Friday, January 12, 2007

Why Does Richard Dawkins Care About Souls?

A short while ago, the self-declared "Rational Response Squad" began a new campaign called the "Blasphemy Challenge." The Bible states that the only unforgivable sin is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit (Mark 3:29) and while what this really means is debated among Christian circles today, the "Rational Response Squad" has the answer for us (of course they do, they are rational, after all!). The Blasphemy Challenge is asking people to videotape themselves denying the existence of the Holy Spirit and upload the tapes to YouTube. Participants receive a free copy of the video The God Who Wasn't There.

While this is disturbing in its own right, it becomes more interesting with an apparent endorsement from prominent evolutionist Dr. Richard Dawkins. Dawkins, who posted news about the challenge on his website, is the author of many books, including his latest, The God Delusion. He is an outspoken atheist and evolutionist and join others such as Daniel Dennett and E.O. Wilson is arguing evolution as evidence against the existence of God.

This raises a few questions. First, if Dawkins, Dennett, and Wilson are correct, then what does that say about Eugenie Scott, Robert Pennock, Kenneth Miller, and all those evolutionists who have been arguing the co-existence of religion (especially Christianity) and evolution and also that evolution has no investment in religion? Second, as an academic, what is Dawkins' investment in the souls of humans and why is he so active in promoting their condemnation?

The Blasphemy Challenge's support from Richard Dawkins now seemingly establishes the tie (potentially strong tie) between evolution and religion.


Mark Frank said...

A bit of clear thinking is called for here.

Dawkins et al do not argue that ToE is evidence against the existence of God. They argue that ToE means that God is not required to explain the complexity of life. Quite a different thing and compatible with the view that evolution and religion can coexist.

In addition Dawkins et al do not believe in God and think that religion is on balance a bad thing. Understanding evolution is necessary but not sufficient for this belief.

In your sentence

"as an academic, what is Dawkins' investment in the souls of humans and why is he so active in promoting their condemnation"

Why do you see he is doing this "as an academic" as opposed to "as an atheist" or "as a person concerned that religion is misleading people"?

Samuel S. Chen said...

"Why do you see he is doing this 'as an academic' as opposed to 'as an atheist' or 'as a person concerned that religion is misleading people?'

Are you suggesting that when Richard Dawkins is acting as an atheist he is no longer an academic? Are you suggesting his view of atheism or the dangers of religion are not related to his academic research?

Ranter said...

Darwin supports this because he believes religion is harmful and that atheists are often frightened to 'come out' because religious people think they are evil. I'm sure if God existed he'd be man enough to take it. And I suppose Darwin's academia is related to his atheism, after all he is exposed daily to the obvious problems with a biblical explananation of the world and it is his field of science under attack for happening to disagree with a few paragraphs of an 1800 year old book.

Frank Walton said...

Hi Sam, for your interest, I have a blogsite against the blasphemy challenge here.