Ray titled his posting "Another Anthony Flew?," and the original article is called "Is Richard Dawkins still evolving?" (The article's author, Melanie Phillips, is a right wing wackaloon, by the way.) Both titles suggest that Dawkins' statement suggests that he might be changing his views on whether there's a god.
Ray and Phillips make a mistake that I argue reveals their fundamental misunderstanding of intelligent thought and discourse. They think that acknowledging that there's a strong case to be made for an idea means that there's good reason to think that idea is true.
Contrary to this daffy assertion, one of the foundations of intellectual discourse is the serious analysis of opposing viewpoints. And incorrect ideas often have a lot of tempting reasoning behind them. If bad ideas were always easy to spot, human history would be much different.
I suspect that Ray fails to understand this because:
- He doesn't often read examples of good intellectual discourse, which would show him that it's very common to acknowledge the strengths of opposing beliefs.
- He sees the pursuit of truth as an all-or-nothing, us-versus-them battle of worldviews. Taking this "war of ideas" approach, he thinks that acknowledging the strength in an opposing idea is a type of retreat.
- He doesn't recognize any middle ground between absolute, 100% certainty and baseless guesswork. That's why he mocks much of science as speculation when he sees phrases like, "The evidence suggests that..."
- He's a jackass.