Richard Dawkins was the guest on the second hour of Science Friday on October 6, 2006. The Dawkins interview follows a series of interviews with United States scientists who are this year’s Nobel Prize winners in Physics, Chemistry and Medicine or Physiology.
I love this stuff: the discussion of basic science, finding patterns that explain old discoveries and new discoveries that offer ever more questions. Add in brilliant people speaking clearly and I’m just like a kid with a present. (Or “in Heaven.”)
I don’t normally discuss religion so obviously on this blog, but they started it. . . .
I have not read it yet, but Dr. Dawkins was interviewed in order to review and discuss his most recent book, The God Delusion. The book was written with the expressed purpose of proselytizing readers to atheism – although, in the interview, he denies that atheism is or can become a religion. He does speak of what he and others call a “war” between those with faith and those without, or between those who believe in a Creator and those who do not. I would think that he would see the correlation.
During the first hour, a caller asks about what we know about the conditions or what existed before or “on the other side” of the Big Bang. Dr. Dawkins speaks of measuring the universe with a God vs. a universe without a God.
These are different versions of the truly unknowable, unanswerable question, at least until we are able to leave this universe or become super-natural to the nature we know and live in.
How could we measure the universe in such a way as to discriminate between the variable of the existence of God?
Currently, as I’ve said before, we’re the only ones having this conversation, so our discussion is necessarily limited to observations drawn using our own tools and senses. We might be able to draw better conclusions if we found another world with other beings having the same conversations.
My capitalization of the words “God” and “Creator” reveals that I’m a believer. In fact I am a Christian, raised (as my heroine, Scarlet put it) on the Bible, especially on John 3:16 and Romans 5:12.
My study of science and bioethics as a way to use what I learn in science as informed by philosophy and ethics is founded on a further belief that Romans 1 teaches that God reveals Himself by looking at and studying the Creation. There just doesn’t seem to be a better answer to questions about the conditions on the other side of the Big Bang than that given in Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning, God…”
Science is properly understood by a believer as using what He gave us to draw conclusions about His Creation from what we can measure and study.
Both believers and nonbelievers agree that those studies should be repeatable in various labs by various observers.
To extrapolate ethics from either a study of history or thought experiments, as Dr. Dawkins seems to do, seems better informed by an understanding that we’re not as we’re supposed to be, while observing what we’re striving to be. We can tell that we have a sense that things are not as they should be, because we keep writing books about what is wrong, and telling others how to be better.
The position that we want to be better, is supported by the fact that we *are* having these discussions. Dawkins must believe that it’s better to be atheist than to be a believer or else why write the book, sell it on radio shows, and risk the discrimination to which he believes atheists are subject?
(It could be just that he can sell a lot of books. But still, all those extra universes just to sell a few books?)
Dawkins says that he is passionate about what is true. I am also. And I see this passion for truth as a reason to believe in the Creator: one Who would build us so that we seek truth, love one another, and Who is the source of ultimate Truth and Love. If He does love us unconditionally, it’s not so surprising that He would want to become “Immanuel,” or “God among us.”
It’s interesting that Dawkins believes that Jesus (“Immanuel”) was a good person. And that he says that if there is a God, it would be very important to know Him.