Blessed, Precious Mistakes.

August 3, 2007

I knew I was going to like Richard Dawkins. Watching him speak on videos off of poptech or a similar video depository of freethinkers, scientists, and artists inspired me. A friend at work around that time brought up a atheist philosopher by the name of Bertrand Russell, who I had never heard of before but felt an urge to read works by him.

To refer to Dawkins as an “Angry Atheist” seems misleading. I read his book The God Delusion at work, at home, fell asleep with it in my hands some nights, but I finished it. It inspired me. Perspective isn’t so hard to regain now.

Perhaps I’m just starry-eyed because I witnessed something he mentions in his book. I just stood in awe of a dog. Anting.

I read about what causes moths to fly directly into candles and it lead me to think the moth to a flame analogy for christianity seems very very morbid. Not according to Dawkins, but according to me. He provided the biological background for why moths are “attracted” to lights/flames. I’m pointing out the the Christian usage that I’m familiar with when it was cloaked under the guise of ‘inspirational purposes’. I’ve seen it used to illustrate religious faith. I find this terribly ironic. Because the analogy lines up perfectly with the misfire theory which Dawkins speaks. The misfire of the moth directly translates into the meaning of the religious euphemism.

In the case of the flame it ends with the moth seemingly committing suicide. The reason this happens is that moths directional/migratory habits are directed by light, specifically illustrated in Dawkins book, by the lights of the moon, stars, etc. Moths evolved to interpret the light from bodies not on the earth, but “in the sky”. A light or flame on earth causes their method of navigation to misfire as Dawkins puts it.

He illustrates that he perceives human kindness towards others that aren’t members of their family to be a type of evolutionary misfire. The same properties that evolved in us to facillitate love for a partner to reproduce or to “take care of our own” would supposedly “misfire”. In much a way as the moth misinterprets a flame to be the stars, we would make a similar mistake. As Dawkins’ puts it:

Blessed, Precious Mistakes.

The book is a good read. Highly Recommended.


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