Dr Nick Winder gives a highly interesting talk on his paper ‘The Colluphidean Paradigm’. Who is Colluphid you might ask? For those familiar with A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams you likely know the answer already. Oolid Colluphid is a fictional author in the book who writes a philosophical trilogy: Where God Went Wrong, Some More of God’s Greatest Mistakes and Who is this God Person Anyway? Dawkins actually dedicates his book The God Delusion to Douglas Adams and rather humourously, Dr Winder refers to Dawkins as ‘Colluphid’. Dawkins portrays religion and science as paradigmatic choices that force you to ‘grasp one end of the stick or the other, but you cannot take the whole thing up without risk of injury’, as Dr Winder says rather eloquently in his paper. God and science simply cannot co-exist or at least this is assumed a priori by Dawkins.
Winder’s talk is well-informed by the history of science (and natural philosophy) with insights into the role of agnosticism in scientific thinking and religion — ‘an agnostic can be an atheist, a theist, a deist or a pantheist’. Winder rather unashamedly bashes The God Delusion calling it not a ‘balanced assessment of the relationship between science and religion’ but something that …’reads more like the maunderings of an alehouse philosopher’. In introducing the work and views of Thomas Henry Huxley (a well-known scientist and agnostic), Winder lays out why the argument made by Dawkins and his followers is down right foul, and that the paradigm they cling to rather helplessly apparently gives them the right to make claims about the existence of God (or anything else they disagree with), while also denying the role of human culture, subjectivity and agency in the societies we live in. The point of all this seems to come down to how strongly someone can be blinded by their own BS (Belief System), creationists and other fundamentalists of all sorts are plagued by this, but so are many champions of atheism such as Dawkins.
From the paper:
If I were to summarise The God Delusion in a single sentence, it would be:
My delusions are better than yours. Nur Nurny Nur Nur!
Nick’s paper from the conference, ‘The Colluphidean Paradigm’, is available here.