Thursday, March 08, 2007

The Fanatical Atheist Strikes Again

As Monty Python would say - "Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!"

However, as time wears on it seems that we can increasingly expect Richard Dawkins.

Intolerant, obdurate, contemptuous, dogmatic and fanatical... words and charges that many people lay at the door of the religious minded. I now nail those very same charges firmly on the door of Dawkins.

His latest target is the comic Peter Kay... Peter Kay? For pities sake! This isn't even (by his own admission) some great theologian, this is just a guy who in his humour, pretty much represents the man on the street. I'm sure this is no coincidence... but both men have books nominated for the Galaxy British Book Awards. If ridicule of Kay's work as an act of sabotage is the real motivation behind Dawkin's attack, then his strategy is knavish, underhand and unprofessional... and will, if there is any justice, be taken into account by those deciding who receives the accolade.

Kay, in his autobiography "The Sound of Laughter" writes:
"I believe in a God of some kind, in some sort of higher being. Personally I find it very comforting."
Dawkins quoted this very excerpt and scoffed waspishly:
"How can you take seriously someone who likes to believe
something because he finds it 'comforting'?"
It's a little bit of a jump - an unscientific assumption on Dawkin's part, because Kay didn't necessarily say that comfort was the motivation for his belief... but that a byproduct of his belief was comfort. I'll put it into a scientific allegory for those who might find simple truths hard to understand... helium is a safe theoretical byproduct of the fusion process.... but it is not fusion itself.

Dawkins argues that we find everything that is true on the basis of hard evidence... but that isn't strictly true. Do we take lovers or make friends on the basis of hard empirical evidence that the people we meet are good for us?

We do not.

We begin these relationships on the basis of impulse, emotion and experience... we may recognise the feeling and act upon it... but we aren't doing so purely because neural interactions and chemicals in our bloodstream tell us we should. Sometimes our bodies betray us... someone who is physically attractive can be poisonous to us on a deeper level. Our choices are not necessarily made on the basis of what the hard evidence of our physiology is telling us.

I don't have a problem with atheists or atheism, if people wish to believe or disbelieve in anything... that is their right and priveledge. What I absolutely object to, is the notion that any one group - theist or atheist, has the right to object to public expression of another groups point of view. Richard Dawkins often epitomizes this very attitude.

Dawkins is becoming increasingly militant as he ages... is it possible that somewhere deep in the closet of his subconscious - locked away where his ego can merrily ignore it, he is not comfortable with the position he has taken? Is he in fact denial? If he is, then perhaps the only way his conscious can handle this discomfort is by vocalising his aggression towards religion even louder... as time begins to run out?

As for Peter Kay... I'll leave you with a pearl of wisdom he once impressed me with:

"Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is fruit, wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad."

3 comments:

  1. Hmmm, my hubby has a yearning to read this Mr Dawkins. He is very certain that logic is the ultimate and for him logic dictates that there is no God. It's kinda hard as I'm no great intellectual mind when it comes to arguing the case for God. In this respect, Mr Dawkins has me challenged as I try to figure out why I can't come up with a suitable answer to the questions that he, my hubby and others ask in regards to belief in God.

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  2. It's funny that I put that segment on Athiesm on my space yesterday. We have here in North America now militant Athiests doing seminars out to prove there is no God. It takes more faith not to believe than to actually believe. To say there is no God is to go against everything your senses and heart tells you. These people like Mr. Dawkins are going more and more on the attack exactly because of the emptiness of heart they feel. They need our prayers.

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  3. Hey nick, nice post. I am not a Christian myself, but i completely understanding why Christianity is a good thing.

    I respect your comment on every individuals right to their beliefs and practices. Like you I also take issue when one side condemns the beliefs of another.

    Dawkins quoted this very excerpt and scoffed waspishly:

    "How can you take seriously someone who likes to believe
    something because he finds it 'comforting'?"
    It's a little bit of a jump - an unscientific assumption on Dawkin's part, because Kay didn't necessarily say that comfort was the motivation for his belief... but that a byproduct of his belief was comfort.


    You've hit the nail right on the head with that one, cleary a flawed statement on behalf of Mr. Dawkins.

    However....
    Dawkins argues that we find everything that is true on the basis of hard evidence... but that isn't strictly true. Do we take lovers or make friends on the basis of hard empirical evidence that the people we meet are good for us?

    We do not.


    You have missed your mark here nick,

    Dawkins is refering to discovering truth, meaning that in order to prove that something is true, there must be hard-facts or empirical evidence. Which also means that without hard-facts, you cannot find truth.

    Your rebuttal is in regard to making a decision based on truth, or hard facts. Clearly you are right in saying that we do not act in our best interest. Unfortunatly your argument is out of context.

    How ironic that dawkins did not mention anything about acting on hard-facts, and somehow you misunderstood him.

    Its ironic because the point of your post was to correct Dawkins on a comment he made with "...an unscientific assumption" and yet here you are, guilty of the same crime that you comdemn him for.
    Perhaps this philosophical argument is too much to grasp, allow me to but it in a context you might understand....

    Matthew 7;5 - "You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brothers eye."

    I hope i don't sound bitter, I really did enjoy your post.
    Take care.

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