Saturday, February 25, 2012

'Oh God!' Dawkins admits he is agnostic

A funny tidbit in the adventures of Captain Materialism himself....

'I can't be sure God DOES NOT exist': World's most notorious atheist Richard Dawkins admits he is in fact agnostic

Professor Richard Dawkins today dismissed his hard-earned reputation as a militant atheist - admitting that he is actually agnostic as he can't prove God doesn't exist.
The country's foremost champion of the Darwinist evolution, who wrote The God Delusion, stunned audience members when he made the confession during a lively debate on the origins of the universe with the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Professor Dawkins, the former Oxford Professor for the Public Understanding of Science, is a dedicated admirer of Charles Darwin, regarding the Victorian pioneer of evolution as the man who explained ‘everything we know about life’.

But when Archbishop Dr Rowan Williams suggested that Professor Darwin is often described as the world's most famous atheist, the geneticist responded: 'Not by me'.

    He said: 'On a scale of seven, where one means I know he exists, and seven I know he doesn't, I call myself a six.'
    Professor Dawkins went on to say he believed was a '6.9', stating: 'That doesn't mean I'm absolutely confident, that I absolutely know, because I don't.'
    They were discussing 'The Nature of Human Beings and the Question of their Ultimate Origin' when Professor Dawkins admitted he was agnostic rather than an atheist
    They were discussing 'The Nature of Human Beings and the Question of their Ultimate Origin' when Professor Dawkins admitted he was agnostic rather than an atheist

    The two high-profile figures were debating whether Biblical writers 'got it wrong' by not saying that the universe is billions of years old.
    The Archbishop said: 'The writers of the Bible, inspired as I believe they were, were not inspired to do 21st century physics, they were inspired to pass on to their readers what God wanted them to know.
    'In the first book of the Bible is the basic information - the universe depends on God, humanity has a very distinctive role in that universe , and humanity has made rather a mess of it.'
    But Professor Dawkins said he was 'baffled' by 'the way sophisticated theologians who know Adam and Eve never existed still keep talking about it'.
    This latest admission by Professor Dawkins comes after he was left lost for words name the full title of his scientific hero’s most famous work during a radio discussion last week in which he accused Christians of being ignorant of the Bible.
    In his frustration, he resorted to a helpless: ‘Oh God.’



    1. You never know, Dawkins may do as Flew and apostasy his atheism with age. If he keeps up to date on recent discoveries in biology he cannot do otherwise, unless he is really stupid or dishonest. He might even order this kind of tombstone!

      1. I was wondering the same, Pépé. This kind of concession is typical of someone that is softening a position.
        I would personally welcome such a shift.
        But I would hope any sort of conversion or realization is accompanied by a mega-tonne of 'humble pie' - as he NEEDS it.
        LOL @ The stone :P

    2. This is not a new development. Dawkins admits in several interviews and indeed in the God Delusion that one cannot with 100% certainty say there is no God. In science, 100% proof is a term reserved mainly for mathematical proof. Scientists have to be open to the possibility of a theory being disproven as new evidence appears otherwise we wouldn't have new ideas taking hold and we'd enter a cultural, industrial and technological stagnation period. But until such time as real contradictory evidence is presented the best evidence available is used. I'd think this is a simple enough notion for you to agree with because I know you're not stupid, Phil. However, since this story appears in the Daily Mail I'm not surprised it features in a "LOL DAWKINS" post or that the press story includes mention that the audience were "stunned" at this incredible development. I did a search for the debate story in other British news websites and only found mention of it in the Guardian news, which seemed to focus on the idea that neither side made any headway in presenting information which wasn't already floating around in press, literary or lecture circles. The Daily Mail is well known for mistruths/misrepresentation/outright fiction in their reporting. The ten year overdue apology from them last November for dragging out the carcass of the 1998-99 Birmingham city council Winterval non-story was, I admit, satisfying. But its reappearance each year was telling of either the divorce from reality the editors are experiencing for not knowing it wasn't a repeat event (factchecking, anyone?) or simply illustrative of editorial snowjobbing for the sake of encouraging indignation from a readership whose freedom of religion, regardless of what some might think, is in no danger of disappearing soon.

      1. I don't think Dawkins agnosticism is a shock to any student of his work, whether you like him or not.
        It was a public that is mislead by his public rhetoric and propaganda campaigns (ie bus ads etc) that were 'shocked'.
        Now that this new light is cast on his ideas and is being disseminated, it gives those ideas LESS gravitas with the public. The masses seek certainty, not a wager with their very souls.
        He has made himself more transparent with these comments, and while that is commendable (honesty), it will work against his purposes.
        I am glad of that.
        Not simply because his purposes are atheist, whether he is or not. Rather, because his 'science' and philosophy is just plain bad.
        The reason I find this article funny is I enjoy seeing people like Dawkins (pretentious and precocious) brought down a notch.

      2. PS Re the Daily Mail.
        I find 90% of all reportage from the UK to be substandard and spun. The Guardian and DM being the WORST offenders.
        That, on a personal note, is a very sad development. When I was in school (many aeons past) the British press was actually seen as the paragon.
        No more.
        Now it makes the American stuff look good.


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