Thursday, January 8, 2009

An Oxford Debate

Here is an interesting intellectual debate over the existence of God between two extremely bright men.

Bios taken from

Richard Dawkins, FRS, FRSL (born 26 March 1941) is a British ethologist, evolutionary biologist and popular science author. He is a professorial fellow of New College, Oxford.
Dawkins came to prominence with his 1976 book The Selfish Gene, which popularised the gene-centred view of evolution and introduced the term meme. In 1982, he made a widely cited contribution to evolutionary biology with the theory, presented in his book The Extended Phenotype, that the phenotypic effects of a gene are not necessarily limited to an organism's body, but can stretch far into the environment, including the bodies of other organisms.
Dawkins is a prominent critic of creationism and intelligent design. In his 1986 book The Blind Watchmaker, he argued against the watchmaker analogy, an argument for the existence of a supernatural creator based upon the observed complexity of living organisms, and instead described evolutionary processes as being analogous to a blind watchmaker. He has since written several popular science books, and has made regular appearances on television and radio programmes, predominantly discussing the aforementioned topics.
Dawkins is an atheist, secular humanist, skeptic, scientific rationalist, and supporter of the Brights movement. He has widely been referred to in the media as "Darwin's Rottweiler", by analogy with English biologist T. H. Huxley, who was known as "Darwin's Bulldog" for his advocacy of natural selection. In his 2006 book The God Delusion, Dawkins contends that a supernatural creator almost certainly does not exist and that faith qualifies as a delusion − as a fixed false belief. As of November 2007, the English language version had sold more than 1.5 million copies and had been translated into 31 other languages, making it his most popular book to date.

Alister E. McGrath (born January 23, 1953) is a Christian theologian, with a DPhil in molecular biophysics, as well as an earned Doctor of Divinity degree from Oxford, noted for his work on historical, systematic and scientific theology. In his writing and public speaking, he promotes "scientific theology" and opposes antireligionism. McGrath was until recently Professor of Historical Theology at the University of Oxford, but has now taken up the chair of Theology, Religion and Culture at King's College London since September 2008. Until 2005, he was principal of Wycliffe Hall.


Claire Humpage said...

Ill watch this vid tomorrow when its not so late but i already find it interesting that you have posted less background info on Mr McGrath.

Mikey said...

I simply copied and pasted their introductions from, as stated in my post. The fact that McGrath has less information is only because less information existed. Moreover, I took less information from the same area on Dawkins because there was so much. You'll see what I mean if you look them up.

Abby said...

I haven't finished watching this yet.. but I do want to put this side-note that a little 5 year old girl in my family just started going to some Catholic private school because her mom thought she would get a better education.. and my cousin told me this little girl came home saying that if she didn't pray every night, God would kill her. Wtf kind of education is that?

Tobie said...

That was a long video, Mikey...

I kind of have to disagree with Dawkins about believing in God only because you were brought up that way. I have friend’s who’s parents were really strict and made their kids listen to only Christian music and made ‘em go to church every Sunday and all that kind of stuff and were really judgemental towards other people who didn’t share their same beliefs (I hate parents like that, by the way). My parents are both Christians and they taught me stuff about God and the Christian faith and all that, but they never like...drilled it into my head or anything like that, like some of my friend’s parent’s did. My parents were pretty liberal with me. I was pretty much free to believe whatever I want and I grew up and decided to believe in God. Nobody forced me into it, though.