Monday, October 16, 2006

Here, here, Richard Dawkins

Forgive my sudden video-happiness, but you've really got to hear Richard Dawkins out. This man is truly fabulous.

Even if you're a devout believer, it's hard to argue with such crisp logic and common sense. I haven't been this excited about anything since Bertrand Russell.

His interview about his new book, "The God Delusion"

The Root of All Evil (takes a while to load, make yourself some green tea with mint)
- Links to other parts of the series are posted on the right side of the video.

The pwnage of Ted Haggard.
(Note to Mr. Dawkins: If you want to put a sharp object in his neck, I'll post bail)

Richard Dawkins, up front on the Banana Boat, please.


caleb said...

It was pretty interesting. However there are only one or two points that he makes that are actual logical refutations.

When he says that those myths (virgin birth, crucifixion etc. etc.) were also circulated in other religions at the time, that was a good point - but other than that, wasn't everything else just his perspective on things as opposed to evidence that a god doesn't exist?

What I get at the end of the video is that his view is as possible as anything else - not that God doesn't exist.

just my two cents. I'm quite fond of arguing religion - let me know if this is a don't touch sort of topic.

Ri said...

I would have to be pretty dense to put a don't touch sort of topic on my blog and leave it open for discussion now, wouldn't I?

I'm not dense. Shut up. I'm not.

If you've watched the first video, the interviewer quoted Mr. Dawkins from his book saying "God almost certainly does not exist."

You can't disprove the existence of God, just like you can't disprove the existence of Thor, Zeus or (my personal favourite) The Flying Spaghetti Monster. But then again, Dear Caleb, you can't certainly prove His existence either, can you?

Tell me, what is your stance on religion and God?

Caleb Bardoforte said...

Theism. Christian, specifically. I base a lot of my beliefs on logic and science but to be completely honest there have been experiences that seem to transcend the obvious.

I guess the first question anyone has to ask is "Is there something else?" Something else being something that EXISTS that science is incapable of explaining

There is a lot of 'spiritual stuff' happening around the world. Weird, unnatural things sometimes happen. Some, myself included, believe that there is a realm that is, as yet, unexplainable.

Others take a different view on it - on the video where he said that the human mind is capable of all sorts of simulations, this intrigued me - because it's a perfectly logical explanation - That this entire unexplainable realm is hocus pocus courtesy of our heads.

Real or imagined though - something IS happening. Either something exists or our heads are trying to fool around with us. By someting I don't mean epiphanys and visions and God saying - how ya doin mate, go do some smiting for me will ya?

I'm talking about more everyday things like dejavu, hearing voices, weird coincidences, certain kinds of mental illness that seem almost to border on the spiritual, spectres, bloody mary, witchcraft, telekinesis - that sort of stuff.

If you are Goan then you probably know about all the craziness that happens down in Goa (or from where i live, UP in Goa). Crazy is not limited to Goa.

Honk if you think i'm a raving lunatic.

Ri said...

My dear Caleb,

Apart from shroom-induced hallucinations, or more politically correctly "simulations of the human mind", there's lots of things that ordinary people are incapable of explaining with logic.

Even more baffling are the things that even modern science has no explanation for. Yet.

But if one's only argument as proof of the existence of a greater power is "How do you explain the things that science can't explain?", it is at best, terribly narrow minded.

When early man, newly armed with a sense of awareness of his surroundings, observed the rising and setting of the sun, he must've been awe-struck. What could possibly be doing such a thing? What kind of being wielded such unfathomable power over the earth?
Much later, he figured that the earth was probably flat and revolved around the sun.

We know better than that now, don't we?

We also know better than to think that a person frothing at the mouth and trembling violently has been possessed by an evil demon. Eventually, science told us he just had epilepsy.

You see where I'm going with this?

Just because we don't know what shit is or how it works or what caused it, doesn't mean it's a miracle.

And just so you know, Deja Vu is a psychological phenomenon :P

Caleb Bardoforte said...

There is a cause and symptom argument used here.

If a person breaks out in boils then we say 'oh he has boils' - but often the boils are simply an external form of something that is wrong internally - a disease or imbalance of something.

The boils do not negate the existence of the source, neither does the source negate the existence of the boils. They both exist and are intricately linked even though one is readily seen and the other isn't.

In a similar way,yes the earth is round and spins around the sun. But why can this not merely be an aspect, a symptom - of the power behind it.

Frothing at the mouth could be a seizure but whose to say that the seizure itself is not the symptom of something - be it viruses, bacteria - even other things?

Our dialogue so far has not provided any evidences for or against something supernatural. Our examples are just as likely to be isolated events as they are symptoms and aspects of something greater.

If we don't know how to explain something, perhaps it doesn't make it a miracle all the time.

But it doesn't just go under the category of "at some point will be explainable by science" either. That takes a special sort of faith in the unseen that is equivalent to the faith of any theist.

It has been said that science was birthed from faith. People understood at an early stage that certain things would be beyond it's realm of understanding - so it was mankind's way of explaining what IS explainable, with the full knowledge that there would be some things that were beyond its scope.

Over to you Ri!

Ri said...

The earth spins round the sun. It is held there by the gravity of the sun.

But who makes gravity?

You could keep asking Copernicus questions until he was backed into a corner and didn't have any more answers. Does that really mean that God exists?

The faith of a theist is far different from that of a scientist or an atheist such as me.

Our faith is based on facts that are supported by experimentation and proof.

As for things that may or may not be explainable in the future ... what I'm saying is ... until there is scientific explanation supported by logic and tangible proof, I'm okay with saying "I don't know what that is or how that happens.YET"

A theist on the other hand would say "That cannot be explained by modern science. It MUST be the work of God." God of the gaps, so to speak.

And that I think, is the biggest mistake of all.

You would do well to visit "The Way of The Mind". Pedro puts forth his argument more eloquently than mine.

He's a smart dude and has shitloads of free time on his hands.

Ri said...

Oh and "Way of The Mind" is on the link list on the right hand side of the blog.