Richard Dawkins’ New Book – The Evolution Delusion

If Richard Dawkins is good at anything-besides vociferously displaying a lack of knowledge on a vast range of subjects-it is weaving quaint Victorian Era tall tales which he refers to as being an intellectually satisfied atheist.

If Richard Dawkins is good at anything-besides vociferously displaying a lack of knowledge on a vast range of subjects-it is weaving quaint Victorian Era tall tales which he refers to as being an intellectually satisfied atheist.

He has stated that his new book The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution is “about the positive evidence that evolution is a fact. It is not intended as an antireligious book” and he, again, sets the bar very, very high in claiming that “No reputable scientist disputes it, and no unbiased reader will close the book doubting it.” Of course, “it” refers to “evolution” which is a term that he will hopefully define in the book as within the article from which I am quoting he does not do so.[fn]Richard Dawkins, “Creationists, Now They’re Coming For Your Children,” Times Online, August 24, 2009[/fn] Except for these hints, as he states that those who “deny evolution”,

believe the world’s age is measured in thousands of years rather than thousands of millions of years, and who believe humans walked with dinosaurs.

And also,

that we are cousins of chimpanzees, somewhat more distant cousins of monkeys, more distant cousins still of aardvarks and manatees, yet more distant cousins of bananas and turnips.

Note, however, that from the get go he has established a line of demarcation: if a scientist disputes or doubts, even dares to doubt, whatever the Dawkinsian definition of “evolution” will be, they are labeled irreputable-on this basis alone; thus saith Dawkins.

Keep in mind that with regards to “assertions without adequate evidence” evolutionary biologist and geneticist Prof. Richard Lewontin referenced Carl Sagan’s list of the “best contemporary science-popularizers” which includes Richard Dawkins. These authors have, as Lewontin puts it, “put unsubstantiated assertions or counterfactual claims at the very center of the stories they have retailed in the market.” Lewontin specifically mentions “Dawkins’s vulgarizations of Darwinism” (his entire fascinating, eye opening and muse inducing article is found here).

You may recall that he made a likewise grandiose claim in the preface to The God Delusion

If this book works as I intend, religious readers who open it will be atheists when they put it down.

Delusion indeed.

He then downgraded his proselytizing goal to stating that it would turn people sitting on the fence post and already leaning toward atheism into admitted, out of the closet, atheists. Lastly, he simply stated that The God Delusion was meant to be a very funny book. I suppose that is what happens when you are writing a book from well-within-the-atheist-group-think-box. Apparently, once his book was dissected and had its very, very many fallacies exposed it went from the power to convert to the power of elbowing your buddy in the ribs while chortling (for other astonishing claims about their own books consider the claims of the New Atheists).

Despite his lack of definition, Richard Dawkins appears to be lightly hinting at something in his article. It may be difficult to discern his point but here is are his hints,

Evolution is a fact…evolution is a fact…all except the woefully uninformed are forced to accept the fact of evolution…Evolution is a fact. Beyond reasonable doubt, beyond serious doubt, beyond sane, informed, intelligent doubt, beyond doubt evolution is a fact…It is the plain truth…It didn’t have to be true, but it is…Evolution is a fact…Evolution is a fact…some theories are beyond sensible doubt, and we call them facts…Evolution is an inescapable fact…the fact of evolution

Considering that “evolution” is a fact one wonders what is to be made of those who do not accept it. Well, we already saw that any scientist who even dares to doubt it will be labeled irreputable. Yet, being the story teller that he is, Richard Dawkins begins the article with a slimily in which he likens evolution doubters with a “baying pack of ignoramuses” who display “ignorant prejudice” in claiming “that the Romans never existed.” He also envisages a scenario in which a teacher of modern history is “boycotted, heckled or otherwise disrupted by well-organised, well-financed and politically muscular groups of Holocaust-deniers” who make “belligerent demands.” And do not forget those “logic-choppers” and “brainwashed children.”

Having set the stage of ridicule he then draws a faulty correlation between Roman deniers, Holocaust deniers and evolution doubters-and another entry into the Reductio ad Hitlerum Awards files is born (and this coming from Richard Dawkins who denies that Communism is atheistic).

Now, if scientists are irreputable for doubting “evolution” (recall that this would amount to doubting that they are related to bananas and turnips) and those who “deny” evolution are tantamount to denying the existence of Rome and the occurrence of the Holocaust (for as he states it, “The evidence for evolution is at least as strong as the evidence for the Holocaust, even allowing for eye witnesses to the Holocaust. It is the plain truth”) what are we to make of those, especially those religious types, who accept it?
Well, these chosen ones, who have seen the true light of evolution, largely dodge Dawkins’ reproach and are sainted as,

Bishops and theologians who have attended to the evidence for evolution have given up the struggle against it_

thoughtful and rational churchmen and women accept the evidence for evolution…

the enlightened bishops and theologians…

Moreover, Dawkins himself collaborated with the Bishop of Oxford (now, Lord Harries) on an article which stated,

Nowadays there is nothing to debate. Evolution is a fact and, from a Christian perspective, one of the greatest of God’s works.

Dawkins is quite to note that “The last sentence was written by Richard Harries, but we agreed about all the rest of our article.”

Indeed, the light of evolution has shone and only the thoughtful, rational and enlightened will escape the wrath of Dawkins which is to come, and is now here. Indeed as Richard Dawkins writes in his Gospel of Evolution,

Evolution is within us, around us, between us, and its workings are embedded in the rocks of aeons past.

Or perhaps:

But, not so fast all yea thoughtful, rational and enlightened churchmen, bishops and theologians-you may yet lose your salvation if you fail to, get this, preach from your pulpits, your churches, your cathedrals in the manner that Pope Dawkins doeth bequeath,

All too many preachers, while agreeing that evolution is true and Adam and Eve never existed, will then blithely go into the pulpit and make some moral or theological point about Adam and Eve in their sermons without once mentioning that, of course, Adam and Eve never actually existed!

If challenged, they will protest that they intended a purely “symbolic” meaning, perhaps something to do with “original sin”, or the virtues of innocence. They may add witheringly that, obviously, nobody would be so foolish as to take their words literally…

Think about it, Bishop. Be careful, Vicar…Shouldn’t you take greater care, when speaking in public…Lest ye fall into condemnation…

No, I am not making this up.

Besides likening those who doubt that we are related to bananas and turnips with Holocaust deniers; Richard Dawkins has concocted two additional terms of derision: “historydeniers” and “40percenters”:

More than 40 per cent of Americans deny that humans evolved from other animals [and bananas and turnips]…I shall be using the name “historydeniers” for those people who deny evolution…I shall from time to time refer to the history-deniers as the “40percenters”.

A poll concluded,

asked if life developed “through an unguided process of random mutations and natural selection,” a standard definition of Darwinism, only 33 percent of respondents said they agreed with the statement. But 52 percent agreed that “the development of life was guided by intelligent design.”

Consider Richard Dawkins’ comments on theory and fact:

Evolution is a theory in the same sense as the heliocentric theory…

As for the claim that evolution has never been “proved”, proof is a notion that scientists have been intimidated into mistrusting. Influential philosophers tell us we can’t prove anything in science.

Mathematicians can prove things – according to one strict view, they are the only people who can…

Even the undisputed theory that the Moon is smaller than the Sun cannot, to the satisfaction of a certain kind of philosopher, be proved in the way that, for example, the Pythagorean Theorem can be proved. But massive accretions of evidence support it so strongly that to deny it the status of “fact” seems ridiculous to all but pedants. The same is true of evolution.
Evolution is a fact in the same sense as it is a fact that Paris is in the northern hemisphere…

in most cases, we don’t live long enough to watch evolution happening before our eyes

This is a typical Dawkinsian tactic. Via misdirection and fallacious correlations he attempts to have his audience arrive at a predetermined destination which is that whatever “evolution” is, it is a fact; just like heliocentrism, just like that the Moon is smaller than the Sun, just like Paris being in the northern hemisphere.

This is so even though “we can’t prove anything in science” while he declares that “evolution” is a fact. Why, because “Mathematicians” not biologists “can prove things – according to one strict view, they are the only people who can” and mathematicians are constantly demonstrating that what is generally thought of as “evolution” simply does not occur-particularly related to the amount of time that it would require to happenstantially concoct even the mythical “simple” cell or even a strand of proteins.

“Evolution” is even “a fact in the same sense as it is a fact that Paris is in the northern hemisphere” but this is purely arbitrary since the country named “Paris” could be renamed “Fresno” tonight and then it would no longer be a fact that “Paris is in the northern hemisphere.” Or, is a rose by any other name still a rose? Is “evolution” still “evolution” regardless of what is being observed, described and interpreted? Is what is being observed, described and interpreted still “evolution” regardless of what we call it?
As Vox Day puts it,

…few can manage to keep up with adaptive devo punk-echthroi neo-quasi-Darwinism, or whatever the evolutionary biologists are calling this week’s spin on St. Darwin’s dangerous idea.[fn]Vox Day, The Irrational Atheist (downloadable here), p. 225[/fn]

Moreover, while generally we may not “live long enough to watch evolution happening before our eyes” we have watched hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of generations of fruit flies and have purposefully subjected them to mutagens. We have observed fruit flies end up with extra and useless wings, shriveled up wings and even legs on their faces but their “evolution” has, vastly, been deteriorative-devolution would be more descriptive.

Cornelius Hunter notes:

Massive genetic differences were also found between different fruit fly species. The fruit fly is one of the most intensely researched organisms and in recent years a systematic study of the genomes of a dozen different species was undertaken. Evolutionists were surprised to find novel features in the genomes of each of these different fruit fly species. Thousands of genes showed up missing in many of the species, and some genes showed up in only a single species.[fn]M. T. Levine, C. D. Jones, A. D. Kern, H. A. Lindfors, D. J. Begun, “Novel genes derived from noncoding DNA in Drosophila melanogaster are frequently X-linked and exhibit testis-biased expression,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 103 (2006): 9935-9939[/fn] As one science writer put it, “an astonishing 12 per cent of recently evolved genes in fruit flies appear to have evolved from scratch.”[fn]M. Le Page, “Recipes for life: How genes evolve,” New Scientist, 24 November 2008. (found here)[/fn] These so-called novel genes would have had to have evolved over a few million years-a time period previously considered to allow only for minor genetic changes[fn]D. J. Begun, H. A. Lindfors, A. D. Kern, C. D. Jones, “Evidence for de novo evolution of testis-expressed genes in the Drosophila yakuba/Drosophila erecta clade,” Genetics 176 (2007): 1131-1137
And
S. Chen, H. Cheng, D. A. Barbash, H. Yang, “Evolution of hydra, a recently evolved testis-expressed gene with nine alternative first exons in Drosophila melanogaster,” PLoS Genetics 3 (2007)[/fn].[fn]Cornelius Hunter, “Darwin’s Predictions,” Copyright 2009, Version 2.03, Last updated: June 11, 2009[/fn]

In conclusion, we shall have to see what The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution has to say. The only thing that we know for certain thus far is that “It is not intended as an antireligious book” and that “no unbiased reader will close the book doubting it.”

5 thoughts on “Richard Dawkins’ New Book – The Evolution Delusion”

  1. I cant believe people are
    I cant believe people are still, still saying that "evolution is random chance" or "the odds of this happening randomly are astronomical" or "a storm through a junkyard cant assemble a 747" when it has been told to them, repeatedly that evolution is not random.

    How can a process that uses a mechanism called Natural SELECTION be random? It's selection! Selection is the oposite of random! It's right in the mother loving name people! Not only do we tell you this over and over, its in the damn name!

    Please, for the love of GOD and all that is holy, stop saying that evolution and natural SELECTION are random!

  2. Obsessed with Dawkins.
    You are obsessed with Dawkins to your detriment. Why not read his latest book and get an education on the process of evolution and why scientists give it more credit than Christian creationist mythology.

  3. Once again, you are not a scientist.
    You don’t know anything about science or the theory of evolution. All scientific fields have underlying systems of mathematics and they use those as a way to prove things. Psychology for example makes heavy use of statistics and statistical evidence as a method for proving or disproving a hypothesis. Biology has its own mathematical methods and it is entirely possible to set up purely mathematical models of evolution in action and make real world predictions from there. Not that I expect you to know any of this, you’ve made it clear that you are not a scientist by any stretch of the imagination.

    You never really know what you’re talking about, your writing style is disjointed and stilted and nobody is worried about you disproving the theory of evolution. There is a fear that people like you misled people about the theory of evolution and after filling their head with dogmatic lies about invisible men who live in the sky, they begin to reject science in favor of superstition. This is detrimental to everyone.

    After looking over your website and reading the “About me” section, I can tell you that you don’t have much money because you contribute absolutely nothing meaningful to society. Scientists at big research institutions make a lot of money because they contribute to society in a way that tangibly betters future generations. Religion has never done that, at least not like science has. Religion didn’t give us electricity, germ theory, aviation, the Haber process, or the automobile. It had no real influence in the creation of the computer, the internet or our modern system of infrastructure. Scientists came up with all of that stuff, “proved” that all of these theories work too. Religion did give us the Dark Ages, which “proved” that life sucks when there is no scientific advancement and religious lunatics declare a monopoly on the Truth.

    You don’t know what you’re talking about, a fact you “prove” in every one of your stupid “essays”.

  4. Re: I can’t believe people are..
    as far as I understand the theory of evolution, the environment is not directly responsible for the gradual changes because change has to take place within the organism itself. The environment only “selects” those organisms best able to survive in the extant conditions. Therefore, the primary engine of change is gene mutation, which is utterly random, according to the general consensus (i believe). Otherwise we are into Lamarckianism, which has been discredited. In any event, the environment would itself be a random event in the absence of a Creator. Ultimately, i cannot even see the force of natural selection as being anything other than a random condition or state either, in the absence of a Creator God. In a randomly existing universe, nothing happens for a reason or with a purpose.

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