Gripe of the week or perhaps comic turn of the week- Richard Dawkins complains about being misrepresented- now he knows how it feels. www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/letters/article4485275.ece
Archive for the ‘Richard Dawkins’ Category
Writing in the Times comedian David Baddiel says, ‘Logically religion is, of course, nonsense. Attacking it with logic, especially if you are as bright as Dawkins, causes its arguments to disintegrate so quickly that it can seem like bullying, like breaking a butterfly on a wheel.’ Its not without irony that Baddiel begins his article by noting how out of date he is with cultural trends! It has obviously completely by-passed him that religious belief has not crumbled away under the supposed genius of Dawkins. Indeed it has often been Dawkins’ ‘logic’ that has been exposed as absurd.
Baddiel then goes on to offer his own explanation of religion. He rejects a Darwinian explanation of religion and argues, ‘what drives us are not the basic positives any more but the basic negatives: anxiety, fear, incomprehension, the desperate need to think that we know, to be “right”all the time, and, above all, to be parented – and there you have him, God.’ Obviously the exposure of the Freudian explanation of religious consciousness has also passed him by. Religion cannot be reduced to some Freudian father-complex since not all religions have a father figure.
I have a problem with a certain breed of atheist. My problem is with these smug characters like Baddiel who dismiss religion as being nonsense but then proceed to argue their case based upon such palpable nonsense themselves. They try to defend their views as being different from religion since they have things coolly analysed. However it becomes clear that they have decided to reject religion on grounds that has nothing to do with careful intellectual analysis.
Rightly the Bible says it is the fool who has said in his heart ‘there is no God.’
Recent post on Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins introduced me to the world of discussing atheism in this blog and elsewhere. And it has been an eye-opener. It was an eye-opener because I was regularly hearing Christianity(or religion- atheists seem incapable of distinguishing between the two) roundly condemned as ignorant and intolerant. So I was expecting to hear enlightened, reasoned, sophisticated arguments from the atheist community. What did I find? I found ignorance, arrogance and stereotyping. You may of course argue that Christianity can be guilty of all of these- which of course it can. My point is that I was having it stuffed down my throat- to use a favourite atheist description of expressing the Christian viewpoint- about how superior atheists were. And what better people they were.
I found ignorance-of Christianity, of the distinction between religious beliefs, of a fundamental understanding of history and indeed the case for atheism
I found arrogance- anyone who is not an atheist must be an idiot- as I was called on one occasion. Obviously Western civilisation began with Dawkins! No atheist has ever said anything stupid or done anything wrong
I found stereoptying- obviously every Christian approves of everything that has been done in the name of religion from the Crusades to 9/11
One other thing. Much of the discussion in which i found myself involved centred around the issue of morality. The atheist answer to the basis for morality is that society tells us what is right and wrong. No-one has been able to give me an answer to the question of what happens when whole societies get it wrong, i.e. in Nazi Germany. No-one has given an adequate answer to the question of why this society was wrong and those who opposed it were right.
I confess I have not read too much Dawkins. There is little real engagement with ideas. Despite the scientific facade his approach to the idea of God has really too much of the ‘yah boo’ about it. In an article in the the Times newspaper he seeks to defend himself against certain key criticisms. In the course of the article he makes the rather strange comment “If subtle, nuanced religion predominated, the world would be a better place, and I would have written a different book.” What an unusual comment for a man arguing that God is a delusion. Suddenly his argument has swung from being about God to being about religious fundamentalism. It becomes ever clearer, as the article reveals in several places, that Dawkins real problem is not a theological one but a cultural one. Where his rant- for that is mostly what it is- is against the ranters.
Dawkins does not like to deal with detailed theological ideas- much harder work than ranting I suppose. if he did he would realise that at the heart of the Christian faith is the belief that since God is the centre of the universe- not man- and that since man finds his happiness in God, those who believe in God are right to be passionate. Furthermore that that passion arises not from a state of the jury always being out but from real convictions about the living God
Read Dawkins article at