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The GOD Delusion

  1. Jan 6, 2008 #1
    Since I have winter break, I have been trying to keep myself bussy. That means going to Barns n Noble and reading books for free. I saw The GOD Delusion by Dawkins, so I decided to buy it and am going to read it. Followed by:

    is not

    , and the Atheist handbook. Anyone read any of these books?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 6, 2008 #2
    I have read the Dawkins and Hitchens ones. Other books of interest is the latest one by Victor Stenger "God: The Failed Hypothesis" and Richard Carrier's "Sense and Goodness without God: A Defense of Metaphysical Naturalism". The latter one is an excellent treatment of naturalism. Really a must-read, since it provides a complete explanation and defense of naturalism in virtually all areas between morality, free will, the brain and consciousness, method, epistemology etc.
  4. Jan 6, 2008 #3
    Im only on page 2 of Dawkings right now. So far, so good!

    I like the line about how you cant call somone a 'catholic child', or a 'muslim child', but rather a 'child of catholic or muslim parents' because a child is too young to know what religion he or she is, just as they dont know what political party they are. They were simply born into religion.
  5. Jan 6, 2008 #4
    I read quite a bit of The GOD Delusion at Barnes n Noble once and I liked it. I don't know what else to say lol...
  6. Jan 6, 2008 #5
    What I enjoyed most about Dawkins' book was the treatment of the origin of morality and religion, but I though that it was, overall, a quite readable book.
  7. Jan 6, 2008 #6
    I'm reading the GOD Delusion right now, I saw it in chapters but didn't want to spend money on it so I got it from the library. It's good so far, I also liked the line about catholic children, muslim children...ect. There was another one I liked to but I can't think of it at the moment.
  8. Jan 6, 2008 #7

    Ivan Seeking

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    From what I saw at his [Dawkins] blog, his thesis is fundamentally flawed: One cannot prove that God does not exist.

    Is this or is this not his objective; to prove that God does not exist? If it is then he flunks philosophy 101.
  9. Jan 6, 2008 #8
    That is a common mistake. Religions make testable claims that can be refuted by science. Dawkins is talking about a certain version of the biblical God, not just a god.

    His thesis is: The existence of the Judeo-Christian God is highly unlikely and there isn't really anything in modern science that supports it.
  10. Jan 6, 2008 #9

    Math Is Hard

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    So other gods are OK with him?
  11. Jan 6, 2008 #10
    I dont know, have not read the book yet, but maybe you should Ivan?
  12. Jan 6, 2008 #11
    He doesn't really address them. He also says that his motive is not to provide a point-by-point refutation, because there are other books that tries to do that. He simply wants to make a conscious-raising book. It is basically about refuting classic creationism. Very little of the book is spent arguing against philosophical arguments.
  13. Jan 6, 2008 #12
    Well, hes an atheist, so no.
  14. Jan 6, 2008 #13

    Math Is Hard

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    My question was a reply to this:

    Which makes it sound like there's only one particular God that Dawkins has a beef with. I asked because I don't think he likes the idea of a creator in any flavor. (I've read an essay by him and I've seen a film he hosted, but that's the extent of my knowledge on him.)
  15. Jan 6, 2008 #14


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    I agree with you Ivan. Just as one cannot prove the existence of God, one cannot disprove the existence of God either. This is what puts the subject outside the scientific realm. And my argument against scientific creationism is now summed up in two lines!:biggrin:
  16. Jan 6, 2008 #15
    Indeed, Dawkins has the position that the existence of any god is currently highly unlikely, but his book only address the classic creationist one. To argue against all would require one to write an infinite amount of books.

    You seem to be confusing God (generally defined as the biblical, literal one) with (a) god (ones personal view of it).

    For instance, if we postulate a magical unicorn that violates the laws of physics in a specific way at a specific time at a specific place, this could, in principle, be disproven by science. (if the specific law was not violated, such a magical unicorn with those characteristics could not possibly exist). However, this does not mean that any magical unicorn does not exist. After all, science can refute, say, astrology, so claimed supernatural concepts are not somehow immune to scientific inquiry?
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 6, 2008
  17. Jan 6, 2008 #16


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    (I am just playing Devil's Advocate here)

    Here you are making the assumption that the laws of physics are absolute and immutable. While we assume that they are until shown counter-examples, we really don't know that they are. The being called God, if it exists, could be acting using other laws not yet discovered by the human race. So, God may not be breaking laws of physics, but working with the real ones.

    (Again, just playing Devil's Advocate here. Hopefully, I'm not breaking any forum rules. I'm always a little worried when engaging in these type of discussions. I'm not supporting or advertising this point of view, just using it as an example of a counter argument to Moridin's.)

    Anyway, this is a good example of a response to your point and shows how the subject of God is, by nature, unscientific. Thus one can't prove or disprove.
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2008
  18. Jan 6, 2008 #17
    I'm sorry, but repeating it does not make it true. :biggrin:

    Even so, the result of the experiment would be considered evidence based on what we know right now (unless you are advocating Hume's critique of miracles). Let's take another example if you did not like my previous one.

    A double-blind, controlled prayer experiment is set up with Catholics, Protestants, Buddhists (and a few others) and Atheists (for control) praying to their specific god or spirit. Somehow, all of the people the Catholics pray for magically get well (incurable diseases are cured, regrowing of severed limbs etc.) just like that. All the others do no better than chance. The experiment is repeated by independent groups and they all have the same results. This could, in principle, be considered strong evidence.

    Let's take another one. It could be possible that given religious scripture that foretell a clear event (say, the murder of Indhra Ghandi) with a lot of details etc. and it is fulfilled in the exact same way as it is told. It would be pretty hard to explain this event away, don't you think?

    People who claimed to be psychics could pass double-blind, controlled tests on levitating objects or finding killers.

    Naturally, you could not rule out natural explanations for this 100%, but that is beside the point.
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2008
  19. Jan 6, 2008 #18


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    Richard Dawkins shows as much sympathetic understanding of a rational theological approach as religious fundamentalists do of his approach.

    Religious fundamentalists and atheist fundamentalists need each other to prove to themselves how unreasonable their opposition is.

  20. Jan 6, 2008 #19
    Do you need a PhD in fashion to see that the Emperor is naked? Also, there isn't really anything called "atheist fundamentalism". By the way, I just loved the phrase "rational theological approach".
  21. Jan 6, 2008 #20


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    I agree. Both of those events would be hard to explain away. But at that point someone who was a convinced athiest would say something along the same lines as I mentioned above:

    <Devil's Advocate>

    Well, the Catholic's just got lucky. And that Ghandi thing is just a coincidence.

    </Devil's Advocate>

    Even if an amazingly powerful being came down from space and said he was God. If he was immune to all human attacks and was able to destroy the earth just by talking, if he was able to cure all illnesses by touch and grant the wish of every person on the Earth, I think there would still be doubt in whether he was actually a diety or just some very powerful extra-terrestrial lifeform.

    Anyway, it's been good fun Moridin, but I think there are much more important arguments to waste our time on.:smile: I think you've pretty much beaten me anyway! Touche!:biggrin:
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2008
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