Thursday, 14 December 2006

Mea Culpa!

I found myself yesterday with a moment to spare(see here for an outline of yesterday), an hour to kill or what ever and did not resist temptation. I bought myself the Christmas present I was going to tell other people to buy me ---Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion.
This book, whilst glaringly flawed, is I think probably quite important. Like von Daniken's "Chariots of the gods"(but rather better) it is important because it is popular and will therefore reach an audience that will not necessarily be able to properly critique it. Because it deals with complexity both in religion and in science, few are equipped with the intellectual tools that enable them to weigh the arguments. People do have a lot of common sense though and if they read around it they will be able to have bash at weighing the arguments.
Dawkins' original premise is that religion should not be without scrutiny, and the special place afforded to religion throughout the world often means that it is not scrutinised where almost all other aspects of life are. I take his point and think it is rather a good one.
Though I am a convinced Christian I also think of myself as a sceptic, I do not accept everything simply because it is part of the package. And we say in the post-modern religious world (if that is not an oxymoron) that everything is provisional, and I mean everything and I live with that exciting dynamic.
I don't think Dawkins does. He is something of an anti-religious fundamentalist. That is, there is one truth and that truth is that religion is bad. Even when he is being vaguely tolerant (seldom) there is a strong undercurrent of thgis fundamentalism.
This has been exposed by others more competent than I, I notice Frank Brennan on the First Tuesday Book Club said much the same thing (only better). Not terribly scientific of Dr Dawkins, but good polemic.
I am enjoying it, becuase it is actually too light (like von Daninken) and therefore popular (which is good) but also inadequate (which is bad).
I will no doubt say more in the coming days. (I suspect it's the sort of book that I'll finish today!! because while frustrating and curious in parts it is easy and compelling reading-this too is both good and bad)
I will have to find myself another Christmas present....though I did hear news of a really, really big one last night from someone who loves me a whole lot.
Bloody hell! How will I top a European progress?

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Stephen,

You might be interested in the video discussion of the book at the ABC's First Tuesday Book Club

http://www.abc.net.au/tv/firsttuesday/video/

Also this:

http://larvatusprodeo.net/2006/12/15/delusional-gods/

Cheers,
Ron

(I'll have to post this anon as Blogger doesn't want to accept logins at the moment.)

stephen clark said...

Yes Ron thanks for this link to larvatus...it's well worth other readers catching up with.
Despite my original prediction that I would read this book yesterday, I find myself a little annoyed with it...well actually a lot annoyed...and so it is slower than I imagined.
Maybe today.
I did get told off for buying the Christmas present!!