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William Crawley interviews Richard Dawkins on the BBC

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William Crawley, with whom I attended Princeton Theological Seminary in the mid-90s, did a bang-up job interviewing Richard Dawkins for the BBC earlier this year. Crawley probes Dawkins’s views on religion as well as his religious background:

[...] But it gets even worse than this. Over at Uncommon Descent, Bill Dembski linked to a video where Dawkins is interviewed by William Crawley. Crawley makes an interesting point that seems to put a huge hole in Dawkins’ signature argument. [...] Evidence, ID, and God - Telic Thoughts
Jerry, I think you’re exactly right. It has even been argued that the potential for virtue is greater in a free society than in a slave society. Libertinism may proliferate within a free society, and conformity to the good might be coerced in the opposite, but the greatest virtue is that which is freely chosen. And the more forgivable offences are those committed in ignorance. Therefore, let me suggest, a free world shrouded in fog wins on two counts. We win as we fight for the right, and the bulk of our opposition is not incorrigible because it is deceived. But then maybe there is a danger in the victory of truth. What happens when the nakedness of Emperor Darwin becomes apparent to all, yet some dig in their heels in uncompromising anger and bitterness and hate? The advancement of truth creates both heroes and villains--winners and losers. Rude
Rude, One of the things we rarely consider is the alternative. Suppose God reveals himself to us directly in a way that is unambiguous. What would be the consequences? One of my speculations on this is that we would essentially lose free will. By the way this is my speculation which I freely admit. Part of it would be how God revealed himself and what would the revelation be. We could speculate on a lot of possible ways but how many of them woud affect our free will. Right now we have the free will to seek or not to seek, to reject out of hand as Darwinists seem to automatically do or to consider, to believe or not believe often wilfully. None of this would be the case if there was unambiguous knowledge of the Father. So how much free will would we have? I am certainly not trying to get a discussion started on free will but just offered my opinion as a complement to your comments. What is the value of virtue when there is certainty and the virtue is not freely chosen? Is it then really virtue? jerry
Dawkins asks, “Why should belief be important?” I’ve often wondered the same thing. What father would hide from his children and then consider their belief in his existence important? The short answer, in my opinion, is that God hides himself—and even sends “strong delusion”—such that it might become evident who really wants to know versus who doesn’t want to know. Wanting to know is a virtue, as also the hope that things are ultimately good. Virture emerges when the search for truth means swimming upstream against the current of one’s peers and warring against rebellious and hedonistic urges that can be justified by Darwin and other false messiahs. The fog of the present reality facilitates this sifting out of virtue, and it also offers hope for the beguiled. A society that knowingly rejects the truth is in more serious trouble than one that errs in ignorance. “It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.” Rude
$4 billion per year to study global warming!!!!!!!!!!!!! tribune7
I like how the Israeli phyiscs professor said he would have told you it was CO2 just a few years ago because "like everyone else in the public, I listened to what the media had to say." tribune7
I just blogged this: "William Crawley raises the point that Dawkins’ “Ultimate Boeing 747” argument against the existence of God means that no amount of evidence for design in the universe could ever count for God’s existence. God (or a Designer), on Dawkins’ view, would always be at least as complex and in need of explanation as the things he designed; therefore, inferring such a God/Designer is futile. To Dawkins the only valid explanation is a reductionist one, in the highly peculiar sense of reducing the need for explanation. A designer is “as difficult” (Dawkins’ words) to explain as the appearance of design itself. Therefore inferring a designer is invalid. Dawkins agreed with Crawley that this was his position. But note that in saying this he contradicts his famous statement that Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist. If no amount of apparent design can ever warrant the inference of a designer, then the advent of Darwin’s theory didn’t change anything. Inferring the existence of God was already invalid..." More here. baruch
Np tribune. Someone should post that video on the frontpage. It's not exaggerating to call it landmark. It's got very prominent celebrated scientists blowing the global warming/human CO2 (and Al Gore) theory out of the water. Everybody needs to see it! Rowan
Eric Voegelin, in his _Science, Politics, and Gnosticism_, described a "pneumopathology", by which someone like Dawkins, "in [his] revolt against the world as it has been created by God, arbitrarily omits an element of reality in order to create the fantasy of a new world." It's why various ideologies have a simple, clear, but false message: some key aspects of reality have been deleted. Jaz
Thanks, Rowan tribune7
Deluded, Dawkins says? What of believing in Spontaneous Generation, alchemical-like Transmutation, and mud becoming Mind? Besides, his theology is sophomoric mmadigan
I believe a lot of the faith commitment by Darwinists is a reaction to something they do not like and in fact detest. It is similar with the extreme left whose resentment seems to arise from what they perceive as any unequal distribution of resources and justice. Both are driven by something they oppose instead of the benefits of what they recommend. So a lot of what I perceive to be the source of atheism and all its seemingly contradictory positions is a resentment against the authoritarian positions of nearly every religion. They are quite happy when a religion turns wishy-washy. If the prevailing zeitgeist was one of Deism with a laissez faire view of how one thought of God, I doubt we would see much of Richard Dawkins or people like him. Neither the extreme left nor Darwinists seem to be amenable to any reason, though that is what they say drives their position. It is rarely we see a Darwinists say that maybe something could have been designed. It is alwalys reflexively unbending. By the way it is not just the Darwinists and the extreme left who seem to be irrational when their positions are challenged. I am sure we could find many others. jerry
[Off topic] Channel 4 (UK) broadcast a documentary called "The Great Global warming Swindle" last week, which interviews several scientists who think the link between CO2 and climate change is nonsense. You can watch the whole thing on google video http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=9005566792811497638&hl=en Rowan
I like Phil Johnson's take on this: "I would like to be a Darwinist; I simply cannot muster the necessary faith commitment." ;-) BarryA
and an absence of that faith makes one atheistic The one who is certain there is a material cause for the universe has a faith far greater than any Christian, and when he claims he only accepts things that can be demonstrated shows himself to be delusional. (or perhaps agnostic), And perhaps there is a pretty big difference. tribune7
"... an act of desperation to make the evidence fit something someone wants to believe, is inventing an infinitude of imaginary universes, for which there is no evidence ..." And yet it's a popular theory that makes about as much sense as an infinitude of monkeys typing Shakespeare. It's incredible that any scientist would even entertain that notion, sans evidence. As Rude aludes to, more than a belief based on the evidence or even faith, atheism is more of a stance based on stubborn determinism. By that I mean a personal determinism of belief rather than a Deterministic philosophy. I feel for those however that are subjugated by the system, i.e. by classroom indoctrination and peer pressure, and who may lack the courage to deviate, or admit to so doing. I firmly believe that a large percentage graduating scientists are, or will evolve into closet theists. For any of those who might read this I have a suggestion. Consider the evidence. LeeBowman
Dawkins is surely delusional when he considers something so illogical, so ugly, so futile beautiful, but he’s right when he observes that God is not compatible with a deep commitment to Darwinism. Dawkins is also right when he says that the issue is reality—not politics or popularity or what we want to believe, but he’s wrong when he thinks he is capable of approaching the subject objectively and logically. I remember Malcom Muggeridge (on Firing Line) observing how that believers wrestle with doubt whereas atheists don’t seem to know the meaning of the word. Could this be because believers are seekers who actually want to know whereas atheists are running from the truth and don’t want to know? For the seeker honesty is a virtue, not so for the uncurious and willingly ignorant. Now—don’t know where this belongs—but some of you might be interested in this from Spiegel Online: “Pope Benedict XVI is a thorn in the side of every enlightened intellectual. … Viennese Archbishop Christoph Schönborn is no longer alone in his crusade against the theory of evolution. … This pope is a radical - another trait that makes him sexy to the intellectuals.” Have our Euro-cousins reached the bottom and had to stop and in that sense are even more ready for ID than our own countrymen? I’m reminded of Michael J. Lewis’ recent article Body and Soul in Commentary. Shocking where we’ve reached but a little heartening to see where the Continent won’t go. Rude
Found out for myself. Wikipedia says he has only one child - a daughter - even though he's been married three times. Janice
Watching that made me feel very sad. I could ask why some people are so determined to be the one sitting on God's throne but I already know the answer. Been there, done that, God intervened, thank you God. Well, maybe God is not finished with Richard Dawkins yet. Anyone know how many children he has? That is, have his "selfish genes" been successful in producing lots of copies of themselves? Janice
GilDodgen, perhaps if you consider that it takes faith to be a theist and an absence of that faith makes one atheistic (or perhaps agnostic), then you may see that science is more a ‘weighing of the evidence’ process. Many of your questions are answered by: The universe formed a certain way, as a consequence, we evolved to be a certain way, that process doesn’t make the life or the behaviour of that life, right or wrong, reasoned or unreasoned, likely or unlikely, it’s just the way things are. Science continues to uncover little bits of why things are the way they are. Re rigged for life – how would you scientifically test to see if some aspect was rigged for life, as opposed to ‘evolved into a niche’? chance
Over at telicthoughts.com there is a thread entitled, Religion: Irrational? Ask a Preeminent Logician. Dawkins considers belief in God to be irrational. I consider atheism to be irrational, for the reasons given below: In order to be an atheist one must believe that something came from nothing for no reason, life came from non-life, the personal came from the impersonal, reason came from unreason, consciousness came from unconsciousness, the moral came from the amoral, etc. I can't conjure up enough faith in so much stuff that makes no sense to be an atheist. Theism seems perfectly rational to me. And there is abundant evidence that the universe was rigged not only for life, but for humanity and technology (see Denton's Nature's Destiny). This serves as evidence for a designer, and a straightforward inference to design seems perfectly rational to me. What seems irrational, a leap of blind faith, and an act of desperation to make the evidence fit something someone wants to believe, is inventing an infinitude of imaginary universes, for which there is no evidence and which are in principle undetectable, in order to make evidence for design go away. GilDodgen

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