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Tuesday, April 11, 2006 CE

Root of all Evil


Finally, and thanks to Kristine, I was able to watch Episode 1 of the documentary by Richard Dawkins called "Root of all Evil", named "The God Delusion". So many truths were said in the short duration of it. The only thing with which I would respectfully disagree with Dawkins is the treatment of all religions as completely negative. I think that religions that claim to have the unique truth and that claim to have the only real god are the ones who are to blame. Those are the religions portrayed in the documentary, the Abrahamic religions. However, there is no mention to more tolerant philosophies that do not carry the arrogant and pernicious idea of the "real god".

I enjoyed very much watching it, specially his interview with a Evangelical Christian religious leader in the American Midwest and the interview with a Muslim religious leader in the Middle East. You cannot miss it. Click on the link and take 45 minutes of your time to watch it. Comments will be welcomed of course.

For my theist friends, I would understand if you do not want to watch it, however, it is always good to have criticism from the "other side". I am sure that the most open minded of my theist friends will take their time and watch the whole documentary so that they can form an opinion about it.

30 Comments:

Blogger KA said...

Heya, Doc.
I've got it on DVD, thnx to a buddy of mine at the NGB.
What's the name of that 1 preacher who has those 'Hell House' ridiculous performers?
I enjoyed it immensely, but I would've liked to have seen the full footage of each interview (there seems to be some editing, which is only an observation).
Ted Haggard was especially creepy. The Muslim fellow was just...unbelievable, he sounded straight out of the Dark Ages.

3:35 AM  
Blogger Doctor Marco said...

RA: Can I have the same buddy and have a copy of the DVD?...
I do not know the name of that preacher. The idea of a Hell house performer sounds amusing

6:30 AM  
Blogger Beowulf said...

Dr. Marco,

First, thank you for the link to the video.

While reading your post, you made a couple comments that brought some questions to mind.

Namely, you said: I think that religions that claim to have the unique truth and that claim to have the only real god are the ones who are to blame[…] the arrogant and pernicious idea of the "real god".


I. Do you believe there is such a thing as absolute truth?

II. Are you saying that since there are so many different beliefs in the world, how can any one group of people claim to have the only truth?

III. Why is it “arrogant and pernicious” to think you have found truth? By the same token, is it “arrogant and pernicious” to say that someone doesn’t have truth?

IV. By way of comment, Christians (since it is a Abrahamic [not Abrahamanic—not sure if that was intentional backhand] religions as you pointed out) do recognize that non-Christians can know truth. Likewise, other religions can include some truth.

V. I think exclusivity rests on the idea than two contradicting beliefs cannot be true. i.e. there is only one god vs. there are many gods. Logically speaking, they both cannot be true. They, logically can both be false, though.


Take care,

2:38 PM  
Blogger The Intolerant One said...

I will most certainly take the time to watch it, Marco, and give my own personal reflection of it. (Just not now, I am off for another dreary nightshift)

I am not anticipating a "glowing" review of my faith but I am also not closed off to scrutiny, depending on the form it is given.

Christians are actually more open minded then they are given credit for. I am open minded to consider what these people are going to be saying about my faith in and of God.

2:40 PM  
Blogger KA said...

Dr. Marco:
RA: Can I have the same buddy and have a copy of the DVD?...
Sure, it's rainbows4dinosaurs at the Nogodblog. He offers it free...for atheists only, I think. ;)
larry@pogoto.com.
Sorry, ITO, BF, don't mean to be exclusionist (well, maybe a little), but you know how some clubs are. ;)
The idea of a Hell house performer sounds amusing
Well, it seems that way, but this 1 reverend sets up this Hell House on halloween, & he's got this demonic looking fella belting out Buhohahahaws! & rubbing his hands maniacally, while he performs abortions & marries lesbians. I mean, it's just the worst combo of vaudville & camp.
& the scary part?
It's supposed to be educational.
Brrrrhhhh!

2:51 PM  
Blogger Alanita said...

Fascinating! I must immediately go out and watch this movie! I hope there are concepts such as DNA, mitochondria, phenotypes, gene trees, cell structure, brain to body mass, eyes and colors development, the nervous system, and biological symmetry! I can learn more Dawkin theories of why humans started to walk upright!

I'm forming this idea of watching this DVD with my boyfriend, and then discussing the complexities of the illusion for a designer!!! That sounds like a great great idea! Let me know where I can buy this cool movie!!!

5:55 PM  
Blogger Diane S. said...

Forgive me for going off topic, but aren't there some rather significant political events going on right now in Peru? Can you give us an insider's view? Or is it possibly dangerous for you to do so (in which case, I suggest ignoring this inquiry entirely)?

9:28 PM  
Blogger KA said...

Alanita:
I hope there are concepts such as DNA, mitochondria, phenotypes, gene trees, cell structure, brain to body mass, eyes and colors development, the nervous system, and biological symmetry!
Ummm...no, it's all about religion

1:43 AM  
Blogger Paul V said...

I watched half of the set, and then had to get back to work, unfortunately. Easter weekend should provide more time. The last I saw was Dawkins' disbelief in the 66 miracles, which he called statistically insignificant.

I was reminded of the girl on the beach throwing starfish back into the sea. Someone confronted her, saying that she could not possibly make a difference, since the beach had thousands of starfish. She picked up another one, threw it back into the water, and replied: "It made a difference to that one".

I know God is not normally this pushy, but it would have been very funny if Dawkins had a miracle in his own life at the time! Wonder how he would have explained it.

2:47 AM  
Blogger Doctor Marco said...

BF

I will answer to your questions.

I. Absolute truth I what you can perceive with your senses and is in agreement with what other fellow human beings perceive. Example: The blood is red. Example of not an absolute truth: Its is 60 F, there fore it is warm. For some people it is indeed warm, for others it is not.

II. No individual or group of people can claim they have the truth with repect to a divinity. First, divinities are supernatural, therefore not able to be perceived by our regular senses (unless they decide to cross the boundary in violation of the laws of physics). Other tools have to be used to perceive them, like faith, for example. Second, claiming to have the truth immediately makes the other belief "inferior"

III. Of course it is arrogant to claim to have found what an individual calls absolute truth if there are others who do not accept it as such. It might be his/her own truth, but not other one's truth. It would only be absolute truth if everyone agrees that that is the truth. It becomes pernicious when it is decided that you should impose that truth on others, at any cost. This has happened many times in history, with bloody results.

IV. I made a mistake that I will correct.

What about the people that do not accept Christian teachings as truth? The arrogants will be asking Christians to convert to their own faith.

V. There is a mistake in your statement. For the person who believes in many gods, there is no problem to add an extra god to their pantheon. The problem is for the believer in a single god, who has no place for all the other gods. As you see, the correct term is unilateral exclusivity and not mutual exclusivity

1:55 PM  
Blogger Doctor Marco said...

Intolerant One

Some Christians are open minded. Not most of them, though. it is not a glowing review of any of the Abrahamic faiths, for sure. However, I was raised in the belief that not having a god was synonymous with evil. It took me 16 years to understand that that was not right.

2:00 PM  
Blogger Doctor Marco said...

RA:

Thanks for giving me the email of rainbows4dinosaurs. I just sent him an email with the request.

2:03 PM  
Blogger Doctor Marco said...

Alanita:

I am sorry, but this is not a Biology DVD. It explores the nature of blind faith and its negative consequences for humanity.

2:05 PM  
Blogger Doctor Marco said...

Diane S.

I have no problem writing about my country's politics. The thing is that when I have posted stuff about Latin America, people do not seem interested.

Send me an email if you are interested about the topic.

2:10 PM  
Blogger Doctor Marco said...

Paul V

The difference is that you believe in miracles and Dawkins does not. Events that you will perceive as miracles will not be perceived by him as a miracle.

2:12 PM  
Blogger Bacon Eating Atheist Jew said...

Dr. M, I posted segments of the video on my site a week ago. I wrote some stuff about this week ago. Interesting background info on a few of the characters cna be found on blog.
Diane S, you should watch Ken Miller slaughter ID.

6:07 PM  
Blogger Beowulf said...

D. Marco,

Thank you for answering my questions. In your responses, some further questions arise for myself. I ask them not to debate, but rather, understand where you’re coming from. If you don’t wish to answer my questions, or are restrained by other obligations I understand.

You said:

“I. Absolute truth I what you can perceive with your senses and is in agreement with what other fellow human beings perceive.”

Perhaps more accurately, I should have asked if you believe in the laws of logic. Are they universal? Or do they only apply to those who agree? If there not universal where do they come from?

In essence, you said there is no absolute truth. To say that there is no absolute truth, is making an “absolute truth claim. Thus, if there is no absolute truth, the it’s absolutely true there is no absolute truth. I like the way Greg Koukl puts it, if it’s true, it’s false, and if it’s false, it’s false. But even if it’s true that there is no truth; then it’s also must be false, because that becomes a true statement, which nullifies it.

“Example: The blood is red. Example of not an absolute truth: Its is 60 F, there fore it is warm. For some people it is indeed warm, for others it is not.”

I think there is a failure to make a distinction to between language and tokens we use to identify and the presuppositions of the laws of logic to which language could not be formed w/out.

”II. No individual or group of people can claim they have the truth with repect to a divinity.”

Again, you’re making an absolute truth claim here and thus refute your previous statements.

“First, divinities are supernatural, therefore not able to be perceived by our regular senses (unless they decide to cross the boundary in violation of the laws of physics).”

By the same token; therefore, would it not be the case that you could NOT reject a deity using your senses? Can you know anything without the senses?

You’re automatically rejecting any possibility of using rationality. Is it impossible to use rationality when evaluating the existence and non-existence of a deity. What do you use to reject the existence of a deity?

“Other tools have to be used to perceive them, like faith, for example”
In what sense are you using “faith.” Do you reject all arguments for the existence of God as irrational? Why?

“Second, claiming to have the truth immediately makes the other belief "inferior"”

As an atheist, you automatically take the position that there is no God (unless or an agnostic of some type). In effect, when you say any religion is false, you are making that belief system “inferior” to your own. So, are you not guilty of the same thing?

If I say 2+2=4 and someone else says 2+2=5; If I tell them their wrong, am I making that person “inferior”

“III. Of course it is arrogant to claim to have found what an individual calls absolute truth if there are others who do not accept it as such.”

So is it arrogant to believe 2+2=4 when someone else thinks it’s 5?

Does difference in opinion mean there is no truth?

It might be his/her own truth, but not other one's truth.

This is in essence saying something can be true for you but not for me.

Does whatever somebody believe to be true make it true?

If this is a case, can there ever be such a thing a “false”?

If someone goes to the bank and it told by the teller there is only $5.00 in their account, could they tell the teller that that’s just true for them, and to give her $20 because that’s the “true amount for her.”?

“It would only be absolute truth if everyone agrees that that is the truth.”

Therefore, on the sole basis of disagreement, everything can be rejected.?

2+2 does not equal 4 if there is disagreement.

”It becomes pernicious when it is decided that you should impose that truth on others, at any cost. This has happened many times in history, with bloody results.”

That’s just true for you right? So they can just do what’s true for them. Why should you impose your truth on them by requiring them to stop?

“What about the people that do not accept Christian teachings as truth?

People have the right to reject Christianity atheism whatever.

“The arrogants will be asking Christians to convert to their own faith.”

This presupposes that Christianity is false. What if Christianity is true? Should they not share the truth? Are teacher’s arrogant because they want to teach their student the truth?

I see that you think this is intolerant. However, “tolerance” does not mean that “all views are correct,” it just means that we respect the person’s right to choose their religion. You have taken tolerance too far and have redefined it. It is defined in a way now that makes someone “intolerant” if they say any particular view is right or wrong; which in effect, is intolerant of those who are intolerant. If people are intolerant for claiming to have truth, aren’t you? Did you not say that Abrahamic religions are “arrogant”? Doesn’t that suggest that you think they are absolutely wrong? Is that intolerant?

“V. There is a mistake in your statement. For the person who believes in many gods, there is no problem to add an extra god to their pantheon. The problem is for the believer in a single god, who has no place for all the other gods. As you see, the correct term is unilateral exclusivity and not mutual exclusivity”

My statement is based on the laws of logic. A cannot equal ~A. Can you do medicine w/out?

The law of contradiction states that no statement can be both true and false; or, A and not-A is a contradiction and always false.

The statement: “There are many Gods”

Vs.

The statement : “There is one God”


Both these statements contradict each other do they not?

They are diametrically opposed.

Is it arrogant to claim that logically one has to be false?


Again, I am not looking for a debate here. I just think there is some flawed reasoning in your response that ought to be clarified (and I hope that doesn’t make me arrogant).

Take care,

6:24 PM  
Blogger Doctor Marco said...

BF

I do not think this is a debate. I just answer questions.

The rules of logic are applicable to all problems. However, they can become a futile exercises. Whenever we use logic, we define what we want to test. For example we can say: all monkeys are red, all pigs are red, are all pigs monkeys? We can use a Venn diagram to demonstrate that all pigas are not monkeys, but we cannot tell if some pigs are monkeys. What this means is that in order to use logic we have to be based on objective observable realities.

You decided that I did not say that there is no absolute truth. For example, the sun is a star. That is an absolute truth. Therefore, all the paragraph that followed has no meaning.


I said "with respect to a divinity". Divinities, are not observable. If anyone of us decides if they is true or not it is in our own minds

When I start my reasoning I have no gods, fairies, superheros, gnomes or demons in my mind. I just observe the world and the idea of a god never crosses my mind. That is my atheism. I do not go claiming that there is not a god. At the same time, I am not an agnostic who believes that he/she is "unable to know". If someone asks me the direct question: Is there a god? I answer with a question: What is a god? The response would be something like "an all powerful being able to create (or destroy) everything at will. My answer would be: I do not see supernatural events happening so there should not be a god. The existence and non-existence of a god are equal opposites only if the rules of logic are applied. However, they are not equal opposites if you imagine, for example a society that never teaches its children that there are deities or superstitions. You would go there and start preching and they would just say that you are talking nonsense.

Finally, your list point. If you use logic and define one god and multiple gods as different, that means that they will not be equal.
Both statements cannot be true and false at the same time, but both statements can be false, unless you previously define your universe in a way that those are the two only options. That is why I prefer Venn diagrams, they use a graphic approach to logic and emphasize the importance of defining your universe.

7:35 PM  
Blogger rainbows4dinosaurs said...

Um.....

Actually, my dvd offer is open to theists as well. My whole motivation in giving these things away comes from the fact that you will never see something like this on American television. Well, maybe on Showtime, but I can't afford Showtime so whatever.

Of course, if I'm suddenly overwhelmed with orders I reserve the right to cease "operations." ;)

10:20 PM  
Blogger The Intolerant One said...

OK Marco, for the record, so far I have only viewed Part 1 of 3 and already I have much to comment on. Response and commentary is what you were looking for and as I understand it not debate. So here are my comments thus far based on my observation. For the record, Marco, I would like you to understand that I approached this with the intent of trying to find "something" I could find agreement on with Richard Dawkins and I did, but I will address that one last.

First I must state that I find it rather contradictory of a "moral relativist" such as Richard Dawkins to decide that which is evil and that which is "reason" when , from the moral relativist's position, there is no concept or recognition of absolute truth, of right or wrong, good or evil. If I am wrong on that statement then by what moral authority could he base some of his claims to what he determines as evil?

I think I could stomach more of what he had to say but his whole approach coming out of the starting gates was one of self righteous arrogance. For example, he refers to the big group's (Catholics) pilgrimage as a way of reinforcement of their "delusion". (Hmmmm...I believe in God so according to the great and mighty Richard I qualify as deluded, nice touch!) He then makes reference to the masses of believers as a "benign herd" who support a backward system. (Your killing me with your humbleness Richard). A system THAT HE BELIEVE'S (wow, I thought he was incapable of "belief") REASON (His reason) MUST CHALLENGE!! His arrogance and self glorification did not stop there. He refers to the "faithful" as "non thinking".

So in the world according to Richard, people like myself ( I am not a catholic by the way) are considered to belong to a "non thinking, delusional, benign herd" because some of us make a pilgrimage once in awhile (yearly for some) and gather on a regular basis to affirm and encourage one another. I found that interesting because I thought to myself,

"So is the Atheists Alliance and American Atheists organizations, to name a few, are they just group's of individuals who never actually get together to communicate and affirm one another of their own perspectives that there is no God?" No pilgrimages? No dialogue? No sharing religious bashing stories? So I checked out some of these website's and found that atheist's also have pilgrimages. Only they call them "conventions". A place where they too gather for, what else, to discuss and affirm their own "beliefs". Their website's were no different then that of any "religious" websites with all it's typical "speaker's on this date, buy this literature or video" Forums galore, places to meet and hook up with other non believers. Heck, they even go as so far as to ask for financial contributions. Starting to sound a lot like the very thing Richard would classify as "evil". Only it does not apply because there is no divine belief attached to it???

Please understand Marco that this is not some tongue lashing directed at yourself or any of your respectful guests, I am trying to demonstrate what I feel was utter hypocritical statements on Richard's part. By the very thing he denounces as a "non thinking, delusional, benign herd" gathering is based on whether one believes in a supreme being or not. Apparently the identical behavior in non believers does not qualify.

He continues on with "I think the belief in a divine creator belittles the universe". Here we go again.

Golly gee Richard, "I think" that when anyone looks at the harmony of the moon, stars, sun, aligning planets, the absolute intricacies and complexities of life and the millions of unique and different species on one planet that is never to cold or to hot, is in denial of the obvious and is deluded by thinking it was all just some big ole' accident. Like you Richard, that is what "I think"! But again, Richard's moral intellect should trump mine due to my inability to think.

He also very recklessly misrepresents "some" of the religions, in what appears to be intentional, by misleading the viewer. In one scene he shows what is clearly a catholic pilgrimage and then makes the redundant statement:

"It looks lovely doesn't it? Inoffensive and gentle. But isn't this the beginning of that slippery slope that leads to young men with rock sack bombs on the tomb?

Here he is trying to muddy the water's by confusing the action's of radical militant Islam while displaying images of Christianity thereby combining ALL faith's into one arena and portraying them ALL in a negative light. Just who is the delusional one?

Some more of his statements:

When referring to the religious groups he says:

"It is time for people of reason to say enough is enough!"

My goodness, the relativist who denies absolute truth, is going to be the voice of reason. Again, how will he establish his superior morality? What makes his "reason" more valid then other's? Because he has a degree?

He goes on with further insult by saying:

"religion discourages independent thought"

He attempts to back this up, but fails, by implying how religion is generational. Where by the parent's ingrain it in their children thru traditions and it continues. I am not saying that this does not happen but that ,again , is another misleading statement. How does Richard, in his infinite wisdom, explain someone like myself who came from a single parent home with zero influence of any form of religion not only in the home but not one of my family members is a Christian?

If I have been discouraged from "independent thought" then how was I capable of making an "independent" decision/choice to become a Christian 8 years ago with absolutely no influence from my family? ( I spent my first 28 years not believing/following in God). This would take "independent" thought and consideration on my part and there are tens of thousands who share the same story as mine. I find his declarations to be very broad, vague, and extremely generalized.

He spent much time using phrases like "I believe" or "I think". All indicating his opinion. One that you may agree with but his approach was one that demonstrated moral superiority which I found to be ironic considering people in my position are often lambasted for doing just that.

A little more arrogance by Richard:

"Isn't embracing truth better then false hope?"

Once again the moral relativist determining that "his truth" is absolute well denouncing the theists for doing the same thing.

Final statement of his that I will comment on was his reference to origins:

"It was science that pieced together what had really happened"

My goodness, he has finally found ALL the answers. OK Richard, what happened? Where is your concrete evidence? Not your theory's, not your hypothesis's, or comments like "evidence's LEAD US TO BELIEVE" (that would be an act of faith by the way) where is you irrefutable proof? Richard actually slipped it in there (listen to the video carefully) that science tries to disprove God. So have they conclusively beyond the shadow of all doubt accomplished that feat? If not, then that puzzle is not complete and it is nothing short of presumptuous arrogance to make a statement like that. Richard's humility is just to overwhelming

Near the end of Part 1 he again seems to make a double statement by acknowledging that 66 miracles took place (can't remember the name of the place) and then says that because millions have visited, he and he alone, determines that the 66 "adds up to no evidence at all" Yet even without "the missing link" I am sure he would argue vehemently that evolution was the only evidence of the origins. How do you acknowledge even 1 miracle for that matter and then come up with such a ridiculous statement like that? I am convinced this guy could have one thousand miracles performed in front of him and he would still try to explain them away, just like the Pharisee's tried to in the days of Christ. For the record, I believe God, of His own sovereign will and choosing, can heal anybody, anytime, anywhere and that traveling around the planet to some of these places for His touch seem to be unnecessary if we believe Him to be omnipotent.


Now I said that I would look for something to agree upon and I did. He made comments on the "doctrine of the assumption of Mary". He was correct in saying that it was not found anywhere in the scriptures that Mary never died. (Which, being the non thinker that I am according to Richard I would flat out reject this teaching as false.) And I agree that what this bishop did was violate the scriptures by "telling" the people they MUST accept his new found belief based on his own ponderings. These are the dangers of "institutionalized religion" (which by the way I do not subscribe to). The scriptures encourage us to question the things we are taught and if they are not in line with the correct teachings then do not comply with them. Even if the head of the church says so. Because at the end of one's days it is God who is the ultimate authority. And He will not be bound by man's interpretations or misuse of His own Word. Those that do abuse it will answer to Him for it.

Whew! That was long enough for now. I will review the other 2 parts and I hope I do not have such a long comment. Please keep in mind this was my review of part1. In fairness I may have a different tone after reviewing the other 2 parts. I will continue to do my best to consider what Richard has to say but his whole approach to this, so far, is just ...well I already said enough about him.


Another good post though Marco. this got the forum off to a quick start. Take care and Happy Easter!

2:55 AM  
Blogger KA said...

TIO:
You do realize that not all atheists are moral relativists, don't you? I'm not sure offhand what Dawkins' position is, but you shouldn't make that judgment until you're sure.
Some atheists have actually declared war on moral relativism.

pilgrimage
http://www.answers.com/topic/pilgrimage?method=22
1. A journey to a sacred place or shrine.
2. A long journey or search, especially one of exalted purpose or moral significance.
Convention:
1. A formal meeting of members, representatives, or delegates, as of a political party, fraternal society, profession, or industry.
2. The body of persons attending such an assembly: called the convention to order.

So, no, the definitions DO vary on that point.

I understand why you'd be angry. The video antagonizes your belief system. Thoroughly understandable. Hard not to do.

Detach your emotions from the examination process, if you can.

12:58 AM  
Blogger The Intolerant One said...

RA:

"You do realize that not all atheists are moral relativists, don't you?"

Yes. It would seem impossible to live life without them. It's like trying to play a board game without playing by the rule book. It all end's in chaos. But, I will still challenge those who claim there is no/or cannot be absolute's.


" I'm not sure offhand what Dawkins' position is, but you shouldn't make that judgment until you're sure."

I did not feel I had made a judgement but more of a statement on the impression he has left upon me thus far by the way he presents himself and his arguement. I think resorting to catergorising and name calling him would be a more judgemental approach. I feel all I did was challenge his statements and respond to how "benign" some of them were.

Although I did admittedly get sarcastic towards some of his comments I never referred to him as an idiot. I actually can see where he is trying to take his "case".

But I felt his approach, again so far, was to undermine and belittle those of faith due to some of the language he chose to use when referencing to them. (non thinking, deluded, etc.)

I do believe that he is trying to expose the dangerous powers that "some" can use and abuse to their own personal advantage to possibly weild a very dangerous movement.

But these types of "mind control of the masses" documantaries often neglect to mention the atheistic regimes of the last century that wiped out millions due to non conformity (USSR, Stalinism, and the annihilation of how many? was it not 50 million? I could be off on that figure but I am going from a tired memory right now) My point being that this type of "behaviour" is not soley within the religious ranks.

"Some atheists have actually declared war on moral relativism."

This I am glad to hear. But I can always relate my moral position back to God. Sincere question, what then can an atheist say he/she derives their morality from?

Re: Pilgrimage
"2. A long journey or search, especially one of exalted purpose or moral significance."

I do thank you for the definitions. I was aware of the differences. My comment was very "loosely" based on your point 2 statement. I essentially meant that, for example, someone travelling from Washinton state to the most southern tip of Florida for a "convention" would be on a type of journey/pilgrimage. It was somewhat tongue in cheek.

"I understand why you'd be angry. The video antagonizes your belief system."

I have to say that I honestly felt no anger. The closest I came was frustration. Richard's point's were often vague and broad, and thereby not accuratley represenative of the individual faiths he was addressing. They are being lumped together and in some cases misconstrued.

Antagonising? That is actually a pretty good way of putting it. I feel he dilutes his own arguement by continually disrespecting other members of the human race in what I felt was a very mocking tone heard when he made negative references to them. It becomes more of a personal assault rather then coming across as a respectful, insightful, documentary "meant" to be taken with some level of seriousness.

"Detach your emotions from the examination process, if you can."

Almost impossible. I am sure you could agree if the identical approach was taken only it was denouncing the "atheistic movement."

However, in fairness, I still do have 2 more parts to watch (Easter is busy for us non thinking, deluded Christians LOL). And I fully intend to examine it closely.

I see where he is trying to go with this but he could have done a better job on his presentation if he had any sincere hopes of actually being taken seriously by those within the religious communities.

It is quite possible my opinions could vary as I continue thru the last 2 parts. But my assement will be sincere.

Thanks for the response.

2:41 AM  
Blogger KA said...

TIO:
It's like trying to play a board game without playing by the rule book. It all end's in chaos.
Well, I don't think that's an apt comparison. Moral relativism means you play by the rules in the environment you're in. & chaos is a term that most would be hard put to quantify, since it's an abstract.
I do believe that he is trying to expose the dangerous powers that "some" can use and abuse to their own personal advantage to possibly weild a very dangerous movement.
This is 1 of the major issues I (& other atheists) have w/religion. It lends itself to leaders & followers. & more often than not, the leaders are somewhat deranged.
Sincere question, what then can an atheist say he/she derives their morality from?
Here, do a little reading up on it:http://www.answers.com/topic/moral-relativism?method=22
There's a lot more to it than most realize.
Richard's point's were often vague and broad, and thereby not accuratley represenative of the individual faiths he was addressing. They are being lumped together and in some cases misconstrued.
Well, it is hard to do a broad sweep of such a diverse spectrum, & include in depth-analysis.
I for 1 would've liked to see all the interviews in their entirety. The length of the feature necessitates cutting & splicing, otherwise it would've been WAY longer.
I wasn't sure about the shots of him riding around on his bicycle, the camera looking up at him. I recall thinking, "What the hell...?"

8:42 PM  
Blogger IGOR said...

I’ve seen some arguments around Dr. Dawkins video and I would like to post some ideas:

1. Seems to me that for some, logic and argumentation are more important than the idea behind. It is possible, with enough amounts of time and effort, to find several different senses, or even no sense at all to almost anything said or written (otherwise consider the multitude of interpretations of the Bible, for instance). Far over from this argumentation should be the understanding of what the idea is and think about it, whether you agree or not with it.
2. Do not feel offended by the idea that faith is opposed to rational thinking. At least, they have nothing to do with each other. In fact, faith is by definition non-rational. Otherwise will be a fact, or a theory or a logical affirmation. That does not mean that somebody who has faith about something cannot think rationally about something else, but it certainly means that he cannot think rationally about what he has faith in. So, you can be very rational about anything else except your own faith, or it will immediately cease to be so.
3. When Dawkins expresses his thoughts in the video, obviously he is using his own ideas and conclusions, but draws conclusions based on a rational approach. His approach may be totally erroneous if you want, but it is still rational. Been rational and relativist does not means you cannot draw conclusions. It only means your conclusions are relative to what you observe and in your best effort consider logical and rational (and in fact are plausible to change if proven wrong).
4. The difference of opinions in terms of explaining the universe between faith and rational thinking is huge. Dawkins concludes in his ideas based in facts and analysis. Very different from concluding that because we don’t understand the universe or how perfect it is, then there must be “something” behind that wonder. That is why older civilizations thought of the sun as a god, as it was wonderful and impossible to understand, but so great it had to be divine. Proven wrong eventually, but clearly divine in its time….
5. The problem with faith is that without reason, moved by faith (by definition irrational), people may do good or bad. Sadly, most of the time without questioning and too frequently to the bad side. A faithful can be easily persuaded to do anything in the name of “God’s will”. Even if you think that the commandment is bad, if God tells you to do it you will do it, with faith and without question… who are you to understand His will after all?. That is the inherent danger of faith, not only religious, but FAITH (the methodical disregard of arguments, evidence and questioning to favor something or someone we want to believe in, irrespective of any fact). It may also be political or may come in any other form including irrational, closed convincement of our own ideas about anything, still very dangerous.
6. Unfortunately, the main religions consider their ideas as the only ones. They even consider imposing their credos by violent acts. That implies that they know what is better for everybody, and it makes them superior (as we probably agree, among humans knowledge is the supreme faculty). So it is not only based in plain faith, but it has to be taken as a fact. And not only by the ones that have the faith, but by every human. Very contradictory. This has been such from the very beginning at least for the Jewish and Catholics as far as I understand. Muslims were different, actually very tolerant and not interested in imposing their ideas to other groups when Mohamad started the Islam, but time and leaders have conveniently (for them) changed it.
7. I don’t think science tries to disprove God. To begin with, God does not matter to science at all. God is improbable by itself, supernatural, beyond thinking. That is why it can only belong to faith or imagination, because does not belong to our material universe or its rules. Also, to disprove something to which there are no palpable arguments maybe very difficult (i.e. disprove that earth was not the center of the solar system was very difficult for a long time, but it is a known fact as of now) or even impossible. But fortunately we can use the logical, rational thinking and the scientific method. Before it was in fact observed that the Earth moved around the Sun, it was said so by scientists that concluded that not by observing the Earth itself, but from other arguments that appeared logical. Fair enough to infer a logical conclusion(which may or not prove to be real and that us the beauty of rational thinking). Now, what kind of logical observation makes the existence of God probable?.

5:00 PM  
Blogger Doctor Marco said...

Igor:

Point 2: I agree completely with what you are saying. In facts, many scientists are religious, but know that their beliefs are based on faith. The problem arises when someon wants to construct science from a belief, like the Intelligent Design backers.

Point 5: Religion can make good people do evil things.

Point 6: There is nothing more pervasive than believing that one is the holder of the unique truth. (Worse without any evidence). This is the problem of Abrhamic religions as opposed with what happened in the Classical world.

Point 7: I agree completely with this one as well. Gods or supernatural entities are not the domain of science because scientists study the natural world.

6:45 PM  
Blogger uberchap said...

These programmes were aired in the UK a few months ago and I saw them then, nut, thanks for posting the link. It provided me with a good refresher.

I am always happy to hear what athiests say about why they do not believe in God and it is important for Christians and those of other faiths to know about the arguments that they may be confronted with.

As far as I am concerned, I think that Dawkins took quite a few liberties with this programme. For example, why didn't he speak to religious leaders who were his intellectual equal ? I would have loved to have heard a discussion between him and The Archbishop of canteburt, Dr. Rowan Williams, or Professor Sir Robert Winston or someone else of that ilk. But, instead he gave us an interview with a dreadfully creepy fundamentalist and an appalingly bigoted Muslim Cleric who was quoted on the programme aired in the UK as saying about Western women "All your women dress like whores"! Now, i don't doubt that these people said what they did and believe it, but it is very misleading of Dawkins to imply that these kind of attitudes are commonplace. They are not. They are extreme. So, to make his point Dawkins just decided to shoot fish in a barrel as opposed to daring to take on someone a little more intellectually challenging. Shame, I'd like to have heard a good argument, if only to challenge and strengthen my faith.

So, I can see how the programme pushed all the right buttons for fundamentalist athiests but as far as I'm concerned he could have done a lot better.

I am not a scientist myself but so far with my faith I have not come across any conflicts where I have been demanded by faith to refute any schentific truths. Mind you scientific truths are a movable feast anyway as Dawkins illustrated with the example of his professor shaking the hand of the contemporary who proved him wrong.

I have no problem at all with evolution being a description of the "mechanism" by which species developed.

Anyway what all members of all faiths have to fight is fundamentalism. All Dawkins points were made against fundamentalists and I am not a fundamentalist. They are like teenagers with sex with regard to their approach to faith. They think it's their discovery and no one else knows how to do it like they do. The fundamentalist churches are Kindergartens (sp?). Many start there, but you have to grow up and leave. Some don't know that because they are incecure or are being preyed on by un Godly people or their insecurities are being fed.

So, well done, Dawkins, you managed to land a few cheap shots.

I hope you didn't mind this post Doctor Marco as I know we've disagreed in the past over related matters. But, I did want to thank you for the link to the programme.

3:57 AM  
Blogger Doctor Marco said...

Uberchap:

Thanks for your comment. I do not mind it at all. I wish you would comment more in order to have interesting debates. It would be boring that only the atheists come here and comment.

I think that the objesives of Dawkins were fully achieved. He wanted to show that fundametalist religion is a negative force that has caused so much damage in the last 2 millennia and that is extremely difficult to erradicate it due to the malicious indoctrination of children.

8:52 AM  
Blogger uberchap said...

OK.

I think that Dawkind was having a swipe at all religion and the faithful in general. But I agree with you thendamage caused to the worlyd by religion as Dawkins put it is caused overwhelmingly by religious fundamentalism not religion in general. To an athiest this may be a sputious distinction but to me it isn't. Not just because I don't want to be tarred with that brush it's that I don't see the God I worship in in the actions of these people.

I am genuinely interested in your views especially about the indoctrination of children. I am not an Islamic scholar but IO understand that the preachers of hate for all non-Muslims are a very small but equally voiciferous minority; so the vast majority of the faithful, I'd wager, would not allow their children to be indoctrinated.

I have two sons. I took them to Church when they didn't object. I dodn't let them go to the children's groups, they justy sat with me and listened to the sermon. After a while they objected to going to Church so I stopped taking them. My elder boy (who goes to a non-demominational secondary school) and is 13 recently expressed an interest in being confirmed because he was fed up with being bated by his athiest friends (by far in the majority) and wanted to do this to know more. I took him to a meeting with the Rector and now he's thinking about it. His choice, as far as I and my wife are concerned. He can go for it or not.

I know that every parent can bore for the Olympics about how good a parent they are - and I-m no exception - but i don't think that I'm indoctrinating my son. And I can assure you that I will not be coercing him in any way to become confirmed.

But, I know this is not the case elsewhere and especially in the fundamentalist community. So, Dawkins has a point or two, but i don't feel chastened by him as the "faith" and "religion" he described is not one recognised by me.

Anyway, sorry for the rambling message, must go and cut the grass before my wife returns. I'll put something up on my blog at some point to hopefully get some discussions going there. It's empty at the moment and I feel that I shouldn't gate crash for ever !

10:32 AM  
Blogger Doctor Marco said...

Uberchap:

My views with respect to indoctrination of children are as follows. Children should be educated as much as possible in an unbiased environment, free of political, religious or other influences. They should be educated that there is Buddhism, Taoism, Christianity, Islam, etc. They should be educated that there is Socialism, Capitalism, and different levels of them. They should be exposed to all points of view. Only when they are able have abstract thought, they will make a choice or they will remain observing religion and/or politics as issues of "other people".

I believe that it is abusive to educate a child in the fear of deities and in the fear of "hell". Dawkins explained that in the second chapter "The Virus of Faith"

10:44 AM  
Blogger uberchap said...

I completely agree.

Neither of my sons are taught to fear God or Hell and they are taught about all the major faiths at school in a way that does not provide a bias towards any particular one as there are children from different faiths happily co-habiting there.

I do find Dawkins' usage rather rude, I must admit. Faith does not have viral qualities. You are not invaded by it and taken over. You are referring fundamentalist indoctrination which is entirely different and a wholly secular reaction.

I have no difficulty with that at all

12:27 PM  

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