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Richard Dawkins's Selective Courage

I've noted in the past that Richard Dawkins is very forthcoming with arguments, insults, and bullying directed at non-scientists and especially folks who adhere to Biblical creationism, even as he is notably hesitant about engaging scientists who advocate intelligent design and who would present him with the evidence of purpose and design in life. Even a fellow atheist has called Dawkins a coward for refusing to debate Center for Science & Culture fellow William Lane Craig.

In fact, Dawkins simply refuses to properly confront the arguments for ID -- never mind in the high-stress context of a public debate but even in the safety of his own books, where he also prefers to lambaste creationists. In this he's a lot like other prominent champions of Darwinism.

Now in a very different context, Dr. Dawkins is being called out as being somewhat less than heroic. He is of course a great fountain of abuse and contempt for Judaism and Christianity, but were you ever curious about what he'd say if somebody queried him on the merits of Islam?

Well, it happened. Douglas Murray writes in the Jewish Chronicle:

In a recent Al-Jazeerah interview, Richard Dawkins was asked his views on God. He argued that the god of "the Old Testament" is "hideous" and "a monster," and reiterated his claim from The God Delusion that the God of the Torah is the most unpleasant character "in fiction." Asked if he thought the same of the God of the Koran, Dawkins ducked the question, saying: "Well, um, the God of the Koran I don't know so much about."

How can it be that the world's most fearless atheist, celebrated for his strident opinions on the Christian and Jewish Gods, could profess to know so little about the God of the Koran? Has he not had the time? Or is Professor Dawkins simply demonstrating that most crucial trait of his species: survival instinct.

Two cheers for Al-Jazeerah for posing the question. That is delicious. Clearly, the risk-averse Dr. Dawkins knows what's good for him. You can spend all your time railing in public against "hideous" and "monstrous" Christian and Jewish beliefs without fearing for a moment for your safety. Some members of other faiths would be less easygoing.