Richard Dawkins
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Richard Dawkins' godless delusion

Published on: 10 March, 2016

Some time ago I set about the brave, if not foolish, task of reading the virulent atheist book The God Delusion,1 written by Richard Dawkins. For those who don’t know him, Dawkins is an emeritus professor of evolutionary biology from Oxford University, holding the chair for “public understanding of science”. 

It would be fair to say Dawkins is the world’s most acclaimed living atheist. He has used this fame (or infamy) to promote a string of best-selling books, culminating in The God Delusion, which sold more than two million copies and has been translated into 31 languages.2 

Despite Dawkins’ best attempts to the contrary, I found The God Delusion actually affirmed my belief in God. In fact, Dawkins introduced me to several proofs for God I had never heard of, and the fact that he continues to disbelieve seemed itself the epitome of mental delusion. Four notable proofs are worth mentioning. 

Scientific acceptance of "supernatural" events

First, if "supernatural" literally means "not able to be explained by the laws of nature",3 then scientific orthodoxy accepts supernatural events. For example, the Big Bang theory says (for argument’s sake)4 there was originally nothing in existence, not even empty space or time, and that out of this nothing everything was created. As prominent atheist-scientist Stephen Hawking admits, "Since events before the Big Bang have no observational consequences, one may as well cut them out of the theory and say that time began at the Big Bang."5

So if time and space were created at the Big Bang, what existed before then? Dawkins suggests there might be an endless cycle of Big Bangs in an infinite number of parallel universes.6 However, that still doesn’t explain what got the cycle started and what caused the original Big Bang. Even Dawkins struggles without a first cause, which we Christians might call “God”. Therefore, by definition the creation of the universe was itself a supernatural event that cannot be explained by laws of nature, because laws of nature didn’t yet exist! Whilst I don’t necessarily accept these scientific theories personally, the important point is they demonstrate that even the most ardent of atheist scientists do accept supernatural events. 

The anthropic principle

The second amazing proof for God is the "anthropic principle". This is the observation that the laws of physics seem just right to allow life to exist. The God Delusion itself goes on to describe several such scientific coincidences in detail.7 

For example, there is a perfect balance between: material in the universe; forces that bind atoms together; forces within an atom; and gravity with anti-gravity. If any of these features were even a tiny fraction out of balance the entire universe would have either crushed itself or expanded off into oblivion. 

Similarly, scientists have observed planet earth is in a “Goldilocks zone”. A little bit closer to the sun and we’d be a lifeless fireball; a little bit farther away and we’d be a lifeless frozen world. 

A recent discovery about the Higgs boson particle even suggests the universe shouldn’t exist!8 Dawkins says this is all just a coincidence, which doesn’t necessarily suggest a Creator. So who is the deluded one here?

Pascal’s wager

The third proof for God is Pascal’s wager. This is based on the idea of Blaise Pascal, a 17th-century French mathematician and philosopher. In his work Pensées,9 Pascal suggests it is more logical to believe in God than not believe.

If God is real and believers are right, then they have everything to gain in the rewards of heaven. If God is not real and believers are wrong, then they have lost nothing, because they won’t know they were wrong—they will be dead.

However, if God is real and atheists are wrong, then they will lose eternity in hellfire. If God is not real and atheists are right, then they will never know it—they will be dead. 

Dawkins’ rebuttal is that we can’t assume God would reward believers and punish atheists.10 However, he misses another primary point, which is that life here on earth is arguably better and more purposefully lived with the knowledge that God does exist. 

God-shaped hole

The final proof is again from Pascal: "There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every person, and it can never be filled by any created thing. It can only be filled by God, made known through Jesus Christ."11 

Humanity has made several attempts to destroy religion and it has failed every time. Whether it was the Cult of Reason during the French Revolution, the Stalinist purges of the Soviet Union or today’s "secular orthodoxy", human beings cannot be "educated" into lasting atheism. 

Dawkins suggests this might be because belief is somehow hardwired into our brains.12 Even assuming that is true, it seems utter folly for this evolutionary biologist to think he can convince us to disbelieve—it’s hardwired into us! Dawkins might as well ask us to stop breathing. 

Eat and drink for tomorrow we shall die

Dawkins’ solution to a life without God is to enjoy every day as it comes. Although partly true, this seems a very hedonistic attitude and is condemned by the Bible in Isaiah 22:13 and 1 Corinthians 15:32. 

It is all well and good for a wealthy British intellectual; however, it ultimately seems a hollow theory of life, especially in the face of so much injustice and suffering in the world. As celebrity theologian Karen Armstrong said: "Science can give you a diagnosis of cancer. It can even cure your disease, but it cannot touch your grief and disappointment, nor can it help you to die well."13

I'm reminded of the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:18: "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." I’d rather be a fool for Christ than an atheist professor with no hope and nothing to live for.  

1. Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion (London; Bantam Press, 2006).

2. Richard Dawkins at <>, 27 January 2010. 

3. Oxford Dictionary (Oxford Uni Press: 2008), 665.

4. Although the Big Bang theory is not contrary to the Christian idea of creation ex nihilo (creation out of nothing), and the official Adventist position does allow for an old universe, as opposed to and distinct from a recent creation of biological life on earth: Clifford Goldstein, “The Big Bang Theory”, Adventist Review (Vol. 188, No. 8, 2011); “Age of the Earth” and “Creation Week”, Frequently Asked Questions (Loma Linda CA: Geoscience Research Institute), <>, retrieved 30 June 2014. 

5. Stephen Hawking, “The Beginning of Time”, Stephen Hawking: The Official Website, 31 July 2013. <

6. Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, 145-6.

7. Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, 134-151.

8. “It’s okay. Nothing really matters. We don’t actually exist, anyway. Or so the Higgs boson particle suggests”,, <>, retrieved 27 June 2014.

9. Blaise Pascal, Pensees (1662).

10. Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, 103-5.

11. Blaise Pascal, Pensees (1662).

12. Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, 179-190.

13. Karen Armstrong, cited in “Karen Armstrong”, Wikiquote, <>, retrieved 25 August 2015.

Stephen Ferguson is a lawyer from Perth, Western Australia, and a member of Livingston church.


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Very interesting and stimulating article.

Science is an invaluable part of our world and we do all appreciate it and acknowledge its contribution to our world. It is however, based on observation. As such, I see the authority of science heavily devalued once it becomes time to 'observe' matters that can't be 'observed' from our earthly perspective and human 'flesh and blood' physical limitations. Much like the 'seed' analogy in 1 Corinthians 15; if we are the seed who are about to die to germinate into a spiritual being; how can a seed stuck in the ground 'observe' the future happenings of resurrection? We need to rely on someones word who has 'been there; done that' or alternatively has planned the whole thing...

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Unfortunately, Richard, you have misunderstood the very concept of God, like Dawkins does. As defined by philosophers like Aristotle, Aquinas and the Bible, God is the uncaused First Cause. It is illogical to ask who created God, just like it is illogical to ask who is the wife of an unmarried bachelor or how many finite right angles does a circle have. It would be impossible for anything at all to exist if our existence was based on an infinite regress of causes. Furthermore, if God exists, He is a necessary Being which means that He neither comes into existence nor could He cease to exist. Your questions simply do not apply to God. The appropriate metaphysical questions to ask are these: (1) Does the universe have an ultimate cause? (2) If so, is the ultimate cause of the universe personal? Refer to John Lennox's book "God's Undertaker: Has Science Buried God?" for an excellent rebuttal to Dawkins' book.

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Great article Steve! I would love to see any serious rebuttals, do the same research and include references.

My response is not a scientific one, it is just to propose a different personal perspective on the evolutionary one; that clearly is represented, too often, as factual. As a human race, growing in an ever challenging environment, we need tolerance and openness to other people's perspective. I really struggle with Richard, I find his views very dogmatic and polarising, and for a man seeking change in the world would, he would do better to "leave a back door open" with the possibility that he isn't 100% correct, maybe smart, but not wise. His attitudes, particularly as a university professor, given permission globally to make it very difficult for Creationists studying at the tertiary level, to the point they are almost persecuted for believing in creation. This level of intolerance is on the wrong side of history!

Anyone who understands the reality of a "God shaped hole" in the middle of their soul, and if they are anything like me; finds it impossible to not believe that maybe we were meant/designed/purposed for something different. Living for the future, not just a day at a time.

As someone who loves systemisation and working with my hands; the possibility that a creator would create this amazing variety of animals, birds and fish from a base modular design seems to make a lot of sense. I.e. In the early fetal development of mammals: they all look the same, and they are all made of cells, which are made of atoms. What's to say, that these "mistakes" in the animal kingdom aren't actually just reminates from The Creator's base "lump of the same clay". And he finds enjoyment In seeing the marks/ markers of what his creation once was, in the same way a knot in a piece of timber reminds a carpenter of how far it has come, and how much work has gone into his creation. Call it a mistake if you like, I'm going to call it evidence of God's character as a creator, and the enjoyment that he had in making us.

Great work getting me thinking after a long week! Thanks Mate!

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You have misrepresented the claims of science. There is no orthodoxy. Speculation is part of science, but it is not a claim of truth. Science is always in flux and it is assumed that further understanding will continue to modify scientific theories. To be called a scientific theory it has to be able to predict what will happen and it has to be confirmed by observation. Otherwise we have to deal with hypothesis or speculation. When you state that everything is perfectly tuned for life, you are ignoring the possibility that life is tuned to the environment. We have numerous examples of poor design in nature along with its wonders. Whales have remnants of hip joints, even though they don't need them. There is all kinds of evidence for evolution. When you claim that god is the answer you haven't solved the problem because then you have to ask who created god? Can god just come from nothing? It's not about being illogical, but about being intellectually honest.

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Great article Stephen. Many of the arguments of atheists are basically illogical and many admit that they just don't want to believe in a higher power that they might have to be accountable to. By the way give my regards to your parents. I baptised your Dad many years ago wen I was pastor at Willeton.


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It is all well and good for a wealthy British intellectual; however, it ultimately seems a hollow theory of life, especially in the face of so much injustice and suffering in the world.

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