One more thing about Colin Tudge, because it makes me angry.
Thus he tells us that “reality is everything that exists” – and “exists”, he makes clear, means whatever we can see or stub our toes on, albeit with the aid of telescopes and seismographs. Everything else – including things we might think exist, like jealousy and love – derive from that material base and are to a large extent illusory. This, he implies, is what emerges from science, and science is true.
Dawkins pointed out what he actually wrote in the book Tudge was “reviewing”:
Does this mean that reality only contains things that can be detected, directly or indirectly, by our senses and by the methods of science? What about things like jealousy and joy, happiness and love? Are these not also real?
Yes, they are real. But they depend for their existence on brains: human brains, certainly, and probably the brains of other advanced animal species, such as chimpanzees, dogs and whales, too. Rocks don’t feel joy or jealousy, and mountains do not love. These emotions are intensely real to those who experience them, but they didn’t exist before brains did. It is possible that emotions like these – and perhaps other emotions that we can’t begin to dream of – could exist on other planets, but only if those planets also contain brains – or something equivalent to brains: for who knows what weird thinking organs or feeling machines may lurk elsewhere in the universe[.]
Look at that. Read the two passages. Compare them. Tudge said that Dawkins said that love and jealousy don’t exist, when Dawkins in fact said the exact opposite of that. Note the first sentence of RD’s second paragraph –
…they depend for their existence on brains…
Meaning they exist.
Note the third sentence of RD’s second paragraph –
These emotions are intensely real to those who experience them, but they didn’t exist before brains did.
Meaning, to those with functioning brains, that they do exist now.
I suspected yesterday that Tudge was playing games – I suspected that he used the word “exists” instead of “real” on purpose, and that the purpose was to get around the fact that it’s too absurd to say Dawkins says love isn’t real. I suspected it would be too quick and easy to prove Tudge wrong if he used that word, while “exists” would make things easier for him. I was wrong only in that Richard had explicitly said that they exist as well as that they’re real.
It’s shocking, I think, this outright mendacity. It should be put a stop to.