Wednesday, April 09, 2008

An Opened Letter to Dinesh D'Souza

Dear Mr. D'Souza,

First off, let me say that enjoyed your current book, What's So Great about Christianity, and your debates with both Christopher Hitchens and Daniel Dennett. I appreciate your willingness to stand on the side of theism and challenge the many unfounded arguments presented by the so-called New Atheist Camp.

The purpose for writing you is to present a challenge. In reading your book and your current article, The Failure of Intelligent Design, I must say that I was and am surprised by the "hand wave" nature in which you simply brush-off the arguments put forth by those in the Intelligent Design(ID) Camp.

Please do not misunderstand my intent. I am not insisting that you must believe that the world was created in 6 literal, 24 hour periods to be a Christian. I am, however, challenging you to provide some evidence for some of the blanket statements you have written in reference to the ID camp and to the theory of evolution. If you simply dismiss me as an ID'er or "bible-thumping" creationist, you only serve to prove my point. I don't care who is presenting the evidence for or against the positions, I want to examine the evidence itself.

For example, in your latest article, The Failure of Intelligent Design, you make the bold comparison between Darwinian evolution and Einstein's theories of general and special relativity, implying that both are "supported by a wide body of data." [1] However, as usual the case, we are not given any of the "data," but only assured its there. Isn't this the same type of argument that you would mock Mr. Hitchens for?

Now, you may reply, "it seems improbable that the small group of intelligent design advocates is right and the entire community of biologists is wrong." [2] Maybe so, however, I need evidence and a group of unnamed persons does not provide that. I could easily point out the growing list of scientists whom question the theory of evolution found at http://www.dissentfromdarwin.org/, but what will I have proved? Nothing. I have only served to prove that it is not universally accepted, however, the question still remains, "What is the evidence?"

Simple put, I would encourage you to write your next book on the Intelligent Design vs. Evolution debate and actually critique and challenge the arguments from both camps. I believe that you will be challenged and surprised by what you find.

From the statements made in your book and article, it's clear that you have only examined the debate at a surface level. If ID isn't science, tell us why. Why isn't the Cambrian Explosion better explained by a sudden creation? What about the holes in the fossil record you refer to? It's simply not enough to say, "Well, there may be problems, but since most folks believe it, so do I." Yikes! I'm glad that the 12 disciples didn't think that way! They didn't go by a majority vote, they went by what they KNEW to be true!

To simply brush aside the credible arguments and objections put forth by the ID camp appears to be more of a political maneuver than a scholarly one. Perhaps following the example of former atheist Anthony Flew would do you well: "I just followed the evidence wherever it lead."

Respectfully,
Chad A. Gross

Resources:

1) Dinesh D'Souza, The Failure of "Intelligent Design," http://www.townhall.com/Columnists/DineshDSouza/2008/04/07/the_failure_of_intelligent_design, April 7,2008.
2) Dinesh D'Souza, What's So Great about Christianity, p. 146.

4 comments:

Dj Spidey Spinster said...

For those interested, I did indeed email this to Mr. D'Souza. I'll keep you posted as to whether I receive a reply.

Trekin4JC said...

I have yet to read his book. I read a blog he wrote and was concerned as to the style in which he wrote the book. Is it respectful and kind or religious in nature? I don't think Christians ought to make fun of people of other beliefs no matter how unreasonable their beliefs may be. Ravi Zacharias does an excellent job at being so very kind and yet firm with his apologetics. I strive to be such an answer bearer.

Dj Spidey Spinster said...

trekin4jc,

I could not agree with you more! No matter how strange or seemingly "unreasonable" someones belief may appear to us, we need to remain respectful and kind. I strive to do that on this blog and in my own conversations with those of differing beliefs. Ravi Z. does indeed have the market corned in this area. He is able to be very bold, but gentle at the same time. It's a gift to be sure.

Mr. D'Souza's book was a more respectful approach to the theism vs. atheism, however, he is not afraid to point out the obsurd nature of some of the beliefs that nonbelievers put forth in an attempt to reach a conclusion other than a Creator. It's a great tool, but certainly not the best resource of it's kind. It's worth reading and provides some great arguments that refute many of the false arguments put forth by the "New Atheists." I do admit that Dinesh can sometimes be sacastic and that is unfortuate.

Again, thank you for your comments!

Dj Spidey Spinster said...

For those readers interested, Dinesh did indeed respond to me with the following comments:

"I enjoyed reading this. Yes, I am opened to both sides of the debate."

Credit goes to Mr. D'Souza for taking the time to do so.