Living in poverty

Richard Dawkins has already managed to annoy me in The God Delusion. His first chapter covers, among other things, “the poverty of agnosticism.” He distinguishes between the kind of agnostic who says, “I don’t know, but when the facts are in I will,” from the kind who says, “I don’t know and there is no way to know,” but he condemns the latter as wishy-washy fence-riding. Although now that I write that, it actually makes sense. That’s annoying too.

His point is that the existence of God is something that can be proven or disproven scientifically, and that therefore the question of God’s existence should not be reserved to the theologians and denied to the scientists. He asks why scientists shouldn’t be allowed to hold forth on this question, since their business is the nature of the universe and obviously, whether the universe contains a God is an important question about its nature.

It’s an okay read so far, and he’s asking questions that require pondering about normally accepted givens. That’s the kind of book I like – the kind that stretches my tiny agnostic brain and makes it do jumping-jacks. More as it becomes relevant.

3 Responses to “Living in poverty”

  1. 1 Gordy May 23, 2007 at 6:33 pm

    I’m not sure I agree with Mr. Dawkins. I’ve heard many times that science cannot disprove something, only prove something.

    Also, proving the existence of God scientifically seems kind of impossible by definition to me. Science (as it is commonly called today) deals with the study of the natural not the supernatural. I believe the natural gives a good indication that God exists, but I can’t think of any scientific experiment or set of experiments that can prove the existence of God.

  2. 2 J. K. Jones May 23, 2007 at 8:01 pm

    Dawkins’ denials of the traditional arguments for God’s existence are forced and temporary. His book, The God Delusion, fails to overthrow those arguments.

  3. 3 tobeme May 24, 2007 at 3:40 pm

    I would disagree with Dawkins that people who do not know if there is a God and who don’t think they will ever know are wishy washy, I think they are giving an honest answer, they are not saying they are hedging their bets, simply saying they don’t know and with what they do know, the don’t see how they will ever know for sure.
    It is good that his book is making you think.

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