Sunday, October 23, 2011
Dawkins Doesn't Answer Question on Morality
In this video, an audience member asks Dawkins if atheists, who typically reject notions of absolute morality, are taking a leap of faith when they call something good or evil. Dawkins gives an answer and the crowd applauds. However, Dawkins's answer does not address the question at all. Not even a little.
The entire video can be summarized like this:
Audience Member: "Does an atheist's rejection of absolute morality prevent him from intelligibly making moral judgements?"
Dawkins: "I don't agree with religion's morality and would like a new, secular one."
I have to wonder what this says about the applauding audience. Are they really the product of an Age of Reason, listening intently to understand points and counter-points, thinking critically and assessing presented arguments? Are they really interested in truth and reason? Do they really care about the relationship between atheism and morality? Or are they just there to be fashionably atheist, mindlessly applauding an eloquently incoherent Dawkins?
I also wonder what this says about Dawkins. He is very intelligent, well educated and highly literate. I find it very difficult to believe that he did not understand the question. It is a fairly common issue in the philosophy of religion. He must have known that his answer was wildly irrelevant.
Even more disturbing is this: If he (rightly) thought he could get away with this, how must he view his audience? Does he see us as educated, rational, critical thinkers who would catch on if he dodged a question? Or does he know we're not even really listening? Does he think he can play us? Is he right?