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October 17, 2006

Comments

John Farrell

Wow. Quinn really gives him no quarter. Superb!

LCB

Yowza.

Chad

Wow indeed... I particularly liked the part where Quinn pinned Dawkins on having "faith that there is no God."

John Farrell

"I'm just not interested in free will." Wow. As they said in Monty Python, "Ooh--what a giveaway!"

:)

You gotta love David Quinn. Did not let the guy get away with anything.

Kevin Jones

Considering he was asked to prove the existence of God before the host moved on to the next question, Quinn proceeded quite ably.

Dawkins is a walking straw man, it's a pity he gets so much publicity.

John Farrell

Kevin, I actually think the more publicity he gets, the more people can see what a shrill, humorless, one-sided egoist he is.

Fr.Fergus

Richard Dawkins is a media darling, with regular and uncritical interviews. He holds a professorship created for him at Oxford University. His latest book is being promoted by the largest bookstore chain in Britain and is high on the bestseller lists, yet he has nothing new to say. It's a relief that some book reviewers are onto his case. Professor Dawkins is so unused to opposition that David Quinn unnerved him completely.

John

Anybody have an email address for Mr. Quinn? I'd like to thank him for taking on Dawkins and among other things eliciting from Dawkins by his own presumably "free will" his disinterest in same.

John Farrell

John, from what I understand, he writes for the Daily Irish Independent:

http://college.hmco.com/economics/boyes/economics/6e/complete/eduspace/tutorials/hmco_web/tutorial/index.html

But I don't see any link to specific columnists.

(Leave it to an Irishman to get under an Englishman's skin!)

h

Quinn was fantastic. What I thought particularly interesting though, was Dawkin's objection to the uncaused cause that Quinn pointed to, when just minutes previously he had said that he didn't find the god of deists (a cause of the universe that doesn't interact further) to be particularly delusional. Yet, he can't say "oh, I'll grant some sort of uncaused cause, just not a deity as Person, or the Trinity, etc."

By the way, Dawkins will be on the Colbert Report tonight.

Chad

Oh no. Dawkins on Colbert. That could either be ridiculously hilarious, or Colbert's buffoonery could make him look considerably better than he did vs. Quinn. One can only hope that he performs similarly to Bart Ehrman.

Glenn Juday

If Dawkins is sincere in concluding that there is no God because - simply and purely because - "there is no evidence," then why not adopt the neutral position: "Because there is no current evidence that convinces me, there probably isn't a God, althoughthere may be a God." ? That would be the more logical conclusion to follow from the premise offered.

But Dawkins manifestly does not stop there. He is passionate that there is no God, and by his own admission (there is no evidence for God) he does so on an incomplete and shaky basis. If this is the central pillar that he has built upon, it is a doomed structure for sure. You don't have to go any further into counter evidence, or anything. Dawkins case is just a delusion from the start.

Fr. John Pecoraro

I want to buy David Quinn a steak and a Guinness! Just beautiful!

SteveM

I did not think the exchange was quite the "homerun" that others had perceived. For a compelling argument related to Dawkins' intellectual incongruities see this book review by physicist Stephen Barr:

http://www.firstthings.com/ftissues/ft0408/articles/barr.htm

PMC

I need to starting reading David Quinn. What a formidable debater! Bravo!

bearing

I particularly liked:

"Free will is a very difficult question! It has nothing to do with religion!"

What a doofus.

And I say that as someone who read and thoroughly enjoyed Dawkins' _The Ancestor's Tale._ (Though was distracted by the occasional, Tourette-like spitting of jabs at religious people.)

Clare Krishan

At 18:30ish Mr Dawkins opines "If science can't answer that question, as sure as hell .... "
      Ugh?@#! Hang on, so now he's sure of what Hell is then?
Separation from God the good?
Oops - my bad - he's sure God does NOT exist, so how can there be such a thing as being separated from what's not there? Are we sure then or not? Can we get this straight before we go on ...?
      No...
At 24:45 Mr Dawkins gets even more confused.
"There is some evil in faith ... "
      Come again? He's got me confused now!
If there's no ultimate good, then there's nothing opposed to that either, right? Nothing's evil?
So what quantity, of what type of thing is some evil and how did he collect evidence of it to convince himself it (evil) exists?
Assuming this quantity of evil exists, what kind of thing is it's opposite? How does one measure its effect on the environment to determine its physical or potential properties?

Oh, mea culpa, that's right! He said he doesn't care about free will. He just wants to get me to follow him down a blind alley without a ball of string to get myself back out again, right? Balls of string should be banned, right, in case someone starts a nasty religious war over them?

Duh! And I thought it was about some kind of mystery or something - why didn't he lambast Mr Quinn with a salvo on string theory to counteract all that philosophy! Tough job arguing back about string theory - even the physicists get testy about that, so we certainly all can agree to ban it I'm sure! Oh, all except Mr Quinn, of course, who maintains that physicists have a right to part ways with us when it comes to discussing string because he believes in that difficult thing called free will (and compassion, probably too - if we were to ban string theories what do we do with all those unemployed scientists?).

Well, since Mr. Dawkins has no heart for that kind of thing, he probably won't suffer such fools gladly, since they could cause a war'n all. So we'll have to ban string and then eliminate string fans, and criminalize anyone who aids and abets them, right, to keep World Peace? What if there's more Mr Quinn's out there?
We'll need to build up our defenses, right? To protect ourselves from their way of thinking, with perhaps genetic testing to find out who 's got the marker for free will, right?

|Sarcasm OFF | Charity ON |

      Right!
Tyranny of relativism right there in just 18 minutes of airtime and 2" or 3" of column space.

Risible! Thanks for the dose of morning mirth!

If only evangelizing with faith and reason could be as simple as a mental test to see who's got that thing called free will no one seems to care about ...
      If they care, they have it, I say!
Get 'em talking next time you meet them at the water cooler!

Christopher

You are kidding yourselves. David Quinn shifted the argument onto ground that no self-respecting scientist could comment on because we simply do not know the origin of matter - Dawkins said so, but neither does Quinn without invoking God as the longstop. Whether we really have free will despite or because of our genes is a question I wouldn't hold my breath for theology to resolve with any credibility. From the religionist point of view free will is dangerous territory anyway since if God is omniscient he must know everything - and that includes the whole of time and what happens in it. So do you really have free will - and what do you mean by it anyway? Besides, I thought you guys believed free will was seriously impaired after the Fall. I think your celebrations are premature, like the man who has just bought the house doesn't want to see rising damp in the cellar. So go out to dinner for that steak with Fr. John Pecoraro. Your house is crumbling, father, while you are out to lunch quaffing your guinness.

And to Fr Fergus, have you read Dawkins's book yet, father? It is written for the non-scientist so you should understand it. But you clerical guys couldn't possibly agree or it's out of a job with you!

holyhound

David Quinn is a columnist with 'The Irish Catholic' and can be contacted at david@irishcatholic.ie

John Farrell

Whatever you say, Christopher. Just remember the handy two-step atheists have for all metaphysical questions:

A. "Science is working on it."

B. "I'm not interested in it."

David Quinn

David Quinn here with a comment of his own. First of all, thanks to everyone for the words of support. The atheist websites have been very quick to pick up on the interview and post it. On Richard Dawkins' own site they are slaughtering me as you'd expect, mainly for being so rude to their man and for posing questions they refuse to answer, eg, where does matter come from?
What's interesting though, is the invective on the atheist websites, whereas here, even those who don't like Dawkins, are not insulting towards him.
What's also interesting is how often atheists in their message-boards can't seem to rise above childish abuse of religion.
Finally, I think John Farrell's atheists' 'two-step' is brilliant . It's exactly what they do, with depressing regularity.

ben

"David Quinn shifted the argument onto ground that no self-respecting scientist could comment on..."

Christopher, Dawkins isn't talking as a "well-respected scientist" in the forum of this interview, or, indeed in any of his recent public appearances. He does not hold himself to a scientific standard in many of the comments he makes in the interview or in his books:"There's some evil in faith" etc.

He's speaking as an advocate for atheism, his faith.

"Whether we really have free will despite or because of our genes is a question I wouldn't hold my breath for theology to resolve with any credibility."

Well, good, because this is a question for science in any case: how do the physics of the universe allow for free will? I look forward to answers, and I'm not being facetious, I do belive that science will be able to answer many of the "How?" questions that perplex us now. In the meantime, (Catholic) theology will continue to take as a given the fact that we have free will.

"From the religionist point of view free will is dangerous territory anyway..."

This phrase and the next ones following it show your lack of familiarity with theology as a whole, and Catholic theology in particular. If you really want an answer to your question, I'm sure that with a bit of research you can find plenty of material that will address it, both pro and contra. Otherwise, please have the intellectual honesty to admit that in this particular area you are unfamiliar with the subject matter.

Christopher

"This phrase and the next ones following it show your lack of familiarity with theology as a whole, and Catholic theology in particular."

Well, Ben, if you think you can, why don't you correct my error over 'God's omniscience and free will' here and now instead of just fobbing us off with a comment about my 'lack of familiarity with theology'?

Christopher

Actually, David, I looked for comments on the various Dawkins sites about your RTE interview with Dawkins without much success. I found this link to the show on this site but no further comment about it:

http://www.richarddawkins.net/event,68,The-Tubridy-Show-RTE-Radio

Nor could I find any mention of it on
http://www.simonyi.ox.ac.uk/dawkins/WorldOfDawkins-archive/News/headlines.shtml

But there are some interesting comments on
'Sunny Spells and Scattered Showers' - Dawkins Gets a Hard Time

http://woodpigeon01.wordpress.com/2006/10/10/richard-dawkins-gets-a-hard-time/

So can you post the links where you say 'on Richard Dawkins' own site they are slaughtering me as you'd expect, mainly for being so rude to their man'?

Michael Kremer

Christopher:

http://www.richarddawkins.net/article,193,Ryan-Tubridy-interviews-Richard-Dawkins,RTE-Radio-1

tom faranda

Christopher,

Believe it or not, you aren't the first person to ask this question - it's been asked since the day after the Resurrection. How can God be omniscient and know everything and there still be free will. My suggestion is check out whichever book Amy Welborn has that covers this topic. It's actually easy to understand if you recognize that God exists in eternity and we are bound by time and space.

IUf you don't want to get one of Amy's books, just go here:http://www.carm.org/open/God_know.htm

bernarda

Quinn talked like an idiot. The free will thing for one. How does he expect there to be free will if there is an omnipotent god?

Then he thinks theology can be an explanation for something. That is like looking to astrology for an explanation.

Believing in god is believing in fairies. Just because people don't outgrow it doesn't mean that their belief has any reality. There are still animists around who believe in spirits in animals and plants. Does Quinn accept that?

He is the one who sets up a straw man in saying that atheists think that all actions are determined by genes. He hasn't a clue either about atheism or about evolution.

When you are confronted with someone as ignorant, or just in bad faith(if I dare say), as Quinn, you can only answer thus.

"Quinn: It is a perfectly reasonable proposition to ask yourself, "where does matter come from?" And it's perfectly reasonable as well to posit the answer God created matter.

Dawkins: It's not reasonable."

Praise Be!! Quinn thinks "god" is the answer!

Quinn continues in his fantasy universe,

" And that uncaused cause, and that unmoved mover, is by definition God.

Dawkins: You just define God as that. You just define the problem out of existence. That's no solution to the problem -- you just evaded it."

The right response.

What anyone finds valuable in Quinn's inability to reason is another mystery.

kostas

I haven't heard the debate, but:

First of all, being a good or bad debater has nothing to do with whether what you say is right or not. These (are supposed to be) intellectual issues, and not political debates to score cheap points. Religious commenters in this post seem to be unable to realize the difference.

Second, from the Dawkins columns and books I' ve read, I think he generally expresses very sound arguments, in a simple (but not simplistic) formulation. In other words he is able to express fluently what are common thoughts by lots of people who genuinely have wondered on these questions.

Third, I agree with Dawkins when he dismisses most of theology as a field. It's not that is inaccessible (advanced science usually is inaccessible), but it's that it generally cannot produce concrete arguments that do not break down to wordplays upon closer inspection.

jon_p

Maybe there is a God, but is it Quinn's God?

jon_p

Dawkins: I don't know [where matter came from], science is working on it. Science is a progressive thing that is working on it. You don't know, but you claim that you do.

Quinn: I claim to know the probable answer.

So hold on, Quinn says that matter is probably created by God??!?

And here I thought Quinn was so sure God existed. LOL!

Jessica

Bernanda wrote: "How does he expect there to be free will if there is an omnipotent god?"

Omnipotent God does NOT mean there is no free will...actually, quite the opposite is true. Read some good theology books such as "Theology for Beginners" (Sheed). This book goes a long way towards removing the kind of confusion that your question implies.

Steve

He is the one who sets up a straw man in saying that atheists think that all actions are determined by genes. He hasn't a clue either about atheism or about evolution.

bernarda,
Please share your alternative theories.

bernarda

"Read some good theology books such as "Theology for Beginners" (Sheed)"

Theology is total nonsense. There is nothing to learn there except maybe about the psyche of the theologist. Theology is the study of what doesn't exist, never has existed, and never will exist.

The most fraudulent field of "studies" in universities is theology, which is ultimately nothing more than trying to imagine how many angels there are on the head of a pin.

Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach theology.

"bernarda,
Please share your alternative theories."

I already have. In any event, mine is not an alternative theory. God is not a theory. As Dawkins says, it is a delusion. Basically, people who accept the delusion are deranged.

Leao

If anyone is having problems listening to the Dawkins/Quinn debate, I found a QuickTime edited version at:

http://origins.swau.edu/misc/Dawkins2.mp3

Raúl Campis

I wish I could find the Dawkins/Quinn debate in written. My brother is a philospher and he could find this interesting. Any ideas?

Raúl Campis

FYI... it is available at the Zenit News Agency.

Steve-O

"The most fraudulent field of "studies" in universities is theology, which is ultimately nothing more than trying to imagine how many angels there are on the head of a pin".

Rantings from a fundie atheist...

Revoltingslave

I'm an American. Who is this David Quinn fellow? He's my new hero.

Dave

David Quinn, just tuned in from Australia and that was great.

Nothing like turning a debate on science vs religion into logic vs belief.

Well done!

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