I'm beginning to think Richard Dawkins only agrees to do puff-piece interviews. His latest interview with Beliefnet's Laura Sheahen is a case in point. Nevertheless, a few interesting insights fall out of this interview.
The Professor for the Public Understanding of Science is asked, "What are your thoughts about the despair some people feel when they ponder natural selection and random mutation?
Dawkins will have none of this. He explains, "I don't think it should make one feel depressed. I don't feel depressed. I feel elated. My book, "Unweaving the Rainbow," is an attempt to elevate science to the level of poetry and to show how one can be"”in a funny sort of way"”rather spiritual about science."
While Dawkins may be impressed with his own poetry, it doesn't seem to have developed much traction. For example, while today's Amazon.com ratings for the Blind Watchmaker and Selfish Gene are 1345 and 841, respectively, the newer Unweaving the Rainbow comes in at a paltry 5222. And if you check out the web page of Dawkins #1 fan, it's the only book he still hasn't extracted quotes from.
Nevertheless, rather than quibble about Dawkins ability to transform science into poetry, we can simply note that he had a perfect chance to express his sense of elation. Sheahen gently lobs a slow moving softball across the center of the plate: "What do you wish people knew about evolution?" Dawkins reply?
They need to understand what evolution is about. Many of them don't. I was truly shocked to be told by two separate religious leaders in this country [the U.S.] a few weeks ago–they both said something to the effect that, "I'll believe in evolution when I see a tailed monkey give birth to a human."
That is staggering ignorance of what evolutionary science is about; if they think that's what evolutionists believe, no wonder they're skeptical of it. How can a civilized country have adult people in positions of leadership who know so stunningly little about the leading biological concept?
Did you get that? Dawkins has a chance to show-off his sense of elation and what does he do? He whines and complains about people who don't believe in evolution! The wonder of his world view is drowned out by two religious leaders who are apparently be replayed again and again in his head.
But the best part of the interview is yet to come. Dawkins is asked, "Is atheism the logical extension of believing in evolution?"
And he replies:
They clearly can't be irrevocably linked because a very large number of theologians believe in evolution. In fact, any respectable theologian of the Catholic or Anglican or any other sensible church believes in evolution. Similarly, a very large number of evolutionary scientists are also religious. My personal feeling is that understanding evolution led me to atheism. (emphasis not added)
Dawkins has just betrayed many of his followers. Gone is Mr. Follow The Evidence Wherever It Leads and in its place we have Mr. Wishy Washy in touch with his inner self. Dawkins not only admits his atheism is a personal, subjective choice, but he roots it is his FEELINGS! Dawkins feels that evolution has personally led him to atheism, but in admitting that it's just a personal thing, he turns his back on the popular atheistic notion that science is the gateway to atheism. Some evolutionary scientists are theists while others are atheists. It's just a personal metaphysical choice and we all just gotta go with our feelings.
Oh, for the good ol' days:
In the Guardian of 2/6/99 he was quoted as saying, "I'm like a pit bull terrier being released into the ring, as a spectator sport, to attack religious people . . . I've done it once or twice." So Professor Dawkins is now affectionately known as "Darwin's pit bull."
Imagine the 2005 version of the pit bull terrier in the ring "“ "I feel like evolution led me personally to accept atheism! And I really, really feel this way! And its true for ME!" It shouldn't take too long for the religious people to figure out the appropriate response – "Why, what a cute, little angry dog. Let's get him a blankie with a Darwin fish on it. Maybe that will calm him down."