Another Dawkins Review – the Mind Boggles
Google News Alerts brought to my attention this article by Kyle Lee in the Chicago Maroon, entitled Dawkins’s militant atheism delusional, in which he discusses some of his grievances with Dawkins and, in particular, his book The God Delusion. Unfortunately, Lee forgot to do one teeny, tiny thing that could have helped him out a bit. It’s really just a minor detail and I’m probably being pedantic, but actually reading a book before you criticise it is, in my opinion, helpful to one’s cause.
Not only did Lee not read the book, he told a big fat pork pie and said he had – hardly a very Christian thing to do! Well, here’s the smoking gun:
I have read his book The God Delusion
There is no ambiguity here, Lee is explicit in his claim. But, he later slips up, saying,
If he wants some rational arguments for faith, I would encourage Dawkins to read some St. Thomas Aquinas before vomiting up his next accusation against religion.
The accusation is quite clear here: Lee believes that Dawkins has not read any St. Thomas Aquinas, but anyone who has read The God Delusion knows that Dawkins devoted an entire section of his chapter Arguments for God’s Existence to Aquinas’ five proofs. By all means, say that he misunderstood Aquinas, or say that he did a poor job refuting him, but why would anyone who had read The God Delusion advise Dawkins to read Thomas Aquinas, knowing full well that he had?!
Unfortunately, Lee is not a one off. He is yet another in a long line of Christians writing about The God Delusion who have not read it, but other people’s reviews of it. Unfortunately, the writers of the reviews they have read probably haven’t read it either. Have any of them read it? My theory is that they’ve all just read The Dawkins Delusion? by Alister McGrath. Lee goes on to regurgitate all the classics:
For instance, instead of using evolution and natural selection as examples of a harsh, Godless reality, he should realize that the complexity, intricacy, and beauty of a living organism further reinforce the reality of the supernatural. It also leads someone with an open heart and mind to the unmistakable conclusion that the cell or molecule under observation had to have been designed before it ever evolved to its current state.
This is not even an argument, just assertion that is refuted in The God Delusion over and over again.
The tradition of atheism is certainly long-standing and stretches back at least as far as Western classical antiquity, but the modern trend of liberal, militantly atheist academics and of “scholars” who declare war on religion—or, more simply, a person’s belief in God—is vicious, disrespectful, and an abuse of the scholarly platform.
Liberal militancy?! I’m sorry Mr Lee, but calling your beliefs into question is not vicious or disrespectful, it is exactly what the scholarly platform is there for. It is on open discussion and freedom to criticise that both academia and a healthy society thrive, and knowledge grows.
Sarcastic attacks abound in both The God Delusion and Dawkins’s professional life. To be sure, he cherry-picks his facts, which leads him to fallacious conclusions and angry diatribe, but I pray that he finds some fulfillment in his life besides renouncing the ideas of the faithful and declaring religious beliefs a heresy against science and reason. I encourage the theists of this campus to stand up against this type of insidious “academic” persuasion and firmly assert the existence of God.
Angry Dawkins – that old chestnut! Even just reading the preface to the paperback edition could have saved him the time it took him to write his article. We also see religious terms thrown in, as is traditional when criticising atheists, like “heresy”. Christians never turn down an opportunity to make religion look scientific or science look religious, whenever they are not defending religion and criticising science, of course. Notice Lee’s closing words, “assert the existence of God”. Not “prove”, or “provide evidence for”, but “assert”. After presuming to criticise a book he hasn’t read on rational grounds, he all but concedes that there is not a rational case to be made.
My advice to Mr Lee is to read The God Delusion, and then, if he feels so inclined, to criticise the arguments that Dawkins actually made, rather than the usual straw men. I am sick to death of these online articles – and there must be literally hundreds of them – criticising atheist books without even having read them. I am always happy to scrutinise my beliefs, and I truly long for the day when an intelligent Christian will read The God Delusion and actually put a strong case forward against it. I’m not holding my breath though.