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More Evil

The video is from the "God Delusion" the first in a two part series on the question, Is religion the root of all evil. In this clip Ted Haggard lectures Richard Dawkins on a subject he obviously knows nothing about, and then accuses Dawkins of being arrogant. I think I'll take the 'arrogance' based on evidence rather than arrogance born of 'faith', that is belief without evidence. Note: the audio is of the entire program. Here is a link to an interesting article in the Guardian Beyond Belief



Quicktime Video 3.3MB 1'39
Quicktime Required


The audio is of the entire program 8.5MB 47'42

UPDATE: Katheringe points to additional clips from the program more clips
Transcript follows:

Haggard: We fully embrace the scientific method, as American evangelicals - and we think, as time goes along, as we discover more and more facts, that we'll learn more and more about how God created the heavens and the earth - ' Dawkins points out that the evidence shows the earth to be 4.5 billion years old, Haggard says You know what you're doing?' and explains that he's paying attention to just part of the scientific community, and that maybe in a hundred years 'your grandchildren will laugh at you.

Dawkins: You want to bet?

Ted Haggard:Sometimes it's hard for a human being to study the ear or study the eye and think that happened by accident.

Dawkins: I beg your pardon, did you say "by accident"?

Haggard: Yeah.

Dawkins: What do you mean "by accident"?

Haggard: That the eye just formed itself somehow.

' Dawkins: Who says it did?

' Haggard:Well, some evolutionists say it.

' Dawkins: Not a single one that I've ever met.

' Haggard: Really?!Ted Haggard: Dawkins: Really.

' Haggard: Ohh.

' Dawkins: You obviously know nothing about evolution.

Haggard: Or maybe you haven't met the people I have. But you see - you do understand - you do understand that this issue right here, of intellectual arrogance, is the reason why, people like you, have a difficult problem with people of faith -

'


 

Comments

God, that was hilarious. Talk about "pot, meet kettle"... Can you say "Projection"?

sheesh. What a piece of work

Where can I get the entire video of this show? I want to watch the whole thing.

man that was embarassing. I had to look up ted haggart to see if he was for real, or if this was some kind of spoof

I saw this last night. I was shouting at the screen when that evangelical was speaking. I thought i was going to impload.

Later, when him and his Channel 4 filming crew were outside leaving and packing up their cameras, that preacher speeds up to them in his pick-up, shouts at them for calling "his children animals" and threatens to throw them in jail if they didn't get off his church property.

Very christian.

I saw this last night. I was shouting at the screen when that evangelical was speaking. I thought i was going to impload.

Later, when him and his Channel 4 filming crew were outside leaving and packing up their cameras, that preacher speeds up to them in his pick-up, shouts at them for calling "his children animals" and threatens to throw them in jail if they didn't get off his church property.

Very christian.

Oh my God, what an ass.

From the first segment of the show, Dawkins reported from Lourdes showing the irrational hope and belief of the pilgrims. He then interviewed an occidental jew living in Jerusalem who had turned to Islam. As with most born agains or conversions there was no talking to the converted jew. All western women, by way of their dress, were whores, and it was the fault of western males for allowing such. During the whole of the first hour Dawkins presented his viewpoint in a quiet and dignified manner. That was of course untill he met Haggard, the result as you see in the clip. The concluding part airs shortly in this blessed secular country. (UK) And before anybody takes me to task I do not disparage people who wish to emrace religion or embark on pilgrimages.

Man, Dawkins is shaking with anger..! And, oh my! do I understand him. Why does he even put himself up to speaking to such an idiot?

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Richard Dawkins is a hero of mine.

I respect his ability not to hit this guy in the teeth with a folding chair.

holy crap ted haggard needs a good cock punch

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Someone already bet him to the cock punch lol only not in teh face!

Kyle: "Later, when him and his Channel 4 filming crew were outside leaving and packing up their cameras, that preacher speeds up to them in his pick-up, shouts at them for calling "his children animals" and threatens to throw them in jail if they didn't get off his church property."

But that's what they are, isn't it? Smirking, dumb bullies who lose their composure once the camera is off. What a sorry state of things in a country that was once the great hope for enlightenment.

"by accident"!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It just doesn't get any dumber....

I'm so scared by my country....hold me....

Ted Haggard freaks me out! I read an article in Harper's magazine about his "megachurch" (yes, he actually calls it that)...very creepy, very cult like actually. It was a wonderful article...shows the very frightening direction America could be headed. I would have to agree with Dawkins, I am an Anthropology major and even a basic text does not claim that the eye "formed itself". Holy shit, that was just embarrasing!

I want to cry sometimes by how dumb it all is. It is not intellectual elitism, it is just calling dumb for what it is. Dumb people shouldn't get involved in things they aren't qualified for. I don't debate doctors or lawyers or quantum physicists or lots of people because they know so much more than I do about their respective subjects. Debating Richard Dawkins about evolution is just silly.

Oh, and that dude does deserve a good old punch in the cock. If I see him, I'm gonna wallop him right in the ol' peter.

re: Dumb/elitism,

I believe Get Your War On put it best. "If 'Elitist' means 'Not The Dumbest Mother**er In The Room'..."

I thought he was an actor, just because what he said was so absurd and contradictory. "Then you could be great like me" lol but don't be arrogant ^_^;;

If anyone finds a torrent of the whole program, please post it.

There is a torrent here

it's hard to believe he doesn't laugh @ himself immediately following his statement.

It's stunning that people can presume so much by gleaning minimal ammounts of information -- probably erronously from their peers.

Frankly as much as the idea of physical violence appeals, I think we all know that it's a counterproductive measure. Personal, I'd rather distribute a verbal beatdown. It's not easy to match vocally agressive people and turn their own force-fact-feeding back on them, but it's really the only way to change their minds.

http://www.demonoid.com/torrents/details/256704/

Here is another this is half the size and may be better.

So Ted fully embraces the scientific method, eh? Uh huh... I guess what he means is "he excepts some of the views that are excepted in some portions of the scientific community as fact". Namely the 'tin-foil hat' portion of the scientific community. Ted doesn't have to wait for his grandchildren to laugh at him in this tape, there's plenty of people laughing already. What a deuche...

wow that was fantastic. I hope you have the bandwidth to post the audio from the other episodes.

Yes, I'm planning on posting a short clip of next weeks show, plus audio of the entire show.

"Dumb people shouldn't get involved in things they aren't qualified for. I don't debate doctors or lawyers or quantum physicists or lots of people because they know so much more than I do about their respective subjects. Debating Richard Dawkins about evolution is just silly."

But that's what cognitive dissonance is all about; if Dawkin's is correct (and he is) that what a rational human being should do is concern themselves with probabilities, the probability that complexity emerged as a result of systematic processes operating on simple chemical compounds versus the probability that it came about as a result of the intervention of a curiously inactive (or at least generally recalcitrant) entity which spontaneously came into existence from no where in all the complex glory of an intangible, ineffable mind which hates figs n' fags rather undermines the beliefs of anyone that has decided they know the 'truth and the light and the word' about said invisible man in the sky on the basis of what is written in a self-contradictory book in the bronze age. As people like 'Ted' have based their whole lives around such peurile rubbish, they're bound to feel a little threatened and think that this is Dawkins pushing his area of expertise, science, onto their area of expertise, theology. The irony is that there is no such thing as expertise in theology, any more than one can be legitimately called an expert on vampires, or unicorns.

I would appreciate that norm, your site is great, thanks!

Ted Haggard was interviewed in MSNBC's special report "In God They Trust", saying that he talks with the president regularly:

Haggard: I’ll be talking to the White House in another three and a half hours.

Brokaw: About what today?

Haggard: I don’t know the subject today. We have a regularly scheduled conference call.

Brokaw: They reach out to you?

Haggard: Yes.

http://msnbc.msn.com/id/9804232/?page=3

The president talks to him. To TED HAGGARD. Just... wow.

Dawkins has made a very good program which I very much enjoyed. In it, he looks at some religious communities that have bred hatred, bigotry and ignorance. However, he never explains exactly why he thinks these qualities (hatred etc.) are wrong in the first place. Why is it wrong to kill people? Why is it wrong to encourage other people's hatred? As a christian, I have answers to these questions which come from my spiritual worldview. For Dawkins, who ridicules this and argues for the superiority of science and reason, there is an obligation to provide scientific and non-religious answers to these questions. But he never does. He just assumes that his audience will agree with him that murder and hatred are wrong without ever providing reasons. Personally, this reeks of hypocrisy to me. Anyone else?

I personally believe in creation and find that the bible doesn't fly in the face of science. That being said I hate the gibbering morons that the press and media parade in defense of creation. These people are dogmatic, unreasonable, and (dare I say it?)arrogant. One point to differentiate the two is to observe that bible scholars do not say that the "days" of creation are 24 hours in length but rather point to an undetermined period of time. (A Religious Encyclopaedia (Vol. I, p. 613) observes: “The days of creation were creative days, stages in the process, but not days of twenty-four hours each.”—Edited by P. Schaff, 1894.) In both the Hebrew and the Greek Scriptures, the word “day” (Heb., yohm; Gr., he·me´ra) is used in a literal and in a figurative or even symbolic sense. This is why fundamentalists "won" the Scopes trial but lost the argument. They represent a fanatical view of God, men and science. By the way this by far my favorite daily website of choice. Keep up the good work!

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Tim I refer you to Norm's previous post. Where he says Actually it has and can. I would refer you to Robin Wright's book The Moral Animal, Michael Shermer's The Science of Good and Evil, and most importantly Matt Ridley's the The Origins of Values: Human Instincts and the Evolution of Cooperation By the way Ridley was a student of Mr. Dawkins.

http://onegoodmove.org/1gm/1gmarchive/002761.html#002761

Oh my lord, that Haggart man is creepy. Look at his eyes. There's just nothing behind them... Very disconcerning.

I agree that The evangelical stance is extremist and wrong headed, but I don't subscribe to Dawkin's staunch Atheism eithier.

Don't get me wrong, religion does not belong in political discourse. People should not be pursecuted because of religious doctrines.

But leave spirituality alone.

Humans are not rational creatures. We have emotions, dreams, hopes... I think it's natural to look to something bigger.

The belief in a higher power is not the problem. The problem comes when religion is politicised, or when someone tries to force their religious beliefs on other people.

Let spirituality be personal, let it be irrational, but let it exist. If something gives a person hope, regardles of your own convictions, let them believe.

To Tim

Well off the top of my head I would say that murder, and violence and hate are wrong because they impede progress and devalue human life... Just because atheists don't have a religion does not mean that they believe in an anything goes world. It takes little effort to figure out that when a community of humans works to gether they achieve greater results then when they fight all the time, thats pretty simple and there are probably way more and better arguments against violence and hate then that but thats one good reason I can think of at the moment.

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In fact I think an atheist is more moral. When he does something nice it's not under threat from God. He does it in a truly altruistic way; he is not being bribed by heaven or threatened by hell. It really is selfless in the case of an atheist. The Christian expects to be paid in heaven or is threatened by hell. The atheist gets nothing out of it except the knowledge that he did something good.

I find the morality a lot more generous then a Christian who’s motivation is to get into heaven or avoid hell. NOW THAT IS TRUE MORALITY

Chronotis34

Darn you beat me to it and with a better explanation...

Thanks, Chronotis. I read this site regularly (mostly for the Daily Show clips, I admit!) and read that post. Your comment hasn't really answered my question though - even if we can show that our sense of morality has come about due to natural selection, that still doesn't give me a good reason why I shouldn't walk outside with a knife and stab as many people as I can get my hands on. I'm not really interested in the question of whether or not we should be moral. What is more interesting to me is how we can prove that we should be moral. Why does morality matter at all? And since Dawkins goes on and on about proof and science and reason, he needs to provide proof and science and reason in favour of morality. In the program, Dawkins has a completely understandable and applaudable sense of outrage at some of the atrocities committed in the name of various religions. He completely fails to provide a non-religious basis for that why that outrage is justified. And making the (contentious, as far as I can tell from my biologist friends) claim that morality has its basis in evolution misses the point completely.

Haggart is so creepy. His eyes are just... blank. soulless. It's frightening.

If you want to read a really good book about politics and religious extremism, Orhan Pamuk's book "Snow" is amazing. It deals with Political Islam versus Atheism in Turkey, but conflict of extremist doctrines in the book reminded me of this clip.

i don't want to pick sides, but i feel ted haggard articulates and composes himself quite well in this video. he could very well be wrong on his statements concerning the eye but his points on intellectual arrogance are spot on and i wish some of you wouldn't dismiss this so quickly. i am not familiar with the work of dawkins but judging by his choice of using emotion rather than logic during this interview, i don't find myself taking him very seriously. this video shows to me that even renowned scientists are not capable of civilized discourse.

"Well off the top of my head I would say that murder, and violence and hate are wrong because they impede progress and devalue human life..."

Sure. I'm not arguing that atheists/agnostics can't be moral. I'm arguing that Dawkins hasn't justified morality outside of a religious framework.

The problem I have with your argument is: why does human life have value at all? You say that murder is wrong because it devalues human life. Ok, so show why human life has any value at all. But you have to do so using science and reason alone. No unproven assumptions

"I find the morality a lot more generous then a Christian who’s motivation is to get into heaven or avoid hell. NOW THAT IS TRUE MORALITY

My first quibble with that is that you've misrepresented mainstream Christian morality. Christianity is very clear that our "good works" don't get us into heaven.

Secondly, you're still using words like "generous" as part of your argument. Could you say why generosity is a good trait? Again, in a scientific way?

"The atheist gets nothing out of it accepts know that he did something good" - you're still using the word "good" without defining it!

I have to go to bed now but if you'd like to continue this by email, I can be reached at talltim@gmail.com.

I will tell you why life is worth while. Because it is fun! I would say this life would have NO meaning if there was a God. Why bother to do anything here? Heaven is where we want to go in the end this life just sucks and is a vale of tears and filled with SIN. Didn't God basically say we should feel guilty and kiss his ass because we where born into sin? I find that depressing. I would rather be in control of my own destiny rather than grovling at the feat of a God that has just laid a huge guilt trip on me saying I am sinful and if I don't do what he wants he is going to send me to hell. I would rather live, love, have fun than die than go to some borning heaven where all you do all day is play harps.

The fact that my life is finite makes it more valuable to me. If I lived for ever why not just put shit off for another hundred years to I feel like it. Save it for heaven it's better up there anyway right? The fact I will die MAKES EVER THING I DO JUST THAT MUCH MORE IMPORTANT!

Define Good it is whatever the hell you want it to be. Does it make it some how different if some guy up in the sky defines it for you?

Totally unrelated to this hilarious clip, I just watched "The Smartest Guys in the Room," the documentary about Enron, and it was interesting to learn that one of Jeffrey Skillings' favorite books was "The Selfish Gene."

Yep. The same vacant, 50-yard stare as every other born-again Christian/Amway wannabe I've ever met.

This is going to get so much worse before it gets better.

Thanks for that second torrent Norm. The first one didn't have any seeders.

Actually it's probably a good thing that Dawkin's doesn't go too far into depth on the subject of morality; for him it's enough that he does feel moral outrage, as do others, that this can be explained through the gene-centred understanding of natural selection that he is the most conspicious champion of and to leave questions of what is an what is not acceptable up to the 'ikk factor'. He described himself as broadly utilitarian on Jonathan Miller's atheist tapes, which is enough to send shivers up the spines of - I believe I'm right in saying - most ethicists. In the past when he has strayed into philosophy he hasn't done particularly well (when he makes passing remarks on consciousness in the selfish gene for example) so it's probably best that he sticks with the science itself. The important point for him is that the idea of a big brain in the sky as a creator is absurd and that faith is the direct antithesis of the scientific method. If you want him to produce a coherent metaethics for naturalistic ethics based on evolutionary psychology as it can be grounded plausibly in gene-centred evolution I think that might be outside the remit of a 2 hour show which main focus is 'look what nuts these kooks are'.

Richard doesn't (to my knowledge) publish his e-mail address but as mail can be sent to his pigeon hole at New College, Oxford (and, one would hope, perhaps even read) it mightn't be a bad idea for those that liked the programme and like in the UK to send him a letter to this effect as something of a counterpoint to all the hate mail he's no doubt going to recieve from religious groups. I'm going to send mine as soon as I get back to Cambridge. (I'm not saying American's wouldn't want to thank him too, but obviously it costs considerably more for air mail from the states than for mail within the UK).

I saw this programme when it was aired, and thought that although Dawkins had some interesting points to make, he did show an air of arrogance, as Haggard says. However, Haggard shows a complete lack of knowledge into the subject and makes a buffoon of himself.

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Where can I find the rest of this series?

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Read what his own flock say about him:

http://www.in-sheeps-clothing.org/pages/1/index.htm

I can't believe how many people here are advocating violence aganist this man. Yes he's a prick, but violence is a far worse crime. You sound like a lynch mob: "hit 'em! get him! punch him! burn him!"

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Pete B-

Saw the video and listened to the audio. Dawkins didn't strike me as particularly arrogant.

Sceptical. Logical. Brilliant. Indeed all of that.

Also extremely polite extremely dogged and extremely thoughtful.

The arrogance was all on the part of the religious leaders. And Haggard has the audacity to say the bible doesn't contradict itself. Smug, arrogant puke.

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/jim_meritt/bible-contradictions.html

Ha. Ha. Ha.

saw this programme when it was aired, and thought that although Dawkins had some interesting points to make, he did show an air of arrogance, as Haggard says. However, Haggard shows a complete lack of knowledge into the subject and makes a buffoon of himself.

Arrogance? I dunno, it came off to me like adult versus child. Perhaps that arrogant. But hey, I don't have an imaginary friend.

don't want to pick sides, but

Hmm....we'll see.

i feel ted haggard articulates and composes himself quite well in this video.

A well composed and articulate position can still be funamentally wrong, evidence by this video.

he could very well be wrong on his statements concerning the eye

It was an ignorant statement. He based his refute upon a position of ignorance.

but his points on intellectual arrogance are spot on

No they are completely irrelevant. This is evidence and reality, arrogance has nothing to do with it.

and i wish some of you wouldn't dismiss this so quickly.

Well, present a supporting argument for Haggard's position. All you've said here is gee, 'he's right.'

i am not familiar with the work of dawkins

Ahh.

but judging by his choice of using emotion rather than logic during this interview, i don't find myself taking him very seriously. this video shows to me that even renowned scientists are not capable of civilized discourse.

If the level of discourse is reality based, I'm sure Dawkins would be less frustrated.

Did you watch/listen to the whole show or just the clip.

Ok, so show why human life has any value at all. But you have to do so using science and reason alone. No unproven assumptions

People learn they can kill themselves (end their lives) by adulthood, some earlier.

Most of the people do not kill themselves.

They value their own lives. I'll bet other people digging them being around helps too.

Societies that do not place value on human life die out quickly, they kill each other and then when there is no one left to reproduce with the last man standing dies of age or starvation...

Another thing:

In a society where killing is acceptable, even if it doesnt kill itself, the people will constantly live in fear and distrust, this will impede progress. This society will fall behind others that value human life and dignity and trust. So basicly the moral basis for valueing human life, if it is truly genetic, would have a selective advantage and the societies that didn't value human life would likely be replaced by the more competative and better ones that do.

There is really no question as to why, its an inbuilt moral that most people have, if most people did not find human killing wrong society would collapse.

I don't think Professor Dawkins looks particularly arrogant there either, Arthur. It looks like he's getting a bit worked up. Angry. Some of his conversation with Haggert is not shown. No doubt they talked for quite a while, with Haggart not even being conversant with reason and logic in his exchanges.

One other thing: I see this "arrogance" card thrown around a lot, especially at those who are exceptionally bright. You know, it's not intellectual arrogance on someone's part if they have a genius intellect and happen to express themselves and their ideas as such.

More often than not, I think that when someone shouts "intellectual arrogance!" it's because they feel threatened or maybe just supremely ignorant. And that's understandable in this case: Professor Dawkins possesses an extraordinary mind; and when it comes to the subject of evolution, few are his equal.

Dawkins has made a very good program which I very much enjoyed. In it, he looks at some religious communities that have bred hatred, bigotry and ignorance. However, he never explains exactly why he thinks these qualities (hatred etc.) are wrong in the first place. Why is it wrong to kill people? Why is it wrong to encourage other people's hatred?

It causes harm to society. Society helps our survival.

As a christian, I have answers to these questions which come from my spiritual worldview. For Dawkins, who ridicules this and argues for the superiority of science and reason, there is an obligation to provide scientific and non-religious answers to these questions.

Are you saying all heathen aethiests have to prove that they don't condone murder?

That's a new one for me.

But he never does. He just assumes that his audience will agree with him that murder and hatred are wrong without ever providing reasons. Personally, this reeks of hypocrisy to me. Anyone else?

Not me.

As much as I hate fundamentalists and evangelicals this guy did have a point. Stupid people will always believe stupid things, and if they suspect arrogance when you argue about those things then you'll get nowhere. Dawkins and any rational people arguing against such people should do their best not to be arrogant. They might know nothing about the scientific method or the huge weight of evidence, but everyone has to start from a position of ignorance.

It only pays to tackle all the arguments calmly, rationally and with patience.

Bush is an evangelical. Ted is the the president of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) which represents almost 50,000 churches in America. Is this someone who has Bush's ear? Yes.

Pastor Ted talks to President George W. Bush or his advisers every Monday...

Umm, do you think Ted has had an impact on American science policy, education policy, or world politics? This Ted needs to be exposed.

Well, some people automatically sense "arrogance" any time they hear a british accent ;)

/Z

Well, some people automatically sense "arrogance" any time they hear a british accent ;)

/Z

Hi Tim

"...even if we can show that our sense of morality has come about due to natural selection, that still doesn't give me a good reason why I shouldn't walk outside with a knife and stab as many people as I can get my hands on."

IF WE CAN SHOW...NATURAL SELECTION: Oh yes it does. Evolution is all about heritable differences and fitness. Fitness refers only to the extent to which an individual can leave offspring in a particular environment. The current environment is not the normal environment that humans have experienced over the last few million years. Food, shelter, and mates are key factors. Humans that cooperate have proven to be more successful hunters and farmers. If you look at industrialized nations, cooperation in order to obtain food is even more important today than at any time in human pre-history or history. Shelter in the industrialized world is also extremely dependent on cooperation as most do not harvest materials for or build their own homes. Successful mating is extremely dependent upon cooperation not only with a mate but because offspring require so many resources over a long period of time to reach maturity. In addition, human females can be particularly vulnerable during certain periods of pregnancy. Children are also extremely vulnerable for many years. There is also safety in numbers that has protected our ancestors even more than it protects us. IMAGINE how successful your ancestors would have been if they discarded cooperation. Actually don't, your ancestors were overwhelmingly cooperative for food, shelter and mating. That is not to say that some humans haven't been parasitic. I argue that much of what we consider morality is really positive cooperation.

WHY I SHOULDN'T: If one decided to "stab as many people as (you) can get (your) hands on" as you wrote, this would severely impact one's ability to obtain future cooperation - claim food, obtain shelter, obtain a mate, and rear young to maturity. Anyone who exhibits this sort of behavior risks a very high probabilty of injury or death as well. In the long period of human existence there is reason to expect that the same cooperation in killing game extended to destroying any individual that was so anti-social, violent toward the community. Another reason you are less likely to go on a killing rampage is you are not APART. This is important, YOU ARE A DESCENDANT of very many past generations that have all had sometimes very serious selective pressure against non-cooperation. There has also been a high value placed on cooperation during training and schooling. Individuals identified as uncooperative often experience isolation and punishment.

So, unless you plan on committing suicide, going on a murderous rampage isn't a good idea. Self-preservation behaviors would be highly selected-for genetically so it is outside the norm to be so suicidal. However, you can still choose to do so. If your environment cannot be blamed for your behavior, and there is a heritable cause for your behavior, then expect any offspring you leave that demonstrate your lack of cooperative behavior to also experience selective pressure against them.

Evolution acts on the species and you are a product of millions of years of selective pressure and the environment which includes society. Morality is learned and is an expression of how one sees oneself and others within the context of society. Morality is also very individualistic, different between cultures, changes during human history, and depends upon memes like the golden rule.

So, if isolation, punishment, injury, suicide or death appeal, then the murderous rampage may be a desire. But don't ignore the natural selective pressure for cooperative behaviors, evolutionarily or societally. Morality is a construct, not something endowed by a creator either.

Of course, I suspect I need to give this more thought. I offer my ravings for your consideration or entertainment : )

This is in response to the post on January 10, 2006 10:01 PM:

Well done, Ben C.

You re-thought your earlier statement, and this time, you've explained it scientifically. My thoughts mirror yours. Morality is irrelevant. This is about self-preservation or self-destruction.

my response was,

"...ok...why did this dramatisation end here?"

later when I found out that Ted Haggard is an actual person, I was shocked. I was shocked that a person can contradict so much of its own words in one dialogue, and yet rely on oneself and its flaws.

perhaps he needs to understand the definitions of "few", "some" and "arrogance" since both instances of reference resulted in its total failure.

And to say that eyes and ears cannot be created through evolution is like speaking on TV that "you can Never win on the Lotto"

I wonder how, as a fundamentalists, they can misinterpret the words on the highschool science text books. For one, the lack of life in any other planets that we know of is a significant proof that life occurs in only at an infinetesimally small chance, and that saying eyes and ears couldn't have just evolved because of the sheer lack of chance is just absurd.

to date, religious leaders who go against science has only displayed arrogance or absurd self-belief. Now, Ted shows both.

Hi everyone,

Thanks for the replies posted so far. It's not easy to keep up to speed with lots of simultaneous conversations on a comment forum so if you want to respond, you'll do better replying to my email address posted earlier. Who knows, perhaps Norm would agree to posting some of our discussions?

Tim

Hello,

I consider myself an Agnostic leaning towards Atheism. I was born in Greece but not raised as a Greek Orthodox by my family. Even though I have troubles understanding religious fanatism (and am against it) or even religion a political structure that has more than once brought death, intrigues and wars... I have troubles standing 100% behind Dawkins.

I find that the Greek Orthodox Church - even though it altered to great extend the Ancient Greek culture and in some cases even erased it - has formed a new cultural direction that I would not want to miss, with writings, music and architecture that are an enrichment to European culture and the whole world. Intellectuals of the Byzantine Empire, seeking God, have formed much of our modern mathematics and physics, even if the middle ages are considered the "dark ages". Even today, the celebration of Easter with wonderful customs of everyday life, with wonderful psalms on Easter Thursday. I do not view them as a believer. I view them as a person enjoying art, enjoying customs that form a nation, a country to what it is. (Of course religion and religious traditions are not the only nationdefining factor) And I don't only mean the Greek Orthodox church of course. It is the Muslims of Spain with brilliant architecture and mathematics, the catholics also with architecture and music that fascinate.

There is a cold polemic, especially in the begining of the show, that makes Dawkins seem a bit... unconfortable to me sometimes. I am on his side often, as I recognise the danger of fanatism... not only religious. I understand he must be polemic to be heard... but if he means it as he says it, I cannot back him up 100%.

Anyway, excuse my ramblings. My thoughts are not settled yet, so I am looking forward to part 2.

Keep up the good work, onegoodmove!

kura wrote: "And to say that eyes and ears cannot be created through evolution is like speaking on TV that "you can Never win on the Lotto"

Not the same thing at all. Your propogating a misconception about evolution. A misconception that Haggard seems to share. Evolution is not random; it's guided.

Myths about evolution:

"The theory of evolution says that life originated, and evolution proceeds, by random chance."

There is probably no other statement which is a better indication that the arguer doesn't understand evolution. Chance certainly plays a large part in evolution, but this argument completely ignores the fundamental role of natural selection, and selection is the very opposite of chance. Chance, in the form of mutations, provides genetic variation, which is the raw material that natural selection has to work with. From there, natural selection sorts out certain variations. Those variations which give greater reproductive success to their possessors (and chance ensures that such beneficial mutations will be inevitable) are retained, and less successful variations are weeded out. When the environment changes, or when organisms move to a different environment, different variations are selected, leading eventually to different species. Harmful mutations usually die out quickly, so they don't interfere with the process of beneficial mutations accumulating. http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-misconceptions.html

This simply isn't something that can be laughed off anymore. This man isn't some fringe dwelling nut job; he leads a large, politically powerful congregation and has the ear of the President. His poisonous, stupid opinions are mainstream, and they're becoming political policy.

I'm sure many reasonable, educated citizens of Germany shared a chuckle over the upstart Bavarian's uneducated accent, lousy artwork and simple-minded writing back in the early 30's, but what they should have been doing was recognizing the threat they faced before it was too late to act on it. Our own little Baptist Jihad has seized the White House through political chicanery and is now poised, via the Alito nomination, to lock up the Supreme Court for the next half-century and drag America back into the 19th century.

You don't hold polite discussions with someone who's trying to mug you, you fight back. And that's exactly what we should be doing with these thugs.

Great audio! Please provide the stream for the next episode, thanks.

Does anyone know Dawkins mailing address at Oxford? I would love to send him a letter of praise. If someone would be so knd my email address is rayno@rayno.net - Could you email it to me? I found this email: simonyi@prefessor@oum.ox.ac.uk - I guess that's his assistant. But the real mail is always nice to send.

How about part 1! I can't wait for part 2.

I've been surprised by the recent wave of "morality arguments" by creationists. Do they really feel that the idea of morality is the key idea that 'saves' the role of a creator? Am I the only one who finds this absurd? To make this argument you must not understand evolution by natural selection, not just regarding genetics- but societies as well. I enjoyed Mike C's paragraphs above on the subject. There is obviously a large comprehension gap between those who understand selective pressures on cooperation and those who couldn't imagine a world where we weren't handed down the laws of the land from an unquestionable creator.

I am finding it harder and harder to talk to creationists. What good is presenting a set of facts or a logical argument going to do when they beleive their faith(acceptance without evidence) is stronger when 'surviving the test' of scientific fact that contradicts their beliefs? Science is seen as 'satan's plot.'

My name is Josh Timonen, and I am a proud athiest.

www.joshtimonen.com

"Does anyone know Dawkins mailing address at Oxford? I would love to send him a letter of praise."

While it's possible they'll have a different set-up I'd say just send it to;

Professor Richard Dawkins, New College, New College Lane, Oxford OX1 3TF, England, UK.

Oxbridge colleges sort mail themselves. Dawkins might be slightly different of course, as I imagine he gets considerably more mail than the average.

When you're talking to someone completely righteous and impervious to reason, exactly what difference does it make how arrogant you sound?

Do you think Haggard or that Islamic fundamentalist would suddenly take an interest in science and rationality if you speak nicely to them?

The response to someone who says the eyeball formed by accident is to say,"....no, it took more than four billion years for the eyeball to evolve into it's current form....can you even fathom how long four billion years is?....I didn't think so!"

David W: “The days of creation were creative days, stages in the process, but not days of twenty-four hours each.” Accordingly then this is the order of creation: 1. Light and Darkness. 2. Heaven ("The Firmament", a "dome" where the stars are), and the oceans (the "waters"). 3. Earth (the "dry land"), and plants. Note that the plants are around before the sun. 4. Sources of light: The sun and the moon and the stars. The moon is a source of light according to Genesis not a reflector of sunlight. Somehow we had light and darkness in stage one, but the source for that light is created in stage four. Where is the light in stages 1-3 coming from? 5. Fish and ocean mammals and birds. 6. Beasts and then Man (Gen 1.27-30) OR: 6. Man and then beasts (Gen 2.7, 2.19). Actually the order (without quibling) is not so far off from what we have determined from collecting evidence, but I wouldn't rely on 3000+ yr old writings, because that would be arrogant of me.

Haggard comes across to me as pretty arrogant to me (somebody wipe that smirk off of his face please), to be lecturing Dawkins on science. Re: Earth is 4 Billion years old, Haggard says "you are accepting SOME of the views..in SOME portion of the scientific community...". His definition of SOME is 99.99+%.
I suppose that SOME computers are able to add 2+2=4, and that SOME water is H2O, and that SOME fish can swim. Hobbes.

Wait a minute! What does arrogance have to do with any of this? The facts is the facts. Sorry but: "I won't listen to your argument because I don't like the way you say it" is childish on Haggard's part. Give me a break! This is just another ad hominem attack typically done by those who lack a valid point. Haggard doesn't like the conclusions reached by 99.99% of rational people who look at the evidence so he goes into character attack of the messenger. Hobbes

I've read some of dawkins writing, the blind watchmaker was the book that really made evolution 'click' for me. I think he's a very good teacher, but this program made me lose a bit of respect for the guy.

His main thesis in this program seems to be that some religious people espouse hate & practice violence. Therefore religion as a whole is dangerous. That seems like a pathetically weak argument to me, akin to the 'most criminals drank milk as kids, therefore ban milk' argument.

"That seems like a pathetically weak argument to me, akin to the 'most criminals drank milk as kids, therefore ban milk' argument."

Try 'thalidomide causes severe birth defects when taken by pregnant mothers, therefore ban thalidomide'.

I believe Dawkins' point is not that "some religious people espouse hate & practice violence, therefore religion as a whole is dangerous," but more likely 1) Religion easily reinforces xenophobia, intolerance, bigotry, and sloppy reasoning. 2) Although these characteristics are possible within the population as a whole they are frequently dramatically reinforced by(and many times have their roots entirely based on) religious dogma. 3) Anything that leads to an increase in interpersonal violence, hate, discrimination, etc should be avoided.

Therefore: Religion sucks. What?

I'd say the same of jingoism, sport hunting (as opposed to subsistence hunting), spectator sports, the abuse (not use) of drugs including alcohol, and probably lots of other things.

Just because Religion is not the only thing that leads to violence, doesn't mean that Religion isn't tailor made to cause all manner of strife.

I really just can't understand why we're even engaged in this debate. Religion is like WWF fans who, en masse, genuinely believe that the matches aren't all rigged. It's an echo chamber. If everybody in this country sincerely believed in Santa Claus then you would find it much more "reasonable" (and I use the term rather inappropriately but in accordance with common usage) to also believe in Santa Claus. It still doesn't make it true.

Regards, Daniel

1) Alcohol easily reinforces aggression, depression, sloppy reasoning and sloppy driving 2) Although these characteristics are possible within the population as a whole they are frequently dramatically reinforced by (and many times have their roots entirely based on) consumption of alcoholic beverages. 3) Anything that leads to an increase in interpersonal violence, hate, crashing into trees, etc should be avoided. Just because alcohol is not the only thing that leads to violence, doesn't mean that alcohol isn't tailor made to cause all manner of strife.

Ridiculous, isn't it? YES! Religion can be co-opted by bastards. YES! Religion can drive unhinged people to do bad things. YES! Some religious traditions can inculcate mistaken or counter-productive beliefs.

But that is not the sum of what religion has to offer. The abolition of slavery, and more broadly the modern conception of human rights has it's basis in the Christian conception of man's equality under God. Religion daily helps millions of people find fulfillment in life, gives motivation to perform healthy changes (I'm thinking of AA), do socially valuable work, etc, etc, etc.

We are engaged in this debate because many people see religion as a valuable part of human life, understanding that it also has a 'dark side'. Others see religion as a deadly memetic parasite haunting humanity. Hopefully by having this debate we can each enlarge our understanding of the world (using world in the broad sense).

@daniel

Well, today's Santa Claus has little to do with religion anyway. It's a Coca Cola Salesperson and nothing more.

Still, I find that Dawkins sees too much in too little (meaning only the two main religions, the one of the western world and the one of its neighbours. Quite a western centered position). He forgets about religions that have or still are tolerant and open to other thoughts. I would claim that Buddhism is such a religion, but then I would be claiming more than I know, so I will hold that thought. For the ancient Greeks and Romans things are easier for me thanks to my job. Their religion has always been open to other ideas and even new gods. Zeus-Ammun and Zeus-Bhaal are only an example of Hybrid god. Seldom would one find religion as the major reason for a war in those societies. Even if religious reasons were voiced you can still see the twink before you when you read the speeches of the generals or politicians that voiced them.

Then when I think about christianity, I also think about how the early churches were influnced by the roman civil service and how they integrated many of those foreign, pagan "structures" (architectural and organisational) into their church. I think of the christian scholars who never once thought of not using Aristoteles, Heron or Plato because they were Pagans. I think of them at the same time as I think of the Inquisition, the Crusades and the burning of Jean D'Arc.

I think we should not put religion and religious fanatism into one pot. Every kind of fanatism is bad. Even scientific fanatism. Even if I have no desire or need to visit church or to pray, I would never put myself on a pedestal and judge them as ignorant fools, just because they accept the immaculate conception. Not many christians I know recognise it as a fact, but rather as a symbol. Whether or not you accept their moral symbolism is another thing. They chose to live with the moral principles dictated to them by the christian church.

As for religion being good soil for violence or fanatism... me thinks we have not understood the human nature. Religion is not the reason, it's the pretext. As bringing democracy is the pretext, and the survival instinct of the western world is the reason. The same way religion is good soil, so is Capitalism. And if we have neither, rest asured... we will invent new a new piece of land to grow our abominations on.

I am deeply sorry for the double post. My internet here is having trouble.

"Not many christians I know recognise it as a fact, but rather as a symbol."

Well, then, they would be wrong.

God's Word is literal, whether we believe it or not, it's still the only truth there is.

"Science" = "educated" GUESSES.

Just imagine that there's something bigger than you in all this and finally try to find out the truth you're somehow so set against. Ever wonder why the concept of ONE GOD bothers you so much? Because your flesh doesn't want you to believe in it! The flesh and the world would much rather you worship yourself.

Well, anon here demonstrated with wonderful "god given" skill what I don't understand in religious fanatism and where I support Dawkins in full. Still, Dawkins lets me down in this show. "Two can play that game" is not a solution.

anon

I think you're right. I am prepared to accept the teachings of the ONE TRUE GOD deep within my heart. I am prepared to hear His teachings as absolute and literal. Praise Allah! I mean Brahman, I mean Thoth, I mean Zeus, oops Woden, I mean Quetzalcoatl, I mean Imhotep.

Crap. Whose teachings are literal. Which One True God? Help me here, anon...I devoutly seek your wisdom.

Regards, Daniel

Didn't we already try letting religion rule our lives? Didn't we call that the Dark Ages? Dawkins is mistaken if he thinks that confronting these zombies of the lord will serve any good. They have ALL the answers, the rest of us are merely scratching around for bits of truth. They have abandoned reason long ago. I agree with the earlier comment by Kevin: They must be fought. They do not seek compromise, nor should we. It's science, folks. Take it or leave it. If you don't believe in evolution then give up open-heart surgery and your big screen TVs.
P.S. I liked the part in the audio where Dawkins commented that Haggard's church reminded him of the Nuremburg Rallies.

Where can I find the whole video?

arrogant is defined as "having or revealing an exaggerated sense of one's own importance or abilities". I don't believe this man has an exaggerated sense of anything. He seems completely ground in reality. Period.

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where to start?

snak attack et al: if you think dawkins is seeing too much in too little, you're not recognizing the gravity of the situation. religion is a problem, yes, and has been for quite some time. read your history books if you need a refresher. and no, sorry to pop your bubble, but the religious impulse did not end slavery, or give the vote to women, or anything else. in truth, the religious texts were actively used to justify these atrocities. again, read a history book if you find this hard to believe. the root of the problem, the soil that the cancer grows in is "faith" itself. THAT is the problem. organized religion is merely a symptom of this. a full argument can be found by Sam Harris in "The End Of Faith". Why is Buddhism not as dangerous as other organized religions? It's not exclusively faith based.

Tim: You demand a scientific reason why you shouldn't just "go out and stab people". having to ask the question (number one) and not being remotely interested in the well thought out responses included in this thread (number two) make you appear to be a stupendously moronic troll. it is not the job of the people on this thread to educate you. Furthermore, the audacity to demand "proof" for something you yourself require only commandments for is kinda funny. We have well thought out, scientifically supported theories which add rationale to our basic common sense. as far as I can tell, your only reason for "morality" is because the bible tells you so, and apparently that's good enough for you. but tim, that doesn't make you a thinker. it makes you a follower. until you can pose some reasonably intelligent questions, or show even the slightest ability to think for yourself, i think you really deserve to be ignored. arguing with you is like trying to show a card trick to a dog. it's may be amusing for a second but it gets really fucking tiring.

TheGreek

Odd, I don't know a single christian who doesn't accept the immaculate conception as literal fact. I think you kindof have to believe in those things (God is Jesus, Jesus is God's Son, Jesus came to earth and died so that we may have salvation [just like Mithra and Zoroaster], Jesus arose three days later) or you are NOT a christian. That's the definition of christianity.

Now maybe you know some friendly deists who follow a judeochristian ethic, ie pattern their lives around the teachings of the biblical Jesus, but if they don't believe all the supernatural stuff about Jesus (maybe instead they believe that he was a wise rabbi who was crucified for teaching things that are essentially good depictions of how all people should behave) but they are NOT christian.

Maybe I'm wrong...but that's kinda how it seems to me.

Regards, Daniel

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I have a way to thin out the herd so to speak. If they "believe" that much, have that much "faith" then they should not use modern medicine or hospitals.

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I have a way to thin out the herd so to speak. If they "believe" that much, have that much "faith" then they should not use modern medicine or hospitals.

Tim Wayne you have to download a bittorrent client and download the program. It's only available in the UK. The only way to get it in the US is to download it or have a friend in the UK send you a copy. Norm has given a link to the torrent file above. http://www.demonoid.com/torrents/details/256704/

@Daniel

Actually the priest in my neighbourhood in Greece, when I was growing up and trying to find out what the Christian thing was all about, was the first one to tell me, that the immaculate conception is so wonderful for its symbolism and he doubts it as a fact. And not just that. He considered the whole Bible a book of wonderful symbolism. Maybe things are different in the US with that plethora of independant protestantic churches. I have never met any Orthodox in Greece, Catholic or Protestant in Germany who thinks of it a fact. Because I have connections to Byzantinologists (I hope the spelling is correct) I also get to meet the occasional theologian (nowadays not necessarily also a priest). Neither of them made the notion of thinking of it as a fact. Then again I was seldomly asking actively. I will from now on.

TheGreek

God I gotta get out of America. Tell me you haven't heard the statistics of Americans polled who don't believe in Evolution at all, and who believe that the Rapture will occur in their lifetime...it's unbelievable.

Daniel

"Why is Buddhism not as dangerous as other organized religions? It's not exclusively faith based."

Well yes and no. In certain forms Buddhism fully incorporates the more dogmatic (and evidence free) tenents of Hinduism; that we are reincarnated after we die. And Buddhists can quite easily run a fairly nasty theocracy as well when they try (Tibet before the Chinese invaded wasn't particularly enlightened - I'm certainly not saying matters improved, but they didn't get that much worse). Sam's view is perhaps a little stilted because he, like Susan Blackmore and a few others in academia, belongs to what one might call 'half-assed Zen'. In half-assed Zen you meditate and you take seriously a couple of the claims made by Buddhism; 1) the world is one, 2) there is no self. I am, by my own definition, a half-assed Zen Buddhist as well but don't be tricked into thinking that Buddhism in all it's forms is benign; the idea that you lot in this life is dictated by your actions in the life before which some schools teach doesn't make one well disposed to the poor or the disabled. Be open minded, but sceptical - few 'isms' come without a price.

Hobbes: The point I was making was that the "days" spoken of in the bible are of an indeterminate time. It could be argued that these days could emcompass millions or billions of years. They merely differentiated between the different stages. Your breakdown of the days are flawed but I got your overall point. The bible is not a book of science, but it doesn't contradict basic scientific principles. Haggard, Falwell, Pat Robertson, and others lose any argument they join just by showing up.

In my opinion, evolution, atheism, and agnosticism are perfectly rational responses of rational people to the millenia old disillusionment with religion. This doesn't mean God doesn't exist, but that man has tried to remake god in his own image. With varying results.
Rock on.

"The bible is not a book of science, but it doesn't contradict basic scientific principles."

Doesn't contradict them... eh? These are the highlights for me.

1) Light is made before the sun. What is it doing; hanging around in space? Gen 1:14-19

2) God places the sun, the moon and the stars in the firmament; the big black backdrop which you can see at night which... uh... doesn't exist. Gen 1:14

3) All animals were created as herbivores. Gen 1:30

4) Bats are birds. Apparently. So says God. Lev 11:19

5) Leprosy can be cured by a ritual involving birds blood and oil (can't say I've tried). Oh and bird sacrifice. Lev 14:2

6) The Earth stands upon pillars. 1 Sam 2:8, Job 9:6, 26:11, 38:4,

7) Pi is 3. 1 Kings 7:23

8) Rain is caused by opening the window of heaven. Gen 7:11 Droughts are caused by shutting heaven. 1 Kings 8:35

9) God stores hail and snow for use "in time of trouble." Job 38:22.

10) Psalsm has God shaking the earth with rage 18:7, the foundations of the world 18:15, the firmament 19:1, geocentrism 19:4 and diseases as punishment of sin 38:3. Sort of a greatest hits really.

Skip forwards.... (The Earth is a flat square by the way. A flat motionless square set on pillars.)

11) A star leads the wise men to Jesus. Might have been a comet I guess, but not a star. Else it would have to move... fast. Of course if you imagine stars as little pins of light in the sky as the biblical authors and by extension their God do, then that's fine. If you understand them to be massive fusion reactors millions of light years away then... it's somethings more of one. Matt 2:9.

12) The moon produces light and stars are such that they can 'fall'. Mt 24:29

13) Small thing; Jesus thinks mustard seeds are the smallest seeds in the world, they aren't. Mk 4:31

14) There were three hours of complete darkness over the whole land when Jesus was crucified. Nary an explanation as to how this is possible is given and no contemporary account bothers to mention it. (Well who would; three days of darkness? My uncle Bob said it was dark for a week when he was a lad).

I've left out the faith healing stuff, after all - everyone knows Christian Science is fact....

15) Only dead seeds germinate. So sayeth Paul. 1 Cor 15:36

16) The Earth is still set on foundations. Hebrews 1:10

17) All creatures have been tamed by humans according to James 3:7. This isn't so much bad science as... a lie.

Well... Revelation. Lots of stars falling and meteorology being caused by the celestial beings and... smiting of a third of the sun. Nothing contradictory to science there then!

"This doesn't mean God doesn't exist, but that man has tried to remake god in his own image. With varying results."

Yeah like a MIND maybe? Did it ever occur to you that maybe, just maybe, the source of the universe has nothing to do with the thing going on in your head and mine designed by natural selection to make us better at surviving and ensuring the continuation of our genes? And if it does then saying God exists and then confessing a disbelief that this 'God' thing posesses a personality, or ideas, or intentions or consciousness or anything to make it apt of having the term agent or being applied... you're as big an atheist as any of us.

"What peculiar privilege has this little agitation of the brain which we call thought, that we must thus make it the model of the whole universe? Our partiality in our own favour does indeed present it on all occasions; but sound philosophy ought carefully to guard against so natural an illusion." - David Hume.

Enumerating your points doesn't add validity it just makes you look conversationally anal retentive. I can tell by the tone of your response that you probably wouldn't accept any explanation I provide. I didn't post to engage in an argument. Yes, the bible uses colorful phrases that shouldn't be taken literally, either by fundamentalists who stake their beliefs on literal meanings or you trying to score quick points. And yes mustard seeds aren't the smallest seed in the world but it was the smallest known to the audience to whom he was speaking. Your comment on 3 hours of darkness changed to 3 days of darkness so I will let that one settle on it's own. Use of symbolism and metaphor is pretty common throughout the ages in the written word. Words such as "firmament" or "pillars" indicates the stability of the earth. It's exhausting to go over these same arguments if you knew how old they were and how often they have been refuted you probably would have hesitated to bring them up again. Oh, and it is because I have a mind that I would have to ask: What was the first "cause"? If the universe is expanding from what source did it begin? How did the earth come to be perfectly placed from the sun so that a few feet in any directions would freeze or burn the earth? Isn't there just a little too much order to the universe? I really hate to argue about this, but evolution just never did it for me. It doesn't have enough answers and requires more faith than most religions.

Hi David W

Do you really think the earth is in a perfectly circular orbit? Do you really think habitable zones around stars are so small?

I take issue with other comments including "too much order to the universe". Calling someone anal is just silly as well.

If you want to argue/discuss this or not, that is up to you, of course.

I hope TDS gets wind of Ted, probably the only way non-evangelicals are gonna get a real whiff of his stench and check his influence upon our government.

David

Evolution requires no faith whatsoever, other than faith that we can observe and learn about the world with some degree of accuracy. To claim it requires faith shows that you know little about it, I am not going to bother trying to teach it to you here. If you lack the willingness to understand evolution thats not my problem, and you can continue to live in ignorance. Just don't come in here and claim to know something about a subject you have clearly never cared to learn about.

And why is it that christians have no trouble accepting a god that exists and not a universe that exists? Why the double standard? First cause? The universe just exists, deal, cant? Fine but keep your ignorance confined to yourself, don't indoctrinate your children, or the rest of the world just because you can't deal with the concept of your own mortality.

Ben C I couldn't agree with you more. When that Christians can't deal with there own mortality.

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Brian: I'm not the Messiah! Will you please listen? I am not the Messiah, do you understand? Honestly! Girl: Only the true Messiah denies His divinity. Brian: What? Well, what sort of chance does that give me? All right! I am the Messiah! Followers: He is! He is the Messiah! Brian: Now, f--k off! [silence] Arthur: How shall we f--k off, O Lord?

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Well, that was worth downloading an updated version of QuickTime. Now, if only I could get some BitTorrent client to work on Mac OS 9 (actually, I'd rather be able to get Mac OS X to install successfully!).

Anyway, nothing new to add, except after reading many the comments on the program, I was expecting to see the exact opposite of what I saw. To me, it seemed (in this clip) that Dawkins had a very humble and respectful attitude and that other jackass had one of the most arrogant and condescending attitudes I've ever seen. I wanted to reach into my monitor and smack that smirk off his face.

I just watched the whole thing. The one bit I notice that kinda puts it into perspective, and the one bit I notice that Norm omitted, is that Dawkins begins the interview by comparing Haggard's service to the Nurembeg Rallies. Seriously, that's the first sentence out of his mouth. Now, COME ON. Maybe Haggard would have been as aggressive and confrontational as he was if Dawkins hadn't done that, but there's really no way to know. If you begin your interview by calling your subject and his entire community A BUNCH OF NAZIS, you kind of lose the right to act all flustered about their confrontational demeanor.

Seriously, there is a subgroup of atheists who just can't see the forest for the trees. The core problem is not religion. The core problem is TRIBALISM. Religion is a common form for tribalism to take, but it is not the only one. This is a perfect example. Dawkins began the interview by stating, effectively, "My tribe spits on your tribe. Your tribe is evil." He immediately shuts down any possibility of constructive, rational debate. I don't know if this is because Dawkins was deliberately trying to egg Haggard on for some good footage, or because he's just a complete idiot who doesn't have the faintest idea how people react when they are compared to the most vilified group in human history, but it's absolutely ridiculous. I wonder if he did something similar to piss off the jewish muslim guy, too.

But then, I probably shouldn't be surprised. I mean, the title of the program is "This Tribe is Evil." Seriously, if Dawkins truly has decided to fill the role of the militant atheists' messiah -- and it looks like he has -- it's only a matter of time before he gets assaulted or worse. And then the atheists will have a martyr to rally around. And then it will only be a matter of time before an atheist strikes back...

Oh, how wonderful. Truly, myopic rationalism shall turn this earth into a paradise! Truly, these are Enlightenment principles at work!

Seriously, how can someone be so astute about the biological sciences but miss these completely basic aspects of human -- strike that, primate -- behavior? How can someone get all the details so right, but get the big picture so WRONG?

Atheism may not be a religion, but when atheists allow themselves to fall into the tribal mindset they become just as dangerous as religious extremists. This is just stupidity of the highest order.

Synchronistic happenstance is an amazing thing - It might even be the basis of a new religion.

Why? Well, I have been reading a book about quantum physics and the possibility that we are experiencing a holographic universe (The Holographic Universe by Michael Talbot) and in this book Talbot illustrates from time way back (several hundred to thousands and milions of years in some cases) how there is an inner- and inter- connection to and of all things: people, animals, plants, rocks, planets, stars, the "dark matter" which composes 85 - 90% of the Universe {Depends upon who you talk to} and how all these various substances are at the quantum level ALL THE SAME - and that by various events and circumstances that he uses to illustrate his point - miracles and paranormal events are all explainable when you apply the various discoveries that have taken place in the findings regarding quanta and their appearance, interaction and disappearance.

What does that have to do with this discussion? From what I have read in his book, which by the way is well bibliographed, there are some very good scientific explanations regarding the questions that have been raised by the various faith-based thread responders.

All be it difficult to address all of the points explained in the book, may I suggest that those who have a true interest in their quest for a more concrete understanding of a possible alternative explanation to faith-based reasoning beyond their abhorrence of Darwin's initial findings and what thousands of sceptical scientists have corroborated by challange and validation in what is refered to as evolution, may want to consider an unbiased revew of this book.

It is not difficult and all topics are well adressed, including where the idea of using a hologram as the basis of a model of the Universe's structure and how that structure is, well - Universal. :D

This theory was first presented by "Dr. David Bohm, a former protégé of Albert Einstein and the quantum physisist Karl Pribram. This theory not only encompasses reality as we think we know it, including unexplained phenomena, but is capable of explaining such occurances as telepathy, paranormal and out-of-body experiences, synchronicity, 'lucid' dreaming and even mystical and religious traditions such as cosmic unity and miraculous healings." (quote from the back cover of the book)

A review may be of interest and might offer refreshingly new points of consideration.

What we as scientists now know about the Universe and its structure is beyond mental comprehension when the various documents were created that were later called sacred texts - whether they were and are allegory or metaphor or fact - such things as the mustard seed example is interesting since it may have been the smallest known example that could have been used by the author of the text, however the concept of the atom was well known in the Ancient days of Greece: (Greek άτομον from ά: non and τομον: divisible).

There are too many questions now being raised by clear thinking non-intiidated by spiritual blackmail men and women that are not and cannot be answered without empassioned arrogance.

When I was in Hawai'i a year or so ago, I was asked if I believed in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour by a very adamant believer, I did not respond immedaitely. His conclusion was that I did not and he immediately condemed me to hell and everlasting damnation. In front of several people.

I responded that I appreciated his point of view and that I found it interesting that he made that Godly Judgement without having heard my response and that he took on the role of God and Christ when he himself continued to sin. I reminded him of his requirement as a Christian was to go and sin no more. (But of course, there is grace). It is funny how the word arrogance entered this conversation I had with this guy, too. He called me arrogant for making assumptions that he still was sinning and that the blood of Christ didn't protect him from Satan and all that was evil. ( I will not continue that conversation because it did turn a bit nasty - suffice it to say that he was embarrassed about the stares at a woman who was not his wife that I pointed out to him).

On another ocassion, I was invited to attend the movie "The Bludgeoning Of Christ" by a friend of mine's pastor while I was in Hawai'i and after the viewing I was standing with him and a group of his parishioners and was asked how I felt about the film. I responded that it was very anti-semetic and so filled with blood and gore that it was possibly more offensive to to me than the horror and trauma I saw during two tours as an Air/Sea Rescue diver during the Viet Nam war. I said I was repulsed and that if he felt that this might be a moment of conversion for me, he was sadly mistaken.

I was reminded that this repesented the supreme sacrifice that was made for me - all of this was going on in front of the parishoners - by this man called Jesus. Not being one who is shy and retiring, most especially when someone is trying to spiritually blackmail me into conversion, I mentioned in a more than polite way that 1) this was a man's interpretation of pseudo-historical events which went against all Jewish law at the time; 2) That the focus of the movie was to spread the Roman Catholic version of all of this dogma; and 3) that there is no historical evidence the death, burial and supposed resurrection of any man named Joshua bar Joseph Cohen or Jesus the Christ in any Roman records. And that the Romans were as accurate of record keepers of their conquests as was Hitler.

(Obviously, that didn't go down well).

The conclusion of the minister and those around him was that I was doomed to hell. Well, so be it. I do enjoy warm places. That is why I live in Australia and Hawai'i during alternating times of the year. Both are really "one hell of a good place".

In conclusion, When I die - whenever that is - today, tomorrow, ten years - I know this one thing, that I have served the people of this planet without having an agenda of religion, politics or power. And that with that comfort I know that each day has been given to my best. So life ends and it goes on. I have witnessed the continuation of life as my parents passed on and I have seen when total strangers die. Life just goes on. That is good enough for me.

After life? Naw - no need. It's been heaven here. :)

Yank,

You’re so right. I’ve had encounters with those street-corner evangelicals too and I have the bruises and lumps to prove it. There’s no reasoning with bible-thumpers anyway.

I certainly felt The Passion of Christ exaggerated the gore. I believe it was intentional. Mel Gibson said he took a bit of Hollywoodesque license to embellish it that way. Mr. Gibson admits that.

I trip up some of my evangelical friends when discussing the crucifixion. I kindly remind them about Christ’s episode in the Garden of Gethsemane. That’s where Christ suffered the most. The physical pain on the cross is not where we should be focused. It was what happened in the Garden and its significance that should be a paramount discussion.

And, I know I’m going to Hell. I’m one of those collateral-lost souls who gets the shove down the slippery slide to Hades because I don’t partake in a particular ritual or perform a certain sacred ordinance. No luck in going to heaven because of who I am. So, I’m fine with it. At least I’ll be with people who are truthful and non-two-faced.

"How did the earth come to be perfectly placed from the sun so that a few feet in any directions would freeze or burn the earth?"

Teleological nonsense. I'll tell you why; because if it didn't, you wouldn't be here to ask the question of why it did. In a universe containing (as far as we can sensibly estimate) billions and billions world the vast majority of them will be too hot or too cold to support life and most of the remainder will not contain the right chemical compounds to make the kind of self-replicating molecules which form the basis for what we call life. The fact that this world does shows absolutely nothing. Life creates an equilibrium for itself by its very nature; at the emergence of life we didn't have the oxygen concentration in the atmosphere that we have now; that was a by-product of millenia of photosynthesis but those levels being what they are now and as a result we have creatures which thrive on exactly that oxygen level and by engaging in respiration decrease the oxygen levels and by opposition between the two a generally stable level is reached. This chain of argument you are proposing can go no where.

"Oh, and it is because I have a mind that I would have to ask: What was the first "cause"? If the universe is expanding from what source did it begin?"

I don't know. If you honestly want my answer, after giving the subject a lot of thought I am convinced that the question has no answer. The reason is to do with logical contingency and I'll sumarise it briefly:

For anything to be as it is there must be a reason for it being such as it is as opposed to otherwise (the principle of sufficient reason). Any property which it is logically possible to have been other than it is, we shall call contingent, and any object or entity which expresses contingency we shall also term contingent. The universe is contained of contingent objects, and as such it is contingent. For the universe to be such as it is rather than otherwise it requires a cause external to itself. This cause can either be necessary or contingent, but if contingent then by the same token it will require either a necessary of a contingent cause and thus we are forced to concede either a necessary cause or an infinite chain of contingent causes which cannot sensibly be taken as an answer because it requires yet another entity to ground the infinite chain (arguably). This is Leibniz cosmological argument for God and it is to my tastes sound but for one problem....

Leibniz was a fool or a coward; I suspect the latter. He never bothered to consider what his argument made of the God he believed in; a God such as would design the world or have opinions about it is contingent, in so far as it has logically contingent properties; why make the tree that way o lord? Why DOES god hate figs? If God is with the Germans it is logically possible that he would have been with the Americans. Thus the God of the bible, or indeed of any religion which involves a personal God - a mind, a designer, a judge, a watcher, a guardian, a listener - is by definition a contingent entity and thus requires an additional cause external to it. This, in fact, is the argument 'if God created the universe, then who created God' made rigorous in the terms of the cosmological argument.

In short, Leibniz argument does show we must concede the existence of a necessary entity, but it also shows that entity CANNOT be a deity by its own logic. We could, of course, say that the deity was this necessary entity but that involves special pleading; if you have no reason to believe the deity exists then there is a very good reason to believe it does not, in so far as is logically absurd. Rather, I take the necessary entity to be the universe itself - the only object qua metaphysical gestalt as far as I can determine (though that's a story for another time) and which has the added bonus that I know it exists.

My answer is essentially that one way or another, when our notion of causation which governs the way we understand objects to interact within the universe is extended beyond the universe itself we end up in one of two contradictions; a necessary entity with contingent properties (you cannot GET a necessary entity which 'creates' or causes a contingent entity IT DOES NOT WORK!) or an infinite chain of contingent causes which is absurd. Either way; we find ourselves in contradiction when we attempt to apply terrestrial notions about causation to extra-cosmological creation. Causation has no business going beyond the start of the universe because it doesn't work once you drag it out there.

The end part of the audio segment made me sick to my stomach. Richard Dawkins knows next to nothing about the conflict in the Middle East or Islam.

"Teleological nonsense. I'll tell you why; because if [the earth weren't perfectly placed to support human life], you wouldn't be here to ask the question of why it did."

Ah, but that's not quite true. If the earth's orbit fluctuated such that every 1000 years or so, 99.5% of mankind is wiped out with the last 0.5% is left to repopulate the earth, you might still be here to ponder it.

"Life creates an equilibrium for itself by its very nature;"

Disbelief in a god has led many evolutionists to ascribe his inherent nature to "nature" or "life". As if they are entities with powers beyond our comprehension. Could you explain how said "life" created life. Philosophical garbage. If the most simplest of lifeforms are attributed this miraculous of abilities then how is it that man struggles to recreate even the most rudimentary forms of life. Shouldn't empirical method be used here? I am not a biologist but I am not completely ignorant of the tenets of evolution. I believe it is a sound theory based upon precepts never established. No has seen life "appear" through chemical reactions etc. Let alone reproduce itself once arriving. Leaving aside how any of the chemicals and energy came about in the first place. Cut and paste any of my comments you like but I still haven't been presented a compelling refuttal of any of my points.
Mankind is driven to create, whether it be art, architecture, music, families, among many avenues. This trait goes beyond simply "survival of the fittest" but could be shown to demonstrate how we were made to reflect the qualities of the one who made us. We don't create just for utilitarian use but create true beauty, this can also be seen in nature. I hate sticking my neck out in this room but I cannot agree with evolution but I do agree with the reason it was created.

Ummm, okay David W. you appear to have ignored all posts between your last one and this one... My favorites were by YankInOz and the anon on Jan 12 2006 10:32 AM... that one.

And to correct your version of evolution, it does not involve abiogenesis (the origin of life from non-life). Evolution is simply the mechanism by which all life evolved from the life that came from non-life, evolution actually allows for the creation of the starting life by god, but no scientist really takes that version seriously. You can choose to ignore all evidence of evolution if you want, thats not really my buisness. Again, saying god did it for anything is stupid, and does not help advance science, so if you want to think that way fine. Dont claim to know anything about something that from your posts you clearly know nothing about.

PS. Do a little search for evidence for evolution (ignore creationist websites they are biased and often mis-represent the evidence) You will find that there is TONS of evidence showing natural selection to take place and that there are websites that have many transition fossils documented on them. And not those hoaxes either, the real ones. Do you know how hoaxes are discovered? Its not by religion thats for sure, its via the scientific method (That if you had any knowledge of you would know that if evolution did not gel with the facts it would not have been accepted as a scientific theory)

Overall you display an ignorance of the facts the makes one wonder if you have truly studied evolution and know anything about it. If you can provide a theory that disproves evolution but doesn't rely on god you will be rich in month. Since sceintists make their mark by either coming up with a theory or disproving an established thoery many scientists have tried to disprove evolution. You know why none have succedded? Cause no other model fits the evidence like evolution does.

This is my last response to you unless you start thinking critically, rationally and come in here and demonstrate some knowledge of what you speak. I don't claim to know everything but I at least understand the basic concepts of evolution and science.

Cya

Ben

I would like to also express WAHOOOO!!

I just finally got around to downloading the divx installer for Mac OS X, so I can now watch this program easily.

Previously I was using one program to run the video (But it wouldnt play audio) and another to run the audio and I synced them so that the audio matched the video but now It just works :):D

Yay

okay I'm done now...

Thanks Ben, although you are condescending at times, you don't seem malicious. I did read the previous posts, but I tried to stay focused on my original point, that there is a place for god in science but it shouldn't be represented by this clown and others. I agree, Creationists and their websites are a waste of time. I think you agreed to a point that there would have to be life to create non-life. Many scientists believe in creation, Einstein himself believed this way. Mathematicians have serious misgivings with evolution because the odds for every stage to develope exactly as evolutionists say are so monumental so as to be rendered impossible. But in order for evolution to be true these incredible odds against would have to repeated millions of times over. I would advise to you also to research alternative theories beside evolution. Their is "actual" opposing evidence not connected to religious fundamentalists. I apologize if I didn't not articulate better but I wasn't taking this posting all that serious until it started to get a little personal.
I agree, it's a good idea to end this discussion too. Later

To David W

Sorry for being condescending, it kinda comes off accidentally. I am not opposed to exploration of theories that challenge evolution, so long as they dont do so based on religious grounds, or ignorance, glad you cleared up your position on this for me. My appologies for being semi-mean. At the moment the scientific comunity agrees that evolution is the best theory out there, and I agree. If over time other theories become better suited to the evidence than evolution the scientific community will accept them. But again, at the moment the evidence fits evolution.

ps. http://www.creationtheory.org/ has some great stuff explaining your mathmatic argument against evolution and a good summery of different things on science.

pps. I'm sorry I mistook you for a stuck in your ways person and for that I appoligize (I also would like to ask the community for forgivness for my pathetic spelling :P) I find that it is impossible to debate stuck in their ways people so I often resort to flaming them and making them look stupid. So again sorry for the missinterpereting.

I need to start proof reading my posts before posting. What a mess. I think I even had a double negative or two in there. Sorry for the bad grammar folks.
Peace.

"I know I’m going to Hell. I’m one of those collateral-lost souls who gets the shove down the slippery slide to Hades because I don’t partake in a particular ritual or perform a certain sacred ordinance. No luck in going to heaven because of who I am. So, I’m fine with it. At least I’ll be with people who are truthful and non-two-faced."

I'm so sorry for you - and you are so very, very wrong. You will not 'go to hell' because of who you are, but because you have rejected the Lord. It is YOUR OWN DECISION that will decide your everlasting fate.

Truthful and two-faced people are everywhere - do NOT make blanket statements about Christians. Blanket statements are for uneducated people making assumptions.

@Daniel - there only one true God, and you know of whom I refer. Don't be ignorant.

"I know I’m going to Hell. I’m one of those collateral-lost souls who gets the shove down the slippery slide to Hades because I don’t partake in a particular ritual or perform a certain sacred ordinance. No luck in going to heaven because of who I am. So, I’m fine with it. At least I’ll be with people who are truthful and non-two-faced."

I'm so sorry for you - and you are so very, very wrong. You will not 'go to hell' because of who you are, but because you have rejected the Lord. It is YOUR OWN DECISION that will decide your everlasting fate.

Truthful and two-faced people are everywhere - do NOT make blanket statements about Christians. Blanket statements are for uneducated people making assumptions.

@Daniel - there only one true God, and you know of whom I refer. Don't be ignorant.

:DOH!:

To anon again @ 12:29 and again @ 12:30:

You make the assumption I was talking about Christians. I made no blanket statement about christians.

And your judgment: I am going to Hell. How do you know? You don't know. I don't know. I was making a point by being sarcastic but I don't know if I'm going to hell any more than you know you're going to Heaven.

Give me Strength!!

oh...oops...I only said that as if I was asking some supreme being/god for strength. Or perhaps I'm asking for understanding.)

Give me understanding!

As an aside, I have a question about "going to hell" as it has been discussed here in the recent comments.

Christians teach that angels do not have free will, unlike mankind - I was taught this, don't laugh, yet. However, some angels rebelled and were cast down by god. What do those angels who KNEW god, know about 'him' that we don't? And did they have free will or not? I know non-literalists, let alone non-religious people, will just consider this the stuff of fables, but do even the fables make any sense.

As an agnostic, I absolutely know in my heart that humans have only one chance to experience heaven and/or hell and it is here on earth right now. No one is headed for the yellow brick road of heaven. How can heaven be heaven to anyone whose loved ones are experiencing everlasting torment. I vow right now that if I was taken to heaven and my loved ones were sent to everlasting hell that I would declare war on god. HOW CAN YOU NOT? Don't tell me you will have super understanding and acceptance of their fates. That is bullshit, please excuse. If you believe in god and hell then know that he built creatures with FAULTS just so he could watch them struggle. God to me is like the lil kid, magnifying glass and anthills. Watch em struggle and if they notice the kid with the glass then they are saved, if not damned.

Also, as an agnostic, I have no problem saying "I don't know" - there is so much I do not know and as I learn more, so much more to learn that I do not know. But I do know one thing, truth (however loaded that term) is not something religious people should fear. There is no virtue in accepting divine nonsense despite what the holy books tell you. There is a reason we have a desire for understanding and it is not because the devil put that desire in our brains.

MikeC: Hell is a creation of man and a fantastic tool for keeping people in line during the dark ages and even before that. The bible makes no mention of a literal hell and words such and Sheol and Hades which are often misinterpreted as "hell" mean in the original greek and hebrew "the common grave". Teaching that God would create a place to torment people forever (FOREVER!) is nothing more than slander. The bible states clearly that "the wages sin pays is death, but the gift God gives is everlasting life by Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:23). Just thought I'd mention that. DW

Thanks DW, I know that it is an invention but it is commonly held belief in the US that it exists. I want to better understand what they believe it is.

I thnk the way most religions treat women is stupid and wrong.

How interesting it was to read all of these responses and then listen to the audio and see that excerpt of Dawkins discussion with Haggard. Haggard is one creepy, strange man, who I suspect is a fake preying on the ignorance of gullible Americans. When Christians say things like, "Don't be arrogant", I get the impression that they are uncomfortable with their own beliefs. My observation is that Christians get their feelings hurt when confronted with the arguments which refute Christianity. If they really believed in God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, etc, then I would expect them to not be offended. If someone "knows" that a god exists, why should they be offended if non believers display arrogance? It is as if they would be devastated to admit that some belief which they have held all of their lives is pure fiction, unlike the atheist scientists who are not only willing, but delighted to change their minds based on more knowledge and scientific advancements. If scientists were the same as fundamentalist Christians, science books would be teaching that the Sun revolved around the Earth. My reaction to this clip is that Dawkins was attempting to explain the phenomenon of extremist fundamentalism and its effect on science and life here on Earth, and how there is not that much difference between Islamic extremism and Christian extremism, and that religious extremism in any form is dangerous because it can lead to actions based, not on reason, but on religious propaganda and religious fervor. I find it amusing when some speak of extremist scientific atheists, because there is no gathering of "extremist scientific atheists" who get together and repeat aloud, "Praise be to Darwin.. " and sing and get all inspired with scientific mystic music which stirs their emotions. Instead they spend hours studying and searching for the truth. Creationists are not searching for the truth, but accept that the truth is what is in the Bible, and that is that.

When Christians are together in a spiritual setting hearing inspirational music, they must really sense something great. And then when they are confronted with logic, instead of faith, they become frustrated because they need to believe in order for life to mean something to them. And as Dawkins said, they invent an improbable god to explain the unexplainable,, 45% of Americans believe that the earth is less than 10,000 years old.. how can this be? Yes, indeed, enough is enough.

Dawkins is not saying that faith/religion is bad, in and of itself, but that it can lead to dangerous consequences, such as the actions of fundamentalist suicide bombers, or the actions of people like the parents of Terry Schaivo, or can lead to the detriment of the advancement of scientific knowledge.

Faith of the teapot? Teapot atheists... Damn, that was funny.. As has been mentioned here on OGM many times, Dawkins pointed out the idea that we are all atheists when it comes to Zeus or unicorns.

And that one comment about how American men allow their women to dress like whores... wow.. yet another example of some of the awful consequences of religious fervor and religion. Pathetic really. Again, enough is enough!

Jo Ann - so spot on.. as always... I appreciate your point of view... I really appreciate the thruthiness of Ted Haggard - even his former followers feel his truthiness is profound.

;)

Adn you are so right - enough is enough!

Thanks Jo Ann.

There are real world consequences for this attempt to stifle scientific thought, research, and education, in the United States.

The price is being paid at this very moment but most are not noticing yet.

Science, research, and science education marches on in Japan, Europe, China, Korea (N.& S.) No one is slowing down to keep pace with the US.

Americans don't like it when foreign professors teach their kids, or when foreign technicians and doctors take the top jobs in their fields, or when more and more high end, as well as working class jobs, are exported by American corporations.

These things and worse are natural consequences of moving back wards in science while the rest of the world moves ahead.

America's technological supremacy will no longer be America's.

The empire is crumbling as it tosses off the very things that gave it power.

I don't know, I saw only the clip on this blog and I noticed how calm and quiet the evolutionary biologist remained in the face of his angry and posturing subject--a subject seeking to intimidate and establish dominance? I'm awed by Haggard's apelike gesticulations while he frantically searches his mind for words to utter through able vocal cords. But it seems to me that Dawkins has a lot of faith in this animal's physical restraint. Yes, what ever did Dawkin's say to get this response? "Billions" versus "Thousands" of evolutionary years? Sounds like higher ground to me.

user-pic

The theory of Evolution describes a powerful process: a process sufficiently powerful to explain the biological complexity & diversity of the world we know and the fossil record. It could operate without divine design or intervention. This provides support for rational atheism because it shows the Earth's ecology & the wider universe could operate & develop without a supernatural creator or interventionist god.

Evolution does not however refute or disprove the existence of supernatural beings, like creator gods.

Outside of the US, it's a lot easier for 'Faith' & 'Reason' to co-exist. Even the Catholic Church accepts that Evolution is more than just a theory. The US, however, was founded by Christian extremists (like the Puritans) & their biological & theological descendants cling to hardline, dogmatic, & superstitious scriptural literalism. Hence the embarassing hostility to the teaching of Evolution.

I like Dawkins a lot, & admire his conviction, but he's being disingenous by speaking to/debating with men like shrine keepers & Haggard, who have 'faith' but are hardly blazing intellects. I studied Philosophy & Literature at Warwick University in the UK, where there were people with religious conviction AND formidable rational intellects. To be fair, Dawkins should engage someone of that calibre, not credulous caretakers & sophists.

user-pic

The theory of Evolution describes a powerful process: a process sufficiently powerful to explain the biological complexity & diversity of the world we know and the fossil record. It could operate without divine design or intervention. This provides support for rational atheism because it shows the Earth's ecology & the wider universe could operate & develop without a supernatural creator or interventionist god.

Evolution does not however refute or disprove the existence of supernatural beings, like creator gods.

Outside of the US, it's a lot easier for 'Faith' & 'Reason' to co-exist. Even the Catholic Church accepts that Evolution is more than just a theory. The US, however, was founded by Christian extremists (like the Puritans) & their biological & theological descendants cling to hardline, dogmatic, & superstitious scriptural literalism. Hence the embarassing hostility to the teaching of Evolution.

I like Dawkins a lot, & admire his conviction, but he's being disingenous by speaking to/debating with men like shrine keepers & Haggard, who have 'faith' but are hardly blazing intellects. I studied Philosophy & Literature at Warwick University in the UK, where there were people with religious conviction AND formidable rational intellects. To be fair, Dawkins should engage someone of that calibre, not credulous caretakers & sophists.

ted haggard comes across like he has some definite psychological problems-- that's being nice-- another way is-- ted haggard is an ignorant asshole

I've studied abnormal psychology and cult leaders, and this guy Ted Haggard is a textbook example of one category of the Three-Factor Model of Psychopathy as laid out by Cooke and Michie:

Arrogant/Deceitful Interpersonal Style:

  • Glibness/superficial charm
  • Egocentricity/Grandiose sense of self-worth
  • Pathological lying
  • Cunning/Manipulative

Ted Haggard would make for an intersting case study considering he appears to be a leader of a cult like psuedo-christian following.

Intuitively, Ted Haggard reminds me of Charles Manson in his facial expressions and speaking style.

David W on January 12, 2006 10:30 PM posted

"Mathematicians have serious misgivings with evolution because the odds for every stage to develope exactly as evolutionists say are so monumental so as to be rendered impossible. But in order for evolution to be true these incredible odds against would have to repeated millions of times over."

This I think is a commom misconception. The probability of evolution occuring on any given planet, during any given time frame, is very low. The probability of it occuring somewhere, at sometime, is 100%. If the Earth were the centre of the universe, this might be a valid argument.

Someone - I replied to you in "Is Religion The Root of All Evil?" but you missed it so I'm reposting here.

Ahhh, we have a romantic. Unfortunately there's a sad lack of evidence for the romantic viewpoint. That said, you don't believe that humankind, as a vast and varied association of entities, has recurring and systematic flaws? Why, then, do we see the same problems recurring endlessly through our histories?

I'd say that these recurring flaws are due to the culture or system we occupy and are not a part of our nature... that they are manifestations of problems that have developed in this system. That these flaws are recurring is simply due to the fact that we're still using the same system. Vast and varied an association we humans may be, but we still all come together under whichever cultural vision we occupy... sure, you are free to agree and/or disagree on what you come to understand about your world from your culture, but chances are you're not even going to think about it. It's apparent by the staggering difference in the level of violence between such close neighbors as Canada and the US that violence isn't an innate characteristic of Man but is rather a reflection of his culture. It's more nurture then nature. You can bet on it. Therefore change the culture, change the system, change the perception... and you change Man. You should read Ishmael by Daniel Quinn...

Quote:

I find it amusing when some speak of extremist scientific atheists, because there is no gathering of "extremist scientific atheists" who get together and repeat aloud, "Praise be to Darwin.. " and sing and get all inspired with scientific mystic music which stirs their emotions. Instead they spend hours studying and searching for the truth. Creationists are not searching for the truth, but accept that the truth is what is in the Bible, and that is that.

Yeah, nice try. Here's an actual definition of extremist:

One who advocates or resorts to measures beyond the norm, especially in politics.

I think Dawkins very clearly making the case that faith/religion is bad, in and of itself. Honestly, the name of the program is "Root of All Evil." And we know from Dawkins's previous articles and behaviors (as faithfully linked to from this site) that Dawkins absolutely has a problem with religion in and of itself.

Believing that all religion is bad is an extreme viewpoint. Dawkins is an extremist. Extremist viewpoints are dangerous because, when you can get one group of people to label another group of people as completely bad, or evil, eventually one group is going to lash out against another. People are going to create violence. It happens with religion. It happens with politics. It happens with ethnicities. And if Dawkins succeeds in galvanizing an extremist atheist movement -- something that he's clearly trying to do -- it will happen with it as well. To expect otherwise is the height of naivete.

I agree that religious extremists like Haggard are a real problem, but I don't think that adopting their kind of siege mentality is the solution. The reason that Haggard's church looks like a Nazi rally is because he's got a group of people together, united under a common cause, expressing solidarity. And a great deal of that solidarity is reinforced, no doubt, by sense of a common threat. If Dawkins can create his movement, and can create that movement based on fear (which, again, he is apparently trying to do) you will eventually see gatherings of atheists that look very similar. They might not be singing "mystic music," but there will be people, probably youths, swept up in the fervor of the rightness of their cause, who will commit violent acts. If you believe that another group is threatening your survival, and is indeed jeopardizing the human race, then there is no act of retribution that is not warranted in response.

This is a very disturbing trend.

Stimpson: "The probability of evolution occuring on any given planet, during any given time frame, is very low." This is an incorrect statemtent. In DNA there are five histones. The chance of forming even the simplest is 20 to the 100power(sorry I couldn't make a small 100. The odds of a single protein molecule forming in an organic soup: 10 1131t power (113 zeroes!). But 10 to the 50th power IS dismissed by mathematicians as never happening. This remains a challenge to evolutionists who often skip of the developement of the basic components and move on into animal evolution. From Dawkins' Selfis Gene preface: “This book should be read almost as though it were science fiction." I agree.

David, it is no challenge at all. You and they simply have it wrong. Here is a little reading to enlighten you on the topic.

YankInOz and Thomas.. thanks..

Norm, that was a very informative link. Reminds me of a statistics class that I took and the professor explaining again and again to students that,(and I quote from that article) "there is another side to these probability estimates, and it hinges on the fact that most of us don't have a feeling for statistics. When someone tells us that some event has a one in a million chance of occuring, many of us expect that one million trials must be undergone before the said event turns up, but this is wrong."

Again, here is an example of what lengths some Christians will go to in order to prove evolution is impossible. They are not seeking the truth, but seeking to prove to themselves that they have not been fooling themselves all along.

NationElectric said:
there will be people, probably youths, swept up in the fervor of the rightness of their cause, who will commit violent acts. If you believe that another group is threatening your survival, and is indeed jeopardizing the human race, then there is no act of retribution that is not warranted in response. This is a very disturbing trend.

Well, this has already happened, but not in the manner which you fear. Islamic extremists have threatened the lives of Americans and it is the Christian Bush administration and their followers who are swept up in the fervor of the righteousness of their cause. I don't forsee angry science nerds rising up in any kind of fervor as their actions are based on reason, not fervor. When in the history of the world have atheists formed a violent gang? Doesn't happen.The most extreme atheist I have ever heard of is Nietzsche, and he never had an angry mob following who committed violent acts against Christians. Nice try, but it just doesn't work that way.

The evidence for evolution is overwhelming. There are no serious arguments against it, but that doesn't keep the crackpots from recycling the same tired, old, long ago refuted bullshit. It's all here Ah, if only they could read.

Atheism and religion seem dialectical twins, yet they are not entirely in a vis a vis relationship. Without religion, atheism would not exist. Without atheism, religion would still exist.

Not having a religion or having a world view that opposes any supernatural being or order is unique in the history of mankind. Even the atheist would not argue against the fact that we humans face a big ordeal. We have the unique imagination to question who we are, where come from and where we are going to.

However, these questions are only deeply meaningful to the truly talented who not only question our conventions but in the process change our whole world view. And the rest of us are just suckers for whatever truth, scientific or religious, is coming our way.

How many people trully understand Newton? Or quantam mechanics and even worse: string theory? Or our genetic chemistry? Or even more interesting: how many people will be able to pose meaningful questions regarding the consequences of scientific breakthroughs such as cloning, nuclear physics or nano sciences. To most people science is as far and distant as their Gods. Nevertheless, these Gods give them a sense of destination which science can't possibly give. Science only offers more questions.

Although science has made enormous progress in our understanding of natural phemomena, we still have no answer to the one question that started this whole revolution, asked by Socrates: how should we live?

So here's THE question: how should we live?

Yes, Jo Ann, we all know that there are violent religious fundamentalists in the world. That's a problem that needs to be addressed, but that's not what I'm talking about right now. By many accounts the number of atheists in the world (at least the first world) is growing, and so we are just beginning to see, probably for the first time in recorded human history, the potential for a serious atheist movement. The rhetoric that is starting to accompany it concerns me, because I'm not convinced that simply failing to believe in a god somehow gives a person a free pass on everything that is unpleasant about human nature.

I guess the difference between us is that you must not have met any atheists who aren't "science nerds," who aren't intellectuals, and who aren't utterly devoid of messy, irrational human tendencies. I have. As more and more such people join the ranks of atheism, as people like Dawkins work to build a large community of extremist atheists by loudly proclaiming that they're under attack and that religion is the root of all human ills, I truly hope that your rosy view of your tribe holds. I really don't think it will, but I honestly hope it does.

Good luck.

Who has the rights to the video? Can we legally upload it to the Internet Archive? Whom must we ask?

Who has the rights to the video? Can we legally upload it to the Internet Archive? Whom must we ask?

To anon who said that God's word is literal, kindly note that the Bible expouses 2 Creation stories, as well as promoting incestous and barbarous behaviour.

However I agree with you on this point. It would have explian why Christianity has such a bloody past from the Inquisition, Crusades, wtich-hunts that no civilised religion will ever get into.

Point taken.

Although this website has not been seen for months. I feel like I need to reply.

First of all, anon is so deep in his beliefs that no matter what is said or done, he cannot be convinced to have a different perspective, or to walk in someone else's shoes.

Secondly, I don't really care if I sound arrogant because knowledge can increase one's ego. In my opinion, atheists and free thinkers are the one of the most brillant people in the world. Curiosity is what allow knowledge to be accumalated. Only intelligent people question what they are told. You can't believe everything that is said or written, you need to find out for yourself. Free thinkers don't accept what people tell them without logical reasoning. While many religious people never question their faith because that is what they are taught. I think religion is made for people who cannot think for themselves. They need religion to teach morals, ethnics and virtues. They need motivation from an authority figure and the concept of heaven and hell so they can do good things.

This is why religion is in general for people who can't think for themselves. Atheists don't need God to tell them that killing another person is wrong. They, through education, develop these morals and ethnics by themselves.

In that sense, when religion provides people with sets of guidelines and rules so people can develop morals, then religion is useful and not dangerous. However when religion is manipulated so that people instead develop hatred, biogtry and intolerance then, that is when religion become dangerous.

MUAHAHAHAHAH

turns out he flies into airports to 'allegedly meet' allegedly gay alleged hookers.....!!!

you have to WONDER how many of these StealthKink 'political passionflowers' do quick daytrips to places, like, say... ATLANTA???

damn, this" is just plain satisfying...

Spread Love... ...but wear the Glove!

BlueBerry Pick'n can be found @ ThisCanadian "Silent Freedom is Freedom Silenced"

So atheists are more moral, huh? And yet all of you are talking about people in such a bad way...that sure is TRUE MORALITY! ya right!

user-pic

hi

thanks for posting this... I am curious if I might ask you to send me the mp3 of the audio as well as the file of the audio/visual? I know it might be a lot to ask, but I need to use snippets of that for a project I am working on, and as I started to search on google, I cam across your blog... I was excited to see this! if you can, please email me at:

suchpeoplearestrange@yahoo.com

the project is not a political one - it is for a sociological study.

thank you so much, brian

user-pic

The lowest common denominations have grown like weeds here in the West. The literates in the "dark" ages of Old Europe, the scholars (schola=temple) believed metaphorically, symbolically (ironically the Renaissance was a great step backwards, for religion, the plug was pulled).

The corporatized media have allowed Incurious George and his minions to seize the megaphone. A psychopath is one thing, Mr. Haggard is not even an intelligent psychopath.

Science has advanced, while Religion has suffered a brain-drain.

Never has religion sunk so low.

I didn't see the link. I'd love to hear it in mp3 audio if possible...

Thank you,

RR

It's saddening to see that idiots obviously have better communication training. Intellectuals in general need more assertiveness.

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