Biologist Richard Dawkins and theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss are the stars of the new documentary “The Unbelievers”. Given that these two prominent atheists are the main features of the upcoming documentary, it is likely that it will stir up the atheistic scene as Bill Maher’s “Religulous” did but on a much grander scale. The reason why I believe this movie will have more of an influence is because Dawkins and Krauss disguise their philosophies with the notion that “science rids the possibility of God” while Maher did not really make a substantive point at all. Maher simply tries to make religion looks ridiculous, hence the name of his documentary.
Before discussing the documentary, I wanted to provide a couple of videos of debates that Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss have been involved in. Below is a debate between Lawrence Krauss and William Lane Craig…
Below is a debate between Richard Dawkins and John Lennox…
While these videos are quite long, if you are interested in knowing more about the scientific/philosophic/theological stances of Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss, these videos would provide you with insights concerning their perspective.
Concerning the documentary, Richard Dawkins states towards the beginning of the trailer, “Science is wonderful. Science is beautiful. Religion is not wonderful. Religion is not beautiful. It gets in the way.” The main presupposition of this documentary is that science and religion are incompatible. In these debates that I have linked above, this presupposition is highly criticized along with many of their philosophical approaches to interpreting science.
For example, Lawrence Krauss believes the world could have begun at the cause of nothing. I have written on this topic specifically in an earlier article, http://worldviewofjesus.com/2012/06/14/the-redefinition-of-nothing / Krauss outlines his theory in his book titled, “A Universe from Nothing”. As I have lain out in my article, Krauss redefines “nothing” to mean “something” in his book. When he says nothing, he refers to what is called the quantum vacuum where virtual particles seemingly come into existence out of nothing. To the untutored mind, this might sound like an excellent solution to why the universe is in existence. However, what about those that question how the quantum vacuum came to exist in the first place? The quantum vacuum could not produce a universe if the universe had not begun to produce the quantum vacuum. The quantum vacuum is contingent upon the existence of the universe, not vice versa. Labeling “nothing” as the quantum vacuum in order to mislead people into believing that the universe can come into being from the traditional definition of nothing (meaning: “no thing”) is dishonest scholarship.
On the other hand, Dawkins is a poor philosopher. He worships science and advocates for scientism. In his mind, any and all answers can derive from science. In his book, “The God Delusion”, his primary argument against theism is that there could not be a God because we do not know who created God. I have written on this topic in an earlier article, http://worldviewofjesus.com/2013/02/02/the-designers-designer-objection/ Outside of his fallacious reasoning against the possibility of theism, he is a militant atheist. In fact, he feels that sharing your spiritual beliefs with your children is a form of child abuse.
While much can be said and has been said about the militant atheistic underpinnings that prohibit their worldview from accepting any form of the supernatural, my fear is that this militant atheism will be fueled by this documentary. I see that they have invited celebrities into their documentary to apparently add credibility or influence to their documentary. These stars include Ricky Gervais, Ian McEwan, Adam Savage, Woody Allen, Cameron Diaz, Sarah Silverman, Bill Pullman, Eddie Izzard, and Penn Jillette. It still confuses me why any serious filmmaker who is trying to conduct a documentary about the significant topic of religion and science would interview individuals who are clearly ignorant in these fields.
Lastly, one of the last statements in this trailer says, “That’s what I get from these guys. A permission to question everything” I have a feeling that is not the goal of this documentary. If you have read their works or listened to them speak, you would likely realize that they are not achieving open-mindedness. They are restricted by their own worldview. The comparison can be made that they are comparable to a fundamentalist theist in the realm of atheism. They tout their intellect and scoff at the idea of a creator because they feel science and religion are incompatible because science trumps the concept of God. This is patently false. Over the last century of scientific findings, the concept of God has only been strengthened. These individuals choose to be atheists by choice due to an ideological compulsion, not an evidential one.
As Christians, we should acknowledge that this documentary will influence people towards atheism. Not on the basis of empirical evidence but on the basis of ideological influence. People will hear these two very smart guys saying things that are anti-religion while saying things that are pro-science. Personally, I am pro-science. I love science however I do not subscribe to scientism and take the position that it can answer all of life’s fundamental questions. If the documentary mirrors the past work of Dawkins and Krauss, it will likely turn out to be dishonest and misleading.