Richard Dawkins is the world’s best-known champion of both atheism and its intellectual underpinning, particles-to-people evolution. His latest book, The Greatest Show on Earth: the evidence for evolution is touted as an unanswerable challenge to those who believe in divine creation. In the past, he says, he has assumed evolution; this time he has set out to present in one major book the evidence for evolution (and its corollary, vast geological ages).
Now scientist, chessmaster and logician Jonathan Sarfati Ph.D. FM goes head to head with Dawkins in this full-on rebuttal, The Greatest Hoax on Earth? Refuting Dawkins on evolution. Sarfati is no lightweight opponent; his Refuting Evolution (over 500,000 in print) is the biggest-selling creationist book ever (apart from the Bible, or course). In his crisp, readable style trademarked by sheer competence, Sarfati calmly but relentlessly erodes each of Dawkins’ claims. In the process, he repeatedly exposes logical fallacies-even dubious tactics-employed in Dawkins’ ideologically driven crusade.
However, rather than pretending that the science of origins is some ideology-free zone, Sarfati openly declares his own axioms as a committed Bible-believing Christian. He fearlessly grasps the nettle in areas such as geology and dating methods-often downplayed by anti-evolutionists, but recognized by Dawkins as crucial components of this debate.
Those familiar with Dawkins’ previous (and, it must be said, elegantly written) works know of his uncompromising commitment to his materialistic/reductionist axioms. One suspects that, while wincing at the body-blows his arguments receive in these pages, he will at least secretly admire Sarfati’s similarly consistent commitment—a commitment free of the slippery inconsistency of many who seek to eat their cake and still have it, by claiming that God really used the godless process of evolution, and pretending that the Bible allows this.
It’s precisely those who feel smug in the belief that all the intellectual firepower is on the side of evolution who most need to read Sarfati’s book-if only to understand better why it is that there are thousands of scientists and intellectuals today who are convinced that in a fair science showdown, stripped bare of rhetoric and ideological ‘noise’ by comparing each position within its own axioms, biblical creation outguns evolution.
At the very least, fair-minded readers of this book will need to concede that they have been largely fed caricatures of the creationist position, exemplified in spades in Greatest Show. If reason, science and rationality were all that were at stake, Sarfati’s expose of what should be the best that evolution has on offer should make it increasingly difficult to exclude creation from a full seat at the table of rational debate. One would hope that his efforts will inspire a whole new generation of qualified believers to put in the hard work and apply their own intellectual horsepower to further loosen the stranglehold of mega-evolutionary thinking on our culture in general.
David Catchpoole, Ph.D.
Scientist, lecturer and writer, Creation Ministries International (Australia)