Comments on: God, Richard Dawkins, and the meaning of life Wed, 13 Apr 2016 01:13:45 +0000 hourly 1 By: GGA Sat, 17 Mar 2012 16:43:21 +0000 It is often thought that only the simple, uneducated people cling to the idea of god, with its promise of an afterlife. I have found many modern, instructed men and women want to believe there are such places and things – out of a deep longing to be, at the end of times reunited with their loved ones, (though the naughty neighbour seems to hold the same hope), they most of the time, when asked rationally do agree it to be more of a childhood dream but then, it doesn’t cost much to hold on to these dreams, does it… and on the other hand it’s especially hard for educated, travelled, informed, modern people to accept that they are the product (and what a most lucky one!) of chance and necessity, that the world will end for them and the universe won’t bother, that they will be gone like those who came before, that, in the end, they will be forgotten….

By: fortuntek Tue, 06 Mar 2012 11:44:48 +0000 What Bob9999 refers to is a concept of agnosticism, and of empirical limitations. Concepts like “god” are indeed useless to bandy about; they can’t be proven one way or the other.

At best our arguments should consider religion as pointless, being based on an unverifiable (and therefore worthless) premise. At worst, the sentence “god exists” proposes a such vague and indefinite concept, and has such conflicting properties, that it should not be considered a logical proposition, and therefore is not worth considering until logically defined (this position is typically known as “theological non-cognitivism,” with relation to relation to religion).

Unfortunately for Abrahamic religions, a definition of god has already been posited in their holy books and it is certainly not a logical proposition.

By: Freethinker2012 Sat, 03 Mar 2012 16:01:44 +0000 In reference to “The act of observation necessarily … changing what is being observed” applies strictly to quantum mechanics. It is incorrect to apply it to everything.

By: jbgfour Sat, 03 Mar 2012 06:03:06 +0000 ” Williams has probably mobilized more intellectual firepower in the retention of his faith than any other priest, rabbi, minister, imam or guru in the world.” Oh please. These events are about as meaningful and real as professional wrestling matches in the US. Dawkins never deals with any first rate philosophical thinkers who can quickly destroy his absurd pop culture image and franchise as world heavyweight champion atheist.

By: Gordon2352 Sat, 03 Mar 2012 00:47:57 +0000 Bob9999,

This in no way changes my opinion of the validity of your argument, but your reference to the Observer Principle bothers me.

As you said, “the Observer Principle is a shorthand way of referring to the fact that nothing can be perfectly observed, because the act of observation necessarily involves the observer acting on, and in some way changing, what is being observed.”

Basically, this is the standard convention of quantum physics, which I reject since it implies/imparts a power to humans that requires them to change from observer to operator/actor. Supposedly, nothing can occur without human intervention, and once that happens, it forever changes reality.

Frankly, this smacks far too much of religion to me to be an acceptable hypothesis.

By: Gordon2352 Sat, 03 Mar 2012 00:07:54 +0000 I agree with Bob9999 that both Williams and Dawkins are wrong. It’s an absolutely pointless argument that should not occupy an intelligent person, since there is no way to prove or disprove the existence of God at all.

In fact, discussions of this kind are detrimental, since they tend to bring out the worst in human nature.

What I will never understand is why people insist upon forcing their personal beliefs on others.

Since EVERYTHING is filtered through the human brain, we have NO idea what “objective reality” might be like.

We are like people who were born blind and are living in a cave arguing about light (i.e. whether it exists or not, and if so, what might it be like?)

Descartes arguably came the closest of anyone to defining the problem scientifically — I think, therefore, I am — just about sums up our total knowledge of the universe, but even the “fact” of self-awareness may not be true.

Consequently, I fail to understand how it can be a subject a reasonable subject for scientific inquiry either.

By: jrpardinas Fri, 02 Mar 2012 01:56:08 +0000 In the West, everything should be up for discussion – and particularly religion.

Otherwise, we are reduced to the level of Sunni Muslims whose only recourse is to kill those branded infidel. Even when the latter profess to follow essentially the same religion (e.g. Shia Islam, Sufism, etc.)

By: intelliword Thu, 01 Mar 2012 22:52:44 +0000 It’s interesting that neither debater is on firm ground. Williams, as most theologians, defines attributes he attributes to God, as if such a thing were possible, and then stands for the existence of his definition of God, i. e., omnipotent, omnipresent, etc. Dawkins continues to believe you can get beyond our experience to infinite knowledge, when there is really no way to get there. If you would like to read a clearer explanation of the issues they discussed, go to and read the free selections from Life Itself As A Modern Religion by Charles Blaise. His approach of finding sanctity in within our experience is, compared to the confusion of these two gentlemen, revelatory.

By: Bob9999 Thu, 01 Mar 2012 19:06:48 +0000 Both Williams and Dawkins are wrong. As for Williams, if we assume the existence of God, it is not the case that “the fact that we are conscious beings allows us to comprehend God” as he argued. Indeed, the mere fact of this debate demonstrates (again, if we assume the existence of God) that we do not comprehend God. Otherwise, there would be nothing to debate. If one presumes the existence of an omnipotent, omnipresent and eternal being, there is no reason to suppose our limited human consciousness is adequate to “comprehend” such a being.

As for Dawkins, if one assumes the existence of God as typically postulated, that is, as an omnipotent, omnipresent and eternal being, there is no reason to suppose that there would be an opportunity to prove or disprove the existence of such a being from the point of view of natural science. For example, in natural science, the Observer Principle is a shorthand way of referring to the fact that nothing can be perfectly observed, because the act of observation necessarily involves the observer acting on, and in some way changing, what is being observed. A corollary to the Observer Principle may be that an omnipotent being cannot be observed since an omnipotent being cannot be acted upon or changed by the observer. An omnipotent being might act upon or change other beings in a manner that might lead them to infer the existence of the omnipotent being; however, they would not have direct evidence. Thus, the existence or nonexistence of an omnipotent being may not be be a reasonable subject for scientific inquiry.

By: OneOfTheSheep Thu, 01 Mar 2012 06:20:46 +0000 Religion is a legitimate subject for discussion among civilized people. The “stick in the spokes” is an absolutist mind set by believer or non-believer. One learns by listening…not by talking.

I discuss Religion, not to convince, but to understand the “other side”. One had to understand the philosophy of the Thuggee of India before eradication became the sole possible “solution”.

It may yet come to such with regard to Islam if fanatics continue to be the public face of that faith, controlling their “moral majority” through fear and intimidation. The Nazis seized and steered Germany into and through World War II, and the followers of Islam stood with the Axis powers.