On November 21, 2014 I received a letter from Nobel Laureate Harry Kroto and it said:
…Please click on this URL http://vimeo.com/26991975
and you will hear what far smarter people than I have to say on this matter. I agree with them.
I have attempted to respond to all of Dr. Kroto’s friends arguments and I have posted my responses one per week for over a year now. Here are some of my earlier posts:
Arif Ahmed, Haroon Ahmed, Jim Al-Khalili, Sir David Attenborough, Mark Balaguer, Horace Barlow, Michael Bate, Sir Patrick Bateson, Simon Blackburn, Colin Blakemore, Ned Block, Pascal Boyer, Patricia Churchland, Aaron Ciechanover, Noam Chomsky, Brian Cox, Partha Dasgupta, Alan Dershowitz, Frank Drake, Hubert Dreyfus, John Dunn, Bart Ehrman, Mark Elvin, Richard Ernst, Stephan Feuchtwang, Robert Foley, David Friend, Riccardo Giacconi, Ivar Giaever , Roy Glauber, Rebecca Goldstein, David J. Gross, Brian Greene, Susan Greenfield, Stephen F Gudeman, Alan Guth, Jonathan Haidt, Theodor W. Hänsch, Brian Harrison, Stephen Hawking, Hermann Hauser, Robert Hinde, Roald Hoffmann, Bruce Hood, Gerard ‘t Hooft, Caroline Humphrey, Nicholas Humphrey, Herbert Huppert, Gareth Stedman Jones, Steve Jones, Shelly Kagan, Michio Kaku, Stuart Kauffman, Masatoshi Koshiba, Lawrence Krauss, Harry Kroto, George Lakoff, Rodolfo Llinas, Elizabeth Loftus, Alan Macfarlane, Dan McKenzie, Mahzarin Banaji, Peter Millican, Marvin Minsky, Leonard Mlodinow, P.Z.Myers, Yujin Nagasawa, Alva Noe, Douglas Osheroff, David Parkin, Jonathan Parry, Roger Penrose, Saul Perlmutter, Herman Philipse, Carolyn Porco, Robert M. Price, VS Ramachandran, Lisa Randall, Lord Martin Rees, Colin Renfrew, Alison Richard, C.J. van Rijsbergen, Oliver Sacks, John Searle, Marcus du Sautoy, Simon Schaffer, J. L. Schellenberg, Lee Silver, Peter Singer, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Ronald de Sousa, Victor Stenger, John Sulston, Barry Supple, Leonard Susskind, Raymond Tallis, Max Tegmark, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Martinus J. G. Veltman, Craig Venter, .Alexander Vilenkin, Sir John Walker, James D. Watson, Frank Wilczek, Steven Weinberg, and Lewis Wolpert,
BBC The Atheism Tapes – Colin McGinn – 1 of 6
Published on Apr 22, 2012
At the 9:30 mark Colin McGinn says:
There was disappointment. I would like for religion to be true. I would like for it to be true because I would like there to be immortality. I would like there to be rewards for those who have been virtuous, and punishments for those who have not been virtuous, especially those punishments to be good. There is no justice in this world and it would be good if there was some cosmic force that distributed justice in the proper way that it should be. It still is for me a constant source of irritation and pain that wicked people prosper and virtuous people don’t.
|Born||10 March 1950
West Hartlepool, County Durham, England
|Education||BA (Hons), psychology, University of Manchester (1971)
MA, psychology, University of Manchester (1972)
BPhil, philosophy, University of Oxford (1974)
|Known for||New mysterianism|
Colin McGinn (born 10 March 1950) is a British philosopher. He has held teaching posts and professorships at University College London, the University of Oxford, Rutgers University and the University of Miami.
McGinn is best known for his work in the philosophy of mind, and in particular for what is known as new mysterianism, the idea that the human mind is not equipped to solve the problem of consciousness. He is the author of over 20 books on this and other areas of philosophy, including The Character of Mind (1982), The Problem of Consciousness (1991), Consciousness and Its Objects (2004), and The Meaning of Disgust (2011).
Colin McGinn Why is There Anything At All
Colin McGinn on Consciousness
This video begins with McGinn briefly listing the range of philosophical approaches that have been taken to the “hard problem of consciousness”. As Michael Dooley points out, there are good reasons for a monist approach to “mind” and “consciousness” — both can be altered by physical agents: drugs, blows to the head, etc. As David Chalmers points out, we each are certain that we are individually conscious: a certainty that Descartes employed in “je pense, donc je suis”, or “cogito ergo sum”.
Early life and education
McGinn was born in West Hartlepool, a town in County Durham, England. Several of his relatives, including both grandfathers, were miners. His father, Joseph, left school to become a miner, but put himself through night school and became a building manager instead. McGinn was the eldest of three children, all sons. When he was three, the family moved to Gillingham, Kent, and eight years later to Blackpool, Lancashire. Having failed his 11-plus, he attended a technical school in Kent, then a secondary modern in Blackpool, but did well enough in his O-levels to be transferred to the local grammar school for his A-levels.
In 1968 he began a degree in psychology at the University of Manchester, obtaining a first-class honours degree in 1971 and an MA in 1972, also in psychology. He was admitted in 1972 to Jesus College, Oxford, at first to study for a Bachelor of Letters postgraduate degree, but he switched to the Bachelor of Philosophy (BPhil) postgraduate programme on the recommendation of his advisor, Michael R. Ayers. In 1973 he was awarded the university’s prestigious John Locke Prize in Mental Philosophy; one of the examiners was A.J. Ayer. He received his BPhil in 1974, writing a thesis under the supervision of Michael Ayers and P. F. Strawson on the semantics of Donald Davidson.
Colin McGinn Peter Singer – Morality Without God – Euthyphro Dilemma
Many theists and nontheists alike are familiar with the “Euthyphro Dilemma,” so-called because a version of it was first formulated in Plato’s Dialogue Euthyphro. In this dialogue, Socrates poses the question: Is something good because it is pleasing to the gods, or is it pleasing to the gods because it is good? While Socrates (and Plato, of course) lived in a polytheistic culture, the question can easily be updated for a predominantly monotheistic culture: Is something good because it is pleasing to God, or is something pleasing to God because it is good?
How one answers this question has profound implications. On the first horn of the dilemma, we end up with Divine Command Theory, the notion that something is good because God commands it. This implies that the good is simply what God says it is. So if today God commands charity, mercy, and forgiveness, those things are good. But if tomorrow God commands rape, murder, and genocide, such atrocities would then become good. If God does not change his mind, we are just lucky.
If we take the other option, then what is good is good inherently, regardless of what God or anyone else happens to think. This would mean that there are standards of conduct according to which even God can be judged.
Some theists have tried to escape from this trap by claiming that God’s own nature is the standard of goodness. Thus God would never command atrocities because it would not conform to his nature, which can properly be described as good.
But this is an obvious confusion. We can simply reformulate the question: Is something good because it is in conformance with God’s nature, or do we say God’s nature is good based on some other standard? If the good simply refers to God’s nature, then again we can say that whatever is in God’s nature happens to be good. Were it in his nature to command atrocities, then the commission of atrocities would be good. If his nature does not condone such things, we are, again, simply lucky.
McGinn taught at University College London for 11 years, first as a lecturer in philosophy (1974–1984), then as reader (1984–1985). In 1985 he succeeded Gareth Evans as Wilde Reader in Mental Philosophy at the University of Oxford, a position he held until 1990. He held visiting professorships at the University of California, Los Angeles (1979), University of Bielefeld (1982), University of Southern California (1983), Rutgers University (1984), University of Helsinki (1986), City University of New York (1988) and Princeton University (1992). In 1990 he joined the philosophy department at Rutgers as a full professor, working alongside Jerry Fodor. He stayed at Rutgers until 2005, joining the University of Miami in 2006 as Professor of Philosophy and Cooper Fellow.
In the first video below in the 21st clip in this series are his words and my response is below them.
50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)
Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2
A Further 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 3)