Friday, January 12, 2007

Ranting

Is the descriptive conclusion used by many reviewers of the recent body of work by Dawkins in The God Delusion. Back in October '06 Terry Eagleton wrote a fine and lengthy review of the book and aptly named his piece 'Lunging, Flailing, Mispunching':-
Card-carrying rationalists like Dawkins, who is the nearest thing to a professional atheist we have had since Bertrand Russell, are in one sense the least well-equipped to understand what they castigate, since they don’t believe there is anything there to be understood, or at least anything worth understanding. This is why they invariably come up with vulgar caricatures of religious faith that would make a first-year theology student wince. The more they detest religion, the more ill-informed their criticisms of it tend to be...

...Such is Dawkins’s unruffled scientific impartiality that in a book of almost four hundred pages, he can scarcely bring himself to concede that a single human benefit has flowed from religious faith, a view which is as a priori improbable as it is empirically false. The countless millions who have devoted their lives selflessly to the service of others in the name of Christ or Buddha or Allah are wiped from human history – and this by a self-appointed crusader against bigotry. He is like a man who equates socialism with the Gulag. Like the puritan and sex, Dawkins sees God everywhere, even where he is self-evidently absent. He thinks, for example, that the ethno-political conflict in Northern Ireland would evaporate if religion did, which to someone like me, who lives there part of the time, betrays just how little he knows about it. He also thinks rather strangely that the terms Loyalist and Nationalist are ‘euphemisms’ for Protestant and Catholic, and clearly doesn’t know the difference between a Loyalist and a Unionist or a Nationalist and a Republican. He also holds, against a good deal of the available evidence, that Islamic terrorism is inspired by religion rather than politics...

...Apart from the occasional perfunctory gesture to ‘sophisticated’ religious believers, Dawkins tends to see religion and fundamentalist religion as one and the same. This is not only grotesquely false; it is also a device to outflank any more reflective kind of faith by implying that it belongs to the coterie and not to the mass.

...Dawkins could have told us all this without being so appallingly bitchy about those of his scientific colleagues who disagree with him, and without being so theologically illiterate. He might also have avoided being the second most frequently mentioned individual in his book – if you count God as an individual.
The most recent review and discussion of Dawkins is by the esteemed Christian philosopher Alvin Plantinga.[Renowned for many works and one of my favourites is God, Freedom, and Evil (1974).]
From Page 8 ...So why think God must be improbable? According to classical theism, God is a necessary being; it is not so much as possible that there should be no such person as God; he exists in all possible worlds. But if God is a necessary being, if he exists in all possible worlds, then the probability that he exists, of course, is 1, and the probability that he does not exist is 0. Far from its being improbable that he exists, his existence is maximally probable. So if Dawkins proposes that God’s existence is improbable, he owes us an argument for the conclusion that there is no necessary being with the attributes of God—an argument that doesn’t just start from the premise that materialism is true. Neither he nor anyone else has provided even a decent argument along these lines; Dawkins doesn’t even seem to be aware that he needs an argument of that sort.

...People like Dawkins hold that there is a conflict between science and religion because they think there is a conflict between evolution and theism; the truth of the matter, however, is that the conflict is between science and naturalism, not between science and belief in God.
By way of conclusion: The God Delusion is full of bluster and bombast, but it really doesn’t give even the slightest reason for thinking belief in God mistaken, let alone a “delusion”. The naturalism that Dawkins embraces, furthermore, in addition to its intrinsic unloveliness and its dispiriting conclusions about human beings and their place in the universe, is in deep self-referential trouble. There is no reason to believe it; and there is excellent reason to reject it
Tom Gilson (H.T) has also picked up on the way Dawkins describes God:-
So Dawkins is objecting to a God that Christians don't believe in either. Ho hum.
As does Prothesis and Brian.

That then raises the question of do we actually believe that Richard Dawkins exists?

Ben Witherington (H.T)
Yet we do have people like Richard Dawkins are writing best selling books like "The God Delusion". Now Dawkins is an Oxford don. He's erudite and clever. He is also arrogant and ignorant when it comes to the Bible and theology.
Keep an eye out for the new book The Dawkins Delusion by Prof Alister McGrath expected in Feb 07. You can find mp3 of his lecture here.

Update: Check Al here for an update and further comment.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home