Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The God Delusion, further thoughts

Unless I have misread the last hundred years of the history of Science, the common sense notions of chance and probability only actually make sense within a limited set of frames of reference.

Any believer could rightfully claim that the God they worship would of course necessarily operate across all the frames of reference relevant to the perceptual sphere of human beings. Exit Dawkins's argument from improbability stage left.

And the common sense notion of evolution requires the common sense notion of sequential chronological time. Seen from the perspective say of Einstein's Spacetime, it isn't quite the same phenomenon, is it?

Dawkins seems to have carefully distanced himself from some of his earlier rhetorical excesses. Nowhere in The God Delusion I suspect, does his irritating totem word random crop up. This permitted him to acerbically mock the Creationist position that evolution is all a matter of chance. No other word reveals the mildly hypocritical tendencies of modern scientists: quantum phenomena are random they freely admit, but everything else is fully determined...er, except genetic mutations.

The Selfish Gene strikes me as a deliciously obstinate exercise in not recognising the duality within all the structures within the network we call Life: for at every single level each structure appears subject to both the logic of selfishness and that 0f collaboration. It is the tension between these dynamics that surely makes life interesting in the first place.

What exactly is a gene? To my mind it is one of those categories that one can refer to as individual with even less certainty than say that of the biological organism. I am an individual, but within me all sorts of collectives fizzle away until the day I...we die.

1 comment:

Italia said...

I found this book to be full of insightful reasons why religion has done more harm than good through the ages. In my case it was an affirmation of my atheism. However if it was Mr. Dawkins' hope to change the minds of the common man as he indicated, I must say he has missed the mark. I am a reasonably intelligent person with a post graduate degree and I am not ashamed to say that I struggled getting. through the first third of this book.