Dawkins is an evolutionary biologist and author. It is worth mentioning due to the nature of the letter that he is an outspoken atheist and a famous critic of religion. Although the writer makes a valid claim when saying that traditions are a bad reason for believing anything, the fact that he considers revelations a bad reason for believing can be argued against. In addition, the tone used throughout is decent and effective apart from a few instances where it can be deemed harsh, however, there are various logical fallacies in the text and the writer is also very biased especially when he talks about religion.

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Dawkins discusses how evidence and observation are the only two good reasons for believing anything while he believes tradition, authority and revelation to be bad reasons for believing. He feels children should be told this from an early age because that is the age when man is most susceptible to wrong information and this will prevent people from passing this wrong information to future generations. Firstly, the fact that the writer considers tradition to be a bad reason for believing may be one that the reader agrees with. Traditional beliefs are those that are handed down from generation to generation.

There may not be adequate evidence to prove whether those beliefs are true or not but since they have been acted upon for a long time, they are followed by people. This is a poor reason for believing something. When one is told a traditional belief, they should think about it and explore whether it is logical or not. Sure, there are many things one would not know of if it was not for tradition but that does not mean one believes each and every tradition there is. Traditions may have been started for various reasons and not all of them would be valid.

Religious traditions are an important part of people’s lives and accepting them blindly may make one regret their decision later in their life when they actually think about it. Some traditions may make no sense at all. For example, once every year, one’s mother cooks a full chicken. However, she cooks it in a smaller pot than the size of the chicken and has to cut the sides off. When asked why she does that instead of keeping the whole chicken intact and just cooking it in a bigger pot, she answers that that was how her own mother always did it.

When her mother was asked the same question, she replied that she did that because she did not have a big enough pot. This incident can be related to other traditions as well. Acting on them without consideration may not be a good option. The writer argues that revelations are a bad reason for believing. The reader may disagree with that. Revelations have always been an essential part of many faiths and beliefs. In Islam, the holy Quran was revealed to the holy Prophet Muhammad (P. B. U. H) verse by verse. Revelations are also important in Christianity.

The Bible does not give a detailed account about resurrection or the divinity of Christ but it was through revelation that followers of this faith got to know about this. A believer in religion believes in revelations. It is not uncommon for religious people to contact God and vice versa. The story of Noah’s ark is common to most major religions. God was displeased with the people so he decided to kill them by sending a huge flood. But since Noah was a pious man, God revealed his intentions to Noah and gave him instructions on how to build an ark.

This way Noah saved himself and his family as well as some animals. Believers of religion accept this story as well as stories regarding other revelations to be true. Granted, there is no factual evidence to support this but one does not always need to see or feel something to believe it. Faith is more important sometimes. One cannot trust a teacher or any person for that matter if the writer’s point of view is accepted because the teacher obviously has not seen everything personally that they are teaching so one has to just take their word for it and have faith in them.

If one accepts what the writer is saying, then there would be very few things one could actually believe in as it is impossible to observe and have evidence for everything in this world. Therefore one has to have faith in revelations and should consider them a good reason for believing. Moreover, the writer is very biased in his way of writing and in some of the points he makes regarding religion. He is a hardcore atheist and it clearly shows in the text.

Firstly, in the ninth paragraph where he talks about the disagreement between Roman Catholics and other Christian traditions on whether Virgin Mary had died or not, he compares this belief to the fairy tale “Snow White” (Dawkins 244). It is disrespectful of him to compare religious beliefs to a children’s story. Later, he also criticizes the Pope and says that he should not be believed blindly whereas it is part of the Christian faith to believe and follow him. (Dawkins 244). Furthermore, the writer also disapproves of revelations in this letter (Dawkins 245).

Revelations are an essential part of many major religions of the world and belief in them may be necessary for faith. Also, towards the end of the letter, the author implies that perhaps religion is a consequence of wrong traditional beliefs (Dawkins 247). He says that millions of people practice religion and believe in God only because they were told to do so when they were young and there is no evidence to support these beliefs. This bias adversely affects the credibility and effectiveness of the article.

If the bias is so obviously visible, the reader will not be convinced by the arguments but instead will lose interest in the article and hesitate to believe anything the writer says. Thus, the writer should have been more professional and neutral in his writing and should have dealt with the opposition’s point of view more fairly. He should have given the opposition’s point of view some standing instead of rejecting it completely and given proper reasons for rejecting it instead of just discarding it due to bias.

This would have made the article more effective in terms of getting the writer’s message across. Therefore, bias is a major flaw in this letter. In addition, there are various logical fallacies throughout the text. Firstly, at one point in the text, the writer claims that authority is not a good reason for believing because this would mean that one believes something simply because one is told to do so even though there may be no evidence to support that belief (Dawkins 244). However, later he says that he believes scientific facts because of what he reads in books and from other sources (Dawkins 245).

He claims that this is different from authority but the reader may disagree and fail to notice the distinction. Believing something written in a book may be considered the same as believing something told to one by authority. There may be scientific evidence given in the book but one cannot trust it with certainty. In the same way, the authority may give spiritual or beneficial reasons for believing something but one cannot assume it to be true and believe it without investigating it which is the author’s main issue.

Also, the writer is actually telling his daughter what to believe and this is similar to believing something because of authority and so this is contradicting the writer’s point. Moreover, the author describes revelations as inside feelings of religious people. However, later on in the letter, the writer describes and gives examples of inside feelings of regular people. He diverts from the religious aspect of revelations. Inside feelings of religious people and regular people vary greatly.

Religious people are more in contact with God and there have been many examples within religions of God contacting these people. As a result, it is a fallacy to compare these types of revelations with each other. Therefore, the presence of these fallacies reduces the effectiveness and reliability of the article as statements contradict each other throughout. The reader may notice these and not get persuaded by the arguments. The author could have avoided this by writing with more logic and common sense. Thus, fallacies are a key negative point of the letter.

Lastly, the tone used throughout the letter is decent and not harsh or sarcastic apart from a few occasions. Keeping in mind that the audience is the writer’s ten year old daughter as well as the general public, the tone used can be considered effective and appropriate in this context. The letter uses an extremely simple and calm tone throughout most parts of the letter and explains things without complicating them too much. However, when talking about how authority is a bad reason for believing, the tone of the author gets a little criticizing and accusatory.

The sentence, ‘the Pope said it was true, so it had to be true! ’ can be considered sarcastic by the reader and it also shows that the writer is irritated by this notion (Dawkins 245). He also exaggerates a little when later in the paragraph he says that the Pope has ordered his followers not to limit the number of babies they have. He feels that if people follow this order, the results could be famines, diseases and wars caused by overcrowding (Dawkins 245). This is clearly an exaggeration and more evidence of the fact that the riter is annoyed. Later on in the letter, the writer says things like, ‘children have to be suckers for traditional information’ (Dawkins 247). The word ‘suckers’ may seem unprofessional here and may be considered inappropriate in this situation. He did not need to use this word. The article could have been made more effective if the writer had not used an irritating tone in some parts as this may have caused the reader to lose interest in the letter and respect for the author.

It is an effective piece of text on the whole but it could definitely have been better had the writer maintained a calm and professional tone throughout. However, the overall tone is professional and effective and is a strength of the text. In conclusion, this letter contains both strengths and weaknesses. The point of revelations being a bad reason for believing may be one that many readers would disagree with but the claim that traditions are a bad reason for believing may be considered a valid one. The overall tone of the text is a simple and effective one.

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