The Thread Formerly Known As Knocking Dawkins
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26-08-2012, 02:37 PM
RE: Knocking Dawkins
(26-08-2012 12:20 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, Erxomai.

Billions of people have devoured servings of McDonald's. Doesn't mean it's good for you Cool

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt

Way to equivocate "good" (healthy/well-written)! You've sunk to new intellectual lows. Erxomai said it was helpful, and so did I. It's not unhelpful just because you didn't learn anything from it, nor would anyone expect you to with this blatant bias. Sometimes the guys you don't agree with are right. Suck it up and move on.

My girlfriend is mad at me. Perhaps I shouldn't have tried cooking a stick in her non-stick pan.
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26-08-2012, 02:42 PM
RE: Knocking Dawkins
(26-08-2012 01:30 PM)TrulyX Wrote:  I personally wouldn't consider Dawkins one of the most intelligent; he's definitely not Christopher Hitchens.

Since you haven't read any of his books, your opinion is not worth much.
Hitchens greatly admired Dawkins.

Quote:Regardless, that was all part of a larger question, and effort, to understand what you were referring too. I wasn't the only one saying you needed to do a little more than just call it "poo"; I just needed and small example of the "poo". "It doesn't stand up to even cursory scrutiny" could or could not be a true statement. Like I said, some of the things I've seen included scrutiny that I found a lot more faulty than what Dawkins was putting out, and other scrutiny that seemed to not understand Dawkins views very well.

Still waiting for Ghost's book review.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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26-08-2012, 03:56 PM (This post was last modified: 26-08-2012 04:00 PM by Ghost.)
RE: Knocking Dawkins
Hey, Chas.

No book review forthcoming. This thread is about why people knock Dawkins. I explained why I thought that was; his kung fu is weak (but his jiu-jitsu is kwazy!) and he's an asshole. I have little interest in writing a masters thesis about every flaw in his book when the retorts will invariably be, "Nuh-uh!" Something about the onus is on him to prove his assertions and not on me to prove why they're horseshit; which they are. If people want to start a thread about it, go right ahead, but I won't participate. Because, frankly, I don't think about his work. I experienced it, facepalmed, and filed it under waste of time. Same like I did with the book by Johan Von Stupidfuck III, "God Created Dinosaurs as Pets for Jesus!" I'm content to restrict my comments to, "The author doesn't have a clue," on that one too.





Now if people wanna take that to mean that I don't actually have an argument and that because I'm not deconstructing his book that I'm defacto conceding that it's a stunning work of genius, they're more than welcome. It's not true, but they're more than welcome.

Hey, Truly.

Quote:Sorry I left the emotion out of it (Big Grin), but that was a joke. I wasn't expecting you to take it to heart and get offended. I didn't think it would have been taken that seriously. In your opinion, as a social scientist, would it say anything about a person if they took a joke, that was such a small part of larger question, to heart?

Aw, man, I was totally about to high five you for the whole 'I missed the joke thing'. Straight up. I done got served. But then you had to hit me with part two: Electric Boogaloo and ya just lost me.

To answer your question, it's entirely simple to misunderstand something that someone writes on a message board because most interpersonal communication (in the 80-90% range) is non-verbal (body language, gesticulation...). Furthermore, the written word lacks cadence, inflection, emphasis... Emoticons were invented to try and help mitigate this loss. So really, if I didn't get it, I think we can put the blame squarely on you and your lack of emoticon use Cool Oh, the ironing!





(...that was a joke...)





Hey, Erxomai.

It was Ronald, maaaan. He made me do it. He was gonna kill Grimmace! Fuckin clowns, maaaaaan. <sotto voce>fuckin clowns</sotto voce>

Hey, Starcrash.

Take Truly's advice Cool

Also, when did I say unhelpful, what is this blatant bias, and I never said disagree, I said demonstrably false.

Nooch to the booch, brother!

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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26-08-2012, 04:25 PM (This post was last modified: 27-08-2012 11:01 PM by Red Celt.)
RE: Knocking Dawkins
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26-08-2012, 04:58 PM
RE: Knocking Dawkins
(26-08-2012 02:42 PM)Chas Wrote:  Since you haven't read any of his books, your opinion is not worth much.
Hitchens greatly admired Dawkins.

I can't see how reading his books would help, either my analysis of Dawkins vs. Hitchens or my credibility, but okay, I accept that.

I don't even aspire for credibility anymore. If I was given a hundred dollars for every time someone took my word for it, I would still be broke.

The Paradox Of Fools And Wise Men:
β€œThe whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser men so full of doubts.” ― Bertrand Russell
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26-08-2012, 06:06 PM
RE: Knocking Dawkins
(26-08-2012 07:14 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, Chas.

I already have. You just haven't accepted them. It doesn't stand up to even cursory scrutiny. I'm not saying the prose is weak, I'm saying that it's bad social science.

Hey, Celt.

I don't care what you buy or don't buy.

Just because you say it's not poor doesn't overcome its academic poverty.

A biology book that denies evolution and says that God created everything 6 000 years ago is poo. The God Delusion is poo for analagous reasons.

If people want to say it's good because it's good, go right ahead. I know my job and so do other social scientists and I know a hack job when I see it. And it's not even a matter of taking my word for it. If you show the Selfish Gene to a biologist, they'll be like, "Yup. Brilliant." If you show the God Delusion to a social scientist, they'll be like, "Uh, not so much."

Hey, Cufflink.

He is a brilliant scientist and deserves all of his accolades in that domain. My issue is that the trust for the God Delusion stems from his reputation, not the validity of the book. That's not acceptable.

Hey, Woof.

They don't teach demonstrably false books in ugrad, regardless of their popularity... One would hope.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt

I would suggest that the books enshrined in Academia do not, like that great best seller of Christendom, provide 'absolute truths' and some of these may also be over rated.

As for The God Delusion, I found it very annoying initially what with the polemics, snide shots,undeveloped arguments etc. That said, I think Dawkins provides enough to set up some reasonable debate at undergraduate level and an open minded lecturer/ tutor could utilize such by discussing both the pros and the cons of this work.

The fact that some of the more rabid atheists have taken Dawkins up as their grand poohbah can hardly be blamed on him. Perhaps, of course, he is revelling in it.
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26-08-2012, 06:15 PM
RE: Knocking Dawkins
Celt.

Every time you call me a liar for wishing people well, I think, "Wow. How cynical is this guy?"

"Oh look, Matt just resorted to ad homs."

No. I defended myself from one. And I have zero responsibility to be nice about it.

This guy writes books calling people delusional. That's where he begins. Then he does public opinions and punditry and we've all seen it. He can act like a penis. And people hate him for it. And I shared that oh so revelatory tidbit. And now I'm an asshole for it. Wow.

And as far as me not contributing anything? You don't have a fucking clue who I am. Not the beginnings of a clue.

Show some peace? I wish peace but I've made no claims that I'm a pacifist. I'm not a Christian, I have no obligation to turn the other cheek. And for the record, I hold no malice towards Richard Dawkins. Love? I love the guy. I opened by saying how his work is an integral part of my own work. Not something neat I once read, the cornerstone of my life's work. His work changed my life. But somehow because I think that he acts like a dickhead in certain situations and that some of his work is terrible that I hate him? Please. Empathy? You make it sound like I want the man dead or something.

Aliens? One of James Cameron's best. Avatar? Utter dog shit. So now, what? I'm at war with him, I hate him and I wouldn't piss on him to put out a fire?

If you for a fucking second think that because cynical people like you pick fights with me that I am going to change who I am as a human being, someone who loves other people and someone who wants to wish people well, that I'm gonna stop wishing people well because you don't think I should, that I'm gonna let you make me feel bad for wishing people well, you got another thing coming jack.

You wanna see me be nice? It's actually really easy to do. Speak to me like I'm a human being and don't attack me because you don't like what I have to say. Plenty of people on this board do it. And when they do, we have long, wonderful conversations. I'll take hours to meticulously respond to them. But don't fucking punch me in the teeth and then tell me I should be calm in the same breath.

So this is it. You threw down the glove (twice) and I picked it up. You wanna take a step back and call this a big mistake? Fine. I'm more forgiving than Vader and the Emperor put together. We can shake hands and make up and move on. You wanna press this? That's it. I'm done. I'm done dealing with this garbage. I'll just ignore you from now on. Choose your poison.
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26-08-2012, 06:25 PM
RE: Knocking Dawkins
Hey, Woof.

God damn it, where the fuck were you two pages ago!

Quote:As for The God Delusion, I found it very annoying initially what with the polemics, snide shots,undeveloped arguments etc.

THANK YOU!

Quote:That said, I think Dawkins provides enough to set up some reasonable debate at undergraduate level and an open minded lecturer/ tutor could utilize such by discussing both the pros and the cons of this work.

OK. This I can dig on. You can have a debate about his book. But his book is not going to be taught like Skinner, or Erikson, or McLuhan, or Adler, or Piaget, or Zimbardo, or Foucault because it's basically a giant editorial rather than a serious treatise on the subject. It ignores established theory and presents a simplistic view. That's weak kung fu.

Quote:The fact that some of the more rabid atheists have taken Dawkins up as their grand poohbah can hardly be blamed on him.

Entirely true.

Quote: Perhaps, of course, he is revelling in it.

It's hard to tell. It would certainly account for some of his penicular behaviour. My contention is that he's more penectic due to the fact that he himself is a rabid Atheist; or at least a rabid human being.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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27-08-2012, 02:50 AM
RE: Knocking Dawkins
(23-08-2012 03:19 PM)Red Celt Wrote:  During the Christmas break of 1991, some channel-hopping left me watching something called the Royal Institution Lectures. It is an annual event, where selected lecturers give a series of talks on a subject that interests them. On this occasion, it was someone I'd never heard of: Richard Dawkins.

The lectures are aimed at giving an awareness to the layman and the audience includes a large number of children. I watched this Dawkins guy explain about evolution and I was gripped from beginning to end.

Now... I don't know about anyone else, but evolution was always something that I accepted without fully understanding how it worked. Much as, in a post-apocalyptic world, I would be completely unable to create a television, even though the basic concept is something that I understand. The depth of my knowledge just isn't there.

When the lectures ended, I took a trip to a local bookshop (remember the days before Amazon?) and bought The Selfish Gene and The Blind Watchmaker. I didn't get The Extended Phenotype (and I never have gotten around to getting that).

Reading The Selfish Gene was a moment of awakening for me. Never has a single book changed the way that I looked at the world. That simple fact has remained true ever since. I went from accepting evolution to actually understanding how it worked. I mean, there are still some uncertainties, but what is understood is understood robustly.

Over the years (especially when encountering an American audience), Dawkins took repeated criticism from Creationists. It was that, above everything else, that made him push towards what would eventually become The God Delusion. I didn't like that book, so much. Not because I didn't agree with it, but because it didn't contain anything new (to me) which hadn't already been exhausted (at length) in places like alt.atheism.

More recently, I've encountered people who happily bash Dawkins. Including atheists who somehow feel as if Dawkins' increasing-antagonism is unrepresentative about how they feel about religion. Dawkins, after all, just goes too far.

With my long-standing respect for him as an evolutionary-biologist, I resent the disdain that is felt towards Dawkins by those who (loosely) hold the same view and are fighting the same fight.

Similarly, at a social anthropology lecture last year, the lecturer mentioned memes a couple of times. Each time, he added (rather unnecessarily) that he hated Dawkins. He asked if anyone in the lecture hall knew what a meme was. I looked around, waiting for someone to respond (because, as a mature student, I do my best not to impinge too much on the youngsters) and nobody replied. I stuck my hand up and told him that a meme was an idea/thought that survived and was replicated, much as a gene. I then felt like telling him that he could refer to memes without dissing Dawkins, much as he could refer to Communism without dissing Marx.

But hey ho.

Basically, I wanted to defend the guy. I mean, I'm not convinced that he'd be amongst my first choices as a dinner-party guest, but there's really no need to dislike a scientist who has done so much when it comes to presenting evolution to those who didn't (previously) have the information easily to hand.

Nice post, I posted those lectures in "The elogance of science" thread a while back. Linky below. Long, but well worth a watch.

http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...#pid102465

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27-08-2012, 08:00 AM (This post was last modified: 27-08-2012 11:01 PM by Red Celt.)
RE: Knocking Dawkins
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