Outgrowing God? Why Sometimes Good Scientists Make for Bad Historians

Richard Dawkins’ latest book Outgrowing God: A Beginner’s Guide is soon to be released, guaranteed to create a stir.  The retired Oxford evolutionary biologist, and author of The God Delusion, is best known scientifically for introducing the concept of a meme, an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture.

Dawkins has arguably made important contributions to science, but that does not necessarily make him the best historian. George Heath-Whyte is a PhD student at Oxford, studying Assyriology, investigating the Ancient Near East history of Babylon, during the Old Testament era. The British periodical, The Spectator, features an article entitled, “If Richard Dawkins loves facts so much, why can’t he get them right?” The article quotes a Twitter tweet thread, written by George Heath-Whyte, pointing out a whole list of historical errors made by the well-known evolutionary biologist, Dawkins.  The tweet starts off with ‘Reading new book “Outgrowing God”, and as an Assyriologist I’ve had a couple of major face-palms moments,’ and then goes on from there.

Lesson learned? Just because you have demonstrated yourself to be an extraordinarily capable scientist does not mean that you are also an expert in history (or theology). Dawkins would have never passed the Old Testament class I took in seminary.

Perhaps Richard Dawkins might learn a thing or two, if he would read the history blog, History for Atheists, by Tim O’Neill. As an atheist, blog writer Tim O’Neill can not be successfully accused of being a crypto-Christian. O’Neill does know what he is talking about.

The Cosmic Skeptic, an atheist YouTuber, interviewed Richard Dawkins about the new book. Below is Oxford mathematician, and evangelical Christian, John Lennox debating Richard Dawkins several years ago.

UPDATE: September 26, 2019

Not only can you be a good scientist, and still be a bad historian, you can also be a bad ethicist. If you are looking for a good 5-minute answer, as to why Richard Dawkins’ worldview is corrupt, you would do no better than to listen to this clip from Jordan Peterson:

About Clarke Morledge

Clarke Morledge -- Computer Network Engineer, College of William and Mary... I hiked the Mount of the Holy Cross, one of the famous Colorado Fourteeners, with some friends in July, 2012. My buddy, Mike Scott, snapped this photo of me on the summit. View all posts by Clarke Morledge

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