Home » Intelligent Design » Dick to the Dawk says: “I don’t want to discuss evidence”

Dick to the Dawk says: “I don’t want to discuss evidence”

Richard Dawkins, in a face-off with Rupert Sheldrake, says “I don’t want to discuss evidence”.

As the Saturday Night Live Church Lady would say, “Well, isn’t that just precious?”

Dick: “But what worries me about you is that you are prepared to believe almost anything. Science should be based on the minimum number of beliefs.”

Rupert: “But what worries me about you is that you come across as dogmatic, giving people a bad impression of science.”

Read Sheldrake’s article Richard Dawkins comes to call to get more insight into Dick to the Dawk to the PhD’s modus operandi.

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31 Responses to Dick to the Dawk says: “I don’t want to discuss evidence”

  1. So is there really any evidence for telepathy? I’m with Dawkins at this point, but I am __willing__ to look at the evidence :-)

  2. Cool article DaveScot:

    here is a video on Rupert Sheldrake’s telephone telepathy evidence

    Rupert Sheldrake: Telephone Telepathy

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UdOi3s-tBzk

    caption:

    The renowned biologist Rupert Sheldrake presents his recent findings, powerfully suggesting that part of us extends beyond our bod The renowned biologist Rupert Sheldrake presents his recent findings, powerfully suggesting that part of us extends beyond our bodies to make direct connection with the world around us. The presentation includes a video (filmed for television) showing the Nolan sisters.

  3. Here’s another one from Sheldrake

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....&NR=1

  4. If anything is turning people away from science, it’s Richard Dawkins and his ‘I’m always right’ attitude. Ignoring the evidence just because it leads to a philosophically uncomfortable conclusion is stupid.

  5. Dr. Dawkins, there is more to the world than is found in your philosophy.

  6. CN: Have a look at Dean Radin’s THE CONSCIOUS UNIVERSE and see if you don’t think it provides evidence for paranormal phenomena.

  7. I’ll be honest: I personally have little interest for paranormal phenomena, and I’ve never really been convinced of it. In fact, I’m probably biased against it.

    But. I find it easy to respect people who do believe in it, and I certainly don’t think ‘If it ever comes up, mock it, and don’t try to complicate matters by investigating it openly’ is a reasonable response.

    It’s along the lines of cold fusion. If you don’t think it’s real, that’s fine. You can even think it’s a pipe dream. But there’s something odd about getting upset at the thought of people investigating it, or thinking there may be something to it. At a certain point, it doesn’t really seem to be about the science anymore.

    Then again, re: Dawkins, it doesn’t seem to have ever been about the science.

  8. nullasalus,
    Have you ever puzzled over quantum mechanics?
    If so I would maintain that you have indeed had an interest in para-normal phenomena though you have not realized it, especially considering Dr. Zeilinger’s fairly recent work with quantum teleportation.

  9. Off Topic – referring to unexpected events, Physicist Yoshiaki Arata has published papers documenting initial results in cold fusion.
    He gave a lecture on May 22, 2008 demonstrating the method.
    Cold-fusion demonstration “a success”

    Essentially Arata, together with his co-researcher Yue-Chang Zhang, uses pressure to force deuterium (D) gas into an evacuated cell containing a sample of palladium dispersed in zirconium oxide (ZrO2–Pd). He claims the deuterium is absorbed by the sample in large amounts — producing what he calls dense or “pynco” deuterium — so that the deuterium nuclei become close enough together to fuse.

    Arata-Zhang LENR Demonstration May 22, 2008

    A New Energy caused by “Spillover-Deuterium”
    1994
    Development of Compact Nuclear Fusion Reactor Using Solid Pycnodeuterium as Nuclear Fuel 2003

    From lab success what prospects for scaling it up to commercial success? (not counting Dawkins’ prognosis)

  10. bornagain77,

    I read up on QM constantly, and I’d agree that something very interesting is up with it that may have important ramifications (Other than the ones it already has had, naturally.)

    I’m admitting a bias here with regards to the paranormal. It may even be more emotional than logical; too many flaky people in the past with bad or rigged experiments. But I reject Dawkins’ (And others’) way of handling things they disagree with, and I’d not discourage guys like Sheldrake and the rest from working on it. Who knows, maybe they’ll find something to change my mind in a big way.

  11. 11

    nullasalus,
    I don’t know if this will “change your mind in a big way”, but this little sure made a big impression on me.

    Child Prodigy – Akiane – Art Inspired by God

    http://www.godtube.com/view_vi.....4aeadefdbd

  12. DLH

    re; cold fusion

    Where were the papers published? If peer reviewed they should have included enough information for others to duplicate the results.

  13. Bill

    I ordered “The Conscious Universe” from Amazon just now per your recommendation. I’m skeptical but, unlike Dick to the Dawk, willing to consider/discuss evidence.

  14. 14

    nullasalus:

    I always found this Near De^ath Experience impressive:

    Pam Reynold’s NDE

    http://www.godtube.com/view_vi.....c498a56d41

    Atheists have fought this particular Near Dea^th Experience rather vehenmently since she was as de^ad as science could establish (No Brain Wave or Heartbeat) and since it is so powerful a testimony for life after death.
    Her observations of the operating room are “surprisingly accurate” in spite of her eyes being taped shut and ear plugs inserted in her ears.

    This particular NDE stands its ground to the skepticism of materialists.

    http://www.ianlawton.com/nde2.htm

    excerpt:

    But this particular case has generated so much controversy that, since the book was published, I have come across various websites in which a number of sceptics have, for once, examined it closely (for example, Gerald Woerlee). In particular they suggest that Pam could still have heard conversations or music through the speaker-plugs in her ears – which were fitted to emit a regular pulse to check on her brainstem reaction – especially if her levels of anaesthetic were low at that point. On the face of it this may be a valid assertion, particularly given that these parts of the experience occurred when she was not clinically brain-dead.*

    However, most crucially of all – and maintaining their typical selectiveness – none of them has even tried to explain how she was able to “see” the saw used to open up her skull. Remember that this had an unusual design that a non-expert could not be expected to guess at, and that Pam also described its accompanying “interchangeable blades” in a “socket-wrench case”. Remember too that her eyes were firmly closed, lubricated and taped shut throughout the operation, and that the saw was being used on the top of her head, which would in any case have been out of range of her normal eyesight.

    In my view, therefore, Pam’s experience continues to provide highly convincing evidence for the independence of consciousness from the physical brain.

    Ian Lawton

    12 November 2005

  15. Dave: Let me know what you think. A very high profile philosopher I know was similarly skeptical about the paranormal. I recommended this book as well as chapter 7 of David Ray Griffin’s RELIGION AND SCIENTIFIC NATURALISM (the chapter is titled “Parapsychology, Science, and Religion”). These readings completely turned around his skepticism.

  16. bornagain77,

    Thanks for the links. I’ve followed NDEs closely (back when the ‘main’ site for them online was regularly updated), and honestly find the typical explaining away to be lacking. Particularly “the human mind works strangely, and any and all experiences can have happened before or after they were truly unconscious and they just are confused about the time”. It’s possible, I suppose, but such a position means there’s no real evidence that can clear things up in any direction.

    As for Akiane, I don’t think that comes across as paranormal to me, though still quite a child. If anything, prodigies, idiot savants, and other cases make me question the standard evolutionary stories of brain development.

    And for the record, my skepticism isn’t the typical ‘Net Skeptic’ type where I really mean “totally doubt and mock”. Mostly I question but don’t judge decisively, much less derisively. Especially in an age of quantum physics, qualia questions, and other such.

  17. Russell Kirk was asked if he believed in ghosts and said “of course, I am one” meaning that he believed that we all are meaning that it is our spirit that is us and not the body that houses it.

    Of course it should be considered axiomatic that if science can quantify it, it is not paranormal but natural.

  18. OTOH, if science can’t quantify it, it neither means it won’t day be able nor does means it doesn’t exist and will forever be unquantifiable.

  19. tribune7:

    “Russell Kirk was asked if he believed in ghosts and said “of course, I am one” meaning that he believed that we all are meaning that it is our spirit that is us and not the body that houses it.”

    Great citation. I do believe that the consciousness in each one of us is a tangible transcendental mystery. It is there, nobody can explain it away, it is different from any other reality we experience through it, and yet in some way it constantly interacts with the outward reality, both in input and in output, with great ease and comfort, and serenely ignoring the fact that we cannot understand how that happens. That consciousness constantly offers gifts, good and bad, to the outer eality: CSI is one of them.

    So, definitely, we are ghosts, and ghosts who interact with matter all the time: if that’s not a miracle, where can we find a better noe?

    “Of course it should be considered axiomatic that if science can quantify it, it is not paranormal but natural.”

    Normal, paranormal, natural, naturalism, miracle, etc are useless words, if used out of a context, because they can and do signify completely different things.

    Science has to do with all that exists and that can be in some way perceived or known. If something cannot be in any way perceived or known, I am not sure it’s a good idea to deal with it. So, why should we define limits for science? Let the limits define themselves: our purpose is to go beyond them.

    Science is not limited to what is “natural”, if with that word one means “all that is compatible with what science already knows”. That’s the most stupid and limiting definition of science I can imagine. If science had sticked to that definition, we would know nothing. Science is great exactly because it is not limited to what is “natural”, in the sense already said. So, methodological naturalism is a failure by definition. It’s like saying: “I don’t want to know anything really new, just give me infinite details about what I already know”. There’s nothing wrong in pursueing the details, but that has never been the real challenge of science. Science is about trying to understand what we really don’t know yet, either in general or in detail. It’s about understanding reality at ever deeper levels, and not just projecting our present limitations on it.

    On the other hand, science is absolutely limited to what is “natural”, if by that word one means: “all that really exists”. Who would deny that? Science is certainly not about what does not exists. In that sense, methodological naturalism is not only true, but completely unnecessary: there is no alternative, the only alternative being error.

    Finally, science is not limited to what is quantifiable. Although its methods, at least at present, are essentially quantitative (except for darwinian evolution, it seems), science can certainly approach the quantitative manifestations of unquantifiable entities, and try to explain what can be explained of thsoe aspects. That is true for consciousness. Science can and must study consciousness and its manifestations, but will never be able to do that unless it admits that consciousness itself exists, but is not quantifiable. But its manifestations often are.

  20. Bill

    I hope it’ll be interesting if nothing else. If you find these kinds of things interesting may I recommend you spend a day or two at Lily Dale, NY if it’s ever convenient. I grew up about 50 miles away and it was a popular destination for a day trip once a year or so. Not quite as often as visits to Amish country though – the Amish make some incredible breads, cheeses, and maple syrup products plus they’re about 15 miles closer. Anyhow, there’s some of everything in the way of paranormal and spiritualism in Lily Dale.

  21. 21

    nullasalus,
    Seems you are well read on most of what I would present as antedotal evidence for the existance of “mind”.

    Here is another article on hemispherectomies:

    Children with half a brain:

    http://www.mindhacks.com/blog/.....alf_a.html

    There is a sample chapter on the site of “Half a Brain Is Enough” by Antonio Battro
    . The story of the three year old boy is very facinating.
    To me the evidence is compelling to mind/ brain separation yet apparently many others don’t find it compelling. Yet in my defence how can such platicity exist unless the mind were indeed completely independent of any material/brain origination. Most sceptics do not address that question head on because the answer is not what they want to hear. Yet the question should be addressed directly.

  22. nullasalus:

    “I’ve followed NDEs closely (back when the ‘main’ site for them online was regularly updated), and honestly find the typical explaining away to be lacking. Particularly “the human mind works strangely, and any and all experiences can have happened before or after they were truly unconscious and they just are confused about the time”. It’s possible, I suppose, but such a position means there’s no real evidence that can clear things up in any direction.”

    It’s strange how practical methodological naturalists are ever ready to recur to mysticism when they have difficulties in explaining things. The concept that experience could happen out of the normal perception of time is typycally mystical, and is based on the concept that our common perception of time is part of the limited reconstruction of reality made by our human ego. But yes, if one cannot explain NDEs because one does not want to admit what they really are, then let’s pretend that they occur in some magical suspension of regular time, and that NDEs which last really much can happen in the few seconds when we still can witness brain activity: so, we will be spared the uncomfortable necessity of admitting a phenomenon which happens every day, which seems transcendental, which indeed is transendental.

    NDEs are really astonishing evidence. If I were an atheists, I would lose my sleep because of them. There is the astonishing evidence in biological beings. There is the evidence of consciousness. There are NDEs. And, obviously, a lot of other things, if we are willing to look at them. The transcendental nature of reality has never been more evident than it is today. What else do people want to start admitting that reality is not that grey, limited and desolate scenario which modern scientism has drawn? Do we really need God appearing out of the sky, and writing in golden letters (possibly really big ones): “Is it clear”?

  23. Anyhow, there’s some of everything in the way of paranormal and spiritualism in Lily Dale.

    Heck, if spirituality is you interest, Lily Dale is only a little over a 2 hour drive from Palmyra and Hill Cumorah.

  24. gpuccio, you make a very good point.

    The dictionary definitions — even 1a ones such as this at TheFreeDictionary.com — easily support your position with regard to what should be considered science.

    OTOH, when I find myself in these debates the one arguing with me usually insists on limiting “science” to the physical world — the Wiki definition is a good example — and I just generally concede the point to avoid a semantic argument, and because I generally find it not that hard to win the substantive one namely how do we find the truth of the matter.

    If you take the broad view of science it means you are not limiting the truth to what is material. If you take the narrow view you have to either recognize that science as per this definition cannot be the arbiter of what is real or claim only the material is real, which is ultimately untenable to any quasi-reasonable person.

    i.e.

    Only the material is real.
    –That’s a statement of faith.
    No it’s not!!
    –What came before the Big Bang?
    We don’t know but we know it’s material and science will find out because I have faith!!!!!
    LOLOL.

  25. bornagain77,

    Woah now. Paranormal is one thing. But I certainly believe the mind exists, and am not sold on materialism at all (In fact, I think materialism is a joke in the light of QM, and naturalism is almost a tautology).

    I believe minds exist. I don’t think they’re completely described by the material facts/the brain. (That position seems to be weakening lately, as even the declared naturalists are migrating towards panpsychism or some manners of dualism.) My questions/skepticism about the paranormal relate more to ESP, etc.

    gpuccio,

    “Materialists” will always and forever have an out. They’ll either plead mysterianism (‘We’ll never know, but the answer is physicalism’) or promissory notes (‘We’ll know someday’). Such is the nature of philosophy. I think for the more politically motivated among them, that just ups the stakes. If they know their position can never be a clear winner on merits of reason and evidence, the next best option is smearing and institutional pressure.

  26. 26

    nullasalus,

    I don’t know if you will qualify this next story as “paranormal, but I can assure you that it is indeed a true story.

    Strange but true miracle story.

    It was in the summer of 1993, I was down in Ft. Myers, Florida. This was about the second year that I was homeless. I was staying at the Salvation Army there in Ft. Myers working Temporary labor and paying 8 bucks a night to stay there. Once again I had come up with yet another grand plan to defeat the destructive desires to drink and use that had kept me bound to the street…I was going to read the Bible cover to cover ,SURELY this would cure me once and for all. Every night before I would go to sleep I made sure that I would read though at least 30 minutes worth of the Bible , while in my bunk, in the open dormitory of the salvation army. Well after a month or so of this I was getting pretty far into the Bible and had pretty much established myself, among the many guys staying there ,as some sort of Jesus freak. Well one evening a man, who like I was’nt fairing to well in this world, comes up to my bunk, as I was reading the Bible, and angrily says this to me,” Where Is God? Just where is God ? If i Knew where God was my life would be alright!!!” So I tell him the truth “Well I know that, sometimes when I really need it, God speaks directly to me from the Bible, and I believe that He may speak directly to you, since you seem to need him pretty badly” so I closed the Bible and handed it to him. So he opens the Bible up ,but instead of gently reading the first words his eyes came upon,as I thought he would do,he goes and stabs his finger down onto the page that the Bible had fell open too; looks over to me and ask “Like This” I shrugged and said “I guess that’ll work. Well his finger landed right on top of Job 23:3 which says

    “If only I knew where to find God”

    not below or above but right on top!!!

    Well, needless to say both of us got real excited about God revealing Himself to him in the Word, and so we went to the chaplain of the Salvation Army and got him a Bible. Boy, I sure wish I knew what he is was up to today .

    and that, nullasalus, is the end of my florida miracle story, Would you consider that paranormal?

  27. Ockham’s razor is used in all sorts of cases where there is little actual “explanation”. How well does Dennet’s “the mind is whatever the brain does” explain the phenomenon of mind. It doesn’t.

    How then, can people use Ockham deciding that an “explanation” is a disposable part? How valuable is Ockham if he gave an observation in terms of “explanation” and all that is really necessary is numerical simplicity.

    Knowing that Ockham used such extra-scientific concepts such as “explanation”, and knowing that he wasn’t up on 21st-century science, how valuable is his “razor”?

    Dennet’s is a simple supposition, it wins if we compare by numbers– so it’s a win for the Hume team, but not by explanation, not really. That I have a mind is a more explicable of how words might actually mean things than that some button or level is pressed in me exciting a distribution of responses. (NOT RANDOM! I realize. May I never say random again.)

    In order for their to be a Science of Mind it requires the supposition that we can understand the mind, not run off in a de facto loaded algorithm. Who would feel comfortable running a computer where not even the best experts could say what is on it? It just loads whatever algorithm it does.

  28. bornagain77,

    A very interesting story. I’m not sure how to classify it – for me, paranormal is rather specific. Psychic connections, out of body experiences, telekinesis, etc. Not necessarily in the same category as miracles as a whole, or God, etc. I don’t reject their possibility, and I don’t reject the evidence that may point to them – I just am very careful with accepting it, at least in terms of scientific falsification.

    So for me, I wouldn’t classify it. Putting a label on that story would serve no purpose (especially since I’m not the one who had it happen). I’d say it was a very interesting event, and if it was a mere coincidence, it was one hell of one. Obviously, based on what you said, the context could be seen as being.. ‘something other than a coincidence’. OTOH, if you called it paranormal, I wouldn’t feel the need to argue. Maybe it was.

  29. 29

    nallasalus,
    I wonder what the math would run to trying to figure the coincidence of that? Considering the fact that I have many events as such I figure, using very rough math, I could have easily won the powerball lottery many times over. Yet if it were not a fantastically improbable coincidence then the gravity of it takes another whole level of importance, for i realized that in spite of our percieved free will that God is ultimately control of everything. Even neglecting our specific thoughtss, if God orchestrated the event, as is apparent to me He did, then He would have had to control, at the very least, where the Bible fell open to, exactly where his finger landed as well as all mitigating circumstantials of environment not to mention reading both our minds at the same time. A truly astonishing level of control, and one that only found a deep sense of peace within my mind as I started to realize quantum mechanics does not preclude this from happening in our reality.

  30. bornagain77,

    Oh, I’d agree that the possibilities for God interacting with us through QM are real. One of the reasons I tend to roll my eyes at the ‘miracle v nature’ debate is that, with the discovery of QM combined with foresight, the opportunities for an event to take place that is both ordained by a higher power, amazing, yet still ‘natural’ are tremendous. I think it’s a mistake to distinguish between the natural and miraculous.

    I do believe in God, though, as well as miracles. And I’d further agree that God is ultimately in control of everything. That’s more in the philosophy area, where I’m not at all skeptical.

  31. bornagain77, great reference:
    Children with half a brain:

    http://www.mindhacks.com/blog/…..alf_a.html

    There is a sample chapter on the site of “Half a Brain Is Enough” by Antonio Battro
    . The story of the three year old boy is very facinating.

    In short, this child, after having one hemisphere removed, develop normal cognitive skills. And similar cases are found with other young children. Apparently the brain can remap itself in amazing ways.

    I was just wondering how the Materialist/Darwinist would explain how such an incredible ability evolved through undirected genetic variations and natural selection? One can potentially understand how a feature that adds to the fitness of all or a large number of organisms could evolve. However, how how many young humans or other creatures (presumably we do not know whether this ability is found in other species) would have just the right genetic variation, happen to lose large parts of their brain, and then recover, and survive, while others do not, such that this new genetic code would expand across the population? Talk about an unlikely convergence of events!!

    Does this strike anyone else as pushing the limits of credulity way beyond reasonable limits?

    And then, does anyone have any idea how gene coding would possibly direct the mental affairs of such a process? Where are our Artificial Intelligence friends on this one?

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