Reich, Dawkins, and Flying Spaghetti Monsters

Jen pointed me to this interview with Steve Reich on Pitchfork. He just turned 70 (!!!) and Nonesuch is releasing a collection of his Phase music.

Reading it reminded me of Three Tales, him and his wife’s digital video opera. One of the acts in Three Tales, Dolly, deals with cloning, God, and the concept of artificial intelligence surpassing traditional intelligence.

Richard Dawkins gets exposure during this act, and in my opinion his phrases (used in the same fashion as the speach in Different Trains) make up the majority of the “hooks” in the piece.

You’ve probably seen a lot of Dawkins lately. He has been touring to promote his latest book The God Delusion and has kicked up some controversy. He’s stated 6 years of Bush, and I think America is ready for an attack on religion.

In a televised reading of “The God Delusion”, Dawkins took questions from the audience, many of whom from Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University. One question was something like “Do you think that your analogy of the flying spaghetti monster and the mystical teapot help the atheist cause?”

Dawkins answers is of course yes. He explains how you cannot disprove the existence of the flying spaghetti monster or the mystical teapot, just like how you cannot disprove the existence of God, yet we know that the flying spaghetti monster doesn’t exist.

I’ve heard it suggested that it takes the same amount of faith to not believe in God as it does to believe in God. I don’t really agree with that argument. If the atheist stance is a lack of faith, and they don’t see any proof of God’s existence, then the conclusion that God doesn’t exist is built on their observations and the scientific method, not on a pre-conceived system of beliefs they have. That suggestion is an easy, but flawed way, to make it seem that non-believers are really believers…I suppose in the non-belief of something.

However, I think what the questioner is really trying to get at is “Does being somewhat arrogant help you make your case?”

Anybody who Dawkins really wants to make his points to (conservative America, I assume) won’t take him seriously because his wit is not appreciated. Dawkins is likely not aiming to insult people for believing in God, but that’s how he comes off to them, as you can see in the C-Span coverage. Maybe it’s because he’s British. Because of that interpretation he’s automatically been tuned out by those who he believes need to hear the message the most. He leaves only himself and a choir to preach to.

He also believes that the choir he preaches to needs to get themselves out of the closet, be stronger atheists, and help America realize that there are actually more non-believers than believers in the country.

So, how many copies of The God Delusion will be underneath Christmas Trees next month?