Monday, January 25, 2010

Dawkins' Confession

I found this video showing Gary DeMar of The American Vision discussing Richard Dawkins' new book, The Greatest Show on Earth:

DeMar points out some interesting quotes from Dawkins' book which I have reproduced below, and will comment on each.

Many churches, and even parachurch organizations, each have a 'statement of faith', or 'confession of faith' whereby they define their core beliefs. It seems that in the beginning of his book, Dawkins gives his 'confession of faith', beginning with:
"It is the plain truth that we are cousins of chimpanzees, somewhat more distant cousins of monkeys, more distant cousins still of aardvarks and manatees, yet more distant cousins of bananas and turnips..."
Notice that he speaks of cousins, not brothers, because brothers, mothers, and fathers are not to be found. He continues:
"Evolution is a fact, and [my book The Greatest Show on Earth] will demonstrate it. No reputable scientist disputes it..."
Speaking of evolution as a fact doesn't sound, at first, like a statement of faith, but given his admission of lack of evidence (quoted later), it seems that what he really means by this is that he believes so fervently in evolution that it seems like a fact to him. Thinking of my own faith, I know the feeling.

He also promises that his book will demonstrate the 'fact' of evolution, but no real demonstration of this is possible. There is experimental demonstration, where one sets up initial conditions, controls, and measurements on real physical objects, living or not. But the evolution that relates man to turnips is an interpretation of the past, and no part of it has been experimentally demonstrated in modern times. Parenthetically --
We perhaps may need, at this point, to explain to some readers the distinction between macro-evolution, also called goo-to-you evolution, and micro-evolution, the kind that when guided by man breeds cats to get more kinds of cats, but never dogs, and breeds dogs to get more kinds of dogs, but never cats. Creationists believe in micro-evolution, and that's not debated here. The relevance here is that experimental demonstrations have been applied to micro-evolution, but not macro-evolution, which remains in the realm of story-telling.
There is also logical demonstration, which in its most reliable form is a formal proof. But the lack of evidence, which Dawkins admits to, precludes logical demonstration of macro-evolution.

His statement "No reputable scientist disputes it" is a tautology in disguise. There are many reputable scientists that dispute evolution, but to evolutionists like Dawkins, that defines them as not reputable.

As though to illustrate the fervency of Dawkins' faith, the next quote sounds like an enthusiastic description of a miracle:
"The universe could so easily have remained lifeless and simple -- just physics and chemistry, just the scattered dust of the cosmic explosion that gave birth to time and space. The fact that it did not -- the fact that life evolved literally out of nothing -- is a fact so staggering that I would be mad to attempt words to do it justice. And even that is not the end of the matter. Not only did evolution happen: it eventually led to beings capable of comprehending the process by which they comprehend it."
His phrase "lifeless and simple" is similar to Genesis 1:2, where the earth is described as "formless and empty" before God gives it form and fills it with life; but in Dawkins' account, God gets no credit.

His description of dust giving "birth to time and space" contradicts physics as we now know it. According to modern physics, matter cannot exists separately from time and space, and vice versa.

Again he uses the word 'fact' to refer to his interpretation of facts. But I would agree that the idea that "life evolved literally out of nothing" is staggering -- so much so that one would be mad to believe it.

If you still doubt that Dawkins' words are a 'confession of faith', read this quote:
"We have no evidence about what the first step on making life was, but we do know the kind of step it must have been. It must have been whatever it took to get natural selection started."
In other words, Dawkins knows that there must have been an event when life began, there must have a 'first cause' that caused it to begin, and he knows that he has no evidence of how it began. He is unwilling to believe that God was that cause, so he resorts to a tautology: "It must have been whatever it took".

Given the huge amount of information and artful design that we now observe in all living things, requiring enormous intelligence, I'd say it must have been God -- it took God to get natural selection started. And by God's account, He created various kinds of living things, so natural selection started on some collection of kinds, rather than one kind of life. And the experimental evidence is that even when we give natural selection an extra push, and the advantage of our intelligence, we can't change cats into dogs, or vice versa, let alone turning turnips into chimpanzees.

I think my faith fits the evidence better.