Catholic philosopher critiques Dawkins and new atheists


Last month,  Dr John Owens, a lecturer at Good Shepherd Theological College in Auckland, spoke at an Auckland University conference entitled Is Religion Really Bad for Science? Reflections on Dawkins and Other New Atheists.

Owens’ topic was metaphysics, and he compared the approach of Dawkins on fundamental questions of reality with the approach of Aristotle.

He said that religion should not be even slightly bad for science, but that it should be bad for scientism, the view that the only questions worth asking or answering are those of the empirical sciences.

The NZ Christians in Science group organised the conference.

It examined and critiqued some of the ideas of the new atheists.

It also gave some Christian responses to the problem of evil, and some of the positive reasons for belief in a loving God.

The new atheists are mostly scientists who have railed against the superstition, abuse and ignorance they see in religious belief.

Richard Dawkins is the most well known of these new atheists.

The NZ Christians in Science group conference was occasioned by the planned appearance of Richard Dawkins in Auckland and Christchurch as part of the Science in the Soul Tour.

Speakers included two historians, a physicist, an engineer, a biologist and five theologians/philosophers.

The keynote speaker was Professor Peter Lineham on Why is No Religion on the Rise

There was also a panel on Christians responses to the problem of evil.

Other speakers and panellists included Professor Neil Broom, Dr Graeme Finlay, Dr John Owens, Emma Belcher, Tom Yates, Professor John Bishop, Professor Jeff Tallon and Kate Hannah.

The Science in the Soul Tour had been organised by an Australian based organisation, Think Inc.

It describes itself asa community of individuals on a mission to expose the true face of modern society; armed with ideas, we defy the stale conventions of historical forms of learning by shifting the world’s attention to globals ideas, opening minds and reminding people that being intelligent is f*cking cool.”


News category: New Zealand.