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Richard Dawkins

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Richard Dawkins

Clinton Richard Dawkins (1941–) taught zoology at the universities of California and Oxford, and is the Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University. He is also an author and a media commentator. Dawkins is perhaps best known as one of the chief proponents of the theory of evolution.

Contents

Atheism and evolution

Dawkins is also known for strongly advocating atheism. Dawkins praised the Brights movement in the June 21, 2003 edition of the UK's Guardian. The Brights movement is a movement within atheism which seeks to revamp the public's view of atheism.

Dawkins says that evolution allows people to be "intellectually fulfilled atheists"[1].

In his book The Blind Watchmaker, Dawkins describes a computer program that is designed to simulate evolution, apparently oblivious to the fact that he has intelligently designed the program to demonstrate the possibility of undesigned evolution.

Video interview

In 1997, Richard Dawkins, normally an eloquent man, appeared to be somewhat speechless when he was asked in a filmed interview the following question: "Professor Dawkins, can you give an example of a genetic mutation or an evolutionary process which can be seen to increase the information in the genome?"[2]

He later gave various excuses for not answering the question, but despite a number of opportunities, he has yet to answer it. Rather, he has attacked the producer of the video and creationists generally, and used the incident as an excuse to avoid debating creationists.[3] Georgia Purdom, Ph.d. molecular geneticist from AIG has stated, "Mutations only alter current genetic information, they have never ever been observed to add genetic information. They can only change what is there. I have a lot of papers come across my desk of supposedly mutations that have added genetic information, and I've read them all - and I've looked at them all; and never once have I seen one that has added genetic information, they just don't do that".[1][2]

Creationism

Dawkins is a prominent critic of creationism, describing it as a "preposterous, mind-shrinking falsehood".[4] His book The Blind Watchmaker contains a critique of the argument from design, and his other popular science works often touch on the topic. On the advice of his late colleague Stephen Jay Gould, Dawkins generally refuses to participate in formal debates with creationists because doing so would give them the "oxygen of respectability" that they want.[5] He argues that creationists "don't mind being beaten in an argument. What matters is that we give them recognition by bothering to argue with them in public."[6]

In a December 2004 interview with Bill Moyers, Dawkins stated that "among the things that science does know, evolution is about as certain as anything we know." When Moyers later asked, "Is evolution a theory, not a fact?", Dawkins replied, "Evolution has been observed. It's just that it hasn't been observed while it's happening." Dawkins went on to say, "It is rather like a detective coming on a murder after the scene. And you… the detective hasn't actually seen the murder take place, of course. But what you do see is a massive clue ...Circumstantial evidence, but masses of circumstantial evidence. Huge quantities of circumstantial evidence." [7]

Personal Views

Dawkins has likened Christianity to "a virus" and calls the teaching of Christian beliefs to children "child abuse." [8] He also believes that the labeling of children as members of a specific faith damages young minds into being forced to accept flawed ideologies and takes away the right of any child to learn about the facts for themselves.

When asked about the conflicting nature of his determinist views and his acceptance of personal credit for writing a book ("The God Delusion"), Dawkins stated that it was a "difficult question" and that he didn't know what to think about it. When asked whether or not he saw conflict in the two views, he responded "I sort of do. Yes."[9]

On November 19, 2006, Dawkins published an opinion piece in Scotland's Sunday Herald entitled "Eugenics may not be bad" in which he asserts that the only reason eugenics is rejected is because of its linkage to Hitler, and asks "if you can breed cattle for milk yield, horses for running speed, and dogs for herding skill, why on Earth should it be impossible to breed humans for mathematical, musical or athletic ability?" [10][11][12]

Despite a belief only in the natural, Dawkins has confessed that he does share some superstitions which he calls "widespread" and which he believes are part of human biology.[13]

When asked to describe what belief is held even though it cannot be proven, Dawkins responded "I believe, but I cannot prove, that all life, all intelligence, all creativity and all 'design' anywhere in the universe is the direct or indirect product of Darwinian natural selection."[14]

Dawkins claimed that Jews "dominate US foreign policy", he was criticized by the ADL for his comments.[15][16]

Publications

Books

Articles

References

  1. "U.S. News and World Report joins in the evolution onslaught"
  2. Frog Prince video-AiG
  3. Olson, Ross. "Richard Dawkins and the 11 Second Pause." What Happened During The Filming Of "From A Frog To A Prince"?
  4. "A Scientist's View"
  5. Dawkins, R. Why I Won't Debate Creationists The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, May 14, 2006.
  6. Dawkins, Richard (2004). A Devil's Chaplain: Reflections on Hope, Lies, Science, and Love. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 218. ISBN 0-618-48539-2., Chapter 5, p 218
  7. Now with Bill Moyers. PBS.
  8. "Dawkins: Religion equals 'child abuse'"
  9. "Who wrote Richard Dawkins's new book?"
  10. "Dawkins: Eugenics May Not Be Bad"
  11. "Dawkins: Nazi Eugenics "May Not Be Bad"?". http://www.pearceyreport.com/blog/2006/11/dawkins_nazi_eugenics_may_not.php. Retrieved 2012-04-13. 
  12. "Anti-Religion Extremist Dawkins Advocates Eugenics". http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/archive/ldn/2006/nov/06112103. Retrieved 2012-04-13. 
  13. "Dawkins and the missionary position"
  14. "Science's scourge of believers declares his faith in Darwin"
  15. http://books.guardian.co.uk/news/articles/0,,2180660,00.html
  16. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3457718,00.html

External links

See Also

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