32 COMMENTS

  1. Good on you Richard for calling Lennox on jumping from a wide view of deism to a man who lived 2000 years ago. This is perhaps the core problem with the religious complicating –that is grasping at straws to keep their belief of God alive by projecting human traits onto the universe. The views ARE petty because they focus on little human views and problems rather than dynamic, expansive forces and processes on a massive scale.

    To hold tight to a Biblical view of God is placing their cherished views on thin ice. They need to make an attempt to grasp onto certain scientific views and force fit them into their religious views otherwise they can be easily be extinguished. As you review this video again, notice how he jumps from the a deist view to traditional religious views. Notice how the universe is humanized.

    The concept of logos has possibilities of being a good argument but becomes complicated and mired down by the projection of consciousness placed upon it. People have called the idea of logos, the divine logos, and Divine Mind. Whether a theist is traditionally religious, deist or new age, all must attach human personalities, emotions, and thought to stay in the game. Perhaps a version of logos does exist, but I think it would be more like an expanding computer system – a simple calculator adding and subtracting at first, then onto a more complex system – slowly changing over massive amounts of time that very few, if any of us can actually comprehend. Over and over again, I hear excuses because people cannot relate to gradual shifts made over millions if not billions of years. To have a grand design with all the details figured out beforehand seems an awkward and regimented process compared to how creation works – simple ideas expanded upon and elaborated over time. (Some survived, adapted while others did not.) Even human creativity reflect this process. No one was watching TV 40,000 years ago and the roots or seed of TV existing back them were not present.

    My former church (new thought) had similar views on “logos.” Logos or Divine Consciousness, Divine Mind was within all. By placing the God within everything, I assume some apologetic figured out that this was a solution to doubts and legitimate questions challenging the “man God in the sky” view of God. Yet, it brings up whole new sets of problems.

    One day my minister, who studied with the Dali Lama, commented during a Sunday service that God is an indifferent God – no emotion, no concerns, etc. I don’t think she realized how this Buddhist view that she learned after her studies with “his holiness” was in conflict with the church’s view that God was “love.” It stuck with me because it contrasted drastically to everything she ever said. If you remove all references and similarities of humans, personalities, attitudes, activities, thoughts, you get an indifferent universe. This is exceptionally challenging to a theist or deist. You need to peel away many layers and the closer you get to the core, you get processes and forces that simply exist. This means we really are alone (no God) with no inherent meaning in anything. It means that we are temporary. Human projection is a very strong phenomenon used as an attempt to fill this emotional hole by many.

    By the way, I was curious to hear his views on Evolution also. I have heard the view that Evolution follows the expansion of “Consciousness.” Lower life forms have lower/slower “Consciousnesses.” As “Consciousness” expands, the form of life adapts and changes becoming more complex. In this view “Consciousness”or thought comes first.

  2. As always, Richard is a great speaker. I do find it funny that know matter how prestigious his opponent is supposed to be, they always have the same arguments FOR religion. I sympathize with Richard’s position of having to constantly debate the topic, but praise him for doing so as it is what made me open my eyes.

    Thanks!

    KCW

  3. Tell a scientist that their respective field is the result of Yahweh’s puppeteersmanship and the scientist will probably move on to another topic. Tell a person of faith that Yahweh’s plan of salvation is petty and, well, people will die (or in the case of John Lennox, become visibly flustered).

    Why doesn’t this observation give someone like John Lennox pause to consider, “am I being honest with myself or letting emotion color my desires?”

    Mike

  4. Its so sad that I have to wait until this mediocre generation dies out. I won’t see a world ruled by reason and generous empathy. I won’t see every country invest in reason and blossom accordingly. I won’t see argument conducted in its purest form based on rational thought. NO. I have to listen to selfish, attention thieves, screaming like spoilt brats, yeah but… yeah but… yeah but… THERES NO BUTS YER WRONG! Now fuck off and go crawl back under the rock you came from and take your religious wingnuts with you and give us all a break. OOPS sorry I was thinking out loud. Mmm… yes interesting Mmmm…..good Mr Lennox you make a good point. Unlike genteel Richard, these meek and mild dog in the mangers unleash the chimp in me.

  5. One of the better debates on this topic, in that Lennox actually understands the concept of debate, which makes a change.

    He can’t keep up with Dawkins for obvious reasons but still, he puts up an interesting fight at times.

    …But why do you let them go on and on about the Jesus, when they simply refuse to explain why we should consider only their fancy stories and not everyone else’s.
    Just because this is what’s fashionable right now and in this part of the world is simply not an excuse.

  6. I find it sad that the existence of Jesus is considered to be one of the pieces of evidence that there’s a god. The name “Jesus” was so common back in that time period, first of all, that wild mystical stories could have been made up about any man named Jesus from Nazareth. And why is it not even mentioned that the stories match almost identically to the stories that were told about every other “divine being” similar to Jesus, in belief systems long before this particular “messiah”…Fraud, fraud, fraud, and identity theft. It would have been nice if Dawkins had at least pointed out that if there was a grand design, by a grand designer, then why does this all knowing, all seeing being allow(and watch) the torture and murder of innocent children? The slow death of starvation of innocent children…that being surely could never teach the morality this fool claims he learned from him, unless he too enjoys watching “Hunger Games”. It makes sense he only believes in “top-down” learning…

  7. All design faults in living organisms & the universe can be traced back to sin. We live in a broken, imperfect world. What!!! What sort of rationalization is this? How is it supposed to work ,exactly? I can’t believe that a professor of physics could come out with this. It’s such nonsense! I’ve heard it before, proffered as some sort of argument and couldn’t believe my ears. Double- talk such as this should not be used in a supposedly intelligent debate.

  8. Firstly, bravo Professor Dawkins, a true bearer of the title Professor! (See video for pun!)

    As many have asked, “How can a ‘so-called’ professor, Lennox, be taken seriously when he quite literary lets his emotions rule his mind and totally cloud his objectivity? “

    There was a point were I gasped at his ludicrous ineptitude on evolutionary biological principles, and I’m no expert!

    So, once again, BRAVO! Maestro Dawkins.

  9. I was surprised how Prof. Lennox insisted on the resurrection of Jesus as a historical fact. He may not be familiar with developments in the historical criticism of the New Testament books. Textual criticism of these indicates quite convincingly that the passages relating to the resurrection in the Gospels were not parts of the original passion narratives written fairly early by original Jewish disciples, whose belief in the resurrection (if Paul of Tarsus’s account can be relied on in this matter) was a subjective experience of some kind of presence of Jesus in their midst and which might be better explained in terms of psychology than of history. The passages in the Gospels as we have them now, which recount scenes of the tomb being found empty and of Jesus appearing postmortem among his disciples were added to the original passion narratives by a later generation of first-century, predominantly Gentile Christians to satisfy their more Gentile notion of resurrection and therefore cannot be regarded as accounts of anything that actually happened in history. The scriptural evidence, in other words, does not support the resurrection of Jesus that Prof. Lennox seems to believe in.

  10. In reply to #16 by mmarieden:

    I find it sad that the existence of Jesus is considered to be one of the pieces of evidence that there’s a god.

    The term “evidence”, has a special meaning in “The theist ‘mental dictionary’ of circular reasoning”!

    The name “Jesus” was so common back in that time period, first of all, that wild mystical stories could have been made up about any man named Jesus from Nazareth.

    Indeed so! Many were made up over 300 years later at the Council of Nicea. It seems there are also questions as to if Nazareth actually existed at that time!

    Xtian fundamentalists basically listen to bible stories, accept them as history and then switch off their brains.

    There was a recent interesting discussion on biblical history illustrating assertion v researched knowledge, here: – http://www.richarddawkins.net/news_articles/2013/1/22/public-school-bible-classes-plagued-with-religious-bias?category=Religion#

    And why is it not even mentioned that the stories match almost identically to the stories that were told about every other “divine being” similar to Jesus, in belief systems long before this particular “messiah”…Fraud, fraud, fraud, and identity theft.

    There was this interesting link to a Jewish site, on that earlier discussion here:- http://www.torah.org/qanda/seequanda.php?id=300#

  11. The (unfortunately) eternal debate between what is true, versus what people want to believe. Hopefully we will evolve to a state where these discussions are no longer necessary, and we can work toward a common goal unhindered by unimportant fantasies.

  12. Well, it seems as though staunch supporters of religion, like Lennox, are rapidly becoming a dying breed because of it’s conflict with science. Hell, even Pope Benedict has decided to resign and get out of the kitchen because the heated conflict is affecting his health. Maybe Lennox should vie for the position?!

  13. Lennox is an idiot. I will never forget his “do you have faith in your wife?” nonsense that he tried to peddle. But what annoyed me about that was our Proff completely let him get away with it.

  14. A thought which occurred to me whilst watching this: If the Christian God’s supposed self-sacrifice was an atonement for sin then it must surely have been for His own, and if so it was not nearly enough.

  15. GROAN !!!

    Did Professor Lennox really talk about us living in a ‘broken universe’ or am I hearing things?

    I mean even a numbskull like me knows that sin first took place in the Garden of Eden, oh er,except Lennox accepts evolution, therefore no Garden of Eden, therefore no original sin !

    If the universe is “broken”, are we going to blame Adam and Eve, or the big guy who made it!

    Professor Emeritus of Pissquickery Lennox.

    Jeez what a wind bag!

  16. Richard mentions that the universe had a simple beginning, and that starting simple and building up to something more complex over time is a far simpler explaination than positing that something complicated popped into existence (or has always existed). I’ve heard him use this argument before. However, from what I understand, the universe as a whole was in its most complicated/ordered state immediately after the big bang. The universe is getting less complicated and more disordered over time as per the second law of thermodynamics, as entropy increases. There may be some local instances of increasing order (life, for example), but the universe as a whole gets more disordered/less complicated fromone moment in time to the next. The universe is at a far simpler and more disordered state than it was before life existed anywhere.

    The fact that the origin of the universe was so well ordered is still one of the biggest mysteries in cosmology. Am I missing something here in regards to the point Richard is trying to make?

    Also, please don’t mistake me for trying to slip in a God as an explaination here, I am an atheist here and fully understand that a God is not an explaination at all, but rather a supernatural non-argument to disguise the fact that we don’t have an answer. I’m just trying to better understand Richard’s point and whether or not that point is consistent with the fact of a complicated universe at its origin.

  17. Watched this back then, can’t bear to suffer again, no matter how heinous my sinning! Just what is within that ’10 lb of ugly fat’ atop Lennox’ shoulders? I know, ad hom. is unfair but sometimes….

    ONE comment I did like- “We live in a broken, imperfect world…”
    That deals with the fine tuning argument nicely!

  18. In reply to #21 by Garrick Worthing:

    I was surprised how Prof. Lennox insisted on the resurrection of Jesus as a historical fact. He may not be familiar with developments in the historical criticism of the New Testament books. Textual criticism of these indicates quite convincingly that the passages relating to the resurrection in the Gospels were not parts of the original passion narratives written fairly early by original Jewish disciples, whose belief in the resurrection (if Paul of Tarsus’s account can be relied on in this matter) was a subjective experience of some kind of presence of Jesus in their midst and which might be better explained in terms of psychology than of history. The passages in the Gospels as we have them now, which recount scenes of the tomb being found empty and of Jesus appearing postmortem among his disciples were added to the original passion narratives by a later generation of first-century, predominantly Gentile Christians to satisfy their more Gentile notion of resurrection and therefore cannot be regarded as accounts of anything that actually happened in history. The scriptural evidence, in other words, does not support the resurrection of Jesus that Prof. Lennox seems to believe in.

    Because Christianity hangs entirely on the ‘resurrection’ as fact- if false, Xtianity fails.

  19. In reply to #29 by Axulus:

    Richard mentions that the universe had a simple beginning, and that starting simple and building up to something more complex over time is a far simpler explaination than positing that something complicated popped into existence (or has always existed). I’ve heard him use this argument before. However, from what I understand, the universe as a whole was in its most complicated/ordered state immediately after the big bang. The universe is getting less complicated and more disordered over time as per the second law of thermodynamics, as entropy increases. There may be some local instances of increasing order (life, for example), but the universe as a whole gets more disordered/less complicated fromone moment in time to the next. The universe is at a far simpler and more disordered state than it was before life existed anywhere.

    Hmm. This is a tough one to address, but…

    There seems to be a conflation between the rather nebulous (sorry!) term “disorder” and the thermodynamic state variable called “entropy.” This arises. generally, because Shannon’s early work in information theory generated a term which acted and looked like entropy, but nobody, to my knowledge, has formally linked the two, statistical mechanics notwithstanding.

    To get down to basics, entropy started as a fudge factor of sorts. The initial postulate was that the change in the internal energy of a gaseous system (and at this point in the development disregarding any changes in chemical potential – that came later with the remarkable insight by J Willard Gibbs) was due to energy losses by Newtonian work (PdV) and energy gains due to influx of heat, dQ. Hence the famous dU=dQ-PdV. Since temperature (T) clearly had something to do with dQ, entropy (S) was introduced to mirror the PdV term: dQ=TdS. It was found that in all closed systems, and applying the empirical observation the “heat does not flow from cooler bodies to warmer bodies” (“warm” and “cool” being measured as differences in T), that S was NOT a conserved quantity, but nevertheless never decreased in any properly closed system. Moreover, it changed relative to P, T, and V in ways such that it actually was a state variable. This is not at all surprising, given the initial formulation of S as a state variable – as I said, a fudge factor adjusted to make the equations close. Nobody’s ever built a direct entropy meter. (To be fair, nobody’s built a direct energy meter either, but energy is a lot easier to quantify and sell since it is a conserved quantity – something Newton knew nothing about, by the way.)

    So, to say that the unvirerse was “more ordered” early on because the total entropy had to be less is misleading. Yes, there’s an awful lot of this fudge factor “entropy” distributed throughout the cosmos but planetary systems, life, aggregation of matter into ordered structures, etc. is not precluded.

    If you really want to get into it, the Second Law can be seen as synonymous with “cause precedes effect” or more basically “time moves forward in the same direction for all things.” This last is a bit of a circular argument, however, since we have no independent “time” against which to measure our usual notion of time. This is put forward rather elegantly by Ilya Prigogene (sorry, I haven’t a reference, but I think it’s in Order Out Of Chaos, by Prigogene and Stengers) when discussing his work on non-equilibroium thermodynamics (for which he won a Nobel prize.)

  20. In reply to #31 by Nodhimmi:

    Because Christianity hangs entirely on the ‘resurrection’ as fact- if false, Xtianity fails.

    Indeed! Paul of Tarsus says as much in his First Epistle to the Corinthians: “If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ cannot have been raised either, and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is without substance, and so is your faith.” (1 Co 15:13-14)

    Whenever a Christian holds forth about the resurrection in a public debate, I would see that as an important and apposite point on which to challenge him with the evidence of textual criticism, for thus the soapbox that he has taken for granted is kicked from under his feet.

  21. Lennox Vs. Dawkins Debate -

    Has Science Buried God ? (2009)

    Nope!
    While theists have put much effort into burying and hiding their gods in obfuscated obscurity, and in a diminishing succession of inaccessible “gaps” in knowledge, neuroscientists and psychologists have left the little god patches and their generated delusions in the believers’ brains, exposed to view and scientific scrutiny!

  22. I always find it humorous when theologians use God as a point to explain the world and the universe. As if all explanation stops with God. Adding God to the equation only begs the question: where did God come from? How did it get his power? The problem of infinite regress is problem enough not to use God as an explanation of anything. Purporting a God only adds more problems to an already complicated question. Now if you want to use the concept of God as a metaphor for what we don’t know about the universe and give the mystery a title… I suppose I’m more sympathetic to this claim. But using God as an explanation doesn’t seem to explain anything.

Leave a Reply