By now, most people have heard of the world famous atheist Richard Dawkins. For someone whose area of expertise is supposed to be biology, Dr. Dawkins has become a very vocal proponent of atheism. He takes pride in his unflattering descriptions of the God of the Bible. He is actually gleeful when he has an opportunity to repeat his demeaning characterization of the God of Israel as noted in his interview with Ben Stein. This conversation is on display for all to see in the documentary “Expelled” (Miller, Stein & Ruloff, 2008). In addition to his anti-Jehovah diatribes, Dawkins is known for his caustic wit and his insulting characterizations that reflect poorly on all people of faith. He seems especially focused on Jews and Christians, being on record concerning his apparent dislike for the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, a supreme Deity in whom he claims not to believe.
This time the uproar is over a tweet. For those who, like me, are only marginally involved in social media, a tweet is a short text message that is sent using a Twitter account. What was Dawkin’s latest outrage? Within the context of discussing abortion, and whether or not a fetus can feel pain, Dr. Dawkins tweeted, “With respect to those meanings of ‘human’ that are relevant to the morality of abortion, any fetus is less human than an adult pig,” (Zaimov, 2013).
To his credit, Dawkins did say he believed that a neonate’s ability to feel pain should trump a mother’s right to chose to abort her unborn child. Still, it is apparent that Dawkins was not discussing a first or second trimester baby. He was talking about a near to full term infant. I find it very interesting that Dr. Dawkins chooses to ignore certain facts that, as a biologist, he should be acutely aware of. First, he evidently rejects the concept that life begins at conception. Secondly, Dawkins ignores the evidence concerning fetal pain. For more than 25 years, researchers have known that a baby in the womb can feel pain.
In 1984, Bernard Nathanson, an obstetrician and abortion provider turned pro-life activist, produced a film entitled the Silent Scream. This documentary depicted an ultrasound of an abortion in progress. During the abortion procedure, the fetus is described as appearing to make outcries of pain and discomfort. Although many pro-abortion proponents immediately criticized the film as misleading, modern technology has proven that the film accurately portrays the death of a 12-week-old fetus in vivo. It is fact that at 20 weeks (second trimester), approximately halfway through the pregnancy, the fetal brain has been developing the nerve centers dedicated to the baby’s senses. With advances in modern technology, it becomes evident that life begins at conception and a child can indeed feel pain very early in its neonatal development.
What should we, who believe that God is the life-giver, say to those who agree with Dr. Dawkins? First and foremost, we should tell those who deny the Creator that although they lack faith in Him, He still sent His Son, the Messiah, to pay the price for the sin of their arrogant unbelief. He did this so they could be forgiven and receive everlasting life through the atoning sacrifice of God’s Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth. Anyone who truly understands the grace of God will also know that God wants to redeem the lost and that includes Dr. Dawkins.
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance, II Peter 3:9.
In closing, there is something that amuses me about Dr. Dawkins. For someone who says he does not believe in God, he spends an awful lot of time denigrating God. He goes to great lengths to ridicule faith in a supreme Being, often going so far as to compare the Creator of the universe to a flying spaghetti monster. Still, Dawkins seems obsessed even to the point of being fixated on God. After all, he seems incapable of controlling his anger often venting his wrath towards a Being that he repeatedly and emphatically claims does not exist.
Miller, K., Stein, B., & Ruloff, W. (2008). Ben Stein versus Richard Dawkins interview (In Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed). “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.” Accessed 3.22.13.
Zaimov, Stoyan (2013). Richard Dawkins Claims Unborn Children Are ‘Less Human’ Than Pigs; Stirs Firestorm. Christian Post online March 14, 2013. Accessed 3.22.13.