Dawkins is now saying more than ‘probably not’
Well, well, well. Melanie Phillips has written an excellent article in this week’s Spectator (nicely called ‘Is Richard Dawkins Still Evolving?’), having attended the second Dawkins/Lennox debate earlier this week. This was quite a remarkable event in that Dawkins never normally allows himself to get into debates with Christians – but here he is doing it with a fellow Oxford scientist for the second time, not in the Bible belt like last year, but on home turf, in Oxford Town Hall.
I’ve not heard or seen recordings of the debate, and have only so far read Phillips’ reflections. But according to her, there are some startling revelations:
- Dawkins stated (at the start of the Oxford debate with Lennox):
A serious case could be made for a deistic God.
- Well, that’s interesting. I’m not sure that is quite the same thing as atheism (or have I missed something?). Or is that also simply another ‘God delusion’, just like garden fairies or The Flying Spaghetti Monster? This presumably now puts him in the ranks of many of the greats who founded the Royal Society and The United States – which is a very different community to belong to from the one lays claim to. As Phillips points out, this rather undermines his previous assertion that:
…all life, all intelligence, all creativity and all ‘design’ anywhere in the universe is the direct or indirect product of Darwinian natural selection…Design cannot precede evolution and therefore cannot underlie the universe.
- Dawkins ‘vehemently denied’ that he had changed his mind. But Phillips came back to him with a number of challenges, including a telling exchange on creation out of nothing, and some key points about using historical evidence. But as she says:
Even more jaw-droppingly, Dawkins told me that, rather than believing in God, he was more receptive to the theory that life on earth had indeed been created by a governing intelligence – but one which had resided on another planet. Leave aside the question of where that extra-terrestrial intelligence had itself come from, is it not remarkable that the arch-apostle of reason finds the concept of God more unlikely as an explanation of the universe than the existence and plenipotentiary power of extra-terrestrial little green men?