THE DAWKINS DELUSION?
Review by Rumple (Scotland)
I strongly recommend this book to Christians who have been unsettled by the propaganda that Richard Dawkins has been putting out. It is a very important response, though sadly the impressive rebuttal won’t achieve a fraction of the publicity that the falsehoods have got.
McGrath demolishes Dawkins’ arguments, or rather he demonstrates that his arguments don’t justify his conclusions. It’s not a question of McGrath proving that there is a God, or Dawkins proving that there isn’t. Dawkins’ important and fallacious arguments are that there are no grounds for intelligent people to disagree with him, and McGrath demonstrates that that is an untenable position. However, McGrath has done it before, and the usual reaction has been “well, there isn’t a God anyway”, or “Christianity is based on lies, so Christians can’t complain if other people are less than fair and accurate about them”. This is evident in many of the reviews of this book; “so what about the merits of Dawkins’ arguments. It doesn’t matter, because there is no God”.
Even if there is no God, I can’t see how it justifies dishonesty in support of the point, and McGrath nails Dawkins squarely on the charge of intellectual dishonesty. The book is a reasoned defence of religion, and Christianity in particular against the attacks from Dawkins that it is impossible to be rational, and good, and Christian. It is not meant to be an argument for the existence of God.
Yes, the book is meant to bolster the faithful. Many will have been dismayed and concerned by the ready acceptance in the media that the God Delusion is an important and respectable contribution to the debate about religion, whereas it is really nothing more than a one-sided, dishonest polemic.
McGrath exposes Dawkins spectacular arrogance, showing how he strays over into areas in which he has no expertise, such as anthropology, sociology, philosophy and psychology. He ignores the accumulated wisdom of these disciplines, and attempts to reason his way through from scratch.
Of course, Dawkins does the same with theology but he does have a ready answer in that case; that theology is a non-subject, and such patent nonsense that he does not need to waste his time understanding the details in order to dismiss it in its entirety. That stance would be reasonable for a pub argument, but it is ludicrous from someone who is actually writing books on the subject, and it is deplorable from someone who makes a healthy living as a self-appointed “expert” on religion. The God Delusion contains theological statements that are breathtakingly wrong. Dawkins cannot expect to be taken seriously as a writer on religion if he cannot be bothered establishing what it is that he is attacking.