Friday, October 25, 2013

The last time I saw Richard

I picked a nice picture of him, don't you think? I actually did come across a picture of a very morose- looking Richard Dawkins sitting in a cafe but I thought no, better not, I try to keep things above the belt here folks. The last time I saw Richard (Dawkins), I was watching a clip on YouTube of The Agenda with Steve Paiken interviewing Dr.Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss. I've listened to Richard Dawkins talk a number of times and you know the thing that has intrigued me on those occasions, is when I've caught a glimpse of his humanity or his spiritual side. On one occasion I remember he and Stephen Hawking having a televised conversation where in response to Dawkins sighing and looking upward as if to say, what's it all about, Hawking glanced at him and quipped with a tone of indifference, something to the effect of why is this (the big questions) an issue for you?

Well, the answer should be obvious shouldn't it? We're all searching for meaning, we all want to think that somehow it matters that we're here, that deep down sense of human dignity, I am somebody, life matters, doesn't it? So, it was interesting for me to listen to Richard Dawkins talk about getting a lump in his throat, being moved almost to tears when visiting a large telescope. Or Krauss, talking about being inspired by the thought that we are stardust. Gosh, that's another Joni Mitchell song isn't it, two Joni Mitchell songs in one blog, must be because it's Friday! Stay calm, everyone.

Anyway, but here's the thing with the new atheism, often when the new atheists talk, they talk about science as being an end in itself. Is it? I'm sympathetic to some of those ideas to a point, I think okay, perhaps we can measure well-being and misery, success and failure, human flourishing, but then it always happens, I keep thinking. You have a field of study, you look at it, study it, study it some more, break it down to understand it better, and then what? It's all parts, isn't it? Where in that study do things get built up again? How does humpty dumpty get put back together? Are we more than the sum of our parts? Says who? The objective reality is, that in a vast universe that is burning up and winding down with us in it, we're pretty insignificant.

But that lump in the throat, that inspiration, if it's all just matter, stuff acting and reacting against other stuff in the throat, why would it matter if we care or not? Well, having listened to enough secularists along the way, I think I know what some would say. They would admit that there is no ultimate meaning in all of this, but they would quickly rebound in saying that we can create our own subjective meaning.Okay, but why should I accept someone else's subjective existential meaning over my own? And that's the thing with the new atheists, is that they talk about other people's beliefs as delusional, while demanding that you accept their subjective meaning over your own, which is why I'll take Neitszche's unsparing honesty about such things over the new atheists' smily scientism any day. In other words, if it's all just opinion, one person's crap shoot for meaning over another's, I think I'll trust my own intuition.

And I'll tell you why, because I don't see a madman or a Charlatan when I read the New Testament, nor do I see myth as a genre when I read the bulk of the Bible. I see a book that tells it like it is, praise God, that speaks to my deepest needs and aspirations. It's bigger, it's a bigger hope than simply trying for a comfortable life for myself and others in the here and now. I don't mean to knock anyone else's sense of purpose here, that's not my intent, only to speak from my own experience and to acknowledge what is seldom acknowledged in secular circles, that science and technology may have wonderful outcomes in many respects, but science is often credited with much more than it can possibly offer on it's own.

In concluding, science is not on the side of atheism. The assumption that it is amounts to subjective secular interpretations of science. Dawkins himself appeared to agree with Krauss in the Steve Paiken interview, that (evolution is not inconsistent with theology), nor is the big bang, nor is the information content of DNA or cosmic fine-tuning (I would add). But while science is not on the side of secularism, it appears that our secular culture has an appetite for expressions of secular opinion. These are two qualified scientists who are talking popular level secular philosophy while not being adequately trained in philosophy to deconstruct their own arguments. Nor am I, for the record, but I enjoy listening to people who are, and it sounds reasonable to me to think that with theism, unlike atheism, there is the possibility of an objective foundation for rationality and ethics and purpose and aesthetics, in the groundwork of an intelligent designer. And that for me, is a thought that truly inspires, even if I'm objectively wrong.

thanks for listening,

M.A. Harvery

The Agenda:"Rise of the New Atheists"

and here's Joni: "The last time I saw Richard"

image: Richard Dawkins

Finally, I decided to include this, for anyone who may be interested.  This is the third part of an interview with William Lane Craig. Dawkins has refused to debate Craig, but Krauss has engaged in some recent dialogues. Craig is a double PhD. in philosophy and theology.

Here's the link:

The entire series and debates, etc., can be found at:

and here's a YouTube page containing the Australia dialogues/ debates between Craig and Krauss:

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