Thursday, October 19, 2006

Creation and Evolution- Again!



This blog all began with the big hullabaloo over Christoph Cardinal Schöborn's oped in the New York Times on evolution during the summer of 2005. So, here we are again, dealing with the same topic. The pot-stirrer? Richard Dawkins, who demonstrates shameless intellectual pretensions and no philosophical acumen. If his arguments to Stephen Colbert don't strike you as specious and contradictory, you need a course in elementary informal logic. If you are really interested in pursuing the matter, I suggest you read Dawkins' God: Genes, Memes, and the Meaning of Life, by Alister McGrath. As both a scientist, he has a Ph.D. in biophysics, and Oxford University Professor of Historical Theology, McGrath, writes biochemist, Michael Behe, in his rather negative and anti-intellectual, review of the book in First Things, a little over a year ago, "shows Dawkins to be an intellectual featherweight on religious topics." Taking but one instance, "Dawkins berates Tertullian as anti-rational for saying of the Christian Gospel, 'It is certain because it is impossible.' Yet McGrath demonstrates that this single quote was torn badly out of context, and that Tertullian’s real attitude was that 'there is nothing that God does not wish to be investigated and understood by reason.' McGrath concludes that 'Dawkins’ views on the nature of faith are best regarded as an embarrassment to anyone concerned with scholarly accuracy.' Points are also scored on historical grounds. Darwin’s views on religion were much less negative than Dawkins’. R.A. Fisher, a founder of theoretical evolutionary genetics, was a strong Christian who pictured evolution as God’s ongoing creation."

Equal in interest to McGrath's book, are theoretical particle physicist, Stephen M. Barr's, articles on Dawkins' not very scientific metaphysical fulminations. To give just two references, Barr's review of Dawkins' Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion, and the Appetite for Wonder and his article in the February 2006 issue of First Things, entitled The Miracle of Evolution, in which he really skewers the arguments of both Dawkins and Daniel Dennett. At the end of the day, nobody does it better than Colbert, who, I might add, is a practicing Catholic. The take away line being " . . . but if the universe is not intelligently designed, then you're saying the universe just naturally came into existence, continues existence, through natural laws of nature, through physics, thermodynamics, the laws of gravity and energy, produced you, eventually, and then through you produced this book that proves that it has no natural intelligent design."

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