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Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins

Postby Jesse » 29 Mar 2007, 19:57

Does anybody know any books that are coming out as a rebuttal to Richard Dawkins God Delusion?
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Postby Karen » 29 Mar 2007, 20:28

Alister McGrath has written two books about Dawkins: Dawkins' God: Genes, Memes, and the Meaning of Life (2005) and the just-published (in the UK) The Dawkins Delusion?, which hasn't been released in the US yet.
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My Debate

Postby Jesse » 30 Mar 2007, 21:23

I am currently in a bit of a debate with my girlfreinds aunt. The heart of the debate basically comes down to why we need religion in this world at all. She has been a teacher all her life and loves and believes in it so much that she has obtained a doctorate in philosophy of Education. Sometimes this is a bit intimidating because I have only begun my educational journey. However, she is a kind lady and is always willing to hear out my arguments however unsound they may be. From her experience as a teacher she has grown a negative perception to religion from the extreme fundamentalist christian side of things. I have already established that this type of judgemental and controlling christianity is not biblical from an exigetical standpoint, nor is it very reasonable at all. She looks upon extreme fundamentalist history in all religions and concludes that we simply do not need religion. Our arguements often come to two main questions. Does God exist (and all other questions that come with that)? And are humans inheritely good or bad. We both believe in learning and reason (although I have yet to discuss this with her logic I believe in alot less). So we agreed to exchange books that show each other's side. She gave me Richard Dawkins "God Delusion", as well as "American Fascists" by Chris Hedges. In return I gave her "Mere Chrisitianity" by C.S. Lewis (like you did'nt know) and "Orthodoxy" G.K. Chesterton. She is an english teacher, so at the very least she can appreciate the beauty of their writing. It had been a while since I had read "Mere" and at first I was worried I may have given her the wrong book for the situation. However I read it again last nite and realized this book fits in with alot of what I am trying to say. The "American Facists" book she gave me I agreed with mostly, mainly because it was mostly about the extreme evangelical side of things, the only things I could not agree with was the scare tactics he used, as well as his suggestion to take out of the bible the things that make God appear to be something other then merciful and loving. The holiness of God is something that we need to establish are need for his love and mercy. Dawkins book applies more to the reasoning christian, however alot of it still applied only to that extreme fundamentalist side, which started to get a little annoying but apparently there is still a little bit of a salesman in this dedicated scientist.

The point thats he used that I I need help to address are:

1. Just because something can't be proven does'nt mean it is true.
2. Why should scientists not be allowed to study and critic the realm of religion and philosophy. Why must religion be the authority on morals when it has so often been corrupt. He makes it clear that science should not necessarily be the authority but he does not see how religion should.
3. Why should limited human reasoning be the authority on ultimate truth.
4. Also I did'nt quite understand his arguement against Aquinas. Perhaps someone could explain that to me.
5. He presented the arguement against lewis that Jesus could have just been wrong.

Kolbitar in a letter to Mr. Dawkins wrote a really good piece in that thread. I am not sure if I fully understood it though. What I got was that atheists have faith that the laws of nature are rational. Even though we do not fully know if they came to be in a rational manner. As christians we have faith in the principles of God, which can be proven as rational when we look at humanity. But we do not know if God created these principles in a rational manner. Science shows the rationalism in nature while Relgion shows its rationalism when you look at humanity. You can not say that either come from an irrational source because neither source can be proven. The surgeon who does not know who created his scalpul. This is the arguement used against the dawkins idea that christians assume something is true, when it is not proven. When in fact both sceince and religion have there reasoning and methods to their belief. I am sure I am a little off on this, so some help in understanding it would be great. Also what book was that Chesterton Quote fromÉ. I just tried to put a question mark there and for some reason that É came up. I think my computer has a virus. Oh yes and one more thing, Dawkins like any scientist puts a lot of weight on logic, in accordance to morals we all know logic fails, I know there are lots of examples of this out there but if someone could give me an example that woulld great. Anyway thanks everyone for your help.

-Jesse
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Re: My Debate

Postby JKolbitar » 01 Apr 2007, 13:24

Hi Jesse.

I was meeting Dawkins on his own terms, showing that faith in the continued reliability of the laws of nature has the same basis as faith in a God who meets our desire for beatitude (supernatural happiness): our rational will. Therefore I left out the only really solid rational foundation upon which both of these faiths ("faith" in the sense that we cannot see them right now, not in the supernatural sense of the word "faith") -- are grounded: the cosmological proof for God's existence.

I said "rational foundation", above, because that is the only ground upon which believers and non-believers can meet. Supernatural grounds, I admit, are much more compelling to a believer; they potentially fall, however, on deaf ears to someone who insists they live only on a purely rational plane. Since Dawkins dismisses the cosmological proof (even though I think he doesn't understand it) I endeavored to meet him on his own grounds, to show that it's only in the shape or expectation of his rational will that he can rationally continue to believe in the uniformity of nature; and this is the same basis which believers can lay claim to the imperitive to believe in God. Knowing that a rationalist will likely be uncomfortable with drawing conclusions solely from the imperitive of our will, I thought he may be at least slightly compelled to take a closer and more honest look at an argument like the cosmological proof, which really completes the point and rationally secures both objects of "faith".

Sincerely,

Jesse (Kolbitar)
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Postby jo » 01 Apr 2007, 17:06

SOrry I am lost here .. who is talking to who? Which, if any of these posters are 'our' Jesse?
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Postby Jesse Hove » 01 Apr 2007, 18:41

I am Jesse with nothing behind it my last name is Hove. I wrote the first message, there is also a person who's nickname is Kolbitar who's first name is Jesse to.
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Postby Sven » 01 Apr 2007, 18:47

Moved to RSP forum. Jesse (Hove), if you'd like to continue the discussion, you'll need to register.
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I have no registered

Postby Jesse Hove » 02 Apr 2007, 05:55

I am now registered now everyone can be my freind.
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Re: I have no registered

Postby The Bigsleep J » 02 Apr 2007, 06:05

Jesse Hove wrote:I am now registered now everyone can be my freind.


Welcome to the Wardrobe, Jesse! :smile:

*waves*
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Postby westsands410 » 02 Apr 2007, 11:54

Alister McGrath seems to be the chief writer who has chosen to tackle Richard Dawkins over here. McGrath's The Twilight of Atheism may be helpful in your discussion, and he's published (more recently) a couple of books which I have on order, but can't remember the titles offhand unfortunately... Even if you're not UK-resident, I think you can still order the recently published books through Amazon - I've been able to buy books from Amazon US relatively cheaply, although the exchange rate of recent months has helped!

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Postby jo » 02 Apr 2007, 12:36

I saw a copy of the Dawkins delusion in the window of a church gift shop not long ago but as there was a pane of glass between me and it, alas I could not browse through it..
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Postby nomad » 02 Apr 2007, 18:54

And are humans inheritely good or bad.


This does seem to be a question people like to ask. There's a quote that rotates through on the front Wardrobe page from CON that I find quite apt.

'You come of the Lord Adam and the Lady Eve,' said Aslan. 'And that is both honour enough to erect the head of the poorest beggar, and shame enough to bow the shoulders of the greatest emperor in earth.'


I think it's a western post-enlightenment thing to always want to reduce things down to a dichotomy. It's a bad habit we should break.
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Postby Leslie » 03 Apr 2007, 00:43

nomad wrote:I think it's a western post-enlightenment thing to always want to reduce things down to a dichotomy. It's a bad habit we should break.

Amen!
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Postby postodave » 03 Apr 2007, 14:07

The person who has not yet been mentioned who has written from a Christian perspective against Dawkins is Keith Ward. I have glanced at 'The God Delusion' and know that Dawkins mentions Ward in passing but really fails to get to grips with what Ward was saying in his book 'God, Chance and Neccessity' http://www.amazon.com/God-Chance-Necessity-Keith-Ward/dp/1851681167/ref=sr_1_3/102-2298689-8016110?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1175607997&sr=8-3 His latest response to Dawkins is called 'Is Religion Dangerous?' http://www.amazon.com/Religion-Dangerous-Keith-Ward/dp/0802845088/ref=sr_1_1/102-2298689-8016110?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1175608095&sr=1-1 I have not read it but I did read an excellent review of Dawkin's book by Ward In 'Third Way' magazine. Ward is an Anglican Priest and Philosopher of Religion. He is certainly not a fundamentalist, in recent years he has spent a great deal of time exploring the underlying similarities (and differences) of different religious ttraditions. He has sometimes b een suspected of abandoning belief in the Incarnation under the influence of Eastern thought but it seems to me that he keeps affirming his belief in this central doctrine in very clear language. He accuses Dawkins of taking all his examples from the earliest strata of the OT which Ward says is like criticising modern science by having a go at the alchemists. Of not understanding the purpose of the classical arguments for God's existance, ignorance of philosophy, and so on.

On the relation of Christianity and science with a focus on biology I would recoomend Rebuilding the Matrix by Dennis Alexander. http://www.amazon.com/Rebuilding-Matrix-Denis-Alexander/dp/0310250188/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/102-2298689-8016110?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1175608846&sr=1-1 But if I had to recommend one book on the grounds for Christian belief it would be this one:http://www.amazon.com/Knowing-Heart-Religious-Experience-Belief/dp/0830815074/ref=sr_1_2/102-2298689-8016110?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1175608953&sr=1-2 I would reccommend reading it before passing it on to anyone because the approach may be unfamiliar. Clouser, another philosopher, argues that experience rather than evidence is the basis of belief. The book is set up as an imaginary dialogue between Clouser and an unbeliever and while being clearly written tackles some quite deep ideas.
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Postby postodave » 03 Apr 2007, 14:22

By the way, on morals, I would say we know basic moral principles, what Lewis calls the Tao or Natural Law by intuiton. That is in the same way that we know 2+2=4 or things are idential to themselves, or things equal to the same thing are equal to each other, or that we are not dreaming. We can have different theories to explain why human beings have these moral intuitions which are largely uniform accross cultures but these explanations refer to something we already know. For example a bilogical explanation would be one possibility, An explanation in terms of God another, a sociological or psychiological one ayet another. These might be either complimentary or conflicting. We may use reason to draw out the implications of our moral intuitions and apply them and we may disagree about these aplications and inferences, just as we can build mathematica on the basic intuitions about number and identity. However the moral intuitions like the ones at the basis of Math and logic are not themselves the product of reasoning but of direct self evident experience. Clouser explains some of this in the book I mentioned above though he does not apply it to morality. The intuitive recognition of God's existance is another kind of basic experience.
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