Richard Dawkins Really Does Believe in Design

by Sean McDowell

Richard Dawkins is perhaps the most well known atheist in the world. For the past few decades he has been one of the most vocal critics of religion (and especially Christianity) as being both dangerous and delusional.

In his popular book The God Delusion, Dawkins critiques some of the classic arguments for God’s existence, including arguments for design. And he is confident that Darwin essentially “destroyed” all the evidence for God.[1]

While I have offered an in-depth critique of Dawkins and the rest of the “New Atheists” in my book Is God Just A Human Invention?, my point here is to show that Dawkins unwittingly embraces design.

How can I make such a claim?

Dawkins considers himself hostile to “fundamentalist” religion because he believes it thwarts scientific progress. As a case in point, he refers to the “sad” case of Kurt Wise, who is a Harvard-trained paleontologist that studied under Stephen Jay Gould. Dawkins says that Wise was once a “highly qualified and genuinely promising young scientist,” who could have fulfilled his boyhood dream and gotten a professorship at a “real” university instead of Bryan College, where Wise worked when Dawkins published his book.

According to Dawkins, tragedy struck when Wise decided to embrace young-earth creationist and reject evolution. Dawkins describes Wise’s journey as “terribly sad,” “pathetic,” and “contemptible.” Rather than embracing evidence and reason, Dawkins says that Wise did “ the fundamentalist thing and tossed out science…along with all his dreams and hopes.”[2] Clearly, Dawkins thinks Wise failed to live as he should have lived and is an example of a human catastrophe.

Whether you agree with Wise’s theology and decision is beside the point. The question is…


Richard Dawkins Really Does Believe in Design – Sean McDowell