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The GOD Delusion

The GOD Delusion

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The GOD Delusion

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  1. By Richard Dawkins The GOD Delusion Danielle Ryder Courtney Cribb Chris Duggan

  2. The Anthropic Principle: cosmological version “We live not only on a friendly planet but also in a friendly universe.” - Dawkins • If chemistry and physics had occurred in just slightly different ways then life would not have been possible • The Goldilocks value [ 0.007 ] • Theist Explanation & Anthropic Answer

  3. The Anthropic Principle: cosmological version • Multiverse Theory is extravagant but simple. • God or any intelligent design would have to be highly complex like the entities it is supposed to explain. • Natural Selection…

  4. An Interlude at Cambridge ‘You are so nineteenth century’ • Science & Religion • 6 Main Arguments

  5. Chapter 5: The Roots of Religion

  6. The Darwinian Imperative • Natural Selection of Religion • Benefits of Religion? • Not restricted to genes of individual organism • 3 alternative targets of benefits: • Group Selection • Manipulative Influence of Genes in another Individual (parasite) • Central Theorem • Benefit of the Meme!

  7. The Darwinian Imperative …“how can we be so smart and dumb simultaneously…” - Dawkins • Aboriginals of Papua New Guinea • Religion & Heterosexuals

  8. Direct Advantages of Religion • Faith-healing • Placebo Effects • Why would a mind evolve to find comfort in beliefs it can plainly see is false… • A freezing person finds no comfort in believing he is warm.

  9. Group Selection • Proximate cause of religion: hyperactivity in a particular node of brain • Ultimate Explanation: Group Selection Theories • Tribe Wars

  10. Religion as a By-Product of Something Else • Dawkin’s Belief • Moths committing suicide ?! • Children obeying parents/guardians without question • Passing on Good Advice & Bad

  11. Psychologically Primed for Religion • Paul Bloom – dualistic theory of mind • Humans and especially children are natural born Dualists • Freaky Friday Movie • Children are also native Teleologists • Dawkins is a Monist

  12. Psychologically Primed for Religion • Darwinian Advantage? • Physical Stance • Design Stance • Intentional Stance • By-product of Falling in Love • Only to supposed to love 1 person • Polyamory • The Bachelor

  13. Tread Softly, Because you Tread on my Memes “Truth, in matters of religion, is simply the opinion that has survived” – oscar wilde • Knitting, Carpentry, Pottery can all be reduced to discrete elements that can be potentially passed down an infinite number of generations without alteration • Absolute Merit • Memeplex • Unconscious Evolution

  14. Cargo Cults • Real life example • The Cult of John Frum “If you can wait two thousand years for Jesus Christ to come an’‘e no come, then I can wait more than nineteen years for John.” - Sam

  15. Chapter 6: The Roots of Morality: Why are we Good?

  16. Does our Moral Sense have a Darwinian Origin? • The unit of Natural Selection = The Selfish Gene • Genes influence organisms to behave altruistically • Genetic Kinship • Reciprocal Altruism • Bees & Flowers • Reputation • Buying Unfakeably Authentic Advertising

  17. Case Study in the Roots of Morality We do not need GOD in order to be good – or evil • Most people come to the same decisions when faced with dilemmas and their agreement over the decisions themselves is stronger than their ability to articulate their reasons

  18. Chapter 7: The ‘Good’ Book & The Changing Moral Zeitgeist

  19. The Old Testament The Bible is Weird • Noah’s Ark • Asian Holy Men: Tsunami caused by Human Sins “We do not derive our morals from scripture or we pick and choose among the scriptures for the nice bits and reject the nasty” - Dawkins

  20. Is the New Testament Any Better? • Adds a new injustice & infliction of pain and suffering • Wearing a Cross • Underlying unpalatable aspect of its ethical teaching

  21. Love Thy Neighbor • In-group loyalty and out-group hostility • Religion amplifies and exacerbates tendencies • Labelling of children • More in chapter 9 • Segregated schools • Northern Ireland • Taboos against “marrying out” • Perpetuates hereditary feuds

  22. Love Thy Neighbor “Even if religion did no other harm in itself, its wanton and carefully nurtured divisiveness – its delibrate and cultivated pandering to humanity’s natural tendency to favor in-groups and shun out-groups - would be enough to make it a significant force for evil in the world”

  23. The moral Zeitgeist • Changing Moral Zeitgeist • Abraham’s “sacrifice” • Slavery and racism “…the manifest phenomenon of Zeitgeist progression is more than enough to undermine the claim that we need God in order to be good, or to decide what is good”

  24. What about Hitler and Stalin? Weren't they atheists? “What matters is not whether Hitler and Stalin were atheists, but whether atheism systematically influences people to do bad things.” “Individual atheists may do evil things but they don’t do evil things in the name of atheism.”

  25. Chapter 8: What’s wrong with religion? Why be so hostile?

  26. Fundamentalism and the subversion of science • Truth in holy books • Contradictory evidence must be thrown out “I am no more fundamentalist when I say evolution is true than when I say it is true that New Zealand is in the southern hemisphere.”

  27. The dark side of absolutism • Muslim world and the American Theocracy • Absolutism nearly always results from strong religious faith • Reason to suggest that faith lends to evil • Penalties for blasphemy • For converting to Christianity (2006)

  28. Faith and homosexuality • Under tailban the penalty for homosexuality was execution • Private • Harms no one else • Alan Turing • German enigma codes • Offered a choice between 2 years in prison or chemical castration (1954)

  29. Faith and the sanctity of human life • The death penalty • George Bush • Euthanasia • Abortion • Does the embryo suffer? • Violence of religious opposition

  30. The Great Beethoven Fallacy “If you knew a woman who was pregnant, who had 8 kids already, three of whom were deaf, two who were blind, one mentally retarded (all because she had syphilis), would you recommend that she have an aborton?” • The human potential argument • Fail to seize the oportunity for sexual intercourse

  31. How 'moderation' in faith fosters fanaticism “Only religious faith is a strong enough force to motivate such utter madness in otherwise sane and decent people.” • War against “terror” • No different than killing doctors who perform abortions • If religious faith must be respected then we must respect suicide-bombers

  32. Chapter 9: Childhood, abuse and the escape from religion

  33. Childhood, abuse and the escape from religion • The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara • Child was secretly baptized • Abducted under papal law • One true faith • Faith vs good of the child

  34. Physical and mental abuse “Being fondled by the priest simply left the impression (from the mind of a 7 year old) as “yucky” while the memory of my friend going to hell was on of cold, immeasurable fear.” • Hell Houses

  35. In defense of children • Nicholas Humphrey • “Children, I’ll argue, have a human right not to have their minds crippled by exposure to other people’s bad ideas – no matter who these other people are. • What to think, not how to think • Worshiping the sun • Female circumcision • “No adult woman who has somehow missed out on circumcision as a child volunteers for the operation later in life

  36. An educational scandal • Funding for creationism • Emmanuel College • Stephen Layfield – head of science • the bible can “…provide us with a true acount of earth history…” • An attempt to “…subvert evidence-based science education and replace it with biblical scripture.”

  37. Consciousness-raising again • Labeling of children • Feminism • Origin of cosmos, life and morals • Holy Cross Girls

  38. Religious education as a part of literary culture • Biblical literacy is essential for the appreciation of English literature • Greek and roman gods • Weddings and funerals

  39. Chapter 10: A much needed gap?

  40. Chapter 10: A much needed gap? • A god-shaped gap in the brain? • Or could we fill the gap with something else? • Four main roles of religion in human life • Explanation (science) • Exhortation (moral instruction) • Consolation • Inspiration

  41. Binker • A. A. Milne • Imaginary friend phenomenon • Binker for life • Pedomorphosis • Retention of childhood characteristics • Gradual delay of binker termination

  42. Consolation • Emotional need for God • Direct physical consolation • St. Bernard • Consolation by discovery of a previously unappreciated fact or a previously undiscovered way of looking at existing facts • Death of a war hero • Happy for those who are terminally ill

  43. Inspiration • Rhetoric rather than logic • Lucky to be alive “The atheist view is correspondingly life-affirming and life enhancing, while at the same time never being tainted with self-delusion, wishful thinking, or the whingeing self-pity of those who feel that life owes them something.”

  44. The mother of all burkas • Science widens the window • Visible spectrum • Middle world • Environment of savannah programmed and debugged software • “…where the very improbable could safely be treated as impossible.” • Queerer than we can suppose • A model of the real world • Assist survival

  45. The mother of all burkas