Richard Dawkins is coming to NZ

As a part of the New Zealand International Arts Festival, zoologist and popular atheist Richard Dawkins has been invited to speak in Wellington early next year. Dawkins is the author of many landmark books on evolution, including the recently published “The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution”. He will speaking at the Festival as apart of the Writers and Readers Week, along with influential philosopher and atheist Peter Singer.

Dawkins is no stranger to controversy, and indeed has invited it openly himself, with his polemical writing and often incendiary comments.  He has been described as “Darwin’s Rottweiler” and a “fundamentalist” in the service of the evolutionary cause. Dawkins’ previous book, The God Delusion, sold more than 1.5 million copies but has been criticized as unsophisticated, prone to caricature and ultimately out of its depth, with even some atheists embarrassed and cringing at some of its claims. But if there’s one thing Dawkins is good at, it’s at stimulating debate. Let’s hope his arrival will encourage the right kind of debate, with more light than heat.714blog_richard_dawkins_2

5 replies
  1. Rob
    Rob says:

    Nice post Jason!

    Yes, 1.5 million copies and many disciples (wow, they even adore his hair cut — is this why we have no information given us about the appearance of Jesus in the gospels?) — and yet prominent atheist Michael Ruse said the book made him “embarrassed to be an atheist”.

    I have one of Singer’s books here — it has a title quite similar to Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live”.

    http://books.google.com/books?q=peter+singer+How+are+we+to+live&btnG=Search+Books

    Book overview
    Singer suggests that people who take an ethical approach to life often avoid the trap of meaninglessness, finding a deeper satisfaction in what they are doing than those people whose goals are narrower and more self-centered. He spells out what he means by an ethical approach to life and shows that it can bring about significant and far-reaching changes to one’s life. How Are We to Live? explores the way in which standard contemporary assumptions about human nature and self-interest have led to a world that is fraught with social and environmental problems. Singer asks whether selfishness is in our genes and concludes that we do not have to accept the bleak view of human nature sometimes believed to be inevitable, given our evolutionary origins.

    I guess I feel sorry for this guy — he lost his parents in the holocaust and has arrived at atheism with its inherent “trap of meaninglessness”. How such a smart guy can conclude that meaning “can be avoided” by living ethically is beyond my comprehension. I fail to see how living in ANY particular way can be meaningful in the universe that is ultimately meaningless.

    Oh, welcome to atheism 101.

  2. ropata
    ropata says:

    Hi
    I think you meant to say :
    Let’s hope his arrival will encourage the right kind of debate, with more light than heat.

    Despite the protestations of posturing atheists, the God Delusion really was an amateurish and arrogant attempt at theology. Dawkin’s most recent book, The Greatest Show on Earth, marks a return to his own field of evolution, so perhaps he’ll stick to a topic he actually knows about — but experience shows he’s not above a little atheist rabble-rousing.

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