The Dawkins Delusion

I went along to see Richard Dawkins in Brisbane tonight. The results were unsurprising. I agreed with most of what he had to say – everything except his starting assumptions and conclusions.

He started by telling us all that our lives are incredibly improbable. That we should never take them for granted, that we should never take our existence for granted, and that we should marvel at our very unlikelihood. Then, he suggested, as his latest book indicates – evolution is the greatest and only show on earth.

Our improbable beginnings began with an improbable meeting of improbable matter that expanded improbably in a way that created stars and then life and then us. Somehow it makes more sense to believe a void created complexity than to believe a God did. But we can’t believe that a void created a God (especially the God of the Bible) who would eventually create a world… Once you start speculating about origins all the options seem possible to me.

It is, of course, improbable that anything like a God could possibly have been involved in the process – because for Dawkins as soon as you can describe the process the notion of an author is redundant. He ridiculed the God of the gaps (which is ridicule worthy) and a bunch of other strawmen. Then he closed with a question and answer session.

He was funny, engaging and most concilliatory. He just isn’t really engaging with any Christian belief that includes the ability to synchronise Christian belief with scientific truths, and he doesn’t seem to think that the Christian lay person is capable of anything but a strict, fundamentalist interpretation of particular passages. He did, in question time, suggest that the enlightened “bishops and archbishops” of the Christian world believe that God may have had some role to play in the start of everything but has then stepped back. Curiously missing the point of the incarnation.

He had a swing at anyone who believes anything on the basis of faith, authority, or feeling (there was one other factor – I forget) – and suggested that evidence is where it’s at. Which is fine. But he doesn’t really have anything to say to those of us who are believers because we think the evidence for the death and resurrection of Jesus is compelling. Like a modern day Don Quixote he spends most of his time tilting at windmills to the cheers of an equally delusional crowd. Until he starts actually engaging with the facts his efforts to discredit his opponents are risible.

I think in the process of answering questions from the floor (particularly one about whether our close relationship to the ape world had any moral implications) he may have suggested it was morally ok to breed with the entities that link us biologically to the apes – the only problem is that they’re extinct.

In question time a couple of people asked about the evolutionary future of humanity – I still want to know how feasible my shirt is – will we one day turn into shape shifting alien robots? Or self healing immortal mutants with retractable claws? I sure hope so.

9 Comments The Dawkins Delusion

  1. AussieGal

    "Like a modern day Don Quixote he spends most of his time tilting at windmills to the cheers of an equally delusional crowd. Until he starts actually engaging with the facts his efforts to discredit his opponents are risible"

    here here – was there last night and thought the exact same thing. There are so many basic creationist arguments against the little amount of (so called) facts he did present. To me, believing in evolution, is as much a "faith" (or religion as he seemed to like that word more) as any out there!

    Since expressing my surprise at the amount of mocking vs scientific presentation to friends I have learnt that really last night was just the tip of the iceberg.

    I thought someone who has such a HUGE following wouldn't mock the way he did – but that people follow him and listen to him, buy his books, get his autograph, take photos of him is even more peculiar to me – because Christian or not I wouldn't follow someone who says such things! I.e calling other human beings doey or saying they have no brain! He seems to ignore that many of the most intelligent people on earth are/were Christians and many top scientists start believing in a creator verse evolution!

    All I got was more hatred towards Christians/Creationists than unbiased "true" arguments for evolution! And those who were in agreement with him were doing so more in faith than anything because some of the arguments and presentations were really weak – but most don't delve further or take a truly unbiased look at all the evidence and truth out there!

    Just watched a YouTube link a friend sent me and Dawkin's quotes show how much he is ignorant not the other way around. They include – "if you meet educated people they tend to not be creationists" and "if everyone took a drug that boosted their intelligence by 5 points would religion survive?". Someone should have asked him last night – "Is there a Christian that exists that believes in Creationism that is smarter than you?" – if he answers no he is a liar and if he answers yes then why such comments.

  2. Paroxysm

    “But he doesn’t really have anything to say to those of us who are believers because we think the evidence for the death and resurrection of Jesus is compelling.”

    You have evidence now? Awesome I can’t wait to see it.

  3. David

    Paroxysm. People have been arguing about the evidence for decades (centuries!). So I don't know what you're talking about. N.T Wright's work "The Resurrection of the Son of God" marshals a pretty wide range of evidence and argument if you're looking for somewhere to jump into the debate!

  4. Phoebe

    The problem I have in my debates with atheists isn't their commitment to evidence and 'truth', but it's their steadfast commitment to Dawkins – particularly his simplistic and downright condescending notion that all Christians are uneducated nitwits (indeed some of the most highly educated people I know are Biblical Christians, but I won't descend into the 'we're smarter than you' argument cos clearly there are educated and uneducated people on both sides).
    One particularly enthusiastic atheist I've had conversations with frequently cites the hackneyed 'God of the gaps' theory – which, as you point out is flawed and such a God is blatantly incompatible with the God of the Bible anyways. And don't get me started on the whole 'Christians are about faith, atheists believe in evidence' – it seems the multitude of historical evidence for the person of Jesus, the authenticity of the Bible, etc doesn't seem to count.

  5. Anika Q

    I was there too – he really is a great speaker. I found it a little hard to swallow the whole, "Nobody even remotely intelligent believes in a young earth/creationism". My parents and myself disagreed with more than you did, but I don't think that we're because of this obviously unintelligent people – even if we hold to an unintelligent belief.

  6. Anika Q

    III. …that because of this, we're

    We're just pedantic and insecure, instead. Or at least, one of us is.

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