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Biologist/atheist polemicist Richard Dawkins, whose WEB site is self-described as “a clear thinking oasis,” seems to be having trouble in that department of late. First, in an interview with Ben Stein in Expelled, he claimed that it is an “intriguing possibility” that life on earth might have been “seeded” on the earth by space aliens, prompting me at the time to have some fun and accuse Dawkins of being a Raelian, since the dogma of that science cult is precisely the same as his “intriguing possibility.”

Now, Dawkins has, like some very strict religious fundamentalists, decried Harry Potter as being against his religion (of science). From the story:

Richard Dawkins, the evolutionary biologist and “God Delusion” polemicist, recently offered a frightening glimpse of what might be called the reverse-fundamentalist worldview. Mr. Dawkins mused to a British television network that fairy tales and supernatural-themed books such as the “Harry Potter” series are “anti-scientific. “Whether that has a pernicious effect, I don’t know,” the 67-year-old British writer said. “Looking back to my own childhood, the fact that so many of the stories I read allowed the possibility of frogs turning into princes, whether that has a sort of insidious effect on rationality, I’m not sure. Perhaps it’s something for research.”
So allowing kids to enjoy fantasy is anti-science? Talk about dour! Can you imagine the screaming if a prominent religious conservative suggested spending good money on “studies” to determine whether Harry Potter caused children to turn away from faith?

Dawkins, the bitter atheist, now claims that Deism is an acceptable belief. From a column by Melanie Phillips reporting on a debate between Dawkins and John Lennox at the Oxford Natural History Museum:

[A]t the very beginning [of the debate, Dawkins] made a most startling admission. He said:

A serious case could be made for a deistic God.

This was surely remarkable. Here was the arch-apostle of atheism, whose whole case is based on the assertion that believing in a creator of the universe is no different from believing in fairies at the bottom of the garden, saying that a serious case can be made for the idea that the universe was brought into being by some kind of purposeful force. A creator. True, he was not saying he was now a deist; on the contrary, he still didn’t believe in such a purposeful founding intelligence, and he was certainly still saying that belief in the personal God of the Bible was just like believing in fairies. Nevertheless, to acknowledge that ‘a serious case could be made for a deistic god’ is to undermine his previous categorical assertion that “...all life, all intelligence, all creativity and all ‘design’ anywhere in the universe is the direct or indirect product of Darwinian natural selection...Design cannot precede evolution and therefore cannot underlie the universe.”

In Oxford on Tuesday night, however, virtually the first thing he said was that a serious case could be made for believing that it could.

Meanwhile, in the Great Ape Project and elsewhere, Dawkin’s has yearned for the discovery of a hybrid species between humans and chimps that could interbreed with both so that people would stop thinking that human beings are special. This is anti rational in that it represents an emotional yearning for a discovery that he thinks would further his polemical case for atheism and materialism. But scientists estimate that modern human beings—the only rational being in the known universe—have only existed for about 100,000-1 million years. Evolutionary biologists believe our lineage separated from the one taken by chimps—like all other animals a non rational species—perhaps 20 million years ago. And there is no evidence that there ever was a hybrid species that could interbreed with both chimps and modern human beings. Nor would clear proof of the identity of a common distant ancestor impact human exceptionalism in any regard. So, the desire has to do with fulfilling Dawkins’ emotional yearnings rather than basing opinions on pure rationality. (Hey, he’s human like the rest of us.)

This much seems clear: That oasis Dawkins is so fond of touting is getting a bit muddy.

More on: Richard Dawkins

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