Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Richard Dawkins

I haven't been a fan of Richard Dawkins.   As a spiritual person who has various "delusions" about the supernatural, I find it hard to stomach Dawkin's outspoken atheism.

But now my dislike of him has faded a little bit.

I'm over watching the 7:30 Report.  Now my new thing is watching Q and A.  

I've been watching a panel that includes Dawkins, and he's actually quite charming.

He reminds me of Professor Slughorn—not really in personality, but in how he looks and speaks.

I have such a weakness for Australian and British accents.

There are certain Australians I know, from online, that I don't like.   But I'm betting if I met them in real life, I'd think they were adorable.  

Well, maybe that's going too far.

I think, though, that I'd dislike them a little less.

Yes, and that's another example of me being prejudice.


I'm totally going off the path here.

What I wanted to say is that I loved what Richard Dawkins said in this video in response to a question regarding atheist's not having absolute morality.

I'm thinking I should transcribe in case people don't want to bother watching the video.

It's long, though.


I guess I should do it.   

For those wanting to see the part themselves. It starts at 5:31.

It starts with the question man asking:

Considering that atheism cannot possibly have any sense of absolute morality. Would it not then be an irrational leap of faith, which atheists themselves so harshly condemn, for an atheist to decide between right and wrong?

Then Dawkins says: Absolute morality. The absolute morality that a religious person might profess would include what? Stoning people for adultery. Death for apostasy. Punishment for breaking the sabbath. These are all things that are religiously based absolute moralities. I don't think I want an absolute morality. I think I want a morality that is thought out, reasoned, argued, discussed, and based upon...we almost can say intelligent design.

There's some stuff here I'm not transcribing. I think Dawkins was just trying to gather his thoughts.....

If you actually look at the moralities that are accepted among modern people...among 20th century people.

We don't believe in slavery anymore. We believe in equality for women. We believe in being gentle. We believe in being kind to animals. These are all things that are entirely recent. They have very little basis in biblical or Koranic scripture.

They are things that have developed over historical time through a consensus of reasoning, sober discussion, argument, legal theory, political and moral philosophy.

These do not come from religions to the extent that you can find the good bits in religious scripture. You have to cherry pick. You search your way through the Bible or the Koran. And you find the occasional verse that is an acceptable profession of morality. You say "Look at that. That's religion". And you leave out all the horrible bits. And you say, "we don't believe that anymore. We've grown out of it". Well, of course we've grown out of it. We've grown out of it because of secular moral philosophy and rational discussion. 

How awesome is that?

I think it's very awesome.

Although I'm being hypocritical, since what I'm doing is cherry picking with Richard Dawkins.

I don't really like his way of thinking.  But I do like SOME of his thinking.

One problem I have with this episode is the audience seems a bit skewed. When Richard Dawkins says something, there's lots of applause.   When Steve Fielding says anything, the audience loudly laughs at him.  My guess is that there's more atheists than religious people in the audience; or the atheists are more vocal.

I think the laughing is impolite...and mean.   It's okay to be quietly amused, but to laugh loudly....

I don't think it's a way to treat someone, even if their beliefs and ideas are totally wrong to you.

I wonder if Fielding felt bad.

If he did, I hope he remembers to act differently when he's in a situation where his opinion is the one accepted by the loud majority.