Friday, 17 October 2008

Dawkins: pot or kettle?...

I've now finished the God Delusion, and it left me feeling underwhelmed.

In fairness, Dawkins is more coherent when describing what he does believe than he is in (as he sees it) demolishing what he doesn't.

Nonetheless, he can't hide the fact that he is guilty of precisely what he accuses the typical theist of, including:

1) dismissing over-simplified arguments of things he doesn't fully understand,

2) believing in a hypothesis as an act of faith with inadequate data to support it

3) being disrespectful of those who hold opposing views.

His cavalier treatment of many issues, his question-begging assumptions and his naivety about big philosophical questions make this a very inadequate argument from an eminent scientist.

4 comments:

Marc Magisana said...

It's broad-minded of you to read this book. I think it sharpens the mind to consider the opposing view. I also remind my kids, when watching cable shows which present evolution as fact that it remains theory, at least in the cross-over mutations from one species to another. When I did my planetarium shows I always included a bit about how people believed without question for a thousand+ years that the stars didn't change because no one had bothered to look up in the night sky, taking the word of the experts. It is possible for the experts (scientists) to be wrong, and they have been in the past. That was fun - some of them would say. "Then is what you're telling us now maybe wrong?" "Yep".

Ben Trovato said...

I don't think I've ever been thought of as broad-minded before! But I agree it can sharpen the mind to study opposite points of view.

Dawkins' theory of (mindless) evolution falls over at various points, it seems to me.

One is it offers no explanation for the first cause - what went bang and why.

Secondly, it assumes that chemical recombination resulted in a transition from mere matter to living matter.

Thirdly, it it assumes a huge amount of new genetic information being created over time by poor DNA copying - but we see no evidence of this in reality - nor indeed of any species improvement through such mutation anywhere in natural history.

The huge discontinuities from no matter to matter, from inorganic to organic, from plant to animal, from animal to human, are all left largely unaccounted for: they are singularities, and according to Dawkins' 'anthropic principle' we must accept they are possible because they have occurred. And he criticises us for faith unsubstantiated by evidence....

Marc Magisana said...

Well said...good enough to steal!

Ben Trovato said...

Feel free!