Monday, September 14, 2009

Loving Richard Dawkins all over again

I'd have to admit that I'd largely fallen out of love with him.

Oh, I thought he was basically right about God and evolution, but gee he had really started to appear so strident and hectoring to me.

There were times when I just wished that he (and Christopher Hitchens) would just shut up and chill for a bit.

Superstition and a tendency towards irrational beliefs, (just look at the insane mania about climate change these days or the way that morally crusading puritans have infested the debate over diet and health), is I think inbuilt into human beings and it takes work and effort to try and think logically, coherently and dispassionately.

But then I'm one a plane between Singapore and Perth and one of the TV options is his short series The Genius of Charles Darwin.

And it is a different Richard Dawkins to the one I was expecting that I saw.

This is a man who has wrestled with the moral implications of where the evidence has led him.

I was certainly pleased to see him acknowledge the weaknesses of such explanations for human altruism as kin selection etc. Certainly as not sufficient explanations in and of themselves.

Altogether a more humane and relaxed man than perhaps his usual media persona would indicate.

I also appreciated him not going for the usual cliched setting and shots when discussing the objections to evolutionary biology by fundamentalist Christians. So no, he didn't travel to the United States and head for the deep south, but rather went across the road from where he had been born in Kenya and spoke to an African evangelical pastor.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

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