Here is an interview with Richard Dawkins. The interviewer's questions are bold and in italics to distinguish them from my comments which are bold and in square brackets. Because of its length, I have had to split this post into multiple parts.
The Problem with God: Interview with Richard Dawkins, Beliefnet, 15 December 2005. The renowned biologist talks about intelligent design, dishonest Christians, and why God is no better than an imaginary friend. [Molecular biologist turned Christian theologian Alister McGrath observes, "Yet while Dawkins' atheism became more strident in its tone and more aggressive in its assertions, it did not become noticeably more sophisticated .... Religious folk are demonized as dishonest ... when he comes to deal with anything to do with God, we seem to enter ... the world of a schoolboy debating society":
"As philosopher Michael Ruse pointed out in a review of The Devil's Chaplain, Dawkins' `attention has swung from writing about science for a popular audience to waging an all-out attack on Christianity.' The brilliant scientific popularizer became a savage anti-religious polemicist, preaching rather than arguing (or so it seemed to me) his case. .... Dawkins' account of religion tends to amount to little more than freak-pointing, with the extreme portrayed as the typical. Religious people were dismissed as anti-scientific, intellectually irresponsible, or existentially immature - on a good day. Yet while Dawkins' atheism became more strident in its tone and more aggressive in its assertions, it did not become noticeably more sophisticated in terms of the arguments offered. Religious folk are demonized as dishonest, liars, fools, and knaves, incapable of responding honestly to the real world, and preferring to invent a false, pernicious, and delusionary world into which to entice the unwary, the young, and the naïve. ... Dawkins writes with erudition and sophistication on issues of evolutionary biology ... Yet when he comes to deal with anything to do with God, we seem to enter into a different world. It is the world of a schoolboy debating society, relying on rather heated, enthusiastic overstatements, spiced up with some striking oversimplifications and more than an occasional misrepresentation (accidental, I can only assume) to make some superficially plausible points - the sort of arguments that once persuaded me that atheism was the only option for a thinking person when I was a schoolboy. ... I had hoped that his writings would produce a new, intellectually reinvigorated atheism - something that would be really exciting and engaging. Instead, I found the same plodding rhetoric and tired old cliches that I knew well from my schoolboy days. Dawkins was preaching to the choir, recycling rather than renewing the case for atheism. ... The year 2003 dawned, and with it came the publication of A Devil's Chaplain. It is not one of Dawkins' best works ... the book exudes intellectual weariness, as if its author had run out of intellectual steam.." (McGrath A.E., "Dawkins' God: Genes, Memes, and the Meaning of Life," Blackwell: Malden MA, 2005, pp.8-10)]
Interview by Laura Sheahen British biologist Richard Dawkins has made a name for himself defending evolution and fighting what he sees as religiously motivated attacks on science. Dr. Dawkins sat down with Beliefnet at the World Congress of Secular Humanism, where his keynote address focused on intelligent design. [The issue is not "religiously motivated attacks on science" but "religiously motivated attacks on" (and defences against), scientific materialism which denies that the primary subject-matter of religion, God, even exists. However, as a Christian, I have no brief for "religion" in general, so hereafter by "religion" I mean the Christian religion, i.e. what C.S. Lewis called "mere Christianity," i.e. "the belief that has been common to nearly all Christians at all times.":
"Ever since I became a Christian I have thought that the best, perhaps the only, service I could do for my unbelieving neighbours was to explain and defend the belief that has been common to nearly all Christians at all times. ... what Baxter calls 'mere' Christianity." (Lewis C.S., "Mere Christianity," , Fount: London, 1997, reprint, p.vi.)
You're concerned about the state of education, especially science education. If you were able to teach every person, what would you want people to believe?
I would want them to believe whatever evidence leads them to; I would want them to look at the evidence, judge it on its merits, not accept things because of internal revelation or faith, but purely on the basis of evidence. [Dawkins falsely assumes that Christians don't "believe whatever evidence leads them to", that "revelation" is not itself "evidence", and that "faith" cannot be based on "evidence". But as the Apostle Paul pointed out in 1 Cor. 15:14, "if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith." And when I was an atheist, it was the evidence of design in nature that (like Antony Flew), led me to renounce atheism for deism in the 1960s, and then later, on the basis of the evidence of the Bible, accept Christianity. The boot is in fact on the other foot: it is the atheist Dawkins who is not willing to follow the evidence wherever it leads, e.g. the prophet Daniel predicting in ~538 BC the exact year of Messiah's coming in 26 AD, because if he did, he would become a Christian. ]
Not everybody can evaluate all evidence; we can't evaluate the evidence for quantum physics. So it does have to be a certain amount of taking things on trust. I have to take what physicists say on trust, for example, because I'm a biologist. [Physics is not the only subject that Dawkins takes on trust, i.e. has faith in. He also takes his "biology", specifically his Darwinian evolution, on trust. That is, Dawkins assumes that every mutation in the entire history of life has been random (in the sense of undirected) because he has faith that there is "no mechanism" (like the supernatural intervention of God) "that could guide mutation in directions that are non-random":
"There is a fifth respect in which mutation might have been nonrandom. We can imagine (just) a form of mutation that was systematically biased in the direction of improving the animal's adaptedness to its life. But although we can imagine it, nobody has ever come close to suggesting any means by which this bias could come about. It is only in this fifth respect, the 'mutationist' respect, that the true, real-life Darwinian insists that mutation is random. Mutation is not systematically biased in the direction of adaptive improvement, and no mechanism is known (to put the point mildly) that could guide mutation in directions that are non-random in this fifth sense. Mutation is random with respect to adaptive advantage, although it is non-random in all sorts of other respects. It is selection, and only selection, that directs evolution in directions that are nonrandom with respect to advantage." (Dawkins R., "The Blind Watchmaker," , Penguin: London, 1991, reprint, p.312. Emphasis in original)]
But science [has] a system of appraisal, of peer review, so that I trust the physics community to get their act together in a way that I know from the inside. [It is significant that Darwinists routinely compare their largely historical science with an experimental science like physics, to make it seem that they have the same degree of reliability. But as Bill Dembski notes, "how many physicists ... will claim that general relativity is as well established as Darwin's theory? Zero":
"Regardless of one's point of view, it's actually quite easy to see that Darwinism is not in the same league as the hard sciences. For instance, Darwinists will often compare their theory favorably to Einsteinian physics, claiming that Darwinism is just as well established as general relativity. Yet how many physicists, while arguing for the truth of Einsteinian physics, will claim that general relativity is as well established as Darwin's theory? Zero." (Dembski W.A., "Introduction: The Myths of Darwinism," in Dembski W.A., ed., "Uncommon Dissent: Intellectuals Who Find Darwinism Unconvincing," ISI Books: Wilmington DE, 2004, p.xxi)]And there is no "peer review" permitted as to whether naturalistic evolution itself is true. Witness what happened when evolutionary biologist Richard Sternberg , the editor of a peer-reviewed journal, allowed to be published in it a paper in by ID theorist Stephen Meyer proposing that the information increase in the Cambrian explosion was the result of intelligence. Sternberg was hounded from his job and the paper was deleted from the journal's online archives.]
I wish people would put their trust in evidence, not in faith, revelation, tradition, or authority. [Again, Dawkins falsely assumes that "evidence" and "faith, revelation, tradition, or authority" are necessarily mutually exclusive.]
What do you wish people knew about evolution?
They need to understand what evolution is about. Many of them don't. I was truly shocked to be told by two separate religious leaders in this country [the U.S.] a few weeks ago--they both said something to the effect that, "I'll believe in evolution when I see a tailed monkey give birth to a human." [This is just a rhetorical trick by Dawkins, picking on the worst argument by an opposing position and making out that that is its best argument. Dawkins also makes out that the reason most people reject evolution is because they "need to understand what evolution is about." But in fact it is because people "understand what evolution is about", i.e. "the standard scientific theory that `human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God had no part in this process" (my emphasis) and that, as Dawkins himself has said, "there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference", that they reject evolution:
"In one of the most existentially penetrating statements ever made by a scientist, Richard Dawkins concluded that `the universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.' Facing such a reality, perhaps we should not be surprised at the results of a 2001 Gallup poll confirming that 45 percent of Americans believe `God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so'; 37 percent prefer a blended belief that `human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process'; and a paltry 12 percent accept the standard scientific theory that `human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God had no part in this process.'" (Shermer M.B., "The Gradual Illumination of the Mind," Scientific American, February 2002. My emphasis)]
That is staggering ignorance of what evolutionary science is about; if they think that's what evolutionists believe, no wonder they're skeptical of it. How can a civilized country have adult people in positions of leadership who know so stunningly little about the leading biological concept? [Dawkins is just deluding himself if he thinks that after four decades of compulsory public education in "evolutionary science", the reason why most people reject it, is because of "staggering ignorance of what evolutionary science is about". Dawkins seems unable to bring himself to consider that the real reason why most people reject fully naturalistic evolution is that they know too much about it, e.g. its philosophical assumptions, its lack of evidence, its problems, its implications, and the way the Darwinists argue their case:
"In the final analysis, it is not any specific scientific evidence that convinces me that Darwinism is a pseudoscience that will collapse once it becomes possible for critics to get a fair hearing. It is the way the Darwinists argue their case that makes it apparent that they are afraid to encounter the best arguments against their theory. A real science does not employ propaganda and legal barriers to prevent relevant questions from being asked, nor does it rely on enforcing rules of reasoning that allow no alternative to the official story. If the Darwinists had a good case to make, they would welcome the critics to an academic forum for open debate, and they would want to confront the best critical arguments rather than to caricature them as straw men. Instead they have chosen to rely on the dishonorable methods of power politics." (Johnson P.E., "The Wedge of Truth: Splitting the Foundations of Naturalism," Intervarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, 2000, p.141).In my case, it was when I was most ignorant of evolution, that I assumed it was true, but the more I learned about it (including completing a biology degree in 2004, in which I gained distinctions in all my evolutionary units), the less I know evolution to be true! See for example my, "The Minimal Cell: A Problem of Evolution 1/2" and 2/2]
[Continued in part #2]