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How to respond to a young friend who has come under Dawkins’s spell

Neuroscientist Baroness Susan Greenfield makes an interesting critique of “scientism”

By on Friday, 30 November 2012

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I have recently been in email conversation with a young friend. He is a bright chap but to my dismay he seems to have become an ardent disciple of Richard Dawkins and his kind. He has become quite convinced that “science” has solved the question of “God” – that irrational and improbable deity dreamed up by people long before science came along to enlighten them and to explain to them how the brain works. I have tried to get him to see that the (entirely legitimate) pursuit of science is a different activity from that of theology; there is no reason why they should clash rather than offer mutual, though independent support. He is having none of it: it seems the creation of “Hamlet” is simply the result of lots of cells composing the grey matter being in a happy conjunction; indeed, he thinks the sorrows of the great apes are not far removed from our own. I am simplifying his argument but this is the gist of it.

For this reason, it was good to read “What science can’t answer”, an interview in The Tablet last week between Jack Valero, communications director of Opus Dei in Britain (and co-founder of Catholic Voices) and Baroness Susan Greenfield, a neuroscientist at Oxford University. Lady Greenfield is neither an atheist nor a straightforward believer; but she accepts there are questions which are outside the competence of science to answer. She rejects “scientism” which she describes as “this unshakeable belief, which is as strong as any religious belief, that science is the only approach to understanding the world around you.” She recognises that people can have an experience “that is above and beyond the material.”

Greenfield admits that she has not had this experience – yet. “I have a sense of the spiritual and glimmers of it from time to time, but I cannot say I am a believer in the sense of subscribing to any particular religion.” In 2008 she accompanied Valero and a very sick friend and his wife on a pilgrimage to Lourdes. This was Greenfield’s idea, though she is not sure where it came from. Believers might call it the unconscious prompting of the Holy Spirit. At any rate, the experience did not deter her, as it does some outside the Church, who notice all the souvenir shops full of religious kitsch and conclude the whole place is riddled with superstition and mere trade. Greenfield was deeply impressed by the fact that “sick people were the norm and that…everybody was a volunteer.” She adds that she was also greatly moved by, “the amount of love and altruism and removal from the normal things…people being kind to each other, rather than witty or hostile or defensive”.

In general she robustly rejects the idea that science and religion are in contradiction as “intellectually bankrupt”, mentioning scientists such as Francis Collins of genome fame, who “speaks freely and openly…about being a Christian.” She points out that much of science is not strictly logical but is approached by “a hunch and an instinct”. Science answers some questions but not others “such as the meaning of life, or what is love.” Of course, people might describe love as “when you have a rise in the hormone oxytocin ” – but this does not invalidate or detract from the subjective state.

Apart from her pilgrimage to Lourdes, Greenfield has been on a three-day retreat at Ampleforth. She told the monk looking after her that “I truly don’t know why I’m here”. This didn’t bother him; I suspect he might have heard that remark before, even among supposed believers. When she got home Greenfield felt “super-charged and super-detoxed…bursting with energy and positive.”

I am going to refer my young friend to this interview and see what he makes of it. To be or not to be a chimpanzee; that is the question.

  • http://catholicismpure.wordpress.com The Raven

    As we only trace the scientific method back a thousand years (we generally tend to point to Roger Bacon as the founder) I guess you’ll need to revise when we date Christianity from.
    Unless you’re going to claim that Aristotelian methodology is identical to the inductive experimental method, in which case you are going to need to read some Aristotle and some science.

  • http://catholicismpure.wordpress.com The Raven

    As the whole argument of “TGD” rests on a strawman fallacy in its representation of religion, I guess, by your criteria, I am wholly justified in dismissing it without further consideration.
    And you chose this particular point to object to because not many people get exercised by macroevolution, certainly not many Catholics.

  • http://catholicismpure.wordpress.com The Raven

    In what situation will moral absolutism yield a harmful result, Jonathan?
    And what measure do we apply to “foreseeable”? Is that a subjective or objective test?
    How does your view of morality not result in a position that an individual will treat as moral whatever is convenient?

  • http://catholicismpure.wordpress.com The Raven

    Purely out of interest, Karl, how are you reconciling your statement here with your admission that Aquinas (and, because of his centrality to Catholic thought, the Church) doesn’t recognise that animals and men share emotions?

  • karlf

    I asked:
    Where does the Church explain to us that envy is part of our animal nature? Where does the Church explain why we have such a behavioural trait which we share with other creatures?
    What is the answer?

  • TreenonPoet

     I don’t know whether the Catholic acceptance of evolution went through my mind at the time, but it would have been another good reason to select the extract I chose since there would be less chance of bias amongst those reading my comment. (It seems my aim to avoid a semantic argument failed as JabbaPapa demonstrated.)

    The Dawkins Delusion used the Christians-don’t-think-that-any-more argument more than once, but in each instance I was aware of some Christians who did claim to think what the authors denied. The 2010 Ipsos MORI poll that Dawkins was associated with shows a remarkable variation in the beliefs of those who call themselves Christian. Are you sure that each of the beliefs that Dawkins tackles are not held by a subset of believers? If not, then you cannot honestly claim that the whole book misrepresents religion.

  • karlf

    I asked:
    Where does the Church explain to us that envy is part of our animal nature? Where does the Church explain why we have such a behavioural trait which we share with other creatures?
    What is the answer?

  • karlf

    No, I said Rabelais does not answer my questions. Which part of his not answering my questions would you like me to quote?

  • karlf

    When does a desire for the fulfilment of instinctive sexual desire become sinful?
    “the jury is very much out in the nature/nurture debate” On what point?

  • http://catholicismpure.wordpress.com The Raven

    Karl, if you don’t know where the boundary lies between sexual desire and an unhealthy predeliction for sex, then you may need help.
    My comment on the nature/nurture debate is based on the current state of play in psychology. If you think that this has finally been resolved, then please provide some references.

  • karlf

    It would appear that I do need help. Please tell me where the boundary lies between sexual desire and an unhealthy predeliction for sex.
    Do you think that, in general, the desire in men to perform cunnilingus is nature or nuture? If nurture, how can you explain this?

  • whytheworldisending

    I wasn’t asking you a question. I was responding to your invitation:

    You said, “I invite you or anybody else here to offer an answer to Dennett’s question. “What questions does theology ask or answer that aren’t already being dealt with by science or secular philosophy?”

    You posed the question in order to demonstrate that scientific inquiry renders theology redundant, but, as the Gospels state, “…the kingdom of God does not admit of observation,” it is scientific method that is redundant where heavenly things are concerned.

    However, atheists who favour scientific method might like to try an experiment. They might like to try to live according to the Gospels and see what happens – to them. Nobody else will be able to observe the transformation within, but they can always try telling others about what God has revealed to them.

    This is one of the things I notice about Dawkins approach – for a scientist he has a very closed mind, since he reaches his conclusion without following the method.

      

  • whytheworldisending

    What does he think Christians are worried about that atheists are not worried about? Judgement? But you only need to fear judgement if you have been bad don’t you? The good have no fear of Judgement, nor do Chrisitans who trust in God’s mercy revealed in Jesus. And what does he mean by “Enjoy your life?” Does he mean dedicate yourself to the pursuit of pleasure, whether its right or wrong, and regardless of the plight of others? It just seems to add up to yet more tiresome unthinking consumerism. People don’t need encouragement to live selfish lives or to do evil. AIDS, abortion, promiscuity, marital breakdown, corruption, crime, war, global warming. How does the Dawrkins message help? Should we all not give a damn. Is that it? Science can’t save us from ourselves.

  • Paul Thibodeau

    The complete record:

    I read from the Amazon website that your book begins from the premise that the true nature of reality is at best only tentatively grasped by both science and religion. The grasp that science has is sufficient to enable a vehicle to be landed on Mars – hardly tentative – and I am not aware that pure religion has any grasp on reality at all, so is your book not based on a false premise?

    Thank you for your reply Treenon. The full quote is:

    In this book Indie author Paul Thibodeau challenges the facile claims of both science and religion that have led to the dangerous rhetoric of the new atheism, a level of rhetoric that has time and again proven disastrous. Beginning from the premise that the true nature of reality is at best only tentatively grasped by both, he challenges their claims to give ultimate explanations to the profound questions of life, calling them to move beyond a hopeless contest of knowledge to a contest of good and the creation of a better world.

    I did not state that technical competence is only tentative.

    I am surprised that you would equate the true nature of reality with technical competence or perhaps how something works? Could you elaborate your position on the relationship between the true nature of reality and how something works?

    In the case of the ongoing tentativeness of science, that is already established.

    I am not sure what you mean here by saying that ‘I am not aware that pure religion has any grasp on reality at all’. Could you clarify what you mean by ‘pure religion’?

    Landing a vehicle on Mars is not just a matter of technical competence. The technology is based on profound scientific advances. All the science involved might be wrong, but it has proven close enough to the truth to allow such astounding feats.

    By ‘pure religion’, I mean that which is based on religious faith – belief that something is definitely true when there is no evidence or even contrary evidence.

    You are using the same word ‘religion’ in your definition so it is circular, so I am not sure of your point. I assume you mean ‘faith’, and by that you mean ‘belief that something is definitely true when there is no evidence or even contrary evidence’, and that this is what you mean by ‘pure religion’. Am I understanding you correctly? I am still not clear why this is ‘religion’, and especially ‘pure religion’. Could you clarify that?

    I did not use the word ‘faith’ alone because it has connotations that do not just concern religion. The word ‘religion’ is sometimes used in a broad sense that cannot be what is meant when one talks about science versus religion. The conflict between science and religion concerns the aspects of religion (in the broad sense) that are not compatible with science. Those aspects are what characterise religions as religions. They are the aspects that are not supported by evidence. I referred to them as ‘pure religion’.

    I find this clarification to be on the whole ambiguous. To say that ‘the conflict between science and religion concerns the aspects of religion (in the broad sense) that are not compatible with science’ makes perfect sense and could be the basis for a discussion (although it is clearly different from your first remark about religious faith). But then you say that ‘those aspects are what characterize religions as religions’, which I assume you mean either in the broadest sense, or you mean something like ‘as something incompatible with science’, which would only be to restate what you already said: that you are isolating aspects of religion that are incompatible with science. These you refer to as ‘pure religion’. Do I have that right?

    Let me try a different approach. An example of religion in the broad sense is Buddhism. Why is it a religion? Because, certain Buddhist beliefs are a matter of religious faith – they are held to be true in the absence of supporting evidence. This is so even though many Buddhist beliefs are supported by evidence. The latter beliefs do not conflict with science (or scientia). The former beliefs are purely religious in that they do conflict with science/scientia. If it was not for those former beliefs, then I do not think it would be correct to refer to Buddhism as a religion (other than in the sense of any practice that a group might be devoted to).

    A certainty that intercessory prayer always works is purely religious. (It can be tested scientifically and shown to be false.) A certainty that intercessory prayer (sometimes) works is purely religious (at least until indisputable evidence is found to support it). A certainty that intercessory prayer never works is purely religious. A certainty that intercessory prayer might work is not purely religious (the evidence being that we have no evidence to the contrary, despite the mountain of evidence that suggests it could never work). However, if a religion taught that it was always worth trying, that would be purely religious because the odds contradict that.

    (Purely religious certainty is religious faith. Non-religious faith relies on an estimation of the evidence-based odds.)

    The question is: what grip does pure religion have on reality?

    Okay let me see if I am understanding you correctly, and then if I can answer your question: ‘What grip does pure religion have on reality?’ When specific religious beliefs are held as a matter of faith, that is, in the absence of evidence, and/or even against evidence, that is, they conflict with science, they identify religion. Other sorts of beliefs may be characterized as ‘religious’, and are commonly characterized as religious, but unless they have this character of belief in the absence of evidence and/or against evidence (that is generally they conflict with science), they are not actually religious. By science you appear to mean ‘the weight of the evidence’. So by ‘pure religion’ you mean to emphasize religious beliefs whose certainty has no correspondence with the weight of the evidence. Beliefs that have some correspondence with the evidence are not properly religious. This form of certainty disconnected with gradations of conviction in proportion to evidence is what religious faith is, and this is synonymous with ‘pure religion’. There are other nonreligious forms of faith. But they have some degree of correspondence with facts and evidence. If I were to sum it up in one sentence, it would be that religious belief is epistemic certainty that is in conflict with the weight of scientific evidence. Am I understanding you correctly?

    That seems about right to me, but to be clear I would add that if the weight of the evidence is zero or negative, then then that implies a purely religious belief. I take ‘scientific evidence’ in this case to be interpreted broadly to include maths and logic, but not to include evidence that only relates to pretend sciences such as Christian Science and (as JabbaPapa would have it) Theology.

    This ‘pure religion’ is what I presume you mean by ‘religion’ in the context of “science vs religion”, so I was surprised that you were trying to get me to define it. I hope I have not overlooked anything.

  • Paul Thibodeau

    Super glad to hear it, but you need to state your position Jonathan. If you don’t respond to the clear, core, and forthright issues, how can a constructive discussion take place?

    As one example, Dawkins has many times stated his adherence to a clear is-ought distinction. I am curious as to whether you agree with Dawkins on this point.

  • JabbaPapa

    No you said that none of the authors in the list I provided you with even mention these questions.

    Can you please show me that these direct mentions by Rabelais of les espritz animaulx, and his characterisations of human behaviours being similar to “au tour de luy abayent les chiens, ullent les loups, rugient les Lyons, hannissent les chevaulx, barrient les elephans, siflent les serpens, braislent les asnes, sonnent les cigalles, lamentent les tourterelles“, not to mention his descriptions of the close relationship between human emotions and physiology.

    Heck, there’s even something in there about animal communication, suggesting it as similar to speech, in the above extract from him !!!

    And you do realise, don’t you, that your clear unwillingness to engage in discussion about those authors suggests to me that you were in fact lying in those claims of your familiarity with them ?

  • JabbaPapa

    You do get extremely annoying whenever you decide to reject any answer that doesn’t fit in with your preconceptions.

    In the theology of Aquinas, for starters, as already explained to you.

    In the thinking of the entirety of the 21st century Catholic Church.

    When you are told by The Raven that “The idea that men and animals share the same passions and the same emotions is very ancient and underpinned the medieval world view, which attributed unchecked emotion to animals“, this is a description of fact — your reaction to which appears to be “la-la-la-la-la I can’t hear you”.

    These commonly held ideas have been a part of the underpinning of Western thought (and therefore of the Christian religion as well) for literally Millennia — your apparent belief that these are new developments of the Modern Age are not borne out by reality.

  • JabbaPapa

    Where do you explain to us that your record is broken ? Where does karlf state that every answer to his question will be completely ignored ? Why does karlf even bother asking questions when he’s already decided that his preconceptions and a prioris are the “proper” answer ?

  • http://catholicismpure.wordpress.com The Raven

    “a subset of believers”? Should we characterise all atheists by reference to the large and historically significant subset of atheists who believe/believed in state socialism (killing 100m people in the course of a century in the process)?
    I would say “no”, but, by your method of evaluation I should treat all atheists as if they were Soviet-style atheists.
    I think that in treating all atheists as being the same I would be making a category error; in the same way Dawkins’ approach to Christians (by taking only the outliers) is erroneous.
    That represents a very serious weakness of his book and of his thinking on religion in general.

  • http://catholicismpure.wordpress.com The Raven

    Karl

    You’ve had your answer many times over, and you’ve had sources cited to you: men and animals share emotions and behaviours, including envy.
    Now be so good as to stop repeating a question you’ve had answered and make your argument.

  • http://catholicismpure.wordpress.com The Raven

    Go and read a book, Karl, hundreds have been written on moral theology.

  • JabbaPapa

    Macroevolution is evolution at, and above, the level of species. The mechanism is no different to evolution below that level

    That’s a theory, not a fact — and it is still only of tangential relevance to the main point about Dawkins’ misuse of logic.

    Yet the extract takes this artificial boundary and falsely declares that the principles that apply below it cannot be assumed to apply above it.

    There’s no “falsely” about it, this is bog standard scientific methodology, NOT to assume that what is true of the parts must be true of the whole, unless and until the evidence is such that no other scenario is realistically conceivable.

    Also, I find it quite disingenuous on your part to simultaneously define the difference between micro- and macro- evolution, to accept discussion of the two, and then claim this distinction as being “false” (???)

    It compounds the error by suggesting that there is no basis for extrapolating the science into zones for which there is not yet any supporting evidence

    What ???

    You’re just making that up out of thin air.

    Again, the objections are logical in nature, NOT scientific.

    the extract denies this evidence and therefore implies that macroevolution is not even theoretically justified

    RUBBISH — and you’ve done it again ; either macroevolution is a false category, or you should refrain from defending its validity. Not both at the same time.

    This is a logical fallacy on YOUR part, which may explain your inability to spot the one in Dawkins.

    The difference between “no such evidence” and “no overwhelming evidence” is vast in the context of this extract

    Correct — that is why I pointed out the grammar for you. The word “such” is a shifter, and as such it takes on the meaning of semantic content found in the previous phrase or sentence. Case in point, “overwhelming” ; or, in my use of it in this sentence, “a shifter”.

    So that the meanings of “there is no such evidence” and “there is no evidence” are non-identical — the first meaning that there is no evidence of the type that is in discussion ; the second that no evidence exists at all.

    Elsewhere in this thread, you equate the assertion that amateurism does
    not imply incompetence to the assertion that amateurism implies
    incompetence

    Rubbish !!! *I* mentioned Dawkins’ amateurism, so that I have a dashed better idea of exactly what I was implying than you do. I was implying, deliberately, that he is incompetent to discuss the question of the universal origins. OK ?

    You can disagree with my implication if you want, but you’ve no chance in convincing me that I never made it. I did.

    and you interpret my saying that Buddhism is a religion as my saying that Buddhism is not a religion

    No, I interpret your statement : “If it was not for those former beliefs, then I do not think it would be correct to refer to Buddhism as a religion” as suggesting that it isn’t one — this is an inference on my part, obviously, but it is motivated by the fact that I completely disagree with your characterisation of Buddhism, religious belief, and your fantasy that facts and religiuous ideas can be strongly opposed. The religious nature of Buddhism exists well outside of your narrow characterisations, hence my deliberately provocative statement that you have denied that Buddhism is a religion — because ultimately, from my own point of view, that’s exactly what you have done.

    Perhaps you simply do not realise how deeply I am rejecting your intellectual constructs, and how irrelevant I feel them to be to any religious questions at all.

  • JabbaPapa

    JW consistently dodges lines of question like that one …

  • JabbaPapa

    I see, so your ad hominem against whytheworldisending is justified by means of an ad hominem against me ?

    And no — you’re confusing my engaging in public ridicule (this phrase should sound familiar to all Dawkinsists everywhere) of your ideas with whatever emotional state of your own.

    There is no hate, not unless you invent it out of your own self.

    Still, by your own definition, Dawkins is engaging in hatred in his public call that religious people should be ridiculed, denigrated and defamed by atheists, right ? Right ?

  • JabbaPapa

    You don’t need to assume reality

    *another* member not very good at detecting sarcasm, apparently …

  • karlf

    Why don’t you answer my question? I was interested in your own opinion, and that ‘s why I asked you. What are you scared of?

  • karlf

    Please be honest. When did you answer this specific question “Where does the Church explain WHY we have such a behavioural trait which we share with other creatures?” ?

  • Acleron

    @whytheworldisending:disqus said ‘ Atheists tend to be evil-doers’.

    So yes, you are supposed to know what you said and why I responded that it is outlandish and offensive. That you don’t realise this is offensive is hardly surprising.

  • Peter

    Jonathan West says: 

    “you are in the happy position of knowing that you can never be proved wrong.
    On the other hand, you also have no means of ever knowing that you are right.”

    Up to last year it was widely believed that spacetime was granulated at the Planck scale, meaning that below a certain scale there was no longer any time or space.
    The Planck scale hypothesis effectively did away with the need for an originator of actions because where there is no time or space there is no causation. 
    This meant that actions spontaneously appear at that scale without any necessary cause, which made the notion of an originator of such actions – a continuous creator – superfluous.
    However, now we know through observation, that spacetime is smooth to a scale at least ten trillion times smaller that the Planck scale, and for all we know it could be trillions upon trillions of times smaller still, since no bottom limit of granulation has been found.
    With no evidence of spacetime granulation, the principle of causation remains within spacetime down to infinitesimal scales, restoring the need for an originator of actions because spacetime, although infinitesimally small, is not infintely small.
    Long distant gamma ray observations tell me that spacetime is infiniitesimally small, while the inverse square law of gravity tells me that it is not infinitely small.  These are powerful scientific findings which strongly support the long-held philosophical conclusion that the universe is sustained.

  • karlf

    “The idea that men and animals share the same passions and the same emotions is very ancient and underpinned the medieval world view, which attributed unchecked emotion to animals” does not anwer the question of “Where does the Church explain WHY we have such a behavioural trait which we share with other creatures?”
    .
    You are probably aware of the general point I am alluding to: that science has shown that animal behaviour has been shaped by the evolutionary process of natural selection. This includes those things that the Catholic Church calls ‘Deadly Sins’. The Catholic Church’s historic ignorance of this understanding undermines it’s teachings.

  • karlf

    Science has shown that animal behaviour has been shaped by the evolutionary process of natural selection. This includes behavioural traits which the Catholic Church calls ‘Deadly Sins’. The Catholic Church’s historic ignorance of this understanding undermines its teachings and its claimed authority.

  • http://catholicismpure.wordpress.com The Raven

    Karl,

    You claimed to have read Aquinas and all of the Catholic authors of the last two thousand years.
    I’ve pointed out that the Summa deals with the distinction between humans and animals and deals with the shared traits that we have.
    Aquinas is one author among many who treats the subject and one you claim familiarity with.
    Should I infer that your reading of the Catholic authors is a little more superficial than you had originally claimed?

  • karlf

    Science has shown that animal behaviour has been shaped by the evolutionary process of natural selection. Where does the Summa, or any other Catholic author address this fundamental issue?

  • http://catholicismpure.wordpress.com The Raven

    How is your question relevant to a discussion of religion?

  • karlf

    Perhaps because it is fundamental to the understanding of human behaviour?
    So what’s your answer to it?

  • http://catholicismpure.wordpress.com The Raven

    How is knowledge of the mechanism by which we came to feel relevant to our feelings?

  • karlf

    Are you dodging my question by any chance?
    Your question answers itself. You agree that at least some very significant aspects of human behaviour have evolved through our animal ancestors (sexual behaviour for instance), so how on earth can it not be a relevent to fully understanding the minds of modern humans?

  • Acleron

    You are quite right to compare suffering for each condition, I thought that so obvious it didn’t need mentioning and it doesn’t alter my statement. The person in charge of the board could be an alien for all that matters, these still cannot be claimed as miracles all that is happening is that no reason for cure can be found. that does not equate to miracles just a form of god of the gaps argument.

    BTW, as you are trying to claim that miracles happen in the natural world, as the one making the extreme claims it is up to you to crunch the numbers, I can merely point out that it wasn’t done.

  • http://catholicismpure.wordpress.com The Raven

    How is knowledge of the formation of iron during the decay of stars relevant to metallurgy?

    We are dealing with the current state of the material (human beings) not their primordial states.

  • karlf

    As you are well aware, the primordial instincts continue to influence the current state of human minds. Yes or no?

  • http://catholicismpure.wordpress.com The Raven

    Sorry, has it really taken you two days to come up with this response that managed to be both boring and stupid?
    If you had thought it “obvious” that we must look at the population of sufferers of each condition as a whole, why did you start by talking about the generality of people visiting Lourdes?
    I've pointed out 67 cures that have no explanation in science, you're asserting that this is not statistically significant – you're making the claim, you prove it.

  • Acleron

    The Planck length wasn’t discredited by the experiment you described. What they found, which has yet to be confirmed, is that IF space-time has granularity it is on a scale below the Planck length. It may be that space-time has no granularity. 

    And by the way your fleas and lesser fleas argument is more than slightly confounded by small objects being affected by single larger objects, the most extreme examples being black holes which will affect light of any wavelength equally.

  • Acleron

    A common statement by believers but never followed by any substantial debunking of the ideas and arguments.

  • http://catholicismpure.wordpress.com The Raven

    Explain how knowing the ancient origin of a behaviour assists us in dealing with it, Karl.
    If we understand the behaviour, as currently manifested, and its ramifications, why should we trouble ourselves with its origins?

  • Jonathan West

    No. If the measurements have been made correctly, and if they have been interpreted correctly, then all it means is the graininess of space is on a smaller scale than previously thought. Even if it turns out that space is continuous that is still not evidence for it being sustained in place by an outside agency.

    By the way, do you think an outside agency created the universe 5 minutes ago? If not, why not?

  • Acleron

    The very first major paragraph of your reference calls on the film ‘Expelled’ as supporting evidence. Now I thought even believers winced at the lies, distortions and downright propaganda of that, seems I’m wrong. 

    Just couldn’t read any more for laughing, sorry.

  • karlf

    Understanding that which influences our behaviour helps us to understand our behaviour. It’s really that simple. Or would you rather remain ignorant and use superstitious, ancient folklore, such as devils and demons to explain human behaviour instead?

  • JabbaPapa

    Jonathan West says: “you are in the happy position of knowing that you can never be proved wrong. On the other hand, you also have no means of ever knowing that you are right.”

    Jonathan West simply reveals his intellectual bias to public view in this remark.

    These statements are as bald as Socrates.

  • JabbaPapa

    By the way, do you think an outside agency created the universe 5 minutes ago? If not, why not?

    I’ve no idea why you imagine such a ridiculously idiotic question to be meaningful in any way whatsoever.

  • JabbaPapa

    Good grief, your fantasy that these concepts did not exist before Darwin is deprived of any meaningful relationship with the reality of Western culture.

    You’re just assuming that the bigoted and prejudiced contents of your own mind are equal to those of reality.

    Not so.