Atheist Ashamed of New Atheism


By Prayson Daniel


“The God Delusion makes me ashamed to be an atheist”(Michael Ruse)

Michael Ruse (1940 Birmingham, England) is a philosopher of biology at Florida State University. Here is his comment on New Atheism:

Let me say that I believe the new atheists do the side of science a grave disservice. I will defend to the death the right of them to say what they do — as one who is English-born one of the things I admire most about the USA is the First Amendment. But I think first that these people do a disservice to scholarship.

Their treatment of the religious viewpoint is pathetic to the point of non-being. Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion would fail any introductory philosophy or religion course. Proudly he criticizes that whereof he knows nothing.

As I have said elsewhere, for the first time in my life, I felt sorry for the ontological argument. If we criticized gene theory with as little knowledge as Dawkins has of religion and philosophy, he would be rightly indignant. (He was just this when, thirty years ago, Mary Midgeley went after the selfish gene concept without the slightest knowledge of genetics.) Conversely, I am indignant at the poor quality of the argumentation in Dawkins, Dennett, Hitchens, and all of the others in that group.

Video clips:

Is there A Scientific Worldview?

Trouble With Richard Dawkins

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20 thoughts on “Atheist Ashamed of New Atheism

  1. @Prayson Daniel:
    It would seem to me that you like John Lennox as a spokesman for Christianity (and thus against The New Atheism)… Am I right?? 😉
    Best regards!

    P.S. I love John Lennox’ talks on the issue atheism vs. theism (deism)…

  2. I have personally read 6 of his 11 books, the first thing you have to do is to make a distinction between his professional works on biology and his books on religion. The God Delusion is not as well-written as I would like, but I don’t see any logical errors with it. And when you compared The Blind Watchmaker’s claim with something he said in The God Delusion, he is obviously talking about two different things. In the Blind Watchmaker, he is talking about physical properties and determinism. There is no purpose, simply because life is an endless cycle everywhere we look, life = death, the more you use energy, the less useful the energy becomes. There is no absolute evil or good, because some that that is considered evil for some, will be good for others. In the case where animals evolve side by side to both kill and outrun or outsmart each other. Good and evil are just human perceptions, or labels, based on pain responsen in the brain and human flourishing.

    If a white shark bites off your leg, when you are swimming in an ocean, is it immoral? Is it evil? When the mother of an elephant desperately tries to prevent an attack from a lion, is it good? Or is it just interested in passing on half of it’s genes? Humans would call it good, humans will call it evil, the universe doesn’t care what you call it.

    • Dear Thomas,

      Thank you for your honesty and tone above. I do agree with your completely on what one ought to do when reading Richard Dawkins works, namely making a distinction between his professional work as a zoologist and his personal-philosophy on religion(the areas which his works gives evidence, he know little of).

      It is great you brought up Dawkins’ naturalistic view of Morals.

      In November 1995’s Scientic American p.81-85 Dawkins made it clear after his publication of River Out of Eden(BasicBooks, 1995) his position on Morals.

      He writes in God’s Utility Function:

      Quote:

      The total amount of suffering per year in the natural world is beyond all decent contemplation. During the mine that it takes me to compose this sentence, thousands of animals are being eaten alive, many others are running for their lives, whimpering with fear, others are being slowly devoured from within by rasping parasites, thousands of all kinds are dying of starvation, thirst and disease. It must be so. If there is ever a time of plenty, this very fact will automatically lead to an increase in population until the natural state of starvation and misery is restored.

      In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is , at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but pitiless indifference. As that unhappy poet A. E Housman put it:

      For nature, heartless, witless nature
      Will neither care nor know

      DNA neither cares nor knows. DNA just is. And we dance to its music.

      Unqoute

      Four years earlier Richard Dawkin commented at Royal Institution Christmas Lecture, ‘The Ultraviolet Garden’, (No. 4, 1991), :

      Quote

      We are machines built by DNA whose purpose is to make more copies of the same DNA. … This is exactly what we are for. We are machines for propagating DNA, and the propagation of DNA is a self-sustaining process. It is every living object’s sole reason for living.

      Unquote

      Some atheist, wants to give there own subjective meaning to what Dawkins says on Morals, namely applies only to nature, outside ourselves. But that is not what Dawkins claims. He clearly nails his meaning in his book, River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life (1995), p112

      Quote:

      Nature is not cruel, only pitilessly indifferent. This is one of the hardest lessons for humans to learn. We cannot admit that things might be neither good nor evil, neither cruel nor kind, but simply callous—indifferent to all suffering, lacking all purpose.

      Unquote:

      Hardest lessons even for himself to learn because in The God Delusion, his attack on evil, is absurd, since it does not exist. Example the Child molestation per his chain of thinking should be admitted as neither good nor evil, neither cruel nor kind, but simply callous-indifferent.

      You are quite right, If atheism is true, the universe doesn’t care what we call it. It is just nature. A brutal fact which we have to live with.

      I failed as an atheist because, as Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky, In the Possessed – 1966 portrayed a dialog between his character Kririllov(Man about to die in an hour) and Pyotr Stepanovitch, If God does not exist , everything I, Prayson Daniel do is permissible.

      Kririllov: “You ape, you assent to get the better of me. Hold your tongue; you won’t understand anything. If there is no God, then I am God”

      Pyotr: “There I could never understand that point of yours: Why are you God?”

      Kririllov: “If God exists, all is His will and from His will I cannot escape. If not, it’s all my will and I am bound to show self-will.”

      As Jean-Paul Sartre(1905 – 1980) French Philosopher, novelist, playwright sum up:

      “The existentialist… thinks it very distressing that God does not exist, because all possibility of finding values in a heaven of ideas disappears along with Him; there can no longer be an a priori Good, since there is no infinite and perfect consciousness to think it. Nowhere is it written that the Good exists, that we must be honest, that we must not lie; because the fact is we are on a plane where there are only men. Dostoievsky said, “If God didn’t exist, everything would be possible.” That is the very starting point of existentialism. Indeed, everything is permissible if God does not exist, and as a result man is forlorn, because neither within him nor without does he find anything to cling to. He can’t start making excuses for himself.”(Existentialism and Humanism, 1945)

      If God does not exist(atheism is true) then we are bound to show our selves-will, like shark biting off our legs, a male catholic priest child molestation is nothing but a self-will expression.

      But If this is so, why then does Dawkins spend lots pages in The God Delusion condemning this “natural” act? The reason I failed as an atheist is because atheism is unlivable Worldview.

      Suppressed Evidence and The God Delusion

      Another thing, is that Dawkins does great to point the evilness of religion to which I completely agree(Mostly when it comes to Christians) . But he does not answer the atheistic states’ evilness or other evilness done in other names ideologies(e.g Rwanda Genocide(1994), American Revolutionary Wars(between 1754-1774), World War I(1914-1919 and II(1939-1945) etc.).

      Example;The Soviet Union long history of state atheism under Joseph Stalin, Marxism-Leninism and Maoism in People’s Republic of China, How much livable were this “atheistic” worldviews? Were they evil-free? or less evil? or not evil?

      It is for this reason, Dawkins’ The God Delusion Suppressed evidence namely only confirming evidence(that religion is evil) is presented and Contradict it self, namely affirming evil and the same time and sense deny it.

      Note: This does not mean atheist can not live a moral life, not at all, I think many atheist live a much moral life than many “Christians”. But atheist have no moral bases, to which Christian call God.

  3. What’s wrong with it? I don’t think you should express yourself on these topics, you don’t know or understand what Dawkins is talking about.

    • It is wrong because its reasoning is Non sequitur(Latin “it does not follow.”)

      I am a failed atheist(Why I am not Antheist; Personal Journey from Atheism to Theism), and read, and still reads Richard Dawkins work among others. When I were an atheist, I enjoy the work of classical atheist Marquis de Sade, Feuerbach, Marx, Freud, and Nietzche.

      As Richard Dawkins poems of A. E. Housman sounded great and loving the idea I did; no God, no evil, nothing but brutal nature and we dance to the music.(I still enjoy less philosophical work of Dawkins example Selfish Gene- a brilliant book)

      Every one ought to express themselves in these topic(Is there God? Is the Meaning to Life? What is Objective Moral Value and Duties? Problem of Evil etc), theist and atheist. Correct thinking is open to all to answer this metaphysical questions.

      You are right, I do not understand Dawkins. I don’t, because he commits a lot of errors that which even Scholar atheist like Micheal Ruse(PhD Philosopher of biology) comments:

      Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion would fail any introductory philosophy or religion course. Proudly he criticizes that whereof he knows nothing.

      and for that Ruse is ashamed to being an atheist.

  4. I can only reply to you if you give me a specific logical argument Richard Dawkins have made, which is fallacious.

    • Click on the link I gave above:

      This is Richard Dawkins’ Central Argument of The God Delusion(On pages 157-8 ). It commits Non sequitur(Latin “it does not follow.”)

      In Non Sequitur a conclusion is drawn which does not follow from the premises. This is not a specific fallacy but a very general term for a bad argument.

      Example:

      1. Evolution is true
      2. Evil exist
      3. Therefore God does not exist.(The conclusion does not follow the premises)

      Here is Dawkins:

      1. One of the greatest challenges to the human intellect has been to explain how the complex, improbable appearance of design in the universe arises.

      2. The natural temptation is to attribute the appearance of design to actual design itself.

      3. The temptation is a false one because the designer hypothesis immediately raises the larger problem of who designed the designer.

      4. The most ingenious and powerful explanation is Darwinian evolution by natural selection.

      5. We don’t have an equivalent explanation for physics.

      6. We should not give up the hope of a better explanation arising in physics, something as powerful as Darwinism is for biology.

      7. Therefore, God almost certainly does not exist.

      William Lane Craig(Ph.D. in philosophy) comments as follow :

      “This argument is jarring because the atheistic conclusion that “Therefore, God almost certainly does not exist” seems to come suddenly out of left field. You don’t need to be a philosopher to realize that that conclusion doesn’t follow from the six previous statements.”

      Dawkins Conclusion(7) does not follow from its premises 1-6. Thus even if all the premises where true, his conclusion is does not follow from them.

  5. You have no idea what you are talking about. Because you have no argument, there’s no reason to give them. Because they are in latin, doesn’t make them any better. How on earth is “to the man” an argument?

    • Hej Thomas,

      I can understand your opposition, if it is the first time you meet Logic errors. If you would like Fallacy File is a brilliant site with collection of wrong reasoning, names, how are they committed.

      There is also a great Critical Thinking site. from Philosophical Department of Hong Kong University. It is free online. If you have time, go through it.

      To the man(Fallacy) is committed when one dismiss ones argument because of his character, belief, etc and not his argument.

      I worked with one of Richard Dawkins’ wrong reasoning(fallacy) in this article Dawkins’ Deluded Logic

  6. I see no problem with Richard Dawkins to be honest, he may be a bit arrogant, but aren’t he allowed to be? He’s arrogant as a person, not as an atheist. Not believing in God doesn’t make you arrogant. It may just be a part of his personality not at all related to his lack of belief in a deity. Even if I was arrogant as a direct consequence of his lack of belief, that wouldn’t make any difference either. Being arrogant towards these people is perfectly justified, and we all should be. How can you call yourself a human being when you respect this nonsense?

    Second of all, why do Richard Dawkins have any influence on you at all? Saying that you are.. Ashamed by Dawkins and the new atheism? What is there to be ashamed of, you stupid fool?

    Atheism is NOT a doctrine of belief, Dawkins’ opinions have nothing to do with atheism. It’s not: “I do not believe in God, therefore I’m arrogant.” or “I don’t believe in God, therefore you are stupid not to accept evolution.” Richard Dawkins is a teacher, a professor, a lecturer, a spokesperson. Do the average Christian feel ashamed when the pope condemns condoms? Of course not. Being an atheist says nothing about a person, it only implies a lack of a belief in a deity.

    If you are prejudged for being an atheist, because of what these “new Atheism” people are saying, it’s not their fault at all. It’s the complete lack of understanding in the person prejudging you. These people should be avoided anyway.

    I have complete respect for Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins and similar authors. What makes me ashamed, is the complete lack of understanding in this “Micharl Ruse”. A more fit for dancing samba than talking about “The new Atheism”. Whatever that’s supposed to mean.

    • Dear Thomas,

      Thank you for your comment. I would like first go through it reasoning. Then answer some on objections you rose.

      Your reasoning commits the following errors:

      Ad misericordiam (appeal to pity)

      In offering an argument, pity is appealed to. Usually this happens when people argue for special treatment on the basis of their need.

      Quote

      Even if I was arrogant as a direct consequence of his lack of belief, that wouldn’t make any difference either. Being arrogant towards these people is perfectly justified, and we all should be.

      Unquote

      Ad hominem (Latin: “to the man”)

      A theory is discarded not because of any evidence against it or lack of evidence for it, but because of the person who argues for it.

      Quote:

      What makes me ashamed, is the complete lack of understanding in this “Micharl Ruse” A more fit for dancing samba than talking about “The new Atheism”

      Unquote

      Contradiction

      Accepting A and not-A at the same time and same sense.

      Quote:

      Second of all, why do Richard Dawkins have any influence on you at all? Saying that you are.. Ashamed by Dawkins and the new atheism? What is there to be ashamed of, you stupid fool? ….

      What makes me ashamed, is the complete lack of understanding in this “Micharl Ruse”

      (Is this not what Michael Ruse’s claim on Dawkin?)
      Unquote

      On Defense of Michael Ruse: Ruse being himself an atheist, is ashamed because Dawkins make terrible mistakes namely making lot of unsound Logical reasoning and not well equipped in what he try to go against.

      I am ashamed of some Christians acts( trying to burn Koran, Child Molestations,sending threat’s, using abusive language to other blogger) and the way we(Christians) have many times shame our belief when giving fallacious argument for it.

      Why I am ashamed, because what one christian does, it affect the whole, it is a stumbling block to unbeliever, “If Christians I like that, why should I be One”(Genetic fallacious). We(Christians) are called to always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks us for a reason for the hope that is in us; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when we are gossiped, those who revile our good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. (1 Peter 3:15-16(My adding of plural you to we/us))

      “Being arrogant towards these people is perfectly justified, and we all should be.”

      Give reasons why it is perfectly justified to be arrogant towards these people? What makes it just? How is it just? To whom will it be just?

      If possible would you try to use a tone that is acceptable.

      • I have no idea what you are trying to say here, can you give me any examples of Dawkin’s “failed” logic? And what gives you the right to use logic at all, when everything you stand for is illogical?

      • Thank you for your comment:

        Dawkins’ Failed Logic

        Ad hominem (Latin: “to the man”)

        A theory is discarded not because of any evidence against it or lack of evidence for it, but because of the person who argues for it. (attacking catholic priests, etc)

        Breaks Law of Non-Contradiction

        Law of Non-Contradiction, A and not-A can not be the same at the same time and sense.

        Example: At the bottom there is no evil, religion is evil.

        Genetic fallacy

        Thinking that because X dervies from Y, and Y has a certain property, X must have the same property also.

        Non sequitur

        A conclusion is drawn which does not follow from the premise. This is not a specific fallacy but a very general term for a bad argument.

        In his central argument of The God delusion

        Red herring

        Within an argument some irrelevant issue is raised which diverts attention from the main subject. The function of the red herring is sometimes to help express a strong, biased opinion. The red herring (the irrelevant issue) serves to increase the force of the argument in a very misleading manner.

        Straw man

        Attacking an opponent by attributing to him/her an implausible position that is easily defeated when this is not actually the opponent’s position

        Suppressed evidence

        Where there is contradicting evidence, only confirming evidence is presented.

        I am collecting the errors and I will post an article with each and what page in Richard Dawkins work.

        In your comment Thomas, you commit Ad Hominem also 🙂

    • What argument? This:

      Quote:

      Christianity preaches that we are “better” than animals, evolution shows that we come from them, are their cousins…and some Christians believe in the 6-day story of Creation…

      Unquote

      Putting your argument in logical form(show you how to build a case)

      Argument 1:

      1. If Christian’s claim(God exist) is true, then Human have Objective moral value and duties.
      2. If (Macro)Evolution is true, then Human have no objective moral value and duties.(Since killing, raping, stealing is common to “their cousins” Apes)

      Premise 3 has to show if objective moral value and duties is just an illusion, thus there is no different between those Catholic Priests and Richard Dawkin view on child molestation(just pitiless indifference)

      Note: Not just those priests((in Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and Brazil) who ashamed the name of the leader they claim to follow Christ Jesus, but any person abusing children.

      Then build your conclusion. Give reasons why each premise is true than its negation.

      Argument 2:

      1. Some Christians believe in the Literally 6-day story of Creation
      2. Literally 6-day story of Creation is illogical according to the age of planet Earth.
      3. Therefore Some Christians are wrong in believing in Literally 6-day story of creation

      Hehe: Set for case.

      Just claiming I am a Christian is enough, but when I am asked why I am a Christian, then I set forth my case.

      That is what I ask, do not make only claims, we ask what are the reasons:

      Thus I pause the question again:

      A: Why do you disagree that evolution is compatible with Christianity?

      B: What are the reason to believe so?
      What are the argument for believing so and what are the opposing argument that challenge.

      C: How is Evolution not compatible with Christianity. What are the scholars views, from both side of the argument. What are their reasons, and why should we affirm or dis-affirm there premises.

      No more empty claims:

      You can use this modal to set forth you case:

      Argue for your position:

      – What premise do you agree or disagree?
      – What are your arguments for agreeing or disagree?(give more than appeal to authorities, give their arguments and why you agree with them)
      – Which part the author is misinformed?
      – How is he misinformed?
      – Which area has the author try to answer, and which has he failed? How?

      Argue for it then? Do not just through claims without support.

  7. Well…I disagree that evolution is compatible with Christianity…it’s true that many Christians accept it, but that doesn’t mean they are compatible…just because a many drunken men drive their cars without getting into an accident doesn’t mean drinking and driving are compatible actions…

    • A: Why do you disagree that evolution is compatible with Christianity?

      B: What are the reason to believe so?
      What are the argument for believing so and what are the opposing argument that challenge.

      C: How is Evolution not compatible with Christianity. What are the scholars views, from both side of the argument. What are their reasons, and why should we affirm or dis-affirm there premises.

      No more empty claims:

      You can use this modal to set forth you case:

      Argue for your position:

      – What premise do you agree or disagree?
      – What are your arguments for agreeing or disagree?(give more than appeal to authorities, give their arguments and why you agree with them)
      – Which part the author is misinformed?
      – How is he misinformed?
      – Which area has the author try to answer, and which has he failed? How?

      • Hahaha…you philosophers are good…fallacies and empty arguments (when they aren’t yours, of course)…I’ve explained in many of your other posts why I don’t think Christianity is compatible with evolution…to repeat myself: Christianity preaches that we are “better” than animals, evolution shows that we come from them, are their cousins…and some Christians believe in the 6-day story of Creation…

        If you suddenly said “I’m a Christian” (it’s a statement of opinion), should I ask you “why?” even if you had explained why over and over again? Repeating oneself is a great waste of time; in mathematics, we quote theorems that have already been proven when trying to prove a new one: it’s hard to start from scratch for each case…

  8. Interesting…but the real problem with Dawkins, in my opinion, is arrogance…I’ve been under the impression that he thinks nonbelievers are smarter than other people…though I did feel as though he knew some stuff about the religions he criticized when I read his book…

    Usually, when accused of not researching before criticizing religion, he answers that you don’t have to have a degree in leprechaunry in order to discard the existence of leprechauns…I would recommend listening to the opposition, though…

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