Dawkins the Agnostic, and the limitations of Science
Posted in the Atheism Forum
Since: Oct 12
#1 Oct 18, 2012
Richard Dawkins is known throughout the world as a prominent advocate for atheism and evolution, however he admitted in February 2012 that he has some doubt over whether a God could exist.
In a debate with Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury, Dawkins remarked that he was less than 100% sure that a God does not exist, stating I think the probability of a supernatural creator existing is very very low. He further mentioned that he was 6.9 out of seven sure of his beliefs. The chair, Sir Anthony Kenny, then asked Why dont you call yourself an agnostic? To which Dawkins confirmed that he did.
For some theists this will be seen as a major climb down from someone so antagonistic towards religion. However if one scrutinises his words then they will realise this isnt any different to his previous positions. In fact this uncertain approach is the nature of science whose conclusions cannot determine the definitive nature of an observation.
This may seem counter-intuitive to todays world where science has assumed the role which once was the preserve of religions and where scientists are now consulted on origins of life and the universe in order to define a meaning to ones life. Rowan Williams thus painted an archaic picture of a man who represented an outdated philosophical outlook in comparison to the scientific, evidence based approach of Dawkins.
However, is science the only basis for knowing the world around us, can science answer all questions and will this lead to certain knowledge? These key questions require a thorough analysis of the scientific method so that its role and limits can be identified.
#2 Oct 20, 2012
What do you mean by this? Please elaborate. Science corrects itself. Science describes. Religion prescribes. Religion operates on dogma, faith, fear and superstition. Religion is not a "way of knowing". The world of the shaman, imam, psychic, rabbi, witch doctor, medium, pastor, priest and guru is shrinking. Science offers better explanations; explanations which are open to challenge and correction. It's okay to say, "I don't know" when you don't know. It's never okay to say, "I don't know, therefore God." Denial and disbelief are not the same thing.
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