Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Dawkins interviews McGrath

It's painful to watch; I got about halfway through before I gave up. McGrath just goes around in circles: It makes us feel good because it's true; it's true because it makes us feel good.

[h/t to Debunking Christianity via Stephen Law]


  1. I watched the whole thing... I think your decision to bail out early was the correct one. Good grief, what a pompous prick! Dawkins' intestinal fortitude is quite remarkable: how on earth did he put up with that sanctimonious puffball?

  2. I engaged in forehead-slapping at 41 minutes.... It was leaning toward torture before that, though.

    McGrath is just saying that... oy, it's so nonsensical I can't even put it into words. Believe something is true because we're... ignorant? It's completely impossible to logically wrap one's head around his nonsensical rambling.

    And he buys this stuff because he believes it to be right? That doesn't say anything!!! It's completely tautological!

    I applaud Dawkins for being able to remain emotionally stable while having his intellect tortured by seeing the dissolved intellect of another.

    Something that irritated me was McGrath's almost constantly cocked head. I think that probably shows something about his certainty.

    People can have faith that there is not a god? Maybe, but who actually holds that position?

    Stalin et al. pushed institutionalized atheism? Excuse me, what?

    Atheism is declining in the West?! I don't think so, bub!


    You can tell Dawkins was severely irritated and frustrated around 52 minutes when he had his eyes angled up and he was blinking like crazy. It's the same behavior he exhibited in that amateur interview with a disguised Answers in Genesis crew when he was thinking about what to do with them, since he'd been tricked.

    McGrath was noticeably tired of it around 56:30.

    Dawkins makes a good response to McGrath's question at the end, but I can't help but think he would have been able to do so much better if there had been more time and the question hadn't just popped out of nowhere.

  3. Mark: Yes, I noticed McGrath's cocked head too. According to Wikipedia, this gesture indicates boredom... or perhaps just a stiff neck.

    I can totally buy religion as literary metaphor. But what separates religion from pure metaphor is the belief that one's religion is literally true, or at least true in some sense.

  4. Dawkins makes a good response to McGrath's question at the end...

    For those of us who didn't make it to the end, can you summarize?

  5. I was sympathetic to the "literary metaphor" view until I read a bit by Peter Berkowitz entitled "The New New Atheism" on Opinion Journal. Then it hit me: one has to arbitrarily choose what is metaphorical.

  6. [O]ne has to arbitrarily choose what is metaphorical.

    Excellent point. I wish I'd said it.


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