Friday, January 06, 2006

Dawkins' God by Alister McGrath

Today, The Independent Newspaper carries an article by Richard Dawkins "Darwin's Rottweiler", entitled in large print, "GOD the root of all evil?". In this piece, Dawkins introduces his forthcoming TV series entitled, The Root of All Evil? He rehearses his old arguments about religion being the cause of untold suffering in the world and that Darwinism has made God an unnecessary construct. Dawkins repeats his claim that bringing up children in a religious context is tantamount to "mental child abuse."
It was interesting the read this article after just finishing McGrath's courteous yet systematic and devastating critique of Dawkins atheism. McGrath is well placed to write such a book as he holds a doctorate in biophysics and is an eminent theologian. McGrath shows that Darwinism has not eliminated God from the universe. Darwinian evolution cannot in itself adjudicate on the God question. He refutes Dawkins' assertion that natural selection must lead inevitably to atheism.
McGrath subjects Dawkins' theory of "memes" that enables him to label religion as a "virus of the mind" to sustained criticism at every level. The author demonstrates that "memes" have no empirical, scientific basis. He also points out that even given the validity of "meme" theory, atheism could just as well be a "virus of the mind", making Dawkins' argument self-defeating.
The author questions Dawkins' definition of faith as irrational blind trust and urges him to take a more evidence-based approach to the relationship between Christianity and science. He concludes by saying,
Scientists and Theologians have so much to learn from each other. Listening to each other, we might hear the galaxies sing. Or even the heavens declaring the glory of God. (Psalm 19:1).
McGrath does not utilise the arguments of Intelligent Design. He cautiously accepts the Darwinian account of the origin of species and takes an Augustinian view of the Genesis creation account. He notes that Theological conservatives such as B. B. Warfield reacted favourably to Darwinism. Six day creationists may disagree with McGrath on these points. But he has done us a great service in subjecting Dawkins' aggressive, but unfounded and irrational atheism to rigorous scholarly analysis. In the light of this book, perhaps "Darwin's Rottweiler" should scurry away with his tail between his legs, rather than continuing to bark out his atheism in the press and on TV.

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