Our article ‘Atheist with a mission’, our detailed refutation of The God Delusion by the eugenicist Clinton R. Dawkins, generated a number of feedbacks, with a high ratio of hostile to complimentary ones. Apparently Dawkins has many devotees who share his single-minded purpose of showing that there is no purpose. And some of these fans patronize our website and are incensed at finding their hero exposed.
Never mind that Dawkins’ fellow Oxford professor, theologian and Ph.D. scientist Alister McGrath, not a creationist, has written a book with his wife called The Dawkins Delusion? Atheist fundamentalism and the denial of the divine. Famous evolutionary philosopher Michael Ruse writes in the blurb, ‘The God Delusion makes me embarrassed to be an atheist, and the McGraths show why.’
[Update: Ruse also said in an interview with the Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant, 7 April 2007, p. 7 (thanks to Frans Gunnink, who provided the translation):
We publish here two of the hostile feedbacks, with responses from Jonathan Sarfati. The first is from Patrick W of the United Kingdom, who regales us with a litany of criticisms (all thoroughly addressed in our Q&A index). Included among his criticisms are ones arising from a misunderstanding of the role of axioms in assessing competing historical scenarios. Our response to these could be of benefit to readers. The second is from Ben L, also from the UK, who feels that the way we treated Dawkins in our review was biased. He may be surprised to find that we agree! But is bias bad? Read our response to learn how to rebut the accusations of bias (and intolerance, extremism, etc.) which are constantly being made against Christians. And note that neither correspondent demonstrated the slightest error in our review!
We also publish a favorable response from a reader who appreciated our exposure of Dawkins’ fallacy, and also asks a question about a new book by Michael Ruse.
Would you please send us a copy of your letter of rebuke to your hero Clint D., criticizing his personal attacks on God and Christians that were amply documented in the review? Or are we not allowed to defend ourselves when atheists attack? It’s even more amusing that while the Bible is full of satirizing and mocking of unbelief, and Christ used harsh language in His challenge-riposte method, some atheists claim that it’s unbiblical and unchristian for CMI to raise the slightest peep against the most vociferous christophobes.
Yes, we are eager for truth to be supported.
We’ll see …
So you wouldn’t waste time considering reasons for Christianity?
so I wanted to leave you with some thoughts.
You state that ‘Dawkins’ absolute dislike of the message of the Judeo-Christian Scriptures’ then quote Dawkins himself thus ‘‘I am attacking God, all gods, anything and everything supernatural, wherever and whenever they have been or will be invented.’
Eh? A contradiction. You have not started well.
Seemed good to me. Where exactly was the contradiction? Both statements are true. Dawkins hates all theism, but reserves his most visceral attacks for Christianity.
Yet the critic couldn’t even provide even one of these alleged contradictions (cf. the recent feedback Does the Bible teach error?).
I just wonder if you will agree that a very convenient self serving doctrine of faith is that any thought of doubt is to be seen as a temptation from the devil, is therefore evil and must be resisted.
I just wonder why you didn’t read what we actually said about doubt, as per our feedback rules. Martin Luther once told a doubter, ‘Don’t worry, your doubts are the best sign of your faith because if you didn’t really deep down believe, you wouldn’t bother to doubt and worry about it.’ He was following the Biblical teaching, ‘have mercy on those who doubt’ (Jude 1:22). Indeed, doubt may lead to resolution, e.g. the firm confession of Jesus as Lord and God by ‘doubting Thomas’ (John 20:24–29; note that neither this passage nor any other identify biblical faith with credulity, or disparage logic). However, this is different from doubt of Christianity for its own sake (James 1:6).
And you evidently have no doubt that life made itself, and that Dawkins is right!
What I think of this handwaving is irrelevant to the truth claims of Christianity, which are a matter of history, as explained before in an earlier feedback.
It was Christianity, including the doctrine that the universe was made by a God of order (1 Corinthians 14:33), that helped defeat superstition. Conversely, superstition often returns when biblical absolutes are denied, as even a Skeptical Inquirer article admitted. It’s notable that the Australian Skeptics recently whinged in their magazine that the notoriously antichristian Australian ABC TV gave too much credence to quackery, yet Skeptics could always count on plenty of its unchallenged airtime (when we have a chance to challenge on equal terms, the skeptics come off a distant second—see booklet).
Causality is actually foundational to most science. It is those who believe that the universe was uncaused that are exercising blind faith.
Genetic fallacy, anyone? That is, all this theorizing about the origin of Christian belief has nothing whatever to do with whether it is true.
Who has all the evidence? Only God. But since we are on the topic of carbon dating, maybe you would like to explain why 14C is in diamonds and coal that are allegedly millions of years old? Since 14C has a half life of only ~5700 years, it should have decayed long ago if the samples were really as old as they claim. So its presence is consistent with an age of only a few thousand years. See Diamonds: a creationist’s best friend: Radiocarbon in diamonds: enemy of billions of years.
That it was not made over 6 days and nobody rested on the seventh.
And suffering in the world. I thnk most resentment from religion comes from their dismissal of suffering—‘god’s work’—how banal of him.
I agree that suffering is the source of most resentment, but evidently you haven’t bothered to read our answers, e.g. Problem of evil.
Because we live in a fallen world, as we’ve explained many times (and which should not have been difficult to find—see Death and Suffering Questions and Answers).
Not personally. We have written about atheist camp though.
Its enough to give you lack of sleep for a year!
But then there’s intelligence. Dawkins does show that brain power and ‘religious’ thought aren’t that common. Oh sure, you can name some, what Newton? that neurotic paranoid bad-tempered individual? His one contribution to the commons was to ask for the window to be closed! Great man!
Most people would consider Newton great even if you wouldn’t, considering that he discovered the inverse square Law of Gravity, the Three Laws of Motion, the exponential law of cooling, and the spectrum of light; invented the reflecting telescope and co-invented calculus. If anyone had discovered just one of those things, that would have been enough to earn a prominent place in history, yet he discovered all of them.
Rather, what else is wishing that you will not be accountable to your Maker after death? Ann Coulter in her book Godless: The Church of Liberalism nailed Darwiniacs like you:
How is it impossible? It is certainly not logically impossible, because there is no logical contradiction involved in ‘Jesus was born of a virgin’— please make sure you understand the meaning of contradiction in logic as a and not-a. A male mother is logically impossible, a virgin mother is not.
If you mean scientifically impossible, then of course all reports of a virgin birth are false. But how do you know it is scientifically impossible unless you know in advance that the reports are all false? This circularity is a problem for atheistic pronouncements against all miracles. In reality, you disbelieve in miracles because of a dogma against them, while Christians believe because of evidence for them (see Miracles and Science for more information on miracles, and The Virginal Conception of Christ for a defence of this specific miracle).
Extremism has nothing to do with believing the allegedly impossible. Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot were atheists who would be classed as extremists. Dawkins seems very extreme in his misotheism. However, extremism isn’t always bad, e.g. Wilberforce was an anti-slavery extremist.
I must have missed your alternative explanation of at least 17 factors that meant Christianity could not have succeeded in the ancient world, unless it was backed up with irrefutable proof of the Resurrection (The Impossible Faith: Or, How Not to Start an Ancient Religion).
I must have also missed the logical connection between our article and your conclusion.
I read your ‘review’ of The God Delusion recently and I was surprised by the tone of the article.
What specifically was wrong with the tone? And can we take it that you approve of Dawkins’ vitriol?
More likely, these are the self-serving definitions of atheism that I addressed in Atheism is more rational?
you make a claim against the book that is ironically illustrated by your own article.
You begin by castigating Dawkins for a lack of objectivity and balance,
We also castigate the MMM for dressing up antitheistic editorializing to look like objective reportage.
And this is all true. Do you dispute this?
No, that is a different concept. A doctor can diagnose a bacterial infection objectively, without ‘balancing’ the ‘rights’ of the life of the bacteria with the life of the patient. A judge can try a criminal objectively even though he is biased against crime, and thus doesn’t ‘balance’ the trial with the viewpoint that there is a right to commit crime. The Israeli prosecutor of Adolf Eichmann, Gideon Hausner, wrote a book on the trial, Justice in Jerusalem (1966), which had a detailed objective section on Nazi atrocities against the Jews, but he certainly did not give any ‘balance’ to Holocaust deniers or excusers.
No, not the latter.
We never pretended to have a balanced review. We were perfectly open that it was from a biblical Christian perspective. However, we do claim to have treated facts as facts, and pointed out when Dawkins confused his opinion with a fact.
I very rarely see links to creationist sites in the MMM, or by Dawkins.
I agree, we may be expecting too much of misotheists—the very idea that they can Google for these articles which are properly sourced, or even just watch TV, attend a typical university course or open a newspaper. For the record, we don’t link very much to sites offering a supporting view to ours, either—we aim to be a destination site, not a link farm.
You can take this effect if you want, but what would be wrong with lying if Dawkins were right that morality evolved?
As the review documents, these accusations are true. Conversely, you have not shown that our review was false.
This is another example of a lack of balance that you so clearly deride in others.
It is a free society (one hopes), and both yourself and Dawkins are entitled to write and say what you like.
However, Dawkins advocates extreme intolerance of Christians, e.g. calling religion a ‘virus of the mind’ (never showing why his atheism is not similarly a virus or meme), or calling parental religious instruction ‘child abuse’.
Censorship would be stopping you from reading his nonsense. But we couldn’t even if we wanted to. And even if we did, how exactly would this disprove the truth claims of Christianity or prove those of atheism? This is an emotional distrust on the part of these many atheists, not an objective one, despite the way atheistic organizations portray themselves as the epitome of objectivity.
You guys are great! Your ministry is one of the most important in the world. I wanted to tell you that I loved Philip Bell’s review of The God Delusion. It’s great to have someone else who sees the lack of substantiation in the statements being made. I also really appreciated the length of the work; I thought it was a great effort. I found it intellectually satisfying. Thanks Philip!
I was also wondering if Philip or another of your team was planning on reviewing Michael Ruse’s book that just came out, Darwinism and Its Discontents. His book is a direct attack on the work you are doing, and I would love to see what you have to say about it.
I thank Jesus for you guys.
Love in Christ,
We’re glad our website has been a blessing to you, and we appreciate your encouraging words of support. Yes, one of our regular contributors, Lael Weinberger, has written a powerful review of Darwinism and its Discontents for our Journal of Creation. It will probably appear in issue 21(3), due out late this year. —Ed. [Update: see Journal of Creation 21(3):32–36, 2007.]