Questionable Motives

February 16, 2010

A Scientific Question: Is there a supernatural, guiding intelligence in the universe?

Filed under: Dawkins,God,Interview,Science — tildeb @ 3:38 pm

Richard Dawkins from the podcast interview with forgoodreason‘s  D. J. Grothe:

Does science have any role to play in justifying religious claims about the existence of god? It has a central role if truth matters: “I’m too interested in the truth! It really is an interesting question: whether there is a supernatural, guiding intelligence in the Universe. It’s an interesting question, not one to be swept aside as nothing to do with science.”

Commenting on the notion of a truce within teaching curriculum between science and belief in god, Dawkins says “…the larger battle (is) whether (or not) there is any kind of supernaturalism going on in the universe at all; I do think supernaturalism is a betrayal of science.”


  1. Why does there need to be?

    Once upon a time people thought the sun was supernatural, we looked we observed and we explored, and now we have found it to be a process, the same could be true of creation any everything natural.

    The true nature of the universe is facinating enough without the need to invent gods to explain it.

    Take bats (the funny fury creatures that fly around in the dark), some of these guys use sound as their only means to navigate the world. What do bats therefore see? Is it nothing? Or do they actually see a picture of their surroundings like we do?

    It is easy to assume that the world and indeed the universe looks and sounds like we interpret it to – bees don’t see colour like we do – they see a different view of the world. Fish, see different colours and wave lengths of light again.

    Dawkins explains this nicely:

    Comment by misunderstoodranter — February 16, 2010 @ 9:16 pm | Reply

  2. And that’s a key observation you make: we interpret our world. Our brains turn input into symbols that we assume exist in that symbolic form beyond ourselves. For example, we only see reflected light, which our optic nerve sends to our visual cortex. If it were a computer screen, our eyes are so poor that we would register one pixel for every thousand, and yet our brains apply a huge amount of filler consistent with the data we do register and then begin to interpret the emerging picture. But a fascinating experiment with blind people and copper plates attached to their backs that tingle with a low electrical charge when activated by two television cameras allows people who have no functioning optic nerves and no optic data to ‘see’. Their brains accept the feelings from their back as input and turn it into visual data in the brain accurate enough to identify depth and subtle alterations in the visual spectrum. It is our brains that see and not our eyes.

    We can train our brains to think in a variety of ways that deeply and profoundly affects our perspectives. We can quickly scaffold new knowledge on old and allow our brains to intuit and apply other patterns for insight and creativity.

    But we cheat ourselves when we are satisfied by answers that attempt to explain the natural by means of the supernatural.

    Comment by tildeb — February 16, 2010 @ 10:49 pm | Reply

  3. Why Tildeb? Why can’t people research and believe in a greater being that created it all? I will never understand this.

    Comment by 4amzgkids — February 21, 2010 @ 2:39 am | Reply

  4. People can believe in anything they want – but just do not push your religious authority on to those who do not, so worship but worship in private and do not interfere with the secular legal system. The same with funding for research, people can do the research they want and pay for it – hell I could do some great research into the flying spaghetti monster, but you would not expect the government to pay for it would you? So please do not expect me to pay for research (via taxes) into the existence of your imaginary friends either.

    Comment by misunderstoodranter — February 23, 2010 @ 9:58 pm | Reply

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