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.


How society should change if evolution is true

The beginning and development of the universe and all life, we are told, was through natural evolution.
No churches if evolution trueIt was a random process that took millions of years. Yet we are assured that it is a scientific fact. Evolution is the exact opposite of supernatural creation where God planned it all with a purpose and did it in 6 days.

If evolution is true without a shadow of a doubt, society should have changed in the following ways:


No amount of creation make-belief will convince Christians that the Bible is true. They will realise that there is no God, Jesus, or Holy Spirit. Churches would have closed a few years after Darwin published his book in 1859. So it was unnecessary to train ministers and evangelists. Theological colleges closed. Theological books and Bibles were burnt or recycled. Former ministers  of the Gospel changed to whatever job they found, because there were no active churches.


There will be no debates between hated creationists and highly trained evolutionary scientists (it will save a lot of time). Scientists will be able to concentrate on science. There will be no evolutionary biologists and geneticists. They no longer need to vindicate Darwin, because he triumphed, and evolution is as much a fact of life as gravity.


People like Richard Dawkins will be jobless, because there will be no need to evangelise for atheism. All people will automatically, by default, be atheists. ‘Religion’ will not be an issue. So nobody will write books that there is no God.


Museums won’t need to organise and display special programs to teach evolution. National Geographic won’t need to make nature programs to ‘sell’ evolution to the masses. Organisations like the National Centre for Science Education that protect evolution against criticism, will not exist.


Oh, it will be so wonderful without a God. There will be no more terrible wars by the Christians, and no more persecution of honest evolutionists who are harassed by ‘creationists.’ 1 There will be no problems, crime, or anything that disturb the peace and happiness in the atheistic Utopia. People will just live and enjoy a life without accountability.


This scenario has not arrived, so maybe evolution is not as true as they want us to believe. In the meantime, Bible believers are urged by atheists and evolutionists not to despair. Christianity is a faith without evidence, while evolution has evidence. The Bible teaches that what you say about others, might apply to yourself.2  In this instance it is very true: it is not Biblical faith that is without evidence (the Bible is history written down by eye-witnesses), evolution is a faith in things that no one has ever seen. It is without evidence.


Question: If evolution is a fact, why does it regard Biblical creation as its enemy?


  1. R Dawkins, The Greatest Show on Earth, Bantam Press, 2009, p 15, ‘The plight of science teachers today is not less dire.  When they attempt to expound the central and guiding principle of biology; when they honestly place the living world in its historical context – which means evolution; when they explore and explain the very nature of life itself, they are harried and stymied, hassled and bullied, even threatened with loss of their jobs.’
  2. Romans 2:1, ‘You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.’


Did Caesar Augustus live?

Caesar Augustus lived from 63 BC – 14 AD. He was the head of the Roman empire (27 BC – 14 AD). C Augustus, credit Bibi Saint-Pol: Wikimedia C 2He was an excellent emperor and his times were known as the Pax Romana (the Roman peace). Yet nobody living today, or anybody since about 100 AD, has seen him. So, how do we know he lived?


There are sculptures of him, as well as buildings he erected. Historians like Nicholas of Damascus, Dio Cassius, Plutarch, Tacitus, Cicero and others, wrote about him.Some of his own writings also survived. So we have a fairly accurate history of his life. We are also familiar with Rome, Italy, and the conquests of the Romans in various countries. Thus, even if nobody now living has seen him, there is little doubt that he existed.


He even had his share of critics. Some were his contemporaries, but most wrote long after his death, like Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), Thomas Gordon (1658-1741), and Thomas Blackwell (1701-1757). Although they never met him personally, they criticised him based on historical documents.


Caesar Augustus is mentioned in the Bible. He issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.2 He was also a patron of Herod the Great and made him king of the Jews. That is why Herod was so disturbed when he heard a king of the Jews had been born. So he decided to kill him.3


A few of the other Roman emperors are also mentioned in the Bible: Augustus’ son, Tiberius Caesar (14-37AD),Claudius, the fourth emperor (excluding Julius Caesar),5  Nero (54-68).6  The apostle Paul, charged by the Jews, appealed to the court of Caesar (Nero), expecting a fair trial.7


No historian, or anyone else denies the existence of the Caesars. One of the books that discuss the Caesars is is that of I Lissner. 8 However, when it comes to Jesus, people deny that He existed. It is true that there are no busts or statues of Him, but there are many reliable historical documents that testify that He lived. The difference is that Jesus was more than a historical person. He was God, therefore He has to do with life after death. So to acknowledge the possible existence of Jesus is too dangerous for skeptics. They claim to be reasonable people, so they have to ‘delete dangerous history.’


For example, well known atheists like P Boghossian,9 Guy P Harrison,10 and Richard Dawkins,11 ignore reliable documents that testify that the Bible is true history. It seems as if they are history deniers.


Question: if you accept that Caesar Augustus was a real historical figure and not just a myth, what is the difference between the eyewitness accounts about Augustus and those about Jesus?



  1. Wikipedia and the Catholic Encyclopaedia
  2. Luke 2:1
  3. Matthew 2:1-8, 13-18
  4. Luke 3:1
  5. Acts 11:28; 18:1
  6. Acts 25:8
  7. Acts 25:11
  8. I Lissner, Power and Folly, the Story of the Caesars, translated by J M Brownjohn, Jonathan Cape 30, Bedford Square, 1958
  9. P Boghossian, A Manual for Creating Atheists, Pitchstone Publishing, 2013
  10. Guy P Harrison, 50 Simple Questions to Ask A Christian, Prometheus Books, 2013. Kindle Edition
  11. Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, Bantam Press, 2006
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