Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Excerpt from "The Greatest Show on Earth"

The Times Online has posted a fascinating excerpt from Richard Dawkins' Upcoming book The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution (click the link to pre-order). It concerns the evolution of the dog and it is extremely interesting. I'd recommend it to anyone interested in Biology.

16 comments:

rspeir said...

I found this Atheist Maze in an obscure book by an obscure author. I would give his name but it would only distract you from the task at hand (that is, you would Google it, etc.) The task at hand is to find your way out of the maze. It is my challenge to you. Please feel free to send it everywhere around the internet to solicit help. Atheists everywhere probably need to be aware of it anyway. I will be checking back here to find out your progress. In the meantime, I am going to other sites to pass it around. Good luck! Here it is:

The atheist can never know enough to exclude the possibility of God. One can never have enough knowledge to be certain there is no God. To say there is no God is to say one knows everything. If there is anything outside one’s sphere of knowledge, that something could include God. A person would have to be everywhere – inside and outside the universe – all at one time (omnipresent) to be sure there is no God. For if there is anywhere he cannot be, God could be there. No atheist can claim total knowledge; therefore, atheism is self-refuting, because knowing everything and being everywhere is to be like God.

Marc said...

ROFL!

You don't have to exclude the possibility of God to be an atheist, and atheism does not include total knowledge so the ''self refuting'' claim fails miserably.

Not like this has anything to do with the post,

Dawkin's new book is going to be pretty darn good.

rspeir said...

"You don't have to exclude the possibility of God to be an atheist"

Ok, so you are just a confused atheist. You have not exited the maze.

Marc said...

Not only do you still fail to make your comment relevant in anyway to this post you still fail to understand the definition of atheism.

Ya know, maybe your mind is just stuck in a maze :P

Robert Morane said...

To rspeir:

Just a reminder that you don't believe in several thousands of gods, so your position is self-refuting: if it is illogical for me to disbelieve in your god because I can't prove it doesn't exist, it is just as illogical for you to disbelieve in all the other gods because you can't prove they don't exist. If you believe in something whose existence you cannot prove, then why do you believe in it in the first place? Your belief is unwarranted. But if you ask me why I don't believe in something for which I have no proof, my answer will be... precisely because I have no proof that it exists! Duh! I mean, do you know many people who believe that the Greek gods live in their backyard just because they can't prove that they don't??

Also, I'd like to remind you that you don't believe in just any god or religion, but in the god and religion of your culture (and very likely, of your parents), which means that your religious belief is merely an imprint.

The non-existence of god has also been demonstrated many different ways, either by showing that divine characteristics are illogical or by showing, as I did on my blog, that the concept of necessary being, so dear to theologians, leads to a contradiction. Since we live in a logical reality, any concept that is logically unsound can, by definition, have no referent. Believing in the Judeo-Christian god is therefore as irrational as believing in the existence of married bachelors.

Also, believing in something because you can't prove its non-existence would lead you to a contradiction - you would end up believing in things that contradict one another, which would result in a logically untenable position. While believing in contradictory things is irrational and illogical, disbelieving in contradictory things isn't.

Logic and reason just aren't on your side.

Yet again, you're a perfect example of a guy who's not so smart, and because he's not so smart, he thinks he's smarter than anyone!

BathTub said...

Theist axiom number 1 seems to be tell others what they believe.

rspeir said...

Robert,
There is nothing in your post which demonstrates that you understand the conundrum posited. Your thoughts simply do not deal with the issue at hand. Your opening paragraph first spotlights me and my beliefs which has nothing to do with the puzzle I submitted. Then you shift from me to you and begin defending your unbelief for lack of proof. Again, you miss the point. I will repeat the issue you are confronted with: your position of atheism, that is, a non-belief in God, is said to be impossible to sustain. You are physically and mentally finite, meaning it is impossible for you to thoroughly search out the extent of reality. God may in fact exist just beyond your reach. If you reach further, he may simply move to another undiscovered region and hide his tracks. The puzzle says you would have to achieve an omnipresence in order to soundly falsify his existence. Unfortunately for you, you would then either be him or be like him, thus falsifying your own conclusion. For that reason, A-theism, the belief that God does not exist, is a self-defeating enterprise. Can you deal with the issue at hand?

BathTub said...

No rspeir, it's quite simple, I don't have to have infinite knowledge to not believe in the Tooth Fairy.

I don't have to have infinite knowledge to not believe in Superman.

I don't have to have infinite knowledge to not believe in something. Especially something presented without evidence.

Belief and knowledge are not the same thing. As much as Theists try and pretend otherwise.

AIGBusted said...

The Christian can never know enough to exclude the possibility of Atheism. One can never have enough knowledge to be certain there is a God. To say there is a God is to say one knows everything. If there is anything outside one’s sphere of knowledge, that something could include a complete disproof of God. A person would have to be everywhere – inside and outside the universe – all at one time (omnipresent) to be sure there is a God. For if there is anywhere he cannot be, God could not be there. No theist can claim total knowledge; therefore, theism is self-refuting, because knowing everything and being everywhere is to be like God, which the theist claims is not like himself because God is transcendant and immaterial.

rspeir said...

To: AiGBusted
Trying unsuccessfully to turn the maze inside-out does not free you from it. Your faulty device collapses from the start: in fact, it is the Christian’s ever-present cognizance of his woefully limited knowledge which instructs him to seek for God on some other grounds than knowledge. Therefore, your third sentence should more correctly read, “To say there is a God is to say one does not know everything.” From that point on, your argument rapidly implodes. Since human knowledge is requisite for a ‘complete disproof of God', it is impossible for such a disproof to exist outside our sphere of knowledge. Regarding omnipresence, our certainty of God is made even more certain the less omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent we are. For everywhere we cannot be is a stronger case that our knowledge is transcended by a God. Further, no theist would dare claim total knowledge; therefore, theism is self-perpetuating (not self-refuting as you say), because a theist knows he cannot know everything and be everywhere like God (which makes your last phrase in your final sentence completely irrelevant). You have not exited the maze.

BathTub said...

Hahaha. and again all you have to do is ignore what people say and assert whatever you want. Oddly enough not quite that effective of a conversion tool.

Marc said...

And rspeir fails again,

''Your thoughts simply do not deal with the issue at hand.''

You realize that your comments still have nothing to do with AIGBusted's blog post right? You should really consider taking your own advice.

Your little maze idea is cute, but you should really, really, really, consider learning some basic definitions of words like ''atheism'' ''belief'' ''knowledge'' before trying to show who is stuck in your maze.

AIGBusted said...

Look r, I gave you the response I did because your argument is fucking stupid.

It's against the principle of parsimony to posit entities (like God) that are not necessary to explain anything. So if there is no evidence for God, I am justified in believing that nature is all there is because that is the simplest (and most probably correct) explanation.

Secondly, I have nothing but contempt for what you are doing. You want to build up a wall so that no one can disprove your God. The wall you're building is not a rational one, it's just a pathetic attempt to insulate yourself from the fact that there really is no evidence for God.

Thirdly, the hypothesis that there is a completely good, all-powerful, and all knowing creator of the universe is a hypothesis that makes predictions about what we ought to see in our limited observation of the universe. For example, a completely good, all powerful and all knowing being could not allow people to suffer, but we see suffering, therefore the god cannot exist.

Try reading my book if you really want to understand the atheist case against god.

Now I expect you to go ahead and bitch and moan about how you've been insulted, or talk about how I haven't addressed your arguments even though I have, or go do mental gymnastics trying to get out from under the bulldozer I just took to your argument.

Oh, and have a nice day.

Anthony said...

rspeir: The atheist can never know enough to exclude the possibility of God.

I think you have been thoroughly refuted, but I wanted to add one more thing. There is a major difference between what is "possible" and what is "probable!" Yes, the god hypothesis is possible, but so are genies, elves, and fairies. How, rspeir, do you know that fairies don't exist? On the other hand the evidence is substantially against the "probable" existence of god.

rspeir said...

Anthony,

I did not leave here because I was refuted - far from it. I left because I must find a modicum of intelligence in order to reason at this level. This blog did not supply that, so I moved on. You can go to the link below where I found a slightly more intelligent atheistic crowd. Unfortunately, that has quickly dissolved as well.

http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=3377#comment-11002

Anthony said...

rspeir: I did not leave here because I was refuted.

I didn't say anything about you leaving as I didn't know you left. I know that you do not believe you were refuted, that doesn't surprise me.

Bottom line is that your puzzle doesn't work because it requires defining atheism in a way that no atheist will agree to. Most atheists such as myself define atheism as simply a lack of believe in god/or a god.

I left because I must find a modicum of intelligence in order to reason at this level. This blog did not supply that, so I moved on.

You can insult our intelligence all you want, but you are not going to find many atheists who will take your "puzzle" seriously.

Luke's "Common Sense Atheism" site is very good and I would highly recommend that you spend some time there reading and thinking about the arguments he presents.