Thursday, August 21, 2008


This is going to be our temporary refuge while The Festering Swamp is down on JournalSpace.

I am thinking of a more permanent fix, but comment here for now.

Here to kick off the discussion is this comment by Eric Blair about Richard Dawkins, science zealot and foe of religion:

Ah, that Richard Dawkins. Here are a few gems from his hit parade, Bradley. Let me start with my all time favorite:

"It is fashionable to wax apocalyptic about the threat to humanity posed by the AIDS virus, "mad cow" disease, and many others, but I think a case can be made that faith is one of the world's great evils, comparable to the smallpox virus but harder to eradicate."
-- Richard Dawkins, The Humanist, Vol. 57, No. 1

"You cannot be both sane and well educated and disbelieve in evolution. The evidence is so strong that any sane, educated person has got to believe in evolution."
-- Richard Dawkins, in Lanny Swerdlow, "My Sort Interview with Richard Dawkins" (Portland, Oregon, 1996)

"To fill a world with religion, or religions of the Abrahamic kind, is like littering the streets with loaded guns. Do not be surprised if they are used."
--Richard Dawkins, "Religion's Misguided Missiles" The Guardian, 15 September 2001.

...and my personal read it for yourself: l...wkins_21_3.html

My guess is that you are going to forgive Dawkins his extremism, snobbery, and what I consider to be straw man arguments. I too believe in evolution. But I am also a person who has faith in a Creator. So which of the three (or four) categories do I belong?

And by the way, I know John Endler, who tells..ah...a different version of that story. That is trouble with Dr. Dawkins, and I am far from the only scientist to have notice his thirst for media attention.

Remember, Bradley, that Dawkins is not just talking about people who think dinosaurs never existed, or the folks at the Discovery Institute. He also means people who do not believe his personal view of what evolution means.

Dawkins is a mirror image of the religious intolerance he says he detests. How he can go from a "meme" (!) suggesting that everyone is open to the idea of natural selection (as they should be) to how people who don't agree with his view as being stupid or insane boggles the mind. Oh, I left out "wicked."

I'm guessing that we will have to agree to disagree on this one, but I hope you will agree that Dawkins' stating that faith (not organized religion, I would remind you) is worse than plagues like AIDS, is easily the equal of your post.

Personally, I consider Dawkins' personal style, combativeness, and sneering arrogance to dwarf his prior sizable contributions to biology. He does great damage to the cause of evolutionary thought from a public point of view.

But then, William Shockley invented the transistor, and was also a raging racist.

Sigh. Not a good way to end the evening. But in digging through my files about dear old Dr. Dawkins, my mood soured.

I wonder how often Dr. Dawkins considers the old term "hubris"? Not often, I would wager.

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