Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Higgs: Dawkins is a "Fundamentalist"

The Mail Online has an interesting post on the differences in atheistic approaches to the science/religion debate invoked by Peter Higgs and Richard Dawkins.  Steve Doughty writes:
Professor Higgs has used his new status to pour scorn on 71-year-old Professor Dawkins, a champion of evolution and author of The God Delusion which argues that belief in God is irrational.

Professor Dawkins's contempt for religion has recently led him to suggest that being raised as a Roman Catholic is worse for a child than physical abuse.

But Professor Higgs said that Professor Dawkins has caricatured religious believers as extremists and ignored those who try to reconcile their beliefs with science.

In an interview with the Spanish newspaper El Mundo, Professor Higgs, who is 83, said: 'What Dawkins does too often is to concentrate his attack on fundamentalists. But there are many believers who are not just fundamentalists.

While I would agree that Dawkins' approach to religion and the science/faith interaction is somewhat one-dimensional, I would venture to argue that Dr. Higgs has not visited the United States anytime recently, where fundamentalism is alive and well.  This is not to say there are no non-fundamentalists, but in traditional evangelical Christianity, we are in the minority.

He continues:
'Fundamentalism is another problem. I mean, Dawkins in a way is almost a kind of fundamentalist himself.'

Professor Higgs also told the newspaper: 'The growth of our understanding of the world through science weakens some of the motivation which makes people believers.

'But that's not the same thing as saying they are incompatible. It is just that I think some of the traditional reasons for belief, going back thousands of years, are rather undermined.
I would respond that this is only true for those that believe that the science and faith interaction is a zero/sum game. Sadly this seems to describe a lot of people who do not truly understand either the limits of science or the limitless bounds of faith.  An explanation for why something is the way that it is does not mean that God did not create it, only that we know more of how it was created. 

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