The Weaknesses of Richard Dawkins

Alex O’Connor Exposes The Weaknesses of Richard Dawkins. Glen Scrivener REACTS.

Without having to take on the dogmas of Christianity, I find this video is brilliant in making the point that Richard Dawkins’ assumption that Darwin has answered “the big one” is completely wrong. It is more about the fact that theism in any form has not yet been taken from the table. It can also be pantheism, panentheism, or whatever, but the proof has not been supplied that whatever it is we call God is implausible.

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Dawkins is right about what Christianity gets wrong. He’s like a little boy fleeing from the gargoyles on the walls of a cathedral. Perhaps he was traumatized by church indoctrination when he was a child. I found the moderator’s commentary on the interview tedious.

Dawkins said…

“I do think that we are culturally a Christian country…I call myself a ‘cultural Christian’… I love hymns and Christmas carols…I feel at home in the Christian ethos… I find that I like to live in a culturally Christian country…”

Silly old fool.

And yet indoctrination is child abuse.

Professor Dawkins went on to clarify (several times!) that he doesn’t believe a single word of Christian doctrine or the Bible. He was cheered by the continued decline in the numbers of believing Christians in this country. This wasn’t his Christianity. He argued that the distinction between a ‘believing Christian’ and a ‘cultural Christian’ is such that one can be both a very firm atheist and a ‘cultural Christian’. He doesn’t want people believing the Virgin Birth or the Resurrection of Jesus, but he does want us to keep our Cathedrals and beautiful parish churches. At first reading this could be seen as positive - an unlikely defender of the Christian faith coming to the rescue of a beleaguered Church.

It isn’t.

Silly old fool.

Indoctrinate means “brainwash” to many people
Please elaborate on your reply

His word was actually religion.

A lot of critics of Christianity are correct, but are they critics of Christianity, or are they critics of the thinking, values, and/or behavior of folks claiming to be Christians?…folks who may not even know what they believe or why they believe it.

A lot of “critics” of such folks are also Christians. For example, Kierkegaard. Luther. Kant. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. And so forth.

Siddhartha was like that. Socrates was like that. Jesus was like that. Challenging the established …tutelage.

that is interesting perhaps you could enlighten me…

He challenged some of the teachings, values, and/or behaviors (or incongruences between them) of the established religious rulers. In that document pay attention to what he is countering whenever he says “you have heard it said”. Everything he says about & does on the Sabbath. So forth.

He reset a badly healing leg & was crucified by those who thought they had things handled.

I think you are referring to Matthew 12.13 where to trap Jesus, a group of Pharisees have asked whether it is lawful to heal on the Sabbath. The heart of the question is whether non-life-saving healing involves work. That would make it a violation of the letter of the fourth commandment (Exodus 20:8–10). Unless the person is in life-or-death need of help, the Pharisees say healing is unlawful.

Jesus has countered that it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath, providing an illustration of a sheep that falls into a pit. Who would not show mercy by bending to help that sheep out? His point is that while the literal words of the law have meaning, they also have intent—and God’s intent was not to choose evil over good for the sake of legalism (James 4:17).

The Pharisees regarded Jesus as a challenger to their authority in the synagogue.

What did Jesus say about the Pharisees

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites!”

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“And yet indoctrination is child abuse.”

I dont understand what you mean by this.

Indoctrination by whom?

Here. He also uses the word indoctrination, not just religion. I don’t want to go quote mining. I will let him speak for himself:

Indoctrination just means teaching doctrine. But from his (& the common connotation/perspective) it means telling a child “This is what you believe” without telling them why and letting them make up their own mind. That’s why in the video he would get rid of all schools geared to a particular religion or denomination. [Well …he wouldn’t get rid of the schools. Just their worldviews. He thinks that science is independent of worldview (doctrine).]

Richard Dawkins: “Actually I am very keen not to indoctrinate I’m very keen to spread the message that you should think for yourself rather than be told what to think”


When you switch on the television and look at the various programs presented, nature programs, whether it be on National Geographic, or Discovery World, one has this indoctrination that takes you away from the Word and towards secularism and you are always confronted with millions and millions and millions of years. even historic stories about Christ or the Bible or any one of these there is always that constant element of doubt that is being introduced to make the story unacceptable untruthful allegorical nonsensical and you always have these brilliant scientists one after the other confirming that that which is in the bible is a myth.

Indoctrination…the media does that perfectly, Dawkins must be very happy with his side of the story being presented with such gusto, and

It is law to teach Evolution at the school level and at the University level.

No it doesn’t. According to Britannica Dictionary to teach (someone) to fully accept the ideas, opinions, and beliefs of a particular group and to not consider other ideas, opinions, and beliefs .
Indoctrination presents information as if it were absolute truth for rote learning. It discourages critical thinking. Children are typically not taught how to reason. They are indoctrinated with the “facts” society or subculture exposes them to.

With adults it’s a bit more complicated. You have to get them to suspend whatever habits of critical thinking they may have learned along the way. But, the influencers have powerful methods for doing so and it’s done all the time by the media.

Compared to the sources of information which indoctrinate those which encourage critical thinking are quite rare. Dawkins is of course a strong critic of religious belief, but I haven’t usually heard him promoting critical thought in a positive way. His meme theory has been influential in understanding how media proliferates ideas. If a lie is repeated over and over by influencers it tends to be accepted as true. Demagogues practice this effectively.

The subject of why people accept some sources of info and reject others is important. People live in information silos. The culture wars are products of competing information silos. Fox News and CNN present different worlds. If one doesn’t make well reasoned choices about what to consume one’s preferences will be determined by indoctrination and force of habit.

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Good for him. Evolutionary theory dominates biology. What would you suggest schools should teach and practice? Do you espouse young earth creationism? I thought I picked up on that in your protest of TV shows which talk about “millions and millions” of years.


We can agree on the popular connotation of indoctrination. In and of itself, thinking of the root word and the prefix, it does not shout “without teaching/allowing someone to think for themselves” and “only one doctrine without contrasting against other doctrines” at me. I mean, when One makes an argument with premises and a conclusion, they don’t argue for someone else’s conclusion, and they don’t stop and teach the background knowledge of how to assess an argument. But if their argument is a good one, it is a good example of a good argument and thinking. You can give a good argument for your position without bashing the other person’s position, but if you do address their position it should give good arguments against it and not just at hominem like Dawkins does. I am seeing you allow someone to discuss the merits of their point of view — Dawkins doesn’t do that — So, whether using the popular connotation of indoctrination, or mine, Dawkins does practice it. He doesn’t explain how that is child abuse, but if expecting someone to take your word for something even if they have arguments (you won’t hear) against it is child abuse, how is there any basis for a functioning group of people? At some point, there is going to be a group member who will never agree for whatever reason or lack of reason…that doesn’t end the group’s agreement, and the member can choose their battles to stay aligned with the group, break from the group, or change it within their ability. If they stay, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are indoctrinated (connotation of brainwashed, or drinking the kool aid). One disagreement on a peripheral issue does not justify breaking unity or changing structure.

I don’t want to do a deep dive into cosmological narratives in various worldviews, and the evidence supporting each one. I have a hard enough time staying on topic with what I’m most concerned about.

Dawkins gives a little tell when he doesn’t equate intelligent design to flat earth arguments. Just saying.

When parents make good faith efforts to inculcate their children in a way of life they consider to be the best can it be child abuse? If we were to travel around the world observing parenting practices of people in different cultures, I suppose some of the practices would appear abusive to us. Afghanistan comes to mind, but Texas might be far enough. But, Dawkins’ statement is really polemical. What he is really talking about is not some universal standard of abuse, but his own opinion. Given his opinion of religion, it follows that teaching religion to children is abusive.

Now I wouldn’t recommend reading the Bible to children. It’s too violent. And it has God doing things that if taken literally a good God wouldn’t do. The Bible is for grown-ups and many of them don’t seem up to it. Maybe that’s why many more people have one than actually read it.

In The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins describes the God of the Old Testament as “arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction”. Dawkins describes the God as:

  • Jealous and proud
  • Petty, unjust, and unforgiving
  • Vindictive and bloodthirsty
  • Misogynistic, homophobic, and racist
  • Infanticidal, genocidal, and filicidal
  • Pestilential, megalomaniacal, and sadomasochistic
  • Capriciously malevolent

I think this is why the rabbi’s spent centuries developing an abstruse system of hermeneutics to interpret it. Dawkins rejects that along with theology in general as far as I am aware. What he refutes is basically fundamentalism. It’s not clear to me that he understands the former. Or philosophy for that matter.