/ Dawkins making an arse of himself on twitter

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Jimbo W on 11 Aug 2013
lowersharpnose - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:

Lots of tenous crap there. Like this bit:

“Mehdi Hasan admits to believing Muhamed [sic] flew to heaven on a winged horse. And New Statesman sees fit to print him as a serious journalist.” The logical conclusion of this – which Dawkins strongly denied – is that Muslims simply should not be hired as journalists.

The conclusion is that people who think that M flew to heaven on a winged horse should not be taken seriously - not that Muslims should not be hired as journalists.

Dom Whillans on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:
the only thing i find more irritating than a bible basher is an antitheist. dawkins is steadily losing respect and the plot.
GuyVG - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to lowersharpnose:

Spot on. Weak article, I would have gone with 'he's got an annoying voice" story
MonkeyPuzzle - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to GuyVG:

I also like the way he says Dawkins' Quran-Mein Kampf reference is trying to be as provocative as possible, but a paragraph later quotes Dawkins and then comments "There's a good test here: replace “Muslim” with “Jew” and tell me you're comfortable." He's either a hypocrite, incapable of a coherent argument, or both.
malk - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply: would any of the Jones bashers like to defend Dawkins' tweet?
lowersharpnose - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to malk:

Assuming this the tweet that needs defending...

“Haven't read Koran so couldn't quote chapter & verse like I can for the Bible. But often say Islam greatest force for evil today.”

Is Islam the greatest force for evil today?

Well I don't know about that, what are the contenders?

1) Lack of democratic government.
2) Massive economic inequality.
3) Women's rights.
4) Wasting of resources.
etc

Some Muslims appear to be against 1) & strongly against 3)
dissonance - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to malk:

> In reply: would any of the Jones bashers like to defend Dawkins' tweet?

Which one? The Nobel prize one?
If so context is rather important and the fact he was responding to someone commenting on how good Islamic science was and, in particularly, how it kept some greek knowledge alive and built on it during the dark ages.

So seems reasonable enough to point out that that was a while back and something seems to have gone wrong. The argument Jones uses of the prizes going to the advanced, developed nations misses the point somewhat.
malk - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to dissonance: ok, perhaps not quite as pointless and bigoted as it first appears..
www.richarddawkins.net/foundation_articles/2013/8/9/calm-reflections-after-a-storm-in-a-teacup
Mad Hatter 1988 on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to Jimbo W: I'm not religious, I'm not bothered if other people are as long as they don't try and convert me, that's all religions. I certainly don't think it should be used as an excuse for anything and it certainly should have no place in government.

That said, Dawkins is a pathetic waste of a human being who announces nothing but hatred and that supposed journalist does nothing but cherry pick parts of information to make his point, and rather confusingly at that.

In short they're both c0cks.
llechwedd - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to GuyVG:
> (In reply to lowersharpnose)
>
> Spot on. Weak article, I would have gone with 'he's got an annoying voice" story

and it's all meme meme meme with that Dawkins guy
lowersharpnose - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to malk:

Thanks for that link.

Lots of good stuff there, like Educational systems that teach boys only memorisation of one particular book, and teach girls nothing at all, are not calculated to breed success in science.

I like Dawkins and find it quite entertaining going on a youtube safari watching him argue his points.
john arran - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to lowersharpnose:

and
"It is beyond unrealistic to describe religious belief as a “choice” like, say, what clothes you should wear to a friend's party or whether to have a ham or chicken sandwich for lunch."

and yet millions of people can and do change or reject their religious indoctrination. What is it then if not a choice people are perfectly capable of making?
dek - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to john arran:
> (In reply to lowersharpnose)
>

>
> and yet millions of people can and do change or reject their religious indoctrination. What is it then if not a choice people are perfectly capable of making?

If islam didnt have a death threat for apostasy, it would probably have vanished up its own arse centuries ago.
Dawkins should be applauded for highlighting the evil committed daily in 'religions' name . What a couple of needy, screeching, left liberal hacks, have to say is unimportant.
The truth about religious Mumbo Jumbo, isn't 'Bigotry' Jones, Moran, and hasan can't refute the actual facts Dawkins shows, only try to shut him down.
malk - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to lowersharpnose: and he'll be delighted with the publicity for his memoirs out next month..
Timmd on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to john arran:
> (In reply to lowersharpnose)
>
> and
> "It is beyond unrealistic to describe religious belief as a “choice” like, say, what clothes you should wear to a friend's party or whether to have a ham or chicken sandwich for lunch."
>
> and yet millions of people can and do change or reject their religious indoctrination. What is it then if not a choice people are perfectly capable of making?

I'm not sure it's a choice which all people are capable of making, though? As somebody who grew up with one parent a Catholic, and with Catholic relatives on one side of the family, I think it may become so supportive for some, that even if they might acknowledge it isn't logical, they still go back to their faith for support.

Which can be a good or a bad thing, depending on your point of view, but I'm unsure about it being a choice in the same way people choose what clothes to wear, which is what Dawkins is questioning too.

( I'm just saying I'm unsure by the way, before anybody jumps down my throat. )
colin struthers - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:

In this particular debate Dawkins method and use of statistics has been criticised as poor science. Well maybe. But...

According to Wikipedia

The World's Muslim population is c. 1,570,000,000

Since its inception Muslims have been awarded 10 Nobel prizes

The worlds Jewish population is c. 14,000,000

Jews have been awarded 187 Nobel prizes

Now of course the disparity between the World's Muslim population and the World's Jewish population may well have been less when the Nobel Prize was inaugurated and a much higher proportion of Jewish people may well have lived in more prosperous and better educated societies during the last hundred years.

But really, can these and other socio-economic differences wholly account for the fact that Jewish people (on the basis of the above statistics and on an admittedly rather crude pro rata calculation) have been over 2,000 times more successful than Muslims in winning Nobel prizes?

The point that Dawkins was making was, I think, that success in fostering scientific achievement at the highest levels within a given community is likely to be a reflection of that communities cultural attitude towards science and of its approach to educating its young people.

In many muslim societies half of the population are routinely discouraged from any form of education.

A quick google should provide you with plenty of examples of Islamic 'scholars' denouncing modern science as ungodly and unislamic.

And surely you have seen clips of children in madrasas reciting the Koran for hours on end in an attempt to learn this single text by heart? Something which sadly passes for the core curriculum in the only form of 'education' many of these students are likely to receive.

Does this not make you wonder if Dawkins might have a point?
malk - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to colin struthers: Muslims (and others) also have a point with their skepticism of modern science? (or at least with some of its technological manifestations)
off-duty - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to malk:
> (In reply to colin struthers) Muslims (and others) also have a point with their skepticism of modern science? (or at least with some of its technological manifestations)

I think you might be confusing rational skepticism (however miguided it might be) with skepticism on the basis of "irrational" religious beliefs
dissonance - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to malk:
> (In reply to colin struthers) Muslims (and others) also have a point with their skepticism of modern science? (or at least with some of its technological manifestations)

can you give some examples of this?
dek - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to dissonance:
> (In reply to malk)
> [...]
>
> can you give some examples of this?
Remember when Dawkins was gobsmacked at the muslimas, walking out of biology classes? They only believe whats whats in their koran!
Darren Jackson - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:

I'm sceptical about all these skeptics.
dek - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to Darren Jackson:
> (In reply to Jimbo W)
>
> I'm sceptical about all these skeptics.
SheepTics make me itch,
Timmd on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to Darren Jackson:
> (In reply to Jimbo W)
>
> I'm sceptical about all these skeptics.

Yes, an argument has to stand on it's own terms.

dissonance - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to dek:

> Remember when Dawkins was gobsmacked at the muslimas, walking out of biology classes? They only believe whats whats in their koran!

yes but I was asking for some examples where they would have a point in being skeptical. Because the Koran/Bible/teachings of L Ron Hubbard disagree doesnt really count.
malk - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to Darren Jackson: take it up with wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skepticism
Timmd on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to Timmd:
> (In reply to Darren Jackson)
> [...]
>
> Yes, an argument has to stand on it's own terms.

Or fall, but not because it's from a source you're already sceptical about.
malk - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to dissonance:
> (In reply to malk)
> [...]
>
> can you give some examples of this?

well i have reservations about GMOs, and the people who've been bombed by drones etc might have something to say on science applications..
off-duty - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to malk:
> (In reply to dissonance)
> [...]
>
> well i have reservations about GMOs, and the people who've been bombed by drones etc might have something to say on science applications..

Your arguments about GMO are presumably based on some form of evidence rather than "because God says so".
Not sure that being unhappy with technology (like drones) qualifies as being a skeptic about science (like the ability to fly) though.
Timmd on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to malk:
> (In reply to dissonance)
> [...]
>
> well i have reservations about GMOs, and the people who've been bombed by drones etc might have something to say on science applications..


Isn't that about the 'application' of science though, rather than science itself?

It's not how true science is which is the problem, but it's application by humans. It's humans who are the problem.

Apples will always fall from trees due to gravity, but it's down to humans whether they drop things on each other.
malk - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to off-duty: the evidence is building against GMOs and science is becoming increasingly money and technology orientated..
malk - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to Timmd:
> (In reply to malk)
> It's humans who are the problem.
>
thousands of years have shown this to be true (unlikely to change any time soon), so where does that leave science and its applications in the modern age?

off-duty - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to malk:
> (In reply to off-duty) the evidence is building against GMOs and science is becoming increasingly money and technology orientated..

If you want to sidetrack on a debate about GMOs or other science related topics then maybe you should start another thread.

Your original post appeared to be equating scientific skepticism to that which is based on religious belief. That was what I was addressing.
wintertree - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to malk:
> (In reply to off-duty) the evidence is building against GMOs and science is becoming increasingly money and technology orientated..

The evidence isn't building "against GMOs" - what a daft thing to say. Almost every piece of food we consume is GM. Wheat is GM grass, it took millennia to achieve, but ever since selective breeding got properly scientific last century the pace has been on the rise. The genes in the grass were modified to shape it into wheat, it didn't happen by magic and Eco pixie dust.

There are plenty of existing examples of old style GM going horribly wrong - just look at a King Charles spaniel, they are GM derived from wolves or other ancient dogs.

What is changing is how directly we can perform the GM, and the rapidity and guidance with which we can do it. There is a strong argument that modern GM techniques could make a mistake that couldn't be contained, and the mistake could prove to be Very Bad, whereas the old multi-decadal or multi-millennial methods offered more time for introspection.

malk - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to off-duty: hey, you brought up GMOs for a second time (i was only giving a personal example of the question posed). maybe you should start another thread!
ps. i think you misunderstood my post. please clarify what you think what my 'equating scientific skepticism to that which is based on religious belief' argument might be?
malk - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to wintertree: gonna have to do better than that. why dont you start a thread expanding your argument- should be fun..
off-duty - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to malk:
> (In reply to off-duty) hey, you brought up GMOs for a second time (i was only giving a personal example of the question posed). maybe you should start another thread!

Generally that's called "a reply".


> ps. i think you misunderstood my post. please clarify what you think what my 'equating scientific skepticism to that which is based on religious belief' argument might be?

"Muslims (and others) also have a point with their skepticism of modern science? (or at least with some of its technological manifestations)"

Your post suggests: -

There is some rationality behind skepticism of modern science that is shared between Muslims and non-muslims.


From your later posts it appears that you are talking about a distrust in the application of science.

malk - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to off-duty:
>
> There is some rationality behind skepticism of modern science that is shared between Muslims and non-muslims.
>
> From your later posts it appears that you are talking about a distrust in the application of science.

yes to both. what's the problem?
science vs technology?

off-duty - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to malk:
> (In reply to off-duty)
> [...]
>
> yes to both. what's the problem?
> science vs technology?

Science = How it's done.
Application (or technology) = What we are doing with the science.

eg -You can argue that drones shouldn't be used - but you are going to struggle with an argument that things can't fly or that remote control is impossible.

Or you can choose to refuse to accept a blood transfusion for religious reasons, but you are going to struggle to claim that a blood transfusion won't help.
Ridge - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to malk:
I honestly don't understand the point you're trying to make.

You may not like the idea of GMOs. You may not like the idea of drones. That is not the same as being skeptical about their existance or the reality of the science that produced them.
malk - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to off-duty: yes, i'm aware of the distinction between science and technology, although they do seem to be merging. add money and humans to the mix and its understandable that some people are skeptical?
malk - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to Ridge: am i wrong to be concerned about some of the applications of science?
feel free to start a new thread on GMOs or drones or the reality of science if you'd like to expand your argument- should be fun..
Jimbo W on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to lowersharpnose:
> (In reply to Jimbo W)
>
> Lots of tenous crap there. Like this bit:
>
> “Mehdi Hasan admits to believing Muhamed [sic] flew to heaven on a winged horse. And New Statesman sees fit to print him as a serious journalist.” The logical conclusion of this – which Dawkins strongly denied – is that Muslims simply should not be hired as journalists.
>
> The conclusion is that people who think that M flew to heaven on a winged horse should not be taken seriously - not that Muslims should not be hired as journalists.

And what is it that muslims believe?
Jimbo W on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to MonkeyPuzzle:

> I also like the way he says Dawkins' Quran-Mein Kampf reference is trying to be as provocative as possible, but a paragraph later quotes Dawkins and then comments "There's a good test here: replace “Muslim” with “Jew” and tell me you're comfortable." He's either a hypocrite, incapable of a coherent argument, or both.

Eh?
lowersharpnose - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to malk:

Sceptical of what?

Science is the best way of discovering useful things about how the universe works.

Perhaps we should only prescribe new antibiotics to those that accept evolution as fact. That would force some irrational folk to make an interesting choice between faith and science.
malk - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to lowersharpnose:
>
> 1) Lack of democratic government.
> 2) Massive economic inequality.
> 3) Women's rights.
> 4) Wasting of resources.

must be quite a few countries satisfying those criteria..

lowersharpnose - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:

And what is it that muslims believe?

Eh?

I wrote that people (e.g. Mehdi Hasan) who think Mo flew to heaven on a winged horse should not be taken seriously.



Jimbo W on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to lowersharpnose:

> And what is it that muslims believe?
>
> Eh?
>
> I wrote that people (e.g. Mehdi Hasan) who think Mo flew to heaven on a winged horse should not be taken seriously.

So given Mehdi is a reasonably cultured broad minded muslim, how many muslims don't believe that? What's the difference?
malk - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to lowersharpnose:
>
> Sceptical of what?
>
those pesky umans
Jimbo W on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to lowersharpnose:
> (In reply to malk)
>
> Assuming this the tweet that needs defending...
>
> “Haven't read Koran so couldn't quote chapter & verse like I can for the Bible. But often say Islam greatest force for evil today.”
>
> Is Islam the greatest force for evil today?
>
> Well I don't know about that, what are the contenders?
>
> 1) Lack of democratic government.
> 2) Massive economic inequality.
> 3) Women's rights.
> 4) Wasting of resources.

I'm not sure that "democratic government", rather than the lack thereof, could also be regarded as being pretty big force for evil.. ..controlling autocratic regimes for its own utility on foreign soils, engaging in illegal wars, driving globalisation and the mass depletion of earth resources all the while generating the illusion of freedom!
Jimbo W on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to dissonance:
> (In reply to malk)
> [...]
>
> can you give some examples of this?

Maybe...
http://hypertextbook.com/eworld/einstein.shtml
http://www.doug-long.com/einstein.htm
off-duty - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to malk:
> (In reply to off-duty) yes, i'm aware of the distinction between science and technology, although they do seem to be merging. add money and humans to the mix and its understandable that some people are skeptical?

As someone has already commented - skeptical of what?

If you disagree with - for example, polio vaccination, then you might have a common cause with some muslims as epitomised by Taliban activity, but I would hope that you would have a slightly more rational justification than "because god says it's evil".
I'd like to think that any rational issues with it could be discussed and hopefully disabused through evidence, whilst an argument against a position based on a religious belief is always going to founder - because it's very hard to argue with what "god says".
Dominion - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:

Interesting.

That article is possibly what Private Eye are discussing in their current edition (No 1346, page 27)

There are serious flaws, as have been pointed out (already) in the article you link, but the important thing to note is that it is difficult to compare other cultures in a totally indiscriminate way to the way in which you can critique the culture in which you have had imposed upon you when growing up.

ie cultural indoctrination.

Technically, I'm Christian, having been born in the UK, and did attend Sunday School. back in the 60's until I was expelled for asking questions about Evolution, which got my parents being asked questions, themselves.

It was strange to be one of the only families in the village, in Northumberland, where we had to wait around on Sundays for the other kids to be released from their religious indoctrination, and from which I was banned as I had picked up from my parents that Religions try to teach bullshit to you...

I'll post more in a bit
lowersharpnose - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:

I don't know how many muslims believe that crap about a winged horse.

Someone who thinks that Mo was carried to heaven by a winged horse should not be trusted on matters of fact.
malk - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to Jimbo W: "Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds."
malk - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to lowersharpnose: do you think science research should have more oversight and regulation like wot isn't happening with the banks?
Sir Chasm - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to malk:
> (In reply to lowersharpnose) do you think science research should have more oversight and regulation like wot isn't happening with the banks?

Can you attempt to pose a coherent question?
James B - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to lowersharpnose:

> Someone who thinks that Mo was carried to heaven by a winged horse should not be trusted on matters of fact.

Presumably you feel the same way about people who believe Christ rose from the dead? Just checking for consistency, like.
off-duty - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to malk:
> (In reply to lowersharpnose) do you think science research should have more oversight and regulation like wot isn't happening with the banks?

You seem to be eliding a bunch of different things. Science, technology, skepticism, disbelief and now research.

Basic scientific research is governed by peer review, and the ability to reproduce results. It would be well nigh impossible to regulate.
Jimbo W on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to James B:
> (In reply to lowersharpnose)
>
> [...]
>
> Presumably you feel the same way about people who believe Christ rose from the dead? Just checking for consistency, like.

Precisely so. I certainly beleive the latter. I don't see the difference.
malk - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to off-duty:
> (In reply to malk)
> [...]
>
> As someone has already commented - skeptical of what?
>
> If you disagree with - for example, polio vaccination, then you might have a common cause with some muslims as epitomised by Taliban activity, but I would hope that you would have a slightly more rational justification than "because god says it's evil".
> I'd like to think that any rational issues with it could be discussed and hopefully disabused through evidence, whilst an argument against a position based on a religious belief is always going to founder - because it's very hard to argue with what "god says".

why persist with your blatant misunderstanding my post?

lowersharpnose - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to James B:

Indeed I do.
off-duty - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to malk:
> (In reply to off-duty)
> [...]
>
> why persist with your blatant misunderstanding my post?

I'm sorry if I am misunderstanding you though it seems I am not alone. Perhaps you could expand a bit on what you actually mean.
Jimbo W on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to off-duty:
> (In reply to malk)
> [...]
>
> You seem to be eliding a bunch of different things. Science, technology, skepticism, disbelief and now research.
>
> Basic scientific research is governed by peer review, and the ability to reproduce results. It would be well nigh impossible to regulate.

It is regulated, not centrally by government per se, but there is a striking move to have all biological research orientate toward a translational product, i.e. the justification for funding is increasinly about potential for translational technological utility.
off-duty - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:
> (In reply to off-duty)
> [...]
>
> It is regulated, not centrally by government per se, but there is a striking move to have all biological research orientate toward a translational product, i.e. the justification for funding is increasinly about potential for translational technological utility.

Thanks I'm not up to date with the current position ;-).
So does that mean that basic biological research - for example a lot of that funded by cancer research and similar, now has to be directed at a commercial end product?
malk - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to off-duty: please start again from beginning of thread and list your issues with what i've said and expand your argument if you have one on another thread. i'm outta here..
lowersharpnose - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to off-duty:

So does that mean that basic biological research - for example a lot of that funded by cancer research and similar, now has to be directed at a commercial end product?


I hope not.

The object of research is to find things out, not just to find things out that have 'translational technological utility' (I trust that is not some official phrase).
Jimbo W on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to off-duty:

> Thanks I'm not up to date with the current position ;-).
> So does that mean that basic biological research - for example a lot of that funded by cancer research and similar, now has to be directed at a commercial end product?

It means that when I write my grant applications, much of the justification hinges on the potential for a translational output. "Translation" means turning basic ideas into something of technical utility, e.g. a way of curing a particular cancer. That latter part inevitably requires a commercial end product. So essentially the answer to your question is yes.
Dominion - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to Dominion:

> It was strange to be one of the only families in the village, in Northumberland, where we had to wait around on Sundays for the other kids to be released from their religious indoctrination, and from which I was banned as I had picked up from my parents that Religions try to teach bullshit to you...

And I suppose I was lucky in a sense, because at least I wasn't stoned to death, or burned at the stake for innocently questioning some of the blatantly ludicrous fantasies that Sunday School tried to tell was real.

I need to make this clear, I was brought up in an environment where I was aware of "gods" - greek, roman, norse, celtic, and to a lesser extent Hindu gods as were discussed in The Jungle Book (NB the book by Kipling, not the cartoon film by Disney)

And the thing is, I read - and these were pretty much my favourite books - illustrated stories from the bible, and all of The Old Testament - but also Tales of Troy and Greece, Celtic Roman Greek, and Norse Mythology, and also things like The Hobbit, and The Lord Of the Rings.

An you cannot read Greek, Celtic and Norse mythology, and - later The Silmarillion - and also read Genesis, and not realise that The Bible's story of Creation is also a fantasy.

Nowadays it is pretty evident that Christianity was adopted as the official religion of the Roman Empire, by Constantine, and at that point it was decided that Jesus would be promoted to the status of a deity, rather than that of just a Prophet. because the Roman state knew that they needed to control religion, and they knew that they needed to get political control of christianity, and get all the leaders of the states / nations that were ruled from Rome to adopt christianity as their religion, and impose it upon their (deliberatly kept) ignorant populace.

Christianity made a mistake back in the 1455 by allowing the Gutenberg bible to be printed, and in languages other that Latin.

Islam, I believe, tries to get people to learn it's religious text by rote, rather then by educating it's people to learn to read (and write) - circumstances where they might be able to discuss heretical ideas, or read about other religions, and learn how they are being indoctrinated from birth - at pain of death - into a religion that tries to enforce social mores from thousands of years ago onto them, and where clerics are the political power, still, because no one dare say otherwise.


off-duty - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to malk:
> (In reply to off-duty) please start again from beginning of thread and list your issues with what i've said and expand your argument if you have one on another thread. i'm outta here..

The post I originally replied to said :-

"Muslims (and others) also have a point with their skepticism of modern science? (or at least with some of its technological manifestations)"

Which you appeared to agree meant : -
There is some rationality behind skepticism of modern science that is shared between Muslims and non-muslims.

You then said that you are also talking about a distrust in the application of science.

"yes to both. what's the problem?
science vs technology?"

Which you "clarified" saying
"yes, i'm aware of the distinction between science and technology, although they do seem to be merging. add money and humans to the mix and its understandable that some people are skeptical?"

And when you are asked "What" they are skeptical about you accuse people of misunderstanding you.


I took it to be that you appear to think that it is reasonable for muslims to be skeptical of "science" as some other people are too. I disagree with that.

At a stretch it might be that you meant that it is reasonable that muslims are skeptical about some applications of science, because other people are too. In which case I disagree as evidence based skepticism is very different from being skeptical "because God said so"

Since I appear to be not the only person that is unsure what the thrust of your argument/point is then I'll leave it to you to clarify what you mean.
off-duty - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:
> (In reply to off-duty)
>
> [...]
>
> It means that when I write my grant applications, much of the justification hinges on the potential for a translational output. "Translation" means turning basic ideas into something of technical utility, e.g. a way of curing a particular cancer. That latter part inevitably requires a commercial end product. So essentially the answer to your question is yes.

That's pretty bad. What happened to carrying out research to try and understand what is actually happening within, for example, cell division? No idea what the potential applications might be, but then again it might shed light on a key process that was hitherto not just not understood, but not even known about.
malk - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to off-duty: i didn't even read that;) why not start a thread- it's clear you have something to say..
dissonance - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to off-duty:

> No idea what the potential applications might be, but then again it might shed light on a key process that was hitherto not just not understood, but not even known about.

no quick profit for commercial interests so a bad idea. Remember public sector is bad and wasteful.
dissonance - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to malk:
> (In reply to off-duty) i didn't even read that;) why not start a thread- it's clear you have something to say..

Think the point is they, like me and others, are somewhat confused as to what you are trying to argue.
off-duty - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to malk:
> (In reply to off-duty) i didn't even read that;) why not start a thread- it's clear you have something to say..

Whilst it's not clear what you have to say at all.
Dominion - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to Dominion:

Having said that, there are some very useful philosophical issues that Jesus raised, and it's unfortunate that the religion that was imported into Europe, and imposed upon it's people - by the Roman Empire - has been abused (and still is) in such a way that it devalues the message, or rather indoctrinates people with the messages from the pre-christian Old Testament, which is full of horrendous abuses, prejudice and nastiness.

But then the Old Testament is largely the history of the ancestors of Jesus (and incidentally Mary Magdelene), not a history of the world, however much supposedly Christian religions would like it to be seen as such.




It's been quite refreshing to see the current Pope actually behave in a manner where it appears that he is putting the philosophy and teachings of Jesus into practice above and beyond the prejudice, and doctrine that the institution has preached in preference to the words of someone they purport to be their "god".

Coel Hellier - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to Dominion:

> But then the Old Testament is largely the history of the ancestors of Jesus

Or, rather, when the NT writers came to construct the character Jesus, they constructed him as a descendant of the people in the OT.
MonkeyPuzzle - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:
> (In reply to MonkeyPuzzle)
>
> [...]
>
> Eh?

Wah?
Coel Hellier - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:

Returning the thread to the OP, Dawkins has a very good point. I read recently an assessment of astrophysics research in the Islamic world, written by an Muslim, and written from the angle of trying to give them a kick up the backside. The output in astrophysics research papers from the Islamic world is pitiful, so bad that it can't be explained by them being relatively poor, it can only be explained by them not caring about science.

That was Dawkins's point, and it's fair. Nobel Prizes is one indicator (only 1 or 2 in sciences?), universities in the world top 500 is another, counts research papers is a third. It really seems as though the Islamic world just doesn't do advanced education and scientific research.
Dominion - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Or, rather, when the NT writers came to construct the character Jesus, they constructed him as a descendant of the people in the OT.

yes, that's also a possibility.

I suppose I'm actually religiously indoctrinated enough to believe that Jesus was an real, genuine, historical person, even though I categorically don't believe in any gods as anything other than fiction.

I suppose that I believe in the existence of Jesus, in much the same way as I believe in the existence of Alexander the Great, and of Julius Caesar. It's entirely possible that - in essence - I believe that Jesus really existed because I know Julius Caesar existed, who pre-dates Jesus, by some 100 years. So it's inconceivable that we could have a global religion based upon a character who is completely fabricated.

Then again, us Brits tend to think of King Arthur as a real person, and he was allegedly several hundred years later...

And I suppose that means that I am also assuming that Pontius Pilate existed as a real person?


Oh well...
winhill - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:

The 'substitute jews' argument is simultaneously ironic and racist, well done Owen.

Anyone under any allusions about the state of science and eduction in the muslim world would do well to listen to those brave enough to speak out about it:

Sadly, little has changed. About seven centuries ago, after a spectacular Golden Age that lasted nearly four hundred years, Islam and science parted ways. Since then, they have never come together again. Muslim contributions to pure and applied sciences—measured in terms of discoveries, publications, patents, and processes—have been marginal for more than 700 years. A modest rebirth in the nineteenth century has been eclipsed by the current, startling flight from science and modernity. This retreat began in the last decades of the twentieth century and appears to be gaining speed across the Muslim world.

The traditional ulema are indeed a problem, but they are not the biggest one; the biggest problem is Islamism, a radical and often militant interpretation of Islam that spills over from the theological domain into national and international politics. Whenever and wherever religious fundamentalism dominates, blind faith clouds objective and rational thinking. If such forces take hold in a society, they create a mindset unfavorable for critical inquiry, including scientific inquiry, with its need to question received wisdom.


Pervez Amirali Hoodbhoy (b. 1950) is one of South Asia's leading nuclear physicists and perhaps Pakistan's preeminent intellectual. Bearer of a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology , he is chairman of the department of physics at Quaid-e-Azam University in Islamabad where, as a high-energy physicist, he carries out research into quantum field theory and particle phenomenology.

http://www.meforum.org/2593/pervez-amirali-hoodbhoy-islam-science
off-duty - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to winhill:

Very interesting interview - cheers for the link.
The New NickB - on 11 Aug 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:
> (In reply to James B)
> [...]
>
> Precisely so. I certainly beleive the latter. I don't see the difference.

But to be fair, no one on these threads takes you seriously either!
moac - on 12 Aug 2013
In reply to Jimbo W: I'd love to see Dawkins going back to the Bible and presenting the Scientific evidence for the stories, eg the OT Flood, or Parting of the Red Sea etc. I know documentaries have done these things before, but I reckon Dawkins could get a lot of mileage out of it in terms of his agressively pro science / anti-religious position.
dissonance - on 12 Aug 2013
In reply to moac:
> (In reply to Jimbo W) I'd love to see Dawkins going back to the Bible and presenting the Scientific evidence for the stories, eg the OT Flood, or Parting of the Red Sea etc.

Be rather short programs.
Jimbo W on 12 Aug 2013
In reply to lowersharpnose:

> I hope not.

You can hope all you like, but the reality is that, while individual scientists may well be driven to understand basic biology, the funding bodies are no longer tolerant of the spurious potential justifications for a future insight into, for example, curing cancer. They are demanding much more measurable proximity to translatable output, and this is driving an increased move toward, for example, synthetic lethality screens, which is essentially not much more focussed than Ehrlich's screening of compounds to find the no. 606 magic bullet for syphilis. You can understand it from the point of view of the use of public money, whether it is the tax payers or charitable in origin.
Jimbo W on 12 Aug 2013
In reply to The New NickB:
> (In reply to Jimbo W)
> [...]
>
> But to be fair, no one on these threads takes you seriously either!

Ouch. They might not take that claim seriously, but they sure spend alot of time arguing the toss with me, which if they didn't take me seriously, would make them pretty stupid.
Jon Stewart - on 12 Aug 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:

As a fan of both Dawkins and Jones, I find the debate quite interesting.

I take the view that Dawkins' argument is intellectually rigorous. What he has said isn't bigoted, it is absolutely fair. He judges people on their values, beliefs and behaviour, not on irrelevant factors beyond their control; and he judges people harshly where he believes their values are harmful. The presentation of his argument is however devisive, snidey and unpleasant. Ah well, you can't have it all.

Here's Dawkins being challenged on this point:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysxG5jFeTME

I like Owen Jones, but I would never expect him to match Dawkins in terms of intellectual rigor, as he proves here (with reference to points already made above). His presentation is more convincing than Dawkins' though!
wintertree - on 12 Aug 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart:
> (In reply to Jimbo W)

> I take the view that Dawkins' argument is intellectually rigorous. What he has said isn't bigoted, it is absolutely fair. He judges people on their values, beliefs and behaviour, not on irrelevant factors beyond their control; and he judges people harshly where he believes their values are harmful. The presentation of his argument is however devisive, snidey and unpleasant. Ah well, you can't have it all.

That unpleasantness probably comes after an entire lifetime watching the presentation of intellectually rigorous, evidence based argument fail in the face of nation after nation and government after government who, both at home and abroad, are dominated by people of religious belief, and who make sop after sop to but a few "special" religions, keeping them elevating in a "special" place, with special rights and privileges. As a bright man he probably sees the incredible harm to society that is permeated by anointing several different, and toxic, monotheists religions and dividing brainwashing rights to our nations children between them.

All the while this is set against a backdrop of ever more progress from science, and against ever rising demand (and falling funding) from those very same politicians that demand a special place for religion.

That could make any sane person snide and unpleasant. As long as the ruling class have religion, we're doomed. Doomed I tell ye.
Jon Stewart - on 12 Aug 2013
In reply to malk:
> (In reply to off-duty) yes, i'm aware of the distinction between science and technology, although they do seem to be merging. add money and humans to the mix and its understandable that some people are skeptical?

I don't understand what you mean by 'skeptical' either.

It is absolutely fine of course to disagree with certain technologies for reasons that makes sense. But I don't see how that's related to skepticism about science, the process of human beings understanding nature.

There is an implication in your post that we should do less science (hold back our understanding of nature) because we can't be trusted to do only nice things with the knowledge. Which of course is completely arse about tit. Knowledge is always a good thing, and how you use requires moral judgement.
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The New NickB - on 12 Aug 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:

Your logic appears somewhat wayward!
Jimbo W on 12 Aug 2013
In reply to The New NickB:

Explain it to me then.
Jimbo W on 12 Aug 2013
In reply to Dominion:

> Having said that, there are some very useful philosophical issues that Jesus raised, and it's unfortunate that the religion that was imported into Europe, and imposed upon it's people - by the Roman Empire - has been abused (and still is) in such a way that it devalues the message, or rather indoctrinates people with the messages from the pre-christian Old Testament, which is full of horrendous abuses, prejudice and nastiness.
> But then the Old Testament is largely the history of the ancestors of Jesus (and incidentally Mary Magdelene), not a history of the world, however much supposedly Christian religions would like it to be seen as such.

While there are unfortunately many of a more fundamentalist bent who do a) obsess about the old testament, and b) focus on it in a literal sense, most Christians understand Christ to represent the new covenant of God with his people, replacing the "law" of Moses, with himself as the way, and the assertion of the single commandment of love. Whether or not you regard the Jesus myth as historical or factual, he nevertheless represents a philosophical and ethical example that demands attention, even if it is only as a "way" to live. If the church, as an obviously political, power wielding institution has distorted that throughout history, then that is to be mourned as a great loss.

> It's been quite refreshing to see the current Pope actually behave in a manner where it appears that he is putting the philosophy and teachings of Jesus into practice above and beyond the prejudice, and doctrine that the institution has preached in preference to the words of someone they purport to be their "god".

I agree.
Jimbo W on 12 Aug 2013
In reply to winhill:

> The 'substitute jews' argument is simultaneously ironic and racist, well done Owen.

I don't see why. It just shows our discomfiture if we were to replace one word with the other, because of the ubiquitously known horrendous history of antisemitism.

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