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  #1  
Unread August 20th, 2007, 10:47 AM
James Brody James Brody is offline
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Default Dawkins Speaks

This morning's news: Dawkins, the world's most famous atheist, wants his clones out of the closet. "Egad!" and for several reasons:

1) Dawkins is a brilliant essayist, most known for his first book, The Selfish Gene, a popularization of research by William Donald Hamilton. Hamilton's research gave Dawkins the attention span that he ordinarily lacks. His last good book, The Extended Phenotype, appeared in 1982. It's been a long time, his spotlight dims, why not recharge it on the believers?

2) Genetics is an easier sell than evolution: you can prove the former and it's useful. Darwinism is harder because so much is conjecture and it grates against religious belief. Darwin himself alluded to similarities between his theory and committing a murder. Many thinkers have since agreed with him.

It also appears true that genes influence what you believe. A one-third rule may apply. That is, spiritualism has approximately a 0.33 contribution from heritability, one-third of the spirituality differences between individuals may be attributed to genetics and one-third to immediate environments. We all differ from each other and it is possible, even plausible, that one-third of us talks with God, one-third find the first third psychotic, and the middle third does whatever their neighbors do. Only the middle third can be argued into doing something different from what they already do. If one third of my neighbors---I am agnostic---are going to chat with invisible things, I much prefer a mature Christianity with its many sects to radical Islam or voodoo.

Finally, in regard to genes and conduct, believers tend to be fighters that attend church and defend this country. Agnostics and atheists, often urbanites and New Englanders, on average, fight to make money, for principal rather than principle. Believers also have children and teach them, non believers tend to have no kids and abort the ones they accidentally conceive. The females, oops, women who do have children, go to a job and tell their kids to figure things out for themselves.

3) My personal dilemma is that I'm a mosaic, a loner who thinks too much but also believes in shooting people for honor and principle. If, at age 65, I need be in a trench, then I want believers to either side of me. If prayer gives them better aim and more courage, I want them to pray and will join their devotions.

Dawkins, however, invites America to join Europe's mess. Europe, perhaps because the last great war killed nearly all their believers, switched their genetic middle third to relativism. Relativism advertises "sucker" to lots of fathers and mothers who name their many sons "Mohammed." If Richard misses the dopamine highs from his younger days, he gets one more ride at the top of Islam's list of people to kill and his call to atheists is one more datum in the case that higher intelligence predicts suicidality. Toynbee may have been right, at least about us...

JimB

Last edited by James Brody; August 20th, 2007 at 11:01 AM.
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  #2  
Unread September 5th, 2007, 11:13 AM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
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Default Re: Dawkins Speaks

Hey JimB, wadddup? Where is everybody?

My son recently linked me to a Dennett video on Darwinism / evolution (http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...47403945995297 ), noting that Dennett isn’t as unfriendly as Dawkins, and asked what I thought. Here’re my comments:
First, I suppose I’m a bit negative on Dennett since he seems to think that he has actually explained conscious in his Consciousness Explained book. I doubt he begins to appreciate human consciousness and our ability to discover and comprehend objective mathematical truth; that the kind of consciousness/thinking required to discern and understand such things requires more than algorithmic processes.

Be that as it may, at the end of his talk (in the video) he tells us what the acronym is in his Darwin fish: “Destroy the author of things in order to understand the infinite universe.” And I’d say that pretty much tells us his core belief, his bias, how he sees things.

He's an atheist and apparently believes in an infinite universe, a multiverse of sorts (whether he realizes/acknowledges it or not); and in such a scenario, the probability of a universe just like ours—where, by his reckoning, a blind directionless algorithmic process, evolution by natural selection, results in the creation of life and us sentient beings—is 1.

The thing about infinite universes and/or an infinite multiverse is that all universes are 100% probable. Inevitable. I don’t doubt that infinities exist within the objective truth of mathematics—e.g. infinite primes—but there doesn’t seem to be convincing evidence or proof for infinite material universes or an infinite multiverse.

And of course natural selection is his holy grail, which, IMHO, is little more than a circular notion which ultimately doesn’t truly explain or predict much of anything. Darwin himself acknowledged that “survival of the fittest” was more accurate than his own “natural selection,” and most Darwinians today tend to agree that “survival of the fittest” is circular (not to mention politically incorrect).

Darwin, in the fifth edition of his On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life, said:
"I have called this principle, by which each slight variation, if useful, is preserved, by the term natural selection, in order to mark its relation to man's power of selection. But the expression often used by Mr. Herbert Spencer, of the Survival of the Fittest, is more accurate, and is sometimes equally convenient." [from Wiki]
Also Dennett doesn’t believe that we humans are “moral agents” in any meaningful sense, that we humans are different in any intrinsic sense than any other living thing. IOW, we humans have no more inherent value, meaning, or purpose than say a cockroach. IOW, there is no right or wrong, good or bad; which is also Dawkins’s POV, and pretty much every atheist that’s halfway consistent. Atheism inevitably and unavoidably reduces to nihilism.

I tend to be contemptuous of atheists b/c they typically lack the intellectual honesty and/or rigor to acknowledge that their atheism inevitably and unavoidably reduces to nihilism. I find more honesty in nihilists that acknowledge their nihilism.
(BTW JimB, a bit of a tangent, and if you’ve not already heard, Dennis Miller now has his own more or less conservative radio talk show, 10AM to 1PM weekdays if you can get it. A witty fellow, and I tend to agree with his POVs. )

Last edited by Fred H.; September 5th, 2007 at 11:26 AM.
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  #3  
Unread September 12th, 2007, 12:53 PM
James Brody James Brody is offline
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Default Dennett - Yech!

I'm suspicious of any rationalist these days.

First, our left cortex manufactures patterns that do not line up with those of our right cortex.

Second, I think that Dennett is part of the suicidal crowd...that is, he defies convention while appearing to be "sensible."

Third, I sense, but cannot substantiate, the presence of another old stoner.

JimB
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  #4  
Unread September 12th, 2007, 01:03 PM
James Brody James Brody is offline
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Default Oscillations and Talk Radio

Alfred Lotka (1926) gave some math for why living organizations oscillate. In plain words without the squiggles, oscillatory systems have exploratory properties but, at the same time, tend to be more stable then linear ones.

Cultures oscillate?

Probably. And this is a good time in America for wide ranges of opinion.

WSB, 750 AM, Atlanta...Neal Boortz and, many times, Chris Krok (sp?)
WGY, 810 AM, Albany ... Mike Savage, Rollye James (this gal can find conspiracy in a roll of Tums! and she reasons like a guy!)
SRN (Salem Radio Network): Bill Bennett (Morning in America, Mike Medved, Hugh Hewett, and, your hero, Dennis Miller)
CNN radio network: Glenn Beck...should be everyone's hero for his series on Muslim terrorist activities
Laura Ingraham...can be great when she's pissed...chatty & silly when not.
Ann Coulter...I love the obnoxious bitch!

And of course, the pioneers, Bob Grant (WABC 770 AM, NYC) and Rush Limbaugh (everywhere!)

Omigod! I did that from memory!

Essential tool: a good AM receiver. Recommend CC Radio.com. They make a jewel for about $170 and have a new version that includes a SW band. If you really want to be old fashioned, then catch these folks on the Web.

Also in regard to evolution: the "right" seems exclusive to auditory channels while the left dominates the visual input...not sure why, might be a product of contingency, might also be one of neurology.

JimB
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  #5  
Unread September 27th, 2007, 09:17 AM
TomJrzk TomJrzk is offline
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Default Re: Dawkins Speaks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred H.
Where is everybody?
I'm still here. Enjoying Jim's posts and the fact that you're not here misquoting and misrepresenting everyone. Thanks for that!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred H.
And of course natural selection is his holy grail, which, IMHO, is little more than a circular notion which ultimately doesn’t truly explain or predict much of anything. Darwin himself acknowledged that “survival of the fittest” was more accurate than his own “natural selection,” and most Darwinians today tend to agree that “survival of the fittest” is circular (not to mention politically incorrect).
It's not circular. Sure, you can make it sound circular: "The fittest survive. The survivors must be the fittest." But that does not make it untrue any more than saying a sneezer sneezes, if he sneezes he must be a sneezer.

If a sick person containing a large population of bacteria is given almost enough meds to kill the infection, the ones still in the person were the strongest against that med. The next person he infects will get nastier bugs, on average. Eventually, only bugs resistant to that med will survive because they were the fittest in that environment. The survival of the fittest is how evolution changes populations.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred H.
I tend to be contemptuous of atheists b/c they typically lack the intellectual honesty and/or rigor to acknowledge that their atheism inevitably and unavoidably reduces to nihilism. I find more honesty in nihilists that acknowledge their nihilism.
Once again, I'm an atheist and not a nihilist. We were built from elements built in supernova. We evolved into social animals because our offensive weapons greatly surpass our defensive ones (Not really, we only survive to this day because our social instincts were strong enough to allow us to survive. And, no, that's not circular, either.) We don't need your non-nihilist crutch of a superior being, we have the non-nihilist instinct of not wanting to be nihilist. Naturally.
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  #6  
Unread September 28th, 2007, 07:30 PM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
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Default Re: Dawkins Speaks

Quote:
[Jrzk claims:] I'm an atheist and not a nihilist . . . [adding] we have the non-nihilist instinct of not wanting to be nihilist.
And Ahmadinejad’s claims that Iran doesn’t punish homosexuals b/c, “In Iran, we don't have homosexuals.”

Call me cynical, but I find such denials less than convincing.
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  #7  
Unread September 29th, 2007, 11:14 AM
TomJrzk TomJrzk is offline
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Default Re: Dawkins Speaks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred H.
And Ahmadinejad’s claims that Iran doesn’t punish homosexuals b/c, “In Iran, we don't have homosexuals.”

Call me cynical, but I find such denials less than convincing.
So, if all atheists are nilhilist, why are we such nice people? Why aren't we all in jail? Why do we have any friends at all?

I'll answer that for you since your delusion will force you to into the wrong answer: we get a boost of good neurotransmitters every time someone smiles at us, every time we do something nice for someone else, every time we do a good job, every time we make someone else's life a bit easier. Naturally. No god required.

Your attitude is the ultimate in insulting; and exactly wrong.
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  #8  
Unread September 30th, 2007, 10:54 AM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
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Default Re: Dawkins Speaks

Someone recently asked me why and how it is that religion/faith is such an important factor in whom I’d vote for.

I explained that some sort of belief in Providence—some sort of faith or conviction that human life is somehow unique, that it has inherent value, meaning, and purpose; and that there is some sort of objective truth, some sort of objective right and wrong, good and bad—is, and has been, so essential and necessary in the lives of our Founding Fathers, all of our great presidents, indeed all of our presidents, and pretty much all of our good leaders.

And since atheists lack such convictions, and ultimately therefore can never be more than moral relativists or nihilists, I and most Americans will never knowingly vote for an atheist. The dismal failure of the various atheistic governments of the previous century tells us that atheists simply can’t be trusted with authority and power. It’s that straightforward and obvious.

Growing up my parents were atheists (as I was until my twenties and realized that atheism simply doesn’t work). They were nice people, stayed out of jail, had friends. They survived. But as all atheists, they lacked the necessary convictions—a belief in the intrinsic value, meaning, and purpose of human life, a belief in some sort of objective right and wrong—to ever be trusted with positions of substantial power and authority, and I’d never have voted for them.

Even if for some inexplicable reason I myself reverted back to atheism, I’d still never vote an atheist into a position of power an authority b/c history is so terribly clear—whenever there are no religious/spiritual values to serve as a mitigating factor against the excesses of state power and human behavior, and atheists are running things, things get brutal and bloody rather quickly.

I suppose it’s true that I have much contempt for atheism and so-called atheists. I prefer acknowledged nihilists.
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  #9  
Unread September 30th, 2007, 08:34 PM
TomJrzk TomJrzk is offline
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Default Re: Dawkins Speaks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred H.
conviction that human life is somehow unique, that it has inherent value, meaning, and purpose; and that there is some sort of objective truth, some sort of objective right and wrong, good and bad
Yes, Atheists have all of those things. And even in a better way since they are not lead by false prophets.

Human life is unique. We alone have the fate of all the life as we know it in our hands. And I don't take that lightly. In that alone, there is meaning and purpose. And an objective truth, inspiration to do the right thing.

Beyond that, we have the appreciation of our peers to strive for along with the instinctive morals I already talked about that cause us to do what is morally right. And, of course, it will not be an Atheist that might blow up the earth so that 'god can sort us out'. We are alone, we have no god to fix what we break.



Send my condolences to your son. If he gets much of this deluded tripe from you then he may need some serious deprogramming. Maybe you can start by letting him read all of your posts and our replies.
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  #10  
Unread September 30th, 2007, 10:36 PM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
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Default Re: Dawkins Speaks

An atheist claiming spiritual values, claiming that he believes that human life is somehow unique, that it has inherent value, meaning, and purpose; and that there is some sort of objective truth, some sort of objective right and wrong, good and bad?

Well, I think most would realize that an atheist claiming spiritual values is about as laughable as Ahmadinejad claiming that Iran doesn’t punish homosexuals b/c, “In Iran, we don't have homosexuals.” I think that most would quickly see through Tom's transparent nonsense, and I doubt that he'd get many votes.

Last edited by Fred H.; October 1st, 2007 at 08:09 AM.
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