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Go to: BBC Focus magazine's letter of the month

Arnott Bird's Avatar Jump to comment 100 by Arnott Bird

Insisting that science is restricted to materialism is a last-ditch desperate attempt by theists to protect their beliefs. Science can test any idea providing that the idea is well-defined and based on reality. Materialism is what science has found, not some limitation of science.

Except that we are talking about a hard-materialist position. It is not the same thing.

Mon, 30 Jan 2012 21:57:24 UTC | #912827

Go to: BBC Focus magazine's letter of the month

Arnott Bird's Avatar Jump to comment 99 by Arnott Bird

Comment 91 by Alan4discussion

keeps trotting out this deist/theist dogma about "immaterial" spiritual ether in the universe, which he denies is a supernatural claim and then produces mental contortions about atheists.

Oh dear, oh dear. More presumption and posturing. Bravo Alan4Discussion, for highlighting exactly the sort of reaction that I have written about.

I really don't know what his concept (if any) of "immaterial" atoms, molecules or energy is! It looks like he uncritically swallowed strange theist gap-ology disputing neuroscience.

No, it seems you don't, and are incapable of comprehending the possibility of another position within science (let alone atheism) than your own. This highlights nothing but your ignorance, I'm afraid.

Comment 93 by Alan4discussion

A core element of the letter is the hoary old, "science does not know everything, therefore it knows nothing", claim

Now, please, I have scanned the letter for this claim that I feared I must have missed. Could you point this claim out to me? I still cannot find it?

Mon, 30 Jan 2012 21:55:36 UTC | #912826

Go to: Two equally bad fallacies

Arnott Bird's Avatar Jump to comment 7 by Arnott Bird

Comment 4 by Alan4discussion :

I think one of the most irritating fallacious arguments is, when various people have rationally explained in detail,why a particular claim is irrational, vacuous, false, unevidenced rubbish, some poster ironically condemns them citing constructive criticism as ad-hominems in a mirror image of their own posts, while posturing as arbiters of "clear thinking"!!

This is supposed to be a site about clear-thinking and promoting reason, yet the responses to the letter and to the editor's response have simply been superficial, posturing, presumptious and personal ad-hominems; perfectly comfortable and easily digested within the arena in which they are expressed.

Yes, foolish of me to think that

Assclown of the month award, more like.

or

I gives me great pleasure to award you the MUPPET OF THE MONTH AWARD for posturing servility to pseudo science!

were anyhting other than reasoned responses, rather than personal attacks.

Or that your conclusion that he was lying about being within the scientific community was anything but presumptious. Just as presumptious as the conclusion that I almost certainly can't be an atheist, as I had the audacity to question those presumptions, and also to question whether what you think the letter writer was saying was what you think it said.

I have to say Alan4Discussion (a more innapropriate name I could not imagine) that this constant linking to my posts seem a little...personal. Seems you are not 4discussion at all, are you.

Mon, 30 Jan 2012 21:40:52 UTC | #912819

Go to: BBC Focus magazine's letter of the month

Arnott Bird's Avatar Jump to comment 95 by Arnott Bird

Comment 86 by xmaseveeve

Comment 73, Arnott Bird, 'of course, an inference made without evidence can happily bypass any such judgement' But what do you mean by this?

Well, as I recall, the reason that I was lambasted for my lack of evidence was because I claimed the letter writer may indeed (as he claimed) be from within the scientific profession, and may very well not be a theist. So, I essentially claimed (after checking out Keith Atkin's personal website) that he a) may not be lying and b) may not, as he made no claim to be, a theist. However, it seems that Alan4Discussion's inference that a) the letter writer was llying about being within the scientific profession and b) despite making no mention or claim to be so, was almost certainly a theist, being simply inferred rather than outright claimed, were seemingly subject to no such requirement for evidence.

Mon, 30 Jan 2012 21:00:45 UTC | #912805

Go to: BBC Focus magazine's letter of the month

Arnott Bird's Avatar Jump to comment 94 by Arnott Bird

Okay, I tried, but frankly the responses have become the norm (even to the point of inferring - a favourite strategy it seems - that I am not an atheist because I don't agree with the the exact world-view that you have.)

And then.... and then you still claim that atheism covers a wide spectrum etc. etc. If you cannot see the contradiction there then, there really is no hope.

This is a science site. Science is a materialist position. There is no such thing as "immaterial science" . There is no reason for science to pander to supernaturalist dualists. I am quite prepared to look at evidence, but they have not produced any. - Just incompetent contradictions of validated scientific work on physics biology and neurology- with the odd bit of unevidenced gap-ology thrown in

This is not the whole of science, so here you raise the notion that science (and atheism) are to be found only within the hard-materialist position you have. And then, contrary to that, claim that atheism is a wider spectrum and cannot be associated in such a narrow way. But this is how atheism is becoming known to a wider audience.

That's because it usually is religionist woo!

So, David Bohm and Karl Pribram are/were religionist woo merchants? Does this then lead to the circular, self-referencing position that only scientists who work within the hard-materialist paradigm are 'real' scientists?

Comment 85 by Steve Zara

comment 83 by susanlatimer

It has been given a false meaning because it is enthusiastically mischaracterized by people who don't like that it exists at all, let alone that it is gaining a voice

Indeed. It's a fascinating aspect of reaction to atheism that isn't as widely recognised as it might be, and is very clearly highlighted by the letter to Focus:

Not paranoia? The only reason that the term is used this narrowly is because it is a hidden religionist agenda? It is not. It is becoming seen as exactly the hard-materialist position as promoted by sites such as this.

Mon, 30 Jan 2012 20:52:03 UTC | #912803

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