I came across this on another group. It’s brought some interesting reactions. What do CFI Forum members think? Is this true? It’s hard to believe that Dawkins would say this.

Atheist Richard Dawkins Says God Informs Morality, Ending Religion Would Be a Bad Idea



Dawkins didn’t say what the headline says he did. He’s discussing an experiment that has been around in various forms for some time now. It’s a psychology experiment about how we react to images, nowhere does he say God informs morality. If anything, this article perfectly shows how Ken Ham knows this about people and is abusing it to claim God exists.

Sounds like the guy (Michael Foust) that wrote that article took something Dawkins said and WAY WAY overgeneralized it to be saying what he WANTED Dawkins to have said.

From Dawkins simply saying that some ppl, who sincerely believe God is watching them, might behave better than they would otherwise, this Foust really went to town putting his own interpretation of what that meant Dawkins was “actually” saying.

The referenced “experiment” with the paying for coffee and the picture of eyes, only suggests to me that the picture of eyes led to ppl paying more. A picture of eyes is not God. But of course a religious nut would make that fantastic leap of illogic that it supports the idea that people were reminded by the picture of eyes were (what?) reminded that God is watching? Maybe they were just reminded that other people would not think as well of them if they didn’t pay their fair share. Who knows? It was not a very rigorous experiment.

I believe that there are VERY probably a subset of people who are more likely to behave morally because of their religious beliefs. That is probably about the extent of what Dawkins meant to say.

We know that morals do not come from an actual God, because “God” is just a human concept.

So did “Atheist Richard Dawkins (really) Say God Informs Morality…” (or is that what Foust wanted him to have said)?"

But yeah, maybe some people need their religion to keep them in line. OR maybe since they have been brought up believing that they need God to keep them in line, then those people ARE dependent on their belief in God to keep them in line. And those people, IF they suddenly lost their religion, might act in immoral ways, because the underlying foundation of their personal system of morals was gone.

And those people might have learned a system of morals based on respect and empathy for other humans if they had been taught that from the get-go instead of a system of morals based on an imagined super entity.

I think that we inherit the basic parts to develop a system of morals. But whether we do and how well we develop a system of morals depends an awful lot on our social conditioning for such. But we humans genetically inherit the capacity for empathy and that could be what is sometimes referenced as “God having written his law on every heart” (gag me).



BTW, it’s nice that you dropped by the Forums, Lois. Long time no see.

I’m looking for a less cherry picked review. This one in the Guardian is interesting. His case is that Dawkins failed to discuss why someone might attempt to create meaning in their lives. From his summary of the part of the book that discusses evolution, it’s possible that it’s in there, but this reviewer missed it.

So we have similar arguments. Dawkins, and I agree with what he says about ID here, that if we humans and this universe were intelligently designed, then whatever did that would most likely have arisen from the processes that we have already discovered, quantum bubbles and then biological evolution. Much less likely would be that these designers arose from some other process and then created our universe using something completely different, or created it so that we are seeing only what they created and not the actual laws of reality.

You are saying, if I understand you, that there is something that designed us and the universe using some process that is separate from what you call “material quantities”, something other than any of the natural processes we have discovered.

The difference is, for me, either the science we know, or the designers arose from something, and discovery them only gets us to the next step, the next level of knowing where everything came from. For you, at least I think you are saying, your intelligent designer is the highest level.

I think it is now possible to design human babies to the extent that gene manipulation could be done to get rid of certain problems and/or enhance certain characteristics.

That would count as intelligent design, but explaining the newly designed babies would not require any supernatural entity.

Could some ancient civilization already have contributed to our current human design? Ancient astronaut researchers say “Yes.” Dawkins says “Perhaps.” (Again, no explanatory supernatural entity is needed for this to be the actual case.)


Praise Jesus and may he forgive you of your many sins. I do think it is ok to look for indications of some extremely evolutionarily advanced civilization that may have jimmied with our biological design at some point in the course of self replicating organisms originating until the present on Earth. I wouldn’t put a lot of people on the project, however, unless it begins to show some meaningful results.

So you agree with me in that it is valid science to seek or recognize
It's valid science to seek and recognize things. The problem with ID is that there are people who say that DNA is a signature of a designer. They don't contribute to science with experiments, reason, logic or evidence, they just take what others do and claim it is evidence for their pre-determined conclusion.
It is in fact very reasonable to regard DNA as being designed
You've been leading toward some definition for what it takes to indicate something is designed. Some fairly straight forward answers were given months ago, but maybe they weren't detailed enough for you. Maybe you should give your answer to that question. What definition of "must be designed" do you have that indicates DNA might be designed.
information does not so far as I am aware spontaneously grow without intelligence being involved somewhere
You're right. Information growth would indicate an intention, a problem solving of some kind. But DNA is just a copy. It doesn't grow, it doesn't even replicate perfectly, it has very slight changes. Most of those changes aren't for the better, and the copy does not fare as well as the thing it was copied from. The changes that are better for survival, survive, by definition. The information doesn't grow, it does accumulate, that could be the confusion.

The strangest thing about this thread is that all the answers to Sherlock’s questions are easily found in Dawkins’s books and lectures.

I have no problem with someone asking lots of questions about Dawkins’s ideas. But I don’t care to see continuous denials and arguments and obfuscation of points that have been clearly and repeatedly made by Dawkins over the last 40 years.

The only book of his that’s not easily digestible is “The Extended Phenotype”, but he has so many others meant for the general public that there’s no excuse for misrepresenting what he says.

It does grow, that’s what natural selection claims
But the building blocks have not grown. It's still ACT and G. They have combined in different ways and they came to be by combining other simpler things in different ways, but they haven't "grown". In your analogy of a black box, you've just made bigger boxes. That's not a growth of information, it's just bigger storage units. Guanine is no smarter or better informed than it was a million years ago.
But Dawkins is a bozo, you are probably easily impressed.
On your report card today I will note that you were doing so well for about 4 hours. Then you ran out of arguments and started saying a prominent evolutionary biologist with a lifetime of work is a "pop science writer". You have to have some knowledge of science if you want to write about it. Dawkins did not have to put his research on hold to go talk to children.

Because you are using “information” in a way that doesn’t fit. If indeed new information was being programmed into life like I program a computer, then yes, that would be an indication of design. If a bird didn’t know how to eat a seed, then suddenly did with no other mechanism that could be observed, then you might have some data to build on. But we do have a mechanism that does not require thinking or a pre-existing design. It only requires existence. Existence requires existence and will continue to exist. It doesn’t require a desire to exist or something else making it want to exist.

The only evidence we have is for increasing complexity. A storm in the ocean starts out as a small disturbance and becomes increasingly complex to create a hurricane, but that is not a gain in information. We, as information processing creatures have more information about the bigger storm, but the water drops, the ocean, the heat that is generated, the gases that are swirling around will all change into something else when they hit land and dissipate. They aren’t information. They don’t care that they are a storm or have any information about being a storm. They won’t absorb into the land, find their way into the ocean and become a better storm next time. It’s only our vantage point that says the disturbance “grew” into a storm.

But Dawkins is a bozo, you are probably easily impressed.
It's not just what you say but how you say it that blows my mind.

Carrying on…

I’m not a fan of big block quotes, but the following is said in such a good way that I’m breaking my personal rule. From the last paragraph of Chapter 5 of Climbing Mount Improbable by Dawkins:

Reason tells me, that if numerous gradations from an imperfect and simple eye to one perfect and complex, each grade being useful to its possessor, can be shown to exist, as is certainly the case; if further, the eye ever slightly varies, and the variations be inherited, as is likewise certainly the case; and if such variations should ever be useful to any animal under changing conditions of life, then the difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection, though insuperable by our imagination, cannot be considered real.
The entire fifth chapter of Climbing Mount Improbable is devoted to explaining how the eye can come about in the many different forms found in life on earth.

The book isn’t new, so there are likely scientific advances that make some of it a bit out of date, but the main points are pretty basic and solid.

I do hope that wasn’t a rule violation!
No, just an observation.


This Dawkins thing is a tangent. I’m not following that.

But its just supposition, until you can perform an experiment where we have eyless life and then after a time fully formed eyes it is supposition.
Okay, hopefully I don't get fired for spending this much time on the forum today, because this whole discussion was pointless. We covered these problems with epistemology a long time ago, or you could just google them, try "responses to 'but were you there?' ". The quote was form Darwin, and yes, he assumed some things and hoped others would continue his work. They did. We have 150 years of "suppositions" based on data and experiments and observations. We only get this one physical universe and this one life, so we make the most of that perspective.




Why not read some other books? why not read Behe, Dembski and others? until you read them you’ll not know what they say…
I actually would like to read books by them. Watching bits of their debates has shown me what they think, but maybe their books have something different.