Quote of the day

From the inaugural issue of Salvo magazine (great stuff – check it out!):

From Oxford biologist Richard Dawkins: “Retribution as a moral principle is incompatible with a scientific view of human behavior.  As scientists, we believe that human brains, though they may not work in the same way as man-made computers, are as surely governed by the laws of physics.  When a computer malfunctions, we do not punish it.  We track down the problem and fix it, usually by replacing a damaged component, either in hardware or software.”  Dawkins pointedly adds that an “especially warped and disgusting application of the flawed concept of retribution is Christian crucifixion as ‘atonement’ for ‘sin.'”

His premise appears to be that we have no souls and that all actions are governed by physical or chemical reactions. 

First he claims that retribution as a moral principle is incompatible with science.  What is his source of truth for that?  According to his worldview, there is no God, so anything that exists must be compatible with science.  How else could it exist? 

Then he implies that people malfunction morally and that we should aim to fix it as we would a computer.  What is his standard to determine what a malfunction is?  What is his standard to say that that anything is “warped and disgusting?” 

Equally incoherent in light of his view that all human behavior is driven by mechanical processes are his assertions that religion is “The Root of all Evil” (his documentary) and his labeling of “various religious individuals as fools, demonical or mad.”

Dawkins gets an A+ for being honest about where his materialist philosophy logically leads, but an F for logic and coherence. 

4 thoughts on “Quote of the day”

  1. So, then, you don’t “believe” in mental illness? Should we stop treating people diagnosed as mentally ill, who are Christian?

    Dawkins may somewhat overstate the case, but your understating the case is no more confidence inspiring. At least, not to those of us who have seen pharmaceuticals fix disorders.


  2. Hi Edarell – I re-read my post and can’t see where you are drawing the conclusion that I don’t believe in mental illness or that we shouldn’t treat it. Can you clarify for me? Thx.


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