Berkeley, California, radio station KPFA recently cancelled an interview with vocal atheist and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, citing his harsh criticisms of Islam which “offended and hurt . . . so many people.”1
Dawkins is famous for his harsh criticisms of religion in general and Christianity and biblical creation in particular. Yet for some reason, the producers of KPFA did not cite those criticisms when denying Dawkins a radio forum.
Dawkins’ caustic comments are legion. Regarding Jesus’s resurrection, notwithstanding the vast amount of historical evidence for it, he says, “Accounts of Jesus’s resurrection and ascension are about as well-documented as Jack and the Beanstalk.”2
Despite this bold claim, Dawkins refuses to engage in a one-on-one debate with Christian apologist William Lane Craig, well-known for his powerful arguments for the historicity of Christ’s resurrection.3,4 Even some of Dawkins fellow skeptics have harshly criticized him for refusing to do so.5,6 If the evidence for Christ’s resurrection is as weak as Dawkins suggests, then why his reticence to defend his outspoken claim? Wouldn’t one of the most well-known atheists on Earth want to defeat one of the most well-known Christian apologists in front of as many people as possible?
Not surprisingly, Dawkins reserves some of his harshest criticisms for biblical creationists:
“It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I’d rather not consider that).”7
The cancellation of this radio interview serves to highlight the double-standard that exists in academia and media alike when it comes to “offensive” speech. Why are the producers of KPFA disturbed by Dawkins’ statements about Islam, but not his statements about Christianity?
Of course, Dawkins’ criticisms of Christianity and creation science would be fair game—if they were true. If creation scientists really are ignoring or distorting scientific evidence, as Dawkins alleges, then he would be absolutely justified in his condemnations. Yet even Dawkins defined biology as “the study of complicated things that have the appearance of having been designed with a purpose.”8 But if living things appear designed, then why is it so unreasonable to argue that they were designed, rather than the result of a random, evolutionary process?
Yet Dawkins does not seem interested in seriously engaging creation arguments, since he refuses to debate creationists—although he has in the past debated intelligent-design proponent John Lennox.9 Yet creation scientists have interacted with his arguments. For instance, in his book The Greatest Hoax on Earth? Refuting Dawkins on Evolution, creation scientist and chemist Jonathan Sarfati penned a point-by-point refutation of Dawkins’ book The Greatest Show on Earth.10
Ironically, Dawkins is now experiencing the same marginalization that is increasingly being used against creation scientists.11
- Flood, A. Richard Dawkins event cancelled over his ‘abusive speech against Islam.’ The Guardian. Posted on theguardian.com July 24, 2017, accessed August 9, 2017.
- Dawkins, R. Richard Dawkins: You Ask the Questions Special. Independent. Posted on independent.co.uk December 4, 2006, accessed August 9, 2017.
- Although Craig is a well-known Christian apologist, he does not agree with ICR’s position on recent creation. Unfortunately, he has often expressed agreement with the Big Bang model for the origin of the universe and its associated billions of years of supposed prehistory, despite serious scientific and biblical problems with the model.
- Dawkins, R. Why I refuse to debate with William Lane Craig. The Guardian. Posted on theguardian.com October 20, 2011, accessed August 9, 2017.
- Came, D. Richard Dawkins’s refusal to debate is cynical and anti-intellectual. The Guardian. Posted on theguardian.com October 22, 2011, accessed August 9, 2017.
- Ross, T. Richard Dawkins accused of cowardice for refusing to debate existence of God. The Telegraph. Posted on telegraph.co.uk May 14, 2011, accessed August 9, 2017.
- Dawkins, R. April 9, 1989. Book Review of Johanson, D. and M. Edey. Blueprint: Solving the Mystery of Evolution. The New York Times. Section 7, 34. Cited in 2008. Evolution’s Evangelists. Acts & Facts. 37 (5): 10.
- Dawkins, R. 1986. The Blind Watchmaker. New York: W. W. Norton & Co. Cited at Catchpoole, D. Dawkins and Design. Creation. 31 (3): 6.
- Video of one such debate is posted on openculture.com.
- Sarfati, J. 2010. The Greatest Hoax on Earth? Refuting Dawkins on Evolution. Atlanta, GA: Creation Book Publishers.
- The unsuccessful attempt by the U. S. National Park Service to deny creation geologist Dr. Andrew Snelling permission to study a small number of rock samples from the Grand Canyon is just one of many examples.
*Dr. Hebert is Research Associate at the Institute for Creation Research and earned his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Texas at Dallas.
Article posted on September 11, 2017.