What better way to spend the second day of Rosh Hashanah than to attend a lecture by Richard Dawkins? That’s what I did early last evening at my old stomping grounds, the University of Miami. It was wonderful.
Dawkins deserves a great deal of responsibility for my final leap to Secular Humanistic Judaism. One of the last things that held me back was my terrible understanding of evolution. I really just could not understand how a supposedly random process (it’s not random) could result in intelligent life. I was also misled by ridiculous interpretations of evolution offered by writers like Arthur Green in his Radical Judaism.
When I read Dawkins’ The Greatest Show on Earth, my eyes were finally opened to the real story. The walls of my ignorance crumbled. I have since read many more of his books and plenty of others on biological evolution, physics and related topics.
Dawkins has now published The Magic of Reality, aimed at children but appropriate for all ages. It is fully and beautifully illustrated by the famed graphic novel artist Dave McKean (famous for his partnership with Neil Gaiman).
The talk was excellent. Dawkins was preceded by Sean Faircloth, formerly of the Secular Coalition for America and now with the Richard Dawkins Foundation. He, too, has a new book coming out that looks quite good, Attack of the Theocrats.
All in all it was a fantastic way to enjoy my holiday free time after two great services at Congregation Beth Adam in Boca Raton.