Saturday, June 2, 2007

Dawkins, My hero

"We are all athiests about most gods humanity has believed in..some of us just go one god further." Richard Dawkins

I was happy to be able to view a discussion by Richard Dawkins on a webcast from a few years back called "Design of Life" held in California in 2002/TEDtalks. Hearing him speak is just as enjoyable as reading his scholarly material. A British accent always helps too. And his lectures would certainly be both entertaining and enlightening to attend....much like Ricky Gervais, another great speaker against Creationism, though not from academia like Dawkins.

Dawkin's statement about atheism being "corrosive to religious faith" has stuck with me. How difficult it remains to understand how science and religion can ever mix well. Personally, I don't think they should be expected to blend. They are separate realms of knowledge. As an evolutionary biologist, Dawkins can see the connection between human progress and lack of religious dogma in the lives of individuals. The enlightenment could not have taken place without freethinkers. And society is better off because of secular humanism.

Favoring the simple explanation over the complex...the beauty of simplicity even. Like Darwin, Dawkins explains natural selection like a ramp...a gradual, slow moving, step-by-step process. No fancy tricks or sleight of hand techniques. He counters the IDers and their complex explanations for a creator agent and their unquestioning faith. God is not necessary to explain the cosmos or our moral behavior on this earth. God is a human construct and we will be moral with or without religious guidelines. As I heard it put once, we are born to be moral. We are instinctually social creatures.

We are entering in the secular realm of universal law and of moral philosophy ...a humanist path, not a religious one. A path where we are raised from childhood to build bridges instead of walls. To have dialogue rather than monologue...debate is a legitmate form of communication, even about taboo subjects like religion.