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?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.