Atheistic rationale

December 17, 2004

Richard Harries is right to endorse Alister McGrath's claim that the theory of evolution does not in itself conclusively refute religious belief (Books, December 10). But it is a non sequitur to say that this renders Richard Dawkins' brand of atheism unwarranted.

Evolutionary theory doesn't refute any number of things - the possibility that a teapot orbits the sun, for instance - but that doesn't mean we should be agnostic on these issues. In the absence of independent reasons to believe something, we are entitled to not believe it. Dawkins rejects religion because there are no substantial reasons to accept it as true.

Before we seek a book with "a theological perspective on creation that regards evolution as integral", we need good reasons to take the theological perspective seriously in the first place. For many of us, such reasons are lacking.

Daniel Jones

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