Earthly Knowledge

Nobody “believes” in gravity.  You either “know” about gravity or you are deranged.  It is also true that nobody “knows” God exists, at least not by any earthly knowledge.  Nobody knows God does not exist either.  Such things are spiritual and cosmic, not earthly.  In other words, that sort of knowledge is wholly a matter of faith.

Richard Dawkins is, or has been, an avowed atheist and perhaps the world’s foremost advocate and writer of books on Darwinian evolution for general readers.  I’m an admirer of Charles Darwin and a faithful reader of Richard Dawkins which puts me at odds with most other conservatives. The public figures of conservatism, Rush Limbaugh, Dennis Prager, Hugh Hewitt, Ann Coulter, Claire Berlinski, Peter Robinson, and about 250 others, despise the idea of evolution by natural selection and often put Darwin alongside Karl Marx and Friedrich Nietzsche as fountainheads of nihilism in postmodern society.  I doubt any of them have ever actually read On the Origin or Species or The Descent of Man.  There is simply nothing nihilistic in those books and nothing nihilistic about the man who concluded his first book with these words:

There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful, have been, and are being, evolved.

Charles Darwin never claimed to know or have discovered just who or what “originally breathed [life] into a few forms or into one.”  That was not a part of his theory of evolution by natural selection, nor has anyone since attempted to supply that information.  Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection is in no way dependent upon such knowledge.  We can understand how life has evolved without knowing how it began.

Now Richard Dawkins has apparently backed off from his militant atheism.   He said recently, to the Archbishop of Canterbury no less, that he in fact “cannot be sure God does not exist.”  He seems to agree that this makes him at least something of an agnostic and not an atheist.

Well OK, I guess he is still a bit confused about his number. I don’t think the numbers break down the way he says. It’s not 0-9 or 1-6 or whatever. It’s either or. Either you foolishly think you know whether God exists or does not exist, or you wisely admit you have no idea. Then you make a choice to believe or not to believe. That is the question.

This is still a break from Dawkins past militant atheism..  I’m thankful he has done this because while I find Dawkins and the books he has written to be brilliant, I’ve always had trouble with what seems to be a detraction from his intellectual powers.  Atheism is as much based on faith as any religion.  To assert with absolute certainty that there is no God is not intellectually sound. Now finally, Richard Dawkins has become a man in full, or nearly full.


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