Richard Dawkins is Moving Towards Sanity

Richard Dawkins, blowhard stalwart of the New Atheist movement, has made a rather stunning and significant admission in a recent debate. According to Is Richard Dawkins still evolving? by Melanie Phillips in the Spectator:

This week’s debate, however, was different because from the off Dawkins moved it onto safer territory– and at the very beginning made a most startling admission. He said:

A serious case could be made for a deistic God.

This was surely remarkable. Here was the arch-apostle of atheism, whose whole case is based on the assertion that believing in a creator of the universe is no different from believing in fairies at the bottom of the garden, saying that a serious case can be made for the idea that the universe was brought into being by some kind of purposeful force. A creator. True, he was not saying he was now a deist; on the contrary, he still didn't believe in such a purposeful founding intelligence, and he was certainly still saying that belief in the personal God of the Bible was just like believing in fairies. Nevertheless, to acknowledge that ‘a serious case could be made for a deistic god’ is to undermine his previous categorical assertion that

...all life, all intelligence, all creativity and all ‘design’ anywhere in the universe is the direct or indirect product of Darwinian natural selection...Design cannot precede evolution and therefore cannot underlie the universe.

In Oxford on Tuesday night, however, virtually the first thing he said was that a serious case could be made for believing that it could.

Personally, I think that is a move towards reality and away from his fantasyland that he has been advocating recently. He is moving in the direction of Antony Flew, and I encourage him to explore this admission more carefully.

HT: Apologetics 315


Puritan Lad said…
Wow! That is quite a step for Dawkins. Wouldn't it get people talking if God would be willing to change the heart of such a man!

Keep him in prayer (just don't let him know it yet.)
Leslie said…
Wow is right ... that is an absolutely startling admission by Dawkins. I wonder how all of his fanboys are reacting to it. I also wonder if we'll end up seeing a retraction of some form.
Anonymous said…
I'm going to say about this what I said about Anthony Flew, which is to adapt a line from Chris Rock about the OJ verdict:

Christians too happy, Atheists too mad.

Saying that a "SERIOUS case COULD be made for a deistic god," while no doubt a stunning admission from Dawkins, is hardly an admission of belief in such a god, and, if read closely, doesn't even state that he thinks such a case HAS been made, only that one "could" make such a case. And again, we're talking about a much different god than Yahweh.

While, I'm sure many "fanboys" will freak out over this comment, I think a lot of otherwise rational, independent minded atheists who don't take marching orders from whatever loud mouth atheist they happen to be reading, would never have had a problem making that concession in the first place.
Leslie said…
I just never knew that Dawkins was reasonable in this regard, that's why it is so surprising for me at least. With Flew, I really didn't know much about him, so I didn't really think it was that big of a deal. But having seen Dawkins in various venues, I was just amazed to see him say a case could be made in any form at all for any kind of God. I thought he was far too stubborn to say anything of that nature.

Btw, when I say fanboys, I mean particularly the internet fanboys who are generally irrational and simply regurgitate his words.

Anyway, I agree you can make too much of it. Still surprising to me, though.
Peter said…
Dawkins has alluded to this before, but the writer of the article does not seem to know that. If you listen to Dawkins' inverviews where he talks about Flew's conversion to deism, he occasionlly also talks about what could be bad and good reason to consider deism.

Note that the article says:
I asked Dawkins whether he had indeed changed his position and become more open to ideas which lay outside the scientific paradigm. He vehemently denied this and expressed horror that he might have given this impression.

It looks like he has not moved anywhere and this blog post takes a sentence out of context.
BK said…
Actually, I think that the very fact that he is willing to consider the possibility that the theism angle could be true is a major movement by Dawkins. I understand that he is saying that he doesn't believe that it is true, but I have never personally seen him give even that much room for theism before.
Peter said…
BK said:
I have never personally seen him give even that much room for theism before....I think... is a major movement by Dawkins.

This is an argument of ignorance. Just because you personally have not seen him "give room" it does not mean there is a movement. Please read my previous comment again.
Anonymous said…
I agree with Dawkins's admission. Glad he said it. But I don't see why this admission does anything to support your case. You must come to grips with the differences between a full blown Christianity and deism. Moving from deism to your beliefs is like trying to fly a plane to the moon. It cannot be done. Besdies, a distant God is no different than none at all. Deism, after all, is best described as a rationalist, not revelationalist viewpoint. There little or no chance to reason yourself to the God you believe in without revelation. I know you might claim you can reason yourself to revelation, but can you? Do you honestly think reason can judge revelation? That you can decide what to believe in God's so-called Word?

Enough for now. Anyway I'm glad to hear Dawkins say this. It's a much more reasonable position to leave his previously held belief that "God almost certainly doesn't exist."

Thanks for this.

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