Today we’re talking about Richard Dawkins’ new book, Outgrowing God. We’re covering who Richard Dawkins is and what his book is all about. Today we are going over what we talked about during the last episode, then diving into Chapters 2 and 3 by following the different rabbit trails through the text.

Main Points Covered:

  • We’ve outlined the logical fallacies (faulty reasoning) from the last episode, including:
    • The Steamroller Tactic, which is a form of repression in which the opposition (in this case, Richard Dawkins), uses an overwhelming amount of force that overcomes most if not all opposition. In this case, Richard uses so many examples that a person can’t possibly address them all, and the steamroller appears to have won the “argument”
    • He uses “analogy as evidence.” Just because two things may have similar concepts doesn’t mean that this is evidence that they are similar in essence.
    • Poisoning the Well is a type of informal fallacy where irrelevant adverse information about a target is preemptively presented to an audience, with the intention of discrediting or ridiculing something that the target is going to say.
    • He states Assumptions as Fact.
    • No True Scotsman, or appeal to purity, is a fallacy where someone attempts to protect a universal generalization from counterexamples by changing the definition to exclude the counterexample.
  • The biggest fallacy he uses from Chapter 2 is the “Argument from False Analogy.” He claims that because there is a “lack of archaeological evidence”, he can’t believe in Christianity.
  • The book also discusses Polytheism vs Monotheism
    • Polytheism – the belief in or worship of more than one god
    • Monotheism – the doctrine or belief that there is only god
  • We talk about the definitions of proof/evidence (an argument which establishes or helps to establish proof) in rebuttal to his claim that there is a lack of archaeological evidence of Christ
    • “When the only evidence for an event or person wasn’t written down until decades or centuries after the death of any witnesses, historians get suspicious.” – Richard Dawkins, Outgrowing God.
    • It is too high of a skeptical standard to have, to claim “if I can’t see it, it didn’t happen.”
    • Richard Dawkins takes documents outside the realm of archaeological evidence. He omits historical and documented evidence in order to prove his case. Take the Dead Sea Scrolls
  • The importance of “Telephone Game” and oral culture. People take the idea of their cultural identity seriously, because of that, we (people) are going to make sure that it is told correctly.
  • “The only other historian who mentions Jesus is the Roman Tacitus.” – Richard Dawkins, Outgrowing God
  • “No one has the faintest idea who wrote the Gospels. No serious scholar today thinks the Gospels were written by eyewitnesses.” – Richard Dawkins, Outgrowing God
  • At least we can say that his statement there is false and it is knowingly false, so why are we trusting the other things that he’s saying?

Resources Mentioned:

Outgrowing God by Richard Dawkins

Cold-Case Christianity by J. Warner Wallace – a cold case detective who understands evidence, and presents evidence from the New Testament like he would a cold case

MBA Episode 15: Are the New Testament Eyewitnesses Reliable: The Flashbulb Memory Objection – We use this past episode as a reference when talking about eyewitnesses to the New Testament

Journey from Texts to Translations by Paul D Wegner – answers the question behind how the canon of Scripture was formed

Hillary’s article – “How Dawkins’ Outgrowing God Capitalizes on Our Culture’s Inability to Think Critically”

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Unfamiliar Vocab:

Logical Fallacy – Faulty reasoning; a move in argumentation that breaks the rules of formal logic. Ex: Affirming the Consequent. For more study on the subject of Logic for you or your kids, check out Dr. William Lane Craig’s beautifully illustrated book Learning Logic.

Steamroller Tactic – Often a fallacy identified in debates, stating your opinion about so many different areas with the intent to overwhelm the other person so they can’t really respond

Polytheism – The belief in multiple gods; Ex: Ancient Greek mythology, Hinduism

Monotheism – The belief in one god; Ex: Christianity, Zoroastrianism

Materialistic Naturalism – The worldview that says all that exists is physical matter, and only things that can be known through the scientific method can be observed, and therefore taken seriously. (Ask someone who holds this view to show you that belief under a microscope.)

Autograph – The historical document term for the originally written manuscript

Quotable quotes:

He (Richard Dawkins) is not aiming this for scholars, he’s aiming for people that he knows won’t take the time to look at it deeper. Click To Tweet

– Hillary Morgan Ferrer

One of the best ways we can teach our kids is to teach them how to research…If we can show our kids that it’s worth the effort, we can really make them fishers of men. Click To Tweet

– Amy Davison