Thursday, December 08, 2005

Repeat the question, please?

Richard Dawkins is interviewed on Belief.net and is asked:
You criticize intelligent design, saying that "the theistic answer" - pointing to God as designer" is deeply unsatisfying"--presumably you mean on a logical, scientific level.
His answer is:
Yes, because it doesn't explain where the designer comes from. If they're going to emphasize the statistical improbability of biological organs - "these are so complicated, how could they have evolved?" - well, if they're so complicated, how could they possibly have been designed? Because the designer would have to be even more complicated.
As intelligent as he is - and I don't dispute it - Dawkins is a crummy theologian. His response is an anthropomorphic projection. I can only see, hear, and think just so, and everything must fit into those neat little slots. But those mental slots, by Dawkin's own account, did not evolve with the the pursuit of scientific truth in mind. Is it so hard to see that when we say that God is the source of all that is, that this means that God is a different sort of thing than what he's made? We can go around in circles on this question forever: Who made God? Who made the universe? We both answer "they have always been" and neither answer has positive proof to back it up. The proofs are theoretical and logical and rely on the acceptance of their premises to reach their conclusions. Dawkins has chosen not to accept certain premises. Bully for him. Does he need to mock those who have chosen differently as being illogical? Dawkins in fact reminds me a tad of Lewis in the sense that they are both very much products of their upbringing and social circumstances and it seem that nothing can penetrate that tightly sealed hermetic shell. Lewis retained Ulster in his soul to the end, and Dawkins is the very model of a certain sort of Empiricist Englishman, unchanged and unmoved in his methodology by anything that has happened since, say, 1905. But maybe there is hope. This exchange was better:
Is atheism the logical extension of believing in evolution? They clearly can't be irrevocably linked because a very large number of theologians believe in evolution. In fact, any respectable theologian of the Catholic or Anglican or any other sensible church believes in evolution. Similarly, a very large number of evolutionary scientists are also religious. My personal feeling is that understanding evolution led me to atheism.
Unless, of course, he means that he understands evolution and those who disagree do not. Sadly, in this case the tautology seems more likley. Tautology? See here or here.

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