Posted by: stpowen | June 6, 2014

The Delicious Irony of Richard Dawkins

Psalm 14:1. ‘The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.”‘

Romans 1:20. ‘For since the creation of the world [God’s] invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.’

‘NOW, what I want is, Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else, and root out everything else. You can only form the minds of reasoning animals upon Facts: nothing else will ever be of any service to them. This is the principle on which I bring up my own children, and this is the principle on which I bring up these children. Stick to Facts, sir!’ (Mr. Gradgrind in Charles Dickens’ Hard Times).

Sometimes I think Richard Dawkins is actually a gift of God to the churches. His recent pronouncement at the Cheltenham Science Festival is so deliciously droll, that I can’t resist sharing it. He declared, “I think it’s rather pernicious to inculcate into a child a view of the world which includes supernaturalism…….Even fairytales, the ones we all love, about witches and wizards or princes turning into frogs. There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog. It’s statistically too improbable.”

I leave aside Prof. Dawkins’ atrociously gradgrindian view of children’s education (perhaps he should have a word with Philip Pullman). However, when I was growing up, my mother read to me various stories about princesses kissing frogs who promptly turned into handsome princes. Young as I was, I never really believed that such things happened in real life. I delighted in the story without supposing for a moment that it was true.

So who is it who supposes that frogs can turn into princes (handsome or otherwise), and believes indeed that such a thing has happened without the intervention of a wicked witch, fairy godmother or anyone else? Why who else but Richard Dawkins, who believes that such things can happen all by themselves, substituting for wizards and witches the odd hundred million years? Sorry, Richard. It’s statistically too improbable. It’s a fairy tale.

‘And they will turn their ears away from the truth and be turned aside to fables’ (2 Tim. 4:4).



  1. Dear Martin,

    How boring is Dawkin’s view of knowledge which entails only misinterpreting the ‘facts’ placed at the end of one’s nose, which we can only understand rightly and savingly through the eyes of our God-Only-Wise. Of course, Dawkins will sneer at my referring to God in human tones but Christ became a Human Being in order to save us, another thing beyond Dawkins hole-in-the-corner imagination. How much more profitable than Dawkin’s restricted guesswork are the writings of John Bunyan of whom Cowper said:

    “Ingenious dreamer, in whose well-told tale
    Sweet fiction and sweet truth alike prevail;
    Whose hum’rous vein, strong sense and simple style,
    May teach the gayest, make the gravest smile;
    Witty and well-employ’d, and, like thy Lord,
    Speaking in parables his slighted word;”

    Dawkin must learn that Bunyan’s stories are pointers to Heaven and thus Cowper concludes:

    “Revere the man, whose PILGRIM marks the road,
    And guides the PROGRESS of the soul to God.”

    Rousseau was the Dawkins of the time who could only believe what was in the shadow of his own head of ‘facts’ as he sought to create an ‘ideal’ pupil, Emil, who had no knowledge of life but was made worldly wise. Cowper called him a stuck up prig and concerning Rousseau’s intellectual blindness in robbing children of their creative imagination by banning super-sensory thoughts, wrote:

    “I shall not ask Jean Jaques Rousseau,
    If birds confabulate or no;
    ‘Tis clear that they were always able
    To hold discourse, at least in fable;
    And ev’n the child who knows no better,
    Than to interpret by the letter,
    A story of a cock and bull,
    Must have a most uncommon skull.”

    May we take our cue from such as Bunyan and Cowper who directs us to divine revelation rather than a caput mortuum who wishes to rob all the world of their souls so they may be as lost, lonely and loathsome as himself. However, when men appear terribly lost, it is then that they are often found by God in his own supra scientific way!

    Greetings from stormy Germany,


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