Richard Dawkins and debate

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As as far as the topic of Richard Dawkins and debate, the agnostic and evolutionist Richard Dawkins has developed a reputation for ducking debates with strong debate opponents.

On May 14, 2011, the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph published a news story entitled Richard Dawkins accused of cowardice for refusing to debate existence of God.[1] In The Daily Telegraph article Dr. Daniel Came, a member of the Faculty of Philosophy at Oxford University and atheist, was quoted as writing to Richard Dawkins concerning his refusal to debate Dr. William Lane Craig, "The absence of a debate with the foremost apologist for Christian theism is a glaring omission on your CV and is of course apt to be interpreted as cowardice on your part."[2]

In October of 2011, Dr. Craig went to England and the Daily Telegraph declared that Dawkins is either a fool or a coward for his refusal to debate William Lane Craig plus declared that Dawkins is a "proud man" and a "coward" who puts on an "illiterate, angry schtick" for the public.[3] In addition, Christian apologist Ken Ammi called Dawkins a "cowardly clown" for his refusal to debate Creation Ministries International at the 2010 Global Atheist Convention.[4]

Below are some resources relating to Dawkins refusal to debate various debate opponents:

In addition, respected biochemist and intelligent design researcher Dr Michael Behe has openly challenged prominent evolutionists and proponents of Darwinism to debate him regarding the many failings of evolutionism, yet Richard Dawkins - one of the most outspoken Darwinists today - has declined all such invitations. Dawkins has also refused to debate prominent creationist and evangelist Ray Comfort.

Richard Dawkins and Rabbi Shmuley Boteach debate

See also: Richard Dawkins and Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach was named the London Times Preacher of the Year 2000 and is the author of 20 books.[5]

Recently Rabbi Shmuley Boteach wrote concerning the agnostic Richard Dawkins:

...Dawkins attacked me on his website and denied that he and I had ever debated. My office quickly posted the full footage of a two hour debate which took place on October 23, 1996, a debate which Dawkins actually lost after a vote taken by the students as to which side, science or religion, caused more students to change their minds. In my article on the subject responding to his attack I was extremely respectful of Dr. Dawkins and was therefore shocked to receive a letter in return in which he accused me of speaking like Hitler. Had the noted scientist lost his mind? Hitler? Was this for real?[5]

WorldNetDaily offers the following quotes of Rabbi Boteach about debate and the initial denial by Dawkins that the debate never took place:

That is a particularly bold untruth. Our debate, which took place at St. Catherine's College, Oxford on Oct. 23, 1996, attracted hundreds of students and featured, on the atheist side, Prof. Dawkins and chemistry Prof. Peter Atkins, and on the religion side, me and Prof. Keith Ward, Oxford's Regius Professor of Divinity. Student president Josh Wine was in the chair," the rabbi explained.

"In a vote at the end of the debate as to how many students had changed their minds after hearing the arguments, Dawkin's side was defeated and religion prevailed, which might account for his selective memory," he wrote.[6]

Rabbi Boteach reported at Beliefnet:

I also gave Dr. Dawkins the opportunity to even score by accepting a further debate, at the time and place of his choosing (within reason, of course), to which he has yet to respond.[5]

A video of the debate that Dawkins lost to Rabbi Shmuley Boteach is available at Rabbi Schely Boteach's website.[7]

Incidentally, Paul Humber notes there was a deception that occurred during email correspondence with Mr. Dawkins concerning the tally of vote counts that occurred for the Oxford debate between creation scientists Professor A.E. Wilder-Smith and Professor Edgar Andrews and evolutionist Richard Dawkins and John Maynard Smith. Mr. Humber did not indicate whether Mr. Dawkins committed the deception or was merely duped by someone who provided an altered account.[8]

Richard Dawkins' radio debate with Giles Fraser

Giles Frasier

See also: Richard Dawkins' debate with Giles Fraser

On February 19, 2012 The Daily Telegraph reported:

...some critics of Dawkins branded him "an embarrassment to atheism" after what many listeners considered a humiliation in a Radio 4 debate with Giles Fraser, formerly Canon Chancellor of St Paul's Cathedral, in which the professor boasted he could recite the full title of Charles Darwin's "The Origin of Species", then when challenged, dithered and said: "Oh God."[9]

On February 14, 2012, The Daily Telegraph reported regarding the radio debate:

Dr. Fraser skewered the atheist campaigner Richard Dawkins so fabulously, so stylishly, and so thoroughly that anti-religion’s high priest was reduced to incoherent mumbling and spluttering.[10]

Vox Day wrote concerning the embarrassing incident for Dawkins:

As I have said repeatedly, Richard Dawkins is a huge intellectual fraud, and perhaps those who previously expressed incredulity at the idea that I would quite easily trounce the old charlatan in a debate will find it just a bit more credible now. This behavior isn't an outlier or a momentary lapse of memory, it is entirely characteristic. The man quite frequently pretends to knowledge that he patently does not possess and assumes he knows things that he obviously does not, which is why he avoids debate with those who are aware of his intellectual pretensions and are capable of exposing them.

It's bad enough that Dawkins couldn't come up with the name of what he considers to be the most important book ever written immediately after claiming he could do so, but in addition to stumbling a little on the subtitle, he even forgot the rather important part of the title that refers to the actual mechanism supposedly responsible![11]

(The full title of Charles Darwin's book is On the The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life and evolutionists rarely cite the book's full title which is racist. See: Evolutionary racism)

Huxley Memorial Debate between Richard Dawkins and A. E. Wilder-Smith

Dr. Arthur Ernest Wilder-Smith

For more information please see: Huxley Memorial Debate

The September 2005 issue of Discover magazine had an article on Richard Dawkins entitled "Darwin’s Rottweiler".[12] The title is an allusion to Thomas Henry Huxley who became to be known as "Darwin's Bulldog".[13] Huxley is arguably most well known for his debate with Bishop Samuel Wilberforce over the theory of evolution, and evolutionists and creationist dispute whether or not a key claimed event in the debate actually occurred.[14] The Discover article stated the following:

Dawkins has become “Darwin’s rottweiler”— as Alister McGrath, an Oxford theologian, reminded readers of his recent book, Dawkins' God: Genes, Memes, and the Meaning of Life — so intent on prevailing in intellectual combat that he alienates others and undermines the dazzling quality of his argumentative skills."[12]

The Simonyi Professorship Home Page promotes the idea that Richard Dawkins is "Darwin's Rottweiler" and has an article published in the Seattle newspaper EastSideweek which states the following:

...Thomas Henry Huxley, earned the nickname "Darwin's bulldog" from his fellow Victorians. In our own less decorous day, Dawkins deserves an even stronger epithet: "Darwin's Rottweiler, perhaps," Simonyi suggests. Now, thanks to Simonyi's gift of £1.5 million sterling to England's venerable Oxford University, the Rottweiler is unleashed."

Now given that Thomas Henry Huxley's is arguably most well known for his debate over the theory of evolution and given that Dawkins has stated he will no longer debate a creation scientists the title of "Darwin's Rottweiler" can certainly be disputed. Creationists wrote regarding Richard Dawkins current refusal to debate a creation scientist:

A. E. Wilder-Smith is also probably responsible for Richard Dawkins refusing to debate creationists any more. In 1986, Wilder-Smith and Edgar Andrews debated the two leading evolutionists in Britain, Richard Dawkins and John Maynard Smith, at Oxford – a lions’ den with the two strongest Darwinian lions in Europe. Yet even there, over a third – almost half – of the staunchly pro-evolution audience voted that the creation side had won the debate. The vote count became a contentious issue. There were claims of a cover-up by the Oxford Student Union. The AAAS was accused of lying about the vote count and didn’ [sic] correct it even when confronted (see article). The evolutionists apparently were embarrassed that the creationists made such a strong showing. For whatever reason, Dawkins no longer will debate creationists. Reports from those in attendance say that, contrary to the ground rules of the debate, the Dawkins and Maynard Smith repeatedly attacked religion, while the creationists used only scientific arguments. Dawkins himself had to be reprimanded by the moderator for attacking Wilder-Smith about his religious views. Dawkins implored the audience not to give any votes to the creationists lest it be a “blot on the escutcheon of ancient University of Oxford” (an odd remark, considering Oxford was founded by Christians). After the debate, details of the event were lost by the University. Normally, Oxford Union debates are big news, given prominent publicity in the press, radio and television. This one, however, which should have rivalled the historic 1860 Huxley-Wilberforce debate in importance, and indeed was even titled the ’Huxley Memorial Debate,” was silently dropped from the radar screen. In his memoirs, Dr. Wilder-Smith wrote, “No records of my having held the lecture as part of the Oxford Union Debate could be found in any library. No part of the official media breathed a word about it.[15]

The aforementioned debate involving Richard Dawkins is fairly well known in creationist/intelligent design circles and the debate was tape recorded.[16] In August of 2003 the Creation Research Society published some interesting material about their correspondence with Richard Dawkins which focused on the debate.[17] The Creation Research Society declared:

Despite Dr. Dawkins’ plea, there were apparently 115 votes for the creation position (more than 37%). This was done near Darwin’s turf. Imagine flat-earthers going to NASA and convincing over 37% of the scientists there that the earth is flat. Maybe creation science is not as closely akin to flat-earthism as Dr. Dawkins supposes (see his Free Inquiry article).[17]

Richard Dawkins no longer will debate a creation scientist. Robert Sloan, Director of Paleontology at the University of Minnesota, reluctantly admitted to a Wall Street Journal reporter that the "creationists tend to win" the public debates which focused on the creation vs. evolution controversy.[18] In August of 1979, Dr. Henry Morris reported in an Institute for Creation Research letter the following: “By now, practically every leading evolutionary scientist in this country has declined one or more invitations to a scientific debate on creation/evolution.” Morris also said about the creation scientist Duane Gish (who had over 300 formal debates): “At least in our judgment and that of most in the audiences, he always wins.” Generally speaking, leading evolutionists generally no longer debate creation scientists.[19]

Richard Dawkins violation' of the terms of the debate proceedings

As noted earlier, it was agreed before the debate that discussion of religion was not to occur during the debate and that only the evidence related to the physical sciences were going to be discussed. At the end of the debate, Richard Dawkins started to give an impassioned plea to the audience to not give a single vote to the creationists which would show support for creationism. Mr. Dawkins was told to sit down by the President of the Oxford Union for violating the terms of the debate as far as not mentioning religion (as noted earlier John Maynard Smith also violated the terms of the debate).[20]

Deception related to email correspondence with Richard Dawkins

As mentioned earlier, Paul Humber notes there was a deception that occurred during email correspondence with Mr. Dawkins concerning the tally of vote counts that occurred for the Huxley Memorial Debate between creation scientists Professor A.E. Wilder-Smith and Professor Edgar Andrews and evolutionists Richard Dawkins and John Maynard Smith.[21] Mr. Humber did not indicate whether Mr. Dawkins committed the deception or was merely duped by someone who provided an altered account.[22]

Richard Dawkins and John Lennox debate

See also


External links


  2. Richard Dawkins accused of cowardice for refusing to debate existence of God, The Daily Telegraph, May 14, 2011
  3. Richard Dawkins is either a fool or a coward for refusing to debate William Lane Craig - October 21, 2011 - The Daily Telegraph
  4. Richard Dawkins, the Cowardly Clown
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Richard Dawkins' Shameful Attack, Beliefnet blog entry, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, May 2008
  6. Rabbi reveals video of debate that 'didn't happen', WorldNetDaily, April 14, 2008
  8. Debating Dawkins, by Paul G. Humber, M.S., Creation Matters, Volume 8, Number 4 (July / August 2003)
  9. Slaves at the root of the fortune that created Richard Dawkins' family estate, The Daily Telegragh, February 19, 2012
  10. For once, Richard Dawkins is lost for words - Atheists’ arrogance is their Achilles’ heel, as a cringemaking radio performance has proved By Stephen Pollard, Feb 14, 2012
  11. Richard Dawkins, sans pants, Wednesday, February 15, 2012
  12. 12.0 12.1
  17. 17.0 17.1
  18. Ankerberg, John, and Weldon, John, Truth in Advertising: Damaging the Cause of Science