how about this one Science, religion and society: Richard Dawkins’s The God Delusion

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how about this one Science, religion and society: Richard Dawkins’s The God Delusion




The conflict between science and religion lies at a more fundamental level than Dawkins’s empiricism. The foundation for atheist belief is not really that God is an unlikely proposition (though the hypothesis, if taken as a scientific hypothesis, is the most unlikely hypothesis one can come up with), but that atheism flows from a materialist world-outlook—a philosophical position that holds that everything that exists consists of the law-governed development of matter in its various forms. Since matter is law-governed, it can be subject to scientific investigation, and at the same time science requires the presumption that the objects of its investigation follow causal relationships. This, ultimately, is the central conflict between religion and science, which is conflict between materialism and idealism, rationality and irrationality.

The proof of the materialist world outlook lies in the entire historical experience of mankind in its interaction with nature, particularly in the extraordinary development of scientific knowledge over the past several hundred years. The proof of materialism is demonstrated in this historical practice, whereby mankind has not only formed hypotheses, but realized these hypotheses in the transformation of the material world.

It has become a fad among those who argue that science and religion are compatible, while also arguing strongly for the teaching of evolution in schools (and perhaps most prominent among these is Eugenie Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education), to make a distinction between methodological naturalism and metaphysical naturalism. Science, according to these thinkers, depends on methodological naturalism—the assumption during scientific experimentation that there exists nothing outside the material world of cause and effect. This is distinct from the claim that there is actually nothing outside of this material world of cause and effect.

Such an argument, taken up by those who would defend science education, in fact undermines the foundation of science altogether, since it eliminates any solid connection between scientific investigation and reality. There may exist a God—or any other supernatural entity—but science can never discover this underlying truth (what Kant would term the noumena), since science relies on the assumption of causal relationships and natural law-governed processes, which supposedly may or may not allow humans to arrive at a complete understanding of the universe.

The ability of science to predict and transform the material world demonstrates, however, that it is not only a useful method, but a means of arriving at an understanding of the real world. Through a rigorous system of observation, reason, hypotheses and experimentation, science allows humans to arrive at truths about the world as it is “in itself.” It is a systematic means of testing the truth of our conceptions through practical interaction with the world. Its rationality is what distinguishes science from religion, which in one way or another relies on the irrational, on superstition, on “faith.”

rest of review here....



here is a further analysis that was added to this article....

Atheism in the service of political reaction: A comment on author Sam Harris


In the recent review of Richard Dawkins’ new book, The God Delusion, Joe Kay mentions in passing the author Sam Harris, noting that the idealist standpoint of Harris and some of the other advocates of atheism is often bound up with reactionary political conceptions. (See “Science, religion and society: Richard Dawkins’s God Delusion).

Kay writes that Harris generally adopts a “contemptuous attitude toward the religiously-minded population” and that he develops the position that “it is ultimately the population itself that is to blame for belief in religion and whatever policies are justified in the name of religion.”

The perspective of Harris deserves a closer study. Kay’s statements to some extent underestimate the truly reactionary views that Harris advances. In their approach to religion, Dawkins and Harris have much in common. However, Harris’ views are more politically calculated than Dawkins’. While Dawkins is an opponent of the war in Iraq, Harris is a staunch defender of the actions of American imperialism. Indeed, Harris’ entire work appears largely devoted to constructing an atheist’s justification for the outrageous actions of the American government in the Middle East and Central Asia.

Harris appeared as if out of nowhere and has quickly gained much attention with the publication of his books, The End of Faith: Terror, and the Future of Reason, and Letters to a Christian Nation, as well as a number of op-ed pieces in various mainstream newspapers.

this is avery good analysis of these type of thinkiers and their reasoning.

you can read the rest of the article here....



With such simple and straight forward analysis, it's hard to fathom why Marxism and socialism isn't more popular....

I think Dawkins was trying to cover a lot of ground, and I think he was trying to communicate to a much different audience than which the critics are trying to impress.


I don't think they are trying to impress anyone... everything I have read by these people it seems they just want the topic properly addressed...

Why should we or anyone else beat around the bush...

the arguements against a belief in a god have been covered for far to long for great minds to dismiss half of it...

[ 16 April 2007: Message edited by: trippie ]


Harris' book was juvenile and incredibly hard to read, it just peeved me off to no end. Harris argues that by nature Islam is a far more deadly religion than Christianity (or any other religion). He takes up about 4 pages in the book with quotes from the Koran to 'prove' his point. He does not do the same for the Old or New Testament. In his opinion Islam must be stopped altogether. He is an imperialist ass with a giant chip on his shoulder.

Dawkins work is completely different. There is a movie out now that looks very interesting:

[url=]The God Who Wasn't There[/url]

Needless to say, some Christians are up in arms about it. It seems any critical discussion of Christianity is taboo.

Le T Le T's picture

That movie kinda sucks. The guy who made seems like he is angry at his crazy little school and has decided to take it out on Christianity.

It has all the worst aspects of a Michael Moore film, including an attack on his school principal which reminded me of the surprise attack ass kicking Moore gave Charles Heston in Bowling.


Apparently he has every reason to be mad at his crazy school and one of the best things Michael Moore's movie was exposing that freak Charlton Heston.

Does the 'attack' on poor Charlton bother anyone but pro-NRA right wing nutters? Not likely. He's a mean son of a bitch who uses and exploits the death of kids to further the massive and deadly reach of the NRA. I have zero pity for that rotten old man.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Heston was such an easy target, though. Like shooting fish in a barrel. ahahaha.

Weren't you even a [i]little[/i] amused, Le Tйlйspectateur? A little of his own "medicine" and all that?


back to the subject:
I finished the Dawkins tome Easter weekend and, as they say in French, [i]bof[/i] -- this work is Higher Op-Ed level overall, with a lot of discussions of subjects he feels strongly about but does not master (ex: history of religion, major philosophers, psychology of belief)

a few new points, though many first made 2,500+ years ago, about material nature of universe etc., albeit with an excellent discussion of his Darwinian specialty and, new for me, the anthropic principle, which is an interesting take on why this lonely little planet happened to develop, well, life

learned today that Hitchens is soon publishing full-throttle atheist work, God is Not Great: How religion poisons everything, which leaves me wondering what his point of view will be -- ha.

nothing new under the sun


[ 19 April 2007: Message edited by: Geneva ]


I also read it a few months ago and although I'm in basic agreement with Dawkins atheistic views and not a believer or great fan of religion, I found that it came across as a bit shrill and patronizing. If I were a thinking religious moderate, I probably wouldn't lose my faith after reading this book. Daniel Dennett's recent book is much better.

If you want to see an interesting collection of these guys in action talking about the collision of science and religion check out [url=][/url] - quite interesting.

I was a bit shocked how some of these guys - Steven Weinberg and Sam Harris in particular - go after Islam as the nuttiest and scariest religion.
They only seem to see things like 9/11 and suicide bombings in terms of irrational religious faith i.e. only someone with a belief in martyrdom and the pleasurable awards of an afterlife would do such things. While this might be true, I'd say if your were desparate enough or were a naive, disenfranchised person brainwashed into believing some ideology (religious or otherwise) you might also take such radical actions. The equation that nutty religion = suicide bombings is too simplistic.

Also, there's a good lampoon of Dawkins on youtube
called the Dawkins Delusion that's pretty hilarious...

CMOT Dibbler

True. the Tamil Tigers are a secular organization, and they apperently are the group which has used suicide bombings most frequently.