Dawkins and Collins, two preeminent geneticists, are arguing God vs. Science. I think Collins makes some flying leaps and panders slightly, but Dawkins is out of control. He’s close to understanding the entire universe in his own mind. I have a little parable from his own field of study to instruct those who care about “truth”.
Imagine a million or more years of evolution, where we now know that humans evolved for monogamy and equal division of labor between male and female. By the time we develop language, perhaps 150,000 years ago, there is no question but that man and woman are meant to be equal partners.
But humans have always been scientists — people who seek to understand the immutable laws of the natural world, and who want to use those laws to better themselves and their society. Perhaps the greatest first victory of these scientists was agriculture. With agriculture, mankind was at last free from scarcity, and was able to accrue abundance and argue about how to distribute that abundance fairly.
Enter the “hate the father” scientist. These are scientists who look back at the past as if it is a mistake, who seek to erase it and replace it with the new “truth”. They attribute negative motives and seek to debunk, rather than rooting out the deception or error in their own ways.
Soon, one scientist observed: All life springs from the earth. All life springs from woman. Thus woman is the life-bringer, the superior of man. Clearly, this was the only logical explanation, with our new understanding of agriculture. The old way was an evil aberration; a naive mistake. Enter the Gaia cults. Hierarchy was necessary to manage larger societies, and priestesses ruled the new order. Thank Goddess for science!
But man’s animal nature is to lek. And soon, some scientist perfected the theory of “seed”. You see, the earth is dead — it does not live. The plant consumes the soil and makes it alive, so the plant is superior to the earth. In fact, the seed is simply the plant’s mechanism of replicating itself! It is a curse that man needs woman instead of earth to replicate; this half-alive temptress! At last, a superior understanding of the laws of nature gave us a reason to overthrow the priestess cults and establish male-dominated hierarchies. It was a very short time before we had kings with harems numbering in the thousands. Thank God for science!
The male-dominated cults relied on the concept of “transubstantiation” — the living makes the dead alive by consuming it. So instead of the female cults of life-giving and cycles, we have male pyramids of domination. It is only natural that cults of animal sacrifice (the gods must also consume!) and human sacrifice (especially virgins, who are as dead as earth with no seed) and cannibalism sprung up.
It took a very long time before people rejected the idiocy of the death cults, pyramid cults, and inequality. In fact, the death blow probably came when Pythagoreans and Dualists combined and we saw the premier seed-oriented male pyramid cult inverted — it’s messiah a man who was born without a y-chromosome, refused to have children, and died to save those of other races than his own.
This didn’t exactly end the nattering about whether “the laws of nature” intended man or woman to be boss. Scientists and philosophers have made convincing arguments on both sides for the following 2,000 years. Amazingly, it’s only with an understanding of DNA and very modern approaches to evolutionary theory that you can *prove* to the idiot scientist that men and women were meant to be equal partners.
Dawkins, in fact, started this revolution; with his observation that “humanity is just DNA’s mechanism for replicating itself”. (Of course, I note that all human societies develop idols and idolotary — and Dawkins so eloquently argues that a blind watchmaker could easily recreate humanity by setting a few variables. So cleary, DNA is idols’ way of replicating themselves. Soon all of the matter in the universe will be transmutated into a massive golden calf. The idol cults were right — DNA may sit above man, but idols sit above us all.)
In any case, you cannot help but be stunned by the power of DNA theory to prove every other debunking scientist of the past wrong. In fact, there is no possible way to refute the arguments of those earlier debunkers without DNA theory. You would have been laughed out of the scientific establishments to make such a declaration, since there was no scientific proof. Someone prior to 1965 saying, “you know in your heart that men and women are meant to be equally yoked” would only attract scorn from someone with the rigorous doubters method of Dawkins. He won’t believe what he hasn’t seen with his own eyes.
So we’ve suffered from several thousand years of nasty cults because people like Dawkins urged us to ignore our hearts and focus on what “logic” and “science” said; and he wants us to assume that this time, he’s got it all figured out? He’s observed the whole universe?
This is my beef with people like Dawkins, Sagan, and Chomsky. They discover one universal truth (out of perhaps an infinite store), and they spend the rest of their careers trying to prove how stupid God and everyone else are. Maybe if they would spend a bit more time looking at the beam in their own eyes, God would let them in on some more universal truth. If I’m betting on who gets further revelations, my money’s on Collins.