I am obliged to my e-pal, 'Whyaxeye' (which is hereby immediately reduced to 'W' for the simple reason that it takes me three goes to spell his 'name' correctly!), who in a comment thread below drew my attention to 'the mysterious affair of the William Lane Craig debate', or, to be precise with reference to 'Archbishop' Dawkins, the William Lane Craig non-debate. That exactitude is necessary because no debate between these men ever took place except, I suppose, via the infinite world of Blogdom where-in all hell was let loose!
You see, Mr. Lane Craig is a devout Christian philosopher and scholar - and one need go no further than that to recognise instantly that he stands for everything that Dawkins finds abominable. But it gets worse, in Dawkins's eyes, because Lane Craig at some stage in his career sought to defend the word of God as recorded in Deuteronomy 20: 13-15 and in which apparently, He commanded that all the men, women and children of Canaan be put to the sword. Those of you interested enough to read Mr. Lane Craig's defence of ethnic cleansing may do so via Google - me? I can't be bothered at the moment.
What does interest me is that on the basis of his disgust at Mr. Lane Craig's words, 'Archbishop' Dawkins, standing on a stack of Bibles copies of his book The Selfish Gene, pronounced from on high that he would never, not ever, debate with such a self-evidently evil man. But why? Surely Mr. Lane Craig was only describing an act on the part of the Israelites of the time that was absolutely and entirely in compliance with the genetic code which Dawkins maintains over and over again drives men to be selfish, that is, to do anything and everything in their power to ensure the success of their own gene pool. Massacring an entire tribe of hostile neighbours seems to me to be exactly what, in Dawkins's world, is to be expected, after all, such an act definitely increases the chances of success for your own genes, anything less puts them at risk . Thus, like every street corner thug who sticks a knife into the guts of a member of an opposition gang, the Israelites can shrug and say, "Wasn't my fault, guv, it was me genes, wannit?"
It is worth quoting Dawkins in order to fully appreciate what a complete bugger's muddle this 'first class brain' gets into when he seeks to explain the all-powerful, er, well, sort of all-powerful-ish, selfish genes that makes us what we are, er, selfish:
The argument of this book [The Selfish Gene] is that we, and all other animals, are machines created by our genes. [...] This entitles us to expect certain qualities in our genes. I shall argue that a predominant quality to be expected in a successful gene is ruthless selfishness. (My emphasis)
OK? Alright? Got that, have you? I mean, it's clear enough, pelucid, one might almost call it. Ah, but hang on, there's all those awkward events in which people risk, and often lose, their own lives trying to save others. Not very selfish, is it, 'your Grace'? "No, no", the 'Archbishop' would cry, "it only looks altruistic because the people they are saving are their relatives and thus the carriers of the same, or very similar, genes to the rescuer, so, in a sense, he or she is still being driven by those rascally, selfish genes." But what about the people who are saved by rescuers who are not relatives? Well, mutters Dawkins, as he shuffles uneasily on the spot:
Let us try to teach generosity and altruism,because we are born selfish. Let us understand what our own selfish genes are up to, because we may then at least have the chance to upset their designs, something that no other species has ever aspired to. (His emphasis)
Yeeeeeeeees, quite, as Mr. Paxman might sigh! Given that Dawkins has told us in one paragraph that we are merely machines governed by our genes, where are the genes that order us to "teach generosity and altruism"? They, obviously, are not "selfish" genes by definition, just the opposite, they are altruistic genes. Yet in his book Dawkins barely gives them a passing nod, almost, one might think because, like poor relations, he is slightly ashamed of them! What they are, from whence they came and how they arrived, is neither asked not answered.
I have no opinion on Mr. Lane Craig. However, I do view with considerable suspicion anyone who takes the words of the Old Testament literally, especially any words alleged by a writer several hundred years after the event to be the words of God. Happily, if that is quite the word, we have 'Archbishop' Dawkins with us here and now and consequently we can apply Duff's Law which states that when faced by a prat on a soap box the only course of action is to shout, "SHOW US YOUR WILLY!"
You can read Dawkins's defence of his refusal to debate, here:
And in a comment thread below 'W' offers this link to a enjoyable example of the 'unspeakable in pursuit of the equally unspeakable', in which Dawkins is beaten up by a gang of feminastis - my dears, simply too, too, delicious but one just doesn't know which side to cheer for!
NB: All quotes from The Selfish Gene, chapter one.