In the rarified air of famous spokesmen for Darwinian philosophy, Richard Dawkins is perhaps the leading light in the early 21st century. After the deaths of Carl Sagan and Stephen Jay Gould, Dawkins has somewhat by default assumed the mantle of “Darwin’s Bulldog,” a term first used in connection with the cranky Thomas Huxley, a contemporary of Darwin’s in merry old grungy England.
One is reminded, when thinking about hardcore Darwinians, of the spooky “X-Club,” the monthly London gathering of nine of that country’s leading thinkers. Huxley, Darwin, Herbert Spencer and others would gather to discuss philosophy, especially Darwin’s philosophy of death.
Today, Dawkins has assumed the mantle of defender of the molecules-to-man faith. He is known as an acid-tongued intellectual who allegedly devastates ideological opponents with his evidences for evolution. His latest bestseller, “The Greatest Show on Earth,” is another in the library of “evos” (as Creation Truth Foundation’s Charles Jackson might say) who seek to discredit creationists.
Well, well, well. All is not lost for the creation scientists, for into the street steps one of their own as a gunfighter of unparalleled skill.
Dr. Jonathan Sarfati of Creation Ministries International, has just penned a devastating response to Dawkins. Cleverly titled “The Greatest Hoax on Earth?” the book takes aim at all of Dawkins’ ideological arrows and, in this reviewer’s opinion, destroys them all in mid-flight. This is an important book, especially for the Christian world, but also has all the earmarks of a watershed moment for secular college students.
Sarfati, with a Ph.D in chemistry, is known as a fierce debater in his own right. The New Zealander, now working in the U.S. with CMI, is perhaps the premier creationist debater. His previous books, “Refuting Evolution” and “Refuting Evolution 2,” are the top-selling creation books of all time.
For his latest effort, Sarfati is in his element (get it? “Element”? Chemistry?), in response to Dawkins.
In the very first chapter, “Bait-and-Switch,” Sarfati states, “The theory that Dawkins and other materialists are really promoting, and which creationists oppose, is the idea that particles turned into people over time, without any need for an intelligent designer.”
Notice that Sarfati writes plainly and conveys the meaning. This is a rare trait, especially among scientists. It is but one facet of “The Greatest Hoax on Earth?” that makes the book invaluable.
Sarfati also brings out a host of fascinating factoids. For example, we know that in “The Descent of Man,” Darwin proposed that humans evolved from apes. Alfred Russell Wallace, the naturalist who was Darwin’s rival in making the theory of evolution available to the masses, however, felt that “special human abilities were beyond the reach of natural selection, and needed a ‘Higher Power.’”
This is quite interesting, for it reveals that not all those ideological friends in the 19th century marched in lockstep when it came to religion.
Interestingly, one of the book’s best chapters is No. 13 – “Origin of Life” – a subject that can be intimidating to non-scientists. Sarfati again deftly moves through this material in such a way that the reader can absorb difficult concepts fairly easily. Included in his discussion of proteins and DNA, Sarfati broaches the subject of Darwin’s own religious beliefs. Dawkins likes to point out that Darwin did not believe in God, but Sarfati points out that Dawkins does not mention certain passages in the seminal “On the Origin of Species,” in which Darwin said, among other things:
“Let this process go on for millions of years; and during each year on millions of individuals of many kinds; and may we not believe that a living optical instrument might thus be formed as superior to one of glass, as the works of the Creator are to those of man?”
Is it possible that Darwin was at least ambivalent about the notion of God?
In the chapter titled “Common Ancestry or Common Design?” Sarfati raises the issue that two scientists of differing worldviews can look at the same evidence and come to remarkably different conclusions. In fact, this is the linchpin of Darwin’s culture-shift teaching. Where evolutionists see various evidences for common ancestry among living organisms, Sarfati points out that creationists see the same evidence supporting the biblical record of origins.
Heavily illustrated, the book also has a handy summary at the end of each chapter.
This is one of the most important books this year for biblical Christians.