Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Why Dawkins brings Ruse into Disrepute

This is certainly not the FIRST TIME atheistic philosopher Michael Ruse has expressed his feelings and sentiments towards the "new atheists." Recently, an ARTICLE appeared in The Guardian U.K. titled, "Dawkins et al brings us into disrepute," where Ruse explains in more detail why he believes that the "new atheists" are a "bloody disaster".

"There are several reasons why we atheists are squabbling – I will speak only for myself but I doubt I am atypical. First, non-believer though I may be, I do not think (as do the new atheists) that all religion is necessarily evil and corrupting."

I'm glad to finally hear an atheist admit that religion doesn't "poison everything." Its unfortunate that the "new atheists" give atheists like Ruse such a bad rap. While Ruse is hardly a friend to theism, its good to hear that he doesn't treat it like a disease.

"Second, unlike the new atheists, I take scholarship seriously."

It doesn't get more bold than that! And for the most part, Ruse is right on the money. Take "The God Delusion," for instance. How many times did Dawkins reference and interact with the likes of William Craig and other prominent theistic philosophers? I could probably name the number of references on one hand. Sure, Dawkins doesn't think their arguments are "worthy" of a response. But Aquinas was?

"I have written that The God Delusion made me ashamed to be an atheist and I meant it. Trying to understand how God could need no cause, Christians claim that God exists necessarily. I have taken the effort to try to understand what that means. Dawkins and company are ignorant of such claims and positively contemptuous of those who even try to understand them, let alone believe them. Thus, like a first-year undergraduate, he can happily go around asking loudly, "What caused God?" as though he had made some momentous philosophical discovery."

I realize that Dawkins might respond with, "Sure, people might think my arguments are simplistic, but they never explain why or offer a refutation." But Dawkins misses the boat completely. If you check out the more serious and scholarly responses to theistic arguments, you will notice one key difference from Dawkins: they actually interact with them. Dawkins, on the other hand, shows almost no evidence that he is even willing to read what the best of the other side has to say. In my opinion, Dawkins' arguments are just as lame as the Christian, "Goddidit" response.

"I don't have faith. I really don't. Rowan Williams does as do many of my fellow philosophers like Alvin Plantinga (a Protestant) and Ernan McMullin (a Catholic). I think they are wrong; they think I am wrong. But they are not stupid or bad or whatever. "

Ruse is right. The "New Atheists" need to clean up their act. As wrong as I think atheists are, I do not for a second think that they are dumb.

"I want evolution taught in the schools and I can think of no way better designed to make that impossible than to spout on about religion, from ignorance and with contempt."

Exactly. I'm convinced that the "new atheists" are doing far more harm than good for the cause of evolutionary education and atheism in general. Richard Dawkins, for instance, can't seem to talk about evolution without finding some way to bring religion into the mix.

"But don't worry. In the God Delusion, we have a message as simplistic as in The Genesis Flood."

While many of the scientific arguments in "The Genesis Flood" are probably out of date (i'm sure Ruse, or any other atheist would categorize all the arguments as false, but that's beside the point), I get what Ruse is saying. If you are an atheist and want to step into my shoes, then consider this: the manner in which you view a 50 year-old book like "The Genesis Flood" is the same manner in which I view a 2 year-old book like "The God Delusion."

Atheists: its time to step up your game and call each other to a higher standard. Don't settle for garbage. Read what we have to say and interact with us. Show us that you have a willingness to investigate our best arguments and respond to them. This will do much for your cause. I promise.

(ht: RichardDawkins.net)


tom sheepandgoats said...

"Sure, Dawkins doesn't think their arguments are "worthy" of a response."

I like this, Mike. Dawkins and crew do more or less what I do when I am in a fight absorbing blow after blow: I keep shouting "fight's over, already! I won!" But Dawkins will "win" when respected scientists from the other side stop making arguments to the contrary.

Frankly, I don't think either side will ever "win" (unless and until God himself ends it). Like most things, arguments and reason can be mustered for both sides, and it is likely as much (or more) a matter of heart and emotion than reason anyway.

Mike Felker said...

Hey Tom, its good to hear from you. Thanks for leaving your comment. Hope all is well!