Thursday, December 20, 2007

(215) A surprise hit

At 1.45 a.m. on November 16th 2004 I was searching for more news reports on the case of Major Ingram, and fed this into Google -
Daily Mail Southwark Crown Court Major Charles Ingram trial March 2003

To my surprise, one of the earliest matches the search threw up was -

Free Republic.com/focus/f-news/1022536/posts
(Unfortunately this link no longer functions.)

The apposite nature (for me) of much of the material thrown up by this hit could hardly escape me -

Richard Dawkins' lecture series: "The Science of Religion and the Religion of Science.Harvard University Gazette ^ 1 3 November 2003 Ken Gewertz, Harvard News Office
Posted on 11/15/2003 3:51:38 PM PST by PatrickHenry

Dawkins is to lecture on the Science of Religion, and the Religion of Science. He is to introduce his new work The Devil´s Chaplain.
The title is from a letter by Charles Darwin: "What a book a Devil's Chaplain might write on the clumsy, wasteful, blundering, low and horridly cruel works of nature."
Darwin was no believer in the "argument by design, ... Dawkins has no use for this idea either. ... he affirms his belief in natural selection, not God, as... behind the order of the natural world.

"As an academic scientist... I am a passionate Darwinian, believing that natural selection is, if not the only driving force in evolution, certainly the only known force capable of producing the illusion of purpose which so strikes all who contemplate nature. But I... am a passionate anti-Darwinian when it comes to politics and... human affairs."

What might the author... have to say about religion? First, it seems clear that an evolutionist who views human culture as an outgrowth of our genetic code... must take religion seriously, at least as a powerful and persistent aspect of culture.
Yet it is highly unlikely that Dawkins will embrace the notion that science and religion are converging, that they support each other's conclusions and point of view and can exist in a happy synthesis.
In an essay titled "The Great Convergence," he affirms the essential incongruence of science and religion's basic premises and questions the integrity of scientists who suggest otherwise. But he is... willing to acknowledge a feeling of religious awe in the presence of nature's wonders.

"I do think - and this is what my second lecture will be about - that there is something quasireligious in science, the sense of awe, the sense of wonder, the sense of almost spiritual response to the universe, which I believe I have and many other scientists have developed to a high degree, but I would resist confusing that with the supernatural."

By the supernatural, Dawkins has in mind forces that ostensibly override the laws of nature. He characterizes the religious view as the belief "that there are capricious interventions by some sort of supernatural being, some sort of intelligence, that interfere with the world, that interfere with the universe, in ways that violate the laws of physics.
My view of the laws of physics is that they are at present no doubt somewhat mysterious, but they are lawful in the sense that they are not violated. Capricious things don't happen..."
he said.
In an essay titled "Good and Bad Reasons for Believing,"... Dawkins extols direct observation and scientific investigation as reliable methods of arriving at truth, and dismisses as spurious the kinds of evidence on which most religions base their claims - tradition, authority, and revelation.
Having demolished its evidential basis, Dawkins questions why religion should be accorded special treatment...
In an essay on the events of Sept. 11, 2001, "A Time to Stand Up," he calls religion "the most inflammatory enemy-labeling device in history," and calls on people of intellect to resolve "to respect people for what they individually think, rather than respect groups for what they were collectively brought up to believe."... Whatever his subject, Dawkins is a powerful writer who never soft-pedals his ideas or minces words. No doubt his lectures next week will be equally provocative and challenging.


We then move into the responses to the post, in which a US Games Show host (actually an Englishman) is confused with the famed anti-Religionist, Richard Dawkins!

The poster chooses the handle of Patrick Henry, which was indeed the very guy who, in the final example of my book Coincidences, undid the lady Shawna Rosen on the US version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? "

The question was -
´Which of the following said " I regret that I only have one life to lose for my country?"

The choices were Samuel Adams, Daniel Webster, Patrick Henry or Nathan Hale.
Most of the people we have asked thought the answer was Patrick Henry, including Regis Philbin, the show´s host.
The correct answer is Nathan Hale, and 3 of her phone friends knew the answer, although the audience might have missed it.

And then this Free Republic thread degenerates into a classic Creationist/Evolutionist slanging match.

And all of that from a Google inquiry which had absolutely nothing to do with Dawkins nor Darwinism, but which centred upon the other classic and quite separate incorrect verdict with which I had concerned myself...

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