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The God Delusion Debate; Richard Dawkins vs. John Lennox The God Delusion Debate; Richard Dawkins vs. John Lennox
by Jack Wellman
2010-08-14 08:22:40
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If Christians are to be always ready to give an answer for the reason of the hope that is within us (I Pet. 3:15) and not have any fear or be troubled about reasons for unbelievers questions about the existence of God, the Creator (v 14) , then the DVD, The God Delusion Debate (www.fixed-point.org, 2007 copyright) is one worth watching. If atheists want poignant responses to Christians questions, then its worth owning. Indeed, I highly recommend it for both believers and non-believers. Oxford University Professor Richard Dawkins debates with fellow Oxford University Professor John Lennox, in an Evolution vs. Creation debate that answers the most perplexing issues between both sides.
Richard Dawkins’ best seller, The God Delusion, basically asserts that believers in God are in delusion, but John Lennox asserts the veracity of the Bible and of Creation. This debate was recorded on October 3rd, 2007, at the University of Alabama at Birmingham to a sold-out auditorium and world-wide audience and was captured on DVD. This is perhaps the greatest debate ever between Evolution and Creation between, arguably, the two greatest scientific minds in the 21st Century. What is remarkable is that Professor Dawkins does not, as a rule, debate with Creationists over the existence of God and Him as Creator.
Even Professor Dawkins admits that the Fixed Point Foundation, the non-profit organization that produced the DVD, “has an honesty, and an integrity that belies its Christian heritage”. So after a thorough review of this DVD, I am presenting what I hope is an honest dialogue of the two men, with both perspectives with respect to their beliefs. This DVD is a thoughtful and civil discussion and not a heated debate and the auditorium audience seems split in its support of the men. The time given near the men’s remarks, e.g., (10 or 33:33), is in minutes and seconds and later on in hours, e.g., (1:12) and is an approximate area where their comments may be found.
To begin with, Professor Dawkins began with his own explanation for his belief in Evolution. He says that “I found Darwin’s explanation for life” made sense (12). He says that religious ideas are outdates, a delusion and calls it the “dragon of religion”. He states that we don’t need religion or a “holy book” to teach us the virtue of “not understanding (20).
Professor Lennox began by saying that “God has revealed Himself in the universe and in Jesus Christ” and that religion “does not build a firewall against scientific knowledge”, quoting C.S. Lewis as either Jesus Christ is a liar, a maniac or is God Himself and telling the truth. There are no other options but the three (18).
Professor Dawkins then responds by saying that “The awesomeness of the universe’s beauty makes us naturally want to worship. Science is an emancipation from religion to nature itself. The supreme achievement is from natural causes (23:40).” Everything came from bacteria - we don’t know the process. Religion teaches us to be satisfied with not needing to know (25).
Professor Lennox then says to Professor Dawkins that “You have no evidence for the Flying Spaghetti Monster”. It is rational and there is evidence for God’s existence. Science is limited (27:45). Science can not decide moral, objective values. We know that strychnine added to your grandma’s tea will kill her. It can not tell you why it is wrong. It is because there is a Moral Lawgiver. In the 16th and 17th Centuries, scientific knowledge exploded. Newton’s Laws came about because he understood it increased praise of his God (30:33).
Professor Dawkins responded that it is “rationalism versus superstition. Faith is evidence? he asks, looking at Professor Lennox (32). Professor Lennox says, while looking at Professor Dawkins, “You have faith in your wife. You have evidence for it, right (33)?” Professor Dawkins responds by saying, it is “naturalism versus superstition. Creationism in the classroom - that’s wrong (35); religion is about scientific claims about the universe - it’s scientific? (37)”
Professor Lennox says that “Atheism undermines science” and that life is supposed to have “evolved by unguided random events. If our mind is just random atom movements of our brain, then how can we believe in any science? (41)” Continuing, he said “accidents?” If the universe is not constant and exact or it can not support life. Then Professor Lennox mentions Astronomy. Atheism would have us believe that the universe came out of nothing. No, there is an “underlying cause - planned” its exact, precise. The Big Bang, coming to full fruition if scientific thought in the 1960’s, “Shows a finite beginning of space, time and matter. There was a beginning (43).”
Professor Dawkins says that if miracles did occur, they are “to be judged by scientific methods. Science deals with reality, religion - everything else.” The question of ‘Who made God?’. Professor Dawkins sees it as “an infinite regress from which He can not escape - who designed the Designer (46)?”. About the origin of the universe, Professor Dawkins says, “We don’t know the Cosmology - Cosmology is waiting for its Darwin (46:40). Darwin can not explain the origin of the universe (51).”
Professor Lennox then answers the question, ‘Who designed the Designer? Who created God?”. Well then, who created creation? No one believes in a created God. In John, Chapter One, ‘In the beginning was the Word. Darwin believes in something eternal, like the universe (53).” DNA carries meaning…the meaning of the message is not found in the message (56).” [entering the second hour]
Professor Dawkins was asked about his reference to John Lennon’s “Imagine” song, which describes a world without religion. “No suicide bombers, no 911, no Taliban. Even mild religion provides a climate of fanaticism. God still needs an explanation (1:01). Christianity [is] being dangerous to children - the evils of teaching them that faith if a virtue.” He acknowledges that its “only a minority” that do this. Professor Lennox interrupts saying, “That’s not said in your book though…”. Professor Dawkins continued, saying religion is “Convention - not to be questioned - and respected. Faith is a terrible weapon which justifies terrible facts (1:04).”
Professor Lennox responds saying, “DNA [is a] biological message from an Intelligent Designer, better than a ‘blind watchmaker’ (1:05). Jesus was put on trial as a dangerous radical religious leader, yet Pilot found Him guiltless.” Then he comments on “A world without atheism. No Pol Pot, no ‘killing fields’, no communistic murder of millions. Millions more died under atheism than Christianity in order to get rid of religions. Jews, Christian…any religious people“ (1:05). Continuing, Professor Lennox says, that “Religion is not an open invitation to fanaticism - Christ taught the opposite. (1:10)”
Professor Dawkins then concedes that all “religious people do not do bad things - Atheism…Marxism was bad. Atheism is not like religion - to drive me to be a fanatical killer (1:12). The 911 bombers were rationale, logical people who thought [it was] Allah’s will and their heaven and paradise were guaranteed (1:13). You may not do terrible things because you are an atheist, but you might because you’re a religious fanatic (1:15). Professor Lennox adds, “Atheism is a faith…don’t you believe? You believe that all the universe is all there is. (1:15)”
Professor Dawkins then says, “you don’t need God to be moral…or you’re trying to suck up and get rewards. You need a book for that!? If they do, their morals are hideous! A universal moral acceptance ‘The Golden Rule’ is just common sense. Morals came from our evolutionary past. Good deeds allowed for sex. The Darwinian pressure for God is gone and contraceptives render good deeds not necessary. (1:17) Moral consensus has gone on. Every time you use contraceptives, you‘ve removed any imperatives” (1:22).
Professor Lennox responds by saying “The very fact that an atheist can be good is not possible without a foundation. You can not get ethics from science (1:24). You (pointing to Professor Dawkins) said that ‘there is no good or evil’ and why mention ‘universal moral acceptance if we are only ‘bouncing DNA‘? (1:25)” [referring to Professor Dawkins’ book] If we’re only dancing to our DNA, the how can morality or the ‘Golden Rule’ exist, as you called it (1:26)? You can’t go from facts to values. So morality is from raw nature?!” You have said in your book (p. 92) that ‘miracles violate the laws of natures’ (1:26). “Miracles are not violations of natural laws. Jesus’ resurrection is the basis of my faith and the historicity of His existence a fact” (1:38).
After closing remarks by both men, the audience provides a thunderous, standing ovation to both men, it would appear. One of the best debates I have ever seen in my life. I will not say who won or who lost. I know who presented the better arguments, and you might imagine who I believe best presented their case if you know me, but I will let you be the judge of that. I would recommend the DVD of The God Delusion Debate. It is thoroughly entertaining and both men intelligently respond…and with all due respect, I applaud them both.


Originally published on : EverydayChristian.com/blogs


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Emanuel Paparella2010-08-14 13:54:07
Interesting report on an interisting debate, Jack. Indeed, just as morality transcends science and one cannot jump from science to morality, faith transcends reason and one cannot jump from reason to faith. Kant may have had it on target when he pointed out the limitations of reason in the Critique of Pure Reason and made a distinction between the phenomenon and the numenon.

If I may be allowed to point out one glaring typo which ought to be corrected if it also exists in the original: the name of the Roman governor of Judea who interrogated Jesus is mispelled: it was not Pilot but Pilate, or in Latin Pilatus.

Jack2010-08-14 20:46:46

Great observation Emanuel. You are more accurate than Microsofts Spell Check. Brilliant observation. I especially liked the Latin name for Pilate; Pilatus, for that is the original. Thank you.

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