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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2011 > Sep > Sep 5

Re: Richard Dawkins 'The Purpose Of Purpose'

From: William Treurniet <wtreurniet.nul>
Date: Mon, 05 Sep 2011 09:05:42 -0400
Archived: Mon, 05 Sep 2011 09:49:33 -0400
Subject: Re: Richard Dawkins 'The Purpose Of Purpose'


>From: Dave Haith<visions1.nul>
>To:<Undisclosed-Recipient:;>
>Date: Sat, 3 Sep 2011 16:37:46 +0100
>Subject: The Purpose Of Purpose: Richard Dawkins

>Top Documentary Films.Com

>http://tinyurl.com/4x5rmz7

>The Purpose Of Purpose: Richard Dawkins (Lecture)
>Prof. Dawkins titled his talk as The Purpose of Purpose and
>began with an anecdote of Peter Atkins being asked by one of the
>Royal Family, But what about the why questions?, and Atkins
>replying, That is a silly question.

>Dawkins noted that asking why for inanimate objects like air or
>rocks is almost always considered inappropriate. But asking why
>living organisms are seems to often have been done in the past.

>He noted a number of amusing instances, such as claims that
>domestic animals provide a means to keep their meat fresh until
>we have need to eat them, lice were a strong incentive to
>personal cleanliness, large predators allowed hunters to test
>their courage, and horseflies encouraged industry and the use of
>wits in combating them.

>This mindset persists to this day, said Dawkins, popping up the
>Ray Comfort banana video, which got an especially large dollop
>of audience laughter with Comfortís assertion that the banana
>has just the right shape to fit in the human mouth.

>Dawkins noted that, unfortunately, the video was not simply a
>joke. Comfort apparently has offered to give Dawkins $10,000 to
>debate Comfort. Dawkins responded saying that he would take
>Comfort up on that only if Comfort donated $100K to Dawkinsí new
>foundation.

>Then Dawkins compared the modern, domesticated version of the
>banana to the fruit of the wild banana, showing that many of the
>properties that Comfort was ascribing to Godís design were
>actually choices made in artificial selection by humans.

>Watch the full documentary (lecture) now

>My own comments about this 60 minute 2009 lecture:

>I have to say I found it hard to believe that that banana
>segment was not a spoof - with people like Comfort opposing
>Dawkins he can't fail to have an easy ride.

>I think Dawkins is best when he focuses on biology - his
>insights into the 'archeo-purpose' of insects and flowers are
>fascinating.

>He argues that in evolutionary terms, we humans seem to have
>lost our way and suggests things like adoption and contraception
>are alien to the non-human world.

>But surely nature's way of overproducing - sometimes millions -
>of young which die, is a form of contraception?

Dawkins thinks asking why things are in biology is
inappropriate. But that is one of the big questions posed by the
theory of evolution. Paleontologists study the fossil record to
try to understand how and why biological species are the way
they are. He makes an artificial distinction between a human
purpose in selective breeding and selection during natural
evolution. Yet the same mechanism is in play in both cases
although the pressures (why's) may differ.

He conveniently ignores speciation bursts, e.g., the sudden mass
appearance of mammalian or aquatic species, that go against his
concept of the "slow sculpting of natural selection". Such
exceptions to gradualism in evolution could invalidate the
theory of evolution as it stands, yet (or so) they are ignored.

For a man who professes to be against accepting things on faith,
he does a bit of that in his arguments that a neo-purpose
follows from an archeo-purpose. For example, a dragonfly has a
neo-purpose that makes it behave like a guided missile, but it
depends on the archeo-purpose of the evolved bio-ware. The neo-
purpose is a convenient add-on to the theory to explain goal-
directed behaviour to his satisfaction, but it's not clear why
it's needed. Certainly, the behaviour evolved with the bio-ware.
It was not tacked on at some point.

Dawkins is very uncomfortable with the why question when it is
aimed at the bigger picture that extends beyond the material
world. By crossing that line, he is no longer talking about
biology, his professed area of expertise, but about the larger
non-material world of psychology and spirituality. These areas
can be addressed scientifically, but he has certainly not done
that. So when his criticisms go beyond biology, Dawkins is
merely spouting an opinion that is no better than anyone elses.
The difference is that he is often given a venue where people
listen.

Near the end of the video he mentioned Arab terrorists who flew
into the towers on 9/11. This is a supposedly intelligent man,
yet he is unaware that the official conspiracy theory on 9/11
violates the laws of physics. Obama would have a political
agenda causing him to take such a position, but what excuse does
Dawkins have? Again, he commented on a subject about which he
apparently knows little.


William




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