On the plane on the way home from Adelaide, I finally caught up with Richard Dawkins’s doco against religion of any kind, and I was struck by his outrageous and emotive language – his own thesis as fundamentally atheist as those religions he aims to critique.
The issue I have with his fundamentalist pro-science approach is that his antipathy to paranormal and possibilities – something he calls “constructive doubt” – is precisely the sort of attitude that can prevent conceptual analysis and philosophy, and could result in prejudice and separatism. I have no problem with his advocacy of evidential scientific instruction. I have a problem with his superior attitude, and his assumption of ignorance and belittling of those who do pursue a religious life.
He invokes Darwin as a source of modern “truth”. Yet Darwin’s own theories of natural selection are challenged by the findings even of pro-science anthropologist, Jared Diamond. Indeed, what Diamond argues in his work in Guns, Germs and Steel, is that Darwin’s theories are sensationally flawed, and that a series of opportunistic and convenience oriented aspects contribute to the development of human cultures.
But I am convinced that it is insufficient to argue that science and natural selection can entirely explain the collapse of societies and economies. It is indeed the case that cultural economics – often based on religion – have defined the strongest communities. There’s a reason why religion hasn’t died out. It is these communities that survive. If anything, it is religion that has provided the strength for some communities to survive. Explain it as divine intervention or anthropological community development, this has provided the basis for human survival.
I find the arrogance of some scientists absolutely disgusting, and Richard Dawkins is the most arrogant of them all. This series is worth watching to understand that atheism is as dangerous as religious fundamentalism. Moderation in all things is clearly the most peaceful and diplomatic course for a humanistic and tolerant future.