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The Atheist Delusion: Answering Richard Dawkins

 
Anonymous Coward
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02/01/2012 10:16 AM
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The Atheist Delusion: Answering Richard Dawkins
The Atheist Delusion: Answering Richard Dawkins

By GREG TAYLOR

There is no more esteemed debunker and denouncer of all things religious than British intellectual Richard Dawkins. In his latest book, The God Delusion, Dawkins makes a frontal assault on not just religious fundamentalism, but religion in general. To quote the name of the accompanying television series, Dawkins appears to see it as “the root of all evil.”

There is much truth in Dawkins’ criticism. One only has to look at human tragedies occurring around the world to see the effects of unquestioning faith and religious righteousness. And not just in recent years; consider the Albigensian Crusade, the witch-hunts of the Middle Ages, right up to the troubles in Northern Ireland. Belief in a dogma, without doubting the actions that arise out of that faith, can be the foundation upon which horrors grow. Millions have died fighting for, and against, particular religious ideas.

Dawkins is a gifted thinker, and some of his questions and insights about religion are certainly worthy of contemplation. For instance, Dawkins queries the righteousness of any particular religion in the following passage:
If you have a faith, it is statistically overwhelmingly likely that it is the same faith as your parents and grandparents had. No doubt soaring cathedrals, stirring music, moving stories and parables, help a bit. But by far the most important variable determining your religion is the accident of birth. The convictions that you so passionately believe would have been a completely different, and largely contradictory, set of convictions, if only you had happened to be born in a different place.

Also insightful is his concern for political representation. In The God Delusion, Dawkins points out that religious groups can form powerful lobbies, able to effect large-scale changes in government policy which rule all of our lives. One of the more prominent examples is the Bush administration’s stance on stem cell research, a strand of science which perhaps offers the most profound steps forward in medicine for decades (suggested as a possible treatment for spinal injury paralysis, Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s).

Current US leaders rely far too heavily on ‘heartland’ support by the large Christian voting blocks to allow research into stem cells – even if the arguments against seem to be at best scare campaigns based on faulty logic. This situation, in which non-believers like Dawkins are at the ‘democratic’ mercy of religious groups able to exert political pressure, must be a particularly troubling one for him – and I must confess, it is to me as well.

Continue to read:
[link to www.newdawnmagazine.com]
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02/12/2012 03:01 PM
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