Richard Dawkins

I realized after my last post that I have been thinking about Richard Dawkins a lot. If you haven’t heard of him, you can read some quotes by him here.

As a Christian and a convinced member of the design science camp, you would expect that I would be feeling something negative toward these views. I admit that I don’t think I could be close friends with someone that seems to breathe hatred towards me on account of my most cherished beliefs. However, in some ways we are far more alike than would be obvious at first glance.

Here is a man who is agreed with me on a very fundamental point: there is such a thing as truth! He is totally convinced that I am wrong, that my world view is absolutely askew. I am totally convinced that he is wrong, that his world view is completely off base from the root. We disagree on everything except for this: there really is some objective truth, a reality which explains existence.

It is actually refreshing to see someone who has firmly established in his mind that there is a true explanation for existence, and is willing to say so. I think the truth gets clouded and damaged when people try to be “tolerant” and “open-minded”. I want to slap some people and say, “DAMN IT! WAKE UP! You can’t believe everything, you fool!” I can absolutely guarantee you that Richard Dawkins is not open-minded, and I applaud him for it. I have spent a great many years forming my beliefs and thoughts, and I am not about to easily give over to every stupid whim of an idea that floats along. Open-mindedness usually means you hold no opinion dear and so you have not questioned things deeply enough on your own to hold your own thoughts. Richard Dawkins holds his own thoughts and so do I. We will probably never come to any agreement whatsoever, because I am completely and utterly convinced that he is WRONG. I flagrantly and proudly and abundantly proclaim that he is wrong, just as he does to me.

I’m not saying I “believe” he is wrong – that is a terribly wrong use of that word. I am saying that he IS wrong. Belief does not mean, I kind of weakly hope that my vague thoughts about the nature of reality are true, but I’m not sure. Belief means, I am thoroughly convinced that my view of the world is true. I have thought about this, read many books, reflected on many ideas, and fought and worked to understand TRUTH. You are going to have to work very very hard if you are going to convince me otherwise, and I guarantee you that you are not going to be able to persuade me on fundamental points. I believe what I believe, and I believe it very strongly and very deeply. I believe it, not because it is comforting or helpful or because I was raised that way. I hate these reasons for “believing” something. I believe it because I am greatly seeking truth. TRUTH.

There is actually truth. There is a real explanation for existence. No one is going to get anywhere in their life work if they have not become convinced on this particular point, and strangely, on this point, Richard Dawkins and I are on the same page. There is truth.

I think that is all I want to say with this post: doesn’t anyone really believe in anything any more? We seem to live to only keep from offending one another, and this is a really weak basis for living. Offend me! I will love you for it. We may disagree, but that doesn’t mean I don’t respect you for having the courage to actually think deeply enough about the world to have something you can disagree with me about. I think we can be civil and strongly be convinced of what we do actually think the world is made of.

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  1. Dawkins is as dogmatic, bigoted and judgemental as the Christians he opposses. His is a contrast of "reason" versus "belief". He may be as ideologically entrenched as a fundamentalist Creationist, but he has "reasons" for his convictions. Too many Christians don't consider or challenge the irrationality that is part of all religions. It is this laziness and lack of intellectual curiousity and rigor that irks many athiests. I don't see Dawkins as a "seeker of truth" as most Christians are not seekers of truth. Both sides are smug in their assumptions and both sides could find genuine common ground in a serious and profound search for Truth.

  2. “Lets be open minded, but not so open minded that our brains fall out” Richard Dawkins

    That which is asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. Christopher Hitchens

    There can be only one truth. Would your “truth” be the same if you were born on the other side of the world? What a coincidence that the truth you spent your life affirming is probably the very same one fed to you by your parents. I, on the other hand, spent years examining all religions and came to the conclusion that the only one that makes sense is no religion at all. None of them are based on anything verifiable. The truth will never be known and unless one is proven, I will deny them all.

  3. LP,

    Thanks for the great comment! You’re exactly making my point – it isn’t ‘my’ truth. Truth is its own object. The fact is, just because you can’t see something doesn’t determine its truth or falsehood. Hitchen’s statement is wrong on exactly this point – even science depends on hypothesis, and this is an assertion made without evidence. One makes the assertion and looks for evidence. I’m not saying it is the same as religion but this is a bad statement.

    BTW, my father was agnostic at best all of my life until I was out of High School, and my mother is not exactly devout. I aslo examined things on my own, and came to different conclusions.

    • No, you don’t understand his logic. He is poiintng out a fact. That is not evidence for (or against) evolution; it’s a statement about acceptance or non-acceptance of evolution. While argumentum ad populum is indeed a common logical fallacy, Dawkins is not committing it, as he simply is not claiming that evolution is true, because most educated people accept it as true, any more than he would claim that the organization of the periodic table is true, because most educated people accept it as true. The reason, of course, why most educated people accept evolution as true is the evidence in its favor. Dawkins himself is in that group; witness his book The Greatest Show on Earth. (If you’re a knee-jerk Dawkinsophobe, substitute Jerry Coyne’s book Why Evolution is True ).As for his use of the word almost, that is completely unsurprising coming from a scientist. That’s the nature of induction, and the way scientists talk. They know to leave room for uncertainty, unlike certain religious groups I could mention. Read Gould, Dawkins, Prothero et. al. The almosts are sprinkled around liberally. They are conspicuously absent in fundamentalist writings.Finally, your crack Awesome, about time is silly. No one seriously claimed that 100% of educated people accept evolution it’s probably true that not 100% of educated people accept the organization of the periodic table. Why not? As Michael Shermer stated in his book Why People Believe Weird Things, Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons. Which is to say that they, like the rest of us, are human, and therefore not always logical or rational.

  4. Interesting comment. So in your quest for truth, what convinced you that Jesus is something more than an ordinary man or even a fictional character based on legend?

  5. Here is what I would say. All positions are absurd. On the one hand, we have the idea that the entire universe aprang into existence uncaused and without intent or intelligence organized itself by the pure action of chance and time to produce the current state of things.

    On the other hand, we have the ancient mythlike stories of creation by an invisible, sometimes seemingly vindictive, sometimes loving, intelligence that somehow supervised the writing of a book which tells a crazy story of the inception of things.

    We also have the possible idea that no one could ever know the answer, but no one really seems at all satisfied with this, which to me is a big clue.

    So, no matter what, we are shut up to absurd and crazy ideas about the origins of things, and yet, here we are! Something happened. I have to say, I call bullsh-t that the scientific/materialist/empirical/atheist viewpoint is purely rational. it is just as faith-based as anything else. No one knows that God didn’t do it.

    So, the thing I like about faith is that it is right up in your face about the fact that you have to pick something and believe it. Furthermore, existence simply does not seem random to me, life may sometimes be cruel, but it is an evil because it is a precious thing.

    Thus, I come to Christ. If the God theory is true then it seems unlikely that God has been completely silent until now; thus we would expect revelation from antiquity. I think the Judaic branch, for various reasons, makes sense, and Christ is for me the fulfillment of many things the Judaic scriptures point to. Also, why would the church have so endured, why would His followers have gladly died, why would so many pass it on, if they were convinced they were only following a lie, a myth?

    It is a point of faith, just as atheism is a point of faith for Dawkins.

    I hope that answers your very excellent question, and I hope my respect for your question comes across. I really welcome and praise real questions. None of us should ever live an unexamined life. So thank you!!!

  6. It is now clear that not only did you not understand the logic of Dawkins’ stmenaett, but also that you don’t particularly wish to interact with the import of it (yes, there are a few people that reject evolution, but there are a few that reject the theory of an earth in the shape of an oblate spheroid that *does not* mean that there are good arguments for a flat earth; it means that some people hold to wrong and/or irrational beliefs in the face of the evidence), or with the explanations that I gave. Which, somehow is not surprising.You seem to think that the fact that a very few educated people do not adhere to the theory of evolution is somehow more impressive than the fact that the vast majority do. To each his or her own; you are entitled to think that way. But, just for my own personal education, please enlighten us strict Darwinists with some of the intelligent arguments for intelligent design that you so confidently assert exist. Specifically, I’d be interested in who or what the designer is, and how he/she/it/they designed, say, the Milky Way, the human body, or the life cycle of the malaria parasite. Also of great interest to me is the question, Who designed the designer? Any clarification of these questions will be greatly appreciated.

  7. I don’t know how you and Thassneewan found this site and this 5 year old post, but welcome! I am pretty busy but I wanted to say at least that I welcome the dialog. The whole point of this particular post was simply to say that I and Dawkins believe there is a right answer and there is a wrong answer. Of course he leaves wiggle room for discovery and change, and as do I and other thinking Christians. We just maintain that each others’ metaphysical positions are wrong. He applies the metaphysics of non-miracle, pure physicality, while I posit that there is sometimes no other answer but the gap-filling God. Neither side is stupid. We both believe there is truth, and that there is thus non-truth. It is no use having a freely open mind, we must stake out our positions and make others fight for influence. I think he is completely right about that. I’m not really even quoting any of his positions, so I’m not sure what the ire is all about here.

    Nevertheless, thanks for the visit and kind comments, I love the dialog! you guys might be interested in these other posts:

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