Page 1 of 17 12311 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 168

Thread: Richard Dawkins and Peter Singer

  1. #1
    tWebber
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    New Zealand
    Faith
    Atheist
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    3,906
    Amen (Given)
    1203
    Amen (Received)
    848

    Richard Dawkins and Peter Singer

    Richard Dawkins and Peter Singer are two people who's work I wasn't overly familiar with until recently, but have really come to admire over the course of the last year.

    Dawkins probably needs no introduction on these forums, but I found his book on religion (The God Delusion) one of the few books I have ever read in which I 100% agreed with everything in it, and I also found his works on evolutionary theory (The Selfish Gene, The Extended Phenotype and The Blind Watchmaker) excellent as well.

    Peter Singer is maybe less well known around here than Dawkins, and he is an Australian moral philosopher who's book in the 70s, Animal Liberation: A New Ethics for Our Treatment of Animals basically singlehandedly began the modern animal rights movement, popularizing veganism and vegetarianism, and the ethical treatment of animals. He has also long argued that people are morally obligated to give the most they possibly can to help save the lives of people in the 3rd world, and in the last few years has pioneered the new movement of "Effective Altruism" which is about carefully choosing charities that do the most good and working out exactly how to live our lives to maximize the amount we can help others and the number of lives we can save (See The Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Poverty and The Most Good You Can Do: How Effective Altruism Is Changing Ideas About Living Ethically).

    So I was thrilled to stumble across this video this week in which these two of my favorite intellectuals have a discussion with each other. Having watched it a few times myself I thought I'd share it here so others can enjoy. They discuss a variety of subjects including evolution, meat-eating, and effective altruism. Well worth a listen:



    If anyone has some interesting comments to make or questions to ask about either of these people or their ideas, hopefully we can have some good discussion in this thread.
    Last edited by Starlight; 01-10-2017 at 08:37 AM.

  2. #2
    tWebber
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    New Zealand
    Faith
    Atheist
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    3,906
    Amen (Given)
    1203
    Amen (Received)
    848
    Quote Originally Posted by Starlight View Post
    They discuss a variety of subjects including evolution, meat-eating, and effective altruism.
    Oops, effective altruism is not actually covered in the above talk, but Singer talks about it in detail in other talks I had recently watched including in his three talks at google. I find his argument about saving a child from a shallow pond particularly intriguing (starts at 2:25 in the first of these google talks) - if we would sacrifice a great deal to rescue a drowning child we happened to notice as we were out walking, why do we generally not bother to sacrifice anything comparatively much to save dying people in third world countries - why do we buy ourselves luxury items and generally enjoy our lives when that money could actually save someone's life if given to the right charity?

  3. #3
    tWebber seer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    New England
    Faith
    Christian
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    13,263
    Amen (Given)
    472
    Amen (Received)
    2612
    Quote Originally Posted by Starlight View Post

    If anyone has some interesting comments to make or questions to ask about either of these people or their ideas, hopefully we can have some good discussion in this thread.
    On Singer:

    Abortion, euthanasia, and infanticide

    Singer holds that the right to life is essentially tied to a being's capacity to hold preferences, which in turn is essentially tied to a being's capacity to feel pain and pleasure.

    In Practical Ethics, Singer argues in favour of abortion rights on the grounds that fetuses are neither rational nor self-aware, and can therefore hold no preferences. As a result, he argues that the preference of a mother to have an abortion automatically takes precedence. In sum, Singer argues that a fetus lacks personhood.

    Similar to his argument for abortion, Singer argues that newborns lack the essential characteristics of personhood—"rationality, autonomy, and self-consciousness"[37]—and therefore "killing a newborn baby is never equivalent to killing a person, that is, a being who wants to go on living."

    Singer classifies euthanasia as voluntary, involuntary, or non-voluntary. Voluntary euthanasia is that to which the subject consents. He argues in favour of voluntary euthanasia and some forms of non-voluntary euthanasia, including infanticide in certain instances, but opposes involuntary euthanasia.

    In 2002 disability rights activist Harriet McBryde Johnson debated Singer, challenging his belief that it is morally permissible to euthanize new-born children with severe disabilities. "Unspeakable Conversations", Johnson's account of her encounters with Singer and the pro-euthanasia movement, was published in the New York Times Magazine in 2003. It also served as inspiration for The Thrill, a 2013 play by Judith Thompson partly based on Johnson's life.
    He supports infanticide, which should make you happy Star.


    Bestiality

    In a 2001 review of Midas Dekkers' Dearest Pet: On Bestiality, Singer argues that sexual activities between humans and animals that result in harm to the animal should remain illegal, but that "sex with animals does not always involve cruelty" and that "mutually satisfying activities" of a sexual nature may sometimes occur between humans and animals...
    And he has no problem with bestiality if it is mutually satisfying with no harm.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_...nd_infanticide
    “There is no witness so dreadful, no accuser so terrible as the conscience that dwells in the heart of every man.”


    Polybius

  4. #4
    tWebber MaxVel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    It's hot!
    Faith
    Christian
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    1,049
    Amen (Given)
    678
    Amen (Received)
    1126
    Quote Originally Posted by Starlight View Post
    Richard Dawkins and Peter Singer are two people who's work I wasn't overly familiar with until recently, but have really come to admire over the course of the last year.

    Dawkins probably needs no introduction on these forums, but I found his book on religion (The God Delusion) one of the few books I have ever read in which I 100% agreed with everything in it,
    Really? That's hilarious.


    From a real philosopher:

    Quote Originally Posted by Alvin Plantinga
    Now despite the fact that this book is mainly philosophy, Dawkins is not a philosopher (he's a biologist). Even taking this into account, however, much of the philosophy he purveys is at best jejune. You might say that some of his forays into philosophy are at best sophomoric, but that would be unfair to sophomores; the fact is (grade inflation aside), many of his arguments would receive a failing grade in a sophomore philosophy class.
    ...>>> Witty remark or snarky quote of another poster goes here <<<...

  5. #5
    tWebber Adrift's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Faith
    Christian
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    5,618
    Amen (Given)
    5156
    Amen (Received)
    4589
    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    On Singer:



    He supports infanticide, which should make you happy Star.




    And he has no problem with bestiality if it is mutually satisfying with no harm.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_...nd_infanticide
    Singer is a terrible terrible individual. This is what happens when left with nothing to guide your ethics but cold naturalism. It's no surprise that Starlight is a fanboy.

  6. #6
    tWebber seer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    New England
    Faith
    Christian
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    13,263
    Amen (Given)
    472
    Amen (Received)
    2612
    Quote Originally Posted by Adrift View Post
    Singer is a terrible terrible individual. This is what happens when left with nothing to guide your ethics but cold naturalism. It's no surprise that Starlight is a fanboy.
    Yes, he is a moral scumbag, a perfect fit for Star...
    “There is no witness so dreadful, no accuser so terrible as the conscience that dwells in the heart of every man.”


    Polybius

  7. #7
    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Canada, eh?
    Faith
    Christian
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    23,814
    Amen (Given)
    1811
    Amen (Received)
    11503
    "people are morally obligated to give the most they possibly can to help save the lives of people in the 3rd world, and in the last few years has pioneered the new movement of "Effective Altruism" which is about carefully choosing charities that do the most good and working out exactly how to live our lives to maximize the amount we can help others and the number of lives we can save (See The Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Poverty and The Most Good You Can Do: How Effective Altruism Is Changing Ideas About Living Ethically)."

    Gee I know something MORE you can do morally to help save lives, not only in the 3rd world, but the entire world: Oppose abortion and infanticide. Imagine the lives that could be saved.

    Stop being a hypocrite, Starlight. If you truly believe human life is important and worth saving, then oppose abortion and infanticide.

  8. Amen Cerebrum123, Jedidiah amen'd this post.
  9. #8
    tWebber Adrift's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Faith
    Christian
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    5,618
    Amen (Given)
    5156
    Amen (Received)
    4589
    Quote Originally Posted by MaxVel View Post
    Really? That's hilarious.


    From a real philosopher:
    Or better yet, how bout some prominent atheist or non-Christian philosophers and scientists,

    Source: Secular Philosophy and the Religious Temperament: Essays 2002-2008 by Thomas Nagel

    Richard Dawkins, the most prominent and accomplished scientific writer of our time, is convinced that religion is the enemy of science. Not just fundamentalist or fanatical or extremist religion, but all religion that admits faith as a ground of belief and asserts the existence of God. In The God Delusion he attacks religion with all the weapons at his disposal, and as a result the book is a very uneven collection of scriptural ridicule, amateur philosophy, historical and contemporary horror stories, anthropological speculations, and cosmological scientific argument.

    © Copyright Original Source



    Source: The Atheist Delusion of Richard Dawkins by Anthony Flew

    The God Delusion by the atheist writer Richard Dawkins, is remarkable in the first place for having achieved some sort of record by selling over a million copies. But what is much more remarkable than that economic achievement is that the contents – or rather lack of contents – of this book show Dawkins himself to have become what he and his fellow secularists typically believe to be an impossibility: namely, a secularist bigot. (Helpfully, my copy of The Oxford Dictionary defines a bigot as ‘an obstinate or intolerant adherent of a point of view’).

    © Copyright Original Source



    Source: A Mission to Convert by H. Allen Orr

    Despite my admiration for much of Dawkins’s work, I’m afraid that I’m among those scientists who must part company with him here. Indeed, The God Delusion seems to me badly flawed. Though I once labeled Dawkins a professional atheist, I’m forced, after reading his new book, to conclude he’s actually more an amateur. I don’t pretend to know whether there’s more to the world than meets the eye and, for all I know, Dawkins’s general conclusion is right. But his book makes a far from convincing case.

    The most disappointing feature of The God Delusion is Dawkins’s failure to engage religious thought in any serious way. This is, obviously, an odd thing to say about a book-length investigation into God. But the problem reflects Dawkins’s cavalier attitude about the quality of religious thinking. Dawkins tends to dismiss simple expressions of belief as base superstition. Having no patience with the faith of fundamentalists, he also tends to dismiss more sophisticated expressions of belief as sophistry (he cannot, for instance, tolerate the meticulous reasoning of theologians). But if simple religion is barbaric (and thus unworthy of serious thought) and sophisticated religion is logic-chopping (and thus equally unworthy of serious thought), the ineluctable conclusion is that all religion is unworthy of serious thought.

    The result is The God Delusion, a book that never squarely faces its opponents. You will find no serious examination of Christian or Jewish theology in Dawkins’s book (does he know Augustine rejected biblical literalism in the early fifth century?), no attempt to follow philosophical debates about the nature of religious propositions (are they like ordinary claims about everyday matters?), no effort to appreciate the complex history of interaction between the Church and science (does he know the Church had an important part in the rise of non-Aristotelian science?), and no attempt to understand even the simplest of religious attitudes (does Dawkins really believe, as he says, that Christians should be thrilled to learn they’re terminally ill?).

    Instead, Dawkins has written a book that’s distinctly, even defiantly, middlebrow. Dawkins’s intellectual universe appears populated by the likes of Douglas Adams, the author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and Carl Sagan, the science popularizer,3 both of whom he cites repeatedly. This is a different group from thinkers like William James and Ludwig Wittgenstein—both of whom lived after Darwin, both of whom struggled with the question of belief, and both of whom had more to say about religion than Adams and Sagan. Dawkins spends much time on what can only be described as intellectual banalities: “Did Jesus have a human father, or was his mother a virgin at the time of his birth? Whether or not there is enough surviving evidence to decide it, this is still a strictly scientific question.”4

    © Copyright Original Source



    Source: Dawkins et al bring us into disrepute by Michael Ruse

    Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion would fail any introductory philosophy or religion course. Proudly he criticizes that whereof he knows nothing. As I have said elsewhere, for the first time in my life, I felt sorry for the ontological argument. If we criticized gene theory with as little knowledge as Dawkins has of religion and philosophy, he would be rightly indignant. (He was just this when, thirty years ago, Mary Midgeley went after the selfish gene concept without the slightest knowledge of genetics.) Conversely, I am indignant at the poor quality of the argumentation in Dawkins, Dennett, Hitchens, and all of the others in that group.

    © Copyright Original Source


  10. #9
    Oops........... mossrose's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Faith
    slave & child of Christ
    Gender
    Female
    Posts
    13,427
    Amen (Given)
    9522
    Amen (Received)
    5425
    Quote Originally Posted by Starlight View Post
    Richard Dawkins and Peter Singer are two people who's work I wasn't overly familiar with until recently, but have really come to admire over the course of the last year.

    Dawkins probably needs no introduction on these forums, but I found his book on religion (The God Delusion) one of the few books I have ever read in which I 100% agreed with everything in it, and I also found his works on evolutionary theory (The Selfish Gene, The Extended Phenotype and The Blind Watchmaker) excellent as well.

    Peter Singer is maybe less well known around here than Dawkins, and he is an Australian moral philosopher who's book in the 70s, Animal Liberation: A New Ethics for Our Treatment of Animals basically singlehandedly began the modern animal rights movement, popularizing veganism and vegetarianism, and the ethical treatment of animals. He has also long argued that people are morally obligated to give the most they possibly can to help save the lives of people in the 3rd world, and in the last few years has pioneered the new movement of "Effective Altruism" which is about carefully choosing charities that do the most good and working out exactly how to live our lives to maximize the amount we can help others and the number of lives we can save (See The Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Poverty and The Most Good You Can Do: How Effective Altruism Is Changing Ideas About Living Ethically).

    So I was thrilled to stumble across this video this week in which these two of my favorite intellectuals have a discussion with each other. Having watched it a few times myself I thought I'd share it here so others can enjoy. They discuss a variety of subjects including evolution, meat-eating, and effective altruism. Well worth a listen:



    If anyone has some interesting comments to make or questions to ask about either of these people or their ideas, hopefully we can have some good discussion in this thread.
    Behold your gods.


    Securely anchored to the Rock amid every storm of trial, testing or tribulation.

  11. Amen Sparko, RumTumTugger amen'd this post.
  12. #10
    Evolution is God's ID rogue06's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Southeastern U.S. of A.
    Faith
    Christian
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    26,125
    Amen (Given)
    570
    Amen (Received)
    10138
    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    On Singer:



    He supports infanticide, which should make you happy Star.




    And he has no problem with bestiality if it is mutually satisfying with no harm.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_...nd_infanticide
    Singer, who as you pointed out, advocates killing disabled babies up to 28 days after birth, won the 2003 World Technology Award for Ethics.

    I'm always still in trouble again

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •