Here is an extract (yes, it is Dawkins writing):
To return to the enlightened bishops and theologians, it would be nice if they’d put a bit more effort into combating the anti-scientific nonsense that they deplore. All too many preachers, while agreeing that evolution is true and Adam and Eve never existed, will then blithely go into the pulpit and make some moral or theological point about Adam and Eve in their sermons without once mentioning that, of course, Adam and Eve never actually existed! If challenged, they will protest that they intended a purely “symbolic” meaning, perhaps something to do with “original sin”, or the virtues of innocence. They may add witheringly that, obviously, nobody would be so foolish as to take their words literally. But do their congregations know that? How is the person in the pew, or on the prayer-mat, supposed to know which bits of scripture to take literally, which symbolically? Is it really so easy for an uneducated churchgoer to guess? In all too many cases the answer is clearly no, and anybody could be forgiven for feeling confused. Think about it, Bishop. Be careful, Vicar. You are playing with dynamite, fooling around with a misunderstanding that’s waiting to happen — one might even say almost bound to happen if not forestalled.
Playing with dynamite? Why? If evolution were true, if doubting it were outside the reasonable or the sane, as he says ... here:
Evolution is a fact. Beyond reasonable doubt, beyond serious doubt, beyond sane, informed, intelligent doubt, beyond doubt evolution is a fact. The evidence for evolution is at least as strong as the evidence for the Holocaust, even allowing for eye witnesses to the Holocaust.
... why is it so dreadfully catastrophic to disbelieve it?
When Sherlock Holmes heard Dr Watson explain about heliocentrism, and the latter made sure he had completely understood, he said: "now I shall be in a hurry to forget it". Why? "Because it makes no difference for life on this earth with which I am concerned." I am quoting A Study in Scarlet (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) from memory. But for our daily life now, what should be so important about billions or only thousands of years, of Adam or of some kind of apes (like Ramapithecus, not like its present day other descendants, according to evolutionism, chimps and gorillas)?
I was asking in French about Dawkins' colleague, Michel Onfray (short url http://o-x.fr/s5-): if there be no immortal gods, no heaven no hell, no angels and no devils, and no day of judgement, against whom is it then sinful to neglect the one world there is? Equally, if there be no creator, if we have no immortal souls, what is so grave about neglecting it? Whom are we then thankless against, and what are we then neglecting to take care of?
It used to be said for atheism, that precisely for this reason it was more tolerant than religion. We have just seen Dawkins rejecting tolerance and broadmindedness in this matter for the most bigotted narrowmindedness there is now, beside some versions of Islam and of Communism. Why?
I can only say: either it is a move to back up "the other side" against - the combination of Islam and Christian Fundamerntalists! - OR it is about "free sex", about "come on baby, were nothing but mammals, let's do it like they do in the Discovery Channel" - except that of course "free sex" is very unlike general mammal behaviour in excluding, often enough, babies. Either it is very partisan polemics or it is squint-eyed publicity for pills and other things that Christian couples do not even like to talk about.
Paris IV, BpI/G. Pompidou
18/31 August YooL 2009