Update [3/1/07]: also check out UK apologist and Oxford Professor Alister McGrath’s book The Dawkins Delusion for a scientifically-inclined rebuttal to Dawkin’s arguments negating God.
Excellent post from Alternet‘s Evan Derkacz discussing the merit (and lack thereof) of Dawkins. Of course, it probably just wouldn’t be right not to link it to my atheistic humanist acquaintance Brett Keller’s blog, where he undoubtedly supports some of his main points of contention.
I’d respond to Dawkins’ assertions myself if I had more time. In all likelihood, though, I probably already have, albeit indirectly.
Sorry, haven’t had much time to post due to increasingly busy schedule. Of course, there have been plenty of blogworthy world events (will do a quick post maybe later).
Oh, and note that I tagged “the Antichrist” not necessarily because I believe Dawkins is the Antichrist… one of them, maybe – but far from “uniting an army” against God as it were. I’d leave it up to the politicians to do that.
via Alternet (video also available at link).
tagline: ‘Darwin’s Rottweiler’ Richard Dawkins disses faith, Bush base
In a BBC interview on Friday, Evolutionary Biologist and sharp religion critic, Richard Dawkins, talks about his new book, The God Delusion (I”m just ecstatic that he referenced the Flying Spaghetti Monster).
He claims to want to speak to the middle ground; to people who haven’t really thought too much about faith and God in order to challenge their belief. An uphill battle, to be sure. He employs all the usual suspects: “people need to believe in fairy tales” “just look at organized religion” but fails to see where every method for assessing reality is hopelessly mired in its own methodology. Or: the scientific method may be positively divine for assessing the physical world, it has built-in limitations w/r/t [FC ed. note: with respect to] the spiritual one.
He’s toned his contempt down, even acknowledging that there might be a God (you can’t prove a negative) but he winds up pushing the tired claim that religion is the root of mankind’s conflict and that, one presumes, it’ll be rainbows and unicorns (if they existed) when religion goes the way of the dodo. Certain of his claims are just silly: There are similarities among the world’s religions so they can’t all be true!
Things I like about Richard Dawkins:
- He eviscerates Creationists regularly
- He refuses to debate them b/c, as Stephen Jay Gould suggested, they don’t mind losing a debate, they just want the credibility the debate provides.
- His heart seems to be in the right place
- He’s preternaturally nerdy
- He’s uses the Bush administration as an object lesson in the dangers of theology-driven policy making
Things I don’t like about Richard Dawkins…
- He speaks of “Truth” with a straight face and a dearth of humility
- He calls himself a “Bright” and people of faith: “faithheads” or “faith-sufferers”
- He calls Christian Theology “vacuous” despite the centuries of contribution by some of history’s biggest brains
- He’s a pompous prick (see no. 5)
- He separates out the good Awe and Spirituality (his and Einstein’s) from the shallow: most people’s
One last thing on unwittingly making things worse. Dawkins refuses to debate Creationists for fear of giving them just the credibility they need to push their pseudoscience, sure, but when he, as a scientist lends his voice to this religion smackdown it feeds the beastly belief that spirituality and science can’t coexist.
Watch it [upper right] and try to say something interesting in comments besides: See, stupid people need to believe in fairy tales…
I’d like to appeal to another Oxford scholar as a counterpoint to Dawkins’ desire to impose his Truth on the rest of society: the philosopher Isaiah Berlin, who spent much of his intellectual life wrestling with Utopian ideology, totalitarianism and its underpinnings.
Much to his own surprise he concluded that contrary to the winds blowing at Oxford (which he proudly basked in), it was not so much the departure from the singular Truths espoused by those with the most passionate of ethical or moral concerns at the root of it all; rather, it was those who held tightly to the belief that there was such a thing as objective Truth (which of course they had access to and the imperative to spread).
It seems like more than just coincidence that Oxford prof. Richard Dawkins happens to be pushing against a certain type of pluralism in his crusade to dissuade. I’m not saying that Dawkins’ ideas are liable to lead to totalitarianism — nothing of the sort — just that much as he and other atheists find it easy to rationalize the belief in God as based on our need for one, I find it easy to believe that Dawkins and others need to believe in the tidy conclusion that religion is at the heart of the world’s ills.
Of course, this is a dicey argument as well; one which can’t be made as vulgarly and succinctly as I have. There have to be some overlapping objective realities and one must give science its due in the physical world. Empirical truths ought to be respected. The point remains, however, that when it comes to a world with different, unobservable, properties, one must use the proper equipment.
Evan Derkacz is a New York-based writer and contributor to AlterNet.