At the recommendation of a reader and a friend, I've been reading Richard Dawkins lately. In his favour, I'll say he is an eloquent writer who seems to know the broad scope of biology fairly well. On the downside, let me quote the man himself: "Where science scores over alternative world views is that we know our uncertainty."

So how does science "know" this uncertainty? Well, by scientific means, of course! In other words, Dawkins is saying that, judged by scientific standards, science is superior to other world views! Wow, isn't that a surprise! And you know what, judged by historical standards, history is superior to other world views, and judged by mystical standards, mysticism is superior to other world views, and judged by the standards of Biblical literalism, Biblical literalism is superior to other world views. The fact that Dawkins doesn't recognize that his argument has gotten him nowhere marks him as a philosophical nit-wit -- and that evaluation is confirmed at many other places in his work. It is a sad commentary on contemporary philosophy that some philosophers take him seriously.

(And lest you think I'm being a little harsh, realize that Dawkins' whole project is the ideological one of convincing people that they are of no more significance than a tapeworm or slimemold. Of course he is a hypocrite about it, and doesn't for a second believe it about himself, but he'd love it if you would come to believe it about yourself.)


  1. Bobbi-O2:44 PM

    Disclaimer: I am a hypocrite because I laughed at this post, while I scoffed when an emailer referred to Dembski as "Dumbski."

    Anyway Gene, I'll bite: How do you know Dawkins thinks he's more significant than a slime mold? Just because, "C'mon, no one really believes that stuff"?

  2. Would he expect several thousand people to turn out at LSE for a lecture by a slime mold?


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Central Planning Works!

Availability bias