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Richard Dawkins-The Game's Up.


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Initial post: 2 Apr 2009 17:10:46 BDT
Laurence says:
Two presentations on the same day (31/03/2009) have left me wondering why I ever took Dawkins seriously in the first place.

(1) BBC1's 'Did Darwin Kill God?', where Philosopher and Theologian Conor Cunningham laid bare the monumental Dawkins conceit, concluding with the damning: "Let Darwin rest in peace".

(2) Vatican Astronomer Br. Guy Consolmagno's lecture 'The Vatican and Astronomy since Galileo'. Br. Consolmagno (very well named!) demonstrated that there is no inherent conflict between science and religion.

In time, all that Dawkins will be remembered for is having had a David Icke moment.

Posted on 2 Apr 2009 18:49:07 BDT
Vinogradov says:
You mean that a theologian and a Jesuit disagree with Dawkins? I'm shocked.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Apr 2009 20:31:06 BDT
David Groom says:
'where Philosopher and Theologian Conor Cunningham laid bare the monumental Dawkins conceit,'

I've just watched it and I couldn't see anything which meets your claim. It was just a superficial meander through Darwinism and the various strands of religious thinking over the past 100 years or so. Interesting in explaining where some of the religious extremes came from (if the programme was historically accurate), but lacking any coherent explanation of exactly how religion and evolution can co-exist other than by religions moulding themselves to the latest scientific thinking.

There also wasn't much evidence for the religious position being claimed, but having said this, the presenter is a theologian, so it may be that the claims he made are historically and theologically accurate. However, he makes rather liberal use of the term ultra-Darwinists when referring to modern atheists without explaining where this term came from. In my experience this is a derogatory term used by theists and their supporters to try and look down with superior disdain on those who don't share their beliefs and to try and make out that somehow there are different kinds of atheists, when in practice all these people share is a lack of belief in god. In this area I don't think that the presenter did himself any favours.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Apr 2009 23:04:48 BDT
Neutral says:
David Groom and Vino disagreed with a theologian? I'm devastated.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Apr 2009 08:49:07 BDT
Laurence says:
"I've just watched it and I couldn't see anything which meets your claim. It was just a superficial meander through Darwinism and the various strands of religious thinking over the past 100 years or so."

From a layman's viewpoint, we rely to a large (but not total) degree on the experts when it comes to understanding modern science. What was clear to me from BBC1 was that pre-eminent scientists (hardly superficial), with equal and--more importantly, in some critical areas--greater knowledge than Dawkins in the fields of DNA and evolution, were in fundamental disagreement with Dawkins. It was shown that the Dawkins conceit of pre-eminence in these matters is therefore categorically false and I feel somewhat cheated by Dawkins as a result. A less charitable person could claim that Dawkins is thus a charlatan.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Apr 2009 11:34:24 BDT
Neutral says:
Laurence wrote, " A less charitable person could claim that Dawkins is thus a charlatan." Ah, you've understood my review then.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Apr 2009 12:03:48 BDT
David Groom says:
Laurence

'What was clear to me from BBC1 was that pre-eminent scientists (hardly superficial), with equal and--more importantly, in some critical areas--greater knowledge than Dawkins in the fields of DNA and evolution, were in fundamental disagreement with Dawkins.'

You are quite correct that Francis Collins did disagree with Dawkins in some areas, but that wasn't as you put it 'a fundamental disagreement.' Collins readily concedes the truth of evolution theory as an explanation and he refers quite clearly to the operation of natural selection as part of the process. Where he raised issue was with the concept that it is all about the replication of genes. He may be right and he may not. However, he simply disagreed, which is his right. This is something that goes on in science all the time. Scientists do not all simply agree with each other about everything all of the time. There are and have been fierce debates about theories and hypotheses - that's the essence of good science, and the mechanism that brings scientific 'truth' to the fore. However, there is no hierarchical pecking order which supposes that there is some kind of scale of validity of pronouncemenst about a subject. The fact that Francis Collins, as the leader of the human genome project, disagreed with Dawkins doesn't mean that he is right and Dawkins is wrong. Neither of them know all there is to know even in their own subject areas.
So, I don't think your proposal that 'it was shown that the Dawkins conceit of pre-eminence in these matters is therefore categorically false' stands up at all. It only does so if you take the superficiality of a TV programme as your source. Hence my comment about a 'superficial meander.'

I also don't quite see where you get your idea of Dawkins 'conceit' from. Have you met him and gained that impression? I have watched him interview scientists, skeptics and the religious and I don't get that impression. He appears very inquisitive, thoughtful and insightful.

The other interesting aspect of the Francis Collins piece was the issue of god. Collins rationalises god by saying that 'evolution is true and god uses the process' and he shortens this to evolution is the 'how' and god is the 'why'. But he does so without the slightest piece of evidence and that is a breathtaking piece of arrogance in itself, especially from a scientist. How does he know this I wonder? He certainly hasn't to my knowledge conducted experiments on it or published any papers. The most likely answer is that he is a religious man and has found a way to accommodate his faith within his science. That's fine, but lets not be fooled - its simply a form of the 'god of the gaps' argument. It a way to twist your religious beliefs to fit the known facts and is part of the reason why religion as understood today is nothing like it was in the past. This is the reason why religious authorities twist in the wind with every scientific advance - they have to since there is nowhere for them to go. In other words, they have to evolve (irony here!) in order to survive.

Posted on 3 Apr 2009 12:15:43 BDT
Chris says:
David - I simply want to comment along this way - you defend Dawkins from an conceit accusation (fair point if not known) and then accuse Collins of a breathtaking piece of arrogance, and then make assumptions about him.

You seem to imply that theism and science is incompatible - Dawkins goes down this line (I think) but this is historically a rare view!!

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Apr 2009 12:45:19 BDT
David Groom says:
Chris

I pointed out Collins' arrogance simply to contrast Laurence's declared negative view of Dawkins with his apparent acceptance of Collins own views. I don't think that Laurence appreciated the irony of this in his response to me.

Personally, I don't think that science and theism are compatible for a scientist, unless that scientist is willing to compromise his scientific principles when dealing with his 'beliefs.' Some do, I am sure and my guess is that they rationalise it in the way Collins does, and accept that there is no evidence for their beliefs. This doesn't stop them being good scientists and being believers in the scientific evidence based approach. However, they must know that they are making the compromise and they are willing to do so, presumably in some compartmentalising sort of way. Collins kind of implies this when he talks about science having no claim over the dominion of god. What he is doing is placing god outside of science and, therefore, dismissing it from the scientific equation or consideration. That's fine, but some scientists might equally say no to this, and argue that god's existence is a perfectly valid scientific question. In some ways it's a pity nobody seems to be doing this a serious piece of work. However, I can't help thinking that the real reason is that scientists believe in their hearts that it is a pointless exercise and that there is nothing to find.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Apr 2009 14:12:50 BDT
Laurence says:
David Groom-

Thank you for your reply. However, in this case there is, in my opinion, a crucial difference to the normal scientific method, thus:- my understanding of scientific advancement is the process of iteration, i.e. small steps gained through experimentation and backed up by mathematical equations, which are then published by the scientist and subject to peer review. The results and conclusions (and occasionally the validity of the experiments) are then argued but 9 times out of 10, the paper is substantively accepted. In the case of Collins v. Dawkins, Collins (and Prof. Conway Morris I may add) were in fundamental disagreement: this would suggest that a charlatan is at work. As I believe that Collins is the more knowledgeable in the critical area of DNA and Morris in the area of modern evolutionary research (only my opinion, admittedly), the finger is pointing squarely at Dawkins.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Apr 2009 16:44:23 BDT
Laurence says:
Vinogradov-

"You mean that a theologian and a Jesuit disagree with Dawkins? I'm shocked."

Is it mere disagreement or something more serious? Br. Consolmagno showed, through the example of Astronomy, how Vatican teaching has, since 1582 and the Gregorian reforms, has increasingly emphasised that religion requires science as a shield from superstition to protect religion from creationism, the latter a sort of paganism. It begs the question why Dawkins would ignore this reality in favour of driving a false wedge (or at least attempting to) between science and religion and mistakenly attributing creationism to Christianity. 'Memes' in this context then appear as a fabricated theory designed for the sole purpose of setting science against religion.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Apr 2009 16:58:16 BDT
Chris says:
David - your posting is superb. Just the kind of writing that clarrifies - and I write as someone who disagrees with you - if I may. "Personally, I don't think that science and theism are compatible for a scientist, unless that scientist is willing to compromise his scientific principles when dealing with his 'beliefs.'"

Could you define what you mean by scientist? It sounds like you are talking about a rationality - that is to say not coming to any conclusions that aren't rational, or based upon 'proven' scientific theorem. Someone may seek to do that in their professional life, but noone (I suspect) could do that fully. To seek meaning, values, love, and other 'virtues' are not necessarily under scienitific theorem, but are, at least in part, what makes us human.

Now there may be (or not, depending on your perspective) be a really real God ie that 'God is real' - and what we mean by that, in a sense, is always going to be bigger than science, in the sense that history, philosophy, and other categorisations of academic thought. To understand the issues and questions takes something bigger than science.

But, as I say, your posting is very helpful. The one potential problem is that if you imply that we must choose between theism and evolution (not a tenant of Darwinism per se) then I fear you play into the hands of narrow minded creationism. Force people to choose and they will choose - I have heard people say that we cannot have Christians who believe in evolution - this does not add anything to thought in any sense. If you force me to choose I reject that the choice - it is, for me, perfectly compatible.

Posted on 3 Apr 2009 22:59:13 BDT
Last edited by the author on 3 Apr 2009 22:59:57 BDT
David Groom says:
Chris

I have no problem with being disagreed with - my wife does it all the time. In fact she's an expert at it!!!!!

'Could you define what you mean by scientist?'

In the context of this post, I meant those people who practice science i.e. those subjects which are regarded as scientific, not pseudo-science, such as the so-called social sciences, as a part of their day job, using the scientific method as traditionally defined. I did so though, because the TV programme tended to focus on some well known scientists, so it seemed reasonable to relate my post to them. However, there are, of course, many others such as myself, who were educated or trained in one of the sciences, understand scientific principles but don't 'do' science as part of their job of work. Such people could equally well fall under the same heading that I was referring to in my post and I am sure many of them will be religious people who still have to reconcile their training with their beliefs.

So far as your point about values, love, virtues etc. is concerned I entirely agree that these may not be open to scientific scrutiny or explanation, at least not so far, and yet scientists will still experience them just like everybody else. I also agree that scientists will not always act or think rationally, again precisely because they are human. However, practicing scientists are required to use their rationality, intellect, knowledge and logic when considering scientific matters and for this reason they are probably the most likely to exercise these same skills when considering other matters such as religion. Clearly they don't all do so and those who don't are people who can rationalise their faith in some way. That's fine, but I think is likely to be unusual amongst scientists generally.

'Now there may be (or not, depending on your perspective) be a really real God ie that 'God is real' - and what we mean by that, in a sense, is always going to be bigger than science,'

If you want to postulate that god is unknowable or whatever term is appropriate, then I think I agree that tends to place god's existence or otherwise outside of science's remit. However, there will still be scientists who want to know why the subject should not be investigated as a natural phenomenon. That's simply a different viewpoint and neither one is right. Certainly, it seems reasonable to ask how god did or does all the things people claim and to ask scientific questions about the mechanisms used. To simply say we can't know is profoundly unsatisfactory for a scientist - its almost a challenge in itself. This then brings us back to the old matter of evidence, which I won't re-run, but is vitally important to a scientist. Its this area where I guess I find Francis Collins' faith so unusual, since it requires the suspension of evidence, something he would never allow in relation to the human genome project.

'The one potential problem is that if you imply that we must choose between theism and evolution (not a tenant of Darwinism per se) then I fear you play into the hands of narrow minded creationism.'

I must admit I personally find it hard to see how a scientist of any repute, especially in the area of evolutionary biology can square the theism v evolution circle. However, it does no great harm that some such as Collins do so, unless they start to allow that belief to influence and inform their science - an example of this would be Michael Behe. I also agree that it is perfectly possible for a theist to accept evolution as a theory and if he wants to ascribe every aspect of the way it works to god, even though there is no evidence for this, well it really doesn't matter too much, provided that the science is rigorous. For the reasons I have already stated, I believe this to be sloppy thinking on their part, but that's just my opinion. And what does that count for???

Where I do agree with you is that forcing a stark choice on people is not a good idea and creationism/ID is the worst of all worlds. So given a choice, I would always opt for good solid science based work, with people including theistic belief if they wish, rather than non-scientifically based creationist nonsense, which I notice none of the real scientists or even the theologian had any time for. Overall, though I would prefer atheism, until evidence suggests otherwise. The future problem is the extent to which science will continue to uncover data and facts about the natural world and the ways in which the church will have to bend to accommodate those facts. For all I know, something may come along anytime which the church finds it can't accommodate and when that happens I am not sure which side of the line the religious scientists will fall. An example might be a credible explanation and evidence for the creation of the universe - if that didn't require a creator then this might give some real problems for the church/religion. However, that's for the future.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Apr 2009 14:53:00 BDT
Laurence says:
"Where I do agree with you is that forcing a stark choice on people is not a good idea and creationism/ID is the worst of all worlds. So given a choice, I would always opt for good solid science based work, with people including theistic belief if they wish, rather than non-scientifically based creationist nonsense, which I notice none of the real scientists or even the theologian had any time for."

So why does Dawkins ignore this in favour of driving a wedge between science and religion by attributing creationism to Christianity?

"Overall, though I would prefer atheism, until evidence suggests otherwise. The future problem is the extent to which science will continue to uncover data and facts about the natural world and the ways in which the church will have to bend to accommodate those facts. For all I know, something may come along anytime which the church finds it can't accommodate and when that happens I am not sure which side of the line the religious scientists will fall. An example might be a credible explanation and evidence for the creation of the universe - if that didn't require a creator then this might give some real problems for the church/religion. However, that's for the future."

May I rewrite the above, as follows:

"Overall, though I would prefer Christianity, until evidence suggests otherwise. The future problem is the extent to which science will continue to uncover data and facts about the natural world and the ways in which atheism will have to bend to accommodate those facts. For all I know, something may come along anytime which atheists find can't be accommodated and when that happens I am not sure which side of the line the atheist scientists will fall. An example might be a credible explanation and evidence for the creation of the universe - if that did require a Creator then this might give some real problems for atheists. However, that's for the future."

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Apr 2009 15:47:06 BDT
Chris says:
"The future problem is the extent to which science will continue to uncover data and facts about the natural world and the ways in which the church will have to bend to accommodate those facts." David - a lucid posting as always - but your science doesn't explain (I would suggest) the most puzzling part of your posting namely: I have no problem with being disagreed with - my wife does it all the time. In fact she's an expert at it!!!!!

I would question, though, if history shows that the church has felt the need to bend in quite the way you think - creationism is a relative new idea, and not the universal suggestion of the church to evolution, which most accepted (indeed puzzlingly it would seem to have been marginally less controversial in Darwin's day than now.)

I will end this with a quote from Darwin "It seems to me absurd to doubt that a man may be an ardent Theist and an evolutionist" (letter to John Fordyce in 1879)

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Apr 2009 19:13:06 BDT
David Groom says:
Laurence,

'So why does Dawkins ignore this in favour of driving a wedge between science and religion by attributing creationism to Christianity?'

You would have to ask him that question, although I suspect that he would refute your allegation. From my own perspective, I merely said that of the two positions quoted, I would opt for the science based work rather than creationism. What I didn't say, for all the reasons I have already mentioned, was that my overall preference would be scientists to commit to science and not indulge in religion as well. However, its a free country and I don't really care if some scientists want to believe in god, just so long as it doesn't interfere with their science.

Regarding your rewrite, all I will say is that its your prerogative to believe what you like. Unfortunately, I don't see
much evidence for many scientific facts being uncovered that detract from an atheistic position. By contrast the religious position has been and continues to be undermined by scientific discoveries all the time, and the church is forced to revise its position to accommodate the science. This is probably one of the reasons for the decline of the Church of England in recent times. I see little prospect of this changing as that's the nature of progress. As I have said before, it is always possible that facts may emerge which undermines an atheist's lack of belief in god. However, it seems to me that since atheism is by definition a lack of belief, the only facts you refer to would be those whose explanation can only be attributed to the existence of god. So far there is no sign of this at all.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Apr 2009 19:17:52 BDT
David Groom says:
Chris

'but your science doesn't explain (I would suggest) the most puzzling part of your posting namely: I have no problem with being disagreed with - my wife does it all the time. In fact she's an expert at it!!!!!'

I'm not sure of the precise take that science has on women, apart from the obvious fact that they come from Venus. However, in the case of my wife, I am sure that she could flummox science with one blow from her tongue - she was a teacher after all!!!!

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Apr 2009 19:27:33 BDT
David Groom says:
Laurence,

History is littered with cases of scientists who disagreed with each other and sometimes the 'winner' maybe wasn't known until after the death's of the protagonists. Fred Hoyle and the Big Bang is a good example of an eminent scientist holding views which were at odds with others. It didn't make Hoyle a charlatan, simply a scientist with a different view.

So it is with Collins v Dawkins. Neither of them will be right in every pronouncement they make or paper they write and neither can be regarded as an absolute authority in evolutionary biology. However, I suspect that they both agree about many things and I have no doubt they have considerable respect for each other. For this reason labelling Dawkins a charlatan is nonsense and clearly highlights your own lack of understanding of how science works, but also shows that your position in this debate is not one where you show respect for the views of somebody you disagree with.

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Apr 2009 16:16:54 BDT
Laurence says:
David Groom-
Thank you for your considered reply. I note you repeat the following phrase quite often:
"However, its a free country and I don't really care if some scientists want to believe in god, just so long as it doesn't interfere with their science."

However, is it not just a little possible that Dawkins is doing precisely this with atheism? IMHO, Dawkins's atheism is interfering with his science, as he seems to dismiss any research, including that of Collins and Morris, that does not support his atheism, perhaps rendering his work out of date. The charlatan charge is not so outrageous in this context if Dawkins, as it appears, is allowing his atheism to control his conclusions and thus dismiss Collins and Morris fundamental research (not minor points as you seem to suggest), research which clearly supersedes his own. Id est, how many people (including scientists, historians and theologians) can Dawkins ignore (a growing list) before one draws the line?

Joke: How many Richard Dawkins' does it take to change a light bulb?
Answer: Four. One to claim Edison as an atheist; one to check that the components were shipped and assembled entirely by like minded people; one to write a treatise on why electricity does not need a Creator God and finally, one to call the electrician, practicality not being a Dawkins strong point.

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Apr 2009 16:46:51 BDT
David Groom says:
Laurence

How does atheism - a lack of belief in god - interfere with science? I simply don't see any way in which that is possible. Since the study of science is by anybody's definition a supremely rational process, I would expect its proponents to display a simple calculated logic to everything they work on, rejecting (or at least not including) anything for which the evidence doesn't exist. By contrast, belief in god must include an element of irrationality in a scientific sense since there is no physical evidence for god. Therefore, between Collins and Dawkins I consider Dawkins to be the more rational, and, therefore, the least likely to be swayed by anything that lacks evidence. If you want to claim that this means that atheism affects his science, then what you are really claiming is that any scientist who only allows evidence and facts is allowing scientific method to determine his science! Most genuine scientists would wholeheartedly agree with this.

You say that Dawkins has dismissed the research that Collins and Morris carried out. Can you say what research you have in mind? Or do you mean that he has a different interpretation of what they have observed? As your point is phrased, you seem to suggest that their research supported the existence of god and they reported as such, in which case I can see why Dawkins might raise questions. But is that what Collins and Morris claimed - that they had evidence for god? Otherwise how did religion inform their science and their conclusions?

And even if Dawkins does reject somebody else's conclusions it still doesn't make him wrong. It simply means he has a different viewpoint, something that is perfectly normal and allowable in science. After all Professor Morris is critical of Stephen J Gould's own interpretation of the Burgess Shale fossils. Gould is an even more eminent scientist, so disagreement is hardly something new. For this reason, I still reject your charlatan charge - from experience, I can tell you that somebody who is a charlatan would not have been able to maintain a successful career at Oxford. Finally, it doesn't matter how many people disagree about something, sheer numbers doesn't carry the day. If it did then the religious would win every day as there are billions of them. There is, however, no substitute for informed knowledge, which is why the religious' views on evolution aren't worth a light, as they are based on fear and ignorance.

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Apr 2009 22:28:20 BDT
Last edited by the author on 10 Apr 2009 22:28:49 BDT
Neutral says:
David Groom claims, " who is a charlatan would not have been able to maintain a successful career at Oxford. " You must be joking the place is full of them!!!!!!!

He also wrote, "belief in god must include an element of irrationality in a scientific sense since there is no physical evidence for god." Nonsense, the scientific method can be applied by anyone, irrespective of their beliefs. It's the extent to which the conclusions they draw are influenced by their existing views which matters.

In Dawkins's case he uses data to present a religious (atheistic) argument as science which is both irrational and dishonest. Collins was a non believer and, having looked at the evidence scientifically, drew theistic conclusions which he did not have in the first place.

However, Groom exceeds himself by suggesting, " the religious' views on evolution aren't worth a light, as they are based on fear and ignorance." So by implication people who are religious and scientists, such as Collins, are ignorant. Well that's one way of winning an argument although it does remind me of Animal Farm when pig and man looked at each other and couldn't tell the difference.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Apr 2009 09:03:54 BDT
Laurence says:
"If you want to claim that this means that atheism affects his science, then what you are really claiming is that any scientist who only allows evidence and facts is allowing scientific method to determine his science!"
This is a heroic non sequitur. Dawkins's atheism will affect his science--if it has not already done so--if someone, Collins and Morris in this case, arrives at scientific conclusions that question his core atheist beliefs. Everything that Dawkins has said and done (beginning with memes but particularly over the past number of years) convinces me that this is likely the case. Is it just me, or does Dawkins's visage and behaviour (going from an obscure, mildly successful figure to infamy at a stroke of outrageousness) bear more than a passing resemblance to David Icke?

Posted on 14 Apr 2009 10:25:57 BDT
David Groom says:
Laurence

'This is a heroic non sequitur. Dawkins's atheism will affect his science--if it has not already done so--if someone, Collins and Morris in this case, arrives at scientific conclusions that question his core atheist beliefs. Everything that Dawkins has said and done (beginning with memes but particularly over the past number of years) convinces me that this is likely the case.'

Can you be more specific about this with some examples? Also what scientifically based, rather than personal, conclusions have Morris and Collins come to which challenge Dawkins beliefs, bearing in mind that atheism is a state of non-belief in a deity? I appreciate that it was only a snapshot TV sample, but Collins hardly presented any real evidence for what he believed in, he simply presented ways in which his beliefs might be accommodated within a scientific mind. That's a long way from evidence and anything he might have published to back up his beliefs.

Have Morris or Collins published, for example, scientific peer-reviewed papers along the lines you suggest? Not books, though. Books are all very fine, but they simply represent people's opinions and possible prejudices (as you would no doubt agree regarding Richard Dawkins) and aren't to be taken as absolute fact.

In the meantime, I'll consider a reply to your non sequitur comment as I think you may have misunderstood what I wrote.

Posted on 14 Apr 2009 12:07:58 BDT
Last edited by the author on 14 Apr 2009 12:08:51 BDT
S. J. Payne says:
"Joke: How many Richard Dawkins' does it take to change a light bulb?
Answer: Four. One to claim Edison as an atheist ..."

Edison *was* an atheist. Some of his statements ("what you call God, I call Nature") can be read as pantheistic, which is sexed-up atheism for all practical intents and purposes.

"Is it just me, or does Dawkins's visage and behaviour (going from an obscure, mildly successful figure to infamy at a stroke of outrageousness) bear more than a passing resemblance to David Icke?"

It's just you. Definitely just you.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Apr 2009 13:30:49 BDT
Laurence says:
"Can you be more specific about this with some examples?"
An obvious example would be memes; which sounds suspiciously makey-up to me.

"Also what scientifically based, rather than personal, conclusions have Morris and Collins come to which challenge Dawkins beliefs, bearing in mind that atheism is a state of non-belief in a deity?"
Well, according to the BBC1 programme, Collins and Morris (and others) have made Dawkins's theories obsolete, as the latter are based on fundamentalist Darwinianism, which has since been superseded. ("I appreciate that it was only a snapshot TV sample, but Collins hardly presented any real evidence for what he believed in..." I think you will agree that the television format does not lend itself to this; however, in this case the conclusions were coming straight from the horse's mouth as it were; thus I, for one, would be willing to accept the substance of Collins's conclusions that were stated in the programme at face value.)

"Have Morris or Collins published, for example, scientific peer-reviewed papers along the lines you suggest? Not books, though. Books are all very fine, but they simply represent people's opinions and possible prejudices (as you would no doubt agree regarding Richard Dawkins) and aren't to be taken as absolute fact."
No complaint here. However, were Morris and Collins not summarising their conclusions rather than presenting popular opinion? There is a fundamental difference here, it seems to me, that Dawkins would do well to appreciate.
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Discussion in:  The God Delusion forum
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Initial post:  2 Apr 2009
Latest post:  6 Jun 2009

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