Tis the eve of the release of Richard Dawkins’ latest book, Outgrowing God, in which he claims to set out with ‘clarity and rigour’ his steps for living a completely secular life. Aimed at younger audiences, the book will explain why we shouldn’t believe in God. As I eagerly await this book (described as ‘revelatory’), I reflect on when it was that I first realised I had outgrown Richard Dawkins.
Perhaps it was when he tweeted that religion was an ‘organised licence to be acceptably stupid.’ It could have been when he wrote that ‘All the world’s Muslims have fewer Nobel Prizes than Trinity College, Cambridge. They did great things in the Middle Ages, though.’ His ludicrousness was pointed out gleefully on twitter. Why only choose Muslims? All the world’s Indians, all the world’s sportsmen, all the world’s Chinese people also had fewer Nobel Prizes. Comparing an arbitrary group of people to a specialised academic institution purely for the purpose of ridiculing that arbitrary group is dishonest and absurd.
Maybe I realised I had outgrown Dawkins when he admitted he had never read the Quran, yet declared nonetheless that Islam is the ‘greatest force for evil today.’ For surely, even as a teenager I knew that to spend a whole career lambasting an ideology without having studied it all would not be the wisest of life choices.
For some people however, today may be the day when they realise that they have outgrown Richard Dawkins. Having attacked religious people for ‘indoctrinating’ their children, comparing it to ‘mental child abuse,’ he now releases a book aimed at doing exactly that.
A pro-atheist blog – FriendlyAtheist, commenting on Dawkins’ latest book, admits that he is indeed doing exactly what he claims to despise. There is a crucial difference however:
“But when Dawkins’ book comes out, you can expect Christian writers to accuse Dawkins of trying to indoctrinate children into godlessness. Even though he’s doing exactly what they do, except from a different perspective. The difference is he actually has evidence on his side.”
Such an attitude reminds me of Muslim extremist preacher Zakir Naik, who declares he is happy with non-Muslims allowing Muslims to build mosques but refuses to allow the propagation of other religions within a Muslim state. “How can we (Muslims) allow this when their religion is wrong and when their worshipping is wrong?” he wistfully observes.
The reality is that Richard Dawkins conducts himself like those radical religious extremists he claims to be fighting against – literally describing himself as a ‘militant atheist.’ What binds such people is their lack of knowledge and desire to force through their ideologies at any cost. Dawkins is a scientific man who knows nothing about religion; religious extremists claim knowledge of their religion, yet know little about science or the wider world. Perhaps this is why these two groups are at loggerheads with one another — in reality they are peas in a pod.
Finally, does Dawkins have ‘evidence on his side?’ Can modern science demonstrate to us that there was no designer? Remarkably, in a documentary entitled Expelled: No intelligence Allowed, Dawkins himself admitted that the concept of an intelligent designer is very much possible.
Interviewer: What do you think about the possibility that intelligent design might turn out to be the answer to some issues in genetics or evolution?
Dawkins: Well it could come about in the following way, it could be that in some earlier time somewhere in the universe, a civilisation evolved…to a very high level of technology, and designed a form of life that they seeded onto – perhaps this planet. Now that is a possibility and an intriguing possibility and I suppose it’s possible that you might find evidence for that if you look at the details of biochemistry, molecular biology, you might find the signature of some sort of designer. And that designer could well be a higher intelligence from elsewhere in the universe.
The reality is that science can never disprove God. In fact, with every discovery that is made, the complexity and intricacy of the universe is highlighted more and more. Thus, the need for a Creator becomes ever more necessary. To try and convince children that science can remove the need for a God, whilst simultaneously accepting that a designer may be required to start life, is dishonest to the extreme. To try and persuade them that religion is a fairy-tale, despite not having studied it thoroughly, is even worse.
I outgrew Richard Dawkins long ago, and perhaps some of the children who read his latest offering will realise that they too, have outgrown him.