Friday, August 20, 2010

It's Easier to Sell Something that People Want to Buy

It's easier to prove that consciousness is an illusion than it is to prove that there is no God. So why do Dawkins, Hitchens and the other book-publishing atheists attack God and not consciousness?

How many speaking engagements and book deals do you think they'd get if they spent their time trying to convince you that you didn't exist?


Jeff Burton said...

Not so sure it's easier to prove consciousness is an illusion. Read this book, and then explain why one is easier than the other.

tim eisele said...

(a) KT, I've noticed that quite a number of books get recommended both by you and by your commenters. Maybe you could put together a reading list that links through your sidebar?

(b) Incidentally, I'm wondering whether you have read Dawkins' book yourself, or whether you are mostly going by what other people have said about it. Because it appeared to me that he wasn't really arguing what you say he was arguing. It's been a while, but what I remember was that Dawkins was primarily arguing against belief in an interventionist, miracle-working God who responded to prayer. You know, the kind of God that would leave an unmistakeable trail of evidence if He existed.

As I recall, he explicitly conceded at one point that while he didn't personally believe in a "Universal Architect" God who set the Universe going and is now just watching it while it plays out, that he could not disprove it and was therefore not fundamentally opposed to other people believing in such a God.

K T Cat said...

Jeff, as someone with a little bit of a physical chemistry background, I don't get how chemical compounds can control other chemical compounds in an autonomous way. It seems like the arguments in favor of consciousness are way easy to knock out.

K T Cat said...

Tim, yeah, guilty as charged. I've heard Hitchens and Dawkins before, but they've always been in forums where they've had to simplify their arguments. I'm sure I've created a straw man to some degree. I guess I'm using them as stand-ins for the whole scientific atheism crowd. Their argument, as far as I've seen it, is "You don't have proof!"

What I'm getting at is the reason behind their selective application of science and logic. An analogy I've been thinking about expanding on in a post is Kinsey. Kinsey was a monumental pervert who wrote garbage books that he passed off as science in order to gain acceptance for his own bizarre behavior.

There's some reason why they go after religion with such a vengeance and it doesn't seem like it's all logic and experimental evidence.

Your summary of Dawkins' beliefs is no doubt accurate, so I ought to modify my posts.

tim eisele said...

I have some idea as to why Dawkins and people like him "go after" religion: it is because the religion that they encounter most of the time is not that of reasonable, basically rational people like you. Instead, people who teach evolution in any capacity seem to attract abuse from your basic fundamentalist creationists. Yes, I know that calling these creationists representatives of Christianity is basically a strawman argument, and the Catholic church repudiates them (Brother Guy once referred to Creationism as "A kind of Paganism", and this seems to be in line with Church doctrine). Nevertheless, these fundamentalists are the people that regularly come around and loudly confront anybody who either teaches or researches evolution. It's therefore very easy for experts in evolution to get a very skewed, twisted view of the worst side of religion that they feel a need to fight off.

It is unfortunate that, while fighting off the creationists, they so often end up insulting the mainstream Christians, too.

K T Cat said...

Tim, thanks for the complement. However, I don't buy that explanation. Somewhere between writing chapters 5 and 7 of their latest books, that thought should have occurred to them. Anyone with even a rudimentary knowledge of the history of science would know that the Church played a crucial role in keeping technology alive and sponsoring scientific inquiry for hundreds of years after the fall of the Roman Empire. These things aren't mysteries.

In any case, I'm finding the topic to have limited interest, unlike explorations with the microscope or stopping by your site to see the latest bug. I'm hoping for a microscope camera for my birthday so I can start sharing what I've been seeing.

God gave us nature for a reason, you know.