Richard Dawkins and the failed prayer experiment

In his book, The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins describes an experiment to prove whether prayer is effective or not.Dawkins and first life The conclusion was that prayer is useless.1  He positively gloats over it. One experiment has conclusively proven that prayer does not work.


One would expect that Dr Dawkins would apply the same criterion when it comes to evolution. He is an atheist, and sincerely believes evolution is a fact according to his book, The Greatest Show on Earth.2   It is logical that if evolution is true, one experiment should prove the natural beginning of life on earth. The Miller-Urey experiment did not prove it. With the discovery of DNA, a new field opened up and many experiments on the origin of life have been done and hypotheses advanced, like the RNA world, et cetera. They all failed. 3


Does that mean Dawkins let go of his idea that evolution is true? No. One failed experiment on prayer is reason for absolute joy, because God is either dead or deaf.  However to conclude from failed experiments on the origin of life, that evolution is not true, is sacrilege. It would be idiotic to reason like that. Different criteria apply. Consistency is deplorable.


He is clever though. He made provision for an escape route. He said, ‘We don’t actually need a plausible theory of the origin of life, and we might even be a little bit anxious if a too plausible theory were to be discovered.’ 4  It is foresight to warn people that the chances are very slim that there is a natural origin of life. Yet he assures them that they give the problem their full attention and are working on it. It is like the palaeontologist who said that the fossil record is not important in Darwinism. 5 That is because the fossils fail to support Darwin’s idea.


Dawkins was voted one of the top intellectuals by Prospect Magazine.One can see why he is an intellectual. When it comes to the Bible, it is ‘myth, myth, myth.’ When it comes to evolution, it is ‘fact, fact, fact.’  Failed experiments on the origin of life mean nothing, but a single failed prayer experiment is meaningful. The reason the natural beginning of life is such a problem is because of DNA. To create an intelligent code in the laboratory, like DNA, is impossible. From human experience we know that only intelligence can create codes, instruction manuals or recipes (which is what DNA is).


Does Dawkins give up on evolution after the failed experiments (not experiment, experiments)? Not at all, he is thoroughly convinced evolution is fact.  Why doesn’t he apply the same criterium to evolution as to the Bible? You must be kidding. That would threaten his own faith in Darwin, and that cannot be allowed.


Richard Dawkins explains to us why atheists are reasonable, logical, honest people.



  1. R Dawkins, The God Delusion, Bantam Press, 2006, p 61-66.
  2. R Dawkins, The Greatest Show on Earth, Bantam Press, 2009, p 416-422.
  3. Black smokers, thermal hot springs, comet shockwaves, RNA world, self organisation: D O’Leary, Origin of Life, Could it all have come together in one very special place, March 12, 2014,
  4. Reference 2, p 421.
  5. M Ridley, New Scientist 90:830 (1981), cited by D Gish, Creation Scientists Answer their Critics, Institute for Creation Research, 1993, p 113.
  6. Back page, The God Delusion.


The most exciting journey of our lives

As firm believers in the Bible and God, we might be accused of rejecting evolution a priori. The quest: did Darwin burn the Bible?  copy This has the implicit accusation that we did not investigate the evidence for evolution. No, we rejected it because of our faith in the Scriptures and our investigation of the ‘science’ of evolution. Our attitude is the same as Luke’s who wrote, …since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus [reader].1 Orderly, here, does not imply a precise textbook account. It means giving Theophilus an idea about the life of Jesus, His Kingdom and what that means. In our day, it includes thorough research into the claims of evolution, and how they pertain to the Bible.


In the way I grew up there was nothing that influenced me to be a Christian, or to think that the Bible is a special book. When I became a follower of Jesus, my understanding was limited to the Gospel message: Jesus died for my sins.


After about 30 years as a believer, I got the impression that I must rent out my business and investigate what the complete Bible is about. This started the most exciting journey of our lives. It included the origins question. Either God supernaturally created the universe and all life in six days, or it evolved naturally by chance over billions and millions of years. Whichever a person believes, has a huge influence on his view of the Bible.


Our study of the Bible and evolution stretched over 12 years. It was a long, but exhilarating journey to understanding. At times it was hard work, but it really was worth it. The conclusions we came to were not made on the spur of the moment, or because it was the right thing to do. I was always a person who didn’t take things for granted, but wanted to know what it is all about? That applied to the Bible and evolution. In this journey of investigation my wife and I worked and studied together. The development of our relationship and teamwork surprised us beyond our expectations.


Our contention is that the origin of the Bible is supernatural, and that its message is so important that the devil does all he can to prevent people from believing the Bible. One of his main strategies is the idea of evolution, and he has many eager people to spread the gospel of Darwin. Evolution as it is spread around the globe cannot have a natural origin. It has so many flaws it can only be explained by the work of God’s enemy, the devil. As such, evolution is one of the best contemporary proofs that the Bible is true. It is unreal that so much trouble is taken only to disprove Genesis 1.


Our conclusion is exactly the opposite of the character in Dan Brown’s book who said, It [the Bible] is the product of man, my dear, not of God.2   The Bible is just too ‘abnormal’ and different to be the work of man alone.


Some of the questions we want to discuss:

  1. Why is the creation account in Genesis 1 vital?3
  2. Why is evolution so important in our times?
  3. Why is  Darwin regarded almost as a god, and worshipped by millions? The connection between Darwin and atheism.
  4. Why is there a ‘war’ between creation and evolution?
  5. Is God and evolution compatible?
  6. The difference between operational science and evolution.


We will discuss these six questions, and in subsequent blogs expand on them.




  1. Luke 1:3
  2. Dan Brown, Da Vinci Code, Corgi books, 2004, p 312
  3. See blog, ‘How important is Genesis 1.’




Can evolution and creation by God be mixed?

In the Church there are teachers, lecturers, pastors and lay people who accept that evolution is science. HS inspired Bible, not DarwinSo, for them, Almighty God used evolution to create in six days (sorry, 600 million or more years). Can supernatural creation and natural evolution be mixed together?

To answer the question, let’s consult the expert in evolution, Francis Ayala who said, It was Darwin’s greatest accomplishment to show that the complex organisation and functionality of living beings can be explained as the result of a natural process – natural selection – without any need to resort to a Creator or other external agent…. The scientific account of these events does not necessitate recourse to a preordained plan, whether imprinted from the beginning or through successive interventions by an omniscient and almighty Designer….1

The title of his essay, Darwin’s Greatest Discovery: Design without a designer, says it all: there was no need for the Creator God. End of discussion. Natural selection (the creative ‘arm’ of evolution) happens naturally. It needs no assistance from God. In addition, evolution has no goal and no purpose. It just happened. It is the complete opposite of God, who designed the heavens and the earth for a reason, for a purpose, for an eternal Kingdom.

Now that we know Darwin banished God, why do some believers claim that God used evolution? The Bible is very clear, Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.2 People in the church believe that God used evolution (even if they are incompatible) because of the persistent propaganda of evolutionists. They label people who oppose evolution as science deniers and backwoodsmen.

The truth is the opposite. There is a paucity of proof for evolution. One rejects science if you believe evolution and then become a backwoodsman. As we will discuss in subsequent blogs, it is important to be aware of the facts of creation and evolution when you belong to a church. God says in Jeremiah 23:1, ‘Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture,’ declares the Lord. In a sense, we are all pastors and teachers. We should be careful not to lead the flock astray.

God has an enemy, the devil. He influences anybody willing to listen to his lies. One of his favourite questions to deceive people is, ‘Did God really create in six days?’ To mix God and evolution is not a solution. It is an insult to the omnipotent Creator. There is a price to pay for insulting God, If anyone is ashamed of Me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in His Father’s glory with the holy angels.3

Jesus affirmed that God is the Creator. ‘Haven’t you read,’ He replied, ‘that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female.…’ 4 Actually, Jesus Himself was the Creator.5

There is no compromise possible between the Creator God and Darwin. Darwin excluded God as Creator. Evolution destroys God’s omnipotence.

Question: What do you think?


  1. FJ Ayala, Darwin’s greatest discovery: Design without a designer, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 104 (May 15, 2007):8567-8573, cited by C Luskin, Unguided or Not, How do Darwinian Evolutionist Define Their Theory? August 11,
  2. Jeremiah 32:17
  3. Mark 8:38
  4. Matthew 29:4
  5. John 1:3; Hebrews 1:2; Colossians 1:16