Defending Richard Dawkins from Misguided Criticism

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Defending Richard Dawkins from Misguided Criticism

#1  Postby Arizona Atheist » Dec 12, 2010 1:49 am

I'm disheartened to see so many books attacking and critiquing Richard Dawkins and his book 'The God Delusion.' At last count I was able to easily find upwards of thirty books purporting to refute Dawkins. Not that writing responses is a bad thing, though, it's just when each of these authors publishes books and essays that completely misrepresent him that's not fair to him and I feel the need to correct these individuals.

I love writing and I enjoy research so I've taken the time to personally respond to several of these authors, such as Scott Hahn and Benjamin Wiker, David Aimkman, and the focus of the present piece, David Marshall.

Marshall has written not only an entire book ('The Truth Behind the New Atheism') but also an essay that claims to expose “160 errors, gross exaggerations, and highly dubious claims” in 'The God Delusion.' Not to long ago I decided to wade through each and every argument made in the essay and see if they had merit. I found that most of them didn’t. Several were pure misunderstandings about science on the part of Marshall, while others, were misrepresentations of Dawkins' position and I pointed out each of the author's errors, but also acknowledged when he actually made a good point (which was very rare).

When I was finished I found a total of 141 errors and assorted other problems with David Marshall's essay.

I hope you enjoy it and I hope I was accurate throughout. If not, please let me know, and I'd LOVE some discussion about the issues raised in the essay and my response.

I would post it here but seeing as it's over 100 pages I think linking to it would be best.

http://arizonaatheist.blogspot.com/2010/12/david-marshalls-141-instances-of.html

Thanks!
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Re: Defending Richard Dawkins from Misguided Criticism

#2  Postby james1v » Dec 12, 2010 2:33 am

I will read the link tomorrow, its late here in the UK. But, well done you for doing something. :cheers:

Oh, welcome! :cheers:
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Re: Defending Richard Dawkins from Misguided Criticism

#3  Postby Arizona Atheist » Dec 15, 2010 8:50 pm

Thanks for the welcome! I hope you enjoy the paper and I apologize for the length.
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Re: Defending Richard Dawkins from Misguided Criticism

#4  Postby z8000783 » Dec 15, 2010 8:56 pm

What an incredible piece of work, I shall enjoy reading this.

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Re: Defending Richard Dawkins from Misguided Criticism

#5  Postby sweitzen » Dec 23, 2010 10:14 pm

I would be quite pleased if I wrote a book that kicked somebody's hornets' nest that much.

He hit a nerve, and he has them acting defensively. If his critics truly believed he were so wrong, they wouldn't bother writing so many criticisms.
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Re: Defending Richard Dawkins from Misguided Criticism

#6  Postby Emmeline » Dec 23, 2010 10:45 pm

Have you contacted RD's website with the link? They might be interested in putting it on the site.

Article Submissions:
If you would like to submit a link to an article online for discussion on RichardDawkins.net, please send an email WITH THE TITLE OF THE ARTICLE IN THE SUBJECT LINE and the link in the body to articles@richarddawkins.net. Please include the name by which you would like to be publicly credited.
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Re: Defending Richard Dawkins from Misguided Criticism

#7  Postby The Plc » Dec 23, 2010 11:03 pm

Paul Kirby's review of four counter New Atheist books on RD.net are very good as well, particularly her assessment of supposed theological heavyweight Alister McGrath and his book The Dawkins Delusion. The book is apparently a 120 page ad hom attack, and McGrath fails to inform the reader of even what religion he belongs to.
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Re: Defending Richard Dawkins from Misguided Criticism

#8  Postby Arizona Atheist » Dec 23, 2010 11:07 pm

sweitzen wrote:I would be quite pleased if I wrote a book that kicked somebody's hornets' nest that much.

He hit a nerve, and he has them acting defensively. If his critics truly believed he were so wrong, they wouldn't bother writing so many criticisms.


I agree completely. I've counted probably about 40 responses on Amazon.com, and some of these are still due to be published! It's amazing! I don't think I've ever seen one book gain so many responses before.

Jan,

Actually I did go to their website and I waited the 4 days or so to see if it would be accepted and, to my surprise, it wasn't. Maybe I could try again. I was really bummed.
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Re: Defending Richard Dawkins from Misguided Criticism

#9  Postby Arizona Atheist » Dec 23, 2010 11:08 pm

The Plc,

Thanks for the heads up! I'll go check those out.
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Re: Defending Richard Dawkins from Misguided Criticism

#10  Postby Arizona Atheist » Dec 24, 2010 1:51 am

I just read Paula's reviews. They were great; I highly recommend them. They can be found here: http://richarddawkins.net/articles/2285-fleabytes
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Re: Defending Richard Dawkins from Misguided Criticism

#11  Postby The Plc » Dec 24, 2010 1:52 am

If someone could give a watertight argument or evidence for some kind of god, like Dawkins demands, wouldn't that make them the greatest figure in the history of the world? The next Newton, or Einstein? Despite how serious Religion is taken, there seems to be a lack of proportionality about it, like at a some level everyone realises the emperor has no clothes, silly make believe, we'll lock religion up in a box and then get on with this business of the real world. I mean, if the Christian Dogmas are true, that would be the most important thing in the entire world, and then essentially there would be no point in living, because as long as you accept the truth of Jesus, an eternity of bliss awaits you. I'd spend my entire life at home praying and repenting sins, just so I don't balls up the indisputable fact that heaven awaits me.
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Re: Defending Richard Dawkins from Misguided Criticism

#12  Postby Bolero » Dec 24, 2010 2:10 am

The Plc wrote:If someone could give a watertight argument or evidence for some kind of god, like Dawkins demands, wouldn't that make them the greatest figure in the history of the world? The next Newton, or Einstein? Despite how serious Religion is taken, there seems to be a lack of proportionality about it, like at a some level everyone realises the emperor has no clothes, silly make believe, we'll lock religion up in a box and then get on with this business of the real world. I mean, if the Christian Dogmas are true, that would be the most important thing in the entire world, and then essentially there would be no point in living, because as long as you accept the truth of Jesus, an eternity of bliss awaits you. I'd spend my entire life at home praying and repenting sins, just so I don't balls up the indisputable fact that heaven awaits me.

:clap: So true.


OP - You've got many many good points in your arguments. Thanks for that.

Trouble is, no-one who already disagrees with Dawkins is ever going to read any defence of him - only the attacks. At least it's a good thing for the fence-sitters to read. Good work, and I agree with the poster who said good on you for doing something.
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Re: Defending Richard Dawkins from Misguided Criticism

#13  Postby Darwinsbulldog » Dec 24, 2010 2:51 am

Excellent work Ken! And welcome to the forum. :clap: :clap:
I don't think that RD is perfect, but some of the criticisms of him are very irrational and inaccurate.
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Re: Defending Richard Dawkins from Misguided Criticism

#14  Postby Arizona Atheist » Dec 24, 2010 4:09 am

Darwinsbulldog, Bolero,

Thank you both for the kudos. I agree completely with your assessment Darwinsbulldog.

Yeah it is sad that many theists read these supposed counter-arguments without ever reading the book some rebuttal is supposed to be critiquing and then they often have a completely distorted view of what Dawkins ACTUALLY wrote. I've tried to get my rebuttal published for a second time at Richard Dawkins' site so hopefully it will be accepted this time. The more people see these Christian hacks' nonsense the better.
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Re: Defending Richard Dawkins from Misguided Criticism

#15  Postby Balance_Maintained » Dec 30, 2010 11:39 am

I read through the entire article, at first making notes as two which arguments I would comment on or not, which I agreed with you, and which I agreed with Marshall. In the end, though, I decided against it as you so thoughtfully provided the words I was looking for very early on in your script:(#16)

1 Timothy 6:3-4: "If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and the constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain."

O.K., so bottom line, biblical Jesus wasn't a science/history/math/biology/chemistry/astrology/astronomy/(insert 'ology here) teacher, nor did he make any claim to be. So, trying to argue someone's particular 'ology' against the bible's teaching is rather pointless, just like trying to argue the bibles teaching as a way of contradicting science. This statement above could just as easily be applied to Dawkins, Marshall, or the Pope himself. And your little diatribe, and most of the others that I have read (including my own statements here) are simply "unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and the constant friction between men of corrupt mind."
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Re: Defending Richard Dawkins from Misguided Criticism

#16  Postby NineOneFour » Dec 30, 2010 11:42 am

Balance_Maintained wrote:I read through the entire article, at first making notes as two which arguments I would comment on or not, which I agreed with you, and which I agreed with Marshall. In the end, though, I decided against it as you so thoughtfully provided the words I was looking for very early on in your script:(#16)

1 Timothy 6:3-4: "If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and the constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain."

O.K., so bottom line, biblical Jesus wasn't a science/history/math/biology/chemistry/astrology/astronomy/(insert 'ology here) teacher, nor did he make any claim to be. So, trying to argue someone's particular 'ology' against the bible's teaching is rather pointless, just like trying to argue the bibles teaching as a way of contradicting science. This statement above could just as easily be applied to Dawkins, Marshall, or the Pope himself. And your little diatribe, and most of the others that I have read (including my own statements here) are simply "unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and the constant friction between men of corrupt mind."



Utter bunk.

The bible does claim to be an authority on science/history/math/biology several times and fails miserably each time.

Deal with it.
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Re: Defending Richard Dawkins from Misguided Criticism

#17  Postby Arizona Atheist » Dec 30, 2010 3:47 pm

Balance_Maintained,

Thanks for the comment and I greatly appreciate that you read the whole thing. Bravo! lol I know it’s long and very few people finish my long posts. I think I need to start handing out prizes or something...

As for your criticism specifically, I don’t get it. Marshall’s argument was whether or not Christians teach that “unquestioning faith is a virtue.” This argument by Marshall or my reply has nothing to do with science so it seems you misread what both I and Marshall said. In answer to his argument I cited the bible as arguing that everyone should do nothing but trust in the teachings of Jesus and not to listen to what anyone else has to say. That’s a pretty clear statement that contradicts Marshall’s claim. And I follow that up with quoting an early Christian saying essentially the same thing.
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Re: Defending Richard Dawkins from Misguided Criticism

#18  Postby tolman » Jan 04, 2011 8:44 pm

Arizona Atheist wrote:As for your criticism specifically, I don’t get it. Marshall’s argument was whether or not Christians teach that “unquestioning faith is a virtue.” This argument by Marshall or my reply has nothing to do with science so it seems you misread what both I and Marshall said. In answer to his argument I cited the bible as arguing that everyone should do nothing but trust in the teachings of Jesus and not to listen to what anyone else has to say. That’s a pretty clear statement that contradicts Marshall’s claim. And I follow that up with quoting an early Christian saying essentially the same thing.

That's certainly the interpretation I'd put on the quoted words - that the claim is being made that people shouldn't even dream of listening to other opinions, since other opinions are Wrong and/or Evil and only lead to Bad Things Happening.

In any case, I don't see the logic in B_M's argument that the bible and/or Jesus made no claims to teach science or rationality, and therefore it's not possible to use science or rationality to analyse what they say.
Even if it is actually true that the bible made no explicit claims to teach science, if it claimed anything that is actually wrong, that does cast doubt on any claims of divine inspiration, as opposed to ancient humans giving a creation story and/or excuses for past genocides their best shot.
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Re: Defending Richard Dawkins from Misguided Criticism

#19  Postby locutus7 » Jan 04, 2011 10:32 pm

Marshall is very active on the Amazon discussion forums, attacking atheists whenever they comment. He also provides negative reviews of ALL atheist books, regardless of the authors, and it is clear from his reviews that he has not read many of the books.

On Amazon, there are several christians who do this in order to lower the STARS awarded to a book, thus affecting sales (some people make buying decisions based on the star ranking of books).
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Re: Defending Richard Dawkins from Misguided Criticism

#20  Postby tolman » Jan 05, 2011 3:21 pm

If Marshall actually bothers to put his own words behind his poor ratings, presumably they'll tend to get ignored by people who actually read them?
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