Much of what I spoke about can be heard in talks given by speakers at Faith conferences, some of which can be downloaded at the Faith movement website.
Useful pamphlets can be downloaded here.
I recently purchased a copy of Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion. He makes the following assertion about religious believers:
Of course, dyed-in-the-wool faith-heads are immune to argument, their resistance built up over years of childhood indoctrination using methods that took centuries to mature (whether by evolution or design).We must prove Dawkins wrong about this. Catholics must be prepared to debate the findings of science on science's own grounds, using the rules of science and appealing to the use of reason.
Pope Benedict spoke in Westminster Hall about the "corrective" role of religion vis-a-vis reason:
The role of religion in political debate is not so much to supply these (objective moral) norms, as if they could not be known by non-believers - still less to propose concrete political solutions, which would lie altogether outside the competence of religion - but rather to help purify and shed light upon the application of reason to the discovery of objective moral principles.
On the other hand, the Pope also spoke about the "purifying and structuring role of reason within religion" which is necessary to counter "distorted forms of religion, such as sectarianism and fundamentalism."
These distortions of religion arise when insufficient attention is given to the purifying and structuring role of reason within religion. It is a two-way process. Without the corrective supplied by religion ... reason ... can fall prey to distortions, as when it is manipulated by ideology, or applied in a partial way that fails to take full account of the dignity of the human person. Such misuse of reason, after all, was what gave rise to the slave trade in the first place and to many other social evils... That is why I would suggest that the world of reason and the world of faith - the world of secular rationality and the world of religious belief - need one another and should not be afraid to enter into a profound and ongoing dialogue, for the good of our civilisation.Such a dialogue is also essential between the worlds of science and faith. Both can experience a mutual "purification" and "correction".
I mean, how can Dawkins posit this as a valid hypothesis:
Any creative intelligence, of sufficient complexity to design anything, comes into existence only as the end product of an extended process of gradual evolution. Creative intelligences, being evolved, necessarily arrive lat in the universe, and therefore cannot be responsible for designing it.Therefore (so Dawkins is saying) there cannot be a God, an intelligence, who put the universe there in the first place.
This from Kevin McKenna of The Observer January 2nd 2011:
The Pope's visit (to the UK) was great but tinged with sadness because it reduced that once-great biologist Richard Dawkins to a rambling and wild-eyed madman hurling foam-flecked adolescent insults at the Roman holy man. I trust someone is giving the scientist his soup and caramelised biscuits as he recuperates. I even hear of a Richard Dawkins care fund. Could someone forward me the address? So the award must go to Craig Levein, the Scotland international football team coach.