Tuesday, January 31st | 9 Shevat 5783

October 27, 2011 1:56 am

Let’s Face it: Dawkins Is Chicken

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avatar by Moshe Averick

Dr. William Lane Craig, renowned Christian theologian. Richard Dawkins refused Oxford University's offer to debate Craig.

Richard Dawkins, the highest ranking clergyman in the hierarchy of New Age Atheism, recently informed us of the “real” reason why he refuses to accept the invitation from Oxford University to debate the renowned Christian theologian, Dr. William Lane Craig. Dawkins self-righteously declared that since Craig is an “apologist for genocide,” he is “proud to leave that chair in Oxford empty.” The “genocide” in question is the war of the Israelites against the morally debauched Canaanites that took place some thirty-three centuries in the past. (For those who find the math difficult, that is 3,300 years ago.) Whether or not one is prepared to agree with Dr. Craig’s analysis of the biblical passages in question is really beside the point. Not even a hater of religion like Christopher Hitchens (who did debate Craig) would ever dream of accusing Craig of advocating gratuitous violence against non-believers and certainly not genocide.

What makes this entire melodramatic episode even more curious are the rather questionable moral stances of Richard Dawkins himself. Consider the following: In an article in Scientific American (November, 1995) Dawkins informed us in blunt, raw language his existential view of reality, “The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.” This of course is an honest and candid expression of the atheistic worldview. In a purely materialistic universe there is no room for metaphysical realities like good and evil. As atheistic philosopher Joel Marks has pointed out, “The religious fundamentalists are correct; without God there is no morality…atheism implies amorality, and since I am an atheist, I must therefore embrace amorality.” This echoes the disturbing observation of another famous atheist, Sigmund Freud: “The moment a man questions the meaning and value of life, he is sick; since objectively neither has any existence.”

In an article written for Edge in 2006, Dawkins explained that in a materialistic, deterministic universe, “blame and responsibility [emphasis mine], “indeed evil and good” are nothing more than mental constructs and “useful fictions,” that are “built into our brains by…Darwinian Evolution.” Atheistic philosopher Michael Ruse heartily agrees: “Morality is an illusion put in place by your genes to make you a social cooperator.” If there is no metaphysically existent good and evil, if atheism implies amorality, if morality is a useful fiction and an illusion, if in objective reality life has no meaning and no value; why exactly is Dawkins so morally indignant about a war that took place 3,300 years ago and a modern Christian theologian’s rather dispassionate and thoughtful attempt to understand the meaning of that war? Dawkins also conveniently ignores that the greatest mass murderers in the history of mankind have all been atheists; Josef Stalin: 20-30,000,000 Mao Tse Tung: 50-70,000,000 Pol Pot: around 2,000,000. It’s worth noting that these men committed their atrocities, not 3,300 years ago, but in middle of the 20th century! I am not even remotely suggesting that Dawkins is capable of mass murder, but one would think that this simple historical fact might temper his righteous indignation just a bit.

All of this leads us to the conclusion that the accusation which Dawkins has hurled at Craig is not the reason for his refusal to engage in the debate, it is the excuse. The real reason why Dawkins will not debate Craig is the same reason why he refuses to debate Dr. Stephen Meyer, of the Discovery Institute, about the Origin of Life. He is afraid. He is afraid of debating opponents of the caliber of William Lane Craig and Stephen Meyer. Atheist author Sam Harris has observed that Craig is “the one Christian apologist who seems to have put the fear of God into my fellow atheists.” Even a non-believing blogger for The Guardian, Daniel Came (“As a skeptic, I tend to agree…regarding the falsehood of theism.”), writes that, “Hence, it is quite obvious that Dawkins is opportunistically using these remarks as a smokescreen to hide the real reasons for his refusal to debate with Craig.” C’mon Professor Dawkins, you’re not fooling anybody; it’s time to come out of the hen-house and fight like a man.

Rabbi Moshe Averick is an orthodox rabbi and author of Nonsense of a High Order: The Confused and Illusory World of the Atheist. It is available on Amazon.com and Kindle. Rabbi Averick can be reached via his website.

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