Re: Dawkins on Channel 4 tonight

From: Kate Distin (
Date: Mon 16 Jan 2006 - 17:02:03 GMT

  • Next message: Chris Taylor: "Re: Dawkins on Channel 4 tonight"

    Derek Gatherer wrote:
    > At 16:04 16/01/2006, Kate wrote:
    >> This is true of the meme of "faith" as defined by Dawkins: faith as
    >> belief-without-evidence. But no serious Christian writer would accept
    >> this definition. I don't know where he's got it from. It is one of
    >> the straw men he's so keen on fighting (see Derek's point about his
    >> reluctance to engage with McGrath).
    > I think it's fairly obvious where he got it from - those scary people he
    > was interviewing last week, and others of their ilk. It really boils
    > down to what constitutes a "serious [enter school of thought] writer".
    > I agree entirely that the tele-evangelists don't constitute anything
    > serious in an academic sense. But Dawkins would probably say anybody
    > who has conference calls (so the guy claims) with GW Bush has to be
    > taken seriously. Debating the finer points of Barth or Tillich and how
    > they might relate to a Popperian conception of knowledge is all good
    > stuff, but let's wake up and smell the coffee: evolution is about to be
    > removed from the curriculum if the tele-man and his friends have their
    > way (and I dare say Tillich and Barth are also a little further down his
    > list for removal too....). Of course, this is not a
    > with-us-or-against-us scenario, or at least it shouldn't be. Perhaps
    > Dawkins does tend to tar (and even feather) all from the same brush, but
    > if the liberal theologians were to be more publicly visible in their
    > opposition to the bibiolators (it is heresy after all, all CAMP - ie
    > Catholic, Anglican, Mainstream Protestant - churches agree on that don't
    > they?), then it would be more difficult for Dawkins to allege that
    > "you're all the same".

    But I could pick out people from all manner of non-religious backgrounds who would provide equally scary interview-fodder.

    Showing us examples of mad religious people proves nothing, if you are deliberately refusing to engage in discussions with the non-mad religious people; and ignoring the existence of mad non-religious people.

    Of course I agree that what makes these people scary is that they refuse to accept any contradictory evidence. But I don't agree that this characteristic is "faith"; and I don't agree that it is either restricted to religious people, or as omnipresent amongst them as Dawkins implies.


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