With Friends Like These . . .

 Posted by on 19 May 2008 at 11:59 pm  Religion
May 192008

I frequent a blog called The Panda’s Thumb, which keeps track of the dastardly intelligent design movement. Reading some recent entries on that blog led me to look up what some recognized cultural standard-bearers of atheism, such as Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins, are actually saying.

So, if you’re at all interested, read “The Atheism FAQ with Richard Dawkins” — and weep. His answers to challenges to atheism are often clever, but they focus on non-essentials. And sometimes, they are downright pernicious. The most egregious, in my opinion (poor grammar and typos in original):

Q. Religious people claim they derive their morality from religion. Where from an atheist derive his morality?

A. . . . We derive our morality from the environment we live in, Talk shows, Novels, Newspaper editorials and of course by the guidance of parents. . . . An atheist derives his morality from the same source as a religious people do.

Q. In your book, you’ve said that God ‘almost certainly’ does not exist. Why are you leaving open the possibility?

A. Any scientific people will leave open that possibility, that they cannot disprove whatever unlikely the event might be. I would be the first person to accept God once evidence comes in favour of it.

Dawkins’ answer to the first question unmasks him as a “mystic of muscle.” His answer to the second unmasks him as a thoroughgoing skeptic. Which I guess is saying the same thing. I don’t suppose it occurred to Dawkins to answer to the first question: “The choice to live in reality“; or to the second: “The law of identity and the validity of induction.”

Now I remember why I couldn’t get through more than the beginning of Dawkins’ The God Delusion — it’s because anyone who argues against religion from the premises of social mysticism and skepticism is himself deluded.

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