Monday, April 09, 2012

Are Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle Really Morons? Dawkins and Popular Culture

Watch the first 16 seconds of this video if you have never seen it before:

I was reminded of this classic scene a week or so ago, when I read about Richard Dawkin's address to the "Reason Rally" in Washington, D.C.  Dawkins urged the faithful of his congregation to go out into the highways and byways of society and "ridicule [religious believers] with contempt."  You can read about it more here.

I've been following Richard Dawkins' career on and off now for over a decade, beginning with reading
The Blind Watchmaker in a class with Alvin Plantinga on religion and science in my doctoral program at Notre Dame.

I think it is not unfair to say that he intends, in his writings and public appearances, to popularize the notion that all persons who believe in God are morons.

Which puts him in exactly the same stance as the extraordinary Vizzini of the Princess Bride: "Socrates, Plato, Aristotle?  --- Morons!"

We should recall that Socrates, Plato, Aristotle--the founders of the Western philosophical tradition--all believed in a creator Deity, whose existence was evident from aspects of the universe like design and causation.

But maybe it is the case that we have evolved beyond the primitive thought of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.  Maybe we have evolved--or at least some of us have--to the point that we now realize intelligence, consciousness, mind, thought, design, love, meaning, are all illusions.  Maybe it is the case that all human existence is just a meaningless accident, and when you are dead, your dead.  And maybe the widespread social acceptance of this belief will result in a utopian society once religion is vanquished. 

And maybe it is the case that my poor, unevolved brain--still clinging to antiquated notions embraced by morons like Socrates, Plato and Aristotle--is no match for the wits of Richard Dawkins.

But, in the meantime, I've spent the last few years building up an immunity to iocane powder.

1 comment:

Mike Helbert said...

an appropriate response to Dawkins would then be, "Inconceivable!"