A Response to Peter Mullen on Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins says that David Cameron is “not really a Christian”. The fact is that it is only God to whom all hearts be open, all desires known and from whom no secrets are hid. So Dawkins has no means of telling whether Cameron is a genuine Christian or not.

We can, however, know that Dawkins is not a proper atheist – that is an intelligent atheist – from his own puerile writing and pathetic attempts at philosophical theology. For example, he writes: “Either God exists or he doesn’t. It is a scientific question. The existence of God is a scientific question, like any other.”

This is idiotic. Science investigates material phenomena, observable entities in the universe. No competent theologians or philosophers – not even the atheist ones – have ever declared that God (if he exists) is an object in his own universe. Perhaps there is no God, and intelligent Christians readily admit that there may be some legitimate doubt. But if the Judaeo-Christian God exists, then he is the maker of the universe and not an entity within it

The only idiotic person here is you Mr. Mullen, you’re making the argument that I addressed in my post ‘The Cop Out’, that God is outside of the universe and therefore immeasurable to science. However you are a Christian and you believe that this God parted the waters of the red sea to allow Moses to pass, you believe in a God that impregnated a woman and walked around on the Earth in human form – these are examples of your God acting within his own universe, and therefore it is perfectly logical to conclude that his actions would be measurable in some form. If you disagree, then I pose this question to you Mr. Mullen; how can a woman become impregnated magically by God, with absolutely no trace of this event being left? If your God exists and performs miracles within the universe then he would be resolutely measurable to science.

It may be that Christians are tragically misled and that there is no God. But before you rush into atheism, you have to know something about philosophical reasoning and how theology works. In other words you have to know what it is about and what it is not about. When he discusses religious belief, Dawkins does not know what he is talking about. And to fire off ignorant opinions is only the first mark of a fool.

It is as if I should presume to lecture the zoologist Dawkins on his own subject: as if I should idiotically declare that all the subtleties of modern biological science could be summed up in a book entitled Janet and John Look at Frogs.

You don’t have to be a philosopher or a theologian to know that religious claims are bogus. All you need to know is that there is no evidence of God’s existence or the extraordinary claims attributed to him. The difference between theology and zoology is thus; zoology looks at things that we know tangibly exist, therefore it is quite easy to make incorrect statements, misunderstand evidence and so on – the real evidence exists to be able to correct mistaken claims, therefore prior knowledge is useful in order to ensure that mistakes are not made. On the other hand theology is essentially pseudo-philosophical masturbation around an imaginary entity, and you don’t need to delve far into it before you realise that there is absolutely no evidence for this nonsense whatsoever. You don’t need to be an expert to know how and why Astrology is a load of nonsense, you do however need some prior knowledge to make statements about Astronomy. Notice the difference? One is talking about something that we have no good reason to believe, the other is talking about something with a wealth of material evidence that speaks for itself.

By contrast, there have been, and no doubt are still, competent atheists. If I were asked to name my favourite atheist, I would say David Hume. Hume was a thorough-going atheist, a man who on his deathbed declined the consolations of religion, saying: “I am dying as fast as my enemies, if I have any, could wish, and as easily and cheerfully as my best friends could desire.”

Moreover, the atheist David Hume did not possess an irrational, inhumane, roaring opposition to men of faith. He was a close friend of that great English Christian, Samuel Johnson. Unlike Dawkins, Hume did not wish to obliterate Christianity from the public realm. Hume was guided by a conscience which was generous enough to understand that other men’s consciences may guide them differently.

This is called a decent tolerance and liberality – instincts which are alien to the secular bigot Dawkins.

I don’t think Dawkins wants to obliterate Christianity from the public realm, he just wants to ensure that it does not affect government policy, education and scientific advancement. Your argument from emotion seems to portray him as a person who wants to knock down all the Churches in Britain and lock up all the clergy – however, Dawkins is actually quite tolerant of religious people in general (although he has no qualms about telling you that he disagrees), he just takes a stand against the rising tide of religious fundamentalism and fanaticism.

Your inane rant didn’t actually address anything that Dawkins said in his article, you just entered into a blithering tirade against his character, with no attempt at even finding any examples to justify your attacks. I think the Telegraph should be ashamed to have such a reactionary and facile moron contributing to their blogs.


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One response to “A Response to Peter Mullen on Richard Dawkins

  1. Dean

    My Own Rebuttal To Mullen:

    In e.g. the first paragraph, I am at a loss as to where he got that complete non-sequiter from. As for the nebulous term “proper atheist” … Mullen seems to be expounding another tired old cliché. Connotations to the word “atheist” such as “proper” are pretty meaningless outside of the real context of this argument, i.e. the truth or un-truth of theism / antitheism. An atheist can be only 2 things at best, 1. A person who holds no belief in gods, or 2. someone who believes in God(s)’ non-existence. I fall in with the latter. I am a “strong atheist”, as I have said on multiple occasions before, as I have NO compelling evidence to the contrary. 🙂 That’s not to say that a mere negative belief cannot have ideological consequences, as I have also discussed before. Because it can, and often does.

    Now, the defining characteristic of a “miracle”, as I understand it, is:
    1. A surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is considered to be divine.
    2. A highly improbable or extraordinary event, development, or accomplishment.

    (From Good Ole’ Google) 😉

    In the former case, which I believe to be an at least mostly accurate classification, ‘miracles’ are not only direct divine intervention, but interventions of god(s) in the physical universe, rendering it a rather legitimate target of scientific enquiry, at least by this definition, under Mullen’s own phrasing of the issue.

    “[ … ] But if the Judaeo-Christian God exists, then he is the maker of the universe and not an entity within it [ … ]”

    Ugh, nope!! Not according to any classical “theologian” I have ever heard of. I though the Christian God was “omnipresent”??? Clearly NOT, if “he” can exist in omnipresence, but at the same time, cannot be a “part” of his own creation. This is fundamentally absurd.

    Theology is indeed a pseudo-philosophy. And the conclusions that have been hitherto explained in this article may be said to be based on theologic “investigations”. But that isn’t the same as philosophy. It has no factual grounding. It is just playing with words to achieve the illusion of proving something important.

    Finally, on Dawkins’ so called “contempt” for religions, I think Dawkins and many other prominent atheists would simply wish to see a world brought about in which religion or the lack thereof is no longer of any meaning or consequence in public policy matters, e.g. in government. That would be the true victory, and if modern atheism can be said to have an “agenda”, then that is it. And therein lies the basis for secularism. Dawkins cannot be sensibly called a “bigot”, and nor can I. I do not begrudge the ‘delusion’ (in manner of speaking) of theists. Just so long as they keep their delusions to themselves and do not infringe on the rights of me, or anyone else, to be non-theists, or to hold a world-view without the faintest hint of mysticism or supernaturalism, even though philosophical naturalism has not yet entered it’s vogue in our time. I think it will do eventually.

    Likewise, it cuts both ways. I do not oppose the rights of anyone to be religious, nor do I think Dawkins does. In a disagreement with a religious person, the very most one can do is affirm that one’s own position best describes reality.

    ~~ L.N. ~~

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