Gee there is a lot of leading (straw man) and presumptions present in that argument. Most folks see magic as light entertainment and the "proving" as a joke meant to confound the naively skeptical.Originally posted by Richard Stokes:
.... There is a perfectly good explanation. It is just that I am too naive, or too unobservant, or too unimaginative, to think of it. That is the proper response to a conjuring trick. It is also the proper response to a biological phenomenon that appears to be irreducibly complex. Those people who leap from personal bafflement at a natural phenomenon straight to a hasty invocation of the supernatural are no better than the fools who see a conjuror bending a spoon and leap to the conclusion that it is 'paranormal'. "
Not being much of a scientist of philosopher, I still have to ask the question:Originally posted by Nathan Coe Marsh:
Newton and Darwin give us beautiful and extremely successful models of how the world works. These models cannot, by their nature, say anything about why the world is here.
If you are correct, then the irony is rich indeed. The man shows humility when faced with a magic trick, but virulent dogmatism when faced with life? With language? With art? With love? With meaning? And he sure has choice words for anyone who disagrees with him.Originally posted by Eric Fry:
I suppose I mean Dawkins showed a kind of intellectual humility when he talked about Penn and Teller's great trick.
I've asked the question on and off ever since I had a fall out with religion in my teens. It was difficult for me to believe that there was a purposeful direction meant for my life when I felt so lost and directionless. (Like many other teens.)Originally posted by Doug Peters:
An excellent question indeed -- what made you ask it? [/b]Originally posted by Gord Gardiner:
[b] what if there is no why?
Eric,Originally posted by Eric Fry:
I think Dawkins was simply making the point that just because something baffles or amazes you, it doesn't mean the only explanation is a supernatural one. He was completely fooled by Penn and Teller, but he (correctly) assumes there's a non-supernatural explanation for their bullet catch that he wasn't able to discern. Likewise, many aspects of nature (such as eyeballs or birds' feathers) may seem so complex and useful that we can't imagine explaining their existence through random mutation and natural selection, but our amazement doesn't mean the only explanation is that God created nature. On a similar note, I remember reading that Barbara Walters was completely fooled by Uri Geller. She had two choices: she could believe that Geller, of all the human beings who ever lived, could break the laws of physics, or she could believe that she was fooled by a magician, just like millions of other people have been. What answer did her colossal ego lead her to? There's a humility in Dawkins pointing out that mysteries are partly the result of our own limitations.
The first thing I would notice is that it is deeply patronizing to human faith to presume that faith is something resorted to in the absence of a rational explanation for the external world. Most of the serious religious people that I know have come to faith not through the mysteries of the external world, but through the knowledge that there are human things -- love, dignity, the need for beauty -- that, while they may make survival easier, are ends in themselves and are not simply tools to reproduce and survive efficiently.Originally posted by Bob Coyne:
Dawkins makes a good, but pretty obvious point. Just because we don't understand something fully (as in how complex organisms evolved or how a certain magic trick was done) doesn't mean that there's no scientific or logical explanation and that we must accept a supernatural explanation. What's objectionable in that?
No objection to the conclusion, Bob. Any objection is to the none-too-bright analogy. Sure, the magic trick did not require a "supernatural" explanation, but it did require study, intelligence, design, cleverness, practice, craft, and artifice. Then Dawkins turns around, looks at DNA, language, and philosophy, and loudly pontificates that those things absolutely, positively, could not in the least have derived from anything remotely like cleverness or intelligence.Originally posted by Bob Coyne:
Just because we don't understand something fully (as in how complex organisms evolved or how a certain magic trick was done) doesn't mean that there's no scientific or logical explanation and that we must accept a supernatural explanation. What's objectionable in that?
That must be the sound I heard coming from Chicago last night.Originally posted by Joe M. Turner:
At Georgia's homecoming, they were beaten by Vandy.
Auburn beat Florida.
Ole Miss lost.
And lowly Mississippi State actually won a game.
Clearly, there is a God. :) Somebody give me an AMEN!
The question as it pertains to performing magic is how we account for the magic.Originally posted by Noah Levine:
Woah, woah woah, what is going on.
Cut a guy some slack.
Or perhaps, "My own complex intelligence recognizes this as a work of complex intelligence."Originally posted by Ian Kendall:
The link to ID/Evolution is that when the subject of Irreducable Complexity comes up, one side seems to say 'we don't know how this happened, therefore it must be the work of a god'.
Not so fast.Originally posted by Bob Coyne:
The secret to the bullet catching trick corresponds to scientific explanations (i.e. a materialist cause).
Granted. But the possibility that there are natural phenomena "outside" science is becoming ever more compelling as we investigate what it is that makes us human. There is a very interesting recursion required in order to study language. Consider the meaning of "meaning", for example. Humans simply don't do "meta-meaning" very well (even though we can imagine that such a thing might be required to explain understanding, we cannot understand it!). The bottom line here is that the line between the natural and the supernatural blurs.Originally posted by Bob Coyne:
Just because something is unknown currently doesn't mean you should jump to the conclusion that it's unknowable (outside science).