Re: [asa] Beauty rather than Design

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Wed Oct 03 2007 - 09:09:57 EDT

----- Original Message -----
From: "PvM" <>
To: "Ted Davis" <>
Cc: <>; <>
Sent: Tuesday, October 02, 2007 1:07 AM
Subject: Re: [asa] Beauty rather than Design

> Now here is a new gambit
> Science against theology/philosophy?
> <quote>
> Sir: Professor Richard Bowen thinks I should engage with serious
> academic theologians rather than the fundamentalist "McDonald's"
> version of Christianity. He and the Rev Richard Hall (Letters, 19
> September) agree with Peter Stanford ("Doubts about Dawkins", 14
> September) that I should read theology. Fortunately it looks as though
> I shall have every opportunity to do so. Oxford University has just
> officially noticed that its leading theological halls are not fit to
> admit school-leavers, so these institutions will presumably be touting
> for mature students.
> </quote>
> I particularly appreciate the following
> <quote>
> To argue for the position he advocates requires a working knowledge of
> the philosophy of science and religion, epistemology and metaphysics.
> While scientists of a previous generation, such as Michael Polanyi and
> Thomas Kuhn, have shown the application required to master these
> fields prior to publishing their philosophical work, Dawkins has so
> far shown himself unable or unwilling to do so.
> </quote>
> Is that a bad thing? Does it require mastering these 'techniques'
> before one can critique them? I am not convinced.

In your reply you distort what Dr. Heywood said. He spoke of other
scholars mastering "fields" and you change it to 'techniques,' with
unjustified quotes. This trivializes the matter by making it appear that
Heywood was speaking of knowing simply the mechanics of a field rather than
what the field is all about.

But of course the more significant point is that Dawkins is manifestly
wrong. Of course he has to know more about what theology is than a mere
disctionary definition in order to criticize it. It's not a question of
knowing techniques but of understanding what the basic subject matter of the
field is - & that's true even if he doesn't think that that subject matter
corresponds to anything in reality!


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Received on Wed Oct 3 09:12:18 2007

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