Dawkins vs. Quinn

From blogger Amy Welborn:

Your readers may be interested in the following… David Quinn, a well known Catholic commentator and journalist here in Ireland debated Richard Dawkins on Irish radio last week on the reasonableness of religious belief. Dawkins is a formidable debater, but David Quinn absolutely embarrassed him — he had Dawkins on the ropes from the outset. It is a rare moment when Dawkins is left speechless and is well worth listening to.
The debate can be downloaded by going here…. The debate starts at 7min 57 seconds into the programme and lasts for about 18 minutes.

I don’t think Dawkins was absolutely embarrassed. But he certainly doesn’t fare well. Quinn hammered him on both the existence of free will (which he claims not to be interested in) and on his hypocrisy of blaming religiously motivated people for the evil they commit but not irreligiously motivated people.
Personally I think Quinn concedes too much about the Darwinian mechanism’s supposed abilities when he decided to hold the line at the origin of matter. This allows Dawkins to say that he has a materialistic explanation for life and someday soon scientists will have a materialistic explanation for the origin of matter itself.
If Quinn had gotten into the evidence, perhaps he could have weakened Dawkins’s promissory-note-argument about the origin of matter by pointing out that Dawkins’s materialistic explanation of life simply does not hold water. And if Dawkins cannot explain life, what reason is there to trust him on the origin of matter itself?

Logan Paul Gage

Logan Paul Gage is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Franciscan University of Steubenville. Dr. Gage received his B.A. in history, philosophy, and American studies from Whitworth College (2004) and his M.A. (2011) and Ph.D. (2014) in philosophy from Baylor University. His dissertation, written under the supervision of Trent Dougherty, was a defense of the phenomenal conception of evidence and conservative principles in epistemology.