Ron Watts writes to The Editor
I was particularly pleased to see three letters in the April issue that were written in response to my efforts in the March issue, and one of the letters from Keith McLeod was offering a different view.
Keith’s words were far too kind and I would not disagree too strongly with his comments that were of a critical nature and I must compliment him on the clarity of his exposition..
The reason for including the 1927 words of Paul Dirac was primarily to illustrate the theme of the article that things tend to repeat themselves and that it is not new to have an outspoken critic of the concept of God as a supreme being. Personally I tend to regard Paul Dirac’s words as the outpourings of a rather immature young man. I introduced it because I thought readers might find it interesting and, although I might defend some, I do not feel that I have to defend all his words and I am rather offended by Keith’s suggestion that it was disgraceful to include one part of the quotation without disassociating myself from it, it is down to the reader to make his own judgement of Dirac’s words. Whatever criticism one might make, however, Dirac’s basic thought that God is a delusion is in accord with Richard Dawkins.
Keith is correct in his assumption that my own personal views are more in accord with Dawkins than they are with what I assume are Keith’s beliefs. Having said that, however, I do have to add that I find the concept of evolution as a complete explanation of creation as less than totally convincing, although decidedly more credible than the idea of some supernatural creator, but in the end I have to accept that I do not know. What does amaze me is the way in which so many people appear to be able to convince themselves of the existence of a supreme being and have such an unshakable faith and to be so strong in their belief as, in some instances, to be fanatical about it when such evidence as there may be to support it can at best be described as very shaky and very inconclusive. Even more baffling to me is how some can be not only convinced of the existence of this supreme being, but equally firmly convinced that their particular faith is the only true faith. So much so that they are prepared to kill those that would disagree or challenge their faith. I regret that it is totally beyond my comprehension.
Keith makes much of the question of evidence. As implied above, I would agree that the evidence in support of Richard Dawkins’ hypotheses is not conclusive, but there is considerable firm evidence to support the concept of evolution. Keith claims that there is “a considerable body of evidence” to support “The idea of God”. That statement did intrigue me because I can’t think of any credible evidence in support of that concept. Keith does not believe that the idea of a God is a product of human imagination but if he is correct I am not sure where the ‘idea’ did come from. No doubt these comments might incite a response from Keith, I hope so, but perhaps you as editor might not welcome a theological tooing and froing in the Pump.
With regard to Paul Dirac’s comments in relation to the role of the Church in aiding the exploitation of the poor by the rich, (the inclusion of which Keith regarded as disgraceful) I was pleased to see Keith did acknowledge that this probably did occur in the past and, despite Keith’s doubts, I suspect that it may well have been true to some extent in 1927 in some rural areas in England and, more especially in Ireland, as well as many other places in the world. I would agree that there is not much chance of it happening in theUKtoday, but it may well be happening in other places.