Richard Dawkins Demonstrates a Profound Ignorance of Philosophy
Richard Dawkins, the author of The God Delusion and a well-known atheist, chastises Christians (and other theists) for failing to properly consider the evidence for, and against, their religious beliefs. However, his comments (and written work) reveal that he has also failed to properly consider the evidence. This becomes very clear when Dawkins examines the philosophical question of God’s existence. To properly evaluate this question, one needs to become familiar with at least some basic philosophy. But Dawkins is clearly not interested.
This fact came out during a dialogue with Rowan Williams, the former archbishop of Canterbury. The moderator (a philosopher), asked Dawkins a question using the word “epistemic.” The word is a very basic term in philosophy and yet Dawkins had no idea what it meant. He said,
“I don’t know the words ‘epistemic’ and so on, so I’m not going to use that.”
To see how incredible this statement is, imagine if Dawkins was debating someone over a scientific question, such as the evolution of life. And consider that during the debate, Dawkins’ opponent said something like “I don’t know the words ‘gene’ and so on, so I’m not going to use that.” How would Dawkins probably react? There’s a good chance that he would mock his interlocutor for trying to persuade people on a scientific matter, without taking the time to learn even the basics of evolutionary biology. Yet that is exactly what Dawkins has done (and is doing) on the philosophical matter of whether God exists.
The truth is, Dawkins waxes eloquently about the need to subject the idea of God to critical scrutiny. And he thoroughly chastises believers for not doing so. But his comments reveal that he has done nothing more than the most superficial analysis of the topic himself.
DrWhodaMan, "Richard Dawkins, Rowan Williams, Anthony Kenny: "Human Beings & Ultimate Origin" Debate," February 24, 2012, YouTube video, 1:28:56, https://youtu.be/HWN4cfh1Fac?t=3782.
Timestamp: 1:03:02 - 1:04:09