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October 6, 2016

For Richard Dawkins, it's my way or the highway....

Charles Darwin
Origin of Species

In our honors class, we have been studying Darwin's greatest achievement....his narrative Origin of Species.   We've also been reading a book about his life, which is really fascinating, although it is hugely long, and I've only read about 1/12 of it.  Then we were to watch a movie narrated by  Richard Dawkins on the Genius of Darwin.  I thought, ok, sounds interesting.  And it is, up to a point.  There are 3 parts to the movie.  I only watched about 10 minutes of the first one....and he explains right up front that he has no belief in God.  Ok.  He really does do a decent job of explaining how Darwin's theory works.  And then, he interviews Wendy Wright, a conservative christian.  I had to flinch, not because I felt sorry for Wendy, but because Mr. Dawkins (a biologist, although my professor used the term "naturalist") is so completely lacking in tact.

Do I believe?  Well, I admit that it sort of depends.  Having grown up with a deep belief (but not fanatical), it has been difficult to merge those beliefs with the science I'm learning.  I still have moments of belief, but they grow further apart as time goes on.  But this isn't really about me.  It's about my thoughts on Dawkins, who seems to be a caveman who wants to hit every religious person on the head with the "there is no god" club.  

~He says that the theory (and yes, that is what it's called) of evolution is fact.  And I happen to believe in evolution....the evidence is overwhelming.  But in science there very few absolutes.  So that is my first point of contention.  He uses these examples:
"You don't believe the earth is round only if you're an astronaut"
"You don't believe that Napoleon existed only if you're a historian"
"Gravity exists...if you doubt that, go jump off of a building"

The reason he uses these examples is because they are simple and irrefutable.  And "religion is made up".  You can almost see how angry he becomes when a creationist asks "for proof".  To his credit, he does not ask them for proof ~ probably because they would give the "faith" answer.  It's not faith if you require proof, right?

But seriously ~ there are scientists out there that actually believe that the earth is less than 10,000 years old, even though the earth is estimated to be 4.55 billion years old.  Scientific American has an interesting article here if you are interested.

Although Dawkins readily insists that Darwin didn't believe in god, it would appear that this is his belief, but not fully accepted by everyone.  My professor seems to believe that Darwin did believe, but apparently there is controversy surrounding that as well.  In this website, American Thinker, they argue that at best he became an agnostic.  

Dawkins also interviewed a priest, who has a scientific background and asked how he reconciles his understanding of evolution with his faith, where we get this little gem, and is what I first thought of for myself: Evolution is true, and god created it.  

Are we hedging our bets?  I did read one person's theory on why religion still exists, because it doesn't really cost anything to believe, and if it turns out to be true, I'll still go to heaven.  Wow.  That one kind of hit home.  I think this comes from the human desire to have our cake and eat it too.

No matter what you or I believe, we have the freedom to believe in it.  And that's where Dawkin's attitude grates.....he wants to smack you over the head with it.

Love, 365


  1. I think everyone should believe whatever they are comfortable with as long as it doesn't harm anyone. But when they start thinking everyone should think the way they do, then it's harmful. Whether it's an atheist wanting to smack believers or a believer wanting an atheist to see things their way, it's still wrong in my view.

    I don't believe in a god. My mom does. My mom's religion has comforted her through most of her life and doesn't harm me.

    I believed for a really long time, though.

    1. I agree wholeheartedly. That was part of why I was so bothered by Dawkins. He wasn't picking these people out of nowhere, he was asking people who objected to a museum that shows the progression of natural selection over time with human skulls (and maybe whole skeletons?). So, I suppose he had a case in asking them why they objected. He was not kind or considerate though, and that was why I found him a bit contemptible.


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