Re: [asa] Beauty rather than Design

From: David Campbell <>
Date: Tue Oct 02 2007 - 12:57:11 EDT

> Is that a bad thing? Does it require mastering these 'techniques'
> before one can critique them? I am not convinced.

Dawkins seems to confuse two issues behind his attitude on this
question (as exemplified in The God Delusion). On the one hand, it is
legitimate for anyone to make a critique, and outsiders may be good at
raising issues overlooked or ignored by the experts or advocates.
However, an effective critique requires an accurate determination of
exactly what is being claimed by the one getting criticized. For
example, two of the items on his mocking list of Christian beliefs
about Jesus are distinctive of Roman Catholicism and often strongly
rejected by Protestants. (Not that RC's are not Christian but that
Dawkins doesn't seem to have seriously investigated "mere
Christianity".) To take up Dawkins' metaphor, it is not necessary to
defer to a hypothetical fairyologist on the question of whether little
people with wings are being seen in the garden. However, it is
necessary to find out whether the fairyologist actually believes in
something like Tinkerbell roaming his yard, or whether he is making
quite different claims. It's also invalid to conclude that all
fairyologists are violent brainwashed numbskulls just because some
are, just as reading The God Delusion would give an unduly low opinion
of the average atheist's logical reasoning.

Dr. David Campbell
425 Scientific Collections
University of Alabama
"I think of my happy condition, surrounded by acres of clams"
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Received on Tue Oct 2 12:58:12 2007

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