Difference between revisions of "Debate:Is Richard Dawkins toppling straw men?"

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:::::::''There is no reason to believe that Odin exists, and many reasons to think he is exceedingly unlikely.'' There is no ''proof'' as to the existence of Odin, but there are plenty of reasons to believe he exists; again, see the referenced apologia.
 
:::::::''There is no reason to believe that Odin exists, and many reasons to think he is exceedingly unlikely.'' There is no ''proof'' as to the existence of Odin, but there are plenty of reasons to believe he exists; again, see the referenced apologia.
 
:::::::''...please stop claiming Dawkins is positively asserting there are no gods with certainty.'' Show me where I claimed that (especially considering that Dawkins only stumps for ''weak'' atheism). {{User:ListenerX/sig0}} 06:47, 1 November 2009 (UTC)
 
:::::::''...please stop claiming Dawkins is positively asserting there are no gods with certainty.'' Show me where I claimed that (especially considering that Dawkins only stumps for ''weak'' atheism). {{User:ListenerX/sig0}} 06:47, 1 November 2009 (UTC)
 +
::::::::''"Since it rests on a false dilemma, even "almost certainly" is far too much."''
 +
::::::::It is not actually a false dilemma.  It is, instead, the default.  Atheism is not a position, it is a lack of one.  To wit, since there is no reason to believe in Odin, then the default is not to believe in Odin.  This position is labeled "atheism."  In a similar way, I don't believe in the sandwich inside my computer - I am an aintraconfectionarist.  So are you, in fact.  Because it's the default belief.  We don't believe in things for which we have no reason or evidence, simply by default.  Even if I can't disprove the sandwich.
 +
::::::::If you think differently, then I have to ask you if you believe there is a sandwich in your computer.  I have the same evidence for the sandwich that you have for Odin.  Don't try to pose the false dilemma that there are only two options - believing in the sandwich or not believing in it.  It might be a ''ham'' sandwich.
 +
::::::::''"Either retract this statement or cease with these claims of irrelevance."''
 +
::::::::I'm not sure how exactly you think the superiority of one brand of theism matters at all.  Again, to me it is like asking whether it's a ham sandwich or a cheese sandwich.  I don't care, since you haven't been able to give any reason why it's more likely a cheese sandwich in particular exists rather than a ham sandwich.  Since you can't differentiate any new reasons or evidence, it seems pretty irrelevant to me.  I mean, spin your wheels if you like, but if it makes you happy I can just stipulate right now that of all the unprovable and irrational deity combinations, yours is the best.
 +
::::::::''"It is very possible if said thing has contradictory aspects; we (and Dawkins, for that matter) have done a fairly good job on the YEC conception of God."''
 +
::::::::It is fairly easy to assert that one's deity can be contradictory.  Many people do, or say it's impossible to understand.  Or whatever.
 +
::::::::If you want, though, we can do this:  please prove to me that my computer does not contain a sandwich that has ham and does not have ham at the same time.  But be aware that this sandwich is magical.  And named Phil.
 +
::::::::''"If this is not a false dilemma, please cite these "relevant arguments" that: (1) apply to paganism, and in particular the sort outlined [[Essay:Odinism is more rational than atheism|here]]; and (2) are made by Dawkins.''"
 +
::::::::I am absolutely and in no way going to read your essay and make your own arguments for you.  It's not a false dilemma - not ''everything'' with two options is a false dilemma, however clever that may seem to you - since it's a binary statement.  Either proposition A is true, or it is not.  There is no third option.
 +
::::::::So again: are there reasons or evidence to believe in Odin, or not?  It has to be one or the other '''(OMG FALSE DILLEMMA))''' and I would very much like you to choose now, please.
 +
::::::::''"see the referenced apologia."''
 +
::::::::No.  I am not going to read your essay and make your own arguments for you.  If that was a valid proposition in this discussion, I would simply refer you to ''The God Delusion'' and give you little assignments, too.  If you have reasons, please list them concisely.  Try not to just cut and paste; your essay is written almost in narrative form and tiresome.
 +
::::::::''"'...please stop claiming Dawkins is positively asserting there are no gods with certainty.' Show me where I claimed that"''
 +
::::::::At 4:28 on the first of November, you said (and you can really just scroll up a few inches): ''"fallacious thence to conclude that atheism is correct (since atheism vs. the God Hypothesis is a [[false dilemma]])."''
 +
::::::::Correct, of course, is an all-or-nothing proposition.
 +
::::::::But okay, let's let that one go.  Maybe you didn't mean that or I misunderstood - that's very possible.
 +
::::::::Let me instead remind you of the topic of this discussion.  You said that Dawkins defined theism to suit himself and make it a straw man for him to attack.  This has the strong implication that a different brand of theism - presumably your own Odinism - is the stalwart version which is not susceptible to his arguments.  I would also assume that inherent in this implication are the existence of some arguments or reasoning for Odinism that he could not address, but perhaps this is not so.  Is that assumption right, or not?  This is pretty pivotal to your point, so it's important that you be clear.
 +
::::::::Assuming it is true, then obviously I want to know these arguments or reasoning.  If they exist and Dawkins did not actually address them, then you would be entirely correct - Dawkins excluded the One True Faith because it was convenient.
 +
::::::::If it is not true, and there are no reasons or arguments for Odinism, then say so and we can proceed easily from there.--[[user:TomMoore|<font color="#000066" >Tom Moore</font>]]<sup>[[User talk:TomMoore|fiat justitia]]</sup> 07:21, 1 November 2009 (UTC)

Revision as of 07:21, 1 November 2009

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YmfE9QvqWws

I'm confused by this person is talking about. — Unsigned, by: Ryantherebel / talk / contribs

Why? She's not that articulate but I follow her fine. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 20:45, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
Really? It's pretty simple. This girl called Steinem (noted feminist) a baby-killer since Steinem had previously gotten an abortion. Some people allegedly said this was hearsay, and this girl is replying to what is conveniently an asinine objection. Replying to the weakest criticism of one's actions is a common and transparent way to make it appear as though real criticism is being addressed without actually meeting that challenge. The girl also adds on a standard screed against abortion and whatnot.--Tom Moorefiat justitia 20:46, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
(EC) It's really very simple: the Rockefellers started the feminist movement so that they could promote communism and get children to put condoms on bananas. WéáśéĺóíďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 20:52, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
Also GW Bush was a liberal who paved the way for Obama. In my experience YouTube vloggers are among the dumbest sections of society. WéáśéĺóíďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 21:05, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
That is a mild criticism; my wingnut friend calls Bush a Red. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 21:17, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
"Replying to the weakest criticism of one's actions is a common..." Irony meters shatter. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 20:59, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
I am curious what you mean. Do you mean that atheists only reply to fundamentalists and criticize them? I'm not sure that's true. Most - if not all - of the New Atheists address "moderate" theists as well. The most bombastic condemnation might be directed at extremists, but that would seem a factor of the comparable vitriol and claims put forth by those fundamentalists. Can you explain further?--Tom Moorefiat justitia 21:11, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
Richard Dawkins, for example, paints creationist-style monotheism as if it is the only alternative to atheism. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 21:17, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
That's not true, I don't think. He actually mostly avoids descending into specifics about sect, preferring instead in such things as The God Delusion to address general arguments like the Argument From Design. He does spend some time attacking the Judeo-Christian deity above others, but this is hardly unwarranted, since that deity is the main one worshiped in virtually every country in which his books are sold.--Tom Moorefiat justitia 21:21, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
Prof. Dawkins's "God Hypothesis" says, "[I]f the word God is not to become completely useless, it should be used ... to denote a supernatural creator that is 'appropriate for us to worship'." Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 21:32, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
That's because he is contrasting the idea of a creator that can be worshiped with the general feeling of awe as a metaphor for God - what he characterizes as "Einsteinian religion" that has almost nothing in common with the theism he discusses. It's impossible to refute an idea of God that has absolutely no tenets other than a feeling, after all, other than to question the semantics of calling that feeling "God."--Tom Moorefiat justitia 21:36, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
In other words, he knocks what he can, redefines what he cannot, and calls his point proved. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 21:39, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
You appear to be describing yourself. WéáśéĺóíďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 23:10, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
If you are referring to this, I did not call my point proved. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 04:22, 31 October 2009 (UTC)
He does knock what he can, but "what he can" includes virtually every version of theism that exists - be it fundamentalist or otherwise. That kind of contradicts your earlier claim that he attacks only "creationist-style monotheism." He doesn't redefine what he cannot knock, he simply points out that any version of theism whose idea of God is so nebulous as to consist entirely of a feeling of awe (or simply a "feeling" in general) is one that can't be rationally addressed at any point. A physicist could similarly be excused for choosing not to refute those rivals who think string theory is correct because of a "feeling," and instead concentrating on those who use math.--Tom Moorefiat justitia 22:00, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
By "creationist-style monotheism" I was referring to the concept of God in the God Hypothesis, which I quoted above; he uses the mere truth of the theory of evolution to refute this. Arguments against the God Hypothesis do not touch pantheism or any form of paganism with no creator deity to it, and that represents many conceptions of "God." Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 04:22, 31 October 2009 (UTC)
Have you read "The God Delusion" Listener?--BobNot Jim 09:59, 31 October 2009 (UTC)

(UI) Paganism is just theism of many little gods. Call them spirits or whatever you will, they're capable of being worshiped. That would seem pretty clearly to fall into that definition. But I'll give you the benefit of the doubt, and if you're right, it should be trivial for you to provide an argument for the existence of pagan gods that Dawkins manages to avoid with his "redefining." Please, Listener, tell me what he's avoiding.--Tom Moorefiat justitia 10:21, 31 October 2009 (UTC)

I did not deny that paganism was theism; it is just not monotheism. Repeat: Many forms of paganism have no creator God to them, placing them by definition outside the purview of the God Hypothesis. Many pagan deities are personifications of natural forces (e.g., Thor, Zeus); others are not even personifications (e.g., the Celtic Taranis prior to Roman influence). The existence of these sorts of Gods can be neither proven nor disproven.
As to a pagan apologia, see here. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 19:47, 31 October 2009 (UTC)
You seem to be concentrating fairly hard on semantics. I don't care about what variety of "paganism" we're talking about - creator god, animism, or whatever. You have asserted that Dawkins redefines theism to suit his purposes, implying that paganism has some manner of arguments for its own truth that he cannot address. Inasmuch as I can tell, though, there is no argument that can be made for paganism's truth that will vary substantively from the arguments made for monotheism's truth. The teleological arguments might not apply without a creator-myth, but things like the ontological arguments would actually be stronger in the case where multiple concepts can be embodied in multiple mini-yahwehs. Similarly, the Argument of Morals would also be the same. And Dawkins' response to all of these arguments applies just as well.
In other words, paganism would seem disadvantaged in the arguments, not advantaged, by lacking a creator-god. So again: please point out what Dawkins managed to so slickly avoid addressing by "redefining" matters. Because right now it seems like you're just saying that because his definition didn't technically include paganism, his arguments must not address paganism - even though you haven't shown how this is true.--Tom Moorefiat justitia 20:27, 31 October 2009 (UTC)
Repeat: The existence of these sorts of Gods can be neither proven nor disproven. Although much of Prof. Dawkins's work is to counter arguments for the truth of theism (in particular, the teleological argument or the argument from morality), he also goes a step further, saying that since there is heavy empirical evidence against the God Hypothesis, therefore "God almost certainly does not exist."
"There is no argument that can be made for paganism's truth that will vary substantively from the arguments made for monotheism's truth." Insofar as arguments against atheism are concerned, that might be true (although there are some ontological arguments that rely on a monotheistic conception of God). However, there are also arguments for polytheism against monotheism, such as: "The world is so chaotic that it must be the product either of many Gods or of none. Hence, if there is at least one God there must be more than one." Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 23:22, 31 October 2009 (UTC)
It's hardly a non sequitur to conclude that, because there is heavy empirical evidence against nanobuddhas/Yahweh, they probably don't exist. That's actually just called a conclusion.
If you say you think there is a cheese sandwich inside of my computer, even though you can't prove or disprove it, and in response I list a host of excellent reasons why that is extremely unlikely and even a little silly, it is similarly reasonable (not a non sequitur) for me to say that "the intra-computer sandwich almost certainly does not exist."
I don't really care about what arguments you care to pose that make paganism more likely than monotheism, since that seems to me like you are arguing that the sandwich is almost certainly a cheese sandwich, and not a ham sandwich.
If you are ceding the point that "there is no argument that can be made for paganism's truth that will vary substantively from the arguments made for monotheism's truth," then you are essentially admitting my main point. You originally said that Dawkins was redefining matters to suit himself, implying that paganism had some devastating evidences that he couldn't address. But since that is not true- since you admit there is not only no evidence, but apparently there is not even any substantive reason or argument to think picoshivas are real - then I would suggest my initial doubt at your statement was justified. Since it wasn't true, but just a way to suggest that your special brand of magic was the strong version of religion immune to disproof, and fundamentalism was a straw man.--Tom Moorefiat justitia 23:58, 31 October 2009 (UTC)
"It's hardly a non sequitur to conclude..." It is not a non sequitur in that case to conclude that the God Hypothesis is false; it is, however, fallacious thence to conclude that atheism is correct (since atheism vs. the God Hypothesis is a false dilemma).
"I don't really care what arguments..." In that case you should retract your statement that all arguments for paganism's truth also serve as arguments for monotheism's truth. The example argument was in aid, not of ceding that point, but of refuting it.
"You originally said that Dawkins was redefining matters to suit himself, implying that paganism had some devastating evidences that he couldn't address." Dawkins did make a redefinition (the God Hypothesis); he did this to exclude from consideration those conceptions of God that he was unable to falsify. This does not at all imply any "devastating evidences" that paganism is true; it merely implies that there are no "devastating evidences" that it is false. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 04:28, 1 November 2009 (UTC)
"it is, however, fallacious thence to conclude that atheism is correct"
Indeed. Which is why his conclusion is "almost certainly," not "certainly." It's impossible to prove that deities do not exist if no means of proof or disproof are possible. Nor is it possible for me to prove there is no sandwich in my computer. But I will state with similar assurance that there almost certainly is no sandwich in my computer.
"In that case you should retract your statement that all arguments for paganism's truth also serve as arguments for monotheism's truth."
I'm sorry, you misunderstand. I was simply saying that it is irrelevant to this discussion to talk about why paganism is more likely in your mind than monotheism, and I don't think it much matters. For example, your "argument" about a chaotic universe is incredibly fallacious when applied to considering the truth of paganism ("chaotic" is a purely subjective quality, and arguing that because the universe is chaotic there must be gods is like arguing that because the universe is delicious there must be gods).
"he did this to exclude from consideration those conceptions of God that he was unable to falsify".
He excluded those conceptions that cannot be falsified in any wise. If the only evidence for something is a vague feeling (the Einsteinian theism with which he contrasted his "God Hypothesis") then he can't very well argue against it, and nor can anyone else. Are you including paganism in with Einsteinian theism; do you have any more reason to believe than a vague feeling?
"This does not at all imply any "devastating evidences" that paganism is true; it merely implies that there are no "devastating evidences" that it is false."
Once again, it's impossible to conclusively prove something does not exist. The sandwich may exist in my computer, and Odin may be sitting with Hugin and Munin bullshitting with the Norns about his missing eye. But there is no reason to believe the sandwich exists, and many reasons to think it is exceedingly unlikely. There is no reason to believe that Odin exists, and many reasons to think he is exceedingly unlikely.
You can't have it both ways. Either there is a reason to believe "pagan" gods exist, and thus paganism falls under the auspices of his definition in effect (since all the relevant arguments apply), or there is no reason to believe those gods exist, in which case you can't very well take him to task for not arguing against assertions that you even admit don't exist!
And speaking of straw men: please stop claiming Dawkins is positively asserting there are no gods with certainty. He is very certain (and so am I), but he has never and could never make the serious statement that he can prove gods do not exist in any form.--Tom Moorefiat justitia 04:45, 1 November 2009 (UTC)
...which is why his conclusion is "almost certainly," not "certainly." Since it rests on a false dilemma, even "almost certainly" is far too much.
...it is irrelevant to this discussion to talk about why paganism is more likely in your mind than monotheism, and I don't think it much matters. You said: "There is no argument that can be made for paganism's truth that will vary substantively from the arguments made for monotheism's truth." Either retract this statement or cease with these claims of irrelevance.
For example, your "argument" about a chaotic universe is incredibly fallacious... It was not at all intended for a valid argument, but instead something of the same quality as the ontological and morality-based arguments you cited. That being said:
...and arguing that because the universe is chaotic there must be gods... The argument in question allowed as part of its conclusion the possibility that there are no Gods.
Once again, it's impossible to conclusively prove something does not exist. It is very possible if said thing has contradictory aspects; we (and Dawkins, for that matter) have done a fairly good job on the YEC conception of God.
You can't have it both ways. Either... If this is not a false dilemma, please cite these "relevant arguments" that: (1) apply to paganism, and in particular the sort outlined here; and (2) are made by Dawkins.
There is no reason to believe that Odin exists, and many reasons to think he is exceedingly unlikely. There is no proof as to the existence of Odin, but there are plenty of reasons to believe he exists; again, see the referenced apologia.
...please stop claiming Dawkins is positively asserting there are no gods with certainty. Show me where I claimed that (especially considering that Dawkins only stumps for weak atheism). Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 06:47, 1 November 2009 (UTC)
"Since it rests on a false dilemma, even "almost certainly" is far too much."
It is not actually a false dilemma. It is, instead, the default. Atheism is not a position, it is a lack of one. To wit, since there is no reason to believe in Odin, then the default is not to believe in Odin. This position is labeled "atheism." In a similar way, I don't believe in the sandwich inside my computer - I am an aintraconfectionarist. So are you, in fact. Because it's the default belief. We don't believe in things for which we have no reason or evidence, simply by default. Even if I can't disprove the sandwich.
If you think differently, then I have to ask you if you believe there is a sandwich in your computer. I have the same evidence for the sandwich that you have for Odin. Don't try to pose the false dilemma that there are only two options - believing in the sandwich or not believing in it. It might be a ham sandwich.
"Either retract this statement or cease with these claims of irrelevance."
I'm not sure how exactly you think the superiority of one brand of theism matters at all. Again, to me it is like asking whether it's a ham sandwich or a cheese sandwich. I don't care, since you haven't been able to give any reason why it's more likely a cheese sandwich in particular exists rather than a ham sandwich. Since you can't differentiate any new reasons or evidence, it seems pretty irrelevant to me. I mean, spin your wheels if you like, but if it makes you happy I can just stipulate right now that of all the unprovable and irrational deity combinations, yours is the best.
"It is very possible if said thing has contradictory aspects; we (and Dawkins, for that matter) have done a fairly good job on the YEC conception of God."
It is fairly easy to assert that one's deity can be contradictory. Many people do, or say it's impossible to understand. Or whatever.
If you want, though, we can do this: please prove to me that my computer does not contain a sandwich that has ham and does not have ham at the same time. But be aware that this sandwich is magical. And named Phil.
"If this is not a false dilemma, please cite these "relevant arguments" that: (1) apply to paganism, and in particular the sort outlined here; and (2) are made by Dawkins."
I am absolutely and in no way going to read your essay and make your own arguments for you. It's not a false dilemma - not everything with two options is a false dilemma, however clever that may seem to you - since it's a binary statement. Either proposition A is true, or it is not. There is no third option.
So again: are there reasons or evidence to believe in Odin, or not? It has to be one or the other (OMG FALSE DILLEMMA)) and I would very much like you to choose now, please.
"see the referenced apologia."
No. I am not going to read your essay and make your own arguments for you. If that was a valid proposition in this discussion, I would simply refer you to The God Delusion and give you little assignments, too. If you have reasons, please list them concisely. Try not to just cut and paste; your essay is written almost in narrative form and tiresome.
"'...please stop claiming Dawkins is positively asserting there are no gods with certainty.' Show me where I claimed that"
At 4:28 on the first of November, you said (and you can really just scroll up a few inches): "fallacious thence to conclude that atheism is correct (since atheism vs. the God Hypothesis is a false dilemma)."
Correct, of course, is an all-or-nothing proposition.
But okay, let's let that one go. Maybe you didn't mean that or I misunderstood - that's very possible.
Let me instead remind you of the topic of this discussion. You said that Dawkins defined theism to suit himself and make it a straw man for him to attack. This has the strong implication that a different brand of theism - presumably your own Odinism - is the stalwart version which is not susceptible to his arguments. I would also assume that inherent in this implication are the existence of some arguments or reasoning for Odinism that he could not address, but perhaps this is not so. Is that assumption right, or not? This is pretty pivotal to your point, so it's important that you be clear.
Assuming it is true, then obviously I want to know these arguments or reasoning. If they exist and Dawkins did not actually address them, then you would be entirely correct - Dawkins excluded the One True Faith because it was convenient.
If it is not true, and there are no reasons or arguments for Odinism, then say so and we can proceed easily from there.--Tom Moorefiat justitia 07:21, 1 November 2009 (UTC)