Over the last year or two, I have been reading extensively in the work of Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and others who have built the public profile of atheism considerably. Harris is especially interesting because, while he is strongly opposed to orthodox forms of religion, he is respectful of mystical experience, especially as it is exemplified in Buddhism. Dawkins made his name with “The Selfish Gene” and has since gone from strength to strength in his writing on evolution.
I see Darwin’s Theory of Evolution as essentially unassailable, despite the continuing howls of protest from the religious right who refuse to believe we are “descended from” monkeys, or share a common ancestor with them. Discoveries in genetics not available to Darwin in his time have borne out his insights in ways he could not have anticipated. (more…)