On Thu, Mar 8, 2012 at 1:52 PM, Bruno Marchal <marc...@ulb.ac.be> wrote:

>>  Do they really have to state that they assume existence exists?
> > You mean that primary matter exists? Yes that is an hypothesis.

So your complaint is that a biologist like Richard Dawkins doesn't start
all his books with "I assume matter exists". Bruno, that's just nuts.

>>  It would be great if I could explain exactly why there is something
>> rather than nothing but unfortunately I don't know how to do that, but a
>> atheist does not need to,
> > I am not sure anybody needs that

A atheist would need that if a theist could explain why there is something
rather than nothing, I would be in a pew singing hymns next Sunday if they
could do that, but of course no God theory can provide even a hint of a
hint of a answer to that.

> I have no problem with those who say that they are not interested in such
> or such question.

Well, personally I feel that anybody who has not even thought about it a
little would be a bit dull, and somebody who thinks about it a lot is
probably wasting time that could be more productively spent. A important
part of genius is to know what problem to go after, it should be profound
enough to make a big increase in our understanding but not so difficult as
to be out of reach. For example in Darwin's day there was no possibility of
figuring out how chemicals turned into life, but a real first class genius
might be able to figure out how one species can change into another, and
that's exactly where Darwin set his sights. But for Darwin's ideas to come
into play you've got to start with a reproducing entity; so he could
explain how bacteria turned into a man but not how chemicals turned into
bacteria, so Darwin explained a hell of a lot but he didn't explain
everything nor did he (or Dawkins) ever claim to.

> Only with those who assert that it is a false problem, a crackpot field

It's not a crackpot field but I think you would have to admit that it does
attract more that its fair share of crackpots.

> and this by letting believe that science has solve or dissolve the
> question, when it is hardly the case.

But Dawkins has never done that, never, and being a biologist most of his
books concern how the laws of chemistry (which is already something as he
would be the first to admit) produced life, including advanced life like
you and me. And Dawkins does not claim he has a complete explanation for
even this much more limited (although still very profound) problem. Science
in general and Dawkins in particular can't explain everything, but they can
explain a lot. Religion can explain nothing, absolutely nothing.

> The hard body problem is the question of its existence, its nature,
> ontological, or epistemological, and where it comes from.

The answer to the hard body problem is 42; but now comes the really
difficult part, clearly explaining exactly what the hard body problem is.

> I did like a lot "the selfish gene", but was rather disappointing by its
> other "philosophical book", where

The Selfish Gene was one of the best books I ever read and Dawkins has
advanced philosophy far more than anybody who lists their occupation as
"philosopher" on their tax form.

> he [Dawkins] lacks rigor in the large, and make believe that science give
> credits on his pseudo-religious opinion.

Wow, you're calling someone who hates religion religious, how novel, I've
been a atheist a long time but I never heard that putdown before!

> fanatic atheists and fundamentalist religious people are ally in
> demolishing the moderate agnostics interested in the field.

Yes but you almost make that sound like a bad thing. At least
fundamentalist religious nuts make a clear stand on how they wish to live
their life, and atheists do too, they feel that the probability of God
existing is just too low to worry about and so plays no role in their life,
but agnostics are just fence sitting wimps who give religion FAR more
respect than it deserves.

John K Clark

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