Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Debating evolution and God

While preparing for a debate on evolution vs. creation scheduled for next week, I stumbled upon this post or, to be precise, upon a comment on it directing me to a Hugh Hewitt's interview with Richard Dawkins. Below is a quote from the interview - enjoy!

"RD: Okay, do you believe Jesus turned water into wine?

HH: Yes.

RD: You seriously do?

HH: Yes.

RD: You actually think that Jesus got water, and made all those molecules turn into wine?

HH: Yes.

RD: My God.

HH: Yes. My God, actually, not yours. But let me…

RD: I’ve realized the kind of person I’m dealing with now...

HH: It’s Hugh Hewitt with Richard Dawkins. Professor Dawkins’ brand new book is The Greatest Show On Earth: The Evidence For Evolution. It’s linked at Professor, I have one last question, it’s very important for me to ask this, because I just kept coming back to it. You argue in the book at one point that the retina is so poorly designed, that it argues against the idea of a designer, because it’s such a messed up job. Conversely, though, if the object of the designer was to create a world in which faith was possible, but also disbelief, in order to make faith a choice and not an obligation, wouldn’t then you have to say that the world was wondrously constructed to that end, to preserve free will and the choosing?

RD: You mean that God deliberately made mistakes so as to deceive us?

HH: Not mistakes, that God created a world in which faith was possible by an order of its complexity, to allow for the Richard Dawkins of the world to exist, and be completely, absolutely convinced that He did not, that that’s the only situation in which faith is real.

RD: So in order to make that the case, God said well, now let’s make the eye look like a botched up job so that…are you saying…

HH: I think you understand what I’m saying, and you’re saying no, you don’t believe that, that it would not in fact fit that, a giant…for example, have you read the Harry Potter novels?

RD: No.

HH: Do you read any fiction at all?

RD: Of course.

HH: What’s the most complicated bit of fiction you’ve read? Like War and Peace?

RD: Yeah, what’s your point? What point are you making?

HH: That complexity in design, and counterintuitive steps, et cetera, don’t disprove the idea of genius at work. Genius at work often works through complexity and through misdirection.

RD: I think that what you’re kind of saying is that God made the world look as though it had evolved in order to test our faith, when it didn’t evolve.

HH: No, not test our faith. I’m saying that the world has been made as it is to allow for faith, because if it was made too easy for the simple-minded, it would simply be routine, and everyone would believe, and then there would be no faith.

RD: That would be a pretty unpleasant sort of God. I think, I would say you’re welcome to believe in a kind of God who would do that, but it’s not the kind of God that would appeal to me.

HH: Well, it’s not about what appeals to us, it’s about what is. And you also write that a beneficent designer might, you’d idealistically think, minimize suffering. But not if the soul was infinite, and suffering was necessary for its wisdom


Anonymous said...

That was fun. The religious minded people make a big mistake by trying to outsmart science and rationality, it always ends up like this. They should just stick to the things science and Karl Popper cannot explain. Otherwise they take the poetry out of religion and make themselves look like complete idiots, which is not necessary.

Greetings, a

bleys said...

I really enjoyed that post! Thanks for sharing. Religious fanatics are funniest of them all :)