Richard Dawkins and Francis Collins are at it again, however not face to face this time, but as guests on alternate days on NPR’s ‘Fresh Air’ with Terry Gross. She asks pertinent questions but as always, remains objective, taking no position on either side. In Wednesday’s interview, Dawkins takes a moment reading from page 15 of his book, to clear up any question of Einstein having theistic views, but rather, as he himself embraces, having merely a breathtaking admiration and respect for the Cosmos, but from purely naturalistic origins.
Dawkins paints a picture of mankind’s progress, with science and culture at the forefront, providing a humanistic view of what we have achieved, and stating that it is “demeaning, to retreat from that to a medieval view that simply says, ‘God done it’, which is so cheap, so trite, so simple, so parochial, and so impotent Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ ” He goes on to launch an assault on religion, trotting out his usual chorus of criticisms of religions in general, but Christianity in particular, and their proposed negative effects on the world. If you’ve read the God Delusion, or listened to other interviews you’ve heard it all before.
Terry mentions Francis Collins’ position that the genetic code is an example of God’s design, to which Dawkins answers,”That makes God superfluous. I mean that here we have an excellent explanation of how life comes about, starting from simple beginnings, and that makes God redundant. Francis Collins and others want to smuggle God back in (to the picture)Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ ”
The Collins interview gives many personal glimpses, as are found in his recent book, “The Language of God”. He mentions how full his email box gets, with an ongoing assault both from fundamentalists who question his support of evolution, although ‘guided’ as he states, and from scientists who question not just his faith, but his admitting it publicly. He walks a tight rope within the scientific community, and is at odds with many peers, Dawkins included.