Re: Dawkins on Channel 4 tonight

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Mon 16 Jan 2006 - 17:50:22 GMT

  • Next message: Kate Distin: "Re: Dawkins on Channel 4 tonight"

    >From: Kate Distin <>
    >Subject: Re: Dawkins on Channel 4 tonight
    >Date: Mon, 16 Jan 2006 17:02:03 +0000
    >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.
    One need only look at the history of eugenics for examples of what happens when science has gone astray. There were sterilization statutes on the books in US states. In Germany there emerged the Nuremberg laws. And subseqentially in Europe there emerged death camps where people not eliminated in well engineered gas chambers and incinerated via the gruesomely efficient ovens were subjected to all sorts of horrid

    Brits know well of the buzzbombs and other developments of German science and the US recruited German scientists for the develoment of the space and missile programs.

    I'd say science has had its exemplars of madness.

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