Pow! There Goes Richard Dawkins Down

Dawkins: In a universe of 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 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 blind pitiless indifference.

Christian: Isn’t what you said, Professor Dawkins just another blind pitiless indifference? Because if what you said is true, I do not see why I should also affirm your blind pitiless indifference?

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23 thoughts on “Pow! There Goes Richard Dawkins Down

  1. “non-sensual and illogical are two different things.”

    I know. I wanted to make sure you weren’t equating the two because your list of examples of what you considered non-sensual (you probably mean nonsensical) included something that is illogical.

    “Saying the universe has lack of concern or interest, you entail that the universe could have concern and interest. You can not lack what you can not possess.”

    The only reason we’re hung up on the word “lack” is because it was included in the definition of “indifference” I gave earlier. I am assuming “lack” is synonymous with “absence,” which has nothing to do with whether or not something could be non-absent. It just means it isn’t there. I do not know what synonym for “lack” you are assuming, because I honestly have no idea where you’re getting “You cannot lack what you cannot possess.” The words “need” and “deficiency” might be close in this context, but those imply that something that is lacking is normally there, which I don’t think is exactly what you mean.

    So let’s back up a little and I’ll give some different definitions that lack the word “lack.” These definitions also lack milk (the substance, not the word). 😉 Both of these are from Dictionary.com:

    Indifference: The quality or condition of being indifferent.

    Indifferent: Without interest or concern.

    Do you agree that a moon rock is without interest or concern about what anybody does? Do you agree that the universe (as a whole) is without interest or concern about what anybody does?

    • Dear Brap,

      Sorry for a late reply. I am enjoying a time out with my wife and very little time on cybernet 🙂

      I still believe you did not answer the question even with redefinition: I would use your definition to pause the same question:

      How does the universe possess a quality of being indifferent? When you x is without y, then its implies that x could be with y. So I am asking how is that possible?

      • I do not think the statement “x is without y” implies “x could be with y.” I don’t think it implies anything. It is only stating x is without y.

      • “How is it only stating x is without y?”

        For any given pair x and y, would you agree that one and only one of these statements is true as long as there are no logical impossibilities?

        a1: x is without y. (x does not have y.)
        a2: x is with y. (x has y.)

        If not, under what conditions is neither one of those statements true?

      • Brap, rhetorical question does not get you off hook!

        When x is without y, its implies that x could be with y.

        E.g. I am without a child, I am without food, He is without conscious, I lack concern.

        X cannot lack y, If its impossible for x to possess y in the first place.

        You are not off the hook Brap 😀 with rhetorical counter move 🙂

      • “When x is without y, its implies that x could be with y.
        E.g. I am without a child, I am without food, He is without conscious, I lack concern.
        X cannot lack y, If its impossible for x to possess y in the first place.
        You are not off the hook Brap with rhetorical counter move”

        All you did was restate your unsupported assertion (When x is without y, its implies that x could be with y), whereas I posed a question that would help you prove your assertion, but you have chosen not to answer it.

        I do not understand why you consider it a rhetorical question, since it doesn’t appear to fit any of these definitions of “rhetorical.”

        1. used for, belonging to, or concerned with mere style or effect.
        2. marked by or tending to use bombast.
        3. of, concerned with, or having the nature of rhetoric.

        My question seems very simple and straightforward to me, and I am very interested in your answer.

  2. Christian: So, Brap, the blind pitiless indifference is the blind pitiless indifference of the universe! Please explain how can a universe possess an ability of a blind pitiless indifference in itself? 😀

    • I equate blind pitiless indifference with lack of consciousness or lack of sentience (pick whichever term you prefer.) The universe (as a whole) knows and cares about what we do just as much as a rock on the moon would. I am not saying the universe and the moon rock are not affected by our actions, I am saying they are not consciously aware of our actions (no sense perception), nor do they have preferences or opinions regarding our actions.

      I am also not saying lack of consciousness is a requirement for blind pitiless indifference, since sociopaths might be considered to have blind pitiless indifference.

      • Dear Brap 🙂
        You got me thinking :

        1. The Universe knows and cares about what we do.
        2. The Universe is not conscious aware of our actions.

        Please explain, I am lost 🙂

      • Prayson wrote:

        “1. The Universe knows and cares about what we do.
        2. The Universe is not conscious aware of our actions.”

        I am in total agreement with statement #2. If we could quantify the amount of knowing and caring by an entity on a scale of 0 to 100, with 100 being the greatest possible amount of knowing and caring, then everything could be given a rating. Here are some examples:

        God, as defined by most Christians, would rate 100.
        Humans with above average compassion would rate above 50.
        Humans with below average compassion would rate below 50.
        Inanimate objects, such as tables, chairs, pencils and moon rocks would rate 0.
        The universe (as a whole) would also rate 0. (Individual entities within the universe have non-zero ratings.)

        Having a knowing-and-caring rating of zero is the same thing as not knowing or caring.

      • 😀 I also agree with 2, but your July 11th’s comment had both:

        1. The Universe knows and cares about what we do.
        2. The Universe is not conscious aware of our actions.

        I was confused because I can not see how you can hold both. Remember we are talking about universe’s ability of indifference 🙂

      • “1. The Universe knows and cares about what we do.
        2. The Universe is not conscious aware of our actions.

        I was confused because I can not see how you can hold both. Remember we are talking about universe’s ability of indifference”

        Statement 1, in my original comment, was followed by “just as much as a rock on the moon would.” If I add what is implied after the end of that statement, it becomes this: The universe (as a whole) knows and cares about what we do just as much as a rock on the moon would, which is zero. (None. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Nil. Null set.)

        It’s similar to this sentence: The average human female has a number of penises, which is just as many as a pair of scissors. That does not mean the average human female has a penis. What is implied there is that the number is zero. Just because entity A has a number of, or quantifiable amount of, characteristic B, that does not mean A must have some B. The number, or quantifiable amount, can be zero.

        The average human female has zero penises. === The average human female does not have a penis.

        The universe knows and cares about what we do just as much as a moon rock would, which, if it could be quantified, would be zero. === The universe does not know or care about what we do.

      • Prayson asked; “So how can unconscious universe possess the ability of pitiless indifference?”

        Pitiless indifference requires no action and no thoughts, which the universe, as a whole, is quite capable of accomplishing. If you have an example of what the universe does or thinks to express pity or as a result of not being indifferent, I’d love to know about it.

      • “If there is no action and no thoughts, how does the universe possess this ability of pitiless indifference?”

        Indifference is a lack of interest or concern. Pitiless means to not show or feel any pity. No actions or thoughts are required in order to demonstrate pitiless indifference. There is no “ability” one needs to possess in order to demonstrate pitiless indifference.

        You are asking how the universe possesses an ability that is actually a lack of ability. It’s like asking how a person who is quadriplegic possesses the ability to be immobile.

        • X lacking y means that X has the ability to have y, but does not posses it. Example, I lack western manners, means I have the ability to posses western manner, but at present do not behave western. So I would like know how does the universe posses this ability of lack of interest or concern in the first place?

      • “X lacking y means that X has the ability to have y, but does not posses it. Example, I lack western manners, means I have the ability to posses western manner, but at present do not behave western. So I would like know how does the universe posses this ability of lack of interest or concern in the first place?”

        I think we need to reach agreement on something simpler before we move on to the universe. Let’s try this:

        Do you think a moon rock shows pity? If not, then would you agree that a moon rock is pitiless?

        Do you think a moon rock cares about what you do? If not, then would you agree that a moon rock is indifferent toward your actions?

        • Dear Brap,

          Shifting the burden of proof with rhetoric’s counter questions would not do 🙂 I think the question are combination non-sensual words. Example, Flying stones or square circles or a talking stone. 😀 The question still begs the answer: How can a moon rock possess an ability of lack of interest or concern?

      • Prayson wrote: “I think the question are combination non-sensual words. Example, Flying stones or square circles or a talking stone.”

        A square circle is a logical impossibility. A flying or talking stone is not. Flying and talking are simply abilities we have never observed in stones, much like we have never observed a talking snake. (Flying snakes actually glide, but I’ll leave those out of this discussion.) If God wanted a snake to talk, he could make it talk. (Hmmm, seems like he did once upon a time . . .) If God wanted a rock to talk, he could make it talk. But he can’t make a square circle.

        “The question still begs the answer: How can a moon rock possess an ability of lack of interest or concern?””

        There is no ability the moon rock needs to possess. When a moon rock is not interested in or concerned about what we do, there is no deficiency in the moon rock.

        What ability do you, Prayson, need to possess in order to not be able to jump over the moon while standing on Earth? What ability do you need to possess in order to not be able to swim to the deepest part of the ocean? What ability do you need to possess in order to not be able to create nuclear fusion with your bare hands? What ability do you need to possess in order to not be able to rearrange nearby stars to spell your name in the nighttime sky? What ability do you need to possess in order to not be able to control the minds of the leaders of the Taliban and force them to commit suicide?

        I obviously do not understand why you think something is required in order for an entity to be able to do nothing.

        • Brap 😀 non-sensual and illogical are two different things 🙂 Back to ability, I have an ability to jump, even though I can not jump over the moon while standing on Earth. I posses the ability of jumping. I can jump, but not over the moon while standing on Earth. Saying the universe has lack of concern or interest, you entail that the universe could have concern and interest. You can not lack what you can not possess.

          So I press on the unanswered question :D, How so?

  3. To answer the Christian’s first question in the above conversation, I would say no, what Professor Dawkins said is not blind pitiless indifference. The blind, pitiless indifference Dawkins is referring to is the blind, pitiless indifference of the universe toward what happens in the universe. The universe does not care and does not even know what happens in the universe. There is no all-encompassing entity that cares.

    Blind, pitiless indifference is an attitude one entity can have toward another. The Christian in this conversation is certainly entitled to be indifferent to what Dawkins says. All humans are indifferent to some things. Of course, the consequences of indifference will vary depending on what one is being indifferent toward.

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