Saturday, March 07, 2009
Bob Stephenson and I went to hear Richard Dawkins last night. The crowd was larger than we expected which made it hard to find a seat with a view of the screen for his powerpoint presentation.
Dawkins clearly enjoyed the notoriety connected with the resolution against him at the Oklahoma State legislature. He used it as an opportunity to make a sizeable donation to Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education (OESE) and to encourage others to do the same. I support that organization and am a member of its board of governors.
Frankly, I was not very impressed with Dawkins. His explanation of evolution was succinct and acurate, but I've heard better presentations from members of the faculty at OU.
Whenever discussion digressed from science to religion, Dawkins was generally caustic and superficial. His response to religion is merely the flip side of the reaction of fundamentalists to evolution. Neither have any place for ground in the middle.
Most disconcerting to me was the image he displayed of a mushroom cloud along with an alarm about Muslims in possession of nuclear or biological weapons. In this respect, his fear of Islam is as indiscriminate as that of most Christian fundamentalists and Jewish neocons. Such stereotyping and fearmongering does nothing to promote understanding and reduce hostility among people of goodwill who hold different convictions.
Posted by Bruce Prescott at 8:30 AM