Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Dawkins Delusion

The rise of militant atheism is getting a great deal of press and Richard Dawkins who has authored the book “The God Delusion” is rapidly achieving the position as the spokesman for this movement. In the interest of full disclosure I have not read his book but a summary of his comments appear on this WEB page:

In his interview Dawkins is asked “Why are you against faith?” His response is that he is a person who cares about the truth and that religion is virtually impervious from criticism in our politically correct society. It is his opinion that religion – any religion – is illogical. What goes unsaid here is that his total rejection of any idea of a supreme being requires the same level of faith as the believing and perhaps more. Science has only been able to speculate on the origins of life much less the origin of the species. Evolution is a theory that is on increasingly shaky ground and any belief in it as stated by Darwin requires an increasing level of faith. Even if you believe in the "Big Bang” which in itself requires some level of faith, you are still left with the question of where did it come from and what was the initiating force. The current scientific beliefs on this subject are just as illogical as believing in God.

Certainly Dawkins is correct in his position that certain topics seem to be immune in today’s politically correct society from criticism, but he neglects to point out that one of those forbidden topics is Evolution, the Magical Creation of Life, and that multi-culturalism is bad.

When asked how he describes the billions of people who believe in God, he responds in the most condescending way. Dawkins feels they are “harmless” but that they carry the “virus” of faith. He classifies faith as a virus because it cannot be demonstrated through the scientific methodology. However, he once again neglects to point out that the effects of side smoke, Evolution, and the origin of life have never been scientifically demonstrated either so his belief in “science” requires the same level of blind faith as a belief in God.

Of course there are many scientists today are coming to the conclusion that God cannot be denied, but Dawkins simply dismisses them as being wrong, illogically religious, and people capable of compartmentalizing their life. Perhaps he should look into a mirror because he offers no real answer to this question and once again demonstrates the shallowness of his own position.

Dawkins then goes on to reject religion as the basis for morality in our society and states that atheists like everyone else including those who believe in God, derive their morality from the environment in which we live, not any religion. Morality is derived from newspapers, movies, novels, and parents but Dawkins does graciously admit that religion “might have a minor role to play in it”. Dawkins overlooks the Ten Commandments which certainly are older than the New York Times. He equates morality to equality of women, anti-slavery and points out that these moral grounds are recent. What relevance that has is not obvious because morality is indeed driven by society but then there is a moral foundation that is found in all societies and this universality of belief is ignored by Dawkins – primarily that murder is wrong.

When this point about not killing your neighbors is raised to Dawkins he responds by shifting to an attack on Christianity and both the Old and New Testaments, with a glancing blow to the Qur’an. He really doesn’t answer this question but instead points out that the God described in the Old Testament isn’t a “good” God, but the God in the New Testament is better and that the Qur’an (which he doesn’t mention by name) calls for the killing of Infidels. In effect Dawkins seems to say that the scriptures themselves violate the very moral principles they are supposed to advocate. An interesting point but then its relevance isn’t clear because the morality taught by all religions is practiced every day by billions who accept God as he identifies Himself in many ways.

The supreme irony here is that Dawkins when pressed does admit that while God “almost certainly does not exist” he would accept his existence given scientific proof. The irony of course is that he is willing to accept Evolution, the origination of life by chance, and the creation of the universe without any scientific proof but denies God’s existence on that same basis. The ridiculousness of his argument is highlighted by his statement that “to believe in an unlikely event or a deity only because we cannot disprove it sounds foolish”, which of course is his precise position with his blind faith in science, which has yet to prove Evolution (as opposed to adaptation) or even the effects of side smoke, of the source of global warming, much less the Permian Explosion of life. None of these is supported by any scientific proof other than scientific specultion.

Dawkins then raises the point that if you believe in a God capable of creating the Universe, then THAT God would have had to have a creator. Of course this is a good point and it is addressed in the Jewish Kabbalah, but it is too complex of a response to address here. But he goes on to say that Darwin explains how simple life forms evolve into complex ones. Of course Darwin never addressed how species come to be but only addressed how a species adapts to its environment. Neither Darwin nor Evolution can explain the Permian Explosion nor how a species develops, other to call on the magic of mutation, but no scientific evidence is provided -- just faith. In fact the Law of Entropy is another point that goes unaddressed when talking about how simple things become complex.

In the end it would seem that Dawkins real motivation is power. He appears to be attempting to organize atheists into a group as large as any other religious group who can then lobby on behalf of a “God-Neutral political view" for a better balanced world. How not believing in God would help society is not addressed or how it would bring it into “balance” is not noted. In fact, in listening to Dawkins it becomes very clear that he is just as religious in his blind faith in science as most people are in their belief in God. Dawkins search for the truth seems to be determined by his personal opinion regarding what is true and what is not – in short he has as much faith in faith based science as those who believe in a God have in God based science.

1 comment:

Jonathan Diaz said...

Well, you raised really good points here.
But persists the fact that not all religions have a God but still have moral values enough to teach us, such as Bhuddism and Jainism.
Other fact to be noticed is that we got away from God's way and we got be more merciful and happier, for example: end of slavery, end of muder of adultery women etc! And no one can't say that's a bad thing
A great topic that Dawkins missed is say that as closest religion is in society, more violent is gets.

Countries with large atheist populations are the most pacific and ethicals of world as Sweden for example.

Maybe the religion was the begging kick for moral values, but without it we can do better, less blood, less pursuit, less wars... you name it !

I'd love keep talking to you: