Saturday, 25 September 2010
Is Dawkins a Christian?
Dawkins rejects the objects and characters of the Bible menagerie and replaces them with Darwin’s and some of his own. But Dawkins wants to keep the Church’s message. He achieves it in this fashion:
“God” is replaced by “nature"; Deific creation is replaced by Copy(ing)”; intelligent design is replaced by Dawkinian animism; “human” is replaced by “gene”; “sin” is replaced by “selfishness”; “resurrection” is replaced by “survival”; the lineage of the prophets is replaced by "selection"; “sins, money-lenders and miracles” are replaced by Dawkin’s new product - “memes”; and “altruism”, - well, altruism - that remains the same, but no-one notices.
“Copying created genes”
“God created humans”.
Both are supernatural actions. “Copying” is a supernatural act or process because the creation of a similar object (compare “God created man in his own image”) allows survival beyond death of the original. Also, if we can legitimately pose a “selfish gene” then we can equally legitimately pose a “suffering gene” through sinful or selfish actions. And Dawkins use of the most vital Christian message - humbleness through altruism, is given equal air-time by Dawkins, despite the fact that there are other, non-christian, models and interpretations of "selfishness" and "altruism".
Also in the evolution incoherency tick-box list is “selection”. Phenotypes do not get selected as we know. For one, all individual phenotypes become extinct they die, for another it’s an odd sort of selection that is made between things that are not present or between a thing that is present and a thing that is not present. Maybe it’s the chemicals, genes, alleles that get selected. Ignoring the animistic gesture of a Nature that “selects”, we see in the success of alleles the selection of favoured groups of alleles. Copies of alleles that turn up again are said to be successful. If this is to avoid being an empty circularity (they are here because they are succesful and they are succesful because they are here) we have to say that certain alleles are intrinsically favoured across generations, much like the Biblical prophets are favoured as in the lineage of the prophets.
Dawkins is a Christian in the Christian doctrinal essentials and leaves the message of the Bible intact; there is no alternative for him, we must suppose. Dawkins shows his denial of his Christian beliefs when he popularizes the characters in his new Bible and makes fun of the characters and themes of the old Bible. But the Bible per se is Dawkins' world template.
And these are the intentions of a shifty, old-time, Christian missionary - Richard Dawkins - hamming up the old practice of mis-selling for a twentieth century audience.