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Richard Dawkins — ID’s best friend and benefactor

Why the intelligent design lobby thanks God for Richard Dawkins
Anti-religious Darwinists are promulgating a false dichotomy between faith and science that gives succour to creationists

Madeleine Bunting
Monday March 27, 2006
The Guardian

On Wednesday evening, at a debate in Oxford, Richard Dawkins will be gathering the plaudits for his long and productive intellectual career. It is the 30th anniversary of his hugely influential book The Selfish Gene. A festschrift, How a Scientist Changed the Way We Think, has been published this month, with contributions from stars such as Philip Pullman.

A week ago it was the turn of the US philosopher Daniel Dennett, second only to Dawkins in the global ranking of contemporary Darwinians, to be similarly feted at a series of lectures and debates across the UK launching his book on religion, Breaking the Spell. The two make quite a team, each lavishing the other with generous praise as the philosopher Dennett brings to bear his discipline on the scientific findings of Dawkins.

The curious thing is that among those celebrating the prominence of these two Darwinians on both sides of the Atlantic is an unexpected constituency – the American creationist/intelligent-design lobby. Huh? Dawkins, in particular, has become their top pin-up.

How so? William Dembski (one of the leading lights of the US intelligent-design lobby) put it like this in an email to Dawkins: “I know that you personally don’t believe in God, but I want to thank you for being such a wonderful foil for theism and for intelligent design more generally. In fact, I regularly tell my colleagues that you and your work are one of God’s greatest gifts to the intelligent-design movement. So please, keep at it!”

http://education.guardian.co.uk/schools/comment/story/0,,1740547,00.html

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6 Responses to Richard Dawkins — ID’s best friend and benefactor

  1. “No one argues that it’s a useful project for year 10s to research flat-earth theories, so why intelligent design? But if we agree on that, then equally we can also agree that some debates are so corrupted by prejudice and ignorance that they are also not worth having.”

    Is he being ironic when he talks about “prejudice and ignorance”?

  2. William Dembski (one of the leading lights of the US intelligent-design lobby) put it like this in an email to Dawkins: “I know that you personally don’t believe in God, but I want to thank you for being such a wonderful foil for theism and for intelligent design more generally. In fact, I regularly tell my colleagues that you and your work are one of God’s greatest gifts to the intelligent-design movement. So please, keep at it!”

    That’s hilarious! What kind of response did he give?

  3. The thing I find most interesting is that it seems likely Madeleine Bunting’s source is this very blog.

    See here for where she got that quote:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....rchives/38

    Everyone behave now…you might end up being quoted in a major newspaper. ;)

  4. I wasn’t aware of that post. That was before my time. It sure would be interesting to read those e-mails!

  5. I too would love to read some of those email exchanges. I’m sure it was a challenge for Dawkins to keep up with Bill. On that note, I wonder if Dawkins has taken the time to read any of Bill’s books.

  6. The false dichotomy is an interesting one. As is the way with this fallacy, I keep finding it called from the extremes. Creationists use it all the time. Scientists would, but they know that if people are made to choose between religion and science most will go for religion. It is the ones in the middle who can see the false dichotomy for what it is – the theistic evolutionists and the non-literalist christians.

    In many debates, there are two sides embedded in trenches bombarding each other from a distance. Between them, cowering in shellholes, hide the moderates. Seen from either extreme, the moderates lie in the same direction as the enemy – so, surely, they are the enemy also.

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