Dembski quotes Dawkins but somehow drops relevant parts of the sentence…
What’s Your Favorite Dawkins Quote?
Quotes like “Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist” and “Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose” are right up there, but my all-time favorite is “Even if there were no actual evidence in favor of the Darwinian theory, we should still be justified in preferring it over all rival theories.” (All these quotes are from The Blind Watchmaker.)
It’s comforting that evolutionary theory is in the capable hands of rigorous empirical scientists like Dawkins.
As opposed to ‘rigorous empirical scientists’ like Dembski he probable means? Of course there are some interesting problems with his ‘logic’. First of all Dawkins is among thousands if not tens of thousands of capable scientists who move evolutionary theory forward. What does ID have to offer? Poof…. But let’s explore the ‘empirical evidence’ presented by Dembski with respect to Dawkin’s quote:
The Dawkins quote “Even if there were no actual evidence in favor of the Darwinian theory, we should still be justified in preferring it over all rival theories.” has been extensively quote mined by ID creationists on the web. Rather than making an effort to understand what Dawkins was saying, they seem to believe that they get more mileage out of it by quote mining it.
Let’s consider this quote in its proper context and marvel at how it was mined
Richard Dawkins wrote:
“Instead of examining the evidence for and against rival theories, I shall adopt a more armchair approach. My argument will be that Darwinism is the only known theory that is in principle capable of explaining certain aspects of life. If I am right it means that, even if there were no actual evidence in favour of the Darwinian theory (there is, of course) we should still be justified in preferring it over all rival theories”
R. Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker p 287
I highlighted in bold the part quoted by Dembski. I believe that the omission of the “If I am right” and the removal of “(there is, of course)” significantly changes the meaning of what Dawkins was actually saying.