Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Has Science Eliminated God? - an audio lecture by Alister McGrath

Quotes and comments;
- this is an excellent lecture; marred only by an overly timid critique. McGrath compliments Dawkins so profusely it's bewildering. (Maybe it's an English thing.)

- Dawkins repeatedly makes the claim the religion relies on what he calls 'blind faith.' He doesn't defend his definition of faith, and doesn't source it. This is a joke. If you can define your terms the way you want to you could win any argument with ease. D. doesn't seem to have the wit to understand this. I get the impression of someone who has very little familiarity with philosophy; especially epistemology. As M. points out, this is a definition of faith no c. theologian uses.

- McGrath tell us that in 1978 when he heard of d.'s idea of the meme he was very impressed. He thought it had 'intellectual rigor' - that it would help explain cultural development. Was he forgetting this is only an analogy? one that can in no way be proven to have any validity? This is just pop philosophy; intellectual faddism. How can an analogy between biology and culture be meaningful? There is no way this can be proved.
- This reminds me of one of plato's stories. ie. 'well it might be something like this...' This would be fine for a sf novel, but it is NOT science. Memes are not in any way science. (And this from a man who insists on scientific rigor, and empirical evidence! This apologist for atheism seems to have totally forgotten that culture is directed by intelligent beings; directed purposefully. Even as rhetoric this fails badly; surely anyone with sense can see you can't compare non-intelligent and intelligent factors. (Any more than you can compare living and non-living things; ie. rocks and apples or bears.)
- in his speculations about memes D. has given people the rope they need to hang him. If we cannot discover the meme (its physical existence) not only is the theory of memes destroyed, so also is d.'s model of evolution. (ie. it would mean his theory cannot account for human life as we know it. A theory that can't explain human life has no importance in the long run. It becomes a mere intellectual oddity.


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