We’re told at Huffpo UK that Richard Dawkins is being labelled an embarrassment to atheism, after a clash with a priest on BBC Radio4, over a poll his own foundation had commissioned, which he trumpeted as showing that Christians don’t know much about their faith: [AUDIO]
Giles Fraser: Richard, if I said to you what is the full title of ‘The Origin Of Species’, I’m sure you could tell me that.
Richard Dawkins: Yes I could.
Giles Fraser: Go on then.
Richard Dawkins: On The Origin Of Species.. Uh. With, Oh God. On The Origin Of Species. There is a sub title with respect to the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life.
Giles Fraser: You’re the high pope of Darwinism… If you asked people who believed in evolution that question and you came back and said 2% got it right, it would be terribly easy for me to go ‘they don’t believe it after all.’ It’s just not fair to ask people these questions. They self-identify as Christians and I think you should respect that.
The correct full title of Darwin’s famous book, not that it would usually matter, is On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.
The problem here is Dawkins is not your corner cube atheist. He made his name and fame, never mind his living, fronting Darwinism.
So it’s not anywhere near the same thing as the average self-identified Christian not knowing the name of the first Gospel in the New Testament. It’s more like William Lane Craig not knowing. But Craig would know that, wouldn’t he?
But is Dawkins truly an embarrassment to atheism? Well, he would be to traditional atheists, who were often learned. But to new atheists, probably not.
New atheists don’t believe that the mind even exists. They couldn’t care less about the empirical evidence for Darwinism as opposed to other ways evolution can happen. Usually, they don’t even know about the well-attested other ways and don’t care when their Darwinian claims fail.
And why should they care when they can enforce the teaching of Darwinism, their creation story, through legislatures and courts?
Dawkins’ ignorance illustrates the new atheists’ growing cultural power: Whatever they claim Darwinism is at any given time can be forced on the entire education system – even if their own “high pope” is ignorant of the details. The message is clear: Accountability is for losers.