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Wednesday, 29 February 2012


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I almost feel sorry for the poor sod these days. He has allowed himself to become the rhetoric champion of the New Atheists and sundry radical sixth formers, but this brings him up against professional theologians and others who intellectually outclass him. A bit like the primary school gang leader who finds himself egged on by his old mates when he gets to mix it with the big boys.

Terry Eagleton's review is an absolute joy.

It starts with the immortal line

" Imagine someone holding forth on biology whose only knowledge of the subject is the Book of British Birds, and you have a rough idea of what it feels like to read Richard Dawkins on theology."


I think you mean, "Even if, in this case, it is only 0.0143 of his mind!" It's a 7-point scale so you need (7.0 - 6.9) / 7.0.

Now that I've proven myself, I'd like to add that Dawkins has always said it would be unscientific of him to say "I am certain God does not exist", because he is trained to doubt everything. He has said that the default position is that God does not exist, that is, in the absence of positive information, there is no need of a concept like a supernatural being to explain the universe. That's an important point. If you are sick, assume there is no God to help you, and just take your medicine.

Dom, you are a mind-reader, or you would be if I had a mind to read! Yesterday, as I wrote that post I thought to myself, hang on, 0.1 isn't correct and if I don't get it right that DM will be in like Flynn to correct me - obviously you pipped him to the post! So I actualy reached for my calculator but for the life of me I couldn't work out how to do the maths! Pathetic or what?

As to the nature of God, Dawkins (and others - me, too, sometimes)) always fall into the trap of using anthropological language. I guess it's a throwback to our early school teachings on Christianity. When I remember, I prefer to describe God as 'the prime mover'. That is suitably neutral and fairly accurate in that energy was the first requirement to kick start this universe of ours. The notion of an old man with a beard is strictly for the kiddies, and atheists who sneer at it simply waste their breath. Anyway, the Church of Latter-day Agnostics welcomes yet another convert!

My problem with Dawkins isn't that he is an atheist (I am one myself) it's that he seems to jump from concluding God does not exist (which is a matter for scientific debate) to concluding that religion is bad. This is not science - just pure personal political preference.

I distinctly recall him writing that one of the reasons that he dislikes religion is that it promotes conservative social values. Again, nothing to do with science.

"it promotes conservative social values"

He should try telling that to the Methodists who were one of 'the onlie begetters' of the Labour party!

If there is email in the afterlife David I will make you first on my contact list. You will then be the messenger! A peaceful one I hope. Aye.

All your messages, Jimmy, will be passed on with a 'Glasgie kiss'. Can't get more peaceful than that!

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