Contra Mundum: Richard Dawkins and Open Mindedness


by Matt Flannagan

The bold statement “Richard Dawkins opens minds” leaped out at me from the newsletter sitting on the University of Auckland’s Law Library counter. The article went on to sing the praises of Richard Dawkins and mentioned his book The God Delusion. On reading the piece one could be forgiven for concluding that Dawkins’ works are a paragon of the open minded assessment of ideas.

Now Dawkins is a Zoologist and I, not being a Zoologist, would not presume to assess his work on Zoology. What is interesting, however, is that much of Dawkins’ most famous work is not on Zoology; it is on Theology and specifically Philosophy of Religion. That field of Philosophy which critically analyses religious questions, such as, the veracity of arguments for and against God’s existence. Having some background in these fields I find it a little surprising that an Auckland University publication would contend that his work is open minded because it is evidently not…


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