Thursday, August 28, 2008

Dick Dawkins Just Don't Get It

I recently watched the Channel 4 documentary "The Genius Of Charles Darwin" and I think it could have been retitled "Darwin Was A Genius But Dawkins Can't Get That Chip Off His Shoulder."

While I totally love Dawkins when he's talking science, unfortunately he can't say two sentences about evolution without telling us how stupid religion is. I wanted to see a documentary about how much of a genius Darwin was, and I would say about 70% of it presented just that. But a good portion was spent whining about the religious people who don't accept evolution.

The part where he really shows how he's out of touch with normal people (as opposed to the brilliant scientists he runs with) was in the third episode when he just couldn't understand why the high school science teachers were opposed to shaking up their student's religious beliefs. He just couldn't understand why these children would listen to lectures on evolution and not just understand it and reject their religion.

Would it hurt him to study that phenomenon...gasp...scientifically? Instead of gesticulating and convulsing over it?

He is presented with a group of children who for the last 15 years of their life have been presented with an acceptable (to a child) explanation of how the world came about. The closest and most trusted people in their lives assure them that it is the truth as handed down to them through generation after generation. At least once per week they go to church and hear it from another trusted authority that creation as presented in the bible is how the world was made. And somehow Dawkins doesn't understand why when presented with a strongly conflicting explanation by people who are NOT in their trusted circle of people, the children don't simply accept it as fact.

Why not instead of flailing helplessly doesn't Dawkins study this?

Anyway, I thought the second episode was the best. It touched a little on evolutionary psychology (hey, could that explain why the kids want to believe their parents?) which is a subject I'm interested in. The third episode presented an interesting look into what Darwin struggled with when he realized the implications of evolution.

All-in-all it is a good series. I leave you with Dick Dawkins, The Rap:


PTET said...

Totally, man. I thought in the first episode in particular Dawkins came across as, well, a bit of a twit.

He was better - more human - in the second and third episodes.

An interesting program, but rather more about Dawkins than about evolution or science...

pursuitofmeaning said...

As C.S Lewis has shown - it is actually possible for Christians to leave the case for evolution open as an option without rejecting Genesis.

But I guess just like many Christians label evolutionists as bad people - evolutionists/atheists often label Christians as people without the mental capacity to weigh up options and think about a matter on an intellectual and philosophical level. That's it yeah - us Christians must be dumb - that's why we believe!

It reminds me of how white people use to believe that black people are intellectually inferior.

Doubting Foo said...

He's been an atheist for so long that he forgets what it was like to believe. So when he encounters a believer he looks at their beliefs with maybe 40 years of hindsight and talks to people like Austin Powers when he lost his inner voice.