Dawkins Interview at BeliefNet
The good folks at Belief Net have posted this interview with Richard Dawkins. There are a lot of interesting tidbits, but here's one that caught my eye:
You criticize intelligent design, saying that “the theistic answer”--pointing to God as designer--“is deeply unsatisfying”--presumably you mean on a logical, scientific level.
Yes, because it doesn’t explain where the designer comes from. If they’re going to emphasize the statistical improbability of biological organs—“these are so complicated, how could they have evolved?”--well, if they’re so complicated, how could they possibly have been designed? Because the designer would have to be even more complicated.
The old “Who Designed the Designer?” question. Simple and devastating. The main response of ID folks to this argument is that in many cases we can be certain that something was designed even without understanding anything about the designers. The trouble is that in the case of biological design we have no independent evidence that there is a designer capable of performing the feats attributed to Him. If the existence of specified complexity is the evidence you're using to infer the existence of the designer, then the very same evidence demands that the designer himself be designed. It's inescapable.
You certainly can't argue that the designer himself lacks the property of specified complexity, for then you would have such complexity arising where none was before. That's precisely what ID folks tell us is impossible. The only way out of this is to retreat into metaphysical speculation about God being outside of nature. Take that route if you wish, but you certainly can't pretend to be doing science after doing so.
I also liked this:
Is atheism the logical extension of believing in evolution?
They clearly can’t be irrevocably linked because a very large number of theologians believe in evolution. In fact, any respectable theologian of the Catholic or Anglican or any other sensible church believes in evolution. Similarly, a very large number of evolutionary scientists are also religious. My personal feeling is that understanding evolution led me to atheism. (Emphasis in original)
This was the impression I had of Dawkins' views based on other things he has written. It's nice to see him spell it out clearly here. You often hear people say that Dawkins believes that evolution implies atheism. Clearly, he does not.