Posted by: Dan | April 2, 2008

The Honesty of Atheism

“My practice as a scientist is atheistic. That is to say, when I set up an experiment I assume that no god, angel, or devil is going to interfere with its course; and this assumption has been justified by such success as I have achieved in my professional career. I should therefore be intellectually dishonest if I were not also atheistic in the affairs of the world. And I should be a coward if I did not state my theoretical views in public.”

– JBS Haldane, quoted in Evolution-the Fossils Say Yes!


Responses

  1. Haldane wasn’t very good at framing, was he?

  2. You mean spinning? ;-)

    Actually, I think that that is the perfect frame. The alternative is dishonest – to go around claiming the power of prayer, but when the proverbial sh*t hits the fan, sane people go to science, medicine and engineering for solutions. It’s just more effective by a few orders of magnitude.

  3. On angryxtians blog, you said

    “Are you sure that you know what “selfish” is? Or what “context” means?

    Personally, I have every intention of being selfish with my wife, and not sharing her with others. You’re welcome to do whatever you wish though – it’s a free country.”


    Here is my response:

    >>No, the point is that “selfish” in this context does not mean that it’s socially or morally selfish to not share sex partners, it is referring to our “selfish genes”; Dawkins is talking about how our genes – which are selfish and only care about themselves surviving and reproducing – program us to not share sex partners because doing so does not further the reproduction of our own genes and could also further the reproduction of someone else’s genes.

    Sex partners are valuable “resources” because whatever person has one will surely further the survival/reproduction of his own genes, and selfish genes program us to keep those partners to ourselves so only OUR genes can reproduce and survive.

    Angryxtian has absolutely no clue what he is talking about.

  4. Dawkins is talking about how our genes – which are selfish and only care about themselves surviving and reproducing – program us to not share sex partners because doing so does not further the reproduction of our own genes and could also further the reproduction of someone else’s genes.

    There are some problems with that argument, but I don’t feel like continuing a discussion that was started elsewhere, and that I did not participate in.

  5. J.B.S. Haldane’s father, J.S. Haldane, also a scientist, said a few things that were more accommodating to religion. I ran across them, along with refutations, in writings by Bertrand Russell.

  6. Regardless of the strength of his argument, it’s still painfully obvious that angryxtian misread it out of sheer ingorance.

    OK, I’ll stop bugging you now.

    Peace.


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