Thursday, August 23, 2007

Delusion X - Circular logic?

In his fourth chapter Dawkins sneakily adds to his definition of God, that he be explainable or that he makes sense in a scientific context (etc.). A key definition of science is that it deals with observable natural phenomena (ie. an Axiom of there being no God). Using only scientific research that starts with an Axiom of there being no God, he comes to the conclusion that there be no God. I fail to see how that isn't a tautology based on a circular argument. There is definition creep going on here such that he is defining a God such that it couldn't possibly make sense that it exists. That demonstrates nothing about God fearing intellectuals and *their* God. This doesn't mean I agree or disagree. I already accept that I am a PAP. This doesn't mean that I think God is more probable than he does. This whole chapter has no bearing on our Definition (a) which we dispute. Talk on whether God makes sense given known science is a completely meaningless concept to me.

7 comments:

winstoninabox said...

Now come come marco. Can you provide any quotes that show Dawkin's 'sneakily' adding to his definition of God. You've made 10 posts about The God Delsuion and haven't quoted anything in support of any of your ideas. These posts are unsubstantiated opinion pieces that don't lend themselves to a debate. How can we have any debate when we don't know from where you're forming these ideas?

Dr. Clam said...

Yes, it would be good to quote bits of Dawkins to illustrate your points, Marco.

But, winstoninabox, Marco *knows* we've both read the book. We can judge for ourselves whether his ideas are valid are not because we've already read the book and know what Dawkins said. Insisting that he provide citations is pedantic and silly (Clam, 2005; Clam, 2006; see also refs. in Clam, 2006a).

Dr. Clam said...

I concur that Dawkins is arguing in a circular manner. I think the reason we can't have any debate is because one of us is a metaphysical naturalist and two of us are not. By Marco's post 'Delusion IX', therefore, we are starting from radically different axioms and will never be able to make any progress!

winstoninabox said...

I disagree dr clam. It is most certainly not pedantic. It provides clarification. We have all read the book, but I would suggest that we've read it in 3 different ways. marco or yourself may interpret a sentence, paragraph or even a whole chapter different from myself. If we know exactly what we're talking about then we can more clearly debate it.

And one of us may have a misunderstanding from a misreading. If we know where that occurred then we can fix it.

And as I said after 10 post with no citations at all I'm losing track of what Dawkins said and what marco thinks he said.

winstoninabox said...

I'm glad you read the wikipedia article about metaphysical naturalism. It gives a really good overview of what I think. And if you read the arguments for and against naturalism then we've probably covered any of the differences we're ever likely to debate.

That said I'm still eagerly awaiting your full definitions of God that you've begun. I had extensively read Mr. Rilstone's blog, and of course your's too, and did not have a clear idea of the God that believers now have that is somehow different from the God that Dawkins was examining. I hope that your definitions and marco's posts will continue to be a source of debate.

But we do need to know what we are talking about, thus citations and definitions are important.

Marco said...

Hmmm... Citations cramp my blogging style a little bit. I don't usually have the book handy when I blog. I rely very heavily on memory and sense impressions.

winstoninabox said...

marco I'd like to applaud you for reading The God Delusion. When I went on holiday I'd thought our discussion was pretty much at an end, for I can only spend so much time to reply to comments from someone who had never read the book in question, yet insisted on taking such an opposing viewpoint. Your reading the book and then taking up the mantle of blogging about it has kept alive this discussion.

That said you've made numerous negative claims about what Dawkins says. Look particularly at X, VI, V, VI and III. All very negative but without any backup for why. You even use wiggle words such as "looks like" and "implies" without even showing the sentence. So while it may look like or imply that to you, to someone else it may mean something completely different. You could even have a misreading or a misprinting, but we'd never know because we don't know exactly what you're talking about.

Please don't take the above as damning criticisms. I'm glad you're reading the book and writing your thoughts about it. I for one have greatly enjoyed reading, thinking about, and researching my own and your opposing views. I can only highly recommend that we take the time to back up any claims we make. It makes the discussion so much more robust, and really adds to everyone's knowledge. You never know, in looking for that prefect citation you may find that your original idea had no substance to it, or you may find an even better argument to use!

I look forward to our continuing discussions.