I am currently reading Richard Dawkins’ new book. Now, I just started (I am to chapter 2), and already my mind has been orgasming. These are the convictions I’ve held for the past two years, that I’ve been formulating, and they are finally in a logical, well presented text format.

I wanted to create a thread not only to discuss the book’s philosophical nature, but also it’s overall logic and your personal thoughts on it.

I hope some of you are reading it too. :smiley:

Yep, I picked that book up as well. Flicked through a few pages, and what I read actually made me want to buy it (but i don’t have the $40 it’s asking for :laughing: ).

Yeah, it was well set out. Not to mention the authors credentials, that he is right up there next to Noam Chomsky on the list of influential writers.

Maybe you might want to discuss some of your favourite ideas out of it? I can’t wait to hire it out of the public library :laughing: :laughing:

I quite liked it. It made some logical errors here and there, but we can forgive him for that. I can see bits of it where he pulled from Dennett which is reassuring. Overall I think it will do what it set out to do. I think the “evidence” of science is more immediately accessible to the average person and as such, a scientific (and not philosophical) presentation of the subject matter is what is needed.

Speaking of which thanks to yourself obw and faust for you logic 101 guide above - really enjoyed it though dunno if its made me any more logical - Is there going to be more???


Glad you liked it- you’re welcome. Yes there will be more eventually, soon as I get the time/motivation.

Even if you are more aware of logic, even when you’re not sure if you are getting it 100% right, you have definitely improved yourself beyond the average reader. :slight_smile:

Dawkins talks some sense – but like others have said, I’d check out Dennett as well.

Dawkins is the equivalent of a radical preacher talking to his base. I’d be careful with anyone that you resonate with that extremely, since it is easy to mistake propaganda for the truth.

At least be able to identify where he is extremist and be able to clarify either why you agree with him or why he went too far.

Out of interest, where do you feel Dawkins goes to far?

He places religion as a root of evil.

To me, that is very idealistic/Hegelian which runs counter to his, overall, materialist outlook.

Kinda shoots himself in the foot there.

I haven’t heard him say it is the root of all evil, wasn’t that a question mark title to one of his documentaries? Maybe I forget reading that part… would be interested if you knew the page ref. so I could see. Im writing a little thingie on him next week.

It was one of his documentaries, but near the book’s beginning he does establish, or at least endorse, the view that had religion never existed the world would have been a better place. Chapter 2, maybe? Near the part where he talks about the song 'Imagine".

Yeah, this is something I’ve thought about as well Xunzian. Would the world be a better off place had religion, or more specifically, faith based beliefs, not existed in the first place?

I’m not so sure, nor am I sure it’s important. Yes, hypotheses can be made as to why religion or faith based beliefs even exist in our evolutionary past, and whether or not they were productive or destructive to our evolution to this point, but I think it can safely be said that ignorance hasn’t helped us in the past.

I feel our world has gotten better, at least in world-view, since we began our attempt to reduce racism and sexism. It’s a shame the world doesn’t realize this same form of ignorance is equally applied to homosexuals, but then again, Christianity is widespread.

It’s simple actually…
The ‘helpless infantt’-‘superior guardian’ imprint in the subconsciousness of ALL humans prods us to create the mythology of ‘God(s)’.
End of story. (and I do mean ‘story’ (pun intended))

For more on my theory:

My theory is the continuous creation of ‘God’ and/or ‘gods’ mythology by the human race is the result of a transference of our strongest subconscious imprint I call the ‘helpless infant imprint’.

Every human ever born (that survived) spends at least the first two years of their life dependent on superior beings (parents/adult guardians) to feed and bathe them (and if they’re fortunate - nuture them)…take care of them in EVERY way.

This experience creates the first subconscious impression before even words and language are learned/developed.

This impression would be one of ‘helplessness’,
surety in the existence of superior beings, and
co-dependence (these ‘superior’ beings will take care of me, look out for me, and supply me with what I need).

I believe this imprint is not only responsible for the human creation of God(s) in almost all tribes and societies
is also a key element in our primal feelings of codependence and insecurity in life.

Add to that theory the fact that intelligence/knowledge is always about the ability to make choices based on memory and logic reinforces the truth about instinct as the eternal aspect of our essence.

If there is an intelligent aspect of the all it is us and other beings who have evolved out of the collective essence. [/img]

Thanks Xunzian, I found the bit. I agree that’s a stretch and he provides no good reason for thinking it.

I managed to go with him until he started with the memes and at that point, he left science and began creating a religion fuzzily connected to science. From what I have gathered, he fails as most do, in that he doesn’t know when to stop. Still, if we have to have a new religion, he makes for a more readily accepted religion.

His memes theory is just as faith-based as any other religion.

Lovetothink, I agree.

I haven’t made it to the “memes” section yet, but I will tread carefully. Thus far, he seems to make a strong case for atheism, though, which seems to be the main focus of the book.

But I guess any strong case can be made for the truth. :unamused:

what is his thesis? what does he say?
that there is no god cause of evolution?

Actually, memes make a good deal of sense.

I think we can all agree that information passes itself along, yes? So, the term ‘meme’ just applies to the unit whereby information is passed along. It’s a name for that data packet, nothing more and as such it is quite useful. He just goes and applies what we already know about a different information packet (genes) and postulates that memes act the same way.

Not a terrible idea, but once again, very very idealist which doesn’t square with his purported materialism.

I hesitated to post in this thread because it is a relaxed discussion about a book and the views of Dawkins who I have not read. I tried to watch one of the docs that I think Obw posted but I couldn’t figure out how to keep it going. I know of Dawkins because BillWaltonSexUniversity tried with several posts on my thread to convince me with the enthusiam of a fanatic born again Christian that Dawkins really is our ‘savoir’. I also hesitated because on my own thread I am allowed to be tedious and I worry about causing eyes to roll on other threads.

However, when Xunzian mentioned Dawkins goes to far when he “places religion as the root of evil”, tentative said, “His meme theory is just as faith based as any religion” and a couple others added related thoughts, I pushed my hesitation aside. As always but in another way I would like to suggest that at the root of all evil are our efforts to fill the void. Certainly our religious/philosohical reactions to it are some of the ways we can try to fill the void and Dawkins adds one more. A long time ago religious leaders correctly noted that our materialistic reaction to the void is also at the root of all evil. There are others.

As always but in another way I will suggest that at the root of all good is our effort to reach out to the limits of our capacities, to others and to God. With that I will return to my own thread.

Freud agrees with you; and I agree with Xunzian. Religion is the most offensive divider of humans that has ever been conceived. It has innocent blood on its hands. This is proved historically and currently. If anyone can locate Nicholas Humphrey’s U.N. speech on the harm Christianity does to children, it might be pertinent to the discussion here.
Dawkins does well to villify religion by simply stating what it is and does. He does not, however, get into the Jamesian notion of what necessitates such beliefs.

DEB, Dawkins does lay out a fairly convincing case for religion causing more harm than good. One thing I was surprised to read, but and idea to which I am coming around, is that he claims religious indoctrination to be a worse ill than sex abuse. He thinks that convincing children of a theory that has no evidence, and uses fear and other traumas to ingrain a belief in its victims, is worse than a pedophile touching a child in a way that the child cannot understand.
This is a radical view, and one most would reject, but what made me listen was that he revealed that he was subject to sexual abuse and religious indoctrination as a child, and is more upset about the religious abuse. He cites another case from a personal correspondence with a woman, also a victim of both forms of abuse. One of her non-christian childhood friends died, and her young and indoctrinated self was traumatized by the belief that her firend was suffering in perpetuity. Meanwhile, she recalls her sexual abuse as merely “yucky.”
Dawkins also informs that there are support groups for people with a paralysing fear of hell, even after they have lost their faith in their religion. The point seems valid, and religion has a lot going against it.
DEB, your point is undermined entirely by 9/11, another of Dawkins’ examples. It is not “filling the void” which impelled the hijackers to kill. It was the unfounded and outdated beliefs that they used to fill it. They WERE reaching for god, and you would be hard-pressed to convince anyone that any good at all came of it.