Talk about Newsnight

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Friday, 22 September, 2006

  • Newsnight
  • 22 Sep 06, 06:19 PM

cheque_203.jpgIf major party donors dry up thanks to the cash for peerages allegations, should the taxpayer start footing the bill for our political parties? Plus Jeremy Paxman talks to controversial author Richard Dawkins about his book The God Delusion.

Comment on Friday’s programme here.

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 09:10 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • P Healy wrote:

I believe political parties should not be funded from the public purse.

Politicos spend to manipulate opinion & garner votes; it seems twisted to me that politicians want public money to manipulate public opinion, when so many voters believe politicians distort the truth and are profligate with taxpayers' money.

Rather than let politicians waste more public money by competing with each other in how much public money they can spend on electioneering, the intent should be to reduce the amount parties spend on electioneering. It could be argued that the media arms-race to which our politicians are so devoted has contributed to poor policy. They certainly seem to give more thought to their public performances than to the consequences to society of their actions. Members of government frequently refuse to face difficult questions on Newsnight (tough audience), but are in their element in low-key staged programmes where they can enjoy the deference due a 'statesman'. So I have no problem with them having to spend less on focus groups, spin doctors and media advisors, and instead do some in-depth work on their policies to get the support of voters.

And I don't want to pay for Cherie Blair's hairdressing bill - it can only get larger.

Parties could be funded in a way that removes the liklehood of corruption and that aims for a level playing field. Some 'blue skies' thinking:

1 - continued donations (not loans), which should all be paid through the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, who would also oversee the parties accounts;

2 - an enforced cap on party spending by the same Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards with power to remove funding, and the cap limit would be equal to the lowest amount received by one of the three main parties (this might help pay off some debts);

3 - drastically cut quango payments, require quango members to declare their interests just as MPs do, and limit quango membership to one quango only; if they don't want to serve the public that's fine (motivation clear). These roles should start to come under the scrutiny of the House of Lords anyway as HoL appear to be constructive when thinking things through, and are therefore complementary to the HoC.

  • 2.
  • At 10:47 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • M Walker wrote:

If political parties cannot manage their own finances, how can we be expected to believe that they can manage the countries?

  • 3.
  • At 10:48 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • David Parker wrote:

Jeremy to question your statement. Please explain why we need political parties?

Surely they were nothing more than like minded people with common interests(at the time).

No, no, no, no, no state money for political parties. If tax-payers' money is to be spent on electoral activity, it should be to fund independent candidates. This would widen debate, promote local issues, and help break the strangle-hold the political parties have on our electoral system.

The reason parties are in trouble is because they spend too much and do not have sufficient popular support to pay the bills.

  • 5.
  • At 10:55 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Jeanette Joyce wrote:


why are you presenting Newsnight? Surely it should be fronted by Jonathan Woss. I watched Channel 5 news earlier. It was a news programme. Not one film clip/dramatisation/pompous interview/plugging of books, did I see. Newsnight is not the "news".

Why not call it something else. "Chattering.middle.classes.numpties.night" perhaps?

Jeanette Joyce

  • 6.
  • At 10:58 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • BENEDICT TLC wrote:

There should be no state funding for parties...we want them to stop their moralising perversions and grow up ...the less politics the better ..look how feminism ruined society, look at the vindictive perversions of Blairism..why do we all have to be affected??...such thought should be lead by therapists not globalising politicians.....each departmental concern at local level could be headed up by a lord and directly accountable to the public...we have a tradition of democracy and argument...the way political parties try to unify and pontificate across the country and the world seems naive and degenerates the necessary diversity of solutions and ways forward for society...these could all be publicised by the papers that want to to the public for them to take their own actions...and we would rather vote for the papers we read every day!!...

  • 7.
  • At 11:01 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Jackie Blake wrote:

At long last a voice for the non God believers. Long overdue.

  • 8.
  • At 11:04 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Benedict St. George wrote:

God is a defence from the false...a man who can assert his own truth free from the enemisitc response of others has no need for god, or the influence of one in your own battles, so god for many is an inconvenience, a collective responsibility that reminds you of the enemies of the future from the evidence of the past who you would wish to be on your side but who rarely agree with you unless you pray harder to prepare better to win the moralities of the world to your own those areas you have to think of when preparing to go into a world over which you have no control.

A man free from falsehood around him in can transcend any situation and look the supernatural of a great hereafter...

  • 9.
  • At 11:05 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Jeanette Joyce wrote:

Is it just me or does anyone else think Newsnight is a shite news programme. Consisting of docunews, self-serving reviews.. film clips.... trailers for the next programme... 2 minutes of the news... reviews of the rags.. Not my cuppa tea.

  • 10.
  • At 11:07 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Ian Cameron wrote:

Richard Dawkins is an absolute legend. The problem with atheism is that it is impossible to pick holes in it, not even Paxman. Can't wait to read the book

  • 11.
  • At 11:07 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Jeanette Joyce wrote:

Who is the "blog owner" of this site please? I only ask because a comment I posted earlier, is being held by the same.

Many thanks

Jeanette Joyce

  • 12.
  • At 11:08 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Mary B wrote:

Re: The start of Newsnight tonight.

I am so sick of the BBC's using its News broadcasts, and now Newsnight, to plug its own drama programmes. How many more extracts from the new drama about local politics do you intend to show us?

It's more than enough to have the BBC "advertisements" between each programme.

On the positive side, well done for screening an item questioning religion. However, I note this is being done to plug a book.

No advertising? Rubbish. Give us back our license fees!

  • 13.
  • At 11:09 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Chris wrote:

Is Richard Dawkins really a thought leader? I have an irrational dislike for this fellow and fervently hope that he will be exposed for the intolerant crank he is increasingly becoming. His dogmatic atheism is no more susceptible to reason than religious dogma. He has exactly the wrong credentials to be a "professor for the public understanding of science". Science is about criticism and evidence, and he neither allows the former nor presents any of the latter. He is a poor example to young people considering science as a career. I hope his book is a flop, as it so richly deserves to be.

  • 14.
  • At 11:10 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Chris Hall wrote:

Richard Dawkins, having strongly denounced the existence of God, in his very last comment on the programme says this: "We are not put here to be comfortable."

I think this clearly demonstrates a subconscious affirmation that there is a God as he is implying that not only is there someone out there who has the creative power to put us on this Earth but also that this person has the moral discretion to decide whether our existence should or should not be comfortable.

  • 15.
  • At 11:10 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Angela Mawle wrote:

Great interview with Richard Dawkins. Very cogent rationale for the 'no God' universe unitl we got to his very last comment "I don't believe we were put here to be comfortable!!!" 'Put' implies design and intention!! By what or whom?? God?? In any event or interpretation how does the concept of comfort enter a mechanistic and/or random universe. Explain your Freudian slip,please Richard (and Jeremy - why didn't you pick up on it???

  • 16.
  • At 11:13 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • denis meehan wrote:

Very confused by Richard Dawkins parting shot... (something like) 'I don't believe we were put on here to be comfortable'.

1. Who 'put' us here?

2. The statement suggests a puprose for our existance...i.e. 'we shouldn't be comfortable because'...which seems to fly i the face of Richard's notion of the purpose of existance being defined by individuals.

I'll read the book, respect his views and pray for myself and him.

  • 17.
  • At 11:13 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • David MacDonald wrote:

If only a politician, any politician, that you interviewed could be half as honest as Richard Dawkins. Can you imagine any party leader saying that he or she didn't believe in God? Imagine... wait a minute... I feel a song coming on...

  • 18.
  • At 11:13 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • patrick powell wrote:

I haven't read Richard Dawkins' book although I am familiar with the general drift of his views. What I find baffling about atheists is their zealous endeavour to convince believers in God in the futility of their beliefs. Would they spend as much time on trying to convince those who thought the Moon is made of cheese in the futility of their beliefs? I should add that in any poll of believers and non-believers, I would be pretty firmly in the 'don't' know camp with a tendency to outright scepticism. But I also belong in the live and let live camp.

  • 19.
  • At 11:17 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • hwscott wrote:

Professor Dawkin's dismissal of the New Testament as just one of a large nummber of similar myth-collecting religions simply displays his profound ignorance of the New Testament. I suggest that he take a few years off to study the New Testament in the original Greek, relate it to the Hebrew Old Testament, study the contemporary 'intertestamental' Jewish literature like the Dead Sea Scrolls that helps to set the context, and then set himself to disprove every single text and teaching of the New Testament. He might find himself, like AJ Ayer towards the end of his life, a good deal less confident of his anti-reliogious stance.

  • 20.
  • At 11:18 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • chris leitch wrote:

Re. Richard Dawkins' last comment 'we're not put here to be comfortable' - by whom?

  • 21.
  • At 11:22 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • N Thompson wrote:

How wonderful to hear a man such as Richard Dawkins who's view of the world I share speak intelligently and unapologetically about disbelief in god(s). People like us outnumber every other faith except Christianity in the UK (at least, according to this website: although I cannot vouch for its accuracy), yet we so rarely see open expression of those views, as if perhaps not believing means you have given up your right to an opinion.

Well done newsnight for at least giving these views some air time.

  • 22.
  • At 11:23 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Benedict St.George wrote:

God is a defence from the false...a man who can assert his own truth free from the enemisitc response of others and their desire to win with their falsity...has no need for god, or the influence of one in your own battles,

... so god for many is an inconvenience, a collective responsibility that reminds you of the enemies of the future from the evidence of the past who you would wish to be on your side but who rarely agree with you ...

...unless you pray harder to prepare better to win the moralities of the world to your own way... those areas you have to think of when preparing to go into a world over which you have no control.

A man free from falsehood around him ...can transcend any situation and look to the supernatural of a great hereafter...

Christianity seems to organise our enemies into religious order...

...where allah allows us to act proudly for the truth of what is right within the boundaries of the warnings of what is wrong!

Benedict St.George

Which is worse, tax payers’ money lining the purses of parties you disagree with or the government taking money for influence? The view that Labour is for hire gets even more murky when the Government is preserved to be buying companies allegiances for lucrative contracts.

Take the recent DCLG announcement that Landmark Solutions, part of the Daily Mail Group has been chosen to set up the lucrative Home Condition Report Register. Which may not sound out of place if it was not for the Daily Mail’s previous vociferous attacks regarding HIPs which have all of a sudden gone very quiet.

Labour for hire – it’s a lot worse than that

Maybe a £1500 meeting with a minister can put things write (I joke).

  • 24.
  • At 11:29 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • John Herridge wrote:

Richard Dawkins is saying something so obvious but beautiful in its simplicity. The idea of gods and god come from a long line of humans trying to make sense of matters they don't understand, such as night and day, the seasons, the night sky, natural disasters. The success of crops and human survival depended on the natural ebb and flow of the weather, but humans invented gods to placate in a vain attempt to influence these phenomena. It is a small step to a moral code to try to make extra sure, and organised groups to promote their self interest. There is nothing wrong with a moral code, in fact it is essential for social cohesion and personal peace of mind, but to make it dependent on belief on this or that religion is a delusion. Do-as-you-would-be-done-by is a good enough personal rule. The notion of gods with all their human-ascribed attributes just confuses things and ends up by persuading people to look down on each other because they are not in the "favoured" group, sometimes justifying violence in their eyes. It's a mass delusion for those too lazy or too uninformed to use their reasoning. I do believe, however, in a supernatural power that I cannot explain. It's music.

No, perfectly simple. Not a penny of our taxes for political parties. The media ensure we hear their policies; they do not need any more.

  • 26.
  • At 11:33 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Brian Dorian wrote:

at last,a discussion about faith with the truth rearing its head at last. Richard Dawkins talking from his heart the thoughts I and many of my friends have had for decades. I hope his book is a hit,and we can get lots more airtime on the subject. ps. this is the first time I have responded to a discution of any type of media.

  • 27.
  • At 11:36 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Allistair Elliott wrote:

Yes. Politcal parties should be funded from general taxation. In so doing, absolutely not one penny can be donated, loaned, presented, awarded, bunged, fiddled,scammed or worked into the political parties. It must be administered with transparency, trust and independence, so that what is given via the nations taxes balances with what is spent by the parties. So I volunteer the Audit Commission.

My reason for this argument is simple. Politics, and party funding, has for too long been privatised. How else to describe large donors and organisatins recieving preferential treatment, possible honours and the best possible access to our democracy. This has to stop. Public ownership of party funding will help this enormously.

It is of course for this reason that public funding will not take place. God forbid (delusional or otherwise) that the political parties wish to be restrained in the amount of readies they have at their disposal. Even for something so manifestly right as good democratic governance, they will still want be able to find ways of making money eg New Labour whoring out OUR Ministers for a couple of grand. This is because they all desire power, one-upmanship and greed. And again, to mitigate these obvious failings, we must swallow our obvious distaste and have total public funding to stop this now.

I think Richard dawkins is to be applauded for wanting truth
rather than comfort, could politicians wanting funding
apply this

some points to consider though:-

The idea of an omnipotent creator god is heretical in
Buddhism and I suspect not present in Hinduism, particularly as it was not present
in your intro, also Christian mystics eg Julian of Norwich
St John of the Cross and Master Eckhart have a much deeper
concept of God than the simplistic one Dawkins, maybe rightly,
wants to discredit though if he succeeds, it does not discredit
religion rather the more fundamentalist wing of some religions
Is he though a type of fundamentalist himself?

Science by its own criterion of rationality does not
represent absolute truth - study of the philosophy of science will confirm this

Pol Pot, Hitler, Mao , Stalin all managed atrocities without religion and in Tibet
modernising atheists have commited atrocities

Modernisation is probably the establishment position or at least
a faction of it

  • 29.
  • At 11:39 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Dave Landrum wrote:

The God Delusion Interview:

Once again the BBC induces those well-worn feelings of exasperated incredulity by airing the views of selected ideologies. Though the Dawkins interview seemed to continue to confirm his position as a secular fundamentalist unencumbered by the need for scientific rigour or balance, one has to ask how such an interview could proceed without some sort of counter position. Is the Christian religion unworthy of or unable to present an adequate defence of such base citicisms? If the huge volume of books and journals rubbishing Dawkins are anything to go by, then the answer is at best illustrative of how our media can sometimes become subject to a form of ideological hypnosis. Why oh why wasn't Professor Alastair McGrath also interviewed? The answer probably has something to do with the same reason why Professor Dawkins will not have a public debate with him. He would be out of his league scientifically and shown to be so with great ease. Dawkins is a discredited as a scientist as he is lampooned (even by many atheists) as a dogmatist. How long must we suffer this journalistic poverty? Please give us a real debate. Enough of this indefensible, outdated secularist positioning - please!

  • 30.
  • At 11:57 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • A Soper wrote:

I haven't read Richard Dawkin's book but I agreed, in essence, with what he said tonight. You do not need to believe in a god to live as a peaceful, responsible citizen. By the way, why did Jeremy Paxman have a look of incredulity on his face as he questioned Dawkins, as if he thought he was speaking to some kind of loon?

  • 31.
  • At 12:04 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • James Townsend wrote:

Whatever we choose to do in regard to funding the parties, it is vital that we have a public debate about it first. The worst think that could happen would be an agreement made behidn closed doors that further fuels the attitude of distrusting politicians and the political system as a whole.

The debate needs to be full, frank and open.

  • 32.
  • At 12:25 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Andrew wrote:

To all the people who are asking what Richard Dawkins meant by "put here", he is plainly not talking in a literal sense, but in a poetic sense. Think back to his comments on the Einstin's mentions of god.

As for hwscott's insistence that Prof Dawkins learn Hebrew and try to disprove the New Testament: that suggests that we should take it as a default position that a bunch of books thrown together by a groups of farmers in the Middle East 2000 years ago is absolutely correct, especially with regards to the divine nature of Jesus. I suggest that hwscott learn Arabic and disprove the Koran line by line: if Christianity is correct in that its God is the only god and that Jesus was his son (and not just a prophet), then I assume it will be a doddle.

One of my favourite quotes is from an atheist to a Christian, "I contend, sir, that we are both atheists. It just so happens that I disbelieve in one more god than you."

Tonight's programme too. I'm getting worried. Newsnight is going back to the old formula of content before form. Two nights running. Worried? This could be the grand finale; going out on a high. When Paxo retires on account of his greying hair and his specs (not as green as Martha's, by the way), those left will draw their daggers and fight to the death for the spoils.

Anyway, this party funding business does not make me keener to take Beecham's powders. The other Labour chap looked a bit of a red-nosed scruff. And Anguish, the SNPite, seemed too junior to get his point across. All parties should have enough money to make a fool of themselves on party political broadcasts and to write lies in their manifestos. If the funding is subsequently reduced, they only have themselves to blame.

God, what a load of talk. He cares passionately about the truth. He thinks our brains will simulate him as soon as he's off-screen. He thinks Christianity was invented (he forgot to mention that it might have been God that did so). He wants to have his wafer and eat it. I think Ratzinger's little Ratisbon talk had more substance than that of the man on the uncomfortable chair in the bleak studio, staring Jerry in the face. I'm quite happy with atheism. When we die, which we ALL do from this vale of tears, I'll look you up and interview you for the Eternal Life Gazette. No problem. But I'm waiting until then. The Dawkins the New Guru book is too expensive.

The Review was OK. Hardeep is growing into his role. But the material is still at Last Tape level. Apocalypse, shopping malls, Ms Pelevin, Ballard's Rage, the Zight-Gighst with a red-haired pianiste, and the man who sculpted the constipated thruster. (At least this last soundbite item was applauded by all the panel - and me. Rodin is a great sculptor.)

The panel was more alert. Hey-Up Harold's a nice change. Boozie's also getting more astute. Poorly's a bit tousled, but intrinsically decent. The humour was there. And they were all astonished and staring: Single Mum was generating such a statesmanlike presence. Maybe Porty's trying to woo the electorate by other means than spin, green bicycles and Commons performances - like that of Mesmerising Ming. There's hope yet for British politics.

  • 34.
  • At 08:01 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • John Webb wrote:

The God Debate.

Thank you for the clear exploratory conversation with Richard Dawkins although like others in this debate I wondered at JP's seeming incredulity. On reflection without it we'd be accusing him of bias. Like others I noted the 'we're not PUT here to be ..' A shame JP's usual pounce did not occur. I would have appreciated some minutes hearing what RD meant by that. Is it in the book perhaps?

In St Paul's Cathedral the memorial to Sir Christopher Wren is 'look around you'. For years I was in the 'we are put here for a purpose' camp who regularly deployed the 'evidence for God is all around you' argument. So I have seen it well. Concurrently of course I experienced the alternative sceptical (curiously no better nor worse) camp - ie society at large.

Those of us from 'within' if we are honest saw/see ambition, power struggles, imposition of will, assertion of rights, aggression, retaliation, avarice, immorality - as well as real 'saints' and generosity of time, space and spirit.

What I saw on my 'Road from Damascus' was that society outside organised religion was/is no different. The proverbial bad, ugly and GOOD.

The Church claims its message is one that improves - nay transformes - so here is the rub. If within the 'we are put here camp' there is no difference from outside after 2000 + yoars it is little more than a useful group. Although contemporary international evidence tends towards the opposite conclusion.

My walk along the road from Damascus has a wonderfully invigorating prospect.....look around you and think 'where's the difference - if there is none, what's the point?'

  • 35.
  • At 08:31 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Brian Kelly wrote:

The party in Power gets too much indirect taxpayers money already(do you remember the Police cars dressed in labour colours) it's hard to think of other money they need...apart from the Wicked Witches hairdo's , rent a Crowd, & advertising gurus .
Seriouly, all parties funds for electioneering should be capped drastically..."Give them a box to stand on" lets get real! & as someone remarked" if this was the Private sectors accounts being so misappropriated etc" they would soon have their collars felt!WHICH MAY HAPPEN VERY SOON anyway ...or are we all being suckered!

  • 36.
  • At 10:28 AM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • jules macdonald wrote:

The God Delusion

Programme biased on two counts:

1. No religious peron allowed to respond

2. Christianity bashed again. The Bible and Jesus rediculed. Paxman did not mention the Koran, the Archangel Gabriel who is suppose to have given the Koran or other Islamic myths.

The reason is current BBC guidelines which forbid any discussion that upset Muslims sensitivities.

The real delusion here is that the BBC is fair and unbiased. It is not it is anti Christian and controlled by politians who are afraid of upsetting Muslims.

Recognising religion is a delusion is not very novel. The problem is how to cure it! Make religion a top shelf activity. Adults only, then the delusion will gradually fade. The delusion relies on brainwashing children.

  • 38.
  • At 03:03 PM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Steave Buckley wrote:

The arrogance of Richard Dawkins appears to satisfy those who wish to deny the existence of God.

  • 39.
  • At 05:08 PM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • David Griffiths wrote:

You let Richard Dawkins off very lightly, Jeremy! None of the rough, tough rumbustuous stuff we love you for when you dessicate politicians! Dawkins kept going on about the importance of facts, & showed just how little he knows about the Bible, what Christians really believe about God, & how Christianity really started. I suspect he uses what he has discovered about the universe just to reinforce his antipathy towards anyone who believes in God. He also said he cannot understand scientists who believe in God, & suggested they rationalise their beliefs by 'comparmentalising' their knowledge. (What a dreadful word!) Their are very many scientists who are committed Christians with a deep & informed understanding about the nature of God, which by no means conficts with their knowledge of His wonderful universe. Very often the two illuminate one another. Come on, Professor, just show a little humility, & ask some serious questions.

  • 40.
  • At 05:33 PM on 23 Sep 2006,
  • Douglas McKelvie wrote:

Newsnight 22/9/06. Richard Dawkins' "The God Delusion"

The Bible (Old a New Testaments) said as much about the Universe several millenia ago as any of our scientists can do today, and in a descriptive manner and language readily understood by both learned and unlearned peoples of all races, unlike our present-day science that is still no more than an exciting mystery to most ordinary people. Richard Dawkins said he is only interested in the truth; Jesus said: "I am the way, the truth, and the life . . .". Thoughout His ministry on earth He pointed out the way and the truth that would comfort and sustain people, and empower them to express their innate desire to give thanks and praise to God the Father. With all Professor Dawkins' vast knowledge of science and his particular concept of the truth, and with all due respect to him as a fellow human being, I don't think that what he offers is likely to change that in any way. I don't understand what he himself, or mankind in general, can hope to gain from it.

  • 41.
  • At 03:33 PM on 24 Sep 2006,
  • Edward Redding wrote:

It is worth noting that in the study of the human and natural sciences reason is used to establish many different and even conflicting schools of thought. Neither is reason limited to the material as the study of theology for centuries has used reason in the sphere of metaphysics.

Certainly empiricism has served humanity very well in the areas of economy, health and welfare but the question here is whether it can tell us what is the ultimate nature of things. The Great philosophers such as Locke and Kant were doubtful in this regard. Locke’s ‘sensitive knowledge’ showed that we generalise from our experience through the process of induction. But this he said is the knowledge of existence of things but not knowledge of their nature or essence. Kant felt that ‘things as they are in themselves are unknowable because objects of knowledge must be experienced and experience is prestructured by the activities of the mind.’

Every study and rational concept has a certain breadth of empirical facts and depth of rational understanding of their processes. We see this in the way scientific knowledge changes and advances. Scientists discover that the facts are not quite as we had perceived to date or they discover a new insight into how their processes operate and hence a new theory is formed. But in this way the scientific method is limited from being a perfect, complete and ultimate understanding as it is always partial, provisional and evolving. (Popper).

Empirical study is also circumscribed by the separateness of object and subject. Everything is mediate nothing is immediate. There is an interesting paradox here because although, as Kant observed, objects are always experienced by the mind and hence are not different from the faculties of the mind, they are separate from the observer in the subject-object sense. So we see that it is our egoity and the formations of our minds that stand between us and directly perceiving the true nature of things. Actually this problem of epistemology arises from the fact that we are trying to study creation from the standpoint of creation. We are seeking an ultimate understanding of phenomena but we ourselves are part of phenomena. In a sense we can’t step back far enough on the one hand and we can’t get close enough on the other. This is an ontological problem (relating to our being) and hence this is where God is essential to the task because to truly understand creation we must become uncreated. Because we experience everything with the mind we must therefore understand the nature of our mind. The uncreated nature of mind is the faculty of knowing or intuition of the soul.

Einstein stated that ‘Intuition is a sacred gift and reason its faithful servant…’ and the modern French philosopher Bergson has said that ‘ intuition is the only faculty capable of revealing the ultimate nature of things.’ It is the faculty of direct perception that both transcends our separateness from objects of study and yet perceives immediately their inherent nature; where the knower, knowing and the known become one. Therefore it is not matter but consciousness that is the essential and highest principle in the universe.

Although limited intuition is present in every human endeavour it is in the mystic traditions of Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism and Sufism that it is developed and expanded in contemplation. Perfectly and limitlessly developed in Christ, he was able to say ‘I and my Father are one’. That is, his consciousness is one with the Cosmic Consciousness of God. Similarly, the great Indian saint Shankaracharya affirmed ‘I am He (Brahma, the Absolute Being). And Buddha taught his followers ‘your bodies and minds are just appearances within the wonderful. Bright and pure Profound Mind. It is just ludicrous to say that the likes of Buddha, Krishna, Christ, Yogananda, Ramakrishna, Kabir, Thich Nhat Hanh, Sogyal Rinpoche, St John and St Francis were deluded. To read their works is to see the depth and truth of their understanding, and the love and compassion of their hearts. Far from God being a delusion He is the underlying reality of the universe, the Noumenon/ Consciousness behind all phenomena/manifestation and the goal and refuge of all beings.

  • 42.
  • At 10:53 PM on 24 Sep 2006,
  • Hannah de Miranda wrote:

On Richard Dawkins' "The God Delusion"

Dawkins' last sentence "which is the reason of us being placed here" seems the opposite of all his secular, rationalistic reasoning in the interview. Some arguments and questions why it seems to me that Richard Dawkins is in delusion, not God:
- you can only be placed somewhere by a person with all the connotations of choice involving a task with responsibilities, so not by an impersonal force
- why would he need a reason for his existence when all that exists has come through an evolutionary process and therefore intrinsically neutral and without meaning?
- when asked how he could live with his beliefs, he responded that he loved his family and friends like anyone else, but he did not explain the origin of love
- love fits naturally in a reality created by a triune personal God with love and communication rooted at the very beginning of all existence
- in a rationalistic framework love is an odd phenomenon, only recently kicked up by chance through the evolutionary process; shown in its absurdity in plays like ‘Waiting for Godot”
- robots would be much more in line with that and then not like Data in Star Trek with his Pinochian longing for becoming truly human
- love is really only possible and meaningful when we have a true choice; so what is his view on free will? Where in his rationalistic framework does he find a basis for anything besides determination by environment and genetics?
- the logical question then is how he sees our human responsibility, for without free choice our actions are determined and we therefore cannot be blamed and punished for them
- which leads me to the question: what is the basis for his values? The objectivity of scientific research is rather in question these days and anything like a social contract is changeable by whoever happens to be in power.
- I cannot recall him saying anything about suffering, injustice etc., but would be interested in his views on the source and if he sees it as abnormal or belonging to this universe.

  • 43.
  • At 04:29 PM on 25 Sep 2006,
  • mike wrote:

At last some common sense! if only more people were brave enough to be atheist!

long live Dr Dawkins!!

  • 44.
  • At 12:18 PM on 26 Sep 2006,
  • BRETA wrote:

There is one anchangeable thing . " there is nothing with out origine and originator"( creator ) being with out begining only the originator named YAHWE father of Jesus Christ the Lord .The only living and true God.
so the division of multi religion is confusion knowing not the true God. for only the spirit of God knows the things of God. So man is in need of bogotting from God the spirit to know him .In the sight of God the confused different religions ,culture , philosophy and politics are nothing ,but jesus is. Every teaching and understandings which opposes God like the book tittled " THE GOD DELUSION are blasphemy spreading like gangrene.
GOD said " i will destroy the wisdom of the wise the inte3ligence of the inteligent i will frustrate " where is the wise man ? where is the scholar ? where is the philosopher of this age ? has not God mad foolish the wisdom of the world ? for since in the wisdom of God the world through it's wisdom did not know him ,God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who beleive. "

  • 45.
  • At 01:04 AM on 27 Sep 2006,
  • fjezierski wrote:

why cant u ageist hoorays get the latest prog online? half the time, as tonite, its a day late. im riting like this cas how i imagine ur mode of communication. young blondes contribute little 2 understanding. i am jounalist rejected by corp whch is obsolete bloated complacent and doomed

  • 46.
  • At 09:28 PM on 15 Oct 2006,
  • T sho wrote:

Watching richard dawkins interview with JP,was bliss. Thank goodness for minds like RD. If the comments by prospect magazine,are true(one of the three leading intellectuals in the world)found on the sleeve of his new book 'The God Delusion' then dawkins highly deserves this accolade. Many people seem to forget that without the finely honed,forensic mindset of RD and others,we are enroute to a new and forebiding dark age. As the late Carl sagan said in his book, 'The Demon Haunted World',Science is a candle in the dark and is our best tool in understanding the complexities of our universe. It is very worrying that various pseudo-scientific beliefs are seemingly on the march and are gaining ground. What some people probably hate or dislike about RD is that,he strives to take them out of their comfort zone and makes them see the world for what it is. for example one issue that is causing a big furore in america and to a smaller extent in the UK,is the arguments of the 'intelligent design'movement,namely the universe is so complex,that only a superintelligent force could have put it all together.

This simply is god through the backdoor. While some have argued that this view is suitable to religious or philosophical classes,the notion that this is scientific (according to them)and should be taught as science fills me with dread. Even the archbishop of Canterbury,came down in favour of science and called creationism 'a category mistake'. The sad aspect of creationism is that it stifles research in the sense that anything that is hard to explain,by simply saying it is the work of god and there it all stops,since god is beyond man's comprehension.

RD has done a fantastic job in vigourously promoting scientific theories like,evolution and natural selection. So far as I know nothing has usurped this and the vast majority of scientists,especially in the field of biology and it's areas of specialization

For me,when it boils down to the harsh rigour of science and the seductive comfort of psuedo-science and the alternative 'scientific'claims of religion, I know where I stand.

By doing nothing we learn to do ill... Constance

Sink or swim!... Humphrey

  • 49.
  • At 02:02 AM on 03 Dec 2006,
  • Kaitie Nelson wrote:

First off I would like to say that the Bible is not a set of obnoxious rules. It gives us an appropriate standard of rule to live by. If you think Christianity is whack take a look at the Darwin theory. It says in a National Geographic science book that a bag up stuff came together (out of nowhere and nothing) and blew up, and created the universe. Nothing can’t create nothing. Evolution is totally contradictory to science, and I have heard many scientists say the only reason they believe in it is because of the alternative Christianity (and that has moral value). Also take a look at all the other religions they have many ways to the same path there are no particular rules, and everything is free flow. Christianity on the other hand is not, and it does not “flow” with the other beliefs. In fact it is contradictory because there is only one way to Heaven and that is through the belief of Jesus Christ. Next the bible has been preserved for the most part except for the new age group who are basically against Christianity. If you don’t believe me go se the Dead Sea Scrolls, which are the original manuscripts for some of the books in the Bible. They are basically the same as today’s Bible just few words here and there so it’s easier to understand. Next, you are right you cannot be selective with the Bible it is either all or nothing. If you do hardcore research on the Bible you will not be able to prove it false without lying. For example read a book by Lee Stromboli, a man who hated God, in the end came to love him. Anyhow to what you said about the story of Noah being whack. The people gave their life to sin there was nothing holy left on the earth left except Noah, and his family. Matter of fact his family did not even believe him, but he was able to save them. If you want to read another crazy story read the book of Judges. Jesus died for you and everyone else. He loves all of us that’s why he died for our sins no one is perfect everyone makes mistake and that’s why when a Christian falls the world stops and points and laughs because it makes them feel better because they are always empty when they do it but when a sincere Christian does it they get right back up on there feet and try to make it right again. Jesus died and there were +500 people who saw him after he rose, which is the best evidence is eyewitnesses. This letter was not meant to harm anyone, but to give them hope and let them open their eyes and see what is going on in our world God is there to help so if this offends anyone good it is working, and if you need help to God. You have one chance in life make sure you are not too stubborn or blinded to make the right choices. Peace out in God’s love. Please respond back.


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