Assyriologist George Heath-Whyte explains the errors in Richard Dawkins' new book

Richard Dawkins was asked by journalist Krishnan Guru-Murthy in an interview recently, “If you could change the world, how would you change it?” His answer was that he would rid us of “anything that’s not evidence-based, where factual knowledge is concerned”.

Unfortunately for Dawkins, that may mean he needs to start ripping pages from his new book.

I’m an Assyriologist, which means I study the languages, history, and cultures of ancient Mesopotamia (including Assyria and Babylonia, both in modern-day Iraq). I was reading Dawkins’ book “Outgrowing God”, wrinkling my nose at various dubious claims and assertions he had been making about topics I didn’t quite know quite enough about to pinpoint what smelt fishy, when I got to a paragraph that was actually about my own academic field – and that doesn’t happen very often as an Assyriologist! My nose suddenly stopped wrinkling and my jaw dropped. It was riddled with factual errors that anyone who had done more than a couple of minutes of research would not have made.


George Heath-Whyte is a PhD student at Trinity College, Cambridge, and a reader at Tyndale House. This is an excerpt from The Good Book Blog from the Good Book Company.

Image: The British Museum. The Gilgamesh Tablet, Library of Ashurbanipal. Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) license.

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