Monday, November 12, 2007
Is Dinesh D'Souza making a boast here -- or confessing that his position, irrational at root, could use some more propping up?
Dawkins is in some ways a terrible representative for atheism, which I'm glad about because a bad cause deserves a bad leader. He is also a terrible advocate for science, which I'm sad about because science deserves all the support it can get.If D'Souza is so confident in the reasonableness of his views, why not aim higher than a lightweight such as Dawkins? Perhaps it is because, as I have discussed here recently, D'Souza's own position can, by its nature, look rational only with a clown like Dawkins as an opponent.
Having debated Christopher Hitchens, I'd like the opportunity to debate Dawkins. I think I can vindicate a rational and scientific argument for religion against his irrational and unscientific prejudice. When I wrote Dawkins to propose such a debate, however, Dawkins said that "upon reflection" he decided against it. He didn't give a reason, and there is no reason.
In his writings on religion, Dawkins presents atheism as the side of reason and evidence, and religion as the side of "blind faith." So what’s he afraid of? How can reason possibly lose in a contest with ignorance and superstition? I have written Dawkins back offering him the most favorable terms: a debate on a secular campus like Berkeley rather than a church, with atheist Michael Shermer as the moderator, and a donor ready and willing to pay both our fees. [bold added]
Science does not offer a comprehensive worldview as does religion, although its implicit philosophical foundation is rational, and there is at least one rational philosophy I can think of that does offer a comprehensive worldview that can compete successfully with religion: Objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand.
D'Souza knows that it is rational philosophy, rather than science, which is really the proper basis for atheism, but he isn't interested in unearthing the truth. If he were, he would scour the earth for someone who could really test the soundness of his arguments, and he would make a lot less noise about it in the process.
The boasting and the hounding of a pushover opponent reveal D'Souza's real objective: to find a stooge to help him look good as he pulls the wool over the public's eyes. His urgency is also belies his fear of others making up their own minds: He wants to fool them before they figure out that there really is an alternative to religion, and that it isn't coming from Dawkins or his ilk.