Dear Professor Dawkins
I do appreciate your contributions to confrontation of the ignorance, intolerances and escapisms found in religions and agree with most. But I am left sometimes with the uncomfortable feeling you pick off the easy and obvious targets found in simplistic human religious adherence and avoid the more complex and scholarly contributions sourcing from religio-philosophical thought.
While the real conflictive problems caused by simplistic religion may not lie there, I would like to see more acknowledgement of those who seek meaning beyond just the materialist interpretations, where, as you expressively show, there is indeed meaning too. Just not the only one. Can we not more deeply appreciate and understand these human contributions throughout history, often errant, as with the winding sometimes erroneous path of science? More acknowledgement of the depths of religio-philosophical thought I think is warranted in some of your books and presentations. Theistic beliefs have many variants across religions, including ones that are actually more a form of ontological philosophy, acknowledging but imaginal and psychological use of religious imagination and art in religious forms. These can be found in the wonderful cultural forms of Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism and mysticism of Christianity and Islam.
These representations of religio-philosophical thought are usually non-fundamentalist and quite tolerant, and respectful of scientific fact, though differing from materialistic reductionist approaches. Some of these philosophical understandings and artistic representations have been referred to frequently by highly trained quantum physicists (Schroedinger, De Boglie, Planck, Pauli, Bohm et al) .There is significant literature of high intellectual standard where the similarities of some of these religio-philosophical paths with the non-classical findings of quantum science, dealing with the base of the nature of experiential reality, are discussed by both scientists and non-theistic philosophers associated with overtly religious paths.
There is also the related whole discussion of consciousness and its relationship to the apparent quantum field of proven non-local nature. The role and nature of consciousness (individual <> expanded) in the experience of reality lies also at the heart of the more sophisticated non-reductionist, non-theistic understandings, found within some of the many branches of Hinduism and Buddhism in particular. From your presentations it too often appears these complex aspects are unjustly reduced to reclusive monks, strange ascetic practices or fundo fools. Perhaps too easy sir.
I really feel it would be good to hear more from you in dialogue with these more profound approaches, scientists and religio-philosophers that confront the materialist reductionist viewpoint, within which circles there appears an avoidance of these more challenging encounters.
While a non-existent simplistic “God” as an external watchmaker on high may not reach down and help us out of our conundrums, our minds finds life meanings in more than one way, some of them finding links between man’s spiritual questing and science itself. Newton’s simplistic clockwork Universe is no longer as valid as it was. The story is nowhere near done.