I stopped reading at “I started with The Blind Watch Maker – a tome dedicated to replacing antiquated religious belief with faith in science.” That’s a pitifully inaccurate characterization of the book.
It is a provocative article.
Do you think that is an accurate description of the God Delusion?
I think the Blind Watchmaker was more about explaining how evolution could work without requiring a designer. Is that the right way to explain it?
Yep. It’s a really excellent book and in fact it’s not about faith. Davidson gives the strong impression that he wrote a whole piece about a book he never read.
Yes, in the same sense that Chariots of the Gods is a provocative book.
I realize from the tone of these posts that an actual dialog is not likely to occur - interesting to be called a liar right at the outset. I did in fact read The Blind Watchmaker, and I made several positive statements about the book in my post (something apparently overlooked in the rush to call me a liar). The origin of my statement that the book is dedicated to replacing religious belief with science comes from both the title - rather explicitly aimed against a designer - and this quote from page 147 "The basic idea of The Blind Watchmaker is that we don’t need to postulate a designer in order to understand life, or anything else in the universe.” The premise for the book, according to Dawkins, supports my description.
Any positive statements you made about it are irrelevant to the fact that you mischaracterized it.
Dawkins: “The basic idea of The Blind Watchmaker is that we don’t need to postulate a designer in order to understand life, or anything else in the universe.”
Your characterization of Dawkins: “The Blind Watch Maker – a tome dedicated to replacing antiquated religious belief with faith in science”.
Your words are a mischaracterization. Dawkins says nothing about the book “replacing antiquated religious belief with faith in science”. What he wrote is no different to writing “We don’t need to postulate a rain god in order to understand rain, or the entire evaporation/condensation cycle”.
You have essentially repeated my assertion. Could not have said it much better myself.
I would continue this interchange if it was going some where, but I think we both know it is not. I am off to enjoy a good lunch, and wish you the same.
To which @davidson says:
Which means he is seeing an equivalence between:
- "we don’t need to postulate a designer in order to understand life, or anything else in the universe.”
- “dedicated to replacing antiquated religious belief with faith in science ”.
There is a close connection between those two ideas. We also agree that Dawkins did explicitly decide to replace antiquated religious belief with faith in science in the God Delusion.
No one called you a liar, and in fact your careless responses to the criticism are consistent with your careless mischaracterization of TBW. No, you’re not a liar–you behave like something related but distinct: an apologist. Your piece was ruined by your carelessness, and as you double down on it, there is a silver lining for your piece: we won’t discuss the even more damning fact that defending the resurrection seems to require the help of shabby strawmen.
That isn’t true. A bit over overstatement there?
Those of us who know that Christianity is a house of cards are getting some very slight affirmation from the observation that the mighty “god” of this silly religion needs a caricature of Richard Dawkins to prop him up.
I thought ‘seems’ might be enough of an equivocation but will gladly add that my criticism applies specifically to apologists who need “a little help from Richard Dawkins,” along with quotemining, to help things along.
Yes he is. That does not mean there is a close connection. It certainly doesn’t give him any warrant to tell people that this is what Dawkins meant.
No there is not.
No I don’t think he did. More importantly, that was not the aim of the book under discussion.
@sfmatheson, you didn’t literally call him a “liar”, but you did insinuate that very strongly. This is what Gregg said:
Addressing the latter questions led me to the works of Richard Dawkins, perhaps the most well known and outspoken apologist for evolution and atheism at the time. I started with The Blind Watch Maker – a tome dedicated to replacing antiquated religious belief with faith in science. He did a reasonable job building a case for how natural processes could have brought about life, and even how evolutionary adaptations in sentient populations could have given rise to a sense of moral and religious belief. I also took no issue with his insistence that there is no evidence that can be subjected to scientific testing for the effectiveness of prayer, the verification of miracles, or life after death.
Clearly anyone who read the article would have the impression that Gregg is claiming to have read the book. But you said:
I don’t see that as anything less than claiming that Gregg lied when he wrote the article.
I agree it’s a little over the top to claim that Dawkins “explicitly decided to replace” silly religious beliefs with “faith in science” but I think the bigger problem here is the perception that the OP can be saved by ignoring the fact that it was based on a gross mischaracterization of a book about science and design.
I wrote “I’m not sure that he actually read the book.” You are seriously unable to see other options than “he’s a liar???”
Steve, this could be an instance where what you meant by saying some things and how they actually come off to other people are different.
That also applies to the BW book as well, btw. How atheists understand the book’s aim and how non-atheists understand it can be different.
I can appreciate the disagreements expressed here. I think this will be taken as an opportunity to build some understanding. With that in mind, please be respectful of everyone including @davidson.
It seems that this might be a reaction to precise words he used, but I think there is a charitable way to read him too. It seem that reading Dawkins was an important part of his process and it is worth understanding why.
You didn’t call him a liar directly, and doesn’t seem to be your intention, but it’s also understandable how @davidson responded.
This is a charged topic. I get it and that’s okay.
The goal here should be finding common ground and building understanding.
Okay, Daniel, let’s play then. Perhaps @davidson or you can explain where and how Dawkins did this in TBW:
and even how evolutionary adaptations in sentient populations could have given rise to a sense of moral and religious belief.
I have the book right here. I’ve read through just once, then sampled it repeatedly over the years. I doubt I could have missed a discussion of the origins of “a sense of moral and religious belief” but hey, let’s see some quotes from the book.
Or, maybe @davidson or you can explain where and how Dawkins did this in TBW:
I also took no issue with his insistence that there is no evidence that can be subjected to scientific testing for the effectiveness of prayer, the verification of miracles, or life after death.
I don’t think any of those topics appears in any form in TBW.
So, Daniel, do you think Gregg read the book? Do you think it would be reasonable for me to wonder whether he had or whether he had merely read comments about it? Or do you think the most reasonable explanation is that he read the book a long time ago, then melded the book with its author, then carelessly wrote some hilariously inaccurate apologetic pablum without checking to see whether TBW is even about any of those topics?
I didn’t use the word ‘liar’ because I’ve been watching the intellectually indefensible practices of apologists for decades. Gregg’s not a liar. But there is no defense for the OP other than this one: “I mistakenly mischaracterized Dawkins’ 1986 book.”