Dawkins: Organized Religion will Perish before I Do

By Jon|January 27, 2012|Compromise/Dissent/Heresy, Empirical Science, Modern Philosophy, News Commentary, Philosophy, Religion, Theism/Atheism|

Maybe this isn't worth my time, but in an lecture at the Jaipur Literature Fest, posted by the Times of India, Richard Dawkins, probably the most famous atheist in the world since the passing of Christopher Hitchens, has stated that he looks forward to organized religion perishing from the earth in his lifetime. I don't doubt that it is possible, and I don't have a problem with that opinion, but I do have a problem with what he goes on to say:

“Far too much sympathy is shown to people who claim to be motivated by religion – sympathy that would not be shown to people acting from mere prejudice. [Sympathy? I think I'm being rather sympathetic towards you right now Mr. Dawkins because I am being understanding because you cannot seem to see how dogmatic and self contradictory you are being. You wish to surpress the views of others even when they don't affect anyone else. How is that not action for which you should be held accountable.] I have a problem with Santa Claus, baby Jesus and Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, but I can't act on this without being held accountable. I may, on grounds of taste, want to murder a TV personality, but I can hardly do so. And yet, it seems it is somehow acceptable for someone to act without accountability [Can you give some specifics?…yes I'll admit I act everyday] simply because his religious sentiments have been hurt,” said Dawkins.

“Religion is deadly because it makes people willing to die and kill for it without a shred of evidence to back up their beliefs.” [..So in a world without religion there would be less killing right? Is that what you are saying? O wait, and since when does the effects of a belief determine whether it is true or not….I thought that had to be based on evidence as you state in the next bit:]

“If we don't understand something, we should roll up our sleeves and get to work trying to figure it out. We should not be lazy and call it supernatural.” [Got me. Its all about laziness.]

“By science, I don't just mean men in white coats in labs. [Oh, cause that's what we were all thinking.] Any system of thought that is open to inquiry and is willing to change its beliefs when confronted with evidence to the contrary is science. [Wow. We actually agree on something, that's exactly what I think of as science–scientia – knowledge.]  But when someone says, “This is the truth for all time & it can never be questioned, that is unacceptable” [Funny thing is Dawkins that you are claiming that “Any system of thought that is open to inquiry and is willing to change its beliefs when confronted with evidence to the contrary is science” is truth for all time and that the position that “This is the truth for all time & it can never be questioned, that is unacceptable” is true for all time. So we are essentially in the classical skeptical problem. So unless you are a hardcore skeptic (you obviously aren't since you are a believing atheist) then you are contradicting yourself…or blaspheming against your precious “Reason” that you hold so dear. Since you probably never studied the basis of science a consistent epistemology (withheld from you by the positivists) I should be the one sympathetic towards you. ]

There is much more I want to say but I will save it for my paper which will make available on the site. It will be specifically directed at The God Delusion. That organized religion will perish reminds me of Comte: “I am convinced that before the year 1860 I shall be preaching positivism at Notre Dame de Paris as the only real and complete religion.” -23rd Archimedes 63 (April 22, 1851)

Have a good weekend everyone, see you back on Monday!

About Jon

Jon connects leaders and organizations to Catholic philosophical resources to battle for the soul of the western world.