This essay aims to respond to “No stopping religion’s misguided missile” article by Richard Dawkins. The article first appeared in The Guardian and has since been reprinted in many newspapers worldwide. The core thesis of Dawkin’s argument relates to the potential danger arising from religion. He warns that “to fill a world with religion, or religions of the Abrahamic kind, is like littering the streets with loaded guns”.
The article is a readable essay about an important topic, challenging readers to think about the events of September 11 which according to the author, stem from religious beliefs. Dawkin’s article is clearly written with the main points well-structured within the article. Although the article is written in an interesting manner and engages readers, the main argument is clearly flawed since some of the premises are deemed unacceptable and at times, offer insuffient grounds for the conclusion. The term “religion” as used by Dawkin is somewhat ambiguous, as in some instances, it appears to refer to religious fanatacism and the events of September 11. However it is also used as a broad term within the article, warning against the potential dangers of religion as a whole.
Dawkins begins the article by discussing guided missiles, first describing the pigeon-guided missiles used by B.F. Skinner and moving onto the emergence of the modern smart missiles. He logically describes that while “pigeons are cheap and disposable as onboard guiding systems” there would be no escaping the US-bound missile being intercepted. He proposes “what is needed is a missile that is not recognized for what it is until it’s too late. Something like a large civilian airline”. Thus leading readers to remember the devastating effects the terrorist hijackers caused on September 11th. By drawing on this, he indirectly uses emotion to persuade readers.
A straw man fallacy is committed when Dawkin d...