Re: [asa] Dawkins, religion, and children

From: PvM <>
Date: Mon May 07 2007 - 00:03:17 EDT

On 5/6/07, Jack <> wrote:
> The evidence of your brainwashing is that you never refute arguments against
> your position, other than to say that there are those on this list that have
> misread Dawkins.

You may want to double check my postings, as I believe that this would
show that your claim is somewhat at odds with the facts.

> You have not addressed your lack of understanding of Plantiga's argument
> first of all. Secondly, you have never shown any signs of defending the
> Christian faith against one who is clearly an enemy of that faith. You have

I have shown that what you thought to be my lack of understanding of
Plantinga's argument seemed to be mostly because of a misreading of
Plantinga, on your part.
Your further appeal to logical fallacies by presuming that, to your
knowledge, I have not shown any signs of defending the Christian faith
against someone who is clearly an enemy of that faith, that I must be
brainwashed. While such a simplistic argument may be sufficient to
some to feel comforted in having proposed an intelligent rebuttal to
my claims, most people would come to realize that the opposite has
I'd even say that by showing how my fellow Christians seem seem to
misunderstand Dawkins, I am contributing to the defense of the
Christian faith. And for the moment, accepting your claim, does this
mean that I am not a Christian? In other words, what relevance does it
have whether or not I live up to your requirements? Would it help if I
assure you that I am a Christian?

> not addressed many questions that have been asked of you. For example you
> never answered this: "Pim, you seem very fond of disparaging arguments made
> by Christians, including Francis Collins, it seems. It would be
> interesting to know what are your reasons for being a Christian? " or this:
> "And, if you're a Christian, where is it that you disagree with Dawkins?

And why should I answer these questions which have little relevance to
the accuracy or veracity of my arguments. I am not fond of disparaging
arguments, I am fond of showing how arguments may lack support in
logic, reason or fact, whether or not the arguments are made by
Christians or atheists. If that is considered to be disparaging then
fine, I stand guilty as charged.

> You seem at pains to educate us about where you think he is right. Where
> has he gone wrong, according to you?" or this:
> "However, I have already posted a very clear argument that shows that there
> is a basic fallacy in Dawkins' syllogism, and that his syllogism is
> therefore completely undone. I don't think there is any response to my
> argument."

I must have missed your very clear argument. Surely, Plantinga's
attempt was not very successful, do you believe that you have posted a
very clear argument that there is a basic fallacy in Dawkins'
syllogism? If so, why do we even care about Plantinga's argument?

> So Pim, you insult all of us on this list that disagree with you by claiming
> we have not read enough Dawkins and dont understand him. And you also say

A reasonable deduction based on the comments made by a few on this
list. But i am not intent on insulting anyone on this list, let alone
all of us on this list, by tentatively concluding that some could
benefit from actually reading Dawkins. All I am asking for is a
careful portrayal of Dawkins' arguments, lest we are seen as attacking

> that a philosopher like Plantiga, doesnt understand logic as well as you do,

I am sure that he aced his logic classes but in this case, I find his
arguments lacking in logic and I have provided my reasons. Perhaps you
may disagree with my reasons, or find them insufficient to reject the
words of someone whom you obviously believe to be a great authority,
but I have not seen much evidence of such. Perhaps I am missing
something here?

> and that prominent Christian scientists like Collins are confused by the
> same scientific data that Dawkins understands, and that Collins obviously

I do not recollect my claims wrt Collins, so please refresh my recollection.

> cant interpret it as clearly as Dawkins can. So Pim, tell us, where do YOU
> stand on this issue? If you dont answer that question, and those above, I
> see no point in continuing the discussion.

I see and I can understand your position. Surely I would not want to
be responsible for complicating your life with logic, reason and
arguments any further so I politely decline your ultimatum.

PS Have you read Dawkins' God Delusion?

As a side note. If God is simple then does this not imply that we
believe that complex systems can be safely reduced to less complex
systems. In other words, is this not the ultimate reductionism? Also,
if God is simple, would this not imply that any simple system, or even
a somewhat more complex system than God, would not be able to
outperform God or at least come awkwardly close?

Surely if complex systems can 'evolve' from simpler systems, evolution
seems to be a good bet?

> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "PvM" <>
> To: "Jack" <>
> Cc: "Rich Blinne" <>; "Iain Strachan"
> <>; "David Campbell" <>;
> <>
> Sent: Sunday, May 06, 2007 10:24 PM
> Subject: Re: [asa] Dawkins, religion, and children
> > You seem to be misunderstanding what I (and Dawkins) are saying. I am
> > more than willing to acknowledge that Dawkins has a hostility against
> > religion, what I was pointing out is that this does not mean that
> > Dawkins hates religious people. I am also not saying that I am the
> > only one who understands Dawkins, but rather that some on this group
> > seem to be making assertions which are not just not supported by what
> > Dawkins has said but even contradicted.
> >
> > Your brainwashing accusation seems uncalled for. What I am pointing
> > out is just because some 'great writers in Christian tradition' have
> > called God to be simple, that this is an argument from authority,
> > especially when the argument seems to be so flawed.
> > Great tradition or not, the arguments why God is simple seem to be so
> > far mostly assertions and running contrary to common sense and
> > certainly contrary to ID's own thesis.
> >
> > On 5/6/07, Jack <> wrote:
> >> As far as I am concerned this discussion has nothing to do with ID, it
> >> has
> >> to do with Dawkins arguments against theism, and his hostility towards
> >> all
> >> religion which you refuse to acknowledge, your sole argument seems to be
> >> that you are the only one that understands Dawkins.
> >>
> >> As I have said before, the complexity/simplicity of God is an ancient
> >> discussion, and again, I suggest you spend more time reading the great
> >> writers in the Christian tradition, and less of Dawkins et al. They have
> >> apparently brainwashed you.
> >> ----- Original Message -----
> >> From: "PvM" <>
> >> To: "Jack" <>
> >> Cc: "Rich Blinne" <>; "Iain Strachan"
> >> <>; "David Campbell" <>;
> >> <>
> >> Sent: Thursday, May 03, 2007 9:12 AM
> >> Subject: Re: [asa] Dawkins, religion, and children
> >>
> >>
> >> > As I pointed out one may of course define God to be simple but that
> >> > does not solve the problem raised by ID that complexity requires a
> >> > more complex entity.
> >> > Calling God simple is just a simplistic way of defining away the
> >> > problem of explanation.
> >> > How is the complexity/simplificity of God determined? And how does it
> >> > rely on materialism?
> >> >
> >> >
> >> >
> >> > On 5/1/07, Jack <> wrote:
> >> >>
> >> >>
> >> >> I agree with you. But the point is that Dawkins argues that God is
> >> >> highly
> >> >> improbable because he must be complex. But as Plantiga points out,
> >> >> God
> >> >> only must be complex if materialism is a given.
> >> >>
> >> >> ----- Original Message -----
> >> >> From: Rich Blinne
> >> >> To:
> >> >> Cc: PvM ; Iain Strachan ; David Campbell ;
> >> >> Sent: Tuesday, May 01, 2007 4:27 PM
> >> >> Subject: Re: [asa] Dawkins, religion, and children
> >> >>
> >> >>
> >> >>
> >> >>
> >> >> On 5/1/07, <> wrote:
> >> >> > This is what Plantiga has to say about Dawkins
> >> >> > improbablity argument:
> >> >> >
> >> >> >
> >> >> > "...suppose we concede, at least for purposes of argument,
> >> >> > that God is complex. ..
> >> >>
> >> >> I'm not willing to concede that. The Athenasian Creed has God as
> >> >> simple
> >> >> and
> >> >> not complex, viz. without parts. This is not just a Catholic or
> >> >> Orthodox
> >> >> thing. Many of the Protestant creeds pick up on this same concept. For
> >> >> example from the Westminster Confession:
> >> >>
> >> >> "There is but one only living and true God, who is infinite in being
> >> >> and
> >> >> perfection, a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts or
> >> >> passions,
> >> >> immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible," etc.
> >> >>
> >> >> For a more detailed discussion on divine simplicity and how Plantinga
> >> >> interacts with that see here:
> >> >>
> >> >>
> >> >>
> >> >
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >

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Received on Mon May 7 00:03:56 2007

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