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Richard Dawkins and the Transparency of Insecurity (Bumped)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

I taped an interview with Richard Dawkins Monday, which will air in the third hour of Tuesday’s show. As I note at the outset of our conversation, I took a course in natural selection theory as an undergrad from Stephen Jay Gould more than 30 years ago, and the key text was Dawkins’ The Selfish Gene, which I thought then and continue to believe is a fascinating book that deserves a close read from anyone interested in the theory of how organisms survive and thrive in the world.

The angry atheist Dawkins is far less interesting to me than the biologist Dawkins, and his unwillingness to debate folks like Dinesh D’Souza is an indictment of his confidence in his atheism –a projection really of the anti-intellectualism he attributes to his critics. Dawkins’ latest, The Greatest Show on Earth –the Evidence for Evolution is very interesting on many levels, but also full of unusual editorial choices, a sort of extended filibuster mixed with the sort of invective that is never very persuasive and almost always the mark of intellectual insecurity.

The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution

I look forward to your reactions to the conversation, and will open a thread at the Hughniverse to collect them. The books I reference in the interview are: David Berlinski’s The Devil’s Delusion,

The Devil's Delusion: Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions

Francis Collins’ The Language of God,

The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief

and Mark D. Roberts’ Can We Trust The Gospels?

Can We Trust the Gospels?: Investigating the Reliability of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John

In our exchanges, Dawkins evades direct questions a few times, and seems unable to grasp even the most obvious of objections which is that the analogies he employs to explainhis methods and to attack his critics ought also to be applicable to challenge his own arguments. When I did so, he exclaimed that I sounded like a lawyer, which of course I am, and which I admit does leave me bound up by the conventions of proof that go along with the study of law.

The transcript of our conversation will be posted here after the show airs.

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