Filtering Science From Dawkins’ Scientism

Kregar's Dawkins

In “Growing Up in the Universe” lecture, Richard Dawkins informed us that,

“The universe is nothing but a collection of atoms in motion, human beings are simply machines for propagating DNA, and the propagation of DNA is a self-sustaining process. It is every living object’s sole reason for living.”[1]

Dawkins’ metascience is ingeniously knitted in science in a way that a layperson would buy Dawkins whole claim as a scientific observation. John Lennox rightly detected that “[t]he words ‘nothing but’, ‘sole’, or ‘simply’, are the tell-tale signature of ontological reductionist thinking” in Dawkins’ claim. He went further,

“If we remove these words we are usually left with something unobjectionable. The universe certainly is a collection of atoms, and human beings do propagate DNA. Both of these statements are statements of science. But immediately we add the words ‘nothing but’, the statements go beyond science and become expressions of materialistic or naturalistic belief.”(Lennox 2009: 56)

Dawkins is a brilliant zoologist and without doubt excellent in his field. But the moment he goes outside of his field of science to metaphysics, knitting it with agreeable scientific observation, we ought to be skeptical and careful  not to buy the whole package. We ought to filter science from Dawkins’ scientism.

It is time we think. Whether you share Dawkins’ conclusions or not, it is my hope you will begin to think hard before you buy his claims. Undress scientism from science and ponder if Dawkins’ scientism, which is metascience, holds water.

Think. Think. Think.


Lennox, John (2009) God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God? Lion Hudson.

Cover photocredit: ACU Library + Richard Dawkins Fine Art Print – Simon Kregar

[1] BBC Christmas Lectures Study Guide, London, BBC 1991

Tooley, Plantinga and the Deontological Argument from Evil Part II

Edited: Matthew Flannagan

In my last post, Tooley, Plantinga and the Deontological Argument from Evil Part I, I sketched Tooley’s distinction between a deontological and an axiological argument from evil and argued that Tooley rejects the axiological version because it rests on controversial ethical claims that are likely to be rejected by many theists. I outlined Tooley’s deontological version and explored the moral assumptions it is based on and Plantinga’s criticism of these.

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Tooley, Plantinga and the Deontological Argument from Evil Part I

Edited: Matthew Flannagan

This two-part series criticises the deontological argument from evil proposed by Micheal Tooley in The Knowledge of God, the print debate between him and Alvin Plantinga.1 My critique proceeds in four parts. Initially I will sketch Tooley’s distinction between a deontological and an axiological argument from evil and will argue that Tooley rejects the axiological version because it rests on “controversial ethical claims;”2 claims that are “likely to be rejected by many theists.”3 Then I will outline Tooley’s deontological version and focus on the moral assumptions upon which it is based and Plantinga’s criticism of these. This will conclude Part I of the series. Continue reading

Atheist Tooley’s Problem Of Evil Refuted

William Lane Craig April 2010 News Letter

William Lane Craig

Michael Tooley has developed a very complicated argument against God’s existence based on concrete examples of terrible evils in the world like the famous Lisbon earthquake. Alvin Plantinga has remarked that Tooley has thereby done us a service, for if an argument as carefully developed as his fails, it’s very unlikely that any better argument from evil against God’s existence will be found. Here is part of my response to Dr. Tooley’s argument:

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