Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Enough Notes To Decide Dawkins' "God Hypothesis" Wasn't Worth Further Reading

pg 31:

"The God of the old testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vidictive, bloodthirsty, ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestiliential, mealomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully."

It would be interesting to respond to this.  The character of yhvh in tanakh from b'reishit to malakhim is curious.  The experience that the human characters have is another thing.  And then there is the experience that the writers are trying to portray.  In fact, the question is: JUST WHAT is each writer trying to do?  So for instance some people angry at religion want to assume that the writers are lying for the purpose of scaring stupid people into listening to priests.

"it is unfair to atttack such an easy target.  The God Hypothesis should not stand or fall with its most unlovely instantiation.. nor the opposite face gentle jesus."

>God hypothesis:

>there exists
>a superhuman intelligence
>supernatural intelligence
i don't understand the meaning of supernatural.  i wonder if he's gonna do some anthropology in this book.

>who deliberately designed
>and created
>the universe and everything in it,
>including us

That's too much and too little i'm afraid!

pg 32 he has a hard time sticking to a topic. 
"it is not clear why the change from polytheism to monotheism should be assumed to be a self-evidently progressive improvement.  But it widely is..." till you get rid of just one MORE god, and presto atheism..

will he explore this?

he gets lost.  it looks as if he is going to DESCRIBE polytheism, instead he gets lost on a tangent about tax exempt status of religions.. very poor.

pg 35 this is just glib sophomoric "nya nya na nya nya" he is poking at people he thinks are dumb.  He's doing no carefull ethological work on the religious behavior of Homo sapiens.  he's just cocking his feathers fancifully so the girls will like him.

pg 36 he makes sure to call FEMINIST theologians "ditzy"  nice.

oh so now he comes out and says

 "I am aware that critics of religion can be attacked (!?!  see, he's in FIGHT mode, a boy!) for failing to credit the fertile diversity of traditions and world-views that have been called reigious.  Anthropologically informed works , from Sir James Frazer's "Golden Bough" (?!?) to Pascal Boyer's "religion explained or scott atran's "in gods we trust" fascinatingly document... read such books and marvel at the richness of human gullibility (more off handed remarks)"

"but that is not the way of this book.  I decry supernaturalism in all its forms, and the most effective way to proceed will be to concentrate on the form most likely to be familiar to my readers - the form that impinges most threatening on all our societies. "

the 3 great monotheism which trace themselcves back to the mythologial abraham.

"this is a good moment to forestall an inevitable retort..the god dawkins doesn't believe in is a god i don't believe in either..  i don't believe in an old man in the sky with a long white beard... that's an irrevelent distraction.. from the fact that what the speaker really believes in is not a whole lot less silly"

"I'm not attacking any particular version of God or gods.  I am attacking any particular version of God or gods.  I am attacking God [listen to dawkins puff up his opponent so that he looks like a mighty davy to his goliath!], all gods, anything and everything supernatural wherever and whenever they have been or will be invented."

well that's a lofty goal.  it's also terribly general.  and that doesn't sound like the approach of a biologist.  Dawkins is NO biologist!

pg 37  quote at top of page, there he goes again with that "barbaric bronze age text" bullshit.  gore vidal this time.  what bronze age text?  no evidence that it comes from bronze age...

D says that judaism is older and CLEARLY the ancestor of christianity and islam.

the judaism we know today, rabinic judaism seems to have grown side by side with christianity.  do we REALLY have any knowlege of it BEFORE christianity developed on the scene?  judaism "originally a tribal cult"  does that have a specific meaning or does D just mean to paint a picture of a bunch of head hunters dressed in feathers?  "originally a tribal cult of a single fiercely unpleasant God, morbidly obsessed with sexual restrictions, smell of charred flesh, his own superiority over rival gods and with the exclusiveness of his chosen desert tribe"

huh?  he's describing judaism by refering to a god, whom he is trying to show is imaginary?  he's taking a text which he believs to be fairy tales as an anthroplogical account of a moment in history of human peoples?

these 'theists' are stupid!

then he points out christianity and islam are spread by the sword. 

then we see that this is NOT the work of a scholar, but a pop book by a celebrity:

"for most of my purpose all three Abrahamic religions can be treated as indistinguishable.  unless otherwise stated i shall have christianity mostly in mind, but only because it is the version with which i happen to be most familiar [so he doesn't have the guts to do the hard work and LEARN about the others?  some animal ethologist.  he's LAZY!] for my purposes the differences matter less than the similarites.  and i shall not be concerned at all with other religions such as Buddhism or Confcianism [that's a religion?]  Indeed there is something to be said for treating these not as religions at all but as ethical systems or philosophies of life."

huh! interesting game he is playing.  every thing he DOESN'T like, he'll call a religion, and everything he likes will be called an ethical system or philosophy.  i suppose he wants to focus on the idea of an intelligent being who created the universe for the purpose of playing out a drama with ONE species, Homo sapiens, for whom he has a particular plan.  hmm.. 

so first of all some census data.  what percentage of people who use the word "god" use it in that sense.  and why do people use the word "god" to mean other things?

"The simple definition of the God Hypothesis with which i began has to be substantially fleshed out if it is to accomodate the abrahamic god.  he not only created the niverse; he is a personal god dwelling within it, or perhaps outside it (whatever that might mean) [well?  which is it?  is there a unified enough conception of this god for you to write about or NOT?] possesing the unpleasant human qualities to which i have alluded"

then he makes a passing mention of thomas paine's 'deist god'  saying at on one hand he is very different, almost the laws of physics, but a supreme intelligence nevertheless.

is he going to really explore in detail the demographic that thinks about god in the way he is sloppily fleshing out?  and is he interested in the breadth of huuman conceptions associated with god and religion or not?  is he going for UNDERSTANDING or RIDICULE?

p39 and now he gets distracted again by discussing the founding of the united states as a secular state...  i don't get this guy.

and now pg 40 he does ask an anthropological question (for a moment he forgets he's nder attack?  if the u.s. was founded secular and england was a religious state why are the tables now turned?
1) u.s. has immigrants who hold onto religius identitties for cohesion
2) england was wearied by all the religious wars
3) becase u.s. was secular rival religions were free to compete for congregants and the market went wild.
4) the english system with its country vicars evolved into a kind of benign deism.  (but WHY?)

and now he wants to know if any of the founding fathers were out and out atheists.

he's so confused.  i thought this was his chapter on the 'god hypothesis'???

pg 44 comparing to public attitude to atheists: " yet the jewish lobby is notoriously one of teh most formidably influential in Washington."

huh?  up there with oil and pharmaceuticals?  no data of course.

why is this brit, writing mostly about AMERICAN social phenomena?

this is so sloppy is this a chap on God hypothesis or a rambling about current events of violence in america against atheists?  i'm confused.

oh that was all supposed to be a subchapter on the 'deist hypothesis'  this writing sucks.

pg47.  now he will talk about agnosticism.  wait.. he hasn't even defined the god hypothesis for me or at least described how people use it..  in detail.

he begins by calling agnostics "namby pamby, mushy pap, weak tea, weedy palllid fence sitters".  Oh that's scholarly!  That's discussion!

pg 47 so he says it's alright to be agnostic on teh topic of what caused the permian extinction.  Well, yes, i can ask for a detailed description of the permian exitnction.  masses of paleontolical data, strata fossils.  how se define extinction rates, morphospecies etc...

but, Dawkins, you haven't defined the God hypothesis in enough detail yet for me to decide whether i agree, refute or remain agnostic.

hell you quote sagan as saying it's reasonable to be agnostic on the question of whether there is life elsewhere in the universe.  do you mean life with dna, rna, rna polymerase, ribosomes, tRNA, tRNAases, ATPase and the host of bioenergetic redox catalysts that run the whole thing inside lipid membranes?  or do you mean something more general?

he says two kinds of agnosticism: TAP  something caused the permian extinction and we WILL or CAN eventually find the evidence.

PAP what color do you see when i see red, there is NO way to find evidence.  so i used that argument with tom, but now i am not so sure.  we ARE beginning to taese apart the nrural processes.. but will we ever be able to relate them to experiencing?  Will i EVER be able to decide whether a very complex computer program which passes teh turing test for me, EXPERIENCES also, something like me?  i say i cannot be sure that another human even experiences being alive in the way i do.  but then again, there are times when i'm NOT experiencing being alive, so i may be able to track down neural correlates to the times when i'm experiencing and the times i'm not?

so i don't know what to say about this topic yet!

so now pg 50 he says the god hypothesis (which he really hasn't sketched out yet) is a scientific hyptothesis to which we may not have enough evidence or may NEVER have anough evidence but what we CAN do is at least say that the probablity if its truth is way less than 10% or 2% or 0.0002%.  hm..  the more precisly you want to do that the more precisely you want to define your hypothesis.  and then justify narrowing such a broad range of human behavior into such a narrow hypothesis, or prove to me that a substantial and important portion of humanity follows it.

he presents a spectrum:

1) god 100% jung knows there is a god
2) god 99% well i aint certain but i strongly believe and live accordingly
3)god >50% very uncertain, inclined to belive
4)god nogod 50% can't tell either way
[how on earth does one measure the diff between 4 and 3?  a tad silly, no?]
5)god<50 br="" disbelieve="" inclined="" to="" uncertain="" very="">6)99% no god  can't know for certain but it's really improbable, i live as if not
7)100% no god.  can't imagine many can justify this stance

dawkins says he's 6 leaning on 7.

position 4 (which i don't understand how one can measure) is not the same as PAP, no way to decide.  If PAP then no way to even assign probabilites.

russels orbiting teapot: it would be close to impossible to prove it aint out there. (huh?  we can look at the records, no teapots were launched into space)  (furthermore you produced this teapot example precisely as a kind of intellectual clever arguement.  that's NOT the way the god hypothesis came about.)

one camp says one should be agnostic about teapots.  one camp atheist.

oh russel is saying some religious think that it is the job of the atheist skeptic to provide eveidence against religion, not the job of the religious to provide evidence for.  so he supposes that saying there is a teapot is the same as saying there is god, and it's silly for skeptics to have to bring forth an exhaustive search out there for the little thing.  surely it is the burden of the proposer of the teapot to bring evidence.  One problem with this paralel is that russel just cooked up the teapot idea for the sake of argument.  The god idea has been evident in human cultures around the world for 1000s of years with 100s of millions of adherents.

if russel says there is a teapot out there, i will just ignore him as being a looney or being too clever.  if 100s of millions of humans over earth for 1000s of years say there is a god, i'm gonna look into it.  at least to find out what they mean and why.  i wouldn't care less whether russel meant his teapot to be ceramic or iron.

oh, pg 53, his point is here is an example of a hypothesis while we can't find exclusive eveidence, the probablitity of there being a teapot is NOWHWERE = to the probability of there NOT being a teapot.  So we don't bother to look.  so just because you can't PROVE "god doesn't exist" doesn't mean that we can't say "he VERY probably does not exist"

ok.  why not stronger contention:  "why are you even INTERSTED in such arcane stuff.  There's children and history and meadows and experiments and civics..."

well, this is all well and good. i know how to think about whether and how a teapot can or cant get into orbit around the sun.  but i still don't know how to think about what people MEAN by god.  and i suspect that dawkins won't help me.

"...when asked whether i'm an atheist to point out that the questioner is also an atheist when considering zeus... wotan... flying spaghetti monster.."

hmm... is this solid?  i think not.  Can dawkins assert that any given christian does not believe in zeus?  do either of them even KNOW WHAT IT MEANS to believe in zeus or not?  what's the hypothesis?  that he throws thunderbolts while sitting on clouds?  ok, bar then what about allah?  people believe in allah, now.  ditto.  how do i know that that christian professing his christianity doesn't have roughly the same conception as another particular moslem has about allah?  Just that they speak different languages?   i suppose it all boils down to how literal.  What's the definitions?  Moslems say jesus is NOT god.  Christians say jesus IS god.  The HISTORICAL? jesus?  That god became human for a time?  Do all who call themselves christian beleive this?  Gabe?  ****

and what about the retort, "come on Bar, you know damm well what most people mean by god"  umm no, i spent a few years in college researching that, asking that, exploring that, i don't know what they mean.  I don't even know what red looks like to them.  Do you know what durga means?  hmm... she's insecure, she heryo worships.  she's in love with her bishop in a way i would never be.  she was in love with me in a way i wasn't in love with her.  she WANTS someone to guide her.  she doesn't think she can go out on her own and define the way to go.  she has spent her life in administrative support roles.  so had Tanya.  and with tanya, could i even say: "I know your conception of religion is wrong"?  NO, there was a point in her thinking process beyond which i could not break into.  she kept very hidden.  therefore there is no way i could say her conception was wrong, becuase there was no way i could even FIND her conception.

couldn't you guess?  yeah.  i could guess that she wanted parents that loved her and her total religious behavior was in response to that.  it's not a matter of logically defined entities.  hence this atheist-theist arguement is only so much ruffling of feathers.  silly.

but important point.  do you suppose there are masses of people who CAN'T sustain a skeptical life dealing with reality every day but who can only master a lower grade of existence of touching relity a little, following along and spending most of their time in a constructed world?

whether they believe in god isn't the issue, the issue is: are they constitutionally capable of leading self directed lives?  Is democracy REALLY possible?

suppose people like dawkins had their way and 100s of millions of believers went into therapy and got cured of their belief.  First of all... are they even capable of letting go?  and if so, are they strong enough to live without it?  It's been the way for the masses for 1000s of years, maybe 10s of thousands.  Does Dawkins and his ilk have ANY grounds to believe that the majority of humanity can master life to the level that his fellow academics can?

i have my doubts.

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