When your top defender is a coward: Richard Dawkins [VIDEO]

Remember Richard Dawkins? One of the “Four Horsemen of the Atheist Apocalypse”? Author of The God Delusion, The Selfish Gene and other anti-theistic tomes?

richard dawkins

Professor, author, anti-theist Richard Dawkins [Image credit]

Several years ago Dawkins was one of the most prominent (though never ablest) defenders of atheism. More accurately, he was a prominent proponent of “anti-theism.” That is, he did not simply not believe in God he says the idea of God is negative and harmful. He believes “pitiless indifference” lies at the bottom of every single thing that exists, ever has existed or ever will exist. All design is apparent; no intelligence needed.

Lately, though, Dawkins has shown himself to be little more than a philosophical and intellectual coward. Repeated declinations for debating well known philosopher William Lane Craig–considered by many the best in the field–are broadly publicized and now oft repeated. According to Craig, Dawkins has also turned down at least one invitation to debate Alvin Plantinga. Dawkins, for his part, says he does not need such on his CV and refuses to share the stage with one who defends the Old Testament. Perhaps it is more because the Dawkster had his head handed to him in a cardboard box by another Christian philosopher (of mathematics), the inimitable John Lennox.

A counter-piece in the UK Guardian frames the issue well:

[T]he tactics deployed by [Dawkins] and the other New Atheists, it seems to me, are fundamentally ignoble and potentially harmful to public intellectual life. For there is something cynical, ominously patronising, and anti-intellectualist in their modus operandi, with its implicit assumption that hurling insults is an effective way to influence people’s beliefs about religion.

And this from a skeptic who likely agrees with Dawkins’ conclusions.

Possibly one reason for all of these “no’s” is that Dawkins claims to operate from the field of biology, while Craig, Plantinga and others are philosophers. Perhaps the Dawkster feels inadequate for the cross-disciplinary exchange. That would be all well and good save this fact: Dawkins routinely engages in philosophy in his books. He just rarely calls it such, and rarely does it well.

In a recent appearance at Oxford University, yet another “Can’t make it” from the Dawkster, Craig took a page from Clint Eastwood’s RNC book and debated an empty chair. Unlike Eastwood’s famous razzing of President Obama, Dawkins’ statements and responses as played by Craig were not invented.

The statements ascribed to Richard Dawkins in this presentation are statements actually made by Prof. Dawkins. The following is a list of the sources of such statements.

So reads the video beginning around 42:10.

The following video is pretty thick philosophically, but valuable if you can hang with it. I would encourage giving it two or three listens. Rather than turning it off early be taught by it. I was.


Marty Duren

Just a guy writing some things.

  • Good article. I do disagree that Craig is the best in his field, but he does handle this situation very well!

  • Chris

    I can’t help but think as I read this blog, and others, that, as Christians, we are called to be salt and light to this world we live in. We are called, by God, to lead people into the light. How can we lead when we are busy being “better” and “smarter” and “look down our noses” at the people who don’t believe in God. These are the people who need God the most. It is not our job to judge the unbelievers. To call them cowards. It IS our job to show Jesus to people. Before I became a Christian, I could have easily been led down the same road that Richard Dawkins is on. Do we really believe that the more hateful we are, the more judgmental we are, the more people we’ll lead to Christ? It only makes the unbelievers dig their heels in more and say, “See. The Christians are just like me.” We wonder why unbelievers see us as hypocrites.

  • Dawkins refused to debate Craig because Craig defends genocide. Plain and simple. Couldn’t tell you about Plantinga. However, you’ll note that for some time (don’t know if they still do it), the atheist Magic Sandwich Show kept an empty seat up for Craig, who strangely enough refused to show up.

    Perhaps the [retarded condescending nickname for Craig] feels inadequate for the cross-disciplinary exchange.

    • martyduren

      Hi Extremities,
      Thx for stopping by and for your comment.

      How does Craig defend genocide? Seems odd given the rest of his worldview.

      Check out Plantinga. Quite a brilliant philosopher.

      • Andrew Ridgway

        Craig’s genocide defense was that the slaughtered children got to go to heaven. But defending genocide is pretty much a must for a biblical worldview, and there just aren’t any good arguments to be made there. I can’t speak to Platinga’s intelligence, but his sensus divinatus argument was enough to put me off the rest.

  • anonymous

    Already the first argument is ridicule, The Cosmological Argument, if the universe began to exist, then the universe has a cause. I cannot more then laugh about this one, who the hell told you that the universe has a cause the Bible, God? Did you have a vision old man?

    • martyduren

      anonymous? Looks like you cowards run in pairs.