When Scientists Battle about Fundamentalism: Richard Dawkins v Peter Higgs

‘Fundamentalism is another  problem. I mean, Dawkins in a way is almost a kind of fundamen- talist himself.’

Professor Higgs also told the newspaper: ‘The growth of our understanding of the world through science weakens some of the  motivation which makes people believers.

‘But that’s not the same thing as saying they are incompatible. It is just that I think some of the traditional reasons for belief, going back thousands of years, are rather undermined.

via Battle of the professors: Richard Dawkins branded a fundamentalist by expert behind the ‘God particle’ | Mail Online.

Sorry, just had to post this. Saw this floating by on Facebook today (HT to DM) and I guess I missed it.

Anyway, it is a hoot and a half.

I like Dawkins, btw, but he gets more than a few things wrong. I agree with Higgs here – Dawkins approaches belief systems like a fundamentalist.

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9 Replies to “When Scientists Battle about Fundamentalism: Richard Dawkins v Peter Higgs”

  1. While science can be a religion, unlike traditional Western religion, science is forever changing. Yesterday’s wisdom can easily become tomorrow’s buffoonery. This is generally considered to be an anathema in religion.
    .
    Religious precepts are seldom subjected to the same scrutiny as scientific theories. In may instances, testing is not even possible. Perhaps the classic example in this regard is proving (or disproving) the existence of God.
    .
    Despite the differences, there are instances where religion and biology are thoroughly in sync. The creation of new life is one of those. Were this not the case, birth control would have never been invented.

    1. Perhaps God could improve the world by cutting lifespans. Since Jesus only lived on this earth to be in his early 30s, that might be a nice place to start. Of course, the number could always be reduced from there.

      1. Except Polkinghorne probably didn’t need higher math as an Anglican priest. Unless he was investigating multi-dimensional Hilbert space as the location of heaven and hell 😉

  2. Raised as an Anglican, Dawkins may simply have the same aversion to religion as a reformed smoker dealing with those still addicted to nicotine.

  3. Dawkins approaches belief systems like a fundamentalist.

    As do most believers. The common complaint about the (not at all) New Atheists, is that they haven’t read any sophisticated theology.

    We don’t really care, since neither have most believers. If the people in the pews, the bigots opposing equal right, were using sophisticated theology as the basis for their hatred, we would argue against that sophistimacation. As long as it’s fundamentalisms that cause the trouble, we’re happy attack a fundamentalist form of religion.

    Alternatively: If Dawkins isn’t arguing against your religion, why are you complaining?

    There are plenty of problems with Dawkins, but his proficiency in theology is not one of them.

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