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Richard Dawkins on the Origin of Genetic Information

[Editor’s note: This was the preface of a three-part series responding to Dr. Dawkins. The full article responding to Dr. Dawkins, A Response to Dr. Dawkins’ “The Information Challenge”, can be read here.]

Want to learn about how Darwinian evolution generates new information? This video clip, which includes the raw footage of the original question, shows how Richard Dawkins responded, in context, when the question was directly posed to him during an interview. Phillip Johnson described this interview as follows: “In response to the question, Dawkins hesitated for at least eleven seconds, an agonizingly long time in the context of a video interview, before he finally gave a completely irrelevant reply about the transition between fish and amphibians. The creationists were ecstatic. As they saw it, Richard Dawkins–the world’s most prominent Darwinist–was so completely flummoxed by their most important question that he had to duck it.” (Phillip Johnson, The Wedge of Truth, pgs. 39-40) Johnson also recounts the false accusations promoted regarding this tape:

Eventually the tape made its way to Barry Williams, the editor of an Australian journal called The Skeptic, who consulted with Dawkins and then published a blistering article with the title “Creationist Deception Exposed.” Williams at first seemed to be accusing the filmmakers of altering the tape by substituting a question Dawkins was never asked, but that accusation was never made explicitly and in any case was dropped after the creationists produced the raw tapes.

(Phillip Johnson, The Wedge of Truth, pg. 40 (InterVarsity Press, 1999).)

As Johnson notes, this video provides that raw footage so we can see precisely how Dawkins answered the very question he was posed:

[Update Monday, September 17, 2007: I just learned that Dawkins himself posted a response to this video where he tried to answer “The Information Challenge.” Read Dawkins’ response at http://www.skeptics.com.au/articles/dawkins.htm and see if he still has yet to satisfactorily answer the question!]

(And be sure to also read my rebuttal, “A Response to Dr. Dawkins’ ‘The Information Challenge’,” available here.)


Casey Luskin

Associate Director, Center for Science and Culture
Casey Luskin is a geologist and an attorney with graduate degrees in science and law, giving him expertise in both the scientific and legal dimensions of the debate over evolution. He earned his PhD in Geology from the University of Johannesburg, and BS and MS degrees in Earth Sciences from the University of California, San Diego, where he studied evolution extensively at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. His law degree is from the University of San Diego, where he focused his studies on First Amendment law, education law, and environmental law.



Richard Dawkins