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Considering Humanism? Episode 1: The supreme authority of Richard Dawkins
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Considering Humanism? Episode 1: The supreme authority of Richard Dawkins - November 16, 2010, 11:22 AM

I posted this one already in another thread but since itís the spark that fired my idea to do these threads, Iíll honor "The Dawkins" with an encore appearance right here in Episode 1.


Dawkins says that there is a huge difference between basing one's beliefs on observable evidence and logic versus basing oneís belief on tradition, authority, or revelation. I agree, there is a big difference. He doesn't tell us in the video what that difference is, but we know exactly what he implies. But we don't even need to go that deep. Question: Is his statement based on observable evidence and logic or is it based on tradition, authority, or revelation?

Can anyone design an experiment to test whether beliefs should be formed from observable evidence and logic?

Does logic alone explain why you love your parents?

In fact, Dawkins's statement is rooted in neither observable fact nor logic. It's a statement from authority, nothing more. Telling people how to believe is Richard Dawkinsís supreme authority.

Think about it...


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November 16, 2010, 11:50 AM

Defininition of "Love" would help. However, in the case of parents I'd say it's a combination of physical and physiological bond. Bonds form for a variety of reasons and change over time. Once the bond develops you care about the other persons well being because of how it might effect YOU. So yes, logic explains why we love our parents..

"Tradition" can be based on logic, or it can be based on tradition itself. If we don't take the time to critic a tradition from time to time we fall prey to following tradition for traditions sake.

A woman always cut 2" off the ham. This made her husband curious and he asked why she did it. "It how I was taught by my mother" she responded. A few weeks later when his mother in law came by he asked her about it. His mother in law replied "Goodness I haven't done that since we got a bigger oven."

Many religions base their "Authority" on threat of pain or promise of pleasure. Seems like this fellow is simply tossing out his opinion. You are free to accept it, think about it, or reject it. No strings attached.
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November 16, 2010, 12:03 PM

Didn't Humanism die off in the 70's because it couldn't work?


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November 16, 2010, 12:07 PM

People draw comfort from religion and from that aspect it is logical. It also affords some level of logic from it's power to convince people to conform to a way of thought and therefore can be the glue that binds people to form a society. Societies are logical.

Furthermore, If you have picked a religion to believe in then when someone wrongs you there is the comfort of "knowing" that they'll get theirs in the end, or at the least that your righteousness will result in a reward they will not be able to share in. Sounds a lot more comforting than the simple truth that both will end up as worm food sooner or later. And it's logical to want to feel comforted.
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November 16, 2010, 12:21 PM

James I would argue that some things you say are logical are quite intuitive and possibly utilitarian but really not logical in a strict sense. Think "Spock". Emotions are not logical--they often guide us in making utterly irrational decisions.


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November 16, 2010, 12:55 PM

Who cares about dawkins
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November 16, 2010, 12:59 PM

While I disagree with some of your notions, OSD, I do agree with one thing you're sort of trying to get at:

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November 16, 2010, 01:10 PM

... And that's why I think Dawkins is misled and misleading in the name of science.

In a similar debate, I used the analogy once that observable logic would tell you water boils at 100 degrees Celsius at standard atmospheric pressure.

Some would say that the water boils on its own, suggesting that no chef was needed to make water boil.

Some say that the water must be made to boil by a chef.

But the science of water boiling only describes the conditions under which it boils and what happens when it does.

Edit: i JUST saw your signature quote


*Not intended to be a factual statement.

Last edited by Rail; November 16, 2010 at 01:35 PM..
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November 16, 2010, 02:19 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by windblown View Post
... Seems like this fellow is simply tossing out his opinion. You are free to accept it, think about it, or reject it. No strings attached.
Dawkins himself will tell you that religion of any kind has no place in education and public discourse. If there are any questions regarding the anti-Christian stridency of The American Humanism Association and their ad campaign, take a look at this video below. I'll be taking somethings mentioned in this video to task in future episodes.



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November 16, 2010, 02:56 PM

So do you think Christianity has a place in biology class then? Or ethics?

People don't need a religion to have a moral compass or a sense of values. I'm not sure what you're going after in these threads (the humanist schools of thought? Atheism? Dawkins? Public education?) but I have seen religious people do evil and atheists do good.


*Not intended to be a factual statement.

Last edited by Rail; November 16, 2010 at 02:59 PM..
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November 16, 2010, 03:46 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rail View Post
So do you think Christianity has a place in biology class then? Or ethics?
Biology, not really. Ethics? Why not?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rail View Post
People don't need a religion to have a moral compass or a sense of values. I'm not sure what you're going after in these threads (the humanist schools of thought? Atheism? Dawkins? Public education?) but I have seen religious people do evil and atheists do good.
Never said anything to the contrary. My threads have been meant to be taken at face value with the subtle but enormous contradictions I've identified.

Nothing says an atheist cannot behave well. In fact, all the ones I've met behave quite well. The question the atheist has to answer though is why he ought to behave well (notice a dichotomy between what is and what ought to be), and I challenge that worldview with the notion that they do not have a logically sustainable answer to that question.


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