Author Topic: Watched your vid [#663]  (Read 1720 times)

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Offline pilgrim

Re: Watched your vid [#663]
« Reply #29 on: November 13, 2008, 11:53:46 PM »
Quote
That said, I'm being reasonable and not sarcastic with you now because you've shown some intent not to be strident.  Sure, you hold your beliefs firmly, but you haven't demanded that I do or changed the phrasing so that everything is hedged in a way that the conclusions are assumed or asserted in each leading question.

Much appreciated.  And I'll be the first to say that if Christians would read a little bit of "secular" philosophy, some science, and get out a little bit, it would really go a long way in teaching them how to address their own beliefs and the beliefs of others.  A book that helped me tremendously was Anthony Weston's "A Rulebook for Arguments."  I had to read it for a philosophy class.  Wow.  It really opened my eyes to some of the reasons discussions don't get very far, often time.

Would you believe me if I told you I actually have "The End of Faith" by Sam Harris on my bookshelf?  Would you faint if I told you I was currently reading "Why People Believe Weird Things" by Michael Shermer?  I thought Harris really fumbled the ball, but Shermer's book is most excellent.  I don't reach his conclusions, theologically, but I think the skeptical mindset has some real merits.  Plus, Shermer is a very tolerant guy.  Very respectful, even when he thinks people are just totally whacked.  I plan on reading "The God Delusion" sometime next year, but I keep hearing that even atheists didn't find it to be the most compelling volume on the issue.  Did you read it?  If so, what did you think?

Blessings!
The Pilgrim




Offline Hermes

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Re: Watched your vid [#663]
« Reply #30 on: November 14, 2008, 01:57:03 AM »
I liked the God Delusion, though his other books are much more informative such as the Ancestor's Tale.

I'd recommend Dennett's Breaking the Spell over TGD.  Dennett co-authored "The Mind's I"  with Douglas Hofstadter ("Godel, Escher, Bach"), so he's been around quite a while yet his contention is one that I think is important; in public religions ... all religions ... should be studied, researched, and taught and facts and facts only -- ones that everyone regardless of belief can agree on -- should be discussed.  If someone wants to go over other issues in whatever way they want they can do so but the public should know about the facts at a minimum.
Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons. --Michael Shermer

The history of religion is a long attempt to reconcile old custom with new reason, to find a sound theory for an absurd practice.  --Sir James George Frazer

Offline pilgrim

Re: Watched your vid [#663]
« Reply #31 on: November 14, 2008, 07:44:21 AM »
Hermes -

Have you heard the Dawkins/Lennox debate?  That one took place on my college campus.  I wanted to go something awful, but you wouldn't believe how fast the thing sold out.  As a graduate student, my ticket price would have been $10.  The normal price was $30.

You probably already know this, but Lennox is also a professor at Oxford.  I gave the debate to one of my most hard-core unbelieving friends.  This guy is just brutal in his honesty and has an intensely logical mind.  After he listened to the debate, his assessment was, "Lennox wiped the floor with Dawkins."  It is one thing to hear a Christian say that.  You would expect it.  But to hear a vocal unbeliever say that is another thing entirely.  That is why I gave it to him - he was the only person I knew who could listen to the thing and judge it strictly on the merits of the arguments.

Speaking of grad school, I will be teaching Economics all day as part of an internship, so I probably won't catch up with you guys again till tomorrow.  Have a good one!

Blessings,
The Pilgrim

Offline Hermes

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Re: Watched your vid [#663]
« Reply #32 on: November 14, 2008, 09:19:07 AM »
Have you heard the Dawkins/Lennox debate?

Was it either of these?

Quote
July 7, 2008

http://media.richarddawkins.net/audio/2008/Discussion%20between%20Richard%20Dawkins%20and%20John%20Lennox.mp3

Richard Dawkins and John Lennox recently sat down for a discussion in Oxford. The two had previously debated in Birmingham, Alabama, which was sponsored by Fixed Point Foundation (a Christian organization). This was a private discussion, with only a tape recorder present.

Quote
http://fora.tv/2008/08/19/Would_We_Be_Better_Off_Without_Religion

St James Ethics Centre - IQ2
Sydney, Australia
Aug 19th, 2008

While the world's religions have inspired stunning acts of creation, they also have been implicated in some of the darkest deeds in human history.

If God cannot be blamed for such moments of evil, His priests and prophets at least have a case to answer.

So what might they say? That religion is unfairly blamed -- and that we should look to other factors? Admit that there are problems but argue that on balance the good outweighs the bad? That there is no alternative; that people need religion like they need air? - Intelligence Squared

If not, give me a date range and I'll see if there is something out there.

That said, there are a few debaters that could easily wipe the floor with Dawkins -- Ravi Zacharias for one, but I'm thinking that Dawkins wouldn't debate him since there's little to respect beyond his debating skills.  I'm guessing that Lennox is not like Zacharias otherwise Dawkins would not have had a discussion with him.

Dawkins' problem is that he's not a debater and doesn't expect debate tactics; he's a scientist and expects directness and honesty.  Hitchens, though, is different.  He expects subterfuge and a trap.  Though CH sometimes drones on about a canned point not being asked, he usually doesn't make that mistake.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2008, 09:26:13 AM by Hermes »
Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons. --Michael Shermer

The history of religion is a long attempt to reconcile old custom with new reason, to find a sound theory for an absurd practice.  --Sir James George Frazer

Offline pilgrim

Re: Watched your vid [#663]
« Reply #33 on: November 14, 2008, 09:30:44 AM »
Hermes -

Actually, it was the Birmingham, AL debate.  Not the private discussion, but the actual debate in Birmingham.  You can find it very easily online.  Just Google "Lennox," "Dawkins," and "Debate," maybe with "Birmingham, AL," and you should quickly locate a source with an .rar or zip file.  That is how I got mine.

But thanks for the link on the Oxford discussion!!!  I knew they had planned to get together privately back in England, but had no idea that it had been taped.  I really look forward to hearing this.

Of course, you can also visit the Fixed Point web site and order the audio CD's or DVD.  They were the ones who invited the participants and put the debate on.

Its a great debate.  I actually thought Dawkins made a better showing than my friend did.  Dawkins and Lennox, being who they are, were really able to get past the standard talking points and into some real meat.  Lennox, unlike Zacharias (whom I love), is not a philosopher.  He is a man of mathematics and the sciences.  In that regard, Dawkins and Lennox are more suited for one another in debate.

Blessings,
The Pilgrim
« Last Edit: November 14, 2008, 09:32:29 AM by pilgrim »

Offline pilgrim

Re: Watched your vid [#663]
« Reply #34 on: November 14, 2008, 09:43:12 AM »
Hermes -

For your convenience, you can download the audio here:

http://stevebishop.blogspot.com/2007/10/lennox-dawkins-debate-audio.html

It downloads as a Quicktime file, but I have no problems with it on my iPod.  If you need to burn it to disc, I believe there are some good Quicktime to MP3/WAV freeware programs out there.

Or you can watch the debate video here:

http://www.dawkinslennoxdebate.com/

Enjoy!
The Pilgrim

Offline Hermes

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Re: Watched your vid [#663]
« Reply #35 on: November 14, 2008, 09:45:32 AM »
Wow ... from 2007.  I think I'll stick with something from this year, but thanks for the pointer!
Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons. --Michael Shermer

The history of religion is a long attempt to reconcile old custom with new reason, to find a sound theory for an absurd practice.  --Sir James George Frazer

Offline pilgrim

Re: Watched your vid [#663]
« Reply #36 on: November 14, 2008, 10:00:53 AM »
But isn't truth timeless??  ;)

The Pilgrim (who is officially off to teach young, hungry minds the principles of free-market economics)

Offline Hermes

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Re: Watched your vid [#663]
« Reply #37 on: November 14, 2008, 10:32:42 AM »
Listening to the July 7th discussion, I find it annoying that Lennox keeps assuming -- asserting -- that Dawkins agrees with him on specific points and Dawkins has to spend time to correct him.  I get the impression that Lennox rarely talks with people who disagree with his fundamental points.

(about 15 minutes in so far...maybe it gets better?)
Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons. --Michael Shermer

The history of religion is a long attempt to reconcile old custom with new reason, to find a sound theory for an absurd practice.  --Sir James George Frazer

Offline Hermes

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Re: Watched your vid [#663]
« Reply #38 on: November 14, 2008, 10:38:45 AM »
Note how the onus is placed on Dawkins to understand Christianity inside-out in Lennox's mind while any extra-Biblical references are discarded as Dawkins brings them up.
Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons. --Michael Shermer

The history of religion is a long attempt to reconcile old custom with new reason, to find a sound theory for an absurd practice.  --Sir James George Frazer

Offline Davedave

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Re: Watched your vid [#663]
« Reply #39 on: November 14, 2008, 10:45:17 AM »
What I was trying to get across is that when people look at their own conclusions as the only legitimate expressions of logic or rationality, they are being short-sighted, etc.  Notice that I have yet to call an atheist illogical or irrational.  If I wanted to be crass and insultory, I could redefine "rational" and "irrational," as many atheists do, and throw that around very casually and arrogantly.  But I realize that both theists and atheists are working from logical constructs and have drawn a conclusion based on reason.  Thus, I really don't have much patience or respect for the kind of non-thinking that goes into such a generic, toss out answer as "belief in God is just irrational."  I mean, talk about the path of least resistance.  How much thought has to go into a response like that, right?

ThePilgrim,

I disagree.  I believe the entire point of logic is that there are NOT two ways to interpret it.  A logic puzzle, for instance, is a puzzle that requires no guesswork, no leaps of faith, no playing the odds, no choices.  Done properly (i.e. using sound logic), there can never be an disagreement between two people that are working on a logic problem.  So, when someone says that an argument is or is not "logical", they may be right or they may be wrong, but never can two people both use sound logic and arrive at different positions on a logic problem.  You and I cannot both have logical answers to the same problem if our answers are different.  Either one (or both) of us have used unsound logic, or the problem cannot be resolved using logic alone.

Offline Hermes

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Re: Watched your vid [#663]
« Reply #40 on: November 14, 2008, 10:58:37 AM »
Listen to 23:00-24:00.  "Initially, probably, yes."  Lennox had to assume the conclusion to prime the motor to get to the evidence.  This is similar comments made about the way to God is to first have faith, be a Christian, and then pray to have God or Jesus show up.  The catch is that if they don't, the person still has the other parts.  I can't think of anything except for sales and marketing that acts in this way.
Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons. --Michael Shermer

The history of religion is a long attempt to reconcile old custom with new reason, to find a sound theory for an absurd practice.  --Sir James George Frazer

Offline Hermes

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Re: Watched your vid [#663]
« Reply #41 on: November 14, 2008, 11:02:22 AM »
25:00+ he goes on making special exceptions to justify a miracle.  Dismissive of Dawkins' comments.  Brings up "facts" and "worldviews".  No extra-Biblical support.

He talks like Zacharias; different voice but same intonations and emphasis.  As if he's talking to a little child.  Dawkins is giving him too much leeway and being too polite.

(Note: 30:00 -  Bacchus at work.)
« Last Edit: November 14, 2008, 11:25:54 AM by Hermes »
Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons. --Michael Shermer

The history of religion is a long attempt to reconcile old custom with new reason, to find a sound theory for an absurd practice.  --Sir James George Frazer

Offline Hermes

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Re: Watched your vid [#663]
« Reply #42 on: November 14, 2008, 11:35:54 AM »
~39:00 - Lennox name drops to assert some authority for his point  ... but doesn't provide a name.  Proceeds to cherry pick Biblical hits and ignore Biblical misses.
Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons. --Michael Shermer

The history of religion is a long attempt to reconcile old custom with new reason, to find a sound theory for an absurd practice.  --Sir James George Frazer

Offline Hermes

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Re: Watched your vid [#663]
« Reply #43 on: November 14, 2008, 11:53:20 AM »
~46:00 - Having his cake and eating it too ... now Genesis has little to do with science.  Solid as a swamp. 

Wow ... done.  That was cringe worthy; I was embarrassed for Lennox half the time.  He seemed to be filling in the silence with many words that often contradicted what he said previously.  I can only hope that he wasn't on his game that day, but he was consistently asserting his point of view so I kinda doubt he would have changed much if given a Mulligan.  Dawkins barely spoke.  Do you have someone better?

Dennett and Lennox would be a better conversation.
Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons. --Michael Shermer

The history of religion is a long attempt to reconcile old custom with new reason, to find a sound theory for an absurd practice.  --Sir James George Frazer

Offline pilgrim

Re: Watched your vid [#663]
« Reply #44 on: November 14, 2008, 04:42:33 PM »
Hermes -

A bit conspicuous that you didn't seem to have any criticism for Dawkins?  I'll try to rewatch the debate with your criticisms in front of me this weekend. 

The Pilgrim

Offline pilgrim

Re: Watched your vid [#663]
« Reply #45 on: November 14, 2008, 05:22:34 PM »
Davedave -

Quote
I believe the entire point of logic is that there are NOT two ways to interpret it.

Right.  There are not two ways to interpret logic itself, but there are multiple ways in which the rules of logic may be applied to circumstances, resulting in different conclusions.

I mean, we can see that in science itself - apart from any supernatural or religious elements.  People do scientific experiments.  They posit hypotheses, gather data, test that data in a lab-type environment (or the closest possible equivalent), employ controls, make observations, and draw conclusions.  Lo and behold if a great number of those conclusions don't turn out to be flat wrong.  The vast majority of them will wind up being at least modified over time. 

Why is that?  It is because when all the variables haven't been identified and/or observed associations that appear solid as a rock may well be spurious.

The nature of a hypothesis is that someone has drawn a logical conclusion about a set of observations.  A "logical conclusion."  Then they set out to test it.  Their hypothesis might be true, it might not be.  But if the hypothesis turns out to be false, are you going to say that it was illogical and irrational from the start?  If a hypothesis, untested, untried, and unproven is by nature illogical and, ergo, irrational, why do we even test them to begin with? 

Quote
A logic puzzle, for instance, is a puzzle that requires no guesswork, no leaps of faith, no playing the odds, no choices.  Done properly (i.e. using sound logic), there can never be an disagreement between two people that are working on a logic problem.

Well, unfortunately very little of life is that airtight.  If you'll just reflect for a minute instead of working overtime to define terms so narrowly that there is no room left in the boat of rationality for anyone but yourself, you'll begin to see what I mean about being short-sighted.

Quote
So, when someone says that an argument is or is not "logical", they may be right or they may be wrong, but never can two people both use sound logic and arrive at different positions on a logic problem.  You and I cannot both have logical answers to the same problem if our answers are different.  Either one (or both) of us have used unsound logic, or the problem cannot be resolved using logic alone.

So then, in the case of two scientists who are currently using the scientific method on the same hypothesis and coming to different conclusions, one is right and one is wrong.  The one who is wrong is simply illogical?  And if they are both wrong, they are both being illogical?  Or, if one can use the scientific method and still be wrong, maybe its the scientific method which is illogical?

Here is where you're misunderstood.  What is logic, by definition?  Logic: "A particular system or codification of the principles of proof and inference.  An alternate definition is simpler still.  "The quality of being justifiable by reason.

You are leaving no room at all for inference or reason, both of which are incredibly important to the process of logic.

Now, can you see back before the Big Bang?  Are you privy to information we don't have?  Because if you aren't, you have nothing to go on but inference and reason, regards the origin of life and the universe.  Have you seen beyond death and know it to be nothing more than a cessation of all physical and cognitive processes?  If not, then you are dealing with inference and reason in regard to the afterlife.

By your definition of logic, the only thing that seems to qualify is that which is utterly and completely empirical through and through.  But logic is not that stringent.  It makes room for reason and inference.  You look at a message written in the sand, but there is not a soul in sight to claim it as their handiwork.  Are you illogical to assume an intelligent force created it?  I mean, all you have to go on are inference and reason.

So either we are both using inference and reason to draw philosophical conclusions about things we cannot see and have no empirical knowledge of - both coming to logical and rational conclusions (albeit, one of us is wrong in the case of God).  OR we are BOTH irrational and illogical.  Take your pick.  I care not, as long as we are being consistent.

Thanks much,
The Pilgrim

Offline Hermes

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Re: Watched your vid [#663]
« Reply #46 on: November 14, 2008, 08:47:25 PM »
A bit conspicuous that you didn't seem to have any criticism for Dawkins?  I'll try to rewatch the debate with your criticisms in front of me this weekend. 

Hard to criticize him; he barely said anything.  Lennox dominated the conversation.

FWIW: I'm talking about the private conversation;

Quote
July 7, 2008

http://media.richarddawkins.net/audio/2008/Discussion%20between%20Richard%20Dawkins%20and%20John%20Lennox.mp3

Richard Dawkins and John Lennox recently sat down for a discussion in Oxford. The two had previously debated in Birmingham, Alabama, which was sponsored by Fixed Point Foundation (a Christian organization). This was a private discussion, with only a tape recorder present.
Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons. --Michael Shermer

The history of religion is a long attempt to reconcile old custom with new reason, to find a sound theory for an absurd practice.  --Sir James George Frazer

Offline Davedave

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Re: Watched your vid [#663]
« Reply #47 on: November 17, 2008, 12:23:15 PM »
Right.  There are not two ways to interpret logic itself, but there are multiple ways in which the rules of logic may be applied to circumstances, resulting in different conclusions.

Then it's not a problem that logic can solve.  The basic issue is that if you start from a position where the existence of God is not pre-assumed, you pretty much cannot make a remotely convincing case for the existence of Biblegod.

So then, in the case of two scientists who are currently using the scientific method on the same hypothesis and coming to different conclusions, one is right and one is wrong.  The one who is wrong is simply illogical?  And if they are both wrong, they are both being illogical?  Or, if one can use the scientific method and still be wrong, maybe its the scientific method which is illogical?

No, they are simply applying a process that cannot lead them to success.  If logic does not inarguably lead to one and only one answer, then the problem is not a logic problem and using logic to attempt to solve a problem that is not a logic problem is illogical.