About a third of the way into The God Delusion and this line summarizes (for me) what is fundamentally wrong with this book:
p.141 (my emphasis)
Natural selection not only explains the whole of life; it also raises our consciousness to the power of science to explain how organized complexity can emerge from simple beginnings without any deliberate guidance.
Let’s just take the science as is.
Underneath what he has written, philosophically (and I would add spiritually), is a naked display of power. The problem isn’t science. The problem is scientism–that is science taken from its proper context and applied as an ideology to all other arenas of existence without question.
The “whole of life”, in other words, is simply the description of how it (life) causally comes about. Power equals a hypothesis, an experimental test, and validation via evidence. It is about isolated scientists observing the laws of nature (so-called) usually alone or at most in a cliquish elite, who are too often infected with a lust for control of life. This is why Dawkins doesn’t understand communal (2nd-person) forms of being-in-the-world, only 3rd and 1st person. He’s not really in dialogue with nature. He’s not in dialogue with too many humans either.
Even accepting his gradualist version of natural selection as the total causal explanation of life, that is all life is. Life is to explained. As in explained away in other words. You could drive a continent through this blind spot. Or more accurately, you could drive most of the classics of world history through there.
The whole of life does not involve artistic expression, depth of awareness (except insofar as our consciousnesses are raised to the almighty beacon of Lord Science), love, relationships, political and social realities. Meaning is about explaining the cause of something alone. And that quest, so that one may gain power.
For the record…I do not subscribe to a supernatural God. I do not believe in an Intelligent Designer. So Dawkins’ critiques apply only to that god. They do not apply say to the Process God of Whitehead, which he never actually mentions (and I would gather might not even know about). i.e. This critique of mine applies regardless of one’s view of that question. It is more a question of science-ocracy in the political realm. This same critique would be leveled by a Jurgen Habermas, himself an atheist.