Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Richard Dawkins came yesterday to give a lecture at USC. I didn't get a chance to ask a question, but after thinking some, this is what I'd've like to've asked him:

I think you and I would both agree that evangelical fundamental religious faith is harmful to society in breeding intolerance and even hostility towards those who don't follow those same fundamental religious laws. Can you please tell me how your fundamental evangelical atheism is any less harmful to society in breeding intolerance and hostility towards those with any religious or spiritual faith?


jweiss11 said...

The words "fundamental" and "evangelical" connote simply taking something as true because someone before you, likely in a position of authority, said they were true, or some un-sourced, relic document says so. Nothing that Dawkins espouses follows that principle. By contrast, what he speaks of comes from the traditions of rational thought and scientific inquiry, which employ a constant questioning, refutation, and refinement of ideas. To ask him about his "fundamental, evangelical" anything is like asking him about the speaking tour he did on Mars last year.

It certainly true that someone like Dawkins going around and promoting his atheist and secular, rationalist views (and moreover the evidence that supports them) leads to contention between him and those of different, i.e. religious, viewpoints. But isn't it worth it, to society, to have a little argument and heated debate to try and counter those who harbor logically absurd and unsubstantiated ideas and often make those the foundation of their life and all if its workings?

Now compare that to the real violence and killing over the past thousands of years that has been committed by those with religious or spiritual faith against those who do not share that same faith, often, and in large part, because of that faith and it non-negotiability.

à noite said...

fundamental - "of or relating to essential structure, function, or facts"
evangelical - "marked by militant or crusading zeal"

nothing about blindly following anything. just about taking the cold hard facts and shoving them in EVERYONE'S faces.

all i mean is that religious choice is a very personal one, it's nothing to be debated. it's something based on faith. in something. whether that be in some kind of god or some kind of science. though many of his beliefs stem from logical and scientific conclusions, those conclusions at their most ancient roots are based on faith in some initial postulation, that is now taken for granted. sure we evoloved from single celled organisms, who come from molecules, who come from atoms, who come from subatomic particles, who come from quarks, who come from... ad infinitum.

it's an infinity that some call god. it's not anything that can be debated because it's an unexplainable, and no one has the right to go around tirading about how their opinion on the subject is superior to all others'. it only creates hostility.

maybe those with a belief in god tend to get more violent than antheists, but each side would do well to quit picking a fight with the other

à noite said...

actually now that i think of it, someone asked a question about irreducible complexity during dawkins' q&a session. when he commented on it, he just mentioned the whole human eye argument, that many christians claim the human eye must've been created because it's far too complex to exist in any other less evolved state than it does right now. the irreducible complexity i wonder about, though, is how small a scale we can really look at the universe physically. is where this universe could've come from, or if this is some multiverse and ours is only a bubble in the foam, as dawkins theorized out loud, then where does the foam come from? you can't escape that infinity, but you also can't logically define its origins.