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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Atheist Scientist Richard Dawkins Attacked

Richard Dawkins Attacked

There is a Worldnet Daily article going after that atheist evilutionist Richard Dawkins. David Strom, responds to the article on his blog which claims to be a book review of Dawkins recent book.

I chose to pick up Dawkins first because of all the furor surrounding the "intelligent design" versus evolution debate. What is so fascinating to me about this debate is the tremendous vitriol that is being hurled at the intelligent design crowd by some evolutionists.

This is baffling to me, and I say this as a profoundly agnostic individual who grew up in an atheistic household. In fact, as you can see from the above list, my parents are still quite liberal and atheistic, and seem to believe that their scientific background (they are both astronomers) leads them to be so. Frankly, I find this belief bizarre.

There is certainly nothing inherent in the scientific pursuit that necessitates one be an atheist, and in fact it seems to me that our experience with science should lead us to be profoundly aware of the limits to our knowledge. And yet, it seems clear that there has developed a religion of science today that is profoundly hostile to any other kind of knowledge. In fact, Dawkins is a perfect example of this phenomenon. Far from embracing humility, this species of scientist seems to elevate himself above all creation.

The Index to Creationist Claims addresses the Evolution is atheistic claim.

PZ Myers posted a different perspective on Dawkins.

I do not think that we should marginalize the opinions of scientists who are also religious—far from it, I think it is a good idea to have them there to show that you can do good science while holding some unscientific ideas. However, I also think we ought to do a better job of similarly promoting atheist scientists, not instead of but as a complement to those more socially acceptable theists. Science should be seen as a muscular endeavor, and hiding our fiercest and most fearless advocates behind the scenes is a waste of potential and gives the impression that we're timid and ashamed of many of our best and brightest.

Case in point: Richard Dawkins. How often have you heard the phrase, "I love Dawkins' books, but…" followed by excuses that he's too arrogant, he's too hard on the religious, he's a militant atheist? Here in the US at least, you'll often see Ken Miller the Catholic biologist trotted out as the man to emulate, the unintimidating figure of a scientist with something in common with the ordinary guy on the street (unfairly, too, I think—he ought to be praised as a biologist, a lucid writer, a great speaker, not because of his one failing: he's religious), but you'll never see Dawkins brought up in the same way. He's "far too fierce", as if that were a shortcoming.

It's a strength. Creationists hate the guy because he doesn't just stand against one ludicrous symptom of their belief system, he goes straight to the root with scathing rhetoric against the whole monumental pile of rickety confabulations.

I have not read Dawkins. I have read Ken Miller's book, Finding Darwin's God by Ken Miller - an outspoken theistic evolutionist.

Intelligent Design Creationist William Dempski advocates putting Darwin in a vise. He then elaborates on his "vise strategy".

Thus, in regard to religion, for the RD Darwinists, the aim of the interrogation is to goad them into following the example of Rumpelstiltskin by publicly tearing themselves apart in their rage against religion. The prefect ending to such an interrogation would be for them to admit that they are Darwinists first and foremost because Darwinism is the most effective tool for destroying religion (this is the ideal — don’t expect to achieve it).

The ES and KM Darwinists, by contrast, need not so much to be antagonized or goaded as gently guided into an intellectually indefensible position regarding religious belief. Even so, the strategy for approaching these two types of Darwinists must be a bit different. The ES Darwinist wants to appear open minded and generous, assuring religious believers that Darwinism is compatible with their religious beliefs. For the ES Darwinists, the aim of the interrogation is to show that they are patronizing elitists who don’t have a religious bone in their bodies but who nonetheless presume to tell religious believers how they should make their peace with evolution.

Finally, the KM Darwinist actually does have a sincere religious faith, believing that God is the creator of the world and has acted miraculously in salvation history. For the KM Darwinists, the aim of the interrogation is to exploit the tension between their belief in divine creation and their vehement denials that they are not creationists (note that under creationism they invariably include ID). The KM Darwinist wants to be an orthodox Darwinian and an orthodox religious believer. But being an orthodox religious believer means having a view of divine action that is at odds with Darwinian naturalism/scientific materialism and at the same time is compatible with creationism. KM Darwinists need to be pressed into admitting that their theology requires that ID be kept as a live possibility.

The question is why did Bill Dempski bravely run away from a debate with Ken Miller? He could have tried out his vise strategy at Case Western.


Sir_Toejam said...

just a minor correction:

WD's last name is Dembski.

you have a good start on covering some of the bases here;

keep going, there's an AWFUL lot more to it.

not just the ideological and theoretical arguments, but also ones regarding election strategy as well.

you could start by checking out how various congressional representatives who shall remain nameless (but whose initials are RS and BF) have flip-flopped in their public support for ID.

Or ask yourself why GW says he supports "teaching alternatives like ID" when his own science advisor, who he says he has a lot of respect for, says ID is just so much hokkum.

or, take a look at what the govenor of texas is saying lately, or of Florida (if you can even extract anything coherent and consistent out of his recent musings on the issue).

like i said, you have a long way to go to really cover the bases on this one.