Re: [asa] Dawkins, religion, and children

From: Iain Strachan <>
Date: Tue May 01 2007 - 14:11:49 EDT

Apart from lovingly typing out yet another bit of chapter-and-verse Dawkins,
what is your point? Your quote seems only to be reiterating what I said:

> the truth upsets you, then too bad.

Pim, you seem very fond of disparaging arguments made by Christians,
including Francis Collins, it seems. It would be interesting to know what
are your reasons for being a Christian?


On 5/1/07, PvM <> wrote:
> Btw Dawkins did respond to the author of the quote in his 30th
> anniversary edition of the Selfish Gene
> Unwriting a book is one thing. Unreading it is something else. What
> are we to make of the following verdict, from a reader in Australia?
> Fascinating, but at times I wish I could unread it... On one level, I
> can share in the sense of wonder Dawkins so evidently sees in the
> workings-out of such complex processes . .. But at the same time, I
> largely blame The Selfish Gene for a series of bouts of depression I
> suffered from for more than a decade . . . Never sure of my spiritual
> outlook on life, but trying to find something deeper—trying to
> believe, but not quite being able to—I found that this book just about
> blew away any vague ideas I had along these lines, and prevented them
> from coalescing any further. This created quite a strong personal
> crisis for me some years ago.
> I have previously described a pair of similar responses from readers:
> A foreign publisher of my first book confessed that he could not sleep
> for three nights after reading it, so troubled was he by what he saw
> as its cold, bleak message. Others have asked me how I can bear to get
> up in the mornings. A teacher from a distant country wrote to me
> reproachfully that a pupil had come to him in tears after reading the
> same book, because it had persuaded her that life was empty and
> purposeless. He advised her not to show the book to any of her
> friends, for fear of contaminating them with the same nihilistic
> pessimism {Unweaving the Rainbow).
> If something is true, no amount of wishful thinking can undo it. That
> is the first thing to say, but the second is almost as important. As I
> went on to write, Presumably there is indeed no purpose in the
> ultimate fate of the cosmos, but do any of us really tie our life's
> hopes to the ultimate fate of the cosmos anyway? Of course we don't;
> not if we are sane. Our lives are ruled by all sorts of closer,
> warmer, human ambitions and perceptions. To accuse science of robbing
> life of the warmth that makes it worth living is so preposterously
> mistaken, so diametrically opposite to my own feelings and those of
> most working scientists, I am almost driven to the despair of which I
> am wrongly suspected.
> On 5/1/07, Iain Strachan <> wrote:
> >
> >
> > On 5/1/07, David Campbell <> wrote:
> > > The question of imposing on children also relates to the claims of
> > > non-"coersion" associated with process theology. Both last night and
> > > this morning, brushing Timothy's (age 2.5 yrs) teeth involved
> > > coersion. Does Dawkins think I should be locked up for that?
> >
> >
> > Almost certainly not. But I think what it boils down to is your a
> priori
> > position. There is no question that brushing your teeth is something
> that
> > is good for you. The issue of whether there is a physical hell that
> really
> > exists, is under debate and can't be proven one way or the
> other. Dawkins's
> > a priori position is that there is no supernatural, no hell, no heaven,
> no
> > God. So if someone does something like tell a child about judgement,
> and as
> > a result, that child suffers mental anguish and fear of everlasting
> > damnation, Dawkins will regard it as an evil abuse, arising from a
> delusion,
> > because he is not prepared to accept it might not be a delusion.
> >
> > I gave the example earlier of the reviewer on who reported
> that
> > "The Selfish Gene" shattered his fledgling faith, and led to several
> bouts
> > of depression. But I'm guessing that Dawkins wouldn't see that as
> abuse,
> > because he believes that he's telling the truth that there is no
> God. If
> > the truth upsets you, then too bad.
> >
> > I would like to clarify that I personally would be strongly opposed to
> > preaching hellfire and damnation to children, and would prefer to show
> the
> > message of love.
> >
> > Iain.
> >

After the game, the King and the pawn go back in the same box.
- Italian Proverb
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Received on Tue May 1 14:12:13 2007

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