Sunday, February 18, 2007

Alistair McGrath's Critique of Dawkins "The God Delusion"

Alistair McGrath is a remarkable person. He has PhDs in Theology and also in Molecular Bio-Physics. He is currently a Professor of public science at Oxford. In this lecture he is critiquing his fellow Oxfordian Richard Dawkins Here is the link. See what you think.

http://www.citychurchsf.org/openforum/Audio/OF_Alister_McGrath.mp3

17 comments:

Sarah said...

The proper term is actually Oxonian. Interesting that McGrath also holds a chair for science. When I was at Oxford I knew him only in the theology sphere (as a Prof @ Wycliffe Hall). In any case, thanks for the link.

Oh, I am also curious to know if you have read any of McGrath's Scientific Theology and, if so, what are your thoughts?

David Williamson said...

Actually, the professorships are the wrong way round. Dawkins is the Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science.

McGrath's title is "Professor of Historical Theology at Oxford University".

AM's a brilliant thinker and a splendid writer. Can't recommend him highly enough!

Ben Witherington said...

I have read a fair bit of Alistair's stuff, but not his Scientific Theology. I will have to put it on the to do list. Thanks David for the correction.

Ben W.

Allan R. Bevere said...

Ben:

Thanks for the link. Wonderful!

Ben Witherington said...

Sarah, I was just reflecting on how much context matters. If I told Americans that my friend Alistair was an Oxonian professor, they would either not have a clue what I meant, or they would Google the word Oxon and then wonder why he was a professor of a river! You can see my dilemma.

Ben

Sarah said...

Heh, yea I guess I can see your point. Although I was not referring to the "Oxford Professor" part of the sentence, but that of the "Oxfordian." By that point the context would already be pretty well-established. In any case, I just wanted to let you know in case you didn't already :)

Sarah said...

Actually (in my curiosity), I just looked up 'Oxon,' and it says 'of Oxford,' making no mention of a river!

thunderbeard said...

I've listened to this two or three times over the past few months. It's great. And not only that, but it's great to see a church doing something like this on a regular basis (they also have lectures/forums with N.T. Wright and Lauren Winner).

Curious Presbyterian said...

Also, Ben, his Christian name is Alister, not Alistair. Americans also very often pronounce his surname incorrectly. He is Alister "Ma-gra", not Alister "Ma-Grath" -- never mind the hideous Alister "Mac-Grath"!

The American person introducing McGrath in this audio is one of many who pronounce his surname incorrectly.

Ben Witherington said...

Right you are Mr. Presbyterian-- I have one too many Alistir/tairs as friends-- I was thinking of Alistair MacIntyre

James Garth said...

I can't recommend McGrath highly enough - he is a pleasure to read, is sensible and reasonable, and presents quite possibly the best publically available critique of Dawkins' predominantly straw man antitheistic arguments. I hope to meet McGrath when he comes down to Australia in September to give a lecture on "The Bankruptcy of Scientific Atheism" - can't wait!! :)

Speaking of Dawkins... I wonder whether he realises yet how much angst and embarrassment his highly rhetorical approach is causing within his own 'camp' as well as with thinking theists and agnostics. When atheist Professor Michael Ruse declares that "The God Delusion" makes him embarrassed to be an atheist, one would hope that maybe, just maybe, this might give Dawkins thought to pause and perhaps reconsider his approach...

Personally, I have always found J.L.Mackie and Keith Parsons to offer far more respectable and consistent arguments for atheism than anything that's come out of Dawkins in recent years.

shadow said...

Well, Cambridge (yes, that university in the UK) graduates are termed, even more obscurely, "Cantabrigians"!

shadow

John Dickson said...

Just a small correction: I think you'll find that Alister McGrath pronounces the 'th' in his name--I have heard him say it several times.

Richard said...

Ben,

Found your blog via google. I heard McGrath at Border's in Oxford tonight on "The God Delusion." 150 people standing at Border's to hear a theologian commends Oxford to the rest of us. BTW, it is Alasdair MacIntire, I think!

Richard H.

Roger M. said...

Hello Ben,

How silly that people found the need to argue the point about such ridiculous irrelevancies such as how Alister McGrath is spelt and pronounced. Also the comment regarding 'Oxonian' was irrelevant and purile. I enjoy the work of both Alister and yourself. It's great to listen to well-educated, thinking Christian scholars.

Roger, Queensland, Australia.

Gary said...

Interesting
http://richdawkins.blogspot.com/

jc said...

If this Alistair is the best theist can come out with ...you are doomed men. You have to recognize that rational debate is not your strength. I've read some apologetic stuff from McGRath and found no response for Dawkins reasonable arguments, not scientific arguments, nor philosophical. Not even political. In our time, when the great religions compete for "the most destructive" award, it is good to say long live R. Dawkins. If God exists he's a murderer.