Monday, January 5, 2009

Dawkins, part II

Chapter two is my favorite chapter in The Blind Watchmaker. Dawkins spends 16 pages explaining bat sonar. It's really interesting. Completely irrelevant the rest of the book, but really interesting.

I read a review of Twilight today, on Amazon, that said, in reference to Meyer's constant detailed descriptions of irrelevant things:
"It's like the saying goes: if you see a gun in chapter one, it's going to go off in chapter three. But if the gun goes off in chapter three during target practice and only manages to hit a tree branch, did it even NEED to be in chapter one in the first place? " (I actually like this person's entire review, so here's the link:

That is Richard Dawkins' bat chapter. It's pretty much like this--sixteen pages of vivid description of the gun, from end to end, every curve, every contour, how the inner mechanisms work, speculation on how the metal was forged and the purposes behind each and every bit of the design...but the gun's not even loaded. No one is shot. There isn't even a target practice scene later on in the book where it goes off and hits a tree. Sixteen pages of this-is-how-a-bat's-ears-work, isn't it neat?

Then, towards the end of the chapter, he makes this statement:
"Animals give the appearance of having been designed by a theoretically sophisticated and practically ingenious physicist or engineer, but there is no suggestion that the bats themselves know or understand the theory in the same sense as a physicist understands it. The bat should be thought of as analagous to the police radar trapping instrument, not the person who designed the instument....The designer's understanding is embodied in the design of the instrument, but the instrument itself does not understand how it works."

Look at what that says. Essentially, he's saying that because bats don't understand the physics behind sonar, they could not have designed themselves. Well, duh, we all knew that. We also know police radar trapping instruments don't understand physics either. What's the point? If sonar trapping instruments are designed by someone else, and bats are just like them, then why can't they be designed by someone?

It's like he's setting this up as a murder mystery, trying to convince the reader that one person is the killer (creation) by making all the evidence point to that character. But he's already told us who the villian (evolution) really is (according to him, anyway), way back in the prologue. And he's suppsed to be convincing us that evolution is the one we should be following. So what's the point of all this, "hey, look how well-designed these are" illustrations? Really, I think Dawkins knows Whodunit, but just doesn't want to face that fact.

I must throw in here this statement. I was raised in a Christian home, but like publically-schooled children all over the U. S., I was taught that the world was the result of a big bang and millions of years of chance. And in college, since I was a science major, that was pretty much all I heard all day long. It began to wear on my faith. And then, my Evolution professor (yes, I actually took a whole class on this!) assigned us to read The Extended Phenotype, by Dawkins. That cinched it. I had no more wavering about my faith. Dawkins rantings in that book were the words of a lunatic as far as I was concerned. I could no longer even toy with the idea that we weren't created by a loving God.

So, thank you Richard Dawkins, for being a part in my devotion to my belief in God! And, btw, I burned your book :).

1 comment:

tyeager said...

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