Dawkins sides with the race realists.

Posted by Matt Nuenke on Saturday, 17 July 2010 17:45.

Richard Dawkins is one of the most prolific writers and defenders of evolution and rational thinking. Still, I assumed from his books, speeches and articles that I am familiar with that he would fall into political correctness when it came to the issue of race realism. For anyone not familiar with Dawkins work, a quick overview at Wikipedia should convince all that he is a major contributor to the biological sciences.

I read his book in defense of evolution and his rebuttal of intelligent design: The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution, (Richard Dawkins, 2009) and was pleasantly surprised that he seems to accept eugenics and race realism. Virtually every book I read that deals with the biological sciences, at some point, makes a short statement that dismisses any credibility in the notion that race is real or that there can be any heritable group differences between races in intelligence, behavior, criminal tendencies, etc. And Dawkins discusses how he once made a statement that the “intelligent design” crowd was able to use against him, so he is very aware of what he writes and “how” he writes about it. He is very aware of carelessly worded positions taken about sensitive issues.

Most of The Greatest Show on Earth deals with scientific facts such as discussing how fossils are dated using different methods, and the different meanings of what a “theory” is versus a scientific fact (evolution is a fact—some aspects of the mechanisms are still being debated as various theories). He also gives the depressing numbers on how so few people believe in evolution: In the United States over the past 25 years over 40% of the people believe man was created by God pretty much as it is described in the Bible. The situation is not much better in Europe. This also means that means progressives can embrace scientific explanations as long as they do not conflict with a strict egalitarian stance on human universal equality, and the conservatives believe inequality is just a matter of not trying hard enough. Both sides are unable to accept scientific materialism when it clashes with their ideologies.

Even the evolutionary psychologists promote a human universalism that is far too rigid. Yes, humans do share many similar evolved traits, but for a species that has moved into so many diverse niches we can also expect there to be measurable differences between the evolved nature of different races. This simple fact seems to be a blind spot for many evolutionists when it comes to humans while it is readily accepted in animal subspecies—expect differences both from occupying different ecological niches or from simply genetic drift when selection forces are weak or absent. Human races exist and differences between them should be expected to occur—how much is really the only question.

Dawkins states: “First, the great variety among breeds of dogs, from Great Danes to Yorkies, from Scotties to Airedales, from ridgebacks to dachshunds, from whippets to St. Bernard’s, demonstrates how easy it is for the non-random selection of genes—the ‘carving and whittling’ of gene pools—to produce truly dramatic changes in anatomy and behavior, and so fast. Surprisingly few genes may be involved.” And later: “Political opposition to eugenic breeding of humans sometimes spills over into the almost certainly false assertion that it is impossible. Not only is it immoral, you may hear it said, it wouldn’t work. Unfortunately, to say that something is morally wrong, or politically undesirable, is not to say that it wouldn’t work. I have no doubt that, if you set your mind to it and had enough time and enough political power, you could breed a race of superior body-builders, or high-jumpers, or shot-putters; pearl fishers, sumo wrestlers, or sprinters; or (I suspect, although now with less confidence because there are no animal precedents) superior musicians, poets, mathematicians or wine-tasters.”

Dawkins sides with the race realists.

With regards to race Dawkins states, “Relatively recently, maybe less than 100,000 years ago, roving bands of Homo sapiens looking pretty much like us left Africa and diversified into all the races that we see around the world today: Inuit, native Americans, native Australians, Chinese, and so on. It is to this recent exodus that the phrase ‘out of Africa’ is normally applied.” Clearly he does not think then that races of man are merely a social construct, as declared to be a fact by many on the Left. And the important issue is whether there are real and measurable differences between groups of people in terms of intelligence and behavioral traits that can account for differences in a group’s prosperity.

The Summer 2010 issue of The Mankind Quarterly has an article by Richard Lynn: “National IQs updated for 41 Nations,” that indicates a continued interest by several researchers in the correlation between intelligence and gross domestic product. A second article by Aldric Hama: “An Initial Assessment of ‘Market-Dominant Minorities’ and Inter-group Conflict,” elaborates on the same theme. Intelligent minorities tend to dominate wherever they are in competition with the majority—and conflict results. The nature/nurture debate has been sliding inexorably towards the racialists ever since E. O. Wilson’s Sociobiology in 1975.

Tags: Race realism



Comments:


1

Posted by James Bowery on Sat, 17 Jul 2010 17:57 | #

The nature/nurture debate has been sliding inexorably towards the racialists ever since E. O. Wilson’s Sociobiology in 1975.

Is that true even if your measure is reproductive fitness of those honestly and openly acting on racialism ever since 1975?

My admittedly informal observation is that females of high intelligence have been increasingly successfully targeted with memes that create a reproductive allergy when presented with honestly and openly racialist men.


2

Posted by Gorboduc on Sat, 17 Jul 2010 21:44 | #

That’s fine IF you’re sure that Dawkins is a reliable scientist.
Coupla weeks back, I posted on his use of “we assume”.
One of the high-and-mighties here, possibly GW, read me a little lesson, about how scientific advance is progressed by scientists making assumptions and then testing them out.
Well of course I knew that!
My point was, that Dawkins WASN’T testing this one out.
It was a guess about something that COULD have happened to DNA 50,000,000 years ago, and therefore it COULDN’T be tested out.
His assumption was therefore treated as if it was a piece of successfully-tested and peer-reviewed data: an ACTUAL RESULT.
Nothing of the kind! the assumption/conclusion was cemented into his “proof” although it did not possess the same status as the other data.
It was. however, required to give the other data coherence and meaning.
They wouldn’t perhaps have stood up at all without the scaffolding of this assumption/guess.
So it was a good example of unrealistic fantasy: a wish-fulfilment invention.
Some time ago GW threatened me with annihilation by a resident MR expert on the eye.
I put my fingers in my ears, crouched down behind the parapet,  put the end of the stirrup pump in a bucket of water and took a deep breath: but no HE shells or napalm came over, not even a penny banger or a sparkler.
Thus heartened, I quoted a rather lack-lustre and footling bit on the evolution of the eye from Darwin, displaying JUST the same sort of weak reasoning, unclear thought and sheer straw-clutching that Saint Charles passed on to his modern disciple.
I don’t think anyone here came to the defence of Ss. Charles or Richard.
This made me feel that a lofty rebuke had indeed been delivered to me, the rebuke of SILENCE.

Well, it seems that Dawkins has compared Creationism to Holocaust Denial, so maybe that will recommend it to a few regulars here (it’s OK by me, for a start)

Oh wait, here’s something about Dawkins and the eye:

http://creation.com/mueller-cells-refuting-dawkins-feedback.

Why don’t you read it? And the links?

Makes me think that Richard may be an unreliable ally.


3

Posted by Gorboduc on Sat, 17 Jul 2010 22:00 | #

Oh. and try this too: http://creation.com/global-atheists-reject-debate-challenge


4

Posted by cladrastis on Sat, 17 Jul 2010 22:19 | #

I think it is most unwise (and frankly, unethical) for a scientist to politicize his research findings.  The only exception to this rule is the case of the martyred scientist - the man disallowed from disproving (or indicating flaws with) an earlier scientific assertion for purely political reasons.  Any scientist (including the so-called social “scientist”) desiring to make a political statement should relinquish his career in science and assume the banner of politics.  At such a career juncture, the scientist’s reputation should speak for itself.


5

Posted by Gorboduc on Sat, 17 Jul 2010 22:23 | #

I’ve sometimes wondered where the terms JEBUS and CHRISTERS come from.

This link, provided by the creationists themselves(as above) show the scientific commentariat using them a bit.

I was particularly struck comment #24 which says:

WWJD: We Won Jesus Died.

which may strengthen my suggestion that some of the opprobious anti-Christian terms which find their way into comments at MR may just POSSIBLY have a Jewish origin . . .


6

Posted by SuperDave on Sat, 17 Jul 2010 23:24 | #

Dawkins is a sterile airhead. This is what happens when you get into rampant atheism.

Last I heard he was promoting his “speciesism” nonsense. Yes, you know what “racism” is. Now there’s “specesism”. I guess Labor will start executing whites in 20 years on the charges that one of them offended a rodent.

Dawkins = Trotsky + 100 years


7

Posted by PF on Sat, 17 Jul 2010 23:57 | #

Gorb posted:

Oh wait, here’s something about Dawkins and the eye:

http://creation.com/mueller-cells-refuting-dawkins-feedback .

Why don’t you read it? And the links?

Makes me think that Richard may be an unreliable ally.

I skimmed the article, once and again. Its premise is that if a biological structure shows
an evolutionary path that is ‘perfect’, or those for where there is no forthcoming
explanation, that constitutes an argument against evolution in toto.

Parsimony. This method of argument involves us in a debate of what would constitute a ‘perfect’ biological structure. I will say right now that such a structure cannot exist and further inspection will reveal the limitations inherent in any structure. It decays over time, its full of junk DNA, its a few mutations away from completely not working, it only sees a certain distance, only within a certain light frequency spectrum, and suffers both from limited processing speed, spatial resolution, and splitting/lumping algorithms which further decimate its claims on immaculacy. It is the paradigm of the observer which determines what constitutes ‘perfect’ - relative to what? All the other eye structures that have occured throughout evolution? The author’s expectations of how biological structures “should” have evolved?

Our ability to understand the evolution of complex structures is imperfect, and a poor basis for reasoning about the generating mechanism behind them. Rather than evaluating the two proposed processes in toto (Evolution vs. Creationism), based on analysis of the complex finished products, we should instead look for a simple mechanism operating visibly at the level of easily understood structures which - when the cumulative results of this process are summed over time - could give rise to the structures that are too complex for our full understanding. The proof will not be in how each person philosophically qualifies that ‘could’, but rather in the empirically testable observations from low-level systems where structures are simple, genetics are known, and generation times are short (fruit flies, bacteria!!). This sidesteps the problems of philosophical qualification of ‘perfectness’ and our ignorance from our limited understandings of the evolution of complex systems.

Its funny that the comments section has the heading “Positive Comments”.

Of course Im a fan of Dawkins.


8

Posted by Anarcho Anglo on Sun, 18 Jul 2010 06:55 | #

Apologies for drifting off topic - but the latest New Right/Jonathan Bowden talk about Julius Evola has been uploaded.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSzqDVPVKyE

The rest of the lecture can be found at -

http://www.youtube.com/user/NewRightLondon

RR
AA


9

Posted by Dasein on Sun, 18 Jul 2010 06:59 | #

With regards to race Dawkins states, “Relatively recently, maybe less than 100,000 years ago, roving bands of Homo sapiens looking pretty much like us left Africa and diversified into all the races that we see around the world today: Inuit, native Americans, native Australians, Chinese, and so on. It is to this recent exodus that the phrase ‘out of Africa’ is normally applied.”

Interesting that Dawkins supported a strict out-of-Africa scenario.

its full of junk DNA—PF

PF, I’d be careful about using this term.  We don’t understand what most of the genome is doing.  It’s only very recently that microRNAs were discovered, and now there might be micropeptides.  Perhaps you could argue that the genome is not organised in the most efficient manner to accomplish its tasks, but I would imagine there’s a tradeoff involved.  If it were more efficient, it would not be as flexible (evolvable).  Like in computer programming.  If you make something very generic, the code base would be larger than if you hard-coded things, but it would be possible (or at least easier) to adjust the system based on new requirements.


10

Posted by Dasein on Sun, 18 Jul 2010 07:12 | #

the code base would be larger than if you hard-coded things

Not quite accurate.  I should say that if you coded it with an eye on keeping things flexible, this will result in some coding overhead.  It may also result in the functions of the code not being as obvious to the casual or uninformed observer (whoever wrote our DNA code wasn’t one for documentation, unless you count the Bible smile).


11

Posted by Dasein on Sun, 18 Jul 2010 07:38 | #

James makes a good point in the first comment.  Although the scientific evidence has become stronger (virtually irrefutable), the beliefs of even our most educated people have not shifted in the same direction.  The growth of the HBD blogosphere is perhaps the first semi-broad movement that is shifting the debate in the direction of truth.  We haven’t really seen a leftist, quasi-scientific counter to that, as yet.  It will come, eventually, likely with a strong focus on epigenetics (it will be similar to how the the Flynn Effect is the trump crutch for those who would deny or obfuscate the heritable differences in average IQ between races).  The anti-science establishment has a lot of ground to give.  At the moment, they hold all 100 of the ‘chips’ in the nature/nurture debate (in terms of what is permissible opinion in the public domain).  What would conceding a few chips do to their position?  If they conceded that 5% of the black-white IQ gap is heritable, it seems they would still have a lot of room to argue for the possibility of a multiracial society working in the way they imagine.


12

Posted by Dasein on Sun, 18 Jul 2010 07:52 | #

Actually, as regards that Dawkins quote in my earlier comment, it’s not clear from the quote alone that he actually supports that scenario (could also be he’s just presenting the idea).  I’m guessing from the context in which Matt used it, though, that he in fact does.


13

Posted by Guessedworker on Sun, 18 Jul 2010 08:39 | #

Their real trump card is dehumanisation which then, in their pathological thought-processes, morally licences censorship, professional assassination and real acts of violence.


14

Posted by ChrisB on Sun, 18 Jul 2010 14:02 | #

“[A] quick overview at Wikipedia should convince all that [Dawkins] is a major contributor to the biological sciences. “

A glance the WK article confirms my impression that Dawkins is a rather minor contributor to these sciences. Basically, he’s a populariser - a good one, mind you, when he’s not on one of his anti-religion rants. Concepts like selfish genes and memes loom large in pop science, but aren’t terribly important in the academy.


15

Posted by ChrisB on Sun, 18 Jul 2010 14:18 | #

I’d compare Dawkins, unfavourably, to Isaac Asimov. Dawkins is more of scientist than Asimov, but has a much narrower range of interests and - it seems to me - much more restricted in his human sympathies.

(Actually, Asimov was a tenured professor at Boston University - which doesn’t compare too badly with Dawkins’ long-time appointment to a chair for the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford. Neither position was really a research position in the usual sense.)


16

Posted by Dasein on Sun, 18 Jul 2010 17:06 | #

Their real trump card is dehumanisation

Yes, that’s true.  And the fact they have the power to do that is the reason the debate has taken the form it has.  It should have been over a long time ago, or never occured in the first place.


17

Posted by Gorboduc on Sun, 18 Jul 2010 17:16 | #

PF: Well of course the eye only sees a certain distance.

Just as the hand can only throw a stone so far.

Even you and Dawkins couldn’t devise an eye that had the light-gathering ability of the Hubble space telescope and could still fit in the human head, could you?

Perfect equals “sufficient for the needs of the organism that uses it”.

Dawkins as a “scientific populariser” is only really the H.G. Wells of our time.

I won’t go so far as to accuse Dawkins of the almost incredible plagiarism of which Wells was undoubtably guilty:

http://www.accessmylibrary.com/coms2/summary_0286-32223182_ITM

but I’ll remind you that Hilaire Belloc thoroughly trounced Wells long before the absurd nature of Well’s fraud was suspected:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mr._Belloc_Objects_to_"The_Outline_of_History”

That’ll give you a bit of an idea about what Belloc said, but it’s absurd to say that Belloc objected to Wells’ treatment of Christianity. He did, but also to much else.
He was able to show with ease that Wells just hadn’t read many of the main scientific authorities and that his notions about pre-history were rubbish.

However, it’d be good if a latterday Belloc were to rise and expose Dawkins’ absurdities. He has even less theological knowledge than Wells, and as theology is actually a science, in that respect ALSO Dawkins is a bad scientist

Political doctrines based on Wells’s “thought” were pretty incoherent.


18

Posted by Alex Zeka on Mon, 19 Jul 2010 03:23 | #

The Economist “World in 2010” had an article by a gene scientist (Dr. Miller) explaining that actually ethnies do differ at the genetic level. He then criticises two possible wrong-headed responses to this: ‘blank-slate liberalism’ and ‘xenophobe conservatism’. This might be the line that’ll be taken in the future - the races differ, but this is no warrant to treat people as ‘Other’ on the basis of this, much as different (biologically determined) heights aren’t. I assume EGI would be the next argument from the right?


19

Posted by Deogolwulf on Mon, 19 Jul 2010 14:36 | #

Gorboduc,

“However, it’d be good if a latterday Belloc were to rise and expose Dawkins’ absurdities.”

Dawkins is well able to expose his own absurdities, whilst remaining dumbly unaware of them himself, but for more fun, see Edward Feser’s The Last Superstition.


20

Posted by Grimoire on Tue, 20 Jul 2010 21:26 | #

But the man (Dawkins)  is an absolute ass. Even if I was a devoted Darwinist…. I would still say he is an unsupportable embarrassment and cringe worthy fool.
Did you see the last clip where he lectures a crowd of techno hipsters on teaching infant children binary? And the audience of imbeciles stops for a minute and thinks “hmmm…maybe thats an idea….teach junior binary….”
Dawkins smiles evilly from the podium.

Dawkins is a warning. Imagine what happens if the stupidest people nature has created, convince themselves that stupid is the new smart….and write clever books explaining how this ‘adaptation’ has to come about. It’s a reality that Lewis Carroll wrote about - post modernism (which is an oxymoron), jewish architecturem freedom fries and ‘they hate us cause we’re free’. All part of the unending bombardment of stupidity of which Dawkins is an arch priest.


21

Posted by Desmond Jones on Wed, 21 Jul 2010 18:36 | #

Dawkins representation of religion as a parasitic meme is certainly not the effort of a “cringe worthy fool”.
According to evolutionary critics, it is not the parastic analogy that is problematic but the vertical versus horizontal taxonomy of parasites. Dawkins, apparently, acknowledges that religion is vertically transmitted, for the most part, but does not recognise that vertical parasitism is mainly symbiotic. Horizontal transmission appears much more virulent.

It is also of interest (at least to me) that there is a symbiotic relationship between language and religion. Many religions, including Wilson’s apparent favorite Jainism, form their own language that is not often understood by the laity. Religion is derived from language. It is metaphorical and therefore did not exist before language.


22

Posted by Gorboduc on Thu, 22 Jul 2010 19:14 | #

Metaphorical of what?


23

Posted by Guessedworker on Thu, 22 Jul 2010 19:46 | #

Gorb,

Religious ethics are a metaphor for evolutionarily adaptive behaviours, providing they emerge from within the particular people who follow them.  If religious ethics are part of an imposed system of belief, the correspondence to adaptiveness will be reduced.


24

Posted by Grimoire on Thu, 22 Jul 2010 21:25 | #

Desmond Jones:
                    Interesting points to consider that I will investigate.
The statement ‘Religion is derived from Language’ may be a bit of a convenience. I propose Religion (assuming you limit your calculation strictly to a closed system vetted by materialism - no outside information, no other intelligence, no spooky action at a distance….) may be the acknowledgement of a perceived hierarchy of all things. Language is not necessary to perceive order .... arguably hierarchy or order is innate to all living things and acted upon. Sparrows are born with markings on their breast which fix them into the hierarchy for life. All such birds live by this hierarchy and the bird with the required patches always feeds first and is preferred by females.
Language may only provide formal structure to Religion. I see nothing innate to Language that would lead to Religion. What is the connection for you?


25

Posted by Desmond Jones on Fri, 23 Jul 2010 02:18 | #

Metaphorical of what?

Of reality, if you will. Love is a jewel, or a rose, or a butterfly.


26

Posted by Desmond Jones on Fri, 23 Jul 2010 02:28 | #

If religious ethics are part of an imposed system of belief, the correspondence to adaptiveness will be reduced.

Initially, which is the great conundrum. The Mesoamericans were vile savage creatures, when the Spanish Catholics first happened upon. Human sacrifice and cannibalism amongst that people drove many tribes near extinction. Their conversion to Christianity was often vicious and ruthless. However, a more benign version of the Christian virus took hold and proved adaptive, if you will, for the new converts. Once the virus had taken hold and a vertical transmission occurred the relationship became symbiotic.


27

Posted by Desmond Jones on Fri, 23 Jul 2010 02:40 | #

Grimoire,

Darwin argued that thought is derived from language. Guessedworker argues against that position. And since religion is metaphorical, it cannot exist without language, just as Darwin argued that thought cannot exist without language.

In addition, like language, religion appears to evolve of its own accord. Thus a common language becomes unintelligible when language groups separate and isolate. Mistakes in the coding during transmission will eventually make the common language undiscriminated to either group. A different species if you will. It can be argued then that through evolutionary forces Christianity, for example, bares little of no resemblance to Judaism.


28

Posted by Captainchaos on Fri, 23 Jul 2010 03:11 | #

Desmond, the faithful do not believe the language-symbols by which they communicate regarding the objects of their faith are merely metaphorical, but felicitously descriptive.  Arguably no less so than when they use language-symbols to describe rocks or trees.  But the objects of their faith are not discernible to their five senses, as are rocks and trees, yet they believe, and others who are of their ethny do not.  Is it your position that there is no genetic predisposition involved there at all, none whatsoever?  Not even a genetic predisposition to find emotional resonance with what is conveyed by language as relates to faith objects?


29

Posted by Gorboduc on Fri, 23 Jul 2010 08:45 | #

GW: mere statement. Retune thy lyre: use more strings: modulate!

Your “behaviours” are leading me to adapt my internet attentions to other sites, where I find more intellectual and spiritual sustenance.

What’s meant by “people”?  Do you mean “peoples” or “races” or do you mean “persons”, that is, you and I?

Oh . . . and other sites where I find more clarity and less emphasis on mere mechanism. How banausic all this is! It’s like attending an unending series of dreary lectures on “Rational anti-clericalism” in a dingy Victorian Mechanics’ Institute…

Thank God for poetry - of which we are about to have some - has absolutely no “adaptive” power whatever (althogh AE Housman suggested it was a Mithridate, a sort of innoculation against the poison of unhappiness)

DJ: How about putting it the other way round, a butterfly, a rose, a jewel signifiy love?

To say religion is derived from language is like saying poetry is derived from words, or architecture from bricks, or the solar system from telescopes, or flowers from Linnaeus…

Again, how about putting it the other way around, and suggesting that language springs from the absolute necessity for religious or transcendental expression - by which I mean the expression of absolute reality?

Language - confounding etymology - originated before tongues. God spoke. God named things.

Metaphorically speaking, language is conferred on those things which we in our ignorance presume to call inarticulate.

(And yes - I DO know about the so-called “pathetic fallacy”)

The spacious firmament on high,
With all the blue ethereal sky,
And spangled heavens, a shining frame
Their great Original proclaim.
Th’unwearied sun, from day to day,
Does his Creator’s powers display,
And publishes to every land
The work of an Almighty Hand.

Soon as the evening shades prevail
The moon takes up the wondrous tale,
And nightly to the listening earth
Repeats the story of her birth;
While all the stars that round her burn
And all the planets in their turn,
Confirm the tidings as they roll,
And spread the truth from pole to pole.

What though in solemn silence all
Move round the dark terrestrial ball?
What though no real voice nor sound
Amid the radiant orbs be found?
In reason’s ear they all rejoice,
And utter forth a glorious voice,
Forever singing as they shine,
“The hand that made us is divine.”

- Addison (my emphasis)


30

Posted by Alex Zeka on Fri, 23 Jul 2010 09:41 | #

How about putting it the other way round, a butterfly, a rose, a jewel signifiy love?

I can perceive a butterfly, a rose, a jewel without knowing of love/beauty. The contrary does not apply.


31

Posted by Guessedworker on Fri, 23 Jul 2010 10:14 | #

Gorb,

What’s meant by “people”?  Do you mean “peoples” or “races” or do you mean “persons”, that is, you and I?

Kinship groups.

other sites where I find more clarity and less emphasis on mere mechanism.

Clarity I sincerely doubt.  And the charge regarding mechanism rests upon a flawed comprehension of what there is.  Here, in contrast, is a passage written by a man who was a religious, who had never heard of genotype and phenotype, natural selection and fitness to environment.  And yet he wrote this about Nature and Creation.

“In reality, nature is incapable of more than giving motion and preparation, through which the matter which is moved by it (nature) can receive the form, towards which it (matter) is moved, and nature is neither the actor, nor the effuser of existence. Rather, the effuser is the Bestower of forms, whereas nature is the mover of the thing, which moves it towards what is effused upon it by the Bestower of forms. It performs no other act except moving the thing towards its furthest limit – that, through which it (the thing) is presented to the First Actor, and it (nature) seems to perform this function unwillingly, as if it were being compelled”.

Ibn S?n? (Avicenna), the Persian polymath, who lived between 980 and 1030.


32

Posted by Gorboduc on Fri, 23 Jul 2010 11:46 | #

GW: Yes, I did mention clarity, and this excerpt appears specially designed to appeal to you, as the translation is conspicuously lacking in that quality.

I think Aquinas - who likewise depended on Aristotle - would have put it more clearly.

It’s probably better in Greek or Latin.

D’you read Lucretius?

Anyway, you don’t believe in the First Actor (by which the Persian polymath must mean the First Mover).

My, my, ity’s difficult being me with my poor damaged flawed comprehension: but I do consider Avicenna a fortunate man if he didn’t have to cope with all the heavy redundant and ultimately empty baggage of neo-Darwinian jargonising.

Alex; if you don’t find butterflies, roses and jewels beautiful and lovely you have my profoundest pity.


33

Posted by Alex Zeka on Fri, 23 Jul 2010 14:49 | #

if you don’t find butterflies, roses and jewels beautiful and lovely you have my profoundest pity..

I said nothing of the sort. I said that I can perceive butterflies, roses, jewels, and everything else w/o having any idea of beauty. A beetle has no idea of beauty but it can perceive butterflies, roses, etc. - as evidenced by the fact that it reacts to them. Someone who has never seen anything beautiful cannot perceive beauty. How do you think you would make a blind man understand what beauty is?

So, I can perceive objects (roses, etc.) w/o concepts, but not concepts w/o objects. This gives me greater confidence in the existence of objects than of concepts.


34

Posted by Guessedworker on Fri, 23 Jul 2010 15:37 | #

Gorb,

Clarity is relative to difficulty.  We deal with demanding subject matter, some of which will never be as clear as simple addition.  Overall, I think we do a pretty good job.  I would like to see the blog on the radical right properly examining such material with greater accessability than we do.


35

Posted by Gorboduc on Fri, 23 Jul 2010 15:43 | #

Alex: why write as though you were a beatle? Again, it may be a problem with imprecise expression:  you say “I”, so are you not talking about yourself?
Or are you talking about an imaginary person?

Blindness has nothing to do with it.

Beauty is not just a quality perceived by the eyes.

Read Spenser’s “Hymn of Heavenly Beauty” and Shelley’s “Hymn of Intellectual Beauty”.

There have been blind poets and sculptors, and yes, even painters.

There are senses beyond our senses.

Remember that Darwin didn’t WANT a peacock’s tail to be beautiful: the though “made him sick”. No need to quote a source for this: any Darwinian will recognise the passage, and I can’t be bothered.
It wasn’t, perhaps, that didn’t want to think that his worrying response to the display meant he was being tempted as a possible mate by a randy peacock: neither did he want to think that a Creator wanted us to take a delight in His works.
Anyway, he believed that female birds WERE attracted by the beautiful plumage of the male, and that bees were attracted by the beauty of flowers.
His point was, that WE shouldn’t be.

Holy Moses, WHAT a mind!!!


36

Posted by uh on Fri, 23 Jul 2010 18:40 | #

I believe he was not making a point, but remarking on the conundrum presented to his theory by the male peacock’s display, apparently “useless”. One probably didn’t say gives me a headache back then.

Is someone programming the word strings? I just got “england14”.


37

Posted by Guessedworker on Fri, 23 Jul 2010 19:39 | #

Is someone programming the word strings? I just got “england14”.

Nope.  It’s just what that Swiss fellow to whom no sensible person pays much heed today used to call synchronicity.


38

Posted by Desmond Jones on Fri, 23 Jul 2010 20:08 | #

Captain,

Darwin wrote:

...until the faculties of imagination, curiosity, reason, etc., had been fairly well developed in the mind of man, his dreams would not have led him to believe in spirits, any more than in the case of a dog.

http://charles-darwin.classic-literature.co.uk/the-descent-of-man/ebook-page-64.asp

If you belief that those traits developed through natural selection, i.e. they were necessary for survival, then you probably have a case. However, if they were naturally selected then why doesn’t the concept of God appear in ancient tribes?

This is the approach Auster uses to deny evolution. Consciousness is not necessary for survival, so how did it arise? However, he fails to asked the same question of God. It is not necessary to survival to possess a God concept, so why did religion arise?

God spoke.

Is a metaphor likening two unlike things, God and man, who share or are perceived to share something in common. Probably done unconsciously, not being conscious of the use of metaphor, but also not being conscious of the formation of language. Otherwise it would be impossible to think or communicate if in fact we were conscious of the mental process that occurs.


39

Posted by Gorboduc on Sat, 24 Jul 2010 10:18 | #

DJ:

Consciousness is not necessary for survival

I’m with you there: see rocks, seas, cacti, clouds, etc. etc.

So, what is SURVIVAL neccessary for?

Well, I don’t for a split second accept what you say about metaphor.

God and man DO share several features in common, being, awareness and the abliity to act, for starters.

That much is obvious.

Another quality possessed by God and to some extent reflected in man, is the ability to create worlds.

This is something Tolkien insisted upon when asked to justify, or to explain, his writing of e.g., LotR.

As Christ possessed both a human and a divine nature, it is, frankly, an absurdity to speak of their “likeness” as being a false or unreal quality falsely perceived as the result of an imperfect grasp of the meaning of metaphorical language.

“Let us make man to our image and likeness…” -  GOD.

It is reliably recorded that Christ, being God, could speak and did so to remarkable effect: and His Father’s voice, “This is My beloved Son…” was heard at His baptism


40

Posted by Desmond Jones on Sat, 24 Jul 2010 14:39 | #

So, what is SURVIVAL neccessary for?

In your case, Dawkins may suggest, for God.


41

Posted by Gorboduc on Sat, 24 Jul 2010 16:45 | #

Then Dawkins would be quite right.


42

Posted by Alex Zeka on Sun, 25 Jul 2010 15:04 | #

Gorb,

Ok not ‘I’.

It is possible to describe and hence to conceive of a rose, etc. without reference. It is impossible to describe beauty or to understand it without reference to particular objects which are beautiful. This shows us that roses can exist without the concept of beauty (i.e. as red flowers), but beauty as a concept cannot exist without particular objects which are beautiful.

THAT is why I am certain of the existence of particular objects on a level that I’m not certain of the existence of concepts.


43

Posted by Alex Zeka on Sun, 25 Jul 2010 15:07 | #

So, what is SURVIVAL neccessary for?

A meaningless question. If you didn’t want survival, you wouldn’t even exist. Genes don’t per se want survival, it’s just that if they don’t impel you towards it they cease to exist.


44

Posted by Alex Zeka on Sun, 25 Jul 2010 15:09 | #

“It is possible to describe and hence to conceive of a rose, etc. without reference.”
should read “...without reference to beauty (e.g. as a red flower)”


45

Posted by Desmond Jones on Sun, 25 Jul 2010 15:50 | #

Genes don’t per se want survival, it’s just that if they don’t impel you towards it they cease to exist.

Dawkins, apparently, disagrees. However, you may be correct. He argues that the gene compels survival regardless of the host. He furthers that position with the concept of a cultural meme. Think of syphilis. Initially an incredibly virulent entity which evolved to be less virulent because prolonging the life of the host, prolonged the life and the infectious opportunities of the organism. In Dawkins world the religious meme is an organism that fights for survival, because that is natural, regardless of the well-being of the host. Living for God, to Dawkins, is the desire of the virus/parasite, not the host to further itself. JB covered this topic much more extensively some time ago. His example was a bee, if memory serves.


46

Posted by Gorboduc on Mon, 26 Jul 2010 08:47 | #

Alex, Au contraire, the question is packed with meaning.

There is a reason - a multiplicity of causes - for the existences of everything, entities, processes, the lot.

Also, I am not my genes.
I exist: and there are things much more important to me than my own survival.

Beauty is not the exclusive property of things - concrete objects.

All objects must be referable to concepts, even if only to the concept of “object”.

There is a will outside of our modes of existance that keep the whole thing going.

Here is Christopher Derrick, a one-time pupil of CS Lewis.

I once sat with Lewis in aCambridge pub, and, after several pints, raised the question of what school of philosophy is subscribed to by God. Lewis’a answer was immediate: God is a Berkleyan idealist.”
“No, ” I replied after some thought, God is a Logical Positivist.”
“That’s the worst blasphemy I ever heard,” said Lewis.
“On the contrary,” I said, warming to my theme: “God’s omniscience means that he empirically verifies all things all the time.If he fails to verify them, they aren’t there. It’s the human Logical Positivist who blasphemes. By making his own perceptions into the touchstone of reality. he’s claiming a divine prerogative for himself.”
Lewis conceded that I had a point.


- (C.S. Lewis and the Church of Rome, Ignatius, 1981)


47

Posted by Gorboduc on Mon, 26 Jul 2010 09:57 | #

Desmond; Your man Lubbock is a bit out-of-date.

Let us suppose for a bit that his dictum is correct, that certain ancient tribes had (as far as he could see it in his day) no idea of God.

I am being generous to Lubbock in supposing that he or his informants had actually been given access to the darkest recesses of tribal lore, and that he and the team were being scrupulously honest in reporting what tribal spokesmen had confided to them.

I am not assuming that which some anthropologists have admitted, that there are some areas of lore so sacred that it it taboo for their existance even to be admitted to -  let alone to be discussed with - the unitiated and outsiders.

Let us suppose that the most ancient tribe on earth could be shown to have absolutely no traces of God-consciousness in their songs, poetry, art, building-techniques, traditional law and lore, system of morality, vocabulary, repertoire of gesture, no sense of reverence either for persons or places, and that the tribe reacted with genuine incomprehension when asked about such things: and let us suppose that the most ancient of the elders, being asked to ransack his memory for recollections of his great-grandfather, could honestly say “No, the old boy never mentioned any of this, I’m sure!” - well, that might take us back nearly two centuries, but what then?

This ancient tribe has been in Papua or wherever for 10 or 20 times that time-span.

It would be temerarious in the extreme to say that therefore the tribe NEVER CAN have had any God-consciousness.

It would be presumptuous to say that at no time in the tribe’s history could there ever have existed a reforming genius, the equivalent of Luther or of Cranmer or of Calvin, who censored out by force certain beliefs and practices, and that the ruin began by this man was completed by some tribal “rationalist”, a proto-Dawkins figure, or even a Lenin, whose names and actions alike are forgotten.
It would be unscientific to state that because the tribe has no identifable religious lore that therefore it never had any.

Perhaps the tribe may be more properly described, not as primitive, but as decadent?

Lubbock was a Victorian: one feature of Victorian archaeology was that it was often based on a desire for plunder rather than for information, its methods were violent and unsystematic, and it often obliterated by its crude and makeshift nature the evidence that it claimed to be seeking.

(An example of how a simple gesture can indicate the clear trace of a forgotten religious allegiance: why do RN seamen salute the quarterdeck?  It’s not to indicate the absence of hostile intent to any officer who may be standing there: it’s because up to the English reformation each warship displayed a large crucifix there.

If you only take the history of the Navy back to 1700, you may be aware of the action but not of the reason.
How could Lubbock be certain that he’s got back to the tribal equivalent of 1700?
He couldn’t, so he was making a mere assertion.
How many MR posters really want to base their beliefs about reality on what is merely alleged about an ancient tribe?)


48

Posted by Gabriel Andrade on Thu, 26 Aug 2010 14:39 | #

Dawkins is not promoting eugenics; he is only saying that it could be done (whether or not it is ethical, that is another matter). Sure, you could have a breed of body builders, i.e. a race. Dawkins is not denying that, given some circumstances (artificial selection applied to human beings, i.e., eugenics), races could come up. But, that does not mean that, currently, human races exist. In other words, Dawkins admits human races could exist in the future, but he does NOT seem to admit that human races exist right now.


49

Posted by tina on Fri, 28 Jan 2011 16:21 | #

Dawkins is NOT a supporter of Race as a biological taxa. Nor does he think races exist. You are very much mistaken.


50

Posted by Ken on Wed, 21 Sep 2011 04:01 | #

In the United States over the past 25 years over 40% of the people believe man was created by God

In Defense of Americans! Let me just say that number represents 13% of a population that is black and flat out hates the idea of evolution being true.  If you were to poll just white Americans,  I think the number would be around 25% believe man was created by God.


51

Posted by Edruezzi on Wed, 02 Apr 2014 19:05 | #

I just looked up the Dawkins book you quoted. It’s useful to read the entire passage and the sections around it. Dawkins only says people differentiated upon leaving Africa. He says nothing about race.



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