12th August 2009

“The notion that religion is a proper field, in which one might claim expertise, is one that should not go unquestioned. That clergyman presumably would not have deferred to the expertise of a claimed 'fairyologist' on the exact shape and colour of fairy wings.”

Richard Dawkins

5 Responses to “12th August 2009”

  1. Oxymoronic Christhinker Says:

    The notion that Dawkins knows enough about religion in order to judge that religion is not a proper field is itself a claim that ought not to go unquestioned. But hey, I doubt I’ll make any friends here by questioning the least interesting of the “New Atheists.”

  2. Hypatia Says:

    The notion that Dawkins knows enough about religion in order to judge that religion is not a proper field

    ROTFLOL – how many believers out there know as much a Richard Dawkins? Yet they still believe and pontificate at great length!

    Do I have to know the history of fairy related folklore in detail to recognise it for what it is or to critique it’s obvious weaknesses?

    the least interesting of the “New Atheists.”

    I guess you haven’t read any of his books? Or listened to him speak in person instead of being paraphrased by his detractors?

    When you cast a slur on someone Oxy, it reveals your own fears.

  3. Oxymoronic Christhinker Says:

    I have read all of his books (I think? Most of his books?)), but have not as of yet seen him speak in person (I would like to, but as far as I know, he will not be appearing in the Pacific Northwest any time soon). I still think he is the least interesting of the New Atheists, though as an evolutionary biologist he is, of course, at the top of his game.

    As a “religious” thinker/critic, however, he is quite ignorant of the “history of fairy related folklore,” as you put it, and his critic of much of religion in general and Christianity in particular, besides being centuries behind the times and based upon his own inaccurate caricature of religion and the religious, is often little more than the casting of slurs at those with whom he disagrees and quite obviously dislikes. This despite his own claim that he is a “cultural Christian.” He is as much of a self-promoter as any televangelist. His reading of the Bible is even more literal and fundamentalist than the biblical literalists and fundamentalists (I am not saying he is himself a fundamentalist!). I rarely “pontificate at great length” (this is the longest post I’ve submitted for quite some time), and I fail to see how anything I’ve written here constitutes a “slur on someone” that “reveals [my] own fears.” I simply questioned whether or not Dawkins has anything knowledgeable to say about religion and expressed my own particular opinion concerning what I find interesting or not.

    BTW, “slurs” are regularly cast at believers by commentators on this site at least as regularly as slurs are cast at atheists on the religious sites I sometimes post on, and on those sites I have always defended atheism as a valid point-of-view and atheists as good people – a notion that I think ought not to need defending in this day and age. And the same goes for the religious on this site.

    I suppose I could just frequent those sites, read those books, and listen to those speakers with whom I already agree, but (1) how would I ever learn anything, and (2) what would be the fun in that?

    Anyway, have a nice day!

  4. Hypatia Says:

    based upon his own inaccurate caricature of religion and the religious

    On what grounds is it inaccurate? You may have a sophisticated, nuanced view of religion but you’re a tiny minority.

    Most of the billions of religious people on this planet have a very simple, literal belief.

  5. Brian Delrosario Says:

    Questioning will result in knowledge. Belief alone produces no new advances. What serves you more: lesser certainty or greater certainty? We admire knowledge over belief because knowledge actually works. In 2008 in Wisconsin, Dale Neumann’s daughter fell into a coma. Rather than seeking medical attention, he trusted in faith and prayed. Hours later, his daughter died of undiagnosed diabetes. A call to 911 might have saved her. His unquestioned faith killed his daughter. This year, 2009, a jury found him guilty of reckless homicide. Will praying ourselves bulletproof stop our enemies? Does faith advance new forms of prayer to more efficiently construct buildings? Does prayer cure diseases? Faith is worthless. Questioning, doubting, knowledge — that works.