Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Richard Dawkins Gets Skewered

For anyone familiar with Richard Dawkins (The Selfish Gene, The Blind Watchmaker), the English hyper-materialist and evangelical atheist, the following review from The Times of London should be a guilty pleasure. I confess, I am one of those guys who has never had a theological problem with organic evolution. Back when I worked in the lab, a good chunk of my published work was on molecular evolution, and I do a lecture on the topic in my biochemistry class every semester. But Dawkins attempts to make evolutionary theory into a basis for an atheistic philosophy of life really get on my nerves in pretty short order. It’s nice to see him get a bit of a comeuppance.

Scientists all over the nation must hold their heads and groan whenever Richard Dawkins appears on television, as he did in The Root of All Evil? (Monday, C4). He is such a terrible advertisement, such an awful embarrassment, the Billy Graham of the senior common room. His splenetic, small-minded, viciously vindictive falsetto rant at all belief that isn’t completely rooted in the natural sciences is laughable. Dawkins is a born-again Darwinist, an atheist, so why is he devoting so much blood pressure and time to arguing with something he knows doesn’t exist? If it’s not there, Richard, why do you keep shouting at it? He looks like a scientific bag lady screaming at the traffic, and watching him argue with a fundamentalist Christian, you realise they were cut from identical cloth, separated at birth. Dawkins is, of course, the archetype of a man who protests too much, and I’d say he’s well on his way to, if not a Pauline, then at least a Muggeridgian conversion. Any day now, he’ll be back on telly quoting CS Lewis.

(Tip of the gimme cap to Dyspeptic Mutterings.)