Posts Tagged ‘Dawkins’

Krauss and Dawkins on Science and Faith

Krauss: You have cogently argued in The God Delusion that religion is bad science. I would argue, however, that this is particularly inappropriate, and in fact falls into the same trap fallen into by those who push Intelligent Design in science classrooms, as well as those who fund Templeton Foundation grants that attempt to foster scientific evidence for God. I have framed this issue in language that hearkens back to Carl Sagan, who said that absence of evidence is not the same as evidence of absence. Would a world without God necessarily look any different than the world we live in? Most scientists would say no, and thus claim we do not need the God Hypothesis to explain anything about nature. On the other hand one might also ask: Would a world with a God necessarily look any different than the world we live in? People of faith would argue no, and in so doing feel vindicated in their faith. The problem is that both groups are correct, and nothing either can say is likely to influence the other.

Dawkins: I have several times said that a universe with a God would be a very different kind of universe from one without. You have translated this into operational terms, and consequently arrived at the legitimate question of whether the two kinds of universe would look different. Not be different (my question) but look different (your question, where ‘look different’ can presumably mean any difference, detectable in any way by any of our sense organs or scientific instruments). I agree that yours is an important question, and I agree with you that it might be surprisingly hard to detect, by observation or experiment, whether we live in a god-free universe or a god-endowed one. Nevertheless, I still maintain that there is a cogent sense in which a scientist can discuss the question. There still is a sense in which we can have an interesting and illuminating scientific discussion about whether X is the case, even if we can’t demonstrate it one way or the other by observation or experiment. How can I argue this and still claim to be doing science?

Read the whole debate, here.

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Turkish Creationist challenges Dawkins to Evolution Debate

From today’s Guardian, here:

Richard Dawkins is used to being provoked by loony American evangelical creationists. But his latest challenge comes from a strange Turkish figure called Harun Yahya whose lavishly produced (and frankly preposterous) four-volume tome The Atlas of Creation caused a stir last year when it was sent to thousands of academics across Europe.

Yahya (real name Adnan Oktar) has invited Dawkins to debate Darwin’s theory of evolution with him publicly. Yahya believes the theory “has lately suffered a global collapse”.

Yahya says…

Let Dawkins ask the same questions to us, and let us give our answers. Let us supply our evidence, and let him bring his – if he has any. Then let the public decide who is right. We want the public to know on a larger scale how Darwinism is a false theory and how it is the greatest deception of the world’s history. We are confident that the days are soon to come when people will laugh, asking themselves “How could we ever believe this theory?”

Renown self-publicist and Film faker is out of luck, Dawkins has consistently said he won’t take part in these debates as it lends the oxygen of publicity and an audience to those whose ideas are so ludicrous, it’s hardly worth having the argument at all. Dawkins himself explains here how the “stumped” film came about. I very much doubt whether he’d want to give this guy any more credence. Which is a shame in a way, as I love nothing more than seeing Creationists get bitch-slapped. 

Actually that reminds me of something…

The Genius of Charles Darwin – Episode 3

The final part of Dawkins’ series on Charles Darwin is now available at Channel 4 Catchup, here. Enjoy!

Purves and Dawkins: Bitch Fight!

Libby Purves of The Times on Part 1 of Dawkins’ program on Charles Darwin:

Professor Dawkins met a class of children, some of them indoctrinated by that crazily literal minority who think the world began 6,000 years ago on a divine drawing board. Instead of explaining natural selection and letting them work out that maybe the Creator works in more mysterious ways than the Genesis myth, he offered them a choice as stark as any bonkers tin-hut preacher from the Quivering Brethren shouting: “Repent or burn!”

Evolution or God – take your choice, kid! The moment one of them found an ammonite on the beach, Professor Dawkins demanded instant atheism. OK, he is provoked, as we all are, by nutters. But most believers are not creationists. Some are scientists. They reckon that an omnipotent being capable of giving humans free will is equally capable of setting a cosmic ball rolling – Big Bang, abiogenesis, all that – and letting it proceed through eons of evolution, selection and struggle. One of the oddest aspects of Dawkins’s TV programme, rich in antelope-mauling and gobbly snakes, was his emotional implication that, gee, Nature is too cruel to have been invented by God! A wet, mawkish, bunny-hugging argument.

An understandably furious Dawkins replies…..

Sir, In her article about episode 1 of my television documentary, The Genius of Charles Darwin, Libby Purves says that I offered the children a choice “as stark as any bonkers tin-hut preacher from the Quivering Brethren shouting: ‘Repent or burn!’ Evolution or God — take your choice, kid! The moment one of them found an ammonite on the beach, Professor Dawkins demanded instant atheism” (Opinion, August 7).

That is unjust, to the point of outright mendacity, and an insult to any professional educator. It was the creation-indoctrinated children themselves who made the leap: “Evolution = atheism”. I was scrupulously careful not to make that connection in the presence of the children, although I have made it elsewhere, spelling out the nuanced argument in The God Delusion.

She goes on to say, “OK, he is provoked, as we all are, by nutters. But most believers are not creationists.” I expect it’s true that the few believers Libby Purves meets over canapés are not creationists. But “most believers”? Most believers in Bradford? The Scottish Highlands? Pakistan? Indonesia? The Arab world? South America? Indeed, North America? Polls suggest that more than 40 per cent of the British population are creationists. For the subset who call themselves believers, the figure must be considerably more than 50 per cent. Please don’t say “most people”, when what you really mean is Islington and Hampstead Garden Suburb.

Please don’t say “most people” when what you really mean is the Islington and Hampstead Garden Suburb. Brilliant riposte.

The Genius of Charles Darwin – Episode 2

Second episode now available via catch-up at Channel 4 (UK only). In this episode Professor Dawkins examines what natural selection means to Human Beings, and how we struggle against our selfish genes to perform altuistic acts to those who may be unable to reciprocate. There is a brief section with New York’s Naked Cowboy, it’s funny watching RD try to keep a straight face!