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Response to Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris - Comments

Shine's Avatar Comment 1 by Shine

"He takes the best of science... and the worst of religion... it's not really fair."

Richard Dawkins mentions the good parts of religion many times in The God Delusion. So that's just a terrible misrepresentation of the book.

And "the best of science"? The worst of science is when people keep the margins of science wide, so that they can fit their imaginary friend in the gaps science hasn't filled yet.

Blah...

Fri, 09 Mar 2007 14:22:00 UTC | #22734

karlJ's Avatar Comment 2 by karlJ

well,

The best of religion is as bad as the worst of science. Though the worst of science gets exposed as fraud sooner or later. Now, the best of religion thinks they are better than the worst of science and can never be debunked however false.

So what is the worst of science?
Well, maybe cell phones. No, can't be it! most people really wants one. So what's the problem? It seems this guy thinks that people in general is the problem, and that people have failed their God. Maybe he doesn't use computers, television, or cars. I bet he does. Can any of these be created whitout science?

Well, HiHooo, God does not exist! How about that!
.

Fri, 09 Mar 2007 14:25:00 UTC | #22736

briancoughlanworldcitizen's Avatar Comment 3 by briancoughlanworldcitizen

Always the same bullshit!!!! The worst of sceince? Sceince doesn't claim to be an enterprise promoted and inspired by the omnipotent, omnibenevolent creator of the universe. So yeah ... sometimes we screw up. What's religions excuse?

Fri, 09 Mar 2007 14:33:00 UTC | #22737

karlJ's Avatar Comment 4 by karlJ

The selective mind of the religious is completely astonishing!

How can anyone live in this world and denounce science. Its completely bizzarre. Everything around us is "thanks" to science: Electricity, computers, mobile phones, kitchen appliances, stereos, tv, radio, X-ray, Cars, in fact anything more complicated than a stone.

Shame on you!

Fri, 09 Mar 2007 14:35:00 UTC | #22738

briancoughlanworldcitizen's Avatar Comment 6 by briancoughlanworldcitizen

What weak minded drivel .... it's not God. it's us. Hello???? God created us you utter fuckwit!!!! Not only did he create us, but he did so in the full foreknowledge of what a cluster fuck things would turn out to be. And this is a good God?

AAARGH ... it is such self evident nonsense from start to finish.

Fri, 09 Mar 2007 14:39:00 UTC | #22741

curvedslightly's Avatar Comment 5 by curvedslightly

Framing an argument in an intellectually redundant fashion like this is just tiresome. Oh well.

Fri, 09 Mar 2007 14:39:00 UTC | #22740

karlJ's Avatar Comment 8 by karlJ

I tend to agree with briancoughlanworldcitizen.
You really got to the point!

Fri, 09 Mar 2007 14:43:00 UTC | #22743

briancoughlanworldcitizen's Avatar Comment 7 by briancoughlanworldcitizen

Finally .... nationalism is religion. Dogma is religion, you don't get off the hook for your irrational kak by pointing out otherirrational kak!!!!!

So pissed this evening!!!

Fri, 09 Mar 2007 14:43:00 UTC | #22742

Zappi's Avatar Comment 9 by Zappi

After so many centuries of theologians playing with words, it comes to me as no surprise that somebody comes up with something like this. Notice that he spends more time talking about Mohammad Ali and about rabbits, dogs, donkeys and pigs than getting to the real point.

When he really gets to the point and concludes that "we are failing our religions", there is still a lot of explaining to do, like "how" are we failing our religions and of which religions and sub-sects is this fellow talking about. If "we" are failing the Koran, I question myself how would be the world if we were actually following that book, or any other of the senseless bloody tales that came in the name of faith.

Fri, 09 Mar 2007 14:46:00 UTC | #22744

False Prophet's Avatar Comment 10 by False Prophet

Here's the difference between a moral atheist and a moral theist:

-A moral atheist has no trouble condemning Stalin as an evil, evil monster guilty of numerous crimes against humanity.

-A moral theist who otherwise would never harm another person or think of performing a violent act, can bend over backwards to justify an act of terrorism on the part of a suicide bomber or a sniper who kills family planning doctors.

It's not that religion encourages evil; it's that it allows good people to defend evil.

There's no evidence to support that religious people are more moral than non-religious people, and religion cannot explain how the world works without a bunch of useless handwaving. So what's it good for? A sense of community? Charitable works? Neither of those requires the existence of a fictional supernatural being.

Fri, 09 Mar 2007 14:51:00 UTC | #22746

NormanDoering's Avatar Comment 11 by NormanDoering

There's this Christian libertarian, Vox Day, who wrote "The case against science" for World Net Daily and he declared there:
"...is real cause to doubt the continued benefit of science to modern society, or even its right to a respectable place within it."

I blogged on the vile thing here:
http://normdoering.blogspot.com/2007/03/religions-war-on-science-part-1.html

It gets worse than I quoted above.

It's like karlJ wrote: "The selective mind of the religious is completely astonishing!"

Fri, 09 Mar 2007 14:53:00 UTC | #22747

moudiwort's Avatar Comment 12 by moudiwort

Still waiting for the real George Foreman of religion to stand up. At least I learned something about soil erosion, a topic that would indeed deserve more public attention.

Fri, 09 Mar 2007 14:54:00 UTC | #22748

karlJ's Avatar Comment 14 by karlJ

Ooh Zappi, if we followed the good book or some other fundamentalistic writing, the bloodshed would probably be Biblical!

Fri, 09 Mar 2007 14:57:00 UTC | #22750

InManhattan's Avatar Comment 13 by InManhattan

Science is neither a moral system nor a political one. It is primarily a method. On the other hand, religion claims to be, and often is, an ontological, epistemological, moral and political system.

The fact that some scientists advocated eugenics is not the fault of science. To argue otherwise would imply confusion of 'facilitation' with 'prescription'. If science makes the atomic bomb possible, it does not thereby follow that science is responsible for Nagasaki and Hiroshima. A necessary condition for something is not always a sufficient condition for it. On the contrary, religion specifically - textually - advocates genocide, rape, slavery, misogynism, and other ills that shock evolved moral sensibilities. Ironically, it is the ambition and scope of religion's claims that tie it with this knot.

Consequently, the evils of scientists cannot be attributed to science per se, but the evils of religionists are those of religion (except in situations where the particular evil is unambiguously prohibited by the religion in question and where the religion's scripture or tradition does not advocate that evil somewhere in its corpus).

Shaykh Hamza Yusuf fails to understand these critical distinctions.

Fri, 09 Mar 2007 14:57:00 UTC | #22749

FXR's Avatar Comment 15 by FXR

"The Nazis killed the Jews because they said they were inferior: that's science!"

Really! The Jews were villified because some religious zealot invented a myth blaming them on killing an imaginary guy by nailing him to two planks.

Nothing to do with science.

I noticed God didn'nt make a personal appearance in the video.

Fri, 09 Mar 2007 14:58:00 UTC | #22752

coach's Avatar Comment 16 by coach

Despite what we unbelievers might think of his speech, this fellow was not speaking to us, he was speaking to believers; and he was effective in helping to relieve their fears that science is somehow threatening religion. On the other side of the coin, he was increasing some our unbelievers discomfort, finding our pain (that religion might triumph over reason in the minds of the multitude) and perhaps being doubly effective, eh?

Fri, 09 Mar 2007 15:04:00 UTC | #22753

Ohnhai's Avatar Comment 17 by Ohnhai

"...But I've seen humans not acting like humans."

Sorry but everything a man does is acting like a human. All the depravity, violence, disgusting things we do to ourselves and others, all the kind, good compassionate, caring things we do too. All of it is within the human realm and ALL of it natural. All of it all too human.

Fri, 09 Mar 2007 15:05:00 UTC | #22754

karlJ's Avatar Comment 18 by karlJ

I agree FXR,
In Science you have to be able to independently repeat an experiment or verify a thesis. For the Jew thing, I cannot see that it has anything to do with science. Seems its more a thing of religion. A religion of the rulers of the time.

Fri, 09 Mar 2007 15:06:00 UTC | #22755

Zaphod's Avatar Comment 19 by Zaphod

1. After 1 minute it is obvious he hasn't read "The God Delusion", "The End of Faith" or "Letter to a Christian Nation".

2. Dawkins doesn't put Science against religion and compare them. He says Dawkins puts the mohammed ali version of science against a 90 pound weakling of religion. Dawkins doesn't do this.

In my opinion for finding truth religion is a 90 pound weakling compared to science.

3. Science is a methodical, logical and rational process for find truth about the natural world. Science is not a belief system. If you think it is, you don't know what science is.

4. Zaytuna says "humans aren't acting like humans". I beg to differ. Since the beginning of recorded history the one thing we seem to be able to do with record efficiency is kill each other. I do not like this but it does seem to be human nature.

5. He says the wars of the 20th century where over ideologies. Religion is the worst Ideology. Stalinist Russia, Nazi Germany etc. all had dogmatic belief systems. Religion is the ultimate dogmatic belief system

6. Zaytuna says "god expects more for us". What religion is he referring to? In the bible god tells humans to kill in his name. He even kills humans himself. Oh yea and anyone who doesn't agree gets to burn forever in a lake of fire. The Qu'ran is just as bad if not worse.

God made man in his image? I think not. Perhaps man made god in his image.

Fri, 09 Mar 2007 15:18:00 UTC | #22758

Mango's Avatar Comment 20 by Mango

Watching this guy was like watching David Brent from "The Office" -- he says something completely inane and then gets this self-satisfied look.

There is no "bad" science, only science that works and science that doesn't. Eugenics isn't "bad science." It works. We can breed horses, and we can breed people. But to actually implement that science is bad. Guns are a great product of science, they work just like they are supposed to, but *how we use* them can be bad. Same with nuclear science, lasers, and just about anything. So he's mixed up about the truths of science and the way science can be used detrimentally sometimes.

Fri, 09 Mar 2007 15:23:00 UTC | #22760

Mango's Avatar Comment 21 by Mango

This guy also has a double-standard for the behavior of humans and animals. Dogs act like dogs, cats like cats, and so forth. But he says he sees people not acting like people -- obviously we are more complex in our deeds than animals so he just needs to broaden his accepted limits of human behavior.

If we do it, it's human behavior by the very fact we do it! QED.

Fri, 09 Mar 2007 15:31:00 UTC | #22762

chauvinj's Avatar Comment 22 by chauvinj

The is quite possibly the worst attempt of a cogent argument I have ever heard.

I wonder what he would make of the monkey I saw skating the other day...

Fri, 09 Mar 2007 15:35:00 UTC | #22763

perkyjay's Avatar Comment 23 by perkyjay

Eugenics, the sterilization of undesirable groups in society, was an established policy of The Government of Alberta(Canada) in the 30s, several years before the National Socialist Party in Germany, aka The Nazi Party even contemplated The Final Solution, aka The Extermination of the Jews.This man was intellectually ineffectual - a complete lightweight and no competition for either Dr.Dawkins or Sam Harris

Fri, 09 Mar 2007 15:35:00 UTC | #22764

Homo economicus's Avatar Comment 24 by Homo economicus

Yet religion is an ideology as a human concept. It divides humanity rather than bringing us together as one.

Call human's demons? You mean like epileptics, and the mentally ill were? Many expressions use animals as a metaphor. If I said you are eating like a demon, rather than a pig, it has no meaning which is that your table manners are not following etiquette.

We have failed our religions? No, we have outgrown them as atheists; we need more than a meaningless concept to answer questions about the natural world and philosophy. This part of human discourse we have moved on from in the enlightenment era.

Man I am so hungry I could eat a demon!

Fri, 09 Mar 2007 15:36:00 UTC | #22765

MIND_REBEL's Avatar Comment 25 by MIND_REBEL

The Nazis were Christians, and HATED science. Hitler banned all of Darwin's books. Thats a fact.

Stalin was a Christian as well. He actually trained to be a monk, and opened several churchs in the early 1940s.

The truth is the first victim when memes take over your mental functions, and this video proves it.

Fri, 09 Mar 2007 15:36:00 UTC | #22766

Monsterbeach's Avatar Comment 26 by Monsterbeach

The Best of religion? is that the "Golden rule"?
That one has been around for along time. (Long before the fairytale of Jesus.)
The Worst of religion. Brrr.. i will not go there to night. (It's to scary)

Fri, 09 Mar 2007 15:38:00 UTC | #22767

FXR's Avatar Comment 27 by FXR

"Dogs act like dogs, cats act like cats"

I have a dog who pulls the lead out of the electric kettle once its boiled. No other dog I've ever heard of does this.

So he's not a dog after all?

Sorry gottaaaa goooo
I think I've got Beezelbub sleeping in a kennel out my back garden...........

Fri, 09 Mar 2007 15:40:00 UTC | #22769

Jason E.'s Avatar Comment 28 by Jason E.

I am glad that finally a Thiest actually admits that there are bad parts in religion: "worst of religion". Thus far they have claimed that the all powefull, all knowing God is infallible and there is nothing wrong with all the "wrongs in religion". So I think there might be a slight hope for these people. Evolution works wonders.

Fri, 09 Mar 2007 15:42:00 UTC | #22770

MiloC's Avatar Comment 29 by MiloC

This guy is a bafoon. Science is not 'good' or 'bad', it is neutral.

Fri, 09 Mar 2007 15:47:00 UTC | #22771

Carl S. Richardson's Avatar Comment 30 by Carl S. Richardson

One has to wonder if this pompous fool has read either 'The God Delusion' or 'Letter to a Christian Nation'. It seems to me that either he's read a view reviews by those ever so "intelligent" theologians and holds himself knowledgeable enough to comment or he actually read the books but was suffering from spontaneous temporary blindness (STB) at the time and hence failed to read half of them..

Firstly both Dawkins and Harris do mention the beneficial effects religion has had on certain individuals. If my memory serves me right Harris mentions Martin Luther King and the profound (although most likely exaggerated in my view*) effect religion had up on his campaign however Harris clearly identifies the hypocrisy in this area when he makes the distinction between how willing theists are to accept Martin Luther Kings claims that faith drove him but are so unwilling to accept the same reasons from Osama Bin Laden.

The thing he misses about science is one of its core features. Unlike faith science has a built in feature, which I dare say is its best feature, which of course is its correcting ability. As new evidence comes forward science somewhat evolved and improves for the better. Theories don't stay static and unquestioned like those in faith.

Another way to look at science is through the example of CFCs, which of course were originally developed by science but due to scientists realising the impact such gases were having on the ozone layer they were phased out. It is scientists who noticed this implication and not theologians.

Ozone depletion wasn't revealed from a higher power. The pope did not receive a telephone call from god warning him of the implications, it was science who noticed those implications and it is science now which is on the look out for bird flu. It is also science which will provide a vaccine, not a prayer to god.

He then claims the atrocities of the twentieth century "Weren't wars about religionÂ… they were fought about ideologies". A somewhat true statement however his STB must have kicked in as he passed through both Dawkins and Harris' books at the point both authors clearly state religion is another form of irrational ideology and the biggest one around today.

Harris also makes it very clear that dogmatism is the problem, faith of course been the biggest form of dogmatism in the world at the moment. As Harris mentioned at the 'Beyond Belief' conference he could have easily named his first book 'The End of Dogma' and said all the exact same things.

He then manages the impossible and goes on about animals; demons and how cats aren't humans for almost 2 minutes but as intriguing as his ability to name animals was he really didn't bring anything new to the table.

* I don't say this to discredit the effect of faith on King however I think some theists go over the top when they make out how influential faith really was on certain people, mainly progressive figures. It seems to be, especially with Wilberforce, that it was more the individuals take on faith that drove them rather then what the church was teaching at the time. That is to say their own outlook influenced them more then anything the religions were teaching at the time.

Fri, 09 Mar 2007 15:49:00 UTC | #22774