The scrapblog of a theological noncognitivist.
IF I believed in a god then I might be moved to thank her for Richard and for the much better sense which has supplanted much of the ignorance and bigotry in the lives of those in the north of Ireland - a situation which has been there since the moment we British partitioned it.
Richard makes assumptions that he believes to be absolute facts: "It was an improbable event that we were even born at all". Really? Have a chat with any one of the Millions of people alive today who have had Near Death Experiences and they will tell you differently Richard. They 'know the truth re: life eternal. You 'assume' to know the truth re: life improbable. I'll go with their word over your Mr. Dawkins. The 1st minute or so was all I could stand of hearing Mr. Dawkins dribble as he began his typical rant about Religion. Most reasonable people know that what is in the Bible re: the earth is not based on scientific study, so move on already. Examine 21st Century scientific data that IANDS and other like minded Associations have accumulated that support the existance of God and life after death. This information should be the focus of your attention, for there is much to be analyzed with a critical eye. Until you do this Mr. Dawkins, you and your colleague Mr. Hitchens will just be considered by many as one trick ponies by spending all your time and energy debunking what is obvious about Religion to most people anyway. Time to move into the 21st Century Mr. Dawkins.
By "It was an improbable event that we were even born at all", RD means that we find ourselves alive and aware of our surroundings after a continuous chain of random events spanning 13.8 billion years of the life of our Universe and 4 billion year of evolution here on earth. If you deny the truth of that, of course you won't understand what RD is getting at.As to "near death experiences" they are purely anecdotal and their evidential value is puerile. How do we know what people claim as near death experiences are anything more than abnormal functioning of brains under stress?Time to move into the 19th Century Anonymous!
PS to the original post. Apparently McGrath's only response, just off the video, was "I'm happy with that", which speaks volumes.
@ quedula:Thank you for explaining the obvious. Mr. Dawkins world view is well known. Mine is of course different from his. I do not believe life is chance as Mr. Dawkins does and I have very good reasons for believing what I do. Do not dismiss NDE's out of hand. You are very ignorant on the matter and only fools would reject such compelling experiences without a thorough examination of the facts. Many brighter people than you have made it their personal crusade to disprove NDE's only to end up believing in their authenticity. Actually, this is a good reason for you not to look too closely. After all, ignorance is bliss...Twinkledorp Peabody.
@ quedula.PS, Instead of taking an authority position on NDE's, what say you defer to those who have actually had the experiences and see what they have to say? Not hard to find. Millions have had them. My guess is that they are not waiting around for an expert like you to come along and tell them what they experienced. They know what they experienced. They know the truth. What you need to do is to listen and learn. This might be a bit of a challenge if you have an oversized intellectual ego, but it will be good for you. A dose of humility can do wonders for your people skills which in turn will ake you a better person. A win-win all around!No, off you go!!!
@Twinkledorp PeabodyI agree some people have NDE's. What I disagree with is that these have any kind of supernatural significance. That some people believe that they do does not make them brighter than me, it makes them less sceptical than me.
Anonymous @22.30 I refer you to my preceding reply and add that simple exhortation to adopt your particular world view is not a convincing tactic.
Quedela - who said anything about 'supernatural'? It appears NDE experiences are very, very 'natural' occurences shared by millions of people worldwide. The problem which they pose to your world view is that they happen at all. If life was as you believe it to be then they shouldn't. But they do, and you and other like minded people are constantly on the defensive to come up with explanations that just do not cut the mustard. For instance, you put forward that an NDE may be the 'malfunctioning of the brain under stress'. I'm sure you feel this answer is suffice and the matter closed. It seems you feel this topic is not one that should be taken seriously, unless your logic and ability to think critically is similar accross the spectrum, in which case I would have to offer that people who do seriously investigate NDE's are much, much brighter than you despite your apposition to this suggestion. However, I will give you the benefit of the doubt and just simply assume intellectual superiority when it comes to such 'supernatural' and trivial silly little matters such as NDE's and those who have them. Re: your 'malfunctioning brain under stress' - well, that's just an intellectual Hail Mary (so much for intellectual superiority)that has been long ago debunked as a scientific possibility. I refer you to the book "Into the unknown: Strange But True" written by Neuropsychiatrist Dr. Peter Fenwick who explains that these experiences occur even in instances when the brain is 'dead', in that there is absolutely no activity what-so-ever. How could this possibly be if your world view was right? It couldn't because it isn't.Any other Hail Mary's you'd like to toss out there, or is that the best the brightest can provide?
I am not sure Anonymous why you are picking this argument on a Richard Dawkins video about religion. RD never mentions NDE's and neither did I. You brought the subject up and I agreed with you that NDE's are natural occurrences. Yet now you are attacking me for being sceptical about the supernatural interpretation that some people, maybe yourself too, put on NDE's. You seem to have an awful lot at mental stake here but my blog is not the place to seek resolution. Your diatribes are devoid of cogency and lengthy and I feel I have allowed you enough space. Please note I shall not be publishing any more of your comments on this particular post.
Boy Quedula you had a troll on your hand. I find it really funny that he mentions near death experience as compelling evidence for the existence of God: near death experiences have been reproduced in laboratory! And even if it had not been and there was evidence that it was a supernatural phenomenon), it would not mean that there is a God, let alone a God of a particular religion.