane came from!"

3) "god is BOTH the stones and the gaps, not just the gaps". Is this even an arguement? Or is this just saying "i'm right."

4) "Dawkins designed a computer program to simulate evolution, so evolution must be designed." Bad logic there bud. that's a bad if:then statement if you ask me. Humans can design =/= god designed man?

More as I listen..

Mon, 23 Jul 2007 10:08:00 UTC | #54900

Thrall's Avatar Comment 29 by Thrall

5) "genesis isn't literal, more like a poem, but it should be taken seriously" So, that's the ONLY thing wrong with the bible... it's account of evolution. Um.. yeah. I don't need to go further. Everytime they use the "figurative" explaination of the bible, they are only hurting themselves.. "lets take this as figurative, and then take this part as literal."

This is just like every other "rebuttal" by a religious figure, where he sets up dawkins arguement, and refutes it with the bible. You cannot use an Invisible clothing tag to prove that you are wearing invisible clothing...

Mon, 23 Jul 2007 10:25:00 UTC | #54903

phil rimmer's Avatar Comment 30 by phil rimmer

Got to the Beckham bit. He was trying to make a joke. It died on its feet.

Why is it that religites can't do humor? I've just come from the Marcus Brigstocke thread and tried to figure out why the audience thought that so funny.

Humor works when it reveals a (suppressed) truth.

Mon, 23 Jul 2007 10:52:00 UTC | #54906