Apologetics Articles Atheism
Richard Dawkins and the “Nothing Butters”
Nov 24, 2009
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Atheists and evolutionists do not like to be compared to people like Adolf Hitler. Of course, I don’t blame them. Just because someone shares a similar ideology with a tyrant in one area does not mean that he shares everything that tyrant did. It’s not that atheists generally are any more immoral than religious people because of their atheist beliefs, it’s that they can’t account for the validity of their moral choices or even what constitutes morality given the fact that “for hundreds of millions of years, multicelled animals have been emerging, competing, fighting, killing, parasitizing, torturing, suffering, and going extinct.”[1] Were these actions by multicelled animals morally wrong in their struggle for survival? If they weren’t then, then why are they morally wrong now? It’s a simple question that deserves an answer.

The History Channel is running a series called “WW II in HD.” In an advertisement for the series, a WW II soldier states that he entered the war a believer in God, but after looking into the opened eyes of a dead soldier he became an atheist. At that movement, his moral aversion to war should have ended. He was staring into the light receptors of a bag of meat and bones that had short circuited, just one of millions of “multicelled animals” that died at the hands of other bags of meat and bones that still had their electrical circuitry operating. There is no morality to it all; it’s evolution in action. The strong survived similar to the way multicelled creatures survived billions of years ago in the soup of life after the Big Bang.

Atheist Richard Dawkins “regards belief in a God who does not exist as the root of all evil.” Of course, there is no way to prove that God does not exist, and given his understanding of how the world came into being, he can’t account for an entity that he calls “evil.” If “Nature, red in tooth and claw” got us to this place, then who is to say that the same methods of survival are no longer in operation from this point forward? Dawkins says as much:

In the universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, and other people are going to get lucky; and you won’t find any rhyme or reason to it, nor any justice. The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is at the bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good. Nothing but blind pitiless indifference. As that unhappy poet A. E. Houseman put it:

For nature, heartless, witless Nature

Will neither know nor care.

DNA neither knows nor cares. DNA just is, and we dance to its music.[2]

Some soldiers are going to get hurt, and other soldiers are going to get lucky. That’s the way life is. There is no reason for any of it.

Consider Francis Crick, co-discoverer with James Watson of DNA’s double helix structure. In his book The Astonishing Hypothesis, Crick describes humans as “nothing but a pack of neurons”: “The Astonishing Hypothesis is that ‘You,’ your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules. As Lewis Carroll’s Alice might have phrased it, ‘You’re nothing but a pack of neurons.’”[3]

The “Nothing Butters” are rampant in the world of atheism. Philosopher Daniel Dennett presupposes that “the mind is somehow nothing but a physical phenomenon.”[4] Dawkins assures us that the universe is “nothing but blind pitiless indifference.” Crick tops it off with we’re “nothing but a pack of neurons.” If we are all “nothing butters,” why is it wrong for white “nothing butters” to own and sell black "nothing butters"?[5]

Dawkins blames religion for the world’s evils. He said as much in 1997: “I think a case can be made that faith is one of the world’s great evils, comparable to the small pox virus but harder to eradicate.”[6] Adolf Hitler said something similar: “The reason why the ancient world was so pure, light, and serene was that it knew nothing of the two great scourges: the pox and Christianity.”[7] Richard Dembski emailed Dawkins to ask him if he was aware of the Hitler quotation and if he had come up with his version independently. Dawkins stated the following:

You ask whether I was aware of the Hitler quote when I made my own statement. The answer is no, but I have become aware of it more recently in the course of investigating Hitler’s religious beliefs.[8]

Dawkins goes on to write that it is “‘ludicrous’ to suggest ‘that Hitler, Stalin and Mao were motivated by atheism in committing their atrocities.’”[9] The Anti-Defamation League has argued in a similar way in its review of the movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed:

The film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed misappropriates the Holocaust and its imagery as a part of its political effort to discredit the scientific community which rejects so-called intelligent design theory. Hitler did not need Darwin to devise his heinous plan to exterminate the Jewish people and Darwin and evolutionary theory cannot explain Hitler’s genocidal madness. Using the Holocaust in order to tarnish those who promote the theory of evolution is outrageous and trivializes the complex factors that led to the mass extermination of European Jewry.

The author of this statement is involved in a bit of sleight of hand. Technically it’s true that “Hitler did not need Darwin to devise his heinous plan to exterminate the Jewish people.” Murder has been with us since Cain murdered Abel. The history of the Jewish people is a history of persecution. On this point, history is on the side of the ADL. But here’s the problem for advocates of evolution, and the ADL is an advocate of evolution: There is no inherent, built-in, fixed moral brake for an evolutionist like Dawkins. Science has declared that evolution is the mechanism for the origin and continuation of life. Evolution knows nothing of morality. Robby Kossmann, a German zoologist who later became a medical professor, expresses a proto-Nazi view in his 1880 essay, “The Importance of the Life of an Individual in the Darwinian World View”:

[T]he Darwinian world view must look upon the present sentimental conception of the value of the life of a human individual as an overestimate completely hindering the progress of humanity. The human state also, like every animal community of individuals, must reach an even higher level of perfection, if the possibility exists in it, through the destruction of the less well-endowed individual, for the more excellently endowed to win the space for the expansion of its progeny. . . . The state only has an interest in preserving the more excellent life at the expense of the less excellent.[10]

There is no doubt that Hitler imbibed the social implications of Darwinism; it had a long history in Germany as Richard Weikart shows in his book From Darwin to Hitler. Some will say that Hitler and others “hijacked” Darwinism since there is nothing inherent in evolution that logically leads to anti-Semitism. Certainly Darwin was no anti-Semite, and I suspect that he was no Marxist either, and yet it was Karl Marx who wrote the following to Friedrich Engels: “Although developed in a course English manner, this is the book that contains the foundation in natural history for our view.”[11]

In the final analysis, whether evolution had been hijacked or not is hardly the issue. Evolution is a malleable worldview that can be shaped to support any worldview since there was no morality in the pre-biotic soup. There is no moral “ought” in evolution. At death, Adolf Hitler and all the righteous Gentiles who risked their lives to save Jews are morally equal. There are no negative or positive sanctions for their actions. They are “nothing but” dust.

Given the above claims by Dawkins, and similar statements by other Darwinists, there cannot be any debate over what is moral or immoral. All atheistic scientists can do is record what Hitler did. They can’t make a moral judgment one way or the other. One more Dawkins quotation might help: “Natural selection is a deeply nasty process. . . . Human super niceness is a perversion of Darwinism because, in a wild population, it would be removed by natural selection. . . . From a rational choice point of view, or from a Darwinian point of view, human super niceness is just plain dumb.”[12] So if there’s a thief sitting in jail waiting for his trial to commence, he might want to see if he can line up Richard Dawkins as an expert witness for his defense since, according to Dawkins, "DNA neither knows nor cares," and we’re nothing but DNA.

Endnotes:

[1] William A. Dembski, The End of Christianity: Finding a Good God in an Evil World (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2009), 49.
[2]
Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life (New York: Basic Books, 1996), 133.
[3]
Francis Crick, The Astonishing Hypothesis (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995), 1. See Daniel Voll, “Soul Searching with Francis Crick,” Omni (February 1994), 46. Also quoted in Jay Tolson, “Is There Room for the Soul?,”U.S. News & World Report (October 23, 2006), 60.
[4] Quoted in David Gelman, et al., “Is the Mind an Illusion?,” Newsweek (April 20, 1992), 71.
[5]
Adapted from If we are all biological accidents, why shouldn’t the white accidents own and sell the black accidents?” (James Scott Bell, The Darwin Conspiracy [Gresham, OR: Vision House, 1995], 64).
[6]
Richard Dawkins, “Is Science a Religion?,” The Humanist 57 (January/February 1997), 26.
[7]
Quoted in Dembski, The End of Christianity, 4. Dembski references the following source: Hitler’s Table Talk (1941–1943) as presented in Alan Bullock’s Hitler: A Study in Tyranny, rev. ed. (New York: Harper & Row, 1964), 672. Also see Bullock, Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1992), 725: “The heaviest blow that ever struck humanity was the coming of Christianity. Bolshevism is Christianity’s illegitimate child. Both are inventions of the Jew. The deliberate lie in religion was introduced into the world by Christianity” (Hitler).
[8]
Dembski, The End of Christianity, 198, note 15.
[9] Dawkins cited by Dembski in The End of Christianity, 198, note 15.
[10]
Quoted in Richard Weikart, From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics, and Racism in Germany (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), 2.
[11]
Marx to Engels (December 19, 1860) in Marx-Engels Werke (Berlin, 1959), 30:131. Quoted in Weikart, From Darwin to Hitler, 4.
[12]
http://richarddawkins.net/article,20,Atheists-for-Jesus,Richard-Dawkins

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About author

Gary DeMar

Gary is a graduate of Western Michigan University (1973) and earned his M.Div. at Reformed Theological Seminary in 1979. He is the author of countless essays, news articles, and more than 27 book titles, His most recent book is Exposing the Real Last Days Scoffers. Gary lives in Marietta, Georgia, with his wife, Carol. They have two married sons and four grandchildren, Gary and Carol are members of Midway Presbyterian Church (PCA).

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