Monday, October 02, 2006

Dawkins Needs to Show Some Doubt (Guardian)

Richard Dawkins shows all the characteristics of being a fundamentalist -- on the opposite side to fundamentalist creationists and Intelligent Design proponents. One of those characteristics is described by Stephen Unwin in his Guardian article on Dawkins -- absolute certainty on matters where this is not possible. There is nothing (or, at the least, very little) for which humans can be absolutely certain in a truly epistemological sense (I suppose we can't even be certain of that!). One of those is the existence of God. Experientially, Christians may express certainty that God exists (which I would rather call 'confidence'). But, in actual fact, there is no way of proving that God absolutely, definitely exists -- not if proof is understood in its technical sense. But Richard Dawkins is guilty of just the opposite -- he expresses absolute certainty that God doesn't exist. In doing so, he falls into the same error of which he accuses his opponents. As Unwin argues, Dawkins needs to return to one of the central tenets of sciences -- an intellectual humility that recognises the limits of human capacity to know absolutely. In a lovely piece of irony, Unwin considers the possibility that Dawkins has been infected by 'the certainty meme'! You can read the whole article here.

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