“I am attacking Gods, all gods, anything and everything supernatural..”

I may have to take some time out from diving into the fascinating archives of the Royal Society [free until December – Ed] to read this, Richard Dawkins’ latest book, The God Delusion, and it couldn’t have appeared at a bettter time. Joan Bakewell applauds loudly in her review in the Guardian, “Primed by anger, redeemed by humour, it will, I trust, offend many”, where you can read an extract from the first chapter. Dawkins was also interviewed on Newsnight last night, hopefully they’ll put it online, and there are more extracts there too. And he makes a prescient point in the first chapter that is worth highlighting.As I attempted to point out at the time, Pope Benedict’s speech at his old University at a Meeting with The Representatives of Science was intended to be an “attempt to equate, or entwine, religion and science..”

That attempt is also highlighted by Breda O’Brien in today’s Irish Times, although she is in favour of such a move[subs req]

It seems to have been overlooked in most of the commentary that he was speaking in a university about the role of universities, and challenging the idea that only research based on observable, empirical, measurable evidence can be considered reasonable or scientific. When he taught at Regensburg decades ago, the university was proud of its two faculties of theology and it was accepted even by unbelievers that it is reasonable to explore the question of God.[added emphasis]

Richard Dawkins anticipated the argument put forward by Benedict – from the extract from the first chapter of his book

In greater numbers since his death, religious apologists understandably try to claim Einstein as one of their own. Some of his religious contemporaries saw him very differently. In 1940 Einstein wrote a famous paper justifying his statement “I do not believe in a personal God”. This and similar statements provoked a storm of letters from the religiously orthodox, many of them alluding to Einstein’s Jewish origins. The extracts that follow are taken from Max Jammer’s book Einstein and Religion (which is also my main source of quotations from Einstein himself on religious matters). The Roman Catholic Bishop of Kansas City said: “It is sad to see a man, who comes from the race of the Old Testament and its teaching, deny the great tradition of that race.” Other Catholic clergymen chimed in: “There is no other God but a personal God … Einstein does not know what he is talking about. He is all wrong. Some men think that because they have achieved a high degree of learning in some field, they are qualified to express opinions in all.” The notion that religion is a proper field, in which one might claim expertise, is one that should not go unquestioned. That clergyman presumably would not have deferred to the expertise of a claimed “fairyologist” on the exact shape and colour of fairy wings. Both he and the bishop thought that Einstein, being theologically untrained, had misunderstood the nature of God. On the contrary, Einstein understood very well exactly what he was denying.[added emphasis]

Dawkins is keen to get the terminology clear before any debate

Let’s remind ourselves of the terminology. A theist believes in a supernatural intelligence who, in addition to his main work of creating the universe in the first place, is still around to oversee and influence the subsequent fate of his initial creation. In many theistic belief systems, the deity is intimately involved in human affairs. He answers prayers; forgives or punishes sins; intervenes in the world by performing miracles; frets about good and bad deeds, and knows when we do them (or even think of doing them). A deist, too, believes in a supernatural intelligence, but one whose activities were confined to setting up the laws that govern the universe in the first place. The deist God never intervenes thereafter, and certainly has no specific interest in human affairs. Pantheists don’t believe in a supernatural God at all, but use the word God as a nonsupernatural synonym for Nature, or for the Universe, or for the lawfulness that governs its workings. Deists differ from theists in that their God does not answer prayers, is not interested in sins or confessions, does not read our thoughts and does not intervene with capricious miracles. Deists differ from pantheists in that the deist God is some kind of cosmic intelligence, rather than the pantheist’s metaphoric or poetic synonym for the laws of the universe. Pantheism is sexed-up atheism. Deism is watered-down theism.[added emphasis]

An aside, the 2006 Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge winners have been announced, a competition run by the American National Science Foundation and Science, a publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science

As the introduction to the challenge on the National Science Foundation’s website states

Some of science�s most powerful statements are not made in words. From the diagrams of DaVinci to Hooke�s microscopic bestiary, the beaks of Darwin�s finches, Rosalind Franklin�s x-rays or the latest photographic marvels retrieved from the remotest galactic outback, visualization of research has a long and literally illustrious history. To illustrate is, etymologically and actually, to enlighten.

That would be Leonardo’s Laboratory of the Mind and Robert Hooke’s Micrographia – further details of that in the Royal Society archives

ANYway.. The winners of the 2006 Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge include this wondrous image from an non-interactive animation, Body Code

And this image, from the Photopgraphy section, an Egyptian child mummy

And, to end, a final reminder of Dawkins’, self-declared, ambitious intention, summed up neatly in this quote from Newsnight

“I am not attacking any particular version of God or gods. I am attacking Gods, all gods, anything and everything supernatural, wherever and whenever they have been or will be invented.”

, , ,

  • abucs

    Pete,

    Dawkings rallying has been coming for sometime. But i see lots of opinions and personal interpretations with little absolute science to back it up.

    Einstein’s idea of a God was not a personal one. He had a different idea of God. But it was a God and not Mother Nature. That is fairly well understood.

    Of course he argued with quantum mechanics for most of his life and came out the loser as he thought ‘it didn’t make sense’.

    His famous quote ‘God does not play dice with the universe’ was in reaction to quantum mechanics claims back when it was a earlier branch of science. He didn’t like it because the fundamental rules of the universe were calculated probabilities (hence dice) and not eternal unchangeable laws (that fit in with his absent God idea).

    Most of his very intelligent experiments that he believed would find against quantum mechanics were completed after his death when technology had progressed enough to do them. He came out the loser in all those experiments. So that today quantum mechanics is the orthodox view of how the universe works.

    1. Bells Theorem
    2. Quantum Zeno Effect
    3. Measurement effect – Particule behaviour at near absolute freezing (position vs speed).

    I know it is self serving to decide what Einstein would have thought after all of these experiments went against him, but none the less i do think he would have decided on a God that had a much closer relationship to man than he had previously thought and argued for.

    As far as Dawkins contributions, well, I’m sure he’ll sell lots of books.

  • Aaron McDaid (was Occasional Commentator)

    Dawkins still thinks that religion and science are necessarily in conflict, but he’s wrong. There are so many things that he’s wrong about – he should just stick to his area of expertise, i.e. evolution, because he’s no philosopher. I’m an atheist, a scientist and a firm believer of evolution by natural selection, but Dawkins doesn’t speak for me.

  • Pete Baker

    abucs

    If you read the linked extracts, in particular the guardian piece from the book’s first chapter, Einstein’s views are discussed in some detail, with quotes to back them up.

  • abucs

    Pete, like all of us, he said many things at many times. One of the ones that is relevant to my point is:

    I cannot conceive of a personal God who would directly influence the actions of individuals, or would directly sit in judgment on creatures of his own creation. I cannot do this in spite of the fact that mechanistic causality has, to a certain extent, been placed in doubt by modern science. [He was speaking of Quantum Mechanics and the breaking down of determinism.] My religiosity consists in a humble admiratation of the infinitely superior spirit that reveals itself in the little that we, with our weak and transitory understanding, can comprehend of reality. Morality is of the highest importance — but for us, not for God.”
    [Albert Einstein, from “Albert Einstein: The Human Side”, edited by Helen Dukas and Banesh Hoffman, Princeton University Press]

    As mentioned above. Quantum mechanics has only got stronger and more validated after his death.

    This does not change my main point though that as i have said many times here – Cause and effect (in this universe) has been broken. To borrow another quote – “all has changed, changed utterly”.

    How Einstein would react to Physics development of the last couple of generations is of course up for grabs. Dawkings makes his claim without mentioning the fundamental scientific progress since Einsteins death.

    I think to be fair, the below probably summed up his thinking at the time of his death. Other Einstein quotes (suiting me) follow.

    I have repeatedly said that in my opinion the idea of a personal God is a childlike one, but I do not share the crusading spirit of the professional atheist whose fervor is mostly due to a painful act of liberation from the fetters of religious indoctrination received in youth. I prefer an attitude of humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual understanding of nature and of our own being. (Albert Einstein)

    “The finest emotion of which we are capable is the mystic emotion. Herein lies the germ of all art and all true science. Anyone to whom this feeling is alien, who is no longer capable of wonderment and lives in a state of fear is a dead man. To know that what is impenatrable for us really exists and manifests itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty, whose gross forms alone are intelligible to our poor faculties – this knowledge, this feeling … that is the core of the true religious sentiment. In this sense, and in this sense alone, I rank myself amoung profoundly religious men.”

  • abucs

    Other Einstein quotes (that suit me) made while Albert was at the height of his mental powers :

    “I want to know God’s thoughts, the rest are details.” Albert Einstein.

    True Religion is real living. Living with all ones soul. With all ones goodness and rightousness. Albert Einstein.

    When the solution is simple. God is answering. Albert Einstein.

    Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”
    “What Life Means to Einstein: An Interview by George Sylvester Viereck,” for the October 26, 1929 issue of The Saturday Evening Post.

    “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.”
    Quoted on pg. 289 of Adventures of a Mathematician, by S. M. Ulam(Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1976).

    “I maintain that cosmic religiousness is the strongest and most noble driving force of scientific research.”

    “Why does this applied science, which saves work and makes life easier, bring us so little happiness? The simple answer runs: Because we have not yet learned to make sensible use of it.”

    “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.”
    Science, Philosophy and Religion: a Symposium (1941) ch. 13

    “As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain, and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality. ”

    “The whole of science is nothing more than a refinement of everyday thinking.”

    “If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?”

    “I think that a particle must have a separate reality independent of the measurements. That is an electron has spin, location and so forth even when it is not being measured. I like to think that the moon is there even if I am not looking at it.” – when referrring to quantum mechanics.

    “All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man’s life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom.”

    “When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge.”

    “I cannot believe that God would choose to play dice with the universe.” or sometimes quoted as “God does not play dice with the universe.”

    “We should take care not to make the intellect our god; it has, of course, powerful muscles, but no personality.”

    “The highest principles for our aspirations and judgements are given to us in the Jewish-Christian religious tradition. It is a very high goal which, with our weak powers, we can reach only very inadequately, but which gives a sure foundation to our aspirations and valuations. If one were to take that goal out of out of its religious form and look merely at its purely human side, one might state it perhaps thus: free and responsible development of the individual, so that he may place his powers freely and gladly in the service of all mankind. … it is only to the individual that a soul is given. And the high destiny of the individual is to serve rather than to rule, or to impose himself in any otherway.”

    “Intelligence makes clear to us the interrelationship of means and ends. But mere thinking cannot give us a sense of the ultimate and fundamental ends. To make clear these fundamental ends and valuations and to set them fast in the emotional life of the individual, seems to me precisely the most important function which religion has to form in the social life of man.”

    “All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man’s life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom.”

  • Pete Baker

    abucs

    Your point on selecting quotes is well made, but to be honest, the debate about whose side Einstein would be on is a sidetrack.

    Dawkins argument appears, to me, to be that nothing is beyond the natural – which for him, and I must confess for me too, rules out a supernatural being of any kind.

    Interestingly in the Newsnight interview, he qualifies his argument to, as he acknowledges, allow for the possibility that, as a scientist, he could be wrong. Not that he thinks he is.

  • kensei

    I am a Catholic, but as live an dlet live kind f guy. I’ll happily discuss science ot theology woithj you if you want the conversation, but I won’t try to shove it down your throat. Even if you believe there is no god, religion can still have a positive effect on people. It can have a negative effect too, but that’s the same with everything.

    Dawkins is the strain of atheist who just won’t SHUT THE FUICK UP anout religion. On and on and on and and on and on, a million times worse than the worst craziest Christian. It is honestly off putting and it’s mostly opinion.

  • Slartibuckfast

    God has declared that he doesn’t believe in Richard Dawkins.

    In an interview with BBC current affairs program Newsnight, the Almighty said he believed the concept of Mr Dawkins was too far fetched and that it sprung from a deep human need to believe in myths, such as the one in which a tiny little human man can claim to know the mind of the universe and everything which springs from it.

    “Once one begins to contemplate a universe without Richard Dawkins,” said God, “one starts to realise that the whole idea of such an entity actually existing is an absolute absurdity.”

  • abucs

    Fair enough Pete.

    About the ‘natural’ thing. For me it depends what you mean by natural.

    I think everything can be explained too, and i put God in that category. If you think it is real, then it must be based in fact and so can be explained once we know.

    The comments i make (and Einstein alluded to) about science and cause and effect (and Dawkings with his 11 dimensions etc ) is that there is something fundamentally outside of our universe.

    This is what science says, so for me, if natural means ‘in this universe’ then science (and Dawkins himself with his 11 dimensions) comes out against a natural explanation.

    So it becomes an arguement about what is contained outside our natural universe.

    Dawkins says 11 dimensions is the basis for our reality. How can he definately come out against a creator when he has no idea what his supposed other 7/8 dimensions contain ?

    I agree with Kensei. It is all opinion. Or should i say a deliberate aggressive opinion based on something that he doesn’t know about.

    If Dawkins wants to talk about reality, he needs to talk Physics, not borrow certain Einstein quotes on religion IMHO.

  • Pete Baker

    “If you think it is real, then it must be based in fact and so can be explained once we know.”

    You might want to think about the implications of that statement.

    Because it actually goes to the core of the difference between a scientific approach and a faith-based approach.

    Also worth looking at how Dawkins focuses in on the dilution of what the word ‘God’ has come to mean for some.

  • abucs

    Pete,

    i look at faith in a similar way (to my mind) Newton looked at gravity. He didn’t know what the rules were but he believed there were rules and went looking for them.

  • abucs

    I think the inspiration usually comes first and then the scientific method comes after once an experiment is devised to validate the inspiration.

    The problem with our existance is that no-one has come up with an experiment to prove where it came from. In order to find out we have to have the inspiration first and then try and build a logical ladder to it.

    I think science is a method but not a way of life and i think the (off track) quotes above by Einstein suggest this too.

    Anyway, i’m off now, thanks for the link.

  • Pete Baker

    Gravity, abucs, is observable and laws describing it testable.

    sign-in word – ‘doubt95’ – heh

  • pauljames

    abucs, great posts but still a sideshow to the main attraction. This is a full frontal attack on organised religion and the continued obscenity of its place as child abuser at the heart of societies throughout the world.

  • james orr

    Re: origin of life, if we’re faced with a choice between:

    a) the mathematically-incomprehensible notion that all forms of life have evolved through tetragillions of successive, mutually beneficial stages – all of which inexplicably happened by chance and without any agent directing them – over billions of years, and

    b) a deliberate creative act by a intelligent Being

    I’ll take Option B any time. Option A requires way too much faith.

  • Sean Fear

    Dawkins is one of those extremely intelligent people, like Bertrand Russell or the Webbs, who possess not an ounce of common sense.

    How could he have imagined that e-mailing US voters slagging off President Bush would have encouraged them to do anything other than vote for Bush, last time?

    He’s never learnt that outarguing people is not the same as convincing them

  • Crataegus

    It is interesting how people will place faith simply in faith itself rather than accept the cold and chilling reality of probability. Such belief will be with us for ever for how do you prove or disprove entities based on faith and if one could to what point? Faith for some faith fills a need, a vacuum, and to be able to prove folly achieves just what? Indeed the need for meaning would probably overrule whatever rationale was produced.

  • Pete Baker

    Crat

    In the slight criticism of Dawkins that Joan Bakewell includes in her excellent review, she touches on that point – as well as arguing that there is a need for a forthright rational position to be put..

    He doesn’t comprehend that for many people reasoned argument is not the final arbiter of how they choose to live their lives. They are swayed by feelings, moved by loyalties, willing to set logic aside for the sake of psychic comfort. Tell them that all this is the product of chemical and electrical activity in the brain and they will at best assert that God made it thus. For decades now we have been willing to let such diversity of unverifiable beliefs exist among a democratic tolerance of ideas. But this, the assumption of the secular outlook, can no longer be taken for granted. The clouds are darkening around tolerance.

    But Dawkins’ point, and I agree with him again, is that the reality is neither cold nor chilling.. but bracing and exhilarating.

  • Crataegus

    Pete

    reality is neither cold nor chilling.. but bracing and exhilarating.

    It depends on your perspective. Neither you nor I would have difficulty, but others would. It would challenge a need that is deep for many. It is like the need for identity, a need to belong, or have some ‘rational’ reason for existence, a place in the scheme of things. A place where there is hope rather than logic. Similar needs apply to National identities and for me also very hard to comprehend properly.

  • Pete Baker

    Crat

    I don’t disagree that some will find such an argument challenging – indeed, the discussion in-thread so far would evidence that – but that shouldn’t be used as an excuse to prevent a straightforward, rational, argument on this issue being presented or discussed.

    As Joan Bakewell says,

    For decades now we have been willing to let such diversity of unverifiable beliefs exist among a democratic tolerance of ideas. But this, the assumption of the secular outlook, can no longer be taken for granted. The clouds are darkening around tolerance.

    The idea that religion offers hope rather than logic I would also disagree with… it offers a comforting, for some, delusion rather than reality. The understanding of that reality offers a hope in its own right.

  • Crataegus

    Pete

    I agree and am not for one minute going to try to defend any religious faith but it is a strange matter. In itself religion is really quite an abstract concept, which can be used as a tool for good. Many of our values and standards of conduct are reinforced and underpinned by religious belief, but also alas it can be used to excuse utter mayhem. Strange really, but I think the abuse of religion points clearly to the importance it has in the role of identity rather than belief.

    I shall sleep on this one. Long day.

  • Pete Baker

    Crat

    I accept your argument, on the belief in religion having good points, but as I think Dawkins said in the Newsnight interview, in itself that’s not enough to justifiy its continuation.

    As an evolutionary strategy it does make sense.

    But an understanding of religion in that evolutionary context also places belief in a different category than theologians would have it.

    What that understanding also allows is the possibility of a more realistic, and hopeful, approach to the future.

  • Abucs

    Pete and Crat,

    i disagree with both of you. It seems a self serving belief in itself that others who disagree with you are doing it because they are deluded.

    Let’s talk science and logic.

    There are two possibilities. Lets hear the science and logic for both and make a rational decision.

    We are not at the point yet where we know which of the two options is reality but we can use science and logic to look to see which one is more probable.

    If you think that a natural explanation has more science and logic regarding the creation of the universe – then lets hear that science and logic.

    We of course live in a natural universe and that’s what we proscribe to the processes we see around us. You have to argue that the processes themselves come from some ‘natural’ origin. That is all forms of matter and the laws on how they interact with eachother to make our universe.

    Lets not assume that science and logic is on one side without hearing that science and logic.

    You have to make your case, scientifically and logically.

  • Pete Baker

    abucs

    Your challenge amounts to – “Prove my God doesn’t exist!”

    Thanks, but no thanks. You can believe whatever you like.

    But Dawkins argument is, to me, that the options are either the universe, ie everything, is subject to natural laws… or there exists a supernatural being who is not subject to those laws – hence the quote in the post title.

    It’s up to the theists to prove that such a supernatural being exists – which they can’t, such faith being an unproveable hypothesis – and so, until otherwise, I’ll continue with the scientific method of exploring and examining the universe to try to understand those laws.

    Btw, thinking it doesn’t make it fact.

  • abucs

    Pete,

    the short answer is you can’t.

    It is a cop out to say that i am saying ‘prove my God doesn’t exist’. I make no claims on who
    God is through science but i believe i can make a good claim that there is one (or many) creators for it.

    You can tell by my above posts that i am deliberately asking you to prove that the universe has come into creation by natural means.

    I think it is self evident that atheists have / and will always turn the question around to say ‘you do all the proving’. This is mental cowardice because they either cannot or do not want to make their case.

    I am not having a go at you personally because very view atheists try and make their case. As i’ve said before – Dawkins has retreated to saying our universe is based on 11 dimensions. Why would he say such a crazy unprovable thing. It is because the ‘this is all there is’ universe concept is deficient in explaining the way it works. This is common knowledge among physicists. He is FORCED to postulate such arguements. He is not in the position of being able to sit back and say ‘you prove your God’. And what is more, deep down he knows he has to make an arguement. He is COMPELLED to because of what we know about science and in particular quantum physics.

    It is rational to suppose there are two explanations.

    It is rational to ask for evidence of both of those hypothesis.

    It is irrational to say that one side has to prove how the universe got here and until then the other side holds true without any scientific or logic produced.

    It is not just irrational to hold this view, it is unscientific of the highest order.

    Does not classical science say that energy / matter cannot be created.

    Doesn’t science say that matter at the smallest level does not behave in a ’cause and effect’ way.

    Doesn’t science say, as crazy as it seems, that matters behaviour is shown to be affected by the observer – measurement effect. That is matter somehow ‘knows’ when it is being observed and will act differently – hence the light acting as a particle or a wave.

    Doesn’t science say that the more you know about a particles position, the less you know about its velocity. Why is that ? Surely matter doesn’t care what you know about its velocity, it will still have position. Quantum mechanics says no, it will only have a definite value for one or the other and will behave according to probabilities until observed.

    The truth is science says yes to all of these things and more which as Einstein above and other physicists have said – it doesn’t make sense in a reductionist ‘this is all there is’ universe.

    So we have a universe that is not working under cause and effect at the smallest quantum level but somehow the consciousness of man effects the matters behaviour. I think it is a quite rational thing to say that is evidence for a created universe for consciousness.

    A universe that does not have its explanations contained within it but is somehow programmed to act in a certain way due to consciousness is a problem that reductionists have to answer.

    They just don’t want to address it.

    Its much easier to pick on a priest with his pants down, or a battle fought 1000 years ago or someone praying to their God.

    But none of that is science.

    Pete, very view are arguing the ‘natural’ case on scientific grounds because there is very precious science behind it that supports that case.

    Regards.

  • Crataegus

    Btw, thinking it doesn’t make it fact.

    I think therefore I am.

    I always had difficulty with René Descarte’s explanation for it all. In many ways it is a better explanation of an all mighty, I have faith therefore there is. For me religion belongs in the realm of philosophy.

    For myself I prefer the 2+2 = 4 approach but it is surprising just how esoteric the concepts have become.

  • abucs

    Crataegus,

    i also prefer the 2 + 2 approach.

    I also come up with an answer of 4.

  • Crataegus

    Abusc

    No Abucs somewhere along the line you take a leap of faith and there is nothing wrong with that. In my opinion we will never be able to prove or disprove a God. Some have belief some don’t fine.

    With regards proving the laws of the Universe, I think we are really only beginning that journey and the question of the number of dimensions is an interesting one. For how does a 3 dimensional creature rationalise an 11 dimensional Universe and are some of those fields more important than others and are some folded in on themselves. I’m not sure that the tools we are using are sufficiently subtle and suit the investigation. I have also real difficulties with the concept of time. There is a mass that we really don’t properly understand but that is no reason to say its God and stop asking how.

    If God drops in for Sunday lunch then I will believe. He has an invite any Sunday anywhere. Roast Pork today, hope he’s not a Jew or Muslim.

  • Pete Baker

    Crat

    The line was a reference to an assertion abucs had previously made in-thread – “If you think it is real, then it must be based in fact and so can be explained once we know.”

    abucs

    As for your further assertion that – “A universe that does not have its explanations contained within it but is somehow programmed to act in a certain way due to consciousness is a problem that reductionists have to answer.”

    Except you haven’t provided evidence that that is the case. However, your attempt to replicate the creationists’ argument – that because some fossils haven’t been discovered that proves evolution is false – is noted.

    But as crat has indicated there are not equally competing hypotheses here. There is one – that a supernatural being, ie not subject to natural laws exists. The null hypothesis is that no such supernatural being exists. In the absence of any way to even test your hypothesis, never mind prove it, I am left with the null hypothesis.

    And while the referencing of other hypotheses such as the dimensional elements of the string hypothesis is interesting, it’s only a hypothesis, not a theory nor a law, just a hypothesis – albeit one that might be tested.

  • abucs

    Pete,

    as i have said before, if consciousness is simply a brain wired to a memory in a certain fashion placed in an environment, then our level of knowledge should progress to make life in a computer environment.

    We have all the ingredients there. A computer/brain, memory/memory, programming/wiring and virtual reality/environment.

    Would that then make us supernatural beings at odds with our own creation ? Of course not. If it is rational to suggest we should be able to create life given the correct brain / computer wiring it is obvious that it is a rational POSSIBILITY that that has been done for us. Hence it is not a blind ‘hail mary’ but a proposition based on the rationality that we will be able to create intelligent life one day. Hence it must be taken seriously and is not at odds at all with the rationality that we observe.

    Of course you could argue that among all creation, in this universe and any that went before it that we are the first ones who will be able to engineer life. That is quite a special position you are putting man into. IT IS BY NO MEANS THE DEFAULT POSITION.

    HENCE, YOU MUST MAKE YOUR CASE.

    Pete, scientifically what is it that you would like the evidence for ?

    That matter is affected by consciousness / knowledge ?

    That matter does not behave in a cause and effect way ?

    I can point you to many scientific experiments that will strongly suggest either.

    Crat,

    ‘somewhere along the line you take a leap of faith’

    Well yes. I have said before. To not take a leap is to remain an agnistic and ‘not know’.

    If you want to try and explain then you have to take a jump one way or the other based on evidence.

    What you are not understanding is that a natural explanation without any evidence that contradicts modern science is also a jump of faith.

    It is obvious.

  • dodrade

    Dawkins is as much a zealot as Buchanan or Hamza, he just happens to be of the atheist variety, he is just as bigoted and blinkered as the rest of them.

  • Greenflag

    ‘It’s up to the theists to prove that such a supernatural being exists – which they can’t, such faith being an unproveable hypothesis – and so, until otherwise, I’ll continue with the scientific method of exploring and examining the universe to try to understand those laws. ‘

    Now if man were an entirely ‘rational ‘ animal that would be the end of it but he /she isn’t.

    ‘thinking it doesn’t make it fact.’

    True . Cogito ergo sum .

    Why do we believe what we believe about whatever it is that makes us believe it ?

    Perhaps believing in a God/personal God is just a lot easier and gives a lot of comfort to a lot of people even though it’s true that some ‘religions’ at certain periods in history are led by zealots/nutters/falt earthers for whom science and rationalism are perceived as ‘enemies’ .

  • Pete Baker

    abucs

    I’ve spent more than enough time on this thread and we’re getting nowhere.

    In scientific terms, the hypothesis of a supernatural being is at the core of religious faith. That hypothesis is neither testable nor proveable.

    The thrust of Dawkins’ argument, which I agree with, is that religion is not science. Benedict has been trying to maintain that somehow it is like science. It is not.

    You appear to be demanding a Grand Unified Theory of Everything. Well, I don’t have one for you. At which point you jump to asserting the existance of a supernatural being.. Good for you.

    Joan Bakewell made a couple of pertinent points on this-

    1. “They are swayed by feelings, moved by loyalties, willing to set logic aside for the sake of psychic comfort.”

    2. “Tell them that all this is the product of chemical and electrical activity in the brain and they will at best assert that God made it thus.”

  • abucs

    OK Pete i have to go now.

    I disagree with your analysis but good for you. There is an open invitation for the orthodox widespread evidence for the things listed above or for atheists to make their case one day.

    I know we are not getting anywhere but can’t you see that your arguements like those listed by Joan boil down to interpreting that religious people are not ‘right thinking’.

    This is not science Pete, its childish slander that is a smokescreen for not having to make a case.

    ok i’ll not reply again, but my invitation stays open.

    Thanks for the posting and (God Bless) take care.

  • Crataegus

    Abucs

    God missed a good lunch today

  • abucs

    :o) Crataegus.

  • Pete Baker

    Have a good day, abucs

    You miss the point, not unsurprisingly, and possibly not unintentionally.

    Dawkins isn’t presenting a scientific paper here, he’s arguing the case for a completely rational approach – which belief in a supernatural being is not.

    One more time, it is not for atheists to prove the non-existence of a supernatural being – an impossibility – but for theists to, at least attempt to, prove one exists – also impossible btw.

    Which brings us back to the non-testable hypothesis… and religious faith – not science – that’s what Dawkins is ultimately saying, in his provocatively rational way, in The God Delusion.

    I realise you don’t agree, but so it goes.

  • Rory

    “I am attacking Gods, all gods, anything and everything supernatural..”

    This man sounds quite irrational to me, a little hysterical even. I would not wish to place my belief in him. But I will pray that he does get well soon and finds a balance in life.

  • prattie van der koch

    Its a papish plot…it’ll never wash in ballymena.

  • All Hail Dawkins – an intellectual and not some dumb ass person slagging off anything ‘difficult’ And Mr Dawkins’s theories and philosophies can be tested and argued about against empirical evidence, whereas religions are in the business of belief and faith; and the ability of priests, prelates, mad mullahs and illiterate imans to decide what interpretation they wish to place on that religion. But abive all, you have love Dawkins’ books titles! Wonder was he listening to Slayer’s Christ Illusion when he decided on the title God Delusion. Dawkins a secret thrash metal fan? Now there’s a story!

  • Frustrated Democrat

    As a life long atheist, I am continually being subjected to religion in everyday life in Government, in Royalty, in education in fact much of what I am forced to adhere to is founded in religious beliefs.

    I have no difficulty in other people having their beliefs but I think that religion sould be confined to churches and related institutions and it should be banned from having an influenence on all other walks of life.

  • Puzzled Jackeen

    James Orr,
    what do you mean by evolution being “mathematically incomprehensible”?

  • Puzzled Jackeen

    Since I’m an atheist, you might expect that I’d agree with Dawkins on a lot – not so. When he writes about evolution and biology he writes very well and shows his learning and intelligence. But deary me – whenever he writes about religion he flies off the handle. The older I get the less patience I have with ranting, so I usually avoid him on that topic.

    I did try to watch his documentary _The Root of All Evil?_ but turned off during the second part – more because of ignorant comments from a Hassidic rabbi than Dawkins. (Admittely, I was surprised – I assume rabbis to be learned.)

    However, Dawkins seemed to have picked the three representatives of faith to be as extreme as possible: a Christian fundamentalist, the aforementioned rabbi and a Muslim who had converted from Judaism to the most radical form of his new faith.

    Imagine if Ian Paisley or Pat Robertson had produced a documentary about atheism where the three representatives were a Stalinist, a Maoist and a Trotskyite – Dawkins would have a fit!

  • rapunsel

    MMm- reading the book and enjoying it. But then I would as a committed atheist for most of my life. Crat makes a good point earlier about the cultural value of religion which I think there is a lot of evidence for. Two things I noticd recently come to mind.

    Te=he first wa sthat I was at the wedidng of a friend– a mixed marriage between a catholic and a protestant form one of the smaller evangelical groups. The service was co celebrated. One side of the church was filled with catholics from the bride’s side, the other side with protestants from the groom’s side. As the service went on it becale very clear to me that most catholics probably don’t actually believe in god at all — it’s all about habit and ritual and belonging and even more ingrained from childhood the fact that not to believe or involve onself in the ritual is wrong. Where as the evelgelical protstants– god they believed all the stuff the pastor was coming out with , the like of which I had never heard before in my life The other thing recently which troubled me greatly was an advert in a local paper from one of the health and social service strust looking for protestant foster parents for two small children both I thinik under 10 years of age. Knowing that foster parenrs are in such short reply here and believing that where children in need their ability to receive resources to meet that need shouldn’t be defined by their religion — I was shocked and surprised , I suppose of course that what the ad was dishonestly stating was not that they wanted foster parents that believed in god and practised a Protestant faith– but that the protestant and catholic communities here are ethnically and culturally different and that these children could not receive proper foster care from the ” other”. Shocking really.

  • Philip McNeill

    Darwinism and intelligent design are compatible if you consider the possibility that time is a construct of man and not God. For his creation to know time would be to know God and that per se is a breach of the Commandments. Our measure of time was taken from the Sumerian civilization of approximately 2000 BCE and as we all now the Earth is older than that! Therefore, who is to argue that a God day spans an epoch or more – if it does then it may be argued that evolution can fits the gaps. An Atheist who knows his subject can brow beat a Christian any day of the week for the Bible is full of political motives but at the end of the day we both come to the same conclusion: i.e. in the beginning…

  • james orr

    Jackeen,

    The mathematical probability is spectacularly impossible. Here is just one Google:

    “…Harold Morowitz, a Yale University physicist, has made a more realistic estimate for spontaneous generation. Morowitz imagined a broth of living bacteria that were super-heated so that all the complex chemicals were broken down into their basic building blocks. After cooling the mixture, he concluded that the odds of a single bacterium re-assembling by chance are one in 10 to the 100 billionth power. This number is so large that it would require several thousand blank books just to write it out. To put this number into perspective, it is more likely that you and your entire extended family would win the state lottery every week for a million years than for a bacterium to form by chance…”

    The laws of probability just don’t allow this to happen. Evolution is a quaint Victorian idea destroyed by 21st century knowledge. I see it as ideology first and science very much second.

  • rapunsel

    James Orr– I do think you are missing the point. As Dawkins and others have pointed out the issue is not one of either intelligent design or chance — it is one of intelligent design or natural selection. I do suspect that you neither understand the chance that you are talking about nor the theory of natural selection. I don’t ever recall in my study of biology anyone claiming that bacteria form by chance — rather they have evolved. Your opinion in terms of ” I see it as ideology first and science very much second ” is neither here nor there. Clearly you are speaking form an ideological view point whereas natural selection is a scientific theory with evidence.

  • james orr

    Rapunsel
    This was the subject of my degree thesis. Ok, that was 16 years ago, but I have studied this stuff. I have read “The Blind Watchmaker” more than a few times. (William Paley’s original is much better – “When crossing a heath” and all that)

    Natural selection depends upon progressive mutations, billions of mutually beneficial mutations over billions of years. However before any mutations can ever take place, there must be an original life form.

    Feel free to delete “by chance” from the Morowitz quote in my 11.16 – the issue of mathematical impossibility for the spontaneous generation of the first original life form remains.

  • Greenflag

    ‘in the beginning… ‘

    There was a ‘singularity’ and everything in the known universe stems from that instant . The Americans who have just won the Nobel Prize for Physics have done so due to their confirmation of the ‘big bang ‘ theory and their explanation of the reasons as to why the universe is not evenly spaced out .

    That’s the how . Whether this is the only universe that ever existed or is just one in an never endeing eternal sequence of universes which come in and out of existence without any connection between them other than the original matter in the singularity is something that we do not know and probably never will.

    As to the ‘why’ of the universe ? Good question – Maybe it does’nt have to have a why -It just is ?

    The more scientists learn about the micro universe and the more we learn about the macro universe the more we should all just appreciate that we actually managed to get here and manage to live out a brief three score and ten plus if we’re lucky .

  • Pete Baker

    james

    For someone who claims to have studied this, I find it strange that claim Morowitz’s statistical calculation actually addresses “the issue of mathematical impossibility for the spontaneous generation of the first original life form”.

    In fact, his calculation is about entropy and depended on conditions of thermal equilibrium – a state which the early Earth, and indeed the present Earth, was/is not in.

    The Morowitz calculation was about the energy required for all the chemical bonds in a living cell.

    He calculated [because he had too much time on his hands] the statistical likelihood of random chemical fluctuations creating sufficient energy to form those bonds from scratch, in conditions of thermal equilibrium – ie no solar energy, and no geothermal energy, adding to the system.

    In other words, without energy input from beyond those chemical buildings blocks, life cannot exist.

    More importantly, the calculation has nothing to do with – “there must be an original life-form”

    For once and for all.. Intelligent Design, ie belief in a supernatural being, is not science.. it’s theology.

  • Frustrated Democrat

    James Orr

    Morowitz’s exact views (in a court transcript) can be found in the link below – in summary creationism has no foundation in science, evolution has, although the precise method is not known.

    This seems to conflict somewhat with what you wrote.

    http://www.antievolution.org/projects/mclean/new_site/pf_trans/mva_tt_p_morowitz.html

  • Armed Atheist

    Just got it today. The ahem provincial among us will be delighted to hear that the “Northern Ireland ‘troubles'” are cited on page 1 of the preface as an example of a religious conflict, an analysis which annoys the tits off me, but is how the world at large views it I suppose.

    He mentions other bad things that supposedly wouldn’t exist without religion such as the Palestinian/Israeli conflict – tough to argue with that one, like a few million Europeans would spontaneously decamp to an utterly crap stretch of the Middle East conspicuously devoid of feckin’ oil if God hadn’t given them the freehold.

  • Butterknife

    If intelligent design could be proved then what would be the point of having faith?

  • james orr

    Try the late Sir Fred Hoyle, Chandra Wickramasinghe or even Stephen Hawking’s friend Roger Penrose – all are compelled by the scale of the mathematical improbability.

  • DK

    Rapunzel: “The other thing recently which troubled me greatly was an advert in a local paper from one of the health and social service strust looking for protestant foster parents for two small children both I thinik under 10 years of age. Knowing that foster parenrs are in such short reply here and believing that where children in need their ability to receive resources to meet that need shouldn’t be defined by their religion”.

    This is a problem with the fostering/adoption policies in NI. Due to our religious sensitivities over here, when a child is up for fostering/adoption the religion of the child is asked. No matter how strong the belief of the parent, that is the one thing that is zealously adhered to when looking for fosterers/adopters.

    To put it bluntly, you have near-zero chance of adopting/fostering a child in NI if you are not religious.

  • Henry94

    What an interesting and enlightening discussion. Thanks for starting it Pete. As a believing Catholic I have great time for Dawkins. By urging people to reject religion he is also pushing them to think about it. I do believe most of those who do, will not, in the end, share his conclusions.

  • Butterknife

    Philip McNeill on Oct 03, 2006 @ 10:39 PM argued that Darwinism and the existence (an existence which by the very definition of the word faith cannot depend on fact) of God can be mutually inclusive as a man defined day to us is set in stone (24 hours) whereas to God it is a meaningless term.
    Greenflag on Oct 04, 2006 @ 12:10 AM then makes the point. I am assuming, about John C. Mather and George F. Smoot of USA both winning the 2006 Nobel Prize in Physics “for their discovery of the blackbody form and anisotropy of the cosmic microwave background radiation”

  • Butterknife

    Damn that RETURN key on the keyboard lol
    All the 2006 Nobel Prize winners did were to take us back to a singularity but the questions still remains the same. What came first the singularity or its catalyst? If the latter then …

  • rapunsel

    Well said — Pete. James Orr I still think you are not getting it and I doubt the subject of your degree was biology or any of the natural sciences. I haven’t seen anyone arguing anywhere that life emerged spontaneously. My own study of the issue is not as up to date as I would like it again as I undrsyand it is is not the case of no life then followed by life– what we are talking about are gradual and slow changes eventually resulting in simple life forms from precursors which themselves would not meet all of the characteristics of life. For example viruses do not meet the typical characteristics of life yet carry genetic material in a protein coat– there are even simpler entities than viruses such as the prior protein thought to be responsible for BSE. The point is not that we are talking about a jump froma chemical soup to an entity with the characteristics of life but a slow and gradual process itselk resulting in entities that are not living themselves and then eventually onto entities that are.

  • Pete Baker

    Ta rapunsel :o)

    James

    “Try the late Sir Fred Hoyle, Chandra Wickramasinghe or even Stephen Hawking’s friend Roger Penrose – all are compelled by the scale of the mathematical improbability.”

    Well.. Sir Fred and his colleague, Wickramasinghe, were orginally advocates of a steady-state universe of infinite age – ie no big bang – that was when the big bang hypothesis was only an hypothesis – not sure where Penrose stood on that one.

    However, they were also advocates, within that steady-state universe model, of the possibility of Earth being seeded with life via, for example, comets, meteors, meteorites and/or other mechanisms such as dust clouds containing relatively complex hydrocarbon molecules, hence they would have looked enthusiastically at Morowitz’s calculation – those seeding options, however unlikely, have not to my knowledge been completely ruled out.

    Importantly, they did not leap to embrace a supernatural being as their Intelligent Designer.

    But interestingly, in a universe of infinite age as envisaged by Hoyle, all statistical probabilities, however unlikely, would occur.. at some point.

  • William Joyce

    I wonder will our more militant Muslim brothers contact this pygmy to show him the error of his ways. Let us live in hope.

  • James Orr,

    “he concluded that the odds of a single bacterium re-assembling by chance are one in 10 to the 100 billionth power.”

    If those are the odds of a single bacterium assembling “by chance”, what are the odds of an all powerfull, all knowing being assembling by chance?

    Also you fail to grasp the concept that Natural Selection has nothing to do with chance, it rewards beneficial mutations and severely punishes unbeneficial mutations. It has absolutely nothing to do with chance.

    Somebody also said that you can’t prove the existence of God… actually he could show up tonight on the six o’clock news and blow every athiest argument out of the water.

    For those of you that ask for a “proof” that a god doesn’t exist, come back to me when you have a proof that you don’t have an intangible invisible unsmelling silent tasteless monkey living on your head.

  • I have bought this book. A quick flick through does not impress. However, he seems to have addressed, however unevenly, many aspects of the God question.
    In flicking through the posts on this thread, we all, like Dawkins, seem so sure of ourselves. I wonder is this pandemic self faith justified.

    I have also been watching some of David Icke’s videos, which rranges from the ever reliable Knights Templar to green lizards ruling the universe and David and his type being the only sort able to crack all the big questions. Is Dawkins a similar nut and proof that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

    He odes seem to pontificate far and wide and with more certainty than any modern Pope.

  • TheGeorge, I don’t buy the “atheists are just as zealous and self assured as theists” statement. I am open to proof of a god, I just very very much doubt it will come. I don’t see why anyone should believe in something which has zero proof. I especially don’t see why one mans zero proof belief, e.g. a christian god, is more correct than another mans e.g. Zeus and his buddies.

    Somebody comes up with a theory “There exists God”, I say until I see one tiny shred of evidence I reject that theory, and furthermore if you believe it 100% in the same absence of any evidence whatsoever, I say you are at best delusional (hence the title of the book btw), and at worst wilfully ignorant.

    The burden of proof is on the claimant of existence, it’s not up to me to prove non-existence, in fact it’s impossible.

    I reserve the right to scoff at the ignorant, who believe fairy tails like this are true. Nobodys delusional unsubstantiated fantasies have an inherent right to be treated with respect.

    p.s.
    delusion –noun
    Psychiatry. a fixed false belief that is resistant to reason or confrontation with actual fact: a paranoid delusion.

  • Puzzled Jackeen

    James Orr wrote: “Try the late Sir Fred Hoyle, Chandra Wickramasinghe or even Stephen Hawking’s friend Roger Penrose – all are compelled by the scale of the mathematical improbability.”

    What was the basis of their arguments? Did they do calculations – if so, what were their assumptions, or did they just appeal to the argument from incredulity fallacy?

  • Secur O’Crat

    Stephen Weinberg is much more compeling in this respect than Dawkins. Has Dawkins actually done any real science on anything or is his bag solely memes and slagging off religion?

  • Brian Boru

    I think Dawkins makes a good case.

  • Dec

    I think Dawkins makes a good case.

    As did Kerry Packer. He suffered a near-fatal heart attack in 1990 that left him clinically dead for six minutes. He later commented: “The good news is there is no devil. The bad news is there is no heaven.”

  • Puzzled Jackeen

    “The laws of probability just don’t allow this to happen.”

    Unfortunately, what was described in the quote is not evolution, but spontaneous generation of an organism that already exists – a proper calculation would deal with the most primitive ancestors.

    I’m curious what your degree was in.

  • Puzzled Jackeen

    “Try the late Sir Fred Hoyle, Chandra Wickramasinghe or even Stephen Hawking’s friend Roger Penrose – all are compelled by the scale of the mathematical improbability.”

    Roger Penrose is referred to here
    like so: “Steven Pinker: In The Emperor’s New Mind, Penrose expresses some skepticism that evolution could have constructed the human mind — and is admirably clear that this aside comes more from a personal intuition than from an argument he’d be prepared to defend.”

    I admit that I started the book in question but didn’t finish it. (It dealt with material I was familiar with but at such a glacially slow pace that I stopped out of sheer boredom before I got to Penroses’ argument about Artificial Intelligence.) However, if this quote is an accurate summary of Penroses’ position on evolution, then there is no point to debate as Penrose hasn’t provided an argument.

    Hoyle and Wickramasingh argued for a steady state universe, which is not accepted.

    Unfortunately, you seem to have accepted the arguments based merely on authority of some scientists – scientists would like to hear the argument rather than an appeal to authority.

  • abucs

    A recently released paper from Antoine Suarez for consideration.

    “Classical Demons and Quantum Angels: On ‘t Hooft’s deterministic Quantum Mechanics.”

    Dealing with Quantum physics, causality, free will and the big man in the …..

    http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/0705/0705.3974v1.pdf

  • abucs

    Since this blog seems to be resurrected (excuse the pun) every week or so i’d like to submit the following for further analysis / research.

    Bell’s theorem was developed and published in the 1960’s by Irish physicist John Stewart Bell. Most people agree that it is a strong proof that reality is non local.
    That is, that our reality, although viewed and lived and made sense of in a local cause and effect way, does not actually derive from a local cause and effect phenomena. The reality is that it works due to a non material non local interaction between us, and something that is not of this material universe.

    Any atheistic theory, in fact any theory, to be taken seriously, must move away from the local cause and effect proposition and account for this non material, non local underpinning of our reality. Such a theory which does not move away from this view is scientifically untenable IMHO.

    There are different proofs to Bells Theorem, some of these with discussions and histories follow.

    http://www.drchinese.com/David/Bell_Theorem_Easy_Math.htm

    http://quantumtantra.com/bell2.html

    http://www.upscale.utoronto.ca/GeneralInterest/Harrison/BellsTheorem/BellsTheorem.html

    http://xoomer.alice.it/baldazzi69/papers/mermin_moon.pdf

    The discovery of the dual nature (or behaviour) of first light, and then all matter as behaving as both the non material statistically and at other times materially deterministic raises the question as how reality can be so easily changed from one behaviour to the other. The discovery through the ‘observer effect’ that this change of how reality behaves is directly related to the knowledge of an intelligent observer strongly suggests that such things as intelligence and observation are not byproducts of a physical universe but written into the underlying fabric of our reality as evidenced by scientific experiment.

    Any atheistic theory, in fact any theory, to be taken seriously, must move away from the idea that our reality is a fixed material phenomena and that mind, intelligence and observation are not written into the very workings of the laws of physics from the beginning, but only a subsequent accidental by-product of an independant physical universe. Any theory which does not move away from this view is scientifically untenable IMHO.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wave–particle_duality

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heisenberg_uncertainty_principle

    http://www.vision.net.au/~apaterson/science/observer_effect.htm

    http://www.space.com/searchforlife/quantum_astronomy_041111.html

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_Zeno_effect

    http://nostalgia.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bose-Einstein_condensate

    There are many takes on what this might all suggest.
    Below are some efforts in trying to reconcile these scientific discoveries with how we see the universe.

    http://www.bottomlayer.com/

    http://henry.pha.jhu.edu/quantum.enigma.html

    http://www.thymos.com/science/qc.html

    http://www.vision.net.au/~apaterson/science/observer_effect.htm

    http://www.mindreality.com/observer-creates-reality-simply-by-observing

    http://www.bottomlayer.com/bottom/Worldview.html

  • Pete Baker

    With this quote in mind – from the above link

    “The implications of the ‘Observer Effect’ are profound because, if true, it means that before anything can manifest in the physical universe it must first be observed. Presumably observation cannot occur without the pre-existence of some sort of consciousness to do the observing. The Observer Effect clearly implies that the physical Universe is the direct result of ‘consciousness’.”

    Some other links to

    Counter-arguments to the ‘spiritual interpretation’

    And for those interested

    Importance of Bell’s Theorem

    Edit link

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell's_inequality#Implications_of_violation_of_Bell.27s_inequality

    And a quote from Heinz Pagels

    “Some recent popularizers of Bell’s work when confronted with [Bell’s inequality] have gone on to claim that telepathy is verified or the mystical notion that all parts of the universe are instantaneously interconnected is vindicated. Others assert that this implies communication faster than the speed of light. That is rubbish; the quantum theory and Bell’s inequality imply nothing of this kind. Individuals who make such claims have substituted a wish-fulfilling fantasy for understanding. If we closely examine Bell’s experiment we will see a bit of sleight of hand by the God that plays dice which rules out actual nonlocal influences. Just as we think we have captured a really weird beast–like acausal influences–it slips out of our grasp. The slippery property of quantum reality is again manifested.”

  • abucs

    Pete,

    your first link was borrowed from myself,

    your second link, under the counter arguements heading simply suggests that the theory that comes out of Bells Theorem is unfalsifiable, something i mentioned on the other blog,

    your third link (for me at least) didn’t work

    and the quote from your fourth link basically says certain thinking is rubbish (no rational arguement) and that if you examine Bells closely you will find a ‘sleight of hand’ (again no arguement).

    Could you please explain where this ‘close examining finds a sleight of hand’. ????

  • abucs

    btw, Hagels criticising of telepathy and communication faster than light i have no disagreement (or agreement) with. But i think a reading of the proof of Bells Theorem does suggest a non physical interconnectedness. This part i do disagree with.

    But there is no counter proposal or scientific refutation in his quote for any of his objections.

  • Pete Baker

    abucs

    the borrowed link was acknowledged

    The second link also points out that the ‘theory’ you mention has been around, in various forms, for some time. Bell’s work has, in effect, been co-opted into it.

    Try copying and pasting the [new] third link

    The quote, from Heinz Pagels, also contains the line

    “Individuals who make such claims have substituted a wish-fulfilling fantasy for understanding.”

    and

    “Just as we think we have captured a really weird beast–like acausal influences–it slips out of our grasp. The slippery property of quantum reality is again manifested.”

    See the links in the counter-arguments link above

  • jason

    I agree with abucs who, referring to Newton, said “He didn’t know what the rules were but he believed there were rules and went looking for them.”

    We can observe a natural order to the universe, solar system, eco system, biological sytem etc Natural order is observed at every known level. However it is in stark contrast to theory based on chaos.

    How the natural order that we observe came to be is asking the same fundamental question as asking how man came to be. The scientific world often adopts a patronising and offensive “all-knowing” tone and, to some degree, so does the religious world. However I feel both are asking the same questions and are searching for the same things, and they are “understanding” of “the truth”.

    Surrounded by the magnificence of the visible natural order, it seems perfectly logical to entertain the idea that the universe as we know it, may have been created by a higher non-carbon based life form. Or are we to assume that we are at the top of the evolutionary tree? I don’t think so.

  • Jason: Science may be asking question but dawkins and the other parrots are not.

  • abucs

    Hello Pete,

    i still didn’t get the link to work, perhaps it might be a temporary feature of my geographic location.

    Look i don’t doubt that your world view makes sense to you. And i don’t doubt that it is something you have thought and reasoned thoroughly about.

    But i would just suggest Pagel’s comment of a ‘wish fulfilling fantasy’ and blogs equating religion to believing in fairy’s (the latest guardian article you posted) is not really an arguement.

    It does no intelligent debate any real service IMHO.

    OK, have to go, best wishes.

    Jason

    ‘How the natural order that we observe came to be is asking the same fundamental question as asking how man came to be……. Surrounded by the magnificence of the visible natural order, it seems perfectly logical to entertain the idea that the universe as we know it, may have been created by a higher non-carbon based life form’.

    Completely agree. Amen.