Richard Dawkins (1941– )
Richard Dawkins, a leader in the New Atheism movement and bestselling author, is one of the foremost proponents of a gene-centered approach to evolutionary science. Not only does he claim that materialism offers a satisfying purpose for life, but he has trenchantly criticized those who accept the existence of a supernatural creator.
Dawkins has had a great impact on perceptions of science’s scope and the viability of atheism, but his foundations are not as robust as they might seem. Ransom Poythress provides a sound, Reformed, biblical toolkit for defending the faith—looking at where Dawkins’s ideas on science cross philosophical concepts and critiquing them from a Christian perspective.
Equipping readers with helpful information, this book gives advice and encouragement about how to engage others on these issues in an informed, loving way. The hope of the gospel is more than able to withstand the challenges presented by Dawkins and his thought.
“The New Atheism is now an established feature of the intellectual landscape of our age. Richard Dawkins was one of the chief architects and intellectuals of the New Atheists. Ransom Poythress has written an accessible introduction to Dawkins’s life and thought and a compelling refutation of his arguments against Christianity. This is an enormously helpful resource.”
—R. Albert Mohler Jr., President, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
“The ‘New Atheists’ have terrorized many Christians by invoking modern science and philosophy to debunk Jesus and the Bible. Richard Dawkins has been one of their most effective voices, focusing especially on the doctrine of evolution, which most academic and media writers assume to be true. Ransom Poythress is well qualified to respond to Dawkins and more generally to the New Atheist movement. He writes knowledgeably about evolution, science, philosophy, and theology, devastating the arguments and conclusions of the New Atheists. His presentation is powerful, but also gracious and winsome. I recommend this book to anyone who seeks knowledge of these issues and reliable guidance through the conceptual thicket.”
—John M. Frame, Professor of Systematic Theology and Philosophy Emeritus, Reformed Theological Seminary
“Before the ‘New Atheism,’ it would have been easy to dismiss Richard Dawkins as an anachronism—a devotee to a hyper-authoritarian, hyper-reductionist kind of science worship that rose and fell in rough unison with the Soviet Union. Instead, he reminds us that in an age when so many are creating gods after their own image, atheism will always have some appeal. With great care and kindness, Ransom Poythress reveals the Dawkins deception for what it is, offering practical ways to dialogue with people who have come under its spell.”
—Douglas Axe, Author, Undeniable: How Biology Confirms Our Intuition That Life Is Designed
“Do we really need yet one more critique of Richard Dawkins and the ‘New Atheists’? When you have read this splendid volume, you will have no doubts: we do, and this one fills a need not yet filled. Poythress examines the dilemma often presented—Christian faith or science—and says, no: it’s Christian faith and good science, or, better, good science because of Christian faith. While he interacts with the scientistic claims made by doctrinaire evolutionists (Poythress is a trained biologist), the book goes far beyond, and explores the historical, psychological, and spiritual reasons that draw people to atheism. And then even beyond that, the book presents the Christian alternative in a winsome and convincing manner. It deserves a wide readership, both by scientists and by laypersons.”
—William Edgar, Professor of Apologetics, Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia
Ransom Poythress (MA, Westminster Theological Seminary; PhD, Boston University) is an assistant professor of biology at Houghton College in western New York, with a research focus on the molecular mechanisms of smooth muscle contractile physiology. Poythress is a ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church of America. He and his wife, Lisbeth, live near the college campus where they minister to students.