Friday, October 05, 2007


No Framing Necessary

Well, there was the big debate between John Lennox and Richard Dawkins. I didn't see/hear it but there are some people claiming victory. Conveniently, we don't know their names as the comments come second hand from one Regis Nicoll, described as a freelance writer and "worldview teacher." These comments supposedly originate from people he knows:

What I thought was so devastating to Dawkins' position was how Lennox turned the tables on him and sent him reeling with respect to the sense of right/wrong, good/bad. Lennox made it clear that the sense of right and wrong is neither genetic nor the outworking of group dynamics over generations, but something we simply all possess. Dawkins couldn't deny this...

Lennox ... was devastating on the topic "Do you need religion to be good," demonstrating that you don't need religion to be good, but without religion it's a moot argument as to what is "good" or "bad" since there is no objective standard. Thus Stalin, Pol Pot, Hitler, and Islamic terrorists have/could be doing the right thing in their own eyes with impunity in the afterlife. ... He even got Dawkins to back off his assertion that religion in and of itself is universally dangerous.

Dawkins was stumped in several places but especially when Lennox questioned him on "how anyone could act in opposition to their genes?" Dawkins really eluded the question by saying that it was just true that humans do act in a way contrary to Darwinian evolution every time someone uses birth control measures. Dawkins never gave a reasoned basis for that action.

I am certain that seeds of doubt in Dawkins' atheistic faith were planted in the minds of many secular humanists in the audience. Lennox's position was bold and unrelenting. I DID find it interesting that Dawkins' seemed willing on a couple of occasions to smuggle in tacit acceptance of a deistic God, which is not I suppose too surprising since that would be God no one had to meaningfully deal with anyway.
While my own agnosticism has hardly been bowled over by Dawkins' arguments, the whistling is only getting these people past the graveyard at great risk of waking up all the residents with the racket. Self-inflicted framing is no doubt effective but one chink in the armor comes through:

The long line of UAB students eager for Dawkins' book after the event, however, shows that all of us have a great deal more work to do esp. (sic) on our campuses.
Understatement for once ...

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