Monday, June 28, 2010

Delusion Confusion 5

* Below is part 5 of a response to Richard Dawkins book "The God Delusion"
**I'm dealing with pages 78-85 here

NOMA is an acronym coined by Gould (non-overlapping magisteria) which argues that science and religion simply cover different spheres. Perhaps science deals with the observable/material and religion with the unobservable/spiritual. Dawkins thinks "this sounds terrific - right up until you give it a moment's thought" (79).

In some ways this is really the core thought of the book. Dawkins is only willing to consider a religion that stands up to scientific scrutiny, that manifests itself in the material world. I, like Dawkins, agree that NOMA is all too convenient for religion. But I find it frustrating that Dawkins, when faced with apparent divine agreement on this point (incarnation, resurrection), is so quick to pass through the potential evidence with 1 mere paragraph (82-83). I'm having trouble remembering another mention of Jesus' resurrection in the entire book, the very kind of evidence Dawkins claims to be interested in!

So what does he say about the resurrection of Jesus?
1. If it occurred, it occurred within the material realm
2. It is unlikely that evidence will ever become available

Completely agree on point one (resurrection happens in the physical realm). But point 2 is where I think Dawkins has poor epistemology. He seemingly has such a preference for biology and contemporary observation that he either ignores historic evidence or pretends it doesn't exist. I get the impression that Dawkins would only accept the kind of evidence that nobody would expect to be available realistically (a strand of hair or drop of blood from Jesus that proved either incarnation or resurrection).

I'm going to stop there for the time being and finish chapter 2 in the next post. I was hoping Dawkins book would make some strong atheistic claims about 3 things: Origins, Morality, and refutation of Jesus' resurrection. I was disappointed that the resurrection got so little attention in this book (a few lines?). It's not that I was expecting a Bible study, it's that resurrection is the exact kind of evidence Dawkins claims to be interested in.

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