• Answering the New Atheism, by Scott Hahn & Benjamin Wiker: A Refutation, Part 5

    Chapter 8: King Richard

    This chapter was the most absurd of them all. In this chapter, Scott Hahn and Benjamin Wiker argue in a “thought experiment” that “King” Richard, if in power, would abandon “the respect for freedom of speech”, […] “the toleration of cultural diversity”, and […] “the rights of the parents against intrusions by the state [to teach their own children their religious beliefs].” [58]

    These are the same strawmen (or more un-politically correct, bullshit) claims that have been leveled at the New Atheists, and especially, Richard Dawkins since his book The God Delusion came out.

    Hahn and Wiker argue that the New Atheists are seeking “political power” [59] and once this is achieved, Richard Dawkins would “outlaw all religious instruction”, [60] close religious schools, [61] ban religious holidays and replace them with secular equivalents like Darwin Day, and the winter solstice. [62] They continue to argue that, following Darwinian logic, eugenics would be legalized, [63] as well as stifling any “irrational criticisms” against Darwinism, and that doubting “evolutionary atheism” “must be considered a kind of treason.” [64]

    Earlier in the chapter they say,

    “Dawkins makes the charge of child abuse with all seriousness, and this brings him to wade into what even he regards as dangerous waters. If it is abuse, then shouldn’t children be protected from their parents? Agreeing heartily with psychologist Nicholas Humphrey, Dawkins argues against the notion that parents have a right to educate their own children in their own faith, precisely because children have a right to be protected from harmful nonsense.” [65]

    This is complete nonsense. Dawkins did not agree with Nicholas Humphrey about not teaching children religion. Dawkins simply stated, after quoting Humphrey:

    “Of course, such a strong statement needs, and received, much qualification. Isn’t it a matter of opinion what is nonsense? Hasn’t the applecart of orthodox science been upset often enough to chasten us into caution? Scientists may think it is nonsense to teach astrology and the literal truth of the Bible, but there are others who think the opposite, and aren’t they entitled to teach it to their children? Isn’t it just as arrogant to insist that children should be taught science?

    I thank my own parents for taking the view that children should be taught not so much what to think as how to think. If, having been fairly and properly exposed to all the scientific evidence, they grow up and decide that the Bible is literally true or that the movements of the planets rule their lives, that is their privilege. The important point is that it is their privilege to decide what they shall think, and not their parents’ privilege to impose it by force majeure. […] Humphrey’s point – and mine – is that, regardless of whether [the sacrificed Inca girl] was a willing victim or not, there is strong reason to suppose that she would not have been willing if she had been in full possession of the facts. For example, suppose she had known that the sun is really a ball of hydrogen, hotter than a million degrees Kelvin, converting itself into helium by nuclear fusion, and that it originally formed from a disk of gas out of which the rest of the solar system, including Earth, also condensed…Presumably, then, she would not have worshiped it as a god, and this would have altered her perspective on being sacrificed to propitiate it.” [66] (emphasis mine in bold)

    As Dawkins clearly stated in The God Delusion he’s simply asking parents to respect their childrens’ minds and allow them to make up their minds for themselves. He is not saying, and has never said, that parents cannot teach their own children their religious beliefs.

    I’ve also exposed this outright distortion of Dawkins’ views on this issue of “child abuse” in a series of more in depth blog posts. The three part series obliterates these absurd claims against him. [67]

    As for the other claims that the New Atheists are striving for political power, nowhere have I seen any such statement in the writings of the New Atheists (Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, and Daniel C. Dennett), and Hahn and Wiker fail to cite any one of the four men to back up that assertion. Also, in none of these four mens’ writings have I seen them wish to ban the teaching of religion, or close churches, or religious schools. In fact, they’ve made direct statements against this. Even a fellow christian author has noted this fact. In David Aikman’s 2008 book The Delusion of Disbelief: Why the New Atheism is a Threat to Your Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness, [68] Aikman says of Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens (which is also the same thing Dawkins argues):

    “Hitchens also says, ‘Religious faith is, precisely because we are still-evolving creatures, ineradicable (emphasis in the original). It will never die out, or at least not until we get over our fear of death, and out of the dark, and out of the unknown, and of each other. For this reason,’ Hitchens concludes, ‘ I would not prohibit it even if I thought I could.'”

    Aikman also has this to say about Sam Harris:

    “Harris does not advocate explicit suppression of religious faith, but rather seeks what he calls ‘conversational intolerance.'” [69]

    This empty propaganda, void of one shred of evidence, seems to have become the beat so many theists want to march to ever since the New Atheists began their book publishing boom in 2004 with Sam Harris’ The End of Faith, with talks of some grand atheistic takeover. If anything, theists must look at themselves in the mirror because they’re the only ones who have been trying to take over the courts, and control peoples’ lives through the political process.


    I don’t have much to say about this book. Like the other books I’ve reviewed/refuted, they all make similar mistakes, and misunderstand the atheist authors. In my opinion, this book was the worst of the four books I’ve reviewed. Answering the New Atheism is tied with Ray Comfort’s books, because like Comfort’s books, this book’s arguments were completely illogical and were entirely based on their theistic assumptions. To be honest it was actually pretty easy to refute because most of their arguments were based on flaws in their logic, so I didn’t have to set out to research some historical period, or scientific findings, as I did with David Aikman or David Marshall’s books. Plus, most of their arguments I had refuted on my blog already, so I mostly made it simple by citing my already written rebuttals. I always hated it when authors cited their previously published works because I wished they could just repeat the information for the convenience of the reader, but since this is the internet and my other sources are not only free, but are available at the click of a button (with the direct links in the footnotes), I thought this would be the easiest route to take.

    58. Ibid.; 151

    59. Ibid.; 151

    60. Ibid.; 145

    61. Ibid.; 145

    62. Ibid.; 146

    63. Ibid.; 148

    64. Ibid.; 147

    65. Ibid.; 144

    66. The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins; 326-327, 328

    67. Richard Dawkins and “Child Abuse” (the links to the other two parts are at the bottom of part one)

    68. For my refutation of The Delusion of Disbelief, please see the following: The Delusion of David Aikman: A Review of The Delusion of Disbelief

    69. The Delusion of Disbelief: Why the New Atheism is a Threat to Your Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness, by David Aikman, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2008; 30, 32

    Category: Uncategorized


    Article by: Arizona Atheist