Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion created a storm of controversy over the question of God's existence. Now, in The Greatest Show on Earth, Dawkins presents a stunning counterattack against advocates of "Intelligent Design" that explains the evidence for evolution while keeping an eye trained on the absurdities of the creationist argument.
More than an argument of his own, it's a thrilling tour into our distant past and into the interstices of life on earth. Taking us through the case for evolution step-by-step, Dawkins looks at DNA, selective breeding, anatomical similarities, molecular family trees, geography, time, fossils, vestiges and imperfections, human evolution, and the formula for a strong scientific theory.
Dawkins' trademark wit and ferocity is joined by an infectious passion for the beauty and strangeness of the natural world, proving along the way that the mechanisms of the natural world are more miraculous -- a "greater show" -- than any creation story generated by any religion on earth.
Richard Dawkins is a world-renowned evolutionary biologist and author. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society and, until recently, held the Charles Simonyi Chair of Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University. His first book, The Selfish Gene, was an instant international bestseller, and has become an established classic work of modern evolutionary biology.
He is also the author of The Blind Watchmaker, River Out of Eden, Climbing Mount Improbable, Unweaving the Rainbow, A Devil's Chaplain, The Ancestor's TaleThe God Delusion, and most recently, The Greatsest Show on Earth.
Professor Dawkins's awards have included the Silver Medal of the Zoological Society of London (1989), the Royal Society's Michael Faraday Award (1990), the Nakayama Prize for Achievement in Human Science (1990), The International Cosmos Prize (1997) and the Kistler Prize (2001).
He has Honorary Doctorates in both literature and science, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society.
Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins explains he no longer debates creationists because his presence only validates their status. He compares the situation to a reproductive scientist agreeing to debate an advocate of the "stork theory."
Critique and denial of metaphysical beliefs in God or divine beings. Unlike agnosticism, which leaves open the question of whether there is a God, atheism is a positive denial. It is rooted in an array of philosophical systems. Ancient Greek philosophers such as Democritus and Epicurus argued for it in the context of materialism. In the 18th century David Hume and Immanuel Kant, though not atheists, argued against traditional proofs for God's existence, making belief a matter of faith alone. Atheists such as Ludwig Feuerbach held that God was a projection of human ideals and that recognizing this fiction made self-realization possible. Marxism exemplified modern materialism. Beginning with Friedrich Nietzsche, existentialist atheism proclaimed the death of God and the human freedom to determine value and meaning. Logical positivism holds that propositions concerning the existence or nonexistence of God are nonsensical or meaningless.
Dr. Richard Dawkins's comparison of history teachers teaching history and the attempt of Holocaust deniers to dictate what is taught is a accurate and to the point although he is compelled to be somewhat diplomatic about it, I have no such compunction. As a orphan that was raised by christian foster parents, attending Sunday school every Sunday morning and church services every Sunday evening and every revival, when ever and where ever they my be in the surrounding counties I believe I can say that I am fairly well versed in the scriptures.
As a youngster I done the usual thing of witnessing, admonishing those that took the name of they lord, they god, in vain and so on. As I progressed into my teenage years I began to question some of the passages but was determined to hold onto my beliefs. After all, weren't we all governed by a all knowing, all seeing god that not only knew all that we had ever done, and took note of it, but even what we thought and would read from our book of life in judgment to cast us down into the depths of hell for all eternity or punish us in life for any act of waywardness.
Even in my mid teenage years, when I began to have serious doubts about a supernatural entity that created the whole universe and knew of every sparrow that fell to the ground and counted every hair on ones head and yet allowed such grievous things to happen to good people, not to mention wars, famine,birth defects and despair, I was still afraid to even question the word of a all knowing god that had his own reasons for such events and that were beyond the understanding of mere mortals, so for a whole decade I was a agnostic, neither truly believing but not having the will nor the strength to break away. I can now say this so that who may ever read this may realize that I understand the mind control of religion and how difficult it is to put it aside, as a growing child comes to grips that there is no Santa in reality. That religion is a instrument of mind control by those that wish to control others for their own gratification and the receptacle of the humility of believers for their own elevation above others as to present themselves as representatives of god.
By the time of my late teens I was well aware of the mental pollution that is religion. Of it's control of the ignorant, simple minded peasant masses by means of fear by various means here on earth, not to mention that of the afterlife. There was a time when the church forbade education of the general population in fear that they might form their own opinions They did found institutions of education but only for the purpose of producing leaders that would impress upon the uneducated the religious dogma and the power of the church. Once the printing press was in wide use the church then encouraged the learning of reading so that more people could read the scriptures and thus, no excuse for not adhering to it's interpretation and woe to those that had a opinion of their own
Although the church may not have cause the dark ages it certainly took advantage of it to tighten it's grip on the superstitious and ignorant masses in their fear of evil spirits that only the church could defend them from. One would logically think that in this day and age when we are no longer under the power of the church that we would have risen above superstition, but many of us have not and are very much still steeped in the religious dogma that our lives are controlled by the supernatural and that a relationship with what ever supernatural entity, can and will make our lives better and that by our relationship with that entity will have us rise above that of the nonbelievers.
As far as the Muslims, I believe there are good people of all faiths but is there anyone that doubts that should the radicals prevail that the Mideast would slip into another dark age like the christian church once had all of Europe in it's grasp. I have no real animosity toward any religious group, other than I believe that any religion is a insult to the intelligence of humankind, but any group that would kill any number of people to press there beliefs on them are actually religious fascist. The world has been subject to these types for far too long.
Excelente!! espero leer el libro ASAP.
Me sorprende el grado de fundamentalismo y fanatismo que hay en varios de los POST con respecto al tema de la evolución. Me sorprendió saber también que existe gente aparentemente bien educada que aún cree en el creacionismo. Creo que nunca me va a dejar de sorprender que personas que viven en este siglo, sigan auto engañados con supersticiones de la edad de bronce, que busquen modificar la explicaciones que aparecen en sus libros "sagrados" que no son mas que transcripciones de relatos orales tribales y tratar de amoldarlas a la realidad, cada vez que la ciencia demuestra que la tradición religiosa está absolutamente equivocada (como en el geocentrismo). Realmente esa gente da miedo, su sin razón y dogmatismo son peligrosos.
"..adept at seeming learned.." For a second there I thought Dawkins was talking about himself.
He has always fascinated me as an observation study of "perception-of-everything-in-reverse" disorder. He thinks there is no Intelligent Design. Yet, he thinks life here was created by aliens: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BoncJBrrdQ8
He thinks the teaching of evolution is "bullied" by Intelligent Design believers. If anything, it's the other way around.
He thinks it's either science or lunacy. The truth is that believers in a divinely created universe have practiced science (and co-existed with science) since the origin of science. In his mental disorder, co-existence is impossible.
Dawkins analogy is flawed from the get go. The type of evidence undergirding belief in the Holocaust is of a wholly different type than the evidence undergirding evolution as an explanation for the origins of life. We don't have video footage or eyewitness accounts of the primate-to-man process that we do have for the Holocaust. It is my understanding that creationists question the Darwinian interpretation of the fossil record. I have yet to meet a creationist who doesn't see natural selection at work in the animal kingdom right now. Natural selection and micro evolution are not on the table for debate, but admitting that is no where close to conceding that Darwinian evolution is a satisfying explanation for life-origins.
One last thought...
If religion is the opiate of the common people, then should we also say that Darwinian evolution is the opiate of the materialist?
Originally Posted by anselmiano
So now Darwinians resent being asked to show the intermediate forms predicted by their theory?! That's heading in the unscientific direction of asking us to just take their word for it. And asking "why are we here" a silly question? It is one of the most fundamental questions of philosophy! The fact that atheists like Dawkins have only meaninglessness and pointlessness to offer for an answer doesn't mean that it is a "silly" question. Not asking it is what is in fact not just silly but deeply shallow.
No, it's resentment of the lack of consideration of the rest of the evidence, and the use of the ommission of any given record, however trivial as in an attept to disprove everything else.
Imagine you're walking along a beach trying to follow someones footprints. You can still see what looks like them up ahead, but the water has washed away two consecutive footprints before the trail continues off towards them.
Now, you know that they would not have been capable of jumping from the footprint before the gap to the one after. Would you or would you not resent needing to prove that those footprints, eradicated by the tide, had been left, and where they had been left in spite of the miles of the contiguous footprints which meet their feet?
It's not the resntment of proof. It's the resentment of using any trivially lost record to refute the weight of the surviving records.
Originally Posted by InVinoVeritas
Dawkins is little more than a playground provocateur with a clever-sounding accent. Agnosticism is a rational and intellectually honorable tradition. Hard atheism, on the other hand, is every bit as fantastical and dishonest as fundamentalist religion. The atheists don't know, the fundamentalists don't know. They both act like they do and are equally presumptuous in their pretensions.
"Ditchkins" - as the eminent English Marxist theorist Terry Eagleton calls the trinity of atheist poseurs - miss the point entirely. "Believing that religion is a botched attempt to explain the world . . . is like seeing ballet as a botched attempt to run for a bus."
Personally I pretty much agree with you about agnosticism, but to be fair to the aetheists, they are ultimately "aetheistic" because there is nothing that leads them to suppose that there even needs to be a theory of a "god/s". They nip the whole question of god/s in the bud as uneccessary.
It is only when Aetheists are asked or choose to explore the question of religion further in its own right where they might hypothesize about religion's origins. Here they could fairly propose it was based in part on a false understanding of the world and not evidence.
The quote you give doesnt hold water, because although this person believes religion to be something other, Dawkins is clearly addressing the fact that many people do think and have thought religion is a way to explain the physical world.
Do you think maybe the risk of being agnostic is similar to being a reporter - we can hear two stories and always try to present them to ourselves in a balanced way. Which seems the right thing to do, but it can lead to intellectual dishonor if it is simply about following a tradition and not genuine critical thought or following where the evidence leads. The two stories may not balance and so what keeps us hovering in this middle ground?
Essentially it is the same form of faith that you are ascribing to the aetheists if we are not willing to say that perhaps the aetheists or some religious group are right . Our defence is that "you can never know for sure", but is it really just opting out of the whole debate at times? And even if we cant know are we saying that there is no truth to either argument? For if there is a truth there somewhere, how can we criticize or agree with either party, Aetheists or Fundamentals, other than based on their claims?
I respect that aetheists at least exist on a continuum where the evideince for them has tipped to a point where "withholding provisional consent would be obscene" (or however the saying goes). We may be undecided, but I think we need to respect that some people, perhaps wiser or more knowledgable than us (or perhaps not) are fairly confident in their conclusions, either based on the evidence, some other feeling or simply their limited definition of the problem.
Arrogance is to assume that someone else couldnt possibly know better something that you dont. So if Dawkins or the Fundamentals are arrogant, then claiming out right neither of them can have the true answer is pretty arrogant too really. Probably better not to argue a position and definitions as if somehow the honor of the position is more important than the facts.
Dawkins has already ruined himself as a credible scientist, so enough with the dog and pony show already. Who will FORA have on tomorrow, Jerry Springer? Folks, we can do much better than this.
Have you ever read any of his books? Scientific or theological?
Evolution is not a weakest species lose type belief, more that it's a change within the animal in order to adapt and survive. It's a simplification of the theory.
If a beneficial mutation arises in one part of a species, and doesn't migrate to the another part, the 2nd part will be at a disadvantage and simply be out-competed. This is Natural Selection in a nutshell.
It's very much an arms race.
The ball game analogy I think is a poor one. I believe in evolution, evolution is a process were a species changes over time, it adapts to new environments so forth. Evolution is not a weakest species lose type belief, more that it's a change within the animal in order to adapt and survive. It's a simplification of the theory.