Richard Dawkins is on the TV. I hate when that happens. Some new show of his on channel 4 (I actually know the name but I refuse to plug it).
“It seems more and more of us are realising there is no God.”
That’s what he says, that’s what he has the audacity to to pour into a million homes. Not “thinking”. Not “considering”. Realising. As if anyone who disagrees is in denial, or stupid, or crazy.
Perhaps, before I begin completely, it would be wise to make a few points clear:
Firstly I have never met Mr Dawkins, or indeed read his book. (Is there more than one? Probably). I glanced over an extract in a magazine once, but was made so convulsively angry by the first few paragraphs alone that I had to go and lie down in a dark room until my family purged it from the house.
Secondly, I’m not a man of faith. I have never practiced any religion at all. Indeed I remain so resolutely on the fence that I fear I am in danger of needing surgery to remove the splinters from my colon. But that is another story altogether.
On reflection it was unwise of me to open this article the way I have. This article is not about Richard Dawkins, who I’m sure is perfectly alright really. It’s not about disproving his theories (I assume he has some). It’s not about rubbishing his beliefs (for that is surely what they are). And it’s certainly not about panning his book, which I’m told is very good and is probably a jolly good read if you like that kind of thing.
What this article IS about is a modern attitude, one for which Richard Dawkins is fast becoming the public spokesperson. The arrogance of the modern world and contempt for all those who dare to try and live outside it. I call it the Religion of Fact, or Scientism. I wanted Scientology, but alas someone else got there first. And you don’t mess with those crazy bastards.
There is a trend, a very definite trend, in the last nine or ten years (possibly more I wasn’t aware of much when I was thirteen) to use the word “know” far too much. Now, human beings have always had a latent need to understand or to explain their environment. This is the very root of all religion and, slightly ironically, all scientific research. Catholicism, Voodoo, Gravity and Evolution all spring out the very same, very short word: Why. (Not how. Why. Why and how are very different words, a fact a lots of people seem to be forgetting.)
What this word contains in three letters is one of the very things that make us human. Our total and utter fear of the unknown. Our need to attach a label to anything we see so that it fits neatly into our world view. We and our ancestors both looked up at the same stars and we both cried: Why?
They say God.
We say the Big Bang.
Of course there is a difference, a very small one, but still a pertinent one all the same. One of them explains the creation of the universe, and one of them is based on sound scientific theory.
I can hear the multitudinous gasps of horror even now. I’m sure somewhere my old physics teacher is breathing heavily into a paper bag. I put forth that the Big Bang is one of the worst theories of creation to ever exist. Why? Because it explains sweet Fanny Adams.
Allow me to elaborate with an analogy if you will.
I have my own theory. It explains fully how everything that exists within our universe came into being. It was hatched by a giant chicken. His name (yes, his) was Eugene and he quite liked tomatoes. That is my theory….which is mine.
Do you see my point? Did I just explain creation? I hope no one out there is saying to themselves “Of course! A chicken!” If you are then I’m glad I could help bring light to your world. If, on the other hand, you are standing (or sitting) there thinking “But where did the chicken come from?” Well, to those people I have only one ting to say: Exactly.
Too often in our modern world are we encouraged to take matters on faith. Which is fine per se – but when faith masquerades as knowledge the result is people like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, who have much more in common with the zealots they rage against than the pantheon of actual scientists they swear fealty to.
Smart, intelligent, educated men so torn up by a fear of not understanding the universe that they parade theories as facts and – brandishing degrees like placards at a rally – feel they have the right to question not only the intelligence, but also the sanity, of anyone who dare offer an opposing view.
All because they cant ask “Why?” , and be unafraid of the answer.