Quill and writing

Refuting Richard Dawkins – The God Delusion (2006 Bantam Press)

[Specifically, pages 331 – 337 where he seeks to discredit what I wrote! – Steve Layfield]
I finally get around to writing a rebuttal of Dawkins diatribe which he penned back in the day. Is he still alive? Or has he finally been confronted with the Truth (Rom 14:12)? I’ll try to be brief and to the point.
• First, I wouldn’t wish to side with either Dawkins or Tony Blair (p331). ‘Diversity’ is not a virtue I subscribe to. Rather I am committed to a Biblical worldview. Why? Because any other worldview is demonstrably absurd & irrational.
• (Sir) Peter Vardy was (privately) brutal towards me in the immediate aftermath of this public controversy. He’s a man with a big pocket and a big heart perhaps but not such a big brain. He at no point sought to engage me intellectually in pursuit of illumination. Rather he showed himself to be a bully. Did he similarly attack other senior leaders of the Emmanuel consortium?
• Dawkins ostensibly dislikes ‘imprinting religious convictions upon school-children’ (p331). But that is precisely what he is/was paid to do as ‘professor of the public understanding of “science”.’ I recall watching him on BBC Royal Society Christmas Lectures back in 1991. The sort of science he pushes down others’ throats is materialistic naturalism – the RELIGIOUS BELIEF that metaphysic reality comprises mere atoms & molecules subject over aeons to time & chance. Humbug! He never says so explicitly. But he wants the children to RELIGIOUSLY BELIEVE that hydrogen gas is an odourless, colourless gas which, over time, changes into people!!!!
• He disparages Nigel McQuoid (a good man) for having recruited ‘American inspired fundamentalist’ teachers. What’s so wrong with being American? Were George Washington, Jonathan Edwards & even Nicolas Tesla not geniuses?? Dawkins favourite weapons are ad-hominem arguments.
• Moreover, Dawkins is philosophically so inept he cannot discern his own fundamentalism. The truth is, we are ALL fundamentalists. His own fundamentalism is laid bare in his book: empiricism, materialism, naturalism, Uniformitism, etc,. The proper question to resolve is not WHETHER someone is a fundamentalist, but rather WHICH SORT of fundamentalism do they subscribe to. (See p 332)
• Bishop Wayne Malcolm is cited on p 332 to disparage the popular apologetics of anti-Darwinists. But the bishops point is well made & only an ‘ostrich with its head in the sand’ Dawkins would dare to tell the world that there’s a dearth of ‘missing links’ in the fossil record. How many fossil bats are there out there? [Thousands perhaps] How many fossil mice are there out there? [Thousands perhaps] How many fossil specimens are there with part wing, part fore-limbs out there? [ZERO!! – NB the bat is alleged by Darwinism to have evolved from a mouse-like creature].
• Dawkins’ persistent failure is his inability (or unwillingness) to recognise that the facts do not speak for themselves. Thus, on page 334 he pits ‘science’ versus ‘scripture’ instead of MORE PHILOSOPHICALLY ACCURATE… the mainstream secular worldview of humanistic scientism versus the science built upon a principled Biblical worldview. He again shows himself to be a philosophical ignoramus. It’s the worldview that determines the significance of any scientific fact (light, fossils, sediment, etc) not the fact itself. As Van Til explained ad nauseum, ‘there are no brute facts!’
• Dawkins favourite modus operandi is scorn. He ridicules my invocation of the Genesis Flood (p 334). Why? He doesn’t say. But this is basic to a Biblical worldview of history. He wants to believe – BUT DOESN’T EXPLAIN THIS TO HIS AUDIENCE – that the present is the key to the past (uniformitarianism) whilst I, as a Christian, must insist instead, ‘No! The past is the key to the present.’ We cannot begin to comprehend Geological features of the earth today apart from the global tectonic forces that were involved in the great deluge of which we read in Genesis 6-9).
• By the way, Dawkins doesn’t KNOW that Africa drew apart at the speed at which fingernails grow (p334). Was he there to observe it? No! It’s all an inference he makes from the various presuppositions which collectively comprises his own (religious) worldview.
• Again on p334 Dawkins asserts that ‘real geological evidence’ speaks for itself. It doesn’t. Rather, what we read in the literature are the opinions ‘dressed up as objective fact’ of fallible scientists, the majority of whom sadly have drunk deeply from the well of secular humanistic dogma which now controls the mainstream hegemony and which, like Dawkins, has (presently) control of the public microphone!
• Sadly, Dawkins can credit contemporary ‘respectable theologians’ as cobelligerents fighting on the same side as himself (p335). Alas, this is probably true. The sixty-five thousand dollar question is, “ARE THOSE SAME THEOLOGIANS RESPECTED BY GOD?” The real problem we face today was engineered by compromised theologians from the 19th century who slowly but surely lost abandoned a principled view of Biblical authority & yielded to Higher Criticism. The list of exemplar contemporary Bishops (& Sir David Attenborough!) cuts no ice with God’s own magisterium – Holy Scripture (see Ps 138:2).
• That might be critical of an institution purporting to roll out a ‘Christian’ curriculum should come as no surprise whatsoever to anyone capable of discerning the differences between a secularism & Christianity. If truth be told, Emmanuel College was always an unsatisfactory ‘half-baked’ enterprise. One cannot suppose that a Christian worldview will emerge from a school with pietistic Christian educators. The whole project was doomed to fail. A more principled (comprehensive / holistic) world and life view must first be preached from the pulpits of our Churches before we can expect to see any real, lasting fruit.
• I must finish. Dawkins is so pitifully blind to his own philosophical stupidity. Well did the apostle Paul ask, “Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.” (1Cor 1:20-21)
On pages 336 & 337 Dawkins again displays his philosophical naivety. Again it’s a ‘false dichotomy’ – pitting evidence-based science against Scripture. Is he so unkind as to suppose that the great throng of Creation scientists which have written and studied over the past 60 years or so do not engage with the evidence? Really? Well, here’s the only rational conclusion we can draw: yes, Dawkins is most likely that unkind! He’s like the boat-load of armchair thinkers out there who identify as atheists. They typically have two basic mantras: (i) there is no God & (ii) I HATE Him!

Steve Layfield (NB not Stephen as per Dawkins misreading of my name in his book) – August 2021