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10 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A determinate refutation to the New Atheist arguments, March 16, 2011
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This review is from: Theism and Explanation (Routledge Studies in the Philosophy of Religion) (Hardcover)
Philosopher Gregory Dawes has his most telling argument, when he offers the Logical refuation of Richard Dawkins' argument, in which he proves that Richard Dawkins' "God Hypothesis" exhibits a faulty reasoning.

Gregory Dawes writes:

"Pace Dawkins, it is not a necessary condition of a successful explanation that it can explain its explanans. If we follow my earlier suggestion and assume that explanations are arguments, then an explanation is an argument which has the explanandum as its conclusion. To explain an explosion, for instance, all we need is a description of a leak of gas, coupled with a description of its causal field, and some low-level laws regarding the behaviour of gases. One might argue that a complete explanation would need to cite further laws, which would explain the lower-level laws. Of course, this leads to a regress of explanations, which may or may not have an end. But that doesn't matter, since it is not obligatory. We do not need to have a complete explanation in order to have an explanation."---------- from p. 58 "Theism and Explanation"
(Routledge Studies in the Philosophy of Religion) by Gregory w. Dawes, hardcover Edition (Gregor Dawes has Ph. D. in "Biblical Studies" and another in "The Philosophy of Religion"

"Similar questions may be raised about the 'in principle' objection made by Dawkins: the idea that religious explanations are unacceptable because they leave unexplained the existence of their explanans (God). Dawkins apparently assumes that every successful explanation should also explain its own explanans. But this is an unreasonable demand. Many of our most successful explanations raise new puzzles and present us with new questions to be answered. As Peter Lipton remarks, "a drought may explain a poor crop, even if we don't understand why there was a drought; ... the big bang explains the background radiation, even if the big bang is itself inexplicable."" ---------- from p. 16, "Theism and Explanation"
(Routledge Studies in the Philosophy of Religion) by Gregory w. Dawes, hardcover Edition (Gregor Dawes has Ph. D. in "Biblical Studies" and another in "The Philosophy of Religion"

(Gregor Dawes has Ph. D. in "Biblical Studies" and another Ph. D. in "The Philosophy of Religion"

Dawes is a methodological Philosopher, with strong powers of analysis.

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Showing 1-10 of 153 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 2, 2011 6:00:50 PM PDT
Venompig890 says:
If bias had a name, it would be Bruce Bain. Hey, that even rhymes.

In reply to an earlier post on May 2, 2011 7:00:57 PM PDT
Thank you for the comment my friend, but you have not contributed to the understanding of this book or the author's ideas generally.

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In reply to an earlier post on Jun 10, 2011 3:13:40 AM PDT
Rian Douglas says:
Bruce, one must wonder whether you read and understood Dawes', considering it a book length argument against the adequacy of current theistic explanations, and what a theistic explanation must look like in order to be acceptable, rather than a refutation of anything written by the so called new atheists.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 10, 2011 9:39:16 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 13, 2011 9:44:03 AM PDT
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In reply to an earlier post on Aug 17, 2011 11:47:52 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 17, 2011 11:54:52 PM PDT
Rian Douglas says:
Dawes' argues that an in principal objection to supernatural hypothesis cannot be maintained, which seems to be the only part of the book you took in (I wouldn't want to assume you understood this however). The rest of the book explores what a successful supernatural explanation would look like, and demonstrates that current explanations (Swinburne's arguments for God as an explanation for the existence of the universe as an example) are sorely lacking.

Your initial review seemed to indicate that Dawes' argument was aimed at Dawkins, and that theistic explanations therefore succeed. This indicates that the thrust of your review is completely off base.

This review by Bradley Monton, a Philosopher at the University of Colorado might be helpful to you:
http://ndpr.nd.edu/news/24209/?id=17965

Your reply to my comment indicates an aggressive attitude towards criticism on your part - something which isn't conducive to reasoned discussion.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 18, 2011 5:25:29 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 18, 2011 5:56:49 AM PDT
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Posted on Sep 29, 2011 10:25:55 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 29, 2011 10:26:19 PM PDT
Nolan says:
Having read the book, it seems like Bruce Bain is honing in on a relatively unimportant part of the book. It is true that Dawes (as quoted above) confronts some of Dawkins' erroneous ideas about explanation, but Dawes spends far more time, and many, many more paragraphs confronting and harshly criticizing theistic philosophers like Richard Swinburne. As evidence, Dawkins is mentioned three times in the entire book. From the index:

Dawkins, Richard, 14, 16, 58

Swinburne, on the other hand, is given significantly more criticism. Again, from the index:

Swinburne, Richard: on background
knowledge, 128-31, 184 n.53;
on coherence of theism, 49-50,
101-2; on complete explanations,
175 n.103 ; and confi rmation
theory, 23-26, 79, 111, 171 n.35,
183 n.33; design argument of, 60,
67, 70-71, 121, 124, 176 n.4;
on divine eternity, 174 n.66; on
divine immutability, 174 n.66; as
evidentialist, 135; on fi ne-tuning
argument, 70-71, 177 n.42; on
God's purpose in creating, 174
n.43; inductive arguments of,
102-8; on intentional explanations,
9, 150-51, 177 n.33; and
justifi cationism, 111, 182 n.45;
on positing a poltergeist, 42-43,
45, 128-29; on principle of credulity,
181 n.29; on probability
of theism, 106-7, 181 n.24; on
religious experience, 107, 181
n.29; on simplicity, 71, 132-33,
136, 179 n.33

Bruce Bain, quite transparently, is honing in on the brief criticism of Dawkins out of ideological bias, and in doing so, he is misrepresenting the nature and focus of the book.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 30, 2011 3:55:24 AM PDT
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In reply to an earlier post on Oct 8, 2011 8:54:29 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 8, 2011 9:00:59 PM PDT
Nolan says:
Bruce Bain,

Regarding your "Issue the first:"
"Now all you need to do is prove that part of the books is UNIMPORTANT. I genuinely look forward to seeing you attempt that."
-Quoted from Bruce Bain Sep 30, 2011 3:55:24 AM PDT

Dawkins is mentioned on 3 separate pages, each time given about a paragraph of space. This totals about 1 page devoted to Dawkins out of 166 pages of content. This is less than 1% of the book devoted to Dawkins.

Since less than 1% of the book is about Richard Dawkins, I believe I have successfully shown that, relative to the core points in the book, the very brief critique of Dawkins is unimportant.

Regarding your "Issue the second:"

"(1) First, you haven't demonstrated that the book has a "nature"."
-Quoted from Bruce Bain Sep 30, 2011 3:55:24 AM PDT

The book is called Theism and Explanation. If you read the book, you should know that the "nature" of the book is to examine theistic explanations. Dawes' ultimate conclusion is that theistic explanations, although not impossible, still fail all practical tests for good explanations. Criticisms of Dawkins, while welcome, are a minor point. Quoting the criticisms of Dawkins as the sole content of your review makes it look like it is a major point, which therefore misrepresents the "nature" of the book.

"(2) Second, to cite a specific passage of the book, is not demonstrative of a BIAS."
-Quoted from Bruce Bain Sep 30, 2011 3:55:24 AM PDT

Actually, in this case, it is. You honed in on a passage that criticizes Dawkins, when the vast majority of the book is a criticism of the use of God as an explanation. Since you focused on a minor point (less than 1% of the content) and ignored the points that harshly criticize theism, it is obvious that your use of quotes is demonstrative of bias.

"(3) You should know that TRANSPARENCY is a virtue where Journalistic Ethics are concerned, and if TRANSPARENCY is evident in my book reviewing, then BIAS cannot be in evidence."
-Quoted from Bruce Bain Sep 30, 2011 3:55:24 AM PDT

A transparent lie is still a lie. Similarly, transparent bias is still bias. Don't try to claim some credit here by saying that "transparency is a virtue." All I was saying is that your biases are clearly evident, which unfortunately is not a sign of virtue.

All in all, nothing you've said challenges my claim that by you are erroneously honing in on a relatively unimportant part of the book, and you are misrepresenting the book's focus, due to readily apparent ideological bias on your part.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 8, 2011 9:21:59 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 9, 2011 5:22:34 AM PDT
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