Last week I finally presented my talk on "What Dawkins Got Wrong" to the UWA Atheist and Agnostic Society, which was previously postponed due to my broken ankle. The talk was derived mainly from Wielenberg's paper titled "Dawkins's Gambit, Hume's Aroma, and God's Simplicity".
Previously I agreed with Dawkin's central argument in his book "The God Delusion" as I shared a similar, heavily scientific world-view. As time has gone and I've read a lot more in philosophy, I now no longer believe that Dawkin's presented the best possible case for atheism, which, in my opinion, is a shame. After I read the paper by Wielenberg, I agreed with the critics of Dawkins who argue that Dawkins attacks an almost straw-man like God.
My intention in giving the talk was to open people up to a different way of thinking and I can't say I succeeded in this task. I learned that not everyone shares an appreciation of philosophy and it was difficult to remember back to the time when I agreed with the masses. I wasn't able to elucidate the reasons why I changed my mind - at least not convincingly in my opinion.
Many of the counter-objections I faced were similar in nature to a discussion at Common Sense Atheism, which also provided another source for my case against Dawkins.
It's perhaps too harsh to suggest that Dawkins got things wrong (sensational headlines usually attract audiences), but he didn't present the best arguments as to why one should be an atheist, which of course gives his critics and detractors plenty of room to manoeuvre. It's also a particularly pernicious aspect of Dawkins argumentative style that he tends to over state his case. (Yes, my irony detector is buzzing like crazy)