As both an atheist and someone with a science education, I often find myself agreeing with many of the points Richard Dawkins makes on the subject of religion. However, what I find extremely unpalatable is his condescension and dismissal of all religion despite there being no definitive evidence either way.
Richard Dawkins believes that there is a contradiction between science and religion, and that science, due to its experimentation rigour must be correct. However, he never actually deigns to explain precisely how science falsifies religion. Indeed, there is plenty of evidence for theories of evolution, the big bang and the age of the universe and such things. However, even if we accept all of these theories, not a single one of them eliminates the possibility of a creator. The theory of evolution only dispels views that God created animals and humans from scratch. This is certainly not a view that is upheld by all religions and all individuals within the religious community. In fact, a great deal of the world’s most celebrated scientists were religious. Newton, Dirac, Einstein and even Dawkin’s idol Charles Darwin are just a few who did not seem to find science and religion to be irreconcilable. In his documentary ‘The Root of all Evil’, Dawkins describes religious faith as non-thinking. It certainly takes an incredible amount of arrogance to describe the aforementioned scientists – some of the brightest minds that modern science has known – and many more as non-thinking.
Whilst science can provide evidence against some specific details in some religious books, I don’t think that anyone could claim that there is a scientific way to either prove or disprove the existence of God. However, Dawkins addresses this point by referring to Bertrand Russell’s teapot analogy. The point is made that if he were to claim that a teapot were in orbit around the sun, it would be ridiculous for people to believe his claim simply on the basis that they could not disprove it. Whilst it might be rather eccentric to believe in an orbiting teapot, there is a great deal more evidence of the existence of a God. Scientific evidence, this most certainly is not, but countless individuals have claimed experiences of God. Whilst some find it easy to dismiss these cases as lies, a vivid imagination or even as a result of mental disorders, can we really claim that every single one is unequivocally false? Perhaps is it rather convenient that by their nature, they cannot be tested. But isn’t faith at the heart of religion? It couldn’t really be considered faith if God did a universal tannoy announcement proclaiming that the game was up and he was real after all. And doesn’t science also require a certain amount of faith? If Dawkins had to personally verify every single piece of scientific evidence he used to back up his arguments, I can’t imagine he would get very far.
Whilst his own personal belief that God does not exist in not closed minded in itself, his complete unwillingness to entertain the possibility that he could be wrong is incredibly arrogant. Given his belittlement of religious ideas as childish and irrational when his arguments cannot eliminate the possibility of the existence of God, I can only conclude that he is, indeed, very narrow-minded.
Richard Dawkins – The Root of all Evil Documentary http://godevidence.com/2010/08/quotes-about-god/