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Dawkins Gaffe

Richard Dawkins had a gaffe recently in which he talked about a survey that the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science did showing that Britain is no longer a majority Christian nation. One of the criteria he used was asking people what the first book of the Gospel was. So some Christian asked him to give the full title of Darwin’s book on evolution.

First, Dawkins should have known that since he has spent a lifetime educating people about Darwin and evolution. But that isn’t my point here. My point here is that evolution isn’t a religion. I don’t know the name of Newton’s book or paper on gravity, yet I accept the theory. But if someone claims to worship Jesus and the only source of information about Jesus comes from a collection of books, It is reasonable to assume that the person should know at least some basic facts about that collection of books.

I’m an atheist, and I know the Gospels are: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Hell, I even know that Mark was written first and that Matthew and Luke used Mark and Q as source material. More importantly, I know that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John didn’t actually write the books ascribed to them. But I digress.

My point is that there is some pretty basic information that not only should everyone know, but that Christians in particular should know. Now, it probably wasn’t a good idea for Dawkins to use general knowledge of Christianity as criteria for Christianity, but that is another story.

As it turns out though, Dawkins wasn’t the only survey to reach that conclusion.  The British Social Attitudes survey had a similar result.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1109607022 Chuck Coverly

    So did Dawkins recall the full title of Darwin’s book? You skipped that part.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1467176690 Matthew Wayne Rogers

      He didn’t; he said that he could, in response to the xtian’s challenge, then when pressed he couldn’t remember it and paraphrased instead.

    • http://twitter.com/DangerousTalk Staks Rosch

      It wouldn’t have been a gaff if he did.

      • http://twitter.com/Cafeeine Cafeeine

        To be fair, he did say most of the elements and I think he probably would have recalled it if given half a second. Heck, I’ve only read the thing a fraction of the times and I’d remember it.

        But the point was he got flummoxed and allowed the other guy to get away with a bad point. In evolution, rote memorization is irrelevant. You won’t become a better evolutionist if you can quote Darwin chapter and verse.

        The problem with claiming that people can self-identify as Christians regardless of their actual beliefs comes when representatives of clergy come in and claim to speak on behalf of these people whom they don’t in effect represent.

        The best current example of this is catholicism in America, where 98% of catholic women use contraception, but the clergy are fighting in their name to make it unavailable.

  • downtown dave

    This gaffe isn’t near as big as the one he’s going to make if he leaves this world without Christ. http://atheistlegitimacy.blogspot.com/

    • http://twitter.com/Cafeeine Cafeeine

      How can he do that to Christ Dave, if he’s supposed to be omnipotent and omnibenevolent?
      Threats and fearmongering. Same old song and dance…