Thursday, November 15, 2018

7 Things You Should Know about Richard Dawkins Before You Buy His Children's Book

There are numerous atheists that I greatly respect as thinkers.   However, I openly confess that Richard Dawkins is not one of those thinkers.  While he certainly is a gifted writer when it comes to matters of science, he has repeatedly demonstrated that he is woefully ill-equipped when it comes to dealing with issues related to philosophy and metaphysics. So imagine my surprise, and disappointment, when I recently read that Dawkins is planning on releasing a children's book titled Atheism for Children.  According to Dawkins, the book, "will be unflinching, not a storybook. Children won't beg parents to buy it for Christmas."  His goal is to "arm them against indoctrination by schools, grandparents and religious books – and against taunting by religious schoolmates. Help them think on evidence..."  

I certainly have no problem with someone encouraging children to "think on evidence," but I am quite skeptical that Dawkins is the best man for the job.  Indeed, I am not sure that he is the best candidate to be teaching children much of anything.  So, before you run out and buy Dawkins' forthcoming children's book, you might want to become a bit more familiar with the man himself. So, here are 7 things you should know about Richard Dawkins before you allow him to teach your children about his atheism (or anything else).

1. His book The God Delusion has been harshly criticized by both atheists and theists for being shallow and ignorant.  Atheist and philosopher of biology Michael Ruse writes:

"Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion would fail any introductory philosophy or religion course. Proudly he criticizes that whereof he knows nothing...I am indignant at the poor quality of the argumentation..."1  He concludes, "I have written elsewhere that The God Delusion makes me ashamed to be an atheist. Let me say that again."2

Philosopher and Christian Alvin Plantinga writes of The God Delusion:

"Now despite the fact that this book is mainly philosophy, Dawkins is not a philosopher (he's a biologist). Even taking this into account, however, much of the philosophy he purveys is at best jejune. You might say that some of his forays into philosophy are at best sophomoric, but that would be unfair to sophomores; the fact is (grade inflation aside), many of his arguments would receive a failing grade in a sophomore philosophy class."3

2. Dawkins has been openly criticized by fellow Oxford don and atheist philosopher, Daniel Came, for refusing to debate philosopher and theologian William Lane Craig, despite being given opportunities to do so.  Came wrote the following to Dawkins in regard to his refusal to debate Craig:

"...the absence of a debate with the foremost apologist for Christian theism is a glaring omission on your CV and is of course apt to be interpreted as cowardice on your part. I notice that, by contrast, you are happy to discuss theological matters with television and radio presenters and other intellectual heavyweights like Pastor Ted Haggard of the National Association of Evangelicals and Pastor Keenan Roberts of the Colorado Hell House."

I trust readers can pick up on Came's sarcasm!  Dawkins seems anxious to debate intellectual "lightweights," but seems to go out of his way to debate genuine intellectual "heavyweights" like William Lane Craig and Stephen Meyer.  To be fair, the one notable exception is Dr. John Lennox.

3. William Lane Craig believes that Dawkins' "central argument" in The God Delusion should win the prize of "the worst atheistic argument in the history of Western thought."  In Contending with Christianity Critics he writes:

"Several years ago my atheist colleague Quentin Smith unceremoniously crowned Stephen Hawking’s argument against God in A Brief History of Time as 'the worst atheistic argument in the history of Western thought.'  With the advent of The God Delusion the time has come to relieve Hawking of this weighty crown and to recognize Richard Dawkins’s accession to the throne."5

4. Richard Dawkins believes that to carry a baby to term that has Down syndrome is "immoral" and to abort the child is the"civilized" and "sensible" choice.6  So, I suppose if you have a child with Down syndrome, you might want to think twice about buying them Richard's book!

5. Richard Dawkins has no moral objection to infanticide.  Yes, you read that correctly.  See below:

6. Dawkins believes that "mild pedophilia" or "touching up" causes no lasting harm and shouldn't be judged as harshly as rape or other crimes.7

7. According to Dawkins, the belief that rape is wrong is just as arbitrary as the fact we have evolved five fingers rather than six.  This was evident in an interview he participated in with radio host Justin Brierley. It was as follows:

Brierley: When you make a value judgement, don't you immediately step yourself outside of this evolutionary process and say that the reason this is good is that it's good? And you don't have any way to stand on that statement.

Dawkins: My value judgement itself could come from my evolutionary past.

Brierley: So therefore it's just as random in a sense as any product of evolution.

Dawkins: You could say that...Nothing about it makes it more probable that there is anything supernatural.

Brierley: Ultimately, your belief that rape is wrong is as arbitrary as the fact that we've evolved five fingers rather than six.

Dawkins: You could say that, yeah.8


Dawkins' book The God Delusion, while popular with layman, has been harshly criticized by philosophers on both sides of the God debate.  Moreover, Dawkins has dodged the Christian faith's foremost debater and some have argued that this is due to cowardice.  Finally, it is my opinion that Dawkins' own views on issues related to Down syndrome children, infanticide, "mild pedophilia" and his arbitrary views on morality make him unfit to educate children about anything.

Courage and Godspeed,

1. Michael Ruse, "Why I Think the New Atheists are a Bloody Disaster," 2009.
2. Ibid.
3. Alvin Plantinga, "The Dawkins Confusion," 2007.
4. As quoted here.  You can read more of Came's thoughts on Dawkins' refusual and the New Atheism here.
5. Paul Copan and William Lane Craig, Contending with Christianity's Critics, Chap. 1, Aug. 1, 2009.  You can also see Craig's response to Dawkins' argument here.
6. See here and here.
7. See here.
7. As quoted by Frank Turek in Stealing from God, p. 90-91.  You can here the interview here.

Related Posts

Ye Have No Definition of Faith?

Counterpoints: William Lane Craig and Richard Dawkins on Evolution

Video: If C.S. Lewis met Richard Dawkins by Peter S. Williams


Anonymous said...

He also encourages people to bully theists. I wouldn't want my kids to read a book by someone who likes to treat people poorly just because they're different.

On one hand, it makes sense for an atheist to write a children's book, considering the fact that atheism is make-believe. However, atheism promotes pedophilia, rape, murder, bullying, etc. Do we really want to expose our children to the immoral ideologies of this disgusting man?

I'm skeptical of atheism, especially when they try to indoctrinate children. The best thing to do for children and adults alike is to stear clear of anything with Richard Dawkins' name on it.

Edwardtbabinski said...

In fairness to Dawkins, I don’t read his conversation with B. as equal to claiming rape is not really wrong.

I take D.s answer to mean that our species could have evolved different sexual practices, as in some of the many wild sexual practices that have evolved in nonhuman species. In bonobo chimps for instance they use sex to maintain peace, they even have sex in the missionary position, and females rub against females, and females have more say in the bonobo chimp community than they do in the pan chimpanzee community. Bonobos also have not been seen killing fellow bonobos, unlike pan chimpanzees.

As for the question of whether or not rape is “really wrong,” one should compare OT laws regarding rape, which was one way for a man to obtain a wife. Compare that kind of ancient morality with today’s expansion females rights and privileges equal to those of males, such as bodily autonomy and personal decision making regarding their own love loves and sex lives. It seems that moral laws have expanded since the OT days, in recognizing rights pertaining to every individual. Also compare the first commandment and its death penalty with the first amendment in the u.s. constitution. Worship only Yahweh under penalty of death, or freedom of religion?

Also check out books on the history of human ethics and the development of international law, which trace how rights have been extended to others in a broadening fashion over time, to the point today when many consider such rights in a global fashion, for all individuals, regardless of what nation to which they belong, regardless of being male or female, rich or poor, different races, different religions, or sexual proclivities. A biologist would say that human inter-connectedness and communication has increased such that we cannot help seeing ourselves in each other, we cannot isolate ourselves and convince ourselves that we deserve to be granted preferential treatment concerning the things we know matter greatly to all.