Thursday, April 17, 2008

Defending Dawkins?

While driving to work this morning, I was listening to a Christian radio station, which usually plays music with occasional DJ banter, or discussion. They had a producer of the movie, Expelled, on the air, and he was trying explain how the movie refutes Darwinism and shows the silliness of atheist Richard Dawkins for saying that life may have started on this planet by being seeded from intelligent life somewhere else in the universe, aka aliens.

Now, Richard Dawkins isn't getting any love from me. He's a complete blowhard when it comes to the discussion between Christians and atheists, with regards to the origin of life. That being said, I was still bothered by this 8 am DJ banter which was mocking and arrogant in its own right, and which was taking place among people who have neither read Dawkins, nor seen the movie Expelled.

Having read The God Delusion, I can confidently say that the super-smart, alien, designer theory discussed on the radio was not Dawkins first and only choice in defining the beginning point of life. Instead, his approach is more one of things are the way they are because that is the only way they could be in order to produce life. We are the lucky, random recipients of a perfectly aligned planet that was capable of providing just the right conditions for the development of life. To back up his argument he simply compares Earth to the billions of planets which inhabit the Universe and says it's simply a statistical given that at least a few planets could produce life among the millions and millions that can't. We just happened to have the winning lottery ticket.

So there. I defended Richard Dawkins from being caricatured by miscellaneous Christian DJs. It'll probably never happen again.

In the midst of all this, I was struck by how easily Christians can jump on a bandwagon without really knowing jack about what they're talking about. It's pretty sad. However, I don't think it's a phenomenon that occurs only in the Christian community. I read and hear the same thing from atheists who don't really know or understand much about Christianity, yet spout off arguments which aren't based in what they have studied, but what others have told them. No group is above taking up banners that a prominent member of the group has declared important. It happens.

I can't speak for atheists, not being one, but I can speak from a Christian perspective. If you haven't put any effort into understanding the opposition, haven't read anything they've written, haven't for a moment considered their point of view, then stay out of the conversation. You're in a far better position to simply cling to your faith as the reason for not accepting evolution then you are if you try to argue from a scientific knowledge base which you don't posses or fully understand. You can have your opinions. You can express your opinions. You should do both; just don't cloak it in scientific terms in an effort to get past the defense of the opposing team. It makes Christians seem arrogant, sneaky, and intellectually dishonest.

That's my little rant for the day.

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