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Richard Dawkins’ basic problem is with a democratic process, period

He classes Texas gov Rick Perry as an “uneducated fool,” as if the horde of educated fools in office in recent years have been a shower of blessings.

In “Attention Governor Perry: Evolution is a fact” (August 24, 2011), in response to a Washington Post question on US prez hopeful Rick Perry, Richard Dawkins replied

The population of the United States is more than 300 million and it includes some of the best and brightest that the human species has to offer, probably more so than any other country in the world. There is surely something wrong with a system for choosing a leader when, given a pool of such talent and a process that occupies more than a year and consumes billions of dollars, what rises to the top of the heap is George W Bush. Or when the likes of Rick Perry or Michele Bachmann or Sarah Palin can be mentioned as even remote possibilities.

Are autocratic systems better? That is, are any of these Americans as objectively harmful to their own people as the leaders of North Korea, Libya, or Syria? Granted, Perry, Bachmann, and Palin are not suited to Dawkins’ Oxonian tastes, but how many American voters think that’s a problem?

He then goes on to praise the aristocratic Brit toff Darwin, and the wonders of his theory,

Darwin’s idea is arguably the most powerful ever to occur to a human mind. The power of a scientific theory may be measured as a ratio: the number of facts that it explains divided by the number of assumptions it needs to postulate in order to do the explaining.

even as researchers treat it with more and more caution, due to fundamental problems with the evidence or are otherwise forced to talk nonsense .

Like any autocrat worldwide, Dawkins iterates endlessly anew the wonders of Darwin’s theory – as if the theory itself compels assent without evidence. If Americans want more of that, on just about any subject, they can vote for the candidates he approves.

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15 Responses to Richard Dawkins’ basic problem is with a democratic process, period

  1. 1

    It rather amusing that Dawkins continues to argue as if what he is seeing is not the result of materialistic determinism – as if there is some standard other than “what actually exists and occurs” to judge anything by.

    Why would any other physics-produced entity be objectively “better” than Bachmann or Perry, and according to what means of evaluation?

  2. OT: The Public Square interviewed John Lennox, August 2011, about his two new books “Seven Days That Divide the World” and “God and Stephen Hawking” .
    http://www.blubrry.com/thepubl.....autoplay=1

    John Lennox’s website:
    http://johnlennox.org/

  3. Off-topic note to moderators:

    I have left several comments under a new name – William J Murray (without the period after the J this time) – that I created to solve my issue of having to post under different names from work and home. That will be the only name I will post under in the future. I just left this note under this account to advise that it is in fact me and you can erase this comment after validating my new name.

    Thank you.

    William J. Murray

  4. H’mm:

    Evo is a FACT?

    Looks like the just tagged fallacy of creeping omniscience has an other example.

    Let’s take this in steps:

    1 –> A fact is: fact [fækt]
    n
    1. an event or thing known to have happened or existed
    2. a truth verifiable from experience or observation
    3. a piece of information get me all the facts of this case
    4. (Law) Law (often plural) an actual event, happening, etc., as distinguished from its legal consequences. Questions of fact are decided by the jury, questions of law by the court or judge
    5. (Philosophy) Philosophy a proposition that may be either true or false, as contrasted with an evaluative statement
    [Collins Dict]

    2 –> In context, facts are directly observable objects or states of affairs, warranted as actual, to moral certainty. That is, one would be irresponsible to dismiss the warrant for what is a credible fact in a momentous context.

    3 –> By contrast, theories in science seek to explain the empirical facts, they are not facts themselves. They are inherently relative to the facts and are provisional, best so far explanatory or summary models. they may be useful, they may be reliable, but hey are at a significant remove from the status of being fact. Never mind how one school or another may believe them down to the bones.

    4 –> A bit of history in my home discipline will help. For instance, the certainty of many that Newtonian Dynamics was about a factual description of the world and could be treated as true for all practical purposes, turned out to have to be drastically revised in light of the undeniably observed facts c 1880 – 1930 that led to Modern Physics.

    5 –> Newtonian dynamics is about the directly observable current world, but in the relevant part [body plan level macroevolution], Darwinian Evolutionary theory is about the unobserved, unobservable deep past of origins, so inherently it is even more subject to limitations and correction than Newtonian dynamics was.

    6 –> Let’s summarise, origins science is a science that cannot directly access its claimed facts of the world as it was in the deep past, it must infer and reconstruct that past from traces in the present that are subject to massive interpretation. Interpretation that is nowadays often deeply coloured by a priori evolutionary materialism. Of which Mr Dawkins is a chief proponent and publicist. No wonder Creationists are fond of raising the stinging objection in Job 38:

    Jb 38:1 . . . the LORD answered Job out of the storm. He said:
    2 “Who is this that darkens my counsel
    with words without knowledge?
    3 Brace yourself like a man;
    I will question you,
    and you shall answer me.
    4 “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
    Tell me, if you understand.
    5 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
    Who stretched a measuring line across it?
    6 On what were its footings set,
    or who laid its cornerstone-
    7 while the morning stars sang together
    and all the angels shouted for joy? . . .

    7 –> Going further, let us glance at the logic involved: T => O, If Theory, then observations. O, so T. Affirming he consequent, a basic fallacy of implication.

    8 –> To see take T = Tom is a cat, and O = Tom is an animal. Substitute. If Tom is a cat then he is an animal. Next step: Tom is an animal, so he is a cat. OOPS!

    9 –> The most that can be properly said is that certain theories T have been well tested per observations and experiments and they show themselves empirically reliable. So, we deem them knowledge in the sense of tested and well warranted beliefs or models. But they are inherently provisional.

    10 –> So, it is Mr Dawkins who is clearly in error as cited above. An error that reveals his want of understanding of the basics of history and philosophy of science.

    __________

    After decades on the job, Mr Dawkins plainly has not done basic homework that I would expect a bright sixth former to understand. That is a massive failure to carry out plain duties of care, and it is sadly typical of his many pronouncements and declamations on matters of philosophy and theology. (Cf my remarks on his notorious “who designed the designer” objection to the design inference, here.)

    GEM of TKI

  5. F/N: I add that I am a lot less than comfortable with someone based in one country seeking to directly influence the course of the politics in another country, much less on so slipshod a base as that if you disagree with my view, you are ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked; which he seems to be now extending to the US public as a whole, saving of course the minority who agree with him.

  6. Sadly, it is Richard Dawkins who is the uneducated fool. And apparently irretrievably so.

  7. “The most powerful idea?” Really? More so than Galileo’s invention of the telescope? Mendelian genetics? Newton’s laws of gravitation? Hawking radiation? Hubble’s concept of ‘red shift’ of stars and galaxies? More powerful than Descartes, “I think, therefore I am”?

    That is not a statement of fact. It is a dogma repeated by the Darwinian faithful.

  8. Correct.

  9. For a model on how to break things Darwinism works. That is the only fact it explains.

    Darwinism -> assumptions all the way down…

  10. 10

    Poor Dawkins… still trying to circle the wagons to defend the darwinian myth from those who know better.

    His attempts to intimidate and humiliate darwin dissenters have become desperate and pathetic. Does he really think such tactics will work on any but the naive darwin-worshippers?

    Get some new material Shecky Dawkins, you’re dying. ;-)

  11. First. Dawkins is a foreigner.
    Second. Yes America has now and in history not just the most best/brightness (I hate that term) but the most intelligent people in history in numbers and pound for pound. A reflection of a Puritan/Evangelical Protestant English/British civilization. (Canada too)

    Third. Nothing wrong with the system. Its the best and brightest in the world. better then Parliament.

    Fourth. Your right about Bush and Palin(she said there was a glass ceiling and so accuses men’s character/motives wrongly). but Obama is just as worthless and more unworthy because of motives behind his candidacy.

    Fifth.
    The ratio thing is interesting and perhaps fine.
    # of Facts explained divided by # of assumptions needed etc is something for creationists too think about.
    A theory should be based on laws.
    I see evolutionism as having taken laws out of biology and replaced happanchance randomness in its stead.
    Bring back mechanical laws to biology indeed.
    Don’t jump to selection before practical mechanics by a creator with a program .

  12. Like any autocrat worldwide, Dawkins iterates endlessly anew the wonders of Darwin’s theory – as if the theory itself compels assent without evidence.

    My argument will be that Darwinism is the only known theory that is in principle capable of explaining certain aspects of life. If I am right it means that, even if there were no actual evidence in favour of Darwinian theory we should still be justified in preferring it over all rival theories.

    One way to dramatize this point is to make a prediction. I predict that, if a form of life is ever discovered in another part of the universe, however outlandish and weirdly alien that form of life may be in detail, it will be found to resemble life on earth in one key respect: it will have evolved by some kind of Darwinian natural selection. ~ Richard Dawkins

  13. How about this one:

    “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” (2 Timothy 4:3 NIV)

  14. “My argument will be that Darwinism is the only known theory that is in principle capable of explaining certain aspects of life. If I am right it means that, even if there were no actual evidence in favour of Darwinian theory … we should still be justified in preferring it over all rival theories.”

    A glimpse inside the “mind” of Richard Dawkins and what passes for reasoning.

    His first statement is not a first principle. That is, it’s denial does not create an internal contradiction. So he must ARGUE for this, not assume it.

    His second statement is even more telling. Even if there is no evidence for evolution, it’s still the preferred explanation. Based upon, presumably, his prior assumption, which is completely unfounded. And he thinks Christians take too much for granted? This is laughable. Like most of his writing.

  15. My prediction is that alien life will be so outlandishly and weirdly alien to Richard Dawkins when they attempt to convert him to theism.

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