Dawkins & BBC Religion

I recently read that the official Richard Dawkins website reviews four books, each competing for the place of the best response to the book by Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion.

The four books are Deluded by Dawkins, The Darwin Delusion?, The Dawkin Letters and Darwin’s Angel.

The winner according to the reviewer, Paula Kirby, and the one most likely to pose serious rebuttal of The God Delusion is The Dawkin Letters by David Robertson.

I then looked at the Dawkins site but couldn’t find the review. I did not want to spend time trawling through it just for that item. I did find some of Robertson’s contributions on the site though. The atheistic responses are entertaining in their desperation.

Robertson believes that Dawkin’s book, at an intellectual and logical level, “..really misses the mark.” He believes it “comes across as a desperate attempt to shore up secularism’s crumbling defences.”

David Robertson can be seen talking about his new book on YouTube on the following links:

Robertson’s old post on the Dawkins site is long but interesting. In it he gives us an interesting insight into the ‘official religion’ of the BBC, secularism:

A few weeks ago it was reported that there was a meeting of BBC Executives where some had the gall to challenge the prevailing BBC philosophy. At that meeting it was admitted that the policy of the BBC was that secularism was the only philosophy to which others must eventually come. In other words other philosophies and belief systems can be tolerated but they must never be allowed any real say in the BBC. Some had the audaciousness to suggest that perhaps the BBC should recognise that secularism was a philosophy and not the philosophy.

As for me, I still don’t believe in atheists, I think they are just ‘God dodgers’.

Some more links:
Christian Focus Publications
BBC Scotland
The Inverness Courier

13 thoughts on “Dawkins & BBC Religion

  1. “The winner according to the reviewer, Paula Kirby, and the one most likely to pose serious rebuttal of The God Delusion is The Dawkin Letters by David Robertson.”


    I am the person who reviewed the four books and it is true that I thought The Dawkins Letters the best of the four of them. Sadly, though, that wasn’t saying very much! This is how I described it:

    “Rather to my surprise, I found this the best of the four books. Not because I found its arguments convincing – I didn’t; nor because it didn’t creak under the weight of the distortions of what Dawkins really says in TGD – it does; nor because it avoids the patronising tone and personal animus that characterises two of its fellows – it doesn’t. It was the best purely and simply because it does at least attempt to give some explanation of what Robertson believes and, of the four writers, Robertson puts up by far the best fight albeit – and this won’t come as a surprise to anyone who knows him from his Wee Flea posts on this website – not always the cleanest. ”

    If you were serious about being interested to read the reviews, you’ll find them here: http://richarddawkins.net/article,2285,Fleabytes,Paula-Kirby
    Be warned, though – it’s a long article.

    Alll the best

  2. Wow Paula I feel honoured that you have noticed my little blog.

    I followed your link but as you say, it is rather long. I didn’t have the enthusiasm to go through it all.

    If you put “atheist” in the search box you will see some other related posts. You will see that I don’t believe in atheists, so that does affect my ability to engage with them.


  3. Yes John it is a great article, though not a recent one.

    I liked his quote,
    “When you have for the first time in front of you this 3.1 billion-letter instruction book that conveys all kinds of information and all kinds of mystery about humankind, you can’t survey that going through page after page without a sense of awe. I can’t help but look at those pages and have a vague sense that this is giving me a glimpse of God’s mind.

  4. “You will see that I don’t believe in atheists, so that does affect my ability to engage with them.”

    Well, I can confirm the existence of at least one of them.

  5. Thanks Paula but my experience of atheists has left me unconvinced of their atheism. I have never met a convincing one.

    With some I get the feeling they believe in God but are just trying to dodge him, or else they don’t like him so they rage against him. If someone were a real atheist and did not believe, could they not be confident in their unbelief and would they not then simply move on? Why the continued obsession with God? Why the continued rage? Why not then forget about God and get a life?

    Anyway, so nice to hear from you. I am going to google your name and see what you look like.

  6. All kinds of reasons in answer to your questions, Graham, and I guess they’ll vary from atheist to atheist. Speaking for myself, the reasons I am a “vocal” atheist rather than a “don’t care” atheist are that I see the way many religious people attempt to sway public policy on the basis of their unfounded religious beliefs and I am opposed to that and want it to stop; I see the way children are subjected to religious indoctrination and I want THAT to stop; the whole question of what people believe and why they believe it interests me, so it’s natural to want to discuss it; and scientific explanations for many of the things that religion claims to explain are so fascinating and, in many cases, inspiring, that again, I enjoy spending time discussing them and also learning from people who are far more knowledgeable about them than I am. Not that all atheists are scientists or vice versa, of course, but – speaking personally again – science has played a considerable role in leading me to the conclusion that there are no gods.

    Not all atheists rage. I think I rage sometimes when I’ve encountered what seems to me like a particularly preposterous religious explanation, or when I see something particularly outrageous, but most of the time I don’t. And raging of this sort isn’t limited to religion – I’d rage in exactly the same way if I encountered something preposterous or outrageous in any other context.

    Some atheists – usually those who have been brought up in a particularly “heavy” religious environment – do feel very angry at what they were put through and what was inflicted on them. I don’t fall into that category, though.

    But rage or no rage, it’s just interesting. Same as someone (though not me, as it happens) could be highly interested in classical mythology and could spend a lot of time finding out about it, discussing it with other interested people etc – without ever believing that the minotaur really existed.

    I think you probably will find a photo of me if you’re serious about googling me, but a static photo’s never much good really, is it? If you go to http://www.youtube.com and do a search on “Richard Dawkins Paula Kirby” you’ll find a series of videos from the interview I conducted with him at Eden Court last week for his UHI public lecture.

    All the best

  7. Thanks for that Paula. I did google for a picture, I was curious who you were. Though of course we are all more that our image I will probably look at the youtube one.

    My image, at top of my blog is me sitting in Nero’s coffee shop in York. My PA was mucking about with a camera for some reason and took that of me waiting for him to sit down. We both thought it looked so respectable that it got used.

    Good one eh? Having coffee in a place named after the man who martyered Christians.

    Have fun


  8. Paula,

    If there is no God, then there is no Higher Power to give us a moral law. In other words you can do whatever you like! So, if there is no God I have no right to condemn a murderer because what makes me so special that I should decide what is right and what is wrong? It would just be one human imposing his moral opinion on another human and without an Arbitrator there’s no grounds for deciding who’s right. As an atheist do you have a right to be angry about anything? Because it’s just your opinion about what is wrong and without a God it is an arbitrary opinion.

    Regarding the religious indoctrination of children (do you mean sunday school or something?). I haven’t seen much indoctrination but I have seen the spreading of knowledge. An atheist friend of mine is bisexual, despite the fact he knows my position of such things we remain friends. When he was younger his dad took him to a gay bar because he wanted him to have a wider experience. In fact what he did was determine his sexuality even more than if he’d have just left him alone.

    You call bringing up children as out standing Christian citizens indoctrination? Presumably the good atheist antithesis to this would be to bring up a child with (let’s call it) “non-indoctrination”. But surely non-indoctrination is only another form of indoctrination! Children instinctively look for models around them, models of truth if you like. If their parents truly believe that God is truth, this model of truth rubs off on the child. Surely you’re not telling the whole of Christendom how to bring up their children are you? If there is no God, who gave you the right to impose your model of truth on us?

  9. Hi John,

    Are you really suggesting there was no morality in the world before God?

    Do you think that before Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the Ten Commandments, that people thought it was ok to murder one another?

    Belief in God has never been a pre-requisite for morality. Just to cite one example, what about the Catholic Priests in the US who were exposed in 2002 as committing many acts of child rape?

    As you are probably aware attitudes of morality or moral law change from decade to decade – if morality comes from God how does he communicate these changes in attitude?

    For example, nowadays both seculaists and the religious find slavery immoral, but in the past the Bible was used to justify Slavery, particularly with the following verse:

    Genesis 9:25-27: “Cursed be Canaan! The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers. He also said, ‘Blessed be the Lord, the God of Shem! May Canaan be the slave of Shem. May God extend the territory of Japheth; may Japeth live in the tents of Shem and may Canaan be his slave’. ”

    So you could say that those who kept slaves in the past derivied their justification to do so from God, yet now in the present day we consider them to be immoral and against moral law.

    What of those who existed before belief in the monotheistic god, or those who believe in other god such as Hindu’s – are they all immoral who think nothing of murder?



  10. Well John I have just read David’s response to your comment. It reminds me of an episode of “Yes Minister” when the secretary tells the minister that just because someone asks a question does not mean you have to answer the question asked. “Answer the question you would have liked to have been asked,” he said.

    David has done that. He has not engaged with your point in your first paragraph, but started off on a hobby-horse of his own.

    Of course if David’s thoughts are simply the random results of a random convergence of chemicals in his brain, that are the result of an accidental convergence of chemicals that brought about the human race, then his thoughts are just accidents and have no value.

  11. “Are you really suggesting there was no morality in the world before God?”

    Cows. They have no belief in a God, indeed they are soulless lesser animals. They don’t as a rule kill each other though.

    Now why is this? We know beef is tasty, why would cows not hunt each other down and have their fill?

    Perhaps we have underestimated cows. All cows believe in the Almighty Bovine God. He lays down their moral code.

    Or perhaps, there is another explanation……

  12. Why can’t ALL people use their common sense & grasp the obvious.

    The Human mind is fundamentally prone to the generation of illusions. Everyone is infected with an imaginative ‘Spiritual’ tendency, sentimentally induced, that is ‘merely’ the natural wonderment of our existence & surroundings.

    The power-seeking predacious fraternity have always been with us, from the Witch Doctors of old to the varied crop of Archbishops – Ayatollahs – Rabbis – Popes – Imams & JWs etc of today.

    God is an invisible & silent entity, kept alive only by the Charlatans who prey on the naivety of the credulous.

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