I couldn't agree more with what May Sarton said. No wonder in Christianity Satan sells the tree of knowledge with his luring pitch despite God having forbidden its fruit! I had a feeling that Christopher Hitchens, being the maverick that he was, would provide a professorial account of the pragmatic application of contrarians -- contrarians as needed -- which is redolent of bravery, intelligence, uniqueness and independence. In this sense, being a contrarian has its uses and in hindsight you didn't misrepresent him so much. I can see now how it can be argued that we need more contrarians as an antidote to the abject prostration of the pious by religious dogma. Thanks for clarifying the Hitch's position and I will soon read the book after I'm done with Karl Pilkington's "The Moaning of Life." (Now here's a funny and adorable cynic!)
Indeed, even if Dreyfus had been a bete noir at the time, Emile Zola served as the prime example of an influencial contrarian nobly encouraging others to combat all forms of discrimination -- not just anti-Semitism. Orwell busied himself with the fascists in Spain and the misrepresented Marxism of Stalin. Far too many people seem to think that an idea is worth pursuing because it's ubiquitous. Somehow it doesn't enter the minds of the sheepish herd that the current unanimity could be amiss. And yet, quite a few are enamoured with conspiracy theories!
Of course the friarhood of Mendel did not rob genetics of its authenticity. Whoever said it did? (It's sort of ironic that he is mentioned by Dawkins, alongside Darwinism, as the biologist denies Lamarckism in "The Selfish Gene" -- if you had read it you would know.) Genetic function is a fact that Mendel, as a scientist, happened to rightfully uphold -- insofar as he could -- and his religionism was simply irrelevant. The same goes for Newton who did some serious work as regards classical physics when he wasn't dawdling with alchemy. You could have mentioned the apparently seamlessly scientific Francis Collins -- former head of the Human Genome Project -- who decided to embrace Christianity having been numinously transfigured by the sight of a frozen waterfall. This was his personal sign from God. Do you perceive Collins's reason for prostrating before the Almighty to be dianoetic (let alone legitimate)? And how is this relevant to scientific enquiry?
The problem is not what Isaac Asimov said, Buildit. Apart from the irony that you quoted a renowned atheist, what he said was actually valid. But it is your interpretation of his quote that is problematic and fallacious. Asimov's statement does not predicate the stagnation of scientific disciplines for our benefit, nor did he further an urgency to raise erudition in the world as a solution to keep up with discovery and novelty. He merely made a poignant observation. You took that out of context and used it to support your anti-scientism. (You remind me of Rupert Sheldrake.)
And yes, Buildit, 'in all likelihood' when it comes to God's nonentity because His absence is quite striking if not telling. (I hope you know the kind of probability that the quoted phrasal idiom alludes to.)
Moving on to "The Selfish Gene"... When are you going to admit that Deschain schooled you there instead of pretending that he is wrong or belying the subject of evolutionary biology? We have already established that a genetic unit is only 'selfish' in the sense that it is preserved by natural selection over generations. Kin altruism, for instance, may play its role in immortalising certain genetic combinations in the evolution of a species. There is a reason why Dawkins wishes he had listened to the senior publisher Tom Maschler when this one suggested that the book should be titled "The Immortal Gene." It would have been less confusing.
When it comes to Dawkins, you appear to be ignorant of most of his ideas.The expressiveness and recessiveness of genes; genetic coding for embryology; phenotypes; extended phenotypes; and let's not forget memes! The end result determines how the creature is likely to fair in the world. Don't make assumptions about his literature -- read it! His scientific and philosophical kernel is worth digesting as it's extensive and expansive. You should stand corrected (by Deschain) instead of trying to save face by watching pertinent Youtube videos at the last minute as a means to mask your ignorance in the hope to dissemble your previous solecism.
I don't see how Deschain implies that the gene itself is intelligently deciding anything. This is what you implicated with your irrationality earlier, Buildit. Deschain's message was perspicuous enough: Genes can cause selfish as well as altruistic behaviours in individuals. You are either reading too much into what was said (as though Deschain implied genes are conscious agents) or you're deliberately misrepresenting his explanations and hoping to flim-flam him into thinking he wasn't coherent enough with your casuistry. [ Post made via Android ]