reload The Race by Maurice McCracken

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Richard Dawkins - for a very clever man, you really are a nincompoop

posted by Little Mo | Permalink |
Richard Dawkins,

I'm really not sure if I have understood your book "the Devil's Chaplain" properly - it's quite possible I haven't, but I would love to know what you are trying to achieve by it.

So - in one chapter you say that complaining "we ought to save all the people in the world before we think about saving the gorillas" is "speciesism" - which is just the same as apartheid. Exsqueeze me? So you are actually saying that there is not ethical principle that human life is to be valued more than animal life.

Fair enough - but why then would I want to (human as I am) subscribe to your view of the world, as it is the most ridiculously counter-intuitive thing I have ever heard?

Well - you say because it's "better" to face up to the truth than comfort oneself with meaningless platitudes. Unsurprisingly, as a Christian, I agree with this. I think kidding yourself to believe something that isn't demonstrably true is probably one of the most foolish things that people can do. (As such, I loved your chapter about relativism by the way.)
However - I want to know WHY in your schema of things, truth is "better" than falsehood. I want to know WHY we should fight against the pain and suffering of evolution if it is just the way the world is?
The thing is if the accident of life is the only objective truth, then you, or anyone else has no place saying that one thing is "better" than another.

Now - maybe you explain this in the rest of your very interesting book. I look forward to examining it. But this, I am afraid, will always commend people searching beyond what you say the world is about.


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