I do book reviews. I began doing them several years ago when I needed to preview the books that our boys wanted to read and posting them on a homeschooling e-mail list. Then I started including them in my free e-mail homeschooling newsletter (formerly HEADSUP, now Biblical Homeschooling). A few of my reviews have appeared in various homeschooling magazines. Not only does Biblical Homeschooling include reviews of books that I read, but since I cannot read every book available, I also draw reviews and recommendations from other sources (one of my favorites is Kathy Davis of HomeSchoolBuzz.com). The following items refers to a review in our local paper, The St. Louis Post Dispatch, and I thought that some reader might be interested in it and my comments.
Dawkins, Richard. The God Delusion (published by Houghton Mifflin). Richard Dawkins is a premier atheistic evolutionist (or is it an evolutionary atheist?). Therefore, I do NOT recommend this book, except to strong Bible-believers with the proper credentials, such as the folks from Apologetics Press, Answers in Genesis, or Creation Research Institute, to read and answer. However, I mention it here for a purpose. It was reviewed in the Sun., Oct. 22, 2006, issue of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The reviewer noted that Dawkins's aim is to argue “against the existence of God and the benefits of religion” and that he “doesn't make it any easier for himself with a tone that swings from condescension to disdain, as he brands religious believers with with epithets such as 'dyed-in-the-wool faith-heads' or 'America's Ten Commanment tablet-toters.'” That is enough to create immediate doubt as to the integrity of the author. Yet, the reviewer goes on to say, “But even with the odds against him, Dawkins makes arguments that are difficult to refute in a strictly rational way.” I suppose it all depends on whose “rationality” is under consideration. Dawkins leans heavily on Darwin (discredited those he is even among many modern evolutionists) to argue against intelligent design, saying, “the designer hypothesis immediately raises the larger problem of who designed the designer….We can now safely say that the illusion of design inliving creatures is just that–an illusion,” and asserting that natural selection fits the facts more logically. Well, that may be his opinion, but that does not necessarily make his opinion right. The reviewer also notes, “While Dawkins shows impatience and disrespect for those who believe in God, he exhibits outright hostility toward religion and all the ills he says it has foisted upon the world.” Dawkins writes, “And Hall-o-o? Does it occur to you that such hostility as atheists occasionally voice is limited to words. I am not going to bomb anybody….” Uh, what about Adolph Hitler? Uh, what about Vladimir Lenin? Uh, what about Josef Stalin? Uh, what about Mao Tse-Tung? Uh, what about Pol Pot? Uh…. It does not seem that atheists really have much of a corner on morality! Yes, it is true that huge injustices have been falsely perpetrated in the name of religion and even of Christianity. However, since atheism is the ultimate example of relativism, it is no wonder that Dawkins is intellectually unable to distinguish between the contributions of Bible believers such as Issac Newton or Gregor Mendel and such obvious aberrations of Christianity as the Crusades or the Inquisition. Even the reviewer admitted, “Such positions can make Dawkins and his theories difficult to accept.” Why discuss all this here? I have two observations. First, we do not subscribe to the Post-Dispatch because of its obvious liberal bias, but we do purchase the Sunday edition for the ads. In all the time that I have been reading the paper's book reviews, I have never, NEVER, seen a review of one book (many are available and new ones are coming out all the time) which argues for the existence of God. But the Post-Dispatch felt the need to review this book which argues against the existence of God and, even from the paper's own review, does so quite vitriolically. So much for “neutrality” by the press! Secondly, the reviewer concluded about Dawkins and the book, “Does he make his case convincingly enough to turn around many opinions? That's a question every reader will have to answer individually. After all, it's impossible to prove a negative. And faith is believing what you know ain't so.” The last sentence, a quotation from Mark Twain, may sound humorous, but it simply is not true. Faith is NOT “believing what you know ain't so.” Rather, it is believing something for which one may not have absolute, personal, first-hand information and knowledge, but about which one has carefully examined the evidence and reached the most obviously logical conclusion. Abraham Lincoln said well what I believe the evidence to show. “In regard to this Great Book, I have but to say, it is the best gift God has given to man. All the good the Savior gave to the world was communicated through this book” (Source: September 7, 1864 – Reply to Loyal Colored People of Baltimore upon Presentation of a Bible). Oh, excuse me, I guess that makes President Lincoln a”dyed-in-the-wool faith-head.” One other thing. The reviewer states, “Even with all the scientific facts [editor's note: “scientific facts,” like any other information, can be manipulated, WSW] he musters, though, Dawkins leaves himself a tiny escape hatch, just in case. Tellingly, the chapter in which he pronounces the design theory a mere illusion is titled 'Why There Almost Certainly Is No God.'” Almost certainly? I have never read a book by a believer entitled, “Why There Might (or Maybe Could) Be A God.”