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View Diary: So this Stewart-Dawkins debate (40 comments)

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  •  Disclosure - I AM a fan of Dawkins (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stwriley, kyril, Sophie Amrain

    First off, as to the diary:

    I am not a fan of Dawkins .... Maybe I'm biased   .... I had never really spent any time listening to Dawkins closely
    Typically I hate ellipsis JUST to prove a point, but, well ...

    I do know that there are people that don't like Dawkins - my wife, who agrees with everything he says doesn't like him - he can certainly come across as arrogant

    But, for me - the way You start off:

    I find him extremely dogmatic without paying much attention to nuance ...
    is about as far from reality as possible.

    Can You explain what You mean by this.

    "I want to keep them alive long enough that I can win them to Christ," - Rick Warren, Professional Greed Driven Scumbag

    by josephk on Wed Sep 25, 2013 at 01:26:16 PM PDT

    •  re: the ellipsis--to each his own. (0+ / 0-)

      re: the dogmatic line--I find that he often conflates religion with the most fundamentalist practitioners of the religion.  He claimed during the the interview that he doens't do that--but I feel that it is almost entirely the fundamentalists that drive his critique of the insitution in general and mitigate his acceptance of the 'everybody else' who make up religions.

      I think that he and Stewart were arguing at cross-purposes there, and Dawkins was unable to move beyond that framework.  That's why I felt that Stewart had a stronger debate performance.

      •  You have seen Neil de Grasse Tyson on TDS? (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Stwriley, kyril, BPARTR, NonnyO, Kingsmeg

        I assume You have

        Dawkins and de Grasse Tyson share almost exactly the same perspective

        Yet - Stewart doesn't feel the need to 'challenge' Neil? - why do You think that is?  Dawkins 'agenda' of coming on the show was to sell his book -apparently Stewart had other plans - which Richard indulged him with.  In this way, I would agree - yes, Stewart had the "stronger debate performance" I guess - because Dawkins wasn't there to debate ...

        IF You want to know what Dawkins thinks - read or listen to a variety of his books before coming to the conclusions that You have based on Your "feeling" of what he says rather than what he actually says

        "I want to keep them alive long enough that I can win them to Christ," - Rick Warren, Professional Greed Driven Scumbag

        by josephk on Wed Sep 25, 2013 at 01:40:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  no. I only watch it occasionally. (0+ / 0-)

          There was some mild debate, but it looked like a good healthy discourse to me.  If you're on a show to promote a book, usually you'll spend a lot of time talking about other things than promoting the book--and there was nothing uncivil in the least about the discussion.  I would have expected Stewart or any other host to challenge Dawkins in some capacity on his views.

      •  Of course... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dr Teeth

        the fanatics drive his critique of religion.  Flying planes into buildings is not an inconsequential thing.  Whether or not all religious people are fanatical enough to be capable of such atrocities is immaterial. The mere presence of religious beliefs that promise infinite punishment or infinite award will always produce a number of fanatics, and that is a bad thing.

        •  fanaticism would exist irrespective of religion. (0+ / 0-)

          There are always people willing to die for causes--much of the 'religion' aspect even in things like 9-11 are as much a reaction to anger, poverty, hatred, jealousy, etc. as anything else.

          Ok, it's a horrible thing that 3,000 people were killed in an terrorist incident.  Gun homicides at what---5?  10,000  a year?  are even more consequential.  Much of the Cultural Revolution in China was driven by state-sponsored atheism--as was Soviet destruction of all the monasteries (nearly in mongolia)  and countless other things.

          Fanatics exist--but would exist anyway--and they represent a minuscule, infinitestmally small part of religious organizations--many of them aren't even that religious but just easily swayed.  Do you think that the reason that many Islamic extremists do what they do is ACTUALLY to get into heaven with 72 virgins? I'm sure it is for a few of them, but most are far more driven by the emotions listed above.

          •  None of which is relevant... (0+ / 0-)

            to your original point that Dawkins conflates religion with the fundamentalist practitioners of religion.  I'm not sure why you can just disagree with his position about religion without ascribing personal motives for which you have no evidence.  Maybe professor Dawkins is not the one being dogmatic here.

          •  You know the Stephen Weinberg saying? (0+ / 0-)

            Bad people do bad things even with religion, and good people do good things even without religion, but for good people to do bad things - that requires religion.

            Religions generally prefer authoritarian mindsets - if you do not have any solid evidence for your God, you do not want people to question to much. Also, religions generally have holy texts or traditions, which must be followed. Since the three abrahamitic religions all were born in much less civilized times than we have now, that means that per se these religions will have immoral (what we nowadays consider immoral) tenets and customs.

            Many a religious person has worked very hard to humanize their God and their religion, of course without admitting to themselves, that it was them doing the humanizing.

            He who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.

            by Sophie Amrain on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 03:01:38 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  but this is the problem I have with the whole (0+ / 0-)

              thing--faith is only a zero-sum game for some people.  It doesn't have to be a 'my way is right and your way is wrong' way of thinking--I have never met a Jew who actually lived by the idea that he/she was a 'chosen' person.  What Dawkins ad others try to do is debunk faith through logical/scientific arguments--which I think is completely beside the point.  I have the exact same issue with religious people who try to use science or pseudoscience (creation museums, math codes) to 'prove' that things are true---they're simply different realms of experience.  As for hard-core Believers?  They're out there, they're generally nuts, and they're the kind of people for whom--if they weren't  in the thrall of religion, it would be something else.

              Which takes me back upto your first comment about the Good/Good Bad/Bad.  I would completley dispute the notion that 'it takes religion to turn good people bad'.  It takes temptation--money, sex, power, sure we can put belief in there too but I see no reason to believe that human  nature would be inherently better off without it.  Here's where I though Stewart DID make some good points--religion has in may cases been a huge spur for charity at the indiividual and group level, hospitality, love, friendship, etc. etc.

              Are religious people more or less altruistic than atheists?  God, I have no idea.  But the concept of charity and tzedakah and zakat are central to all the Abrahamic religions.  Do you think the wealthiest on the Forbes 400 are deeply Christian?  I would highly doubt it.  Greed is completely un Christian--in the conception of the religion as discussed by teh apostles.  (but I'm Jewish, so this is out of my depth :)

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