Archive for December, 2009

If you want to see Clayton’s response, click here.

I have just read Dr. Clayton’s article which he presented at the Darwin festival and Dennett’s protocol about the conference which he posted at the Dawkins’ website. Three things are my responses.

First, theology in the midst of science must answer to this question by Dan Dennett: “What questions does theology ask or answer that aren’t already being dealt with by science or secular philosophy?” This question makes me embarrassed, so I have to find some appropriate answers.

Second, after 2009 Darwin festival, Dan Dennett sent an email about the festival to Richard Dawkins and mentioned about Philip Clayton: “Clayton astonished me by listing God’s attributes: according to his handsomely naturalistic theology, God is not omnipotent, not even supernatural, and . . . . in short Clayton is an atheist who won’t admit it.”

Dennett’s response about Clayton was very naïve and dualistic, since his mention and judgment that ‘Clayton is an atheist,’ because Clayton criticized attributes of God in traditional theology, must be ironically based on the concept of God in classical theism which Clayton have been criticizing. Dennett committed the Straw Man fallacy which Clayton pointed out in his article, since when he defined Clayton’s concept of God, he used the concept of the classical theism which Clayton criticized. If we criticize traditional concepts of God, do we become atheist? What a simple dualism! I assume that he knows no other concepts of God than traditional concepts of God. It is the very point that Clayton criticizes and urges us to have multi-disciplinary in order to better understand the world including human beings and other beings in his article.
Nevertheless, Dennett’s fallacy paradoxically gives me an idea that we have to suggest any other persuasive and clearer explanation about concept of God than concept of God of classical theism and the one of atheist.

Third, Dennett’s attitude of public debate is not proper. Clayton already mentioned: “it’s the theologian who lays out nuanced philosophical questions and calls to open dialogue, and it seems to be the philosopher who declines the invitation, turning to rhetoric instead.” Do scientists have any kind of pride and superiority over theology? Who gave this authority to them?


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