Thursday, December 11, 2008

Atheists and Hubris


Richard Dawkins frustrates me.

His earlier brilliant work with memes completely predicts his later work as an evangelist for scientific atheism, yet he refuses to acknowledge it.

He steadfastly maintains that since his collection of memes are "The Truth", then he and his peers are the only true evangelists and all other evangelists, (particularly the religious kind) are just charlatans.

Here's a tip: anyone who holds up a sign claiming to know "The Truth" is either deluded or a liar, and often both.

Dawkins will tell you that the proof for his one and only "Truth" comes from the scientific method. Now, not everyone can just go out and prove his theories with this scientific method. It takes years of specialized training and education to participate in the process.

Here's the kicker: the academic institutions that spawn all these participants in the scientific method to "prove" scientific memes evolved from medieval institutions used to educate monks and priests to "prove" religious memes. It's the very same process simply turned around to produce propaganda for another perspective.

Don't get me wrong. I'm a huge fan of science, but I'm also a pretty big fan of religion too. The difference between people like Richard Dawkins or Jerry Falwell and me, is that I don't hold out my hand and tell people that I possess "The Truth, and if you'll but follow me I'll share it with you!"

Hubris is the greatest of all human weaknesses and it is simple hubris that leads men to claim they know "The Truth" in any form. Even saying this, I'm on the very edge of hubris myself.

There may be such a thing as "The Truth" out there, but I don't believe any one of us is capable of understanding anything but small pieces of it. It's only by bringing all these small pieces together that we're able to make out the rough shape of anything like the larger truth.

People who claim to know "The Truth" separate us though, and prevent us from ever seeing this unified truth. They gather together their followers and call them blessed and castigate those that follow any other prophet calling them heretics.

Scientific atheists like Dawkins are pretty good followers of the first commandment: Science is the lord thy God, and thou shalt have no other gods before it. They're also pretty good about casting out false idols and false prophets. Gee, I wonder where they got the idea.

I'm not saying that Dawkins' ideas don't have merit. What I'm saying is that dogma is dogma is dogma. It matters not whether it's the religious kind or the scientific kind, it's all human and it's all questionable.

You could say that some ideas are more reliable and more valuable than others, but I would say that is really just a matter of perspective. Humans have accomplished quite a lot based on ideas that we today would call unreliable and no one has yet produced any ideas that are absolute or unquestionable, be they ideas about God or ideas about gravity.

So, Richard Dawkins, I'm a big fan of yours, but it's time to lay off the hubris and the evangelism before your other fans start telling me you walked on water.

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