Archive for the ‘Atheism and Secularism’ Category

Ever since the Enlightenment there’s been a lot of talk about science, mostly about how great it is. The scientific method of observation and hypothesis-forming has lead to innumerable discoveries and advancements in technology of every kind, from industry to medicine. There are T-shirts, now, which read, “Science: it works, bitches.” No doubt it does! I don’t actually think there’s anyone who denies this. But in the great success of the scientific method, I think people got carried away. They started to think that science was “all one needed,” and somehow (I cannot quite discover how) the jump was made from the success of empiricism to total assent in materialism, and the buzzword of “science” permeating through it all. Empiricism raised its banner in defiance of all other truth-claims. “Truly,” its adherents sighed, “with this we can master all things.”

But wait, we have a problem. The problem is that the empirical method of science is not philosophy. Not philosophy? What does philosophy have to do with this? Well, philosophy was the discipline that used to claim the capacity to answer all of life’s questions, and I think its quite safe to conclude that it still firmly sits upon that throne. What I think was not realized was that science was only a sub-discipline of philosophy, only a small specialization of the great study of Reality. Why is that? Because science cannot answer a number of questions about reality. Which ones? Start at 1:10 if you want to cut to it:

The dubious claim is Atkins’, that “science is omnipotent.” Craig shows by counterexample that this statement is obviously false, and I want to dwell on the last one in particular. Whether or not you buy Craig’s example about the Theory of Special Relativity (or even his other examples) is not the issue, the point he raises is profound: The empirical method is entirely circular: it cannot justify itself. Empiricism lays great emphasis on the superiority of its method, because it yields results which we can touch and see. But what does that mean? Essentially, it’s a claim to the superiority of empiricism because its methods yield empirically-verifiable results. One is appealing to empiricism to prove empiricism to be true, and hence becomes entirely circular.

What are we not saying here? No one’s saying that science doesn’t “work.” Of course it does. What we have discovered is that empiricism cannot itself be its own justification, and therefore is not a substantial, self-subsisting worldview, not to mention the number of other things Dr. Craig points out which science lacks the ability to explain. Why? Because those things are not scientific questions. To quote CS Lewis in Mere Christianity,

“Science works by experiments. It watches how things behave. Every scientific statement in the long run, however complicated it looks, really means something like, ‘I pointed the telescope to such and such a part of the sky at 2.20 a.m. on January 15th and saw so-and-so,’ or, ‘I put some of this stuff in a pot and heated it to such-and-such a temperature and it did so-and-so.’ Do not think that I am saying anything against science; I am only saying what its job is.”

And science’s job, we might add, is not to create a self-subsisting worldview or to “achieve omnipotence;” for it cannot, even in potentiality, do either. Those tasks are the duties of Philosophy and the philosopher, to which Science and the scientist must ever be subservient. The last few centuries have shown science to be a usurper; but the time has come for its humbling.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

So I meant to do this not long after part I, but the main reason I didn’t was the great amount of negative feedback I received. Turns out, trying to be cute with my little “I don’t believe in Richard Dawkins” intro served only to wildly sidetrack most everyone and make me eligible for all sorts of ad hominem. In that regard, I regret trying to spice up the article with said snappy intro, whether or not it really proved to be that snappy. If you haven’t read part I, I encourage you to do so, but if you want to skip the whole first part of it, be my guest.

Preface

Today I’d like to deal specifically with “Chapter 3: Arguments for God’s Existence,” and primarily Dawkins’ addressing of the major traditional arguments for God put forth by the scholastics. Again, I’ll be citing from my Silver-and-orange paperback, the First Mariner Books edition, 2008, if you want to follow along. But first, I’d like to make one thing very clear:

I do not, for the record, take issue against Mr. Dawkins for atheism. Far from it. As I believe I have said at numerous points in the past, there are many atheists for whom I maintain a great deal of respect and admiration, notably Sarte, Russel, and (for some reason) Nietzsche. It is far, far from me to make a personal attack on someone for what they believe about Theology. That would amount to utter nonsense in my book.

“Fine,” some people say, “so you have no problem with atheists who are atheists but respect your religion and leave it alone; you have a problem with Dawkins because he wants to condemn/destroy/undermine/speak out against your religion. That’s why you don’t like him. You want a quiet atheist, a placid leave-me-alone atheist.” This is a response I’ve gotten a lot, but that’s not it either. Again, this goes back to my fundamental concern over proper discourse and rationalism. Talk. Everyone talk, read, write, debate, research, investigate, whatever you want to do. By all means let us dialogue about atheism and various religions and the merits of all things. My issue is with fallacy, rhetoric, and pseudo-intellectualism. Fred Phelps, for example, is someone in whom I have a hard time believing, because he is so completely insane. He’s a Christian (or so he says). I discount him, as well as Dawkins. The people who put out the Chick Tracts? Also babbling idiots. The common denominator here isn’t religious affiliation, it’s craziness.

Arguments for the Existence of God

Dawkins begins with Thomas Aquinas’ Five Ways (or Five Proofs), and this would be standard enough, except for the fact that Dawkins (proudly) remains ignorant of theological details, which makes his assessment of Aquinas a little embarrassing. Dawkins takes the first three of Aquinas’ proofs (Unmoved Mover, Uncaused Cause, and the Cosmological Argument) in one stride, and notes that “all three of these arguments rely upon the idea of a regress and invoke God to terminate it. They make the entirely unwarranted assumption that God himself is immune to the regress” (p.101). This is what’s funny. Yeah, a theologian might say, yeah, he is. That’s the whole point of the matter. If there is a God, and he created everything, he operates out of the fabric of space time where there is no causation because there is no time; there is no need for causation or causal theories, least of all for the being who brought time (and, thereby, causation itself) into existence. This is really a very simple reply to a very simple mistake on his part. But, like we established last time, Dawkins is no philosopher, much less a meta-physician.

Dawkins continues to miss the point of the God Hypothesis when he later continues with, “To return to the infinite regress and the futility of invoking God to terminate it, it is more parsimonious to conjure up, say, a ‘big band singularity,’ or some other physical concept as yet unknown” (p.101-102). Some other physical concept. Again, he’s missing the point of the whole problem of the origin of space-time and matter! An infinite regression of matter is a problem, a huge logistical problem for the same reasons: you can’t have a thing causing a thing causing a thing that goes back infinitely. That’s what he says about God; “who/what created God, then?” People who make this sort of argument fundamentally don’t understand what is meant by “God”; they are still stuck in the matter-and-energy paradigm, instead of shifting to the spiritual paradigm: There is time, so there is causality, and things have causes. This is what happens in space-time. Therefore it is necessary to invoke something that is outside of space-time, something meta-physical, literally super-natural (above/beyond/outside of the naturalistic plane of matter), or however you want to phrase it, in order to give a proper origin for matter. Why? Because the metaphysical is not limited by space-time, and without time as a limitation, causation is not an issue.

Does that mean we just proved God? Hardly. But neither has Dawkins even addressed the issue. To do that, he would need to move into metaphysics, but since he has no background in it, he can hardly hope to accomplish that.

Dawkins likewise blunders all over himself as he attempts a reductio ad absurdum argument on Aquinas’ Argument from Degree. He notes that “You might as well say, people vary in smelliness but we can make the comparison only by reference to a perfect maximum of smelliness. Therefore there must exist a pre-eminently peerless stinker, and we call him God” (p.102). Here Dawkins is substituting “smelliness” or “any dimension of comparison you like,” for Aquinas’ arguments about Goodness and Perfection.

Here is where he very, very clearly does not have a philosophy degree. He is confusing metaphysical qualitative things like Perfection and Goodness with a physical descriptor of sensory perception (smelliness). This is what we call a Category Error in the philosophy world, which is another fallacy. Any amount of Plato would have taught him the distinction.

Moving finally to tackle the Ontological Argument, Dawkins strikes the reader as a child approaching the arena of men. Why might that be? The same reason: he doesn’t have a philosophy degree. His arguments against the Ontological Argument consist basically of his gut-level reactions to it (“The very idea that grand conclusions could follow from such logomachist trickery offends me aesthetically” p.105), followed up by invoking Kant to solve the problem for him. The text lacks any discussion of why existence as a property is problematic, or if that is even the move Anselm is making. Since Plantinga, that latter presumption has been open to serious reconsideration, and Kant’s “devastating” critique has fallen by the wayside as largely off-topic. And, like so many other occasions, the Ontological Argument lives on. Dawkins as a whole says very little about the Ontological Argument itself, and it is little wonder: the argument is so long-lived, so virile and dexterous as to have shrugged off countless philosophers and critics, we cannot realistically expect Dawkins to even come close to unpacking it. And we are not surprised: he leaves the whole issue packed up neatly, never even dipping his feet into the great depth of the problems involved, content to insult the argument from afar. This is probably the weakest point in the ENTIRE text. When he moves on, I cannot imagine what kind of person with any amount of philosophical training could be anywhere near satisfied with his analysis.

In short, in addressing the major arguments for the existence of God, Dawkins doesn’t even come close to unpacking the arguments. Does that mean, then, that because Dawkins fails God exists? Not necessarily. But if a text is going to accomplish the goals Dawkins set out to do, it’s going to need to be massively more thorough than this.

That’s all I have for today. If you want an excellent review of the God Delusion by one of the great philosophers of our age, read Plantinga‘s review!

Read Full Post »

File:Ariane Sherine and Richard Dawkins at the Atheist Bus Campaign launch.jpg

I do not believe in Richard Dawkins.

Or rather, I would not believe he was real if it were not for the plethora of evidence which exists, even just the evidence circulating amongst the sprawling content of the internet. The book reviews, blog entries, interviews, lectures, Wikipedia entries, biographies, testimonials, and endless third-party sources seem to all confirm that there is a real, living man, who says the things Dawkins says.

And yet, some days it remains difficult to believe that he is not actually a fictional character, invented as a cruel parody of actual atheism by a group of chortling pranksters. Only such an alternative could adequately explain a book like The God Delusion, a book of such intellectual laziness I struggle believing that an Oxford graduate (a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, no less) could possibly make the kinds of arguments he makes. My rational mind rejects the conclusion of his serious existence sporadically; surely, something doesn’t add up. This can’t be right, it says. This is not atheism, or rationalism (a phrase he so often uses to describe himself and his mission throughout the text), this isn’t even anything. The book can only be a parody of atheism, not worthy of note, and Dawkins himself must be a practical joke, a hired actor, with lines written for him, fabricated with the care and precision of the most sophisticated conspiracy.

But then I snap back to reality and am faced with a horrifying situation: The God Delusion is  – in a strictly objective sense – an appalling piece of writing, riddled with logical fallacies of every kind, defended and articulated by rhetoric masquerading as argument, heavy with emotional bias, and put forward with a scholarly ignorance so profound it is next to unbelievable. And yet Richard Dawkins is wildly popular.

How popular? Far from being universally rejected for amateur reasoning, The God Delusion is embraced by hundreds of thousands of readers across the world. The book has sold over 1.5 million copies, has been translated into 31 languages, and has been on the New York Times Bestseller list for longer than I care to ask. My paperback contains almost four pages of testimonials ranging from the Sunday Times to Philip Pullman, all raving about Dawkins’ groundbreaking brilliance (and bravery, no less). Dawkins himself holds honorary doctorates across a diverse range of universities, made Prospect magazine’s 2004 list of the top 100 public British intellectuals, and is a recipient of (among many awards) the Bicentennial Kelvin Medal of The Royal Philosophical Society of Glasgow. “The God Delusion deserves multiple readings,” says Steven Weinberg of the Times Literary Supplement, “not just as an important work of science, but as a great work of literature.”

This is the truly frightening thing, and can only mean our culture has grown so intellectually lazy it mistakes fallacies and rhetoric for “elegant, engaging and persuasive” argument (Financial Times).

My thesis is simple: A critical, objective, informed reading of The God Delusion reveals that Richard Dawkins does not know how to argue systematically, or even to really argue in any formal way. For the majority of the text, his primary strategy seems to be to make unsupported statements, blur definitions between schools of thought, employ rhetoric in place of formal reasoning, and when an actual argument is required of him, make embarrassing mistakes and blatant fallacies. The God Delusion is disorganized almost, at times, to the point of rambling.

If you have the most recent paperback version, put out by First Mariner Books in 2008, you can follow along with my citations.

Inability to Distinguish

Of the many problems the book suffers from, one is Dawkins’ insistence to treat all religions, especially the three Abrahamic religions, as exactly the same thing. “For most of my purposes, all three Abrahamic religions can be treated as indistinguishable” (p.58). Obviously this creates problems with much of the argumentation of the text, as Christianity and Islam, for instance, are completely backwards from one another in other in their theology. I don’t mean stuffy, minute differences in how to pray and where to face while praying, I mean a completely separate, opposite worldview. That Christianity and Islam are “basically the same” is a highly prevalent falsehood. I discuss part of it here, in my post on the issue.

The effect of Dawkins’ lumping together of all the monotheistic religions is an attempt to avoid dealing with Christianity directly. Of course “Religion” can be shown to be sheer craziness and dogma if Islam is your only example. This way, Christianity can be dismissed along with Islam without any special defense.

While it is true that Dawkins brings up many examples of “extremist” Christianity, he confuses the readers by putting those examples up side-by-side with “extremist” Islam. When you see a Christian acting “extremist,” someone completely insane like Fred Phelps or (possibly more insane) Paul Hill, what you are seeing is a man going against everything for which Christianity stands. When you see an “extremist” Muslim, however, you are seeing a Muslim more less following a possible and accurate interpretation of his religion. This distinction becomes unfairly blurred when Dawkins puts both religions in a category and calls up examples of “extremism” like this. Readers walk away being shortchanged of the full truth of the matter.

Further, Dawkins also fails to distinguish between Biblically-based Christian doctrine and the fictional universe brought into being by the Catholic church, with what he (rightly) calls the Catholic “pantheon” of Saints and the nearly divine status of the Virgin Mary (p. 55).

These problems are due to his unsystematic approach, in which he fails to deal with each religion on its own. If he is really attempting to “attack God, all gods, anything and everything supernatural, wherever and whenever,” (p. 57) he is going to have to be vastly more thorough than merely lumping together all religions and attacking them as one entity.

Citations Needed

Dawkins also seems to have an inability to cite his sources. I don’t mean that he doesn’t have an extensive bibliography in the back of his book (he does), but that those pages are devoted to citing all the people and journals and books in his many off-topic tangents and anecdotes. In the times when it really matters, when he is making concrete statements about what a religion actually says or teaches, his sources are nowhere to be found.

“Christianity, just as much as Islam, teaches children that unquestioned faith is a virtue” (p. 346) This is a big claim (and another example of him being unable to differentiate between religions) and no where on the page does he cite anything.

“The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty, ethnic genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully” (p. 51). This is the same thing. Now, this would have been an excellent way to open a chapter and lay down what would soon follow to be a systematic deconstruction of the Old Testament, but the rest of the chapter has very little to do with the Old Testament God. If Dawkins were actually rigorous about his deconstruction of religion, again, he would have dealt with this at length. As it is, the remainder of the chapter wanders off into many other, unrelated topics and we are left with empty words lacking citations.

“To which chapter, then, of which book of the Bible should we turn — for they are far from unanimous and some of them are odious by any reasonable standards” (81). Again, Dawkins makes a statement and does not cite any sources or follow it up in any way. He proceeds into a series of rhetorical questions, concluding that he “shall return to such questions in chapter 7.” One cannot help but ask, if he was going to devote an entire chapter to the subject, why he felt the need to drop such a powerfully declarative statement in the middle of another chapter, left standing without support, to be accepted. This is another example of Dawkins’ failure to organize his text in a critical, systematic way, and what makes criticisms of rambling so easy. Throughout the entirety of the text, Dawkins wanders into anecdotes at will (Chapter 3 has many good examples) and returns to his previously unsupported statements convinced of their absoluteness.

Use of Rhetoric

Dawkins’ primary argumentative device, where he should instead be using systematic reasoning, is rhetoric.

In one example, Dawkins quotes at length a piece of writing by Theologian Richard Swineburne (P. 89), which attempts to explain something (which is nevertheless off-topic) and instead of addressing Swineburne’s argument, dismisses it by simply saying, “This grotesque piece of reasoning, so damningly typical of the theological mind, reminds me of…” and lapses into another story which is not analogous. Here he deals in what we may call a rhetorical definition, in which he defines what he calls “the theological mind” (which, by the way, is also a Strawman fallacy) though he never actually defines it. All we have is “grotesque piece of reasoning” and “damningly typical.” If one cuts out his rhetoric, we really have no argument to speak of. This is typical of Dawkins, and an exhaustive list of each instance in which he rhetorically defines something he should be logically refuting would be a massive chore, as it occurs so frequently in the text.

This happens again on page 54, when Dawkins brings up the Trinity and offers only the sarcastic, “as if that were not clear enough.” He then quotes St. Gregory on the Trinity, follows it up with how this is a “characteristically obscurantist flavour of theology which – unlike science or most other branches of human scholarship – has not moved on in eight centuries.” No argument here. No argument of how the Trinity is impossible logically, no look at how it might be contradictory with the rest of the Bible, nothing. Dawkins goes on to quote Thomas Jefferson saying that religious people use ridicule as their only weapon, and that no one has ever had a distinct idea of the Trinity. And then, bafflingly, he moves on! Again, if one cuts out the rhetorical definitions, and appeals to Jefferson (which happen much more frequently than one might imagine) there is really no argument here. All we can take from this is that Dawkins doesn’t understand the Trinity. That’s it?

Much later in the text he attempts to give a summary of Christianity: “But now, the sado-masochism. God incarnated himself as a man, Jesus, in order that he should be tortured and executed in atonement for the hereditary sin of Adam. Ever since Paul expounded this repellent doctrine, Jesus has been worshiped as the redeemer of all our sins. Not just the past sin of Adam: future sins as well, whether future people decided to commit them or not!” (286).

What he does with this paragraph, by use of carefully placed adjectives and italics, is rhetorically imply that this is craziness. At no point in here is there an argument of any kind. Perhaps the paragraph is taken out of context? Nope! The paragraphs before and after do not support the implied conclusion, and an unwary reader will walk away with a strong feeling that Dawkins is right about this, and that all this God stuff is nonsense, but he will not be armed with anything substantial. This should come as no surprise, because this is exactly what rhetoric does.

Two more examples of rhetorical definition: “Compared with the Old Testament’s psychotic delinquent, the deist God…” and goes on to describe what he calls the “deist God” (p.59). And again on 68, “The Deist God…is certainly an improvement over the monster of the Bible.” Both rhetorical definitions: no evidence is given to support the argument, but a conclusion is reflexively defined with rhetoric and carried over throughout the text.

Ad Hominem

In addition to rhetoric, Dawkins also enjoys the use of ad hominem throughout his book, though for space considerations I will only give a few examples.

“Jung also believed that particular books on his shelf spontaneously exploded with a loud bag” (74). This is almost a textbook example of ad hominem: he notes that some people hold a belief “without adequate reason” (which is a rhetorical assumption made about theists, also) and then points out this about Jung to discredit him. In reality, what Jung thinks about spontaneously exploding books is not relevant to Jung’s theology. This is a personal attack, and not real reasoning.

Later, after describing one of Swineburne’s more dubious comments, Dawkins goes on to quote the man’s credentials and say, “If it’s a theologian you want, they don’t come much more distinguished. Perhaps you don’t want a theologian.” The first sentence is an implication that, because Swineburne is a theologian, he stands for all theologians, and the second sentence is actually a sentence devoid of meaning, especially given the context of the sentence. (p. 89)

Faulty Reasoning

Finally, when required to make clear arguments, Dawkins can only muster up faulty reasoning and reveal his own ignorance of the philosophical process. He says,

“Any entity capable of intelligently designing something as improbable as a Dutchman’s Pipe (or a universe) would have to be even more improbable than a Dutchman’s Pipe.” 146 This is all. He says nothing else. He does not quantify why it is improbable, he does not give us a step-by-step proof. He merely states, and moves on.

In chapter eight, Dawkins devotes a section to abortion (which is irrelevant, really, in the grand scheme of his argument), and attempts to set up an alternative moral system based on suffering. The problem with this is that he reflexively defines his moral system without giving a reason why such a system should be thusly based, when it could be based on something else entirely. It is times like these in which his philosophical amateurishness becomes easy to see. Any actual philosopher would spend a significant amount of time establishing a moral system from the ground up; Dawkins’ execution, in comparison, is sloppy and rushed.

One of the worst examples of his total disregard for rational modes of argumentation comes in his discussion of a similarity of passages in the Bible (p.273). Dawkins, unassisted by sources or reasoning, says, “The story of the Levite’s concubine is so similar to that of Lot, one can’t help wondering whether a fragment of manuscript became accidentally misplaced in some long-forgotten scriptorium: an illustration of the erratic provenance of sacred texts.” This is pure speculation, ungrounded in citation, evidence, or reason. Or if it is, he gives no reasons for it and does not follow it up with any argument whatsoever. And yet, like the rest of the text, the reader comes away with a feeling, a deep suspicion of everything that might be “wrong” with the things Dawkins attacks but with no concrete evidence or valid chains of reasoning to show as proof.

To Be Continued…?

Unfortunately, yes. If you have not read The God Delusion, you may be surprised at the amount of other fallacies I had to end up cutting out of my last draft to even get this article down to the right size. Strawman, Weasel Words, and Appeals to Emotion all had to be cut. Having fully intended to devote an entire section exclusively to Chapter 3’s numerous errors, I find I must save them for next week’s post.
Thanks to the people who have been patient with my busy schedule. Chapter 3 should be easy to take apart, so look forward to that last week.

Until then, may you think critically.

Read Full Post »

Richard Dawkins is one of those interesting people who, because they know a great deal about a particular field, presume to have the authority to speak on other fields, usually with embarrassing results. I do not know if the man himself has ever been publicly embarrassed, but when I read Dawkins I sometimes blush nervously on his behalf. It’s like Freud talking on the ‘delusions of religion’ all over again.

Before I go on I ought to clarify that I am not actually taking a side in this debate. It is true that I am a transcendentalist and ‘religious’, but that is not the issue I am having with Dr. Dawkins. I don’t mind atheists: several of my closest friends are agnostics or atheists; I mind the illogical, and you will see my irritation lash out against both the ignorant Christian as well as the ignorant atheist, even more so against the former.

Dawkins makes several claims which are alternatively irrelevant or illogical.

First off, he is a champion of evolution and a staunch opponent of so-called creationism. His statements and arguments seem to boil down to this simple formula:

Evolution and Creationism are logically incompatible. Therefore, if evolution is true, creationism must be false.

This argument is flawed inherently, based on the first assumption. Evolution may be the very means by which God could have crafted life; God Himself could have been the driving force behind evolution. The seven “days” of creation could easily have been several much larger periods of time for which we are unaware; millions, perhaps even billions of years. Note too that in God’s creation of the world, life begins in the oceans, moves to land, and produces man last. Sound familiar? Whether or not this is true is not something for debate at the moment, I aim only to show that the two ideologies need not be opposed at all, but are rather quite complimentary. Consequently, the soundness of evolution becomes largely irrelevant to the considerations of a deity.

This of course brings me to another point, namely, that Dr. Dawkins has considerably overestimated the place of science in the pursuit of understanding. This is the part where I am quite surprised, because I would think that a scientist of all people would be intimately aware of the limitations of science itself, and should not be so easily disproven by a non-scientist like myself.

What is the first thing we learn in middle school about the scientific method? It is based on observation. The bottom line is that science, however complicated it might actually be, really all boils down to observation and the recording of that observation. Theories get pieced together after that, but that is the fundamental basis for science. Now, science is very useful and important, but because it is grounded only in what is directly observable, it is limited to observations of matter; subjects and entities whose very nature transcends matter (and space and time) are about as accessible to science as the stratosphere is to a fish. It is not for nothing that Hegel warned: “Physics, beware metaphysics”

Because of science’s limitations, Dawkins, no matter how long he rants or how many ad hominem attacks he makes at creationism, cannot explain the causal origin of the universe with mere “science.”
Here is a standard metaphysical proof:

1) Matter exists in a causal relation to other matter. That is to say, one thing causes another, which causes another, and so forth.
2) However, this causal chain cannot be infinite, because an infinite series cannot be traversed. Consequently, if there were an infinite number of days before today, today would never have arrived.
3) The causal chain is therefore finite, with a distinct beginning.
4) The universe did not cause itself, because to cause itself, a thing would have to exist prior to itself, which is impossible.
5) Therefore, the universe must have been created by something outside and independent of the universe.
6) Whatever caused the universe is beyond that which governs the universe, namely, time and space.
7) Science can only deal with observable phenomena.
8) Things which are beyond time and space are not observable phenomena.
9) Therefore, science cannot even begin to be involved in cosmology, or any sort of speculation about the probably cause or causes of the universe.

Done and done.
By the same logic, science is not equipped to handle speculations about the nature of God or gods, the spiritual plane, or metaphysical cosmology of any kind.

Dawkins, and others, attack things for not being “scientific” but fail to realize that science is not the end-all. Science itself is only the daughter of the larger field of philosophy, and is itself grounded in one kind of philosophical world view: that of empiricism. It might be easier to think of science as a sort of specialty field within philosophy. It is by no means absolute: it is actually rather specialized for gathering one type of information in one kind of medium.

So much for Dr. Dawkins.

I am actually quite surprised, still, that someone as educated as Dr. Dawkins would be capable of making such enormous blunders of logic, but I attribute that to the fact that his education is in ethology and evolutionary biology, not philosophy and logic, and certainly not metaphysics. Consequently I do not feel any glow of pride for my critique of him. Yes he may be an esteemed and published doctor three times my age, but he is contending in a field which is not his own. What did he expect?

From now on, let us limit wild accusations to things on which we are actually authorities.

Read Full Post »