This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

Darwin's Rottweiler and Dawkins's Dogma

http://www.scienceline.org/2009/10/22/blog-jabr-evolution-dawkins/

Some call him Darwin’s Rottweiler. A man of slight build, wispy silver hair and round spectacles, evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins did not earn the fierce nickname for his appearance. He earned it for his vigorous advocacy of Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection as indisputable scientific fact.

“We have a war on our hands,” the best-selling author said with characteristic conviction, to open his recent speech at the New York Academy of Sciences. A crowd of about 200 eagerly listened to a chapter-by-chapter description of his new book, The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution—a book Dawkins hopes will arm the defenders of evolution against those who claim it’s “only a theory.”

The question of whether evolution is a theory or fact is not a mere semantics game. It’s so important to the public, to scientists and to Dawkins himself, that it dominates the first chapter of The Greatest Show on Earth. To emphasize evolution’s certainty, Dawkins’s new book even suggests borrowing the word ‘theorem’ from mathematics—meaning a proven statement—and changing its spelling to ‘theorum,’ thus christening evolution anew.

During the question and answer session at the Academy, a young man approached the microphone to ask Dawkins for his response to a New York Times review of his book. In the review, science reporter Nicholas Wade criticized Dawkins for stubbornly calling evolution a fact, arguing that evolution is—and can only be—a theory. “Because the word ‘theory’ is so wantonly misunderstood by lay people,” Dawkins answered the young man, “we are better off using a word that ordinary lay people actually understand”—the word ‘fact.’
...
Continue reading
http://www.scienceline.org/2009/10/22/blog-jabr-evolution-dawkins/

TAGGED: BOOKS, RICHARD DAWKINS, SCIENCE


RELATED CONTENT

Planet of the apes

Stephen Cave - Financial Times Comments

What we really know about our evolutionary past – and what we don’t

Magic at Every Age A review of Richard...

Stacy L. Memering,Viviana A.... Comments

Magic at Every Age
A review of Richard Dawkins, The Magic of Reality: How We Know What’s Really True

CCI: DAVE MCKEAN ON DAWKINS, CHRIST AND...

Andy Liegl - CBR (Comic Book... Comments

In front of a packed crowd during his panel titled "My Two Years with Dawkins, Christ and a Small Crab Called Eric" at Comic-Con International in San Diego, artist, writer and indie filmmaker Dave McKean recounted two recent life events on radically opposite ends of the philosophical spectrum: an all-ages book he illustrated with scientist and Atheism proponent Richard Dawkins called "The Magic of Reality," and a film he shot starring Michael Sheen in Port Talbot, Wales called "The Gospel of Us," a modern day interpretation of "The Passion" story chronicling Jesus Christ's final days of life on Earth.

Redeeming God in Canaan

Doctor Science - Obsidian Wings Comments

Last weekend I noticed two religion blogs, one Jewish and one evangelical (though not fundamentalist) Christian, discussing the same passages in the Bible: the ones commanding the Israelites to fight, slaughter, enslave, and dispossess the Canaanite inhabitants of the Land of Israel. To commit genocide, in fact.

The Magic of Reality by Richard Dawkins

Oliver Kamm - The Times Comments

Review of The Magic of Reality

Dear believers: Blasphemy is good for...

John Gray - The Globe and Mail Comments

A review of The Future of Blasphemy Speaking of the Sacred in an Age of Human Rights
by Austin Dacey

MORE

MORE BY FERRIS JABR

How Did Insect Metamorphosis Evolve?

Ferris Jabr - Scientific American Comments

IThe evolution of metamorphosis remains somewhat mysterious, but biologists have gathered enough evidence to plausibly explain its origins

MORE

Comments

Comment RSS Feed

Please sign in or register to comment