Thursday, December 22, 2005

Richard Dawkins in

Back in April, Salon posted an interview of Richard Dawkins, who is, perhaps correctly, described by the interviewer (also Gordy Slack) as being "the religious right's Public Enemy No. 1." For anyone doubting the sincerity of Dawkins, Slack notes:

Earlier this year, Dawkins signed an agreement with British television to make a documentary about the destructive role of religion in modern history, tentatively titled "The Root of All Evil."

Dawkins takes a very reductionist view of life, stating that:

There is just no evidence for the existence of God. Evolution by natural selection is a process that works up from simple beginnings, and simple beginnings are easy to explain. The engineer or any other living thing is difficult to explain -- but it is explicable by evolution by natural selection. So the relevance of evolutionary biology to atheism is that evolutionary biology gives us the only known mechanism whereby the illusion of design, or apparent design, could ever come into the universe anywhere.

He seems unaware of the notion of faith, the belief in things not seen. Or if he is aware, he has dismissed it outright. He makes some other questionable assertions. One of which is that:

Scientists disagree among themselves but they never fight over their disagreements. They argue about evidence or go out and seek new evidence.

Anyone familiar with the history of human palaeontology knows otherwise. A fascinating study of the problems in this field is Bones of Contention: Controversies in the Search for Human Origins by Roger Lewin.

Dawkins also likens George Bush to Osama bin Laden in saying:

We're seeing a rather unholy alliance between the burgeoning theocracy in the U.S. and its allies, the theocrats in the Islamic world. They are fighting the same battle: Christian on one side, Muslim on the other.

This betrays a lack of understanding of what Christianity and Islam are. Christianity, properly practiced, has no theocratic construct. As one of the elders in my church noted, Christians talk of a "personal relationship" with Jesus. A Christian theocracy cannot exist because the closest thing we have to "laws" outside the Old Testament is the Sermon on the Mount and the laws in the OT were meant only for believers. Similarly, Islam has five pillars, none of which is "conquer the world." Dawkins here is identifying all believers with extremists in both religions. I would encourage you to read the whole interview for an example of modern atheism.

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