Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Richard Dawkins

I've just watched the second part of Richard Dawkins's anti-religion programme on Channel 4 (UK) called "The Root of All Evil". Basically the world famous biology professor tries to explain why religion is fundamentally to blame for almost everything wrong with the world.

The programme makers seem to have had a field day finding religious (mostly, but not exclusively, Christian) fruitcakes - most of limited intelligence - and getting the very intelligent Professor Dawkins to berate their beliefs at them.

Professor Dawkins's anti-Christian crusade has annoyed me for many years, but when you see some of the examples of religious lunacy that he was faced with, you kind of feel sympathy with his cause. I was very uncomfortable watching the bit where he visited the 'Hell Theater' (or whatever it was called) somewhere in the American bible belt. This was a church with a mission to scare people into believing in the horrors of hell. I am ashamed to be 'on the same side' as these people.

However, I still cannot see how Prof. Dawkins can make the leap of logic from the observation that some people follow a really stupid belief system to the conclusion that there is therefore no God. Even if nobody believed in the real God, that wouldn't stop Him from existing.

In fact, I am largely of the opinion that it is unlikely that any religion, denomination, sect or cult has an entirely correct picture of the real God - we all see Him through skewed perceptions (some much more skewed than others), but the important thing is that we can and do see, or otherwise experience, Him.

No amount of scientific theories, experiments or even apparent proofs can convince someone that someone they have met doesn't exist. Even though I can offer no scientific proof that God exists, I have experienced Him in a number of different ways at many different times over the years. Science has no answer to that, however convincing Professor Dawkins's arguements might sound.


At 1:21 pm, Blogger Gert said...


Dawkins by no means jumps from "some believe in a stupid belief system" to "there is no God".

Dawkins, like so many, simply doesn't see any evidence (scientific or other) that God exists.

Also, the living world and Man can be adequately explained by evolution, even most Christians don't really dispute this anymore, so Dawkins again sees no need for a Creator.

All this doesn't in any way consitute a "crusade", it's simply how the man sees the world. I, for one, largely agree with him. And those who want to believe otherwise are perfectly entitled to do so, Dawkins states that quite emphatically in one of his interviews...

At 9:21 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting stuff Ricky. Alistair McGrath has been engaging with Richard Dawkins at quite some depth recently. Maybe check out his book "The Twighlight of Aethiesm". McG is keen to point out some of the holes in Dawkins, especially his one-sided use of 'evidence'.

Dave Meldrum

At 3:52 pm, Anonymous Tim said...

Well, I generally agree. I found the second programme a lot more to my taste than the first - both fail to be logical or neutral-minded or scientific investigations but are just rants with scant anecdotal "evidence".

Can't claim to be fond of the evo-fundies he found in the US, or at least the way they were presented.

I'm really horrified by the idea of this `Accelerated Christian Education' (`ACE') curriculum in the UK as well. How can we expect the next generation to grow up knowing where scientific fact and principle stop and the field of religion takes over, if we go about sticking Noah's Ark into "science" lessons?! "A place for everything, and everything in its place", I say.

> Science has no answer to that, however convincing Professor Dawkins's arguements might sound.

At last, someone raising the reality of Christian experience rather than lurking in the same theoretical "you can't dis/prove God" space that so much debate occupies. I do find it annoying that in that sentence, Dawkins just assumes "you can't prove God" so lob-sidedly. More to the point, I think the idea of putting science up against that is disingeneous anyway. One is an exercise in iteratively improving knowledge grounded in experiment, hypothesis and theory; the other makes, and should not make, any claim to be such a thing, which does not stop it being a valuable approach in its own way.


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