Deconstructing Dawkins - Richard Dawkins and The Fallacies of Mechanistic Science

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

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#2
"
A sceptic might justifiably ask: if you’re saying that evolution didn’t just happen by random mutations and natural selection, that consciousness isn’t just a product of the brain, or that telepathy or precognition are more than just wishful thinking, and so on, then how else are you going to explain these things?

The most sensible way of looking at all of these problems is to accept that we may not be able to answer them satisfactorily, because of the limitations of our intellect and our awareness. As I’ve suggested, it’s anthropocentric arrogance to believe that we can fully understand or explain the universe."

Fair enough, but then it is also arrogant to believe that such things as psi phenomena are real phenomena, rather than just a product of our psychological limitations.

~~ Paul
 
#3
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A sceptic might justifiably ask: if you’re saying that evolution didn’t just happen by random mutations and natural selection, that consciousness isn’t just a product of the brain, or that telepathy or precognition are more than just wishful thinking, and so on, then how else are you going to explain these things?

The most sensible way of looking at all of these problems is to accept that we may not be able to answer them satisfactorily, because of the limitations of our intellect and our awareness. As I’ve suggested, it’s anthropocentric arrogance to believe that we can fully understand or explain the universe."

Fair enough, but then it is also arrogant to believe that such things as psi phenomena are real phenomena, rather than just a product of our psychological limitations.

~~ Paul
No. Given the amount of para-psychological research that has been presented over the last century. Given the 65 peer reviewed scientific NDE studies published in the last few decades. Given what we know regarding the psychology of the unconscious. Given what we now scientifically know in quantum physics. No, it is not arrogant.

What is arrogant is to label all the work of scientists in any of these areas of study as "pseudo-science". Or using such words as "woo" for anyone who doesn't subscribe to the philosophy of materialism. Or to deliberately set out to character assassinate people who are not materialists.

My Best,
Bertha
 
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#4
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The most sensible way of looking at all of these problems is to accept that we may not be able to answer them satisfactorily, because of the limitations of our intellect and our awareness. As I’ve suggested, it’s anthropocentric arrogance to believe that we can fully understand or explain the universe."
The trouble is, if that is true, why would we trust the explanations that we have - particularly when massively extrapolated. By that I mean, for example, that while we have good solutions for QM applied to the hydrogen atom, there is precious little reason to assume that we know that the brain performs within that framework because it is umpteen orders of magnitude more complex.

Either we (i.e. the human race) can sensibly reason about these matters, or we can't.

David
 

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

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#5
No. Given the amount of para-psychological research that has been presented over the last century. Given the 65 peer reviewed scientific NDE studies published in the last few decades. Given what we know regarding the psychology of the unconscious. Given what we now scientifically know in quantum physics. No, it is not arrogant.
Okay, then neither it is arrogant to claim that evolution is true.

What is arrogant is to label all the work of scientists in any of these areas of study as "pseudo-science". Or using such words as "woo" for anyone who doesn't subscribe to the philosophy of materialism. Or to deliberately set out to character assassinate people who are not materialists.
Perhaps so, but that's not what we're talking about.

~~ Paul
 

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

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#6
The trouble is, if that is true, why would we trust the explanations that we have - particularly when massively extrapolated. By that I mean, for example, that while we have good solutions for QM applied to the hydrogen atom, there is precious little reason to assume that we know that the brain performs within that framework because it is umpteen orders of magnitude more complex.

Either we (i.e. the human race) can sensibly reason about these matters, or we can't.
Or we can reason about them to a certain degree. But let's assume we can, because what is the point in giving up?

~~ Paul
 
#7
Okay, then neither it is arrogant to claim that evolution is true.
Did you read the article? Taylor does not make the claim evolution is not true. He states Dawkins' view of evolution is arrogantly based on Neo-Darwinist dogma that has little bearing on what we now know in science to be true.

Perhaps so, but that's not what we're talking about.
~~ Paul
You asked whether it was arrogant to believe psi phenomena is real. I answered no, and to provide a clear contrast, I gave you examples of what is arrogant.

So I'm not sure what you are implying here. You're the one who brought up the subject of "arrogance" and I believe indirectly (by asking the question) appear to be insinuating anyone who believes in the scientific evidence of psi phenomena may be "arrogant".

My Best,
Bertha
 
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Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

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#8
Did you read the article? Taylor does not make the claim evolution is not true. He states Dawkins' view of evolution is arrogantly based on Neo-Darwinist dogma that has little bearing on what we now know in science to be true.
This is what I quoted:

"A sceptic might justifiably ask: if you’re saying that evolution didn’t just happen by random mutations and natural selection, that consciousness isn’t just a product of the brain, or that telepathy or precognition are more than just wishful thinking, and so on, then how else are you going to explain these things?

The most sensible way of looking at all of these problems is to accept that we may not be able to answer them satisfactorily, because of the limitations of our intellect and our awareness. As I’ve suggested, it’s anthropocentric arrogance to believe that we can fully understand or explain the universe."

Here Taylor suggests that if (his charicature of) Neo-Darwinism is wrong, the "most sensible" response is to say that we may have psychological limitations that prevent us from creating a complete model of evolution. I made a simple observation: If we do have such limitations, they may also lead to something like an invalid acceptance of, say, psi phenomena.

You responded by pointing out that there is research to support psi phenomena and so, for reasons you did not state, it cannot be the case that our psychological limitations could lead us to erroneous acceptance of the phenomena. So it is not arrogant to claim that psi phenomena exist.

There is research to support Neo-Darwinism (in its contemporary form). Why is it arrogant to claim that it is true, while not arrogant to claim that psi is true?

~~ Paul
 
#9
I'm kind of with Paul on this...not on mechanistic Darwinism being true, I doubt that...but on a universal application of understanding that we barely know zip, and perhaps never will. Why people don't perceive that as far and away the most likely state of affairs, has always been a mystery to me.
 
#10
You responded by pointing out that there is research to support psi phenomena and so, for reasons you did not state, it cannot be the case that our psychological limitations could lead us to erroneous acceptance of the phenomena. So it is not arrogant to claim that psi phenomena exist.
Yes correct. For those of us who have been open-minded to actually looking at the scientific research in psi, and/or actively participating in it, it is not arrogant to claim that psi has been empirically substantiated.

There is research to support Neo-Darwinism (in its contemporary form). Why is it arrogant to claim that it is true, while not arrogant to claim that psi is true?
Yes, Dawkins' and his followers are indeed arrogant and often wrong regarding their Neo-Darwinistic set of beliefs. The article gives a number of reasons why, and how Dawkins' and his followers have been arrogant about their beliefs.

My Best,
Bertha
 
#11
"
A sceptic might justifiably ask: if you’re saying that evolution didn’t just happen by random mutations and natural selection, that consciousness isn’t just a product of the brain, or that telepathy or precognition are more than just wishful thinking, and so on, then how else are you going to explain these things?
~~ Paul
And this is where skeptics clearly don't get. When I read such questions I am always reminded of the movie Thank you for smoking. At some point the main character has a discussion with his son and tells him something that goes along the lines of "to prove you that you are wrong I don't need to prove you that I am right, I only to prove that your argument is invalid".
This is why there is no need to offer an alternative theory to deconstruct someone's, one simply needs to point out the fallacies...
 

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

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Member
#12
Yes, Dawkins' and his followers are indeed arrogant and often wrong regarding their Neo-Darwinistic set of beliefs. The article gives a number of reasons why, and how Dawkins' and his followers have been arrogant about their beliefs.
There are articles about why almost everyone is wrong about almost everything, including psi. Many people are arrogant to a greater or lesser extent about their beliefs. But I was talking about Taylor's suggestion that we might not be able to be correct in our beliefs because of psychological limitations.

~~ Paul
 

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

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#13
And this is where skeptics clearly don't get. When I read such questions I am always reminded of the movie Thank you for smoking. At some point the main character has a discussion with his son and tells him something that goes along the lines of "to prove you that you are wrong I don't need to prove you that I am right, I only to prove that your argument is invalid".
This is why there is no need to offer an alternative theory to deconstruct someone's, one simply needs to point out the fallacies...
Agreed, except that you have to be correct in your analysis of the supposed fallacies. Otherwise you haven't deconstructed anything.

~~ Paul
 
#15
Agreed, except that you have to be correct in your analysis of the supposed fallacies. Otherwise you haven't deconstructed anything.

~~ Paul
Is there any good reason why anyone should distrust the facts pointed out by the article? Other than an extremely biased neo-darwinist? Feel free to demonstrate what the author is wrong about Paul.

My Best,
Bertha
 

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

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Member
#16
Is there any good reason why anyone should distrust the facts pointed out by the article? Other than an extremely biased neo-darwinist? Feel free to demonstrate what the author is wrong about Paul.
I was talking about exactly one part of the article:

"A sceptic might justifiably ask: if you’re saying that evolution didn’t just happen by random mutations and natural selection, that consciousness isn’t just a product of the brain, or that telepathy or precognition are more than just wishful thinking, and so on, then how else are you going to explain these things?

The most sensible way of looking at all of these problems is to accept that we may not be able to answer them satisfactorily, because of the limitations of our intellect and our awareness. As I’ve suggested, it’s anthropocentric arrogance to believe that we can fully understand or explain the universe."

I simply noted that if we have these intellectual limitations, then we better not assume we are correct about anything. Not only might we not be able to explain things, we might not be perceiving them correctly.

Everyone knows that rants about Neo-Darwinism are silly, because the people being ranted about don't subscribe to the caricature of Neo-Darwinism being presented. Do you really think there are many biologists who believe that some specific description of evolution tells the completely correct story right now?

~~ Paul
 
#17
I was talking about exactly one part of the article:

"A sceptic might justifiably ask: if you’re saying that evolution didn’t just happen by random mutations and natural selection, that consciousness isn’t just a product of the brain, or that telepathy or precognition are more than just wishful thinking, and so on, then how else are you going to explain these things?

The most sensible way of looking at all of these problems is to accept that we may not be able to answer them satisfactorily, because of the limitations of our intellect and our awareness. As I’ve suggested, it’s anthropocentric arrogance to believe that we can fully understand or explain the universe."

I simply noted that if we have these intellectual limitations, then we better not assume we are correct about anything. Not only might we not be able to explain things, we might not be perceiving them correctly.

Everyone knows that rants about Neo-Darwinism are silly, because the people being ranted about don't subscribe to the caricature of Neo-Darwinism being presented. Do you really think there are many biologists who believe that some specific description of evolution tells the completely correct story right now?

~~ Paul
I find it interesting how you dismiss the article not based on the many fallacies it points out regarding Neo-Darwinism, but on the flimsy contention that we have "intellectual limitations" and so we "better not assume we are correct" and of course make the claim the article is some kind of "rant" and "caricature" of Neo-Darwinism when it is nothing of the sort.

Can you provide a rational rebuttal Paul other than this?

My Best,
Bertha
 
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#18
Hmm, not sure if I have anything of value to add, but great article and thanks for sharing.

The attempt at turning altruism into some sort of self-serving act is probably one of his more despicable ideas. What about caring for animals? What about botanists that care for plants? Not because they can be eaten or because they make them feel good, but because they care for them because they have the right to life, just like humans do. There are people who are willing to sacrifice themselves in an effort to save a species that has liliterally zero value to a human, evolutionarily speaking.

And evolutionary psychology? Don't get me started. Most of it is pure bullshit. Rape as genetic propogation for losers? Seriously? And here we have always been told its about power and control. What about male on male rape? What about pedophilia? How do those acts serve to propogate genes? So, so much wrong there...
 

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

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Member
#19
I find it interesting how you dismiss the article not based on the many fallacies it points out regarding Neo-Darwinism, but on the flimsy contention that we have "intellectual limitations" and so we "better not assume we are correct" and of course make the claim the article is some kind of "rant" and "caricature" of Neo-Darwinism when it is nothing of the sort.
But that is a primary point of his article.

Biologists address the issues that he points out in the article:

"The French anti-Darwinist scientist Andree Tetry pointed out that it’s not just a question of mutations being beneficial, they also have to be cumulative. Each mutation has to relate to the previous one, and occur at exactly the right place and time."

"There is also the problem that favourable mutations would soon be lost by interbreeding with non-mutated members of a species."

"One of France’s other most prominent 20th century anti-Darwinists, Pierre Paul Grasse, pointed out that mutations can only cause trivial changes."

And then here is a typical caricature of Neo-Darwinism:

"Other arguments against Neo-Darwinism will be more familiar to SMN members. For example, biologists such as Lynn Margulis and James Lovelock have argued that the driving force of evolution is not competition but co-operation. Living beings do not survive by fighting against one another, but by interaction and mutual dependence."

Do you really believe that most biologists think that the only driving force is competition?

"In addition, the developing recent field of epigenetics suggests that genes may be switched on and off by environmental factors, and that once genes are ‘switched on’, they may continue to be active for descendants."

Again, what's the issue?

I suppose what Taylor thinks he's doing here is refuting Dawkins' personal view of Neo-Darwinism. That's possible, although it seems like a caricature even of Dawkins. As soon as someone starts talking about a dogmatic form of Neo-Darwinism, it's always a caricature.

~~ Paul
 
#20
Biologists address the issues that he points out in the article:

"There is also the problem that favourable mutations would soon be lost by interbreeding with non-mutated members of a species."

"One of France’s other most prominent 20th century anti-Darwinists, Pierre Paul Grasse, pointed out that mutations can only cause trivial changes."
Paul, Darwin himself had a problem with "favourable mutations would soon be lost by interbreeding with non-mutated members of a species"

In addition, you seem to be under the assumption your statement that "biologists address the issues he points out" - is some kind of valid rebuttal to the article which you state: is a caricature and rant against Dawkins' well known positions in biology. Are you claiming the biologists the article references are not biologists? That only Dawkins' and his "Bright" followers are the only biologists? Or are you claiming the above statements are false? If so, feel free to explain your reasoning.

And then here is a typical caricature of Neo-Darwinism:

"Other arguments against Neo-Darwinism will be more familiar to SMN members. For example, biologists such as Lynn Margulis and James Lovelock have argued that the driving force of evolution is not competition but co-operation. Living beings do not survive by fighting against one another, but by interaction and mutual dependence."
Have you not heard of Dawkins' work and publications regarding the "selfish gene", which Dawkins' is famous for? What is it about the "selfish gene" that you somehow scientifically believe is fundamentally co-operative, and not a perverted intepretation of selfishness? James Lovelock is not providing a caricature of Dawkins, he provides a rational scientific response to Dawkins' well established dogma that the "desire for genetic replication is the main motivation of everything we do" and Dawkins' well-known advocacy for the "Selfish gene".

Do you really believe that most biologists think that the only driving force is competition?
We're talking about Dawkins' Neo-Darwinist dogma here. Many biologists disagree with his dogma, as is clearly pointed out in the article several times.

I suppose what Taylor thinks he's doing here is refuting Dawkins' personal view of Neo-Darwinism. That's possible, although it seems like a caricature even of Dawkins. As soon as someone starts talking about a dogmatic form of Neo-Darwinism, it's always a caricature.
Dawkins is well known for his aggressive and dogmatic materialistic view of evolution. This is not something that is in contention Paul. One need only be familiar with his theory of the "Selfish Gene". He refuses to get in any scientific discussion with proponents of "Intelligent Design" and insinuates the proponents are not "real scientists" (as you appear to be insinuating here regarding the biologists cited in Taylor's article). Dawkins has also been known to engage in censoring scientific articles that oppose his views, for example, Richard Milton's March 1995 critique of Neo-Darwinism in The Times Higher Educational Supplement, Richard Dawkins' contacted the editor and succeeded with unscientific bullying to have the piece suppressed (Fortean Times, April 2002).

You write: "as soon as someone starts talking about a dogmatic form of Neo-Darwinism, it's always a caricature". Unfortunately, this is not true Paul. Perhaps many of us wish it were a caricature. IMO, Dawkins' has made a caricature of himself with his rabid Neo-Darwin dogmatism. He has a priori dismissed all paranormal research for example, without involving himself in any of the scientific work in the field, and arrogantly labeled these scientists as "pseudo-scientists".

So, your rebuttal here in summary has been:

1) Other biologists address the issues (without addressing the issue yourself)
2) Any discussion regarding Dawkins dogmatic form of Neo-Darwinism, is always a caricature. (Without providing any reason why this is so.)

Paul, I am unable to follow any of your logic here, and find your arguments shallow to say the least. Can you at least seriously address some of the issues the article brings up regarding Dawkins' materialistic beliefs?

My Best,
Bertha
 
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