I was scanning John Stackhouse’s blog last week and found he has written an engaging critique of a talk by Richard Dawkins at the University of British Columbia.
- Part One, Dawkins as Rhetor
- Part Two, Dawkins as Ethicist
- Part Three, Dawkins as Mirror
Personally I preferred the old Atheism which stretched my thinking more. This new breed of writers seem to have separated Atheism from rationalism in a rather ironic way and, IMO, are less thought provoking as a consequence. I was particularly bemused by Dawkins’ response to the vegetarians. Maybe we should start emailing him pictures of pigs, asking “What would Babe do?”, to encourage Dawkins to think things through more.
But, on a more serious note, I really wish he would take a theology 101 course so that when he critiques Christianity (and other religions) he actually has something more than a childhood projection of Christianity (and other religions) out in front of him. Christians have out course been guilty of doing the same thing to Atheists, but surely true rationalists would seek to move beyond that?
6 thoughts on “John Stackhouse on Dawkins”
It makes sense (unfortunately) that both Christians and Atheists will argue childishly. Why? Most will not put the time or energy into understanding the other’s worldview or into real arguments for either side.
“Personally I preferred the old Athetism which stretched my thinking more”
Just out of curiousity, which writers and ideas stretched your thinking?
Can’t rightly remember the names to be honest. Its been some time since Atheism was of serious interest to me.
I should add, I do appreciate what Dawkins has to say when he is speaking within his field of expertise, that is, biology. I have long thought his theory of memes was quite thought provoking even if reductionist to an extreme. It’s just when he acts like expertise in one area qualifies him as a world expert in another that I find him annoying. His understanding of religion in general and Christianity in particular is so amaturish that he really should find it embarrasing.
Oh, back to my first comment, Friedrich Nietzsche was one. He was an utter prat too but at least he made me think.
Here’s a comment from a Catholic website that sums it up for me:
“We are now in a position to see why Nietzsche is such a crucially important thinker, not despite but because of his insanity. No one in history, except possibly the Marquis de Sade, has ever so clearly, candidly and consistently formulated the complete alternative to Christianity.”
I was thinking you maybe ment Sartre. I say this because for me Sartre has been the only person who as actually had an argument against God that has any coherence and/or reason behind it.
His argument was based on his idea of being-in-time, and he reasoned if God was beyond time he can not exist because he would be out of time.
As for Nietzsche it’s more his philosophical construction of existence without God, not neccesarily his arguments over the existence of God, that is the big thing.
I wonder was Satre would have made of “imaginary time” as in Stephen Hawking’s beginning of everything musings, or the “spacelike time” that comes into effect beyond black hole event horizons?
My interest in Nietzsche was precisely that he worked through the full implications of his philosophy and was not satisfied with half measures. It is one thing to insist that God does not exist, it is quite another to live in the shadow of that philosophy with consistancy and integrity.
For instance, many of the ethical conventions in our culture were worked out in the shadow of Christianity. Dropping Christ without dropping the Christ-ian ethics just leaves you with a foundationless ethic that, if pressed, can quickly be shown to be in contradiction with your worldview. The vegetarian question shows just how little work Richard Dawkins has actually done in this regard. He has not worked through the implications. That’s where I respect Nietzsche more.