The Dawkins Delusion.

Posted: October 8, 2006 in Theo/Philo


I’ve been reading a review of Richard Dawkins Book ‘The God delusion’ by Mary Midgley; as the New Scientist calls her, a Moral philosopher and author.

The main point of Mary Midgley’s review is regarding Dawkins desire to rid the earth of all religion, in his book he writes:Imagine, with John Lennon, a world with no religion. Imagine no suicide bombers, no 9/11, no 7/7, no crusades, no gunpowder plot…

Dawkins is properly described as a Metaphysical Naturalist, believing that no causes except matter in mindless motion exist. This is a position held by blind faith as; Methodical Naturalism cannot prove the Metaphysical Naturalist position as true.For Dawkins all knowledge spews forth from the fountain of Science alone, religious cleansing is needed to remove irrationality, a characteristic, according to Dawkins that religion has in spades.Dawkins is nothing if not sincere-he wants to rid the world of Religion chief among them is Christianity.

Mary writes:‘It seems not to have struck Dawkins that academic science is only a small, specialised, dependant part of what anybody knows.Most Human knowledge is tacit knowledge-habitual assumptions, constantly updates and checked by experience, but far too general and informal ever to be fully tested.We assume for instance, that nature will go on being regular, that other people are conscious and that there testimony can generally be trusted. Without such assumptions neither science nor any other study could ever get off the ground.. .’

The violence of religion as demonstrated by his list of atrocities in the first quote above is a consequence of irrationality .Something Science thankfully by its nature doesn’t suffer from.It all seems too simplistic and it is.

Mary writes: ‘In any culture, rouges defend their actions by professing whatever standards their society respects. Until recently Christianity was the norm in the west, but Marxism and fascism proved just as effective. Science, too it turns out, can easily be used this way, as both Germany’s and South Africa’s justification of racism demonstrates.’ People are no more violent with or without religion.Dawkins seems to have conveniently forgotten about the 11 million people conservatively estimated to have been killed by order of Stalin or the 6 million sent to the concentration camps by Hitler, or the 1.5-2 million killed in Pol Pots killing fields, none of whom held any respect for religion.

The  irony is that out of a Christian consensus sprang the explosion in Science which characterised the eighteenth and Nineteenth century from this period of frenetic activity came modern Science.Os Guinness wrote ‘The Gravedigger file’ the title of which describes how Science was borne out of religion and now Science is burying Religion –in effect Religion is its own gravedigger.Will Science bury religion? Could Lennon and Dawkins dream be realised, I think not.


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