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From: "Christian Research Institute"
Sent: Friday, February 17, 2012 11:27 AM

Subject: Responding to Richard Dawkins’s Youth Ministry


Dear CRI Supporter,


The following article is from the current, special origins issue of our
award-winning magazine, the CHRISTIAN RESEARCH JOURNAL | What Were the
Origins of Life on Earth? This special issue is packed full of compelling
articles by many of the biggest names in the Intelligent Design movement,
relating to all aspects of the origins problem—scientific, theological,
philosophical, hermeneutical, and apologetic (see the Table of Contents
here: But not only so, this
special issue also features a sneak peek at Hank Hanegraaff’s forthcoming
Creation Answer Book! This special origins issue is available by donation
. To Donate Now, please visit:

—by Angus Menuge

Richard Dawkins has redefined himself again. Earlier, Dawkins transitioned
from academic works of theoretical biology to his popular atheistic
manifesto, The God Delusion. Now, Dawkins has moved on to the scientific
education of youth. Combining lavish color illustrations by David McKean
with his own supple and enthusiastic prose, Dawkins aims to inspire a new
generation with the belief that naturalistic science is the only source
both of knowledge and of true "magic"-the poetic wonder of discovery.

The book would not be much of a problem if it stuck to data and theories.
But throughout the text, Dawkins inserts fatherly asides to caution the
reader against supernatural, superstitious nonsense-the enemy of true
science. The procedure is to offer sober science and an atheistic
worldview as a package deal. C. S. Lewis discerned a similar danger in the
"Green Book," ostensibly a work of English grammar, whose actual effect
was to inculcate moral relativism: "The very power of [the book] depends
on the fact that they are dealing with a boy...who thinks he is 'doing'
his 'English prep' and has no notion that ethics, theology and politics
are all at stake. It is not a theory which they put into his head, but an
assumption, which ten years hence...will condition him to take one side in
a controversy which he has never recognized as a controversy at all."1

Dawkins's approach is to mold impressionable minds with the presumption
that all that really exists is a closed physical universe of pitiless
indifference (p. 235). Pursuing the logic of natural selection, he
concludes that a living creature is simply "a survival machine for genes.
Next time you look in the mirror, just think: that is what you are too"
(74–75). This means that the "poetic wonder" of scientific discovery has
no ultimate significance. There are no valuable truths to discover, nor
valuable people to discover them: we are lumbering robots in a meaningless
world. Like the Green Book criticized by Lewis, Dawkins's book will likely
produce more people "without a chest," closed to the transcendent realms
of God's moral law and saving work.

PROPAGANDA. Throughout Dawkins's entertaining text, which explores
biology, astronomy, chemistry, physics, natural disasters, and alleged
miracles, Dawkins seeks to discredit biblical revelation by citing its
stories as myths alongside pagan myths and modern "urban legends." Thus
Genesis is presented with Norse mythology (34–35) and Dawkins repeats the
old chestnut that since there are elements in common between the flood
account in The Epic of Gilgamesh and the Genesis flood, the latter is
cultural borrowing (140–43). Although there are some similarities, many of
these would be expected in any flood account, and there are also marked
differences. Most importantly, Dawkins does not seriously consider the
possibility that both accounts arise from an actual historical event.
Worse, when archaeologists do find evidence of the historicity of a
biblical event, Dawkins attributes it all to purely natural causes anyway
(208–9). And he relies heavily on David Hume's famous critique of miracles
(254–65), with no reference to John Earman's devastating critique, Hume's
Abject Failure (Oxford, 2000).

INVINCIBLE IGNORANCE. Evidently, Dawkins has adopted a position that makes
it impossible for him to contact transcendent realities. Dawkins tells us
he would never accept a supernatural explanation regardless of the
evidence, "Because anything 'super natural' must by definition be beyond
the reach of a natural explanation" (23). But refusing to allow
supernatural explanations does not show they are false. And Dawkins
continues to complain that "none of the myths gives any explanation for
how the creator of the universe himself...came into existence" (163),
refusing to allow the idea of a necessary being that has no origin.

Interestingly, Dawkins never considers the possibility that theism might
give a better explanation than materialism for the success of the science
he prizes. Why does the world conform to orderly laws? Why should we
expect our minds to be capable of discovering them? If he faced these
questions without prejudice, Dawkins might begin to see that there is a
deeper magic still.

Angus Menuge, Ph.D., is professor of philosophy at Concordia University,
Wisconsin. His book review, “Dawkins’s Youth Ministry” appears in the
Volume 35, No. 1 special origins issue of the CHRISTIAN RESEARCH JOURNAL
available by donation only.

To Donate Now, please visit: