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The Forum > Article Comments > Book review: 'Dawkins' God: Genes, Memes, and the Meaning of Life' > Comments

Book review: 'Dawkins' God: Genes, Memes, and the Meaning of Life' : Comments

By Bill Muehlenberg, published 11/2/2005

Bill Muehlenberg reviews Alistair McGrath's critique of Richard Dawkins.

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Fresh from telling Tim what a great piece he wrote I here to tell Bill his is trash even for a book review. Bill your suppose to be reviewing the book not have a love fest with the author. I don't know were to start here. I just for the moment deal with your last few paragraphs. Bill wrote
"What one makes of Darwinism is a matter of scientific debate. The evidence can be weighed and considered. But it is simply inappropriate for scientists to wade into debates about God's existence or non-existence by means of the scientific method. It is inadequate for such a debate. And it is disingenuous for those who have a beef against religion to seek to use the scientific method to do their dirty work.

Those wanting an attack on Darwinism will not find it here. The work of the Intelligent Design movement, for example, is not even mentioned in this volume. Yet ID has landed some telling blows on an already shaky evolutionary edifice."

What a load of tosh the ID movement has made a big impact in religious circles not in any other. It is full of stupid logical leaps and starts with the assumption that the old testament is factual. AS you say the ID is not mentioned in the book so why mention it. It is not as if any rational person working in the field thinks it is a alternative. Ideas like ID should be printed on soft paper so we can make full use of them. But let's get back on track your comment about science having no place in the debate about the existence of the supernatural why not? Why can we not use our best tool for critical investigation to investigate the validity of some of the wild claims made by spiritualist. Those who donít want the light shed on their beliefs are those who have something to hide. What strikes me is there is still people who believe that science isnít the tool to shed light on everything
Posted by Kenny, Friday, 11 February 2005 5:10:08 PM
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Kenny.. you are too harsh, and u look like "dont confuse me with the facts, I have my mind made up"

"And McGrath is well-suited to the task. He is a professor of Historical Theology at Oxford University and has a PhD in molecular biophysics. Indeed, McGrath has written on issues of science nearly as much as on issues of theology and philosophy"

I think the author is well qualified to critique Dawkins. Don't u ?
Posted by BOAZ_David, Friday, 11 February 2005 8:16:36 PM
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Reread what I said BOAZ_David I'm having a go mainly at Bill not McGrath. try this link much better. http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/more_reviews.asp?ref=1405125381

This review hardly talks about the book which I have ordered by the way I think you might be surprised about what on my bookshelfs. Bill as used this piece as a thinly veiled vomit of his own views.
Posted by Kenny, Friday, 11 February 2005 9:22:02 PM
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Kennnnnny.. there u go again.."vomit".... did u do your training with mr "pus bucket' Keating ? :)
but at least you did give me a link....so I WILL check it out..
here is one for you, u seem to have an adventurous attitude which is good.
http://www.tonycampolo.org/messages.shtml

Have a listen to the message "Staying balanced in an unbalanced world"
I'd love to know if he fits into your stereotype "right wing rabid fundamentalist" :)
Posted by BOAZ_David, Friday, 11 February 2005 9:33:21 PM
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Kenny
yep.. a good link. I had a peek and a read of the various reviews.
Bill does tend to do that, I noted that with the Kinsey work, where he accepts Reismans work uncritically, specially table 34, which was debunked.
I wrote to him personally about this to challenge him, and he replied basically referring me to the work of REISMAN.. which was a total circle because it was her work on that which had been debunked.
Not a great commendation for Bills credibility either.
Posted by BOAZ_David, Friday, 11 February 2005 9:38:36 PM
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This abbreviated extract from Richard Dawkin's "The Blind Watchmaker" is worth a look, since the subject of intelligent design has been raised.

"[Intelligent design] is the theory that life was created, or its evolution master-minded, by a conscious designer. It would obviously be unfairly easy to demolish some particular version of this theory such as the one (or it may be two) spelled out in Genesis. Nearly all peoples have developed their own creation myth, and the Genesis story is just the one that happened to have been adopted by one particular tribe of Middle Eastern herders. It has no more special status than that belief of a particular West African tribe that the world was created from the excrement of ants. All these myths have in common that they depend upon the deliberate intentions of some kind of supernatural being.

"At first sight there is an important distinction to be made between what might be called "instanteous creation" and "guided evolution". Modern theologians of any sophistication have given up believing in instantaneous creation. The evidence for some sort of evolution has become too overwhelming. But many theologians who call themselves evolutionists....smuggle God in the back door: they allow him some sort of supervisory role over the course that evolution has taken, either influencing key moments in evolutionary history...or even meddling more comprehensively in the day-to-day events that add up to evolutionary change.

"We cannot disprove beliefs like these, especially if it is assumed that God took care that his interventions always closely mimicked what would be expected from evolution by natural selection. All that we can say about such beliefs is firstly, that they are superfluous, and secondly, that they assume the existence of the main thing we want to explain, namely organised complexity. The one thing that makes evolution such a neat theory is that it explains how organised complexity can arise out of primeval simplicity.

"If we want to postulate a deity capable of engineering all the organised complexity in the world, either instantaneously or by guiding evolution, that deity must already have been vastly complex in the first place. The creationist, whether a naive Bible-thumper or an educated bishop, simply postulates an already existing being of prodigious intelligence and complexity. If we are going to allow ourselves the luxury of postulating organised complexity without offering an explanation, we might as well make a job of it and simply postulate the existence of life as we know it!"

Richard Dawkins, "The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution reveals a Universe without Design", Norton 1986, p 316.
Posted by grace pettigrew, Friday, 11 February 2005 9:45:46 PM
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