How We Know What's Really True

Monday, January 02, 2012

Evolutionary biologist and author of The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True, Richard Dawkins, talks about his new graphic science book illustrated by Dave McKean which explores what we should teach our kids about science and the world and why. 


Richard Dawkins

Comments [8]

Ed from Larchmont

We have two faculties for reaching out to truth: reason and faith, and they work together. But faith functions differently. They complement each other and have different internal structures. Faith is reasonable, and they work together all the time, but they are separate.

(For example in Euclid's Elements he uses reason to deduce many truths, but he starts with ten unprovable axioms. Without the axioms, reason couldn't function at all. Faith provides the axioms.)

Mr. Dawkins - excellent previous comment about Dawkin's promoting his ideas - suggests or demands that we use reason and not faith. He is like the one-eyed Cyclops in the Odyssey.

If God has revealed Himself to man, it would be irrational not to be certain about what God has revealed.

Jan. 04 2012 06:19 AM
Carlo from Brooklyn

I find some jarring flaws in Mr. Dawkins's logic:
1) He categorizes "supernatural magic" as nonsense. Yet he forgets to acknowledge that the majority of people who subscribe to the existence of supernatural magic hardly present it as belonging to the realm of what Dawkins would consider "sense". Not being dependent on modern sense—in a way being "non-sense"—is a major reason for the pursuit and practice of supernatural magic in the first place.

2) He criticizes people who push their spiritual view on the world, yet he himself—if he accepts his status of science expert/authority—certainly is pushing a specific view about spirituality. To ignore his significant status and authority in the world and pretend his statements are not partially hypocritical (if not totally), that his view is merely one man's humble self-expression, is equally nonsense.

I would expect a little more curiosity and less certitude from a smart scientist. But through my own experiences and education I've learned not to expect much from science experts who value their own interpretation of Sense over Curiosity.

Jan. 03 2012 06:15 PM
Ed from Larchmont

No one suggests condemning Mr. Dawkins to hell - but it is clear that he not only does not believe in God, but he hates God. He would choose not to be with him, if invited, which is what he is doing now. And there is only one other choice.

Jan. 03 2012 07:58 AM
art525 from Park Slope

I am skeptical of anyone who speaks with such certitude about the existence or nonexistence a God. It seems to me that a blind belief and reliance on science is just another form of religion. I don't know and don't know that I'll ever know. And that's fine with me.

Jan. 02 2012 12:00 PM
Arlo from Manhattan

Two points:

A 4th kind of magic that Dawkins does not acknowledge is super-advanced technology, which humans have encountered in recent years when meeting other, more technologically advanced humans. Technology more than a few hundred years beyond what you know seems like magic. Somewhere in the Universe is a civilization that performs what to us would seem like magic.

Also "supernatural" is a meaningless word. As Dawkins defines it, supernatural means nonexistent. If anything is real, even something Dawkins believes does not exist, it is by definition not supernatural.

Jan. 02 2012 11:52 AM
Jack Jackson from Central NJ

Ed-I can tell you with absolute certainty that no one can prove the absolute existence of god, so I am heartened that a scientist would speak in terms of probabilities. There are places for people whose belief in their divinity carries too far into their everyday lives that they fail to distinguish between their talks with god and conversation with the rest of us...Most of them have locks on the doors.

Jan. 02 2012 10:59 AM
inwoodita from NYC

I think Dawkins is great. I bought his book for my godchild. I find it appalling that some religious people feel free to tell others that they're going to Hell for any reason whatsoever. These people seem to have an inability to distinguish between God, organized religion, and their own personal ill-will towards others. What's up with going around saying, "You're going to hell and I'm not"?? If there IS a god complete with the classic Heaven and Hell out there, I am sure these folks will have a big surprise when they die.

Jan. 02 2012 10:59 AM
Ed from Larchmont

What can one say about Richard Dawkins? The best one can say is that he has chosen the wrong battle. Someone devoted to attacking God and religion. Not much future in that.

He said something very funny once, he said 'I find the existence of God highly improbable'. If he isn't absolutely sure, he should not speak at all. Many can tell you for sure that God is real. And in the end, one either loves God and lives with him, or ... (you don't want to know). No other choices.

See 'The Godless Delusion' by Patick Madrid.

Jan. 02 2012 06:06 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.