lørdag 25. oktober 2008

Dawkins getting rational?

Whether it is age or argument, Richard Dawkins at least seems to have changed tactics recently. While earlier denying any intellectual merit at all in holding that a God may exist, he started his latest debate with John Lennox by saying that A serious case could be made for a deistic God.

The report is much of a hoot, some of which of course may be due to it not excactly being written by a disciple of Dawkins. After the previous debate with Lennox, it seems rather revealing that he this time chose to leave his standard arena of distorting Aquinas and arguments for God.

Maybe he has realised that he has been found out? His bluff has been called so many times that it seems appropriate with a new approach.

So then, how does Dawkins now proceed to debate a fellow scientist on the existence of God? By focusing on science? On theistic arguments?

No, by historical arguments against the divinity of Jesus.
Instead, Dawkins was able to move the debate onto a specific attack on Christian belief in the divinity of Jesus, which is a very different argument and obscured the central point of contention – the claim that science had buried God. The fact that Dawkins now appears to be so reluctant publicly to defend his own position on his own territory of scientific rationalism – and indeed, even to have shifted his ground – is a tribute above all to the man he was debating once again on Tuesday evening.
While this may have been a surprise for Lennox, who neither is a Historian, he was at least able to make Dawkins see some historical light.
In the debate, under pressure from Lennox Dawkins was actually forced to retract his previous claim that Jesus had probably ‘never existed’.
That, however, didn't stop Dawkins from committing other errors, revealing his distorted view of the history of science.
And in a revealing aside, when Lennox remarked that the Natural History Museum in which they were debating – in front of dinosaur skeletons -- had been founded for the glory of God, Dawkins scoffed that of course this was absolutely untrue.

But it was true. Construction of the museum was instigated between 1855 and 1860 by the Regius Professor of Medicine, Sir Henry Acland. According to Keith Thomson of the Sigma XI Scientific Research Society, the funds for the project came from the surplus in the University Press’s Bible account as this was deemed only appropriate for a building dedicated to science as a glorification of God’s works.
While Dawkins may not walk the way of Antony Flew yet, he seems at least to have become wise enough to drop or hesitate about several of his arguments from The God delusion.

1 kommentar:

laBiscuitnapper sa...

I don't know. I think Prof Dawkins is focusing on building up the neo-atheist community (I mean, his blog seems pretty active) rather than going around preaching. I'm sure he has new and better arguments, but he's probably shifted focus, especially seeing as he's no longer the Simonyi Chair in the UK.

*goes back to lurking*