Richard Dawkins - The Virus of Faith
So Richard Dawkins' The Root of All Evil Part 2 has aired last night. I must say that looking back on both instalments, I expected more than I got but then 2 hours (minus six commercial breaks) doesn't leave all that much room for manoeuvre and at times the programme seemed to suffer a little from overcrowding.
But looking at the blogosphere Richard Dawkins is predictably already being accused of all sorts, simply for speaking his mind on the "sensitive" topic of religion. In my honest opinion, the only really valid point one fellow blogger made was Dawkins' gaffe of stating at one point that "evolution is a FACT", during his confrontation with the Hassidic Rabbi. Apart from the fact that evolutionary biology still has to be considered a theory (albeit one with a phenomenal body of evidence to support it), it is also gefundenes fressen for those who want to brand evolutionary biology (and with it atheism, just for good measure) as a new religion.
But most other criticisms tell more about the criticasters than their subject:
1. Dawkins' programme was a frontal assault, atheist propaganda: coming from the religious camp, it shows most theists still feel all should tip-toe around subjects like the existence of God and some of the central tenets of both Testaments. No doubt some will pray for us...
2. Dawkins spent too much time on fundamentalists and too little on the liberal side: in the programme itself he shows why; liberals have a pick-and-mix attitude to their faith which simply isn't representative of the core values of their faith. They end up sitting on the fence between science and religion without wholly embracing either. Is it necessary to make this choice? If you want too be logical about things then yes. But being logical is not a legal requirement... The fact that I'd rather sit down to dinner with a moderate believer than a fundamentalist, doesn't change much at all.
3. Dawkins wasn't being scientific. Well, this wasn't a science programme and to expect anyone to make a comprehensive, scientifically supported case for evolutionary biology and against superstition within the framework of a 2 hour TV show would be entirely unrealistic. And why is it that those who base most of their world view on a faith often require evidence and proof from others?
4. Dawkins is angry, so so angry: plain rubbish, someone who speaks out against religion will always be seen as having a chip on their shoulders by the religious crowd. I'm agnostic and Dawkins didn't come across particularly livid to me.
Nearly 150 years after publication of Origins, Darwin's big idea continues to be dangerous...
Some of Dawkins' programme had more of an anecdotal quality: the so-called "Hell Houses" weren't that important in arguing Dawkins' case but it was revealing to see to what lengths some evangelists will go to in order to strike the fear of God into children as young as 12 years of age.
It's a pity Channel 4 hadn't decided to make more room for this kind of programme.
Keywords: Richard Dawkins, Intelligent Design, evolution, religion