At risk of being dismissed as a "troll", may I submit this Paper for discussion. I've bought & read Jesse Bering's "The God Instinct", and it was a waste of money & a waste of time.
"JESSE BERING - SON OF DAWKINS"
A Short Paper by Richard W. Symonds. Member of International Society For Philosophers (ISFP) - December 31 2010
"GOD IS...A SOPHISTICATED COGNITIVE ILLUSION"
('The God Instinct' by Jesse Bering - NB Publishing 2011)
.1 This Paper seeks to show it is not the vast majority of people Jesse Bering believes to be living an "illusion" - but Bering himself.
.2 I mean "illusion" in the sense that, say, the clever people in Galileo's time - who built a vast, monolithic body of knowledge on the (false) assumption the Sun went round the Earth - were living an illusion...and (unintentionally) deluded countless millions of the not-so-clever in that false belief.
.3 Jesse Bering ("Son of Dawkins") and Richard Dawkins ("The God Delusion") - both committed 'Blind Faith' Evolutionists & Moral Relativists - have built a vast, monolithic body of knowledge on the (false) belief that Human Beings are just Animals - not unique Moral Beings - and are deluding countless millions of the not-so-clever in that false belief.
.4 70 years ago, Philosopher & Moral Realist 'Professor' CEM Joad (1891-1953) pleaded with his colleagues to mend their newly-found philosophical ways (eg Moral Relativism, Logical Positivism & Animal Behaviourism), predicting that failure to do so would render Philosophy (& Psychology) increasingly irrelevant – and increasingly vulnerable to totalitarian thought.
.5 CEMJ’s warning ‘fell on deaf ears’ in his time – and continues to do so….except for a few readers of Cambridge University’s Alumni Magazine (”Essay : In Defence Of Moral Philosophy” by Professor Simon Blackburn – Michaelmas 2009 Edition), and adherents to Mega Theory.
.6 Totalitarianism, which George Orwell – a contemporary of Joad – was warning against in 1949, was already prevalent within the social and economic culture of the time – primarily due to the ‘false teachers’ of philosophical relativism (eg Wittgenstein & The Vienna Circle). Times have not changed. 'False teachers', like Bering & Dawkins, continue to successfully peddle this increasingly-obsolete, biologically-rooted-only, Darwinian Evolutionary Psychology.
.7 Cyril Joad, as a Moral Philosopher, was warning against Moral Relativism 9 years earlier than Orwell :
In 1940, Joad warned his profession of the dangers in rejecting its ‘Classical’ tradition (eg Plato’s ‘Forms’ of Truth, Beauty & Goodness), and pleaded for a return to that tradition (”Appeal To Philosophers”, University of London Aristotelian Society – XL 1940).
Dr. CEM Joad continued to warn – but nobody was listening….except a few debaters at Oxford University:
.8 In June 1950, 5 months after Orwell’s death (and 3 years before his own), Cyril Joad won an Oxford Union Debate : “That This House Regrets The Influence Exercised By The U.S. As The Dominant Power Among The Democratic Nations” – resulting in Randolph Churchill accusing him of being a “Third Class Socrates”.
.9 ‘Professional Outcast’ Joad, also a celebrity wartime BBC Brains Trust panellist, was treated with ridicule, contempt and disdain by most professional philosophers of the time – especially Bertrand Russell – and his warnings were ignored and dismissed within his profession, and beyond – and remain so.
.10 CEMJ was a Moral Realist – in direct opposition to Moral Relativists – and later developed his “Transcendence-Immanence” ideas in his last book: “Recovery of Belief – A Restatement of Christian Philosophy” (Faber & Faber 1952)
.11 Today, we can’t say we were not warned of this ‘totalitarian’ danger – now more prevalent than ever – and we can’t say moral philosophy (& philosophers) have had nothing to say in dealing with the problems which continue to haunt us.
.12 Joad is still ’shouting from the rooftops’ – through his many books – but we need to understand (and deal with) the unpalatable reasons why such clear warnings are still loudly ‘falling on deaf ears’.
.13 One 'deaf ear' is Bering - the other 'loud mouth' is Dawkins. They are the deluded ones. Be warned.
.14 A greater understanding of Moral Realism (especially through the work of Moral Philosopher CEM Joad) – and an unequivocal rejection of Evolutionists & Moral Relativists (especially Bering & Dawkins) - will be two critical pre-conditions for Humanity’s survival in the early 21st century.
Richard W. Symonds MCIPD is a Member of the International Society For Philosophers ( http://www.isfp.co.uk ),
Founder Member of The Cyril Joad Society (CJS) & Gatwick City of Ideas (GCI)
Author of “The Mega Instinct : Mega Theory & The Moral Revolution"
He can be contacted by Email : firstname.lastname@example.org or at GCI :
I don't think Jesse Bering is following Richard Dawkins. He would rather be in line with Stuart A. Kauffman. Dawkins is someone who believes (AND evangelizes in public) that science, and evolution theory in particular, requires a mindset imbued with philosophical naturalism. By taking this position as a public figure head of science he has committed treason with regard to the sciences. Not so Jesse Bering.
The scientific study of religion is not dangerous. Religion, and everything that is said to be good, must also stand the test of rational scrutiny. And I believe it does. Faith is not irrational. Believing things is a human faculty and can be accompanied by reason and a dynamic check-up of all the faith parameters. No problem with that. It is part of our humanism - which is acknowledged by Bering. Whoever Bering is, he may be what he wants to be, but I think his book is fairly good, and far better than whatever the new atheists have ever written. His mind is not clinging on to binary thinking or conflict-based anti-philosophy.
With regard to your "mega instinct" theory (in your reply to Dave G) I don't know what to think of that either. As a rational Christian I would only take it seriously if I see it in some scholarly peer reviewed document. I'm not suggesting that it sounds bad, but it doesn't convince. For instance when you argue "This Theory of Moral Realism stands in direct opposition to Moral Relativism", you are kicking an open door - but we don't need a special theory for that, as relativism is a property of exact scientific theory (which can only be 'exact' because of that) but human beings are of course not 'exact'. Indeed we are very unique beings, and to deny that is just ignoring the many things humans do that no (other) animals do - not just praying but doing good, forgiving, creating great cultures, writing down our historical record and so on.
Evolution theory does by no means require any ignorance of the facts on the ground. The facts on the ground are already a good 'theory' (in fact they are not a theory, they are not orthodoxy, rather orthopraxis) and most people on our planet really would not care if a scientist would want to reduce things like love to just a evolutionary behavior. WTF? Reductionism can be applied to atheism too, which would dismantle it as escapism, a way of simplifying the hard questions of life. Yet, reductionism would not in itself deliver a real answer or argument. Neither does it with regard to religion.
Sorry for the delay.
Adriana's "stella" comments about religion I seriously take issue with, because such comments seem to blame everything bad on religion (& by implication, religious people). That's very Dawkinesque - and erroneous.
Let history speak : powerful people who kill (eg make war) and enslave (eg by debt) - and make monstrous profits through it - are often not religiously-motivated - except, say, Zionists.
Who makes war & enslaves ? It seems to me 'Cowboy' Capitalists & Communists for the most part - State terrorists - neither of which have "religion" as their main motivation. Retail terrorism includes the religious fanatics, and this is what grabs the headlines. But the real 'evil' people are those in Savile Row suits. I could name them - but I don't want to form part of a bridge foundation.
Any virtue or emotion that man can claim resides within all animal species on earth. Animals in nature are proven to do everything we do. The only thing this blog accomplishes is creating a space for with which to badmouth a couple of very intelligent people and back it up with unproven, opinion based theories that are already factually opposed by what we see in other species today.
I see a whole lot of unnecessarily large words being applied here, and not that I need anyone to "dumb it down" for me, but I don't need big words to dismantle this in my own mind as another form of apologetics with absolutely no concrete evidence to back it up as anything more than an emotionally driven opinion. Just another waste of intelligent-sounding breath to a bunch of non-believers who have heard it all. But it's good to know that people are continuously trying to bring a generic brand of "reason and logic" where the real thing is far from being in short supply. This is a waste of philosophic energy. You can throw your own brand of "sauce" on the "cheeseburger of a thousand sauces" all you want, but the flavor is just lost in oblivion. Why bother? Trim the fat next time you want to write a blog insulting people like Dawkins. It's just easier to tell us that you think he's stupid, than to surround it with pseudo-philosophic bullshit. :)
Jason "Heard-It-All" Johnson, watch my lips : Dawkins is not stupid. I just think he is mistaken.
And our dog Lucy still can't understand what you've just said - or what I've said. She's crashed out dreaming dreams in her Doggian Unconscious.
I've been reading this discussion up until this page (page 10, currently). I just don't get how your dog's ability to understand you has anything to do with anything. She's a dog. She has her own language. She's been domesticated, so she has inclinations to be with humans and communicate with us on a small level, but... this is a completely moot point in the grand scheme.
You might get a better idea of more "natural" animal morality by observing a wolf pack, or some other undomesticated species. Elephants are a really intriguing bunch; they are observed to grieve the death of other elephants for extended periods, and are very affectionate.
To believe an animal's understanding of our language determines whether they are moral is narcissistic at best. Christians really need to stop believing they are the standard by which all things are judged, or that they are the center of some big cosmic plan. We are one species of thousands, if not millions, of other animals and organisms that have their own culture, language, code of ethics, etc. We are only notable to ourselves because we're so damn self-centered, like every other species on the planet.