Atheism, Arrogance, and Intellectual Vice

imagesThis past June in Vancouver, the atheists Lawrence Krauss and Richard Dawkins were recorded speaking about the despicable (Christian philosopher and theologian) William Lane Craig at the Imagine No Religion 5 Conference. As I listened to this brief (less than 3 minute) rant, I was amazed at the arrogance of the two. It was a brief window into a not often enough talked about aspect of some within the new atheist movement: smug arrogance and a corresponding intellectual viciousness.

Krauss begins by noting that he had recently debated this “creepy guy” named William Lane Craig.

As Krauss and Dawkins continued to talk about Craig they feed off each other.

Dawkins: “I can’t stand listening to him”

Dawkins: He is a “pompous pedant…. (mimicking Craig) “Premise 1,” “Premise 2,” “Consequently”… (back in his own voice:) ”He pretends he is doing logic.”

The video, which you can watch below, is difficult to watch if taken seriously. In reality is it very sad. Krauss and Dawkins are so sure of themselves and their position that they have resorted to mocking one of the most widely respected authorities and defenders of the truth of Christianity. They do this in the name of “evidence” ridiculing Craig for his wimpy beliefs in God.

In this case, I think their intellectual pride has become a vice, preventing them from seeing the evidence there is for God in its proper light. In fact, this pride and arrogance actually diminishes their chances at finding the truth about God in a number of important ways:

  • Pride may prevent them from noticing relevant positive evidence for God (because they are so convinced of their atheism).
  • Pride may blind them to the significance of the positive evidence which they do take note of (if you have any doubts, just read Dawkins chapter on the “Arguments for God’s Existence” in his book The God Delusion. I was embarrassed for him as I read this).
  • Pride may keep them from accurately assessing the weaknesses and objections to the atheistic case given their near blind allegiance to its truth.


What I would like to see from Krauss and Dawkins (and do see from many atheists) is a genuine openness to the possibility that God exists. If God in fact exists, as I believe, then genuine openness seems to be the best posture for finding out the truth of his existence. A posture of genuine openness, however, requires intellectual humility, something sorely lacking from at least these two atheists.

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