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Keywords:

  • aesthetics;
  • argument from design;
  • atheism;
  • beauty;
  • Darwinism;
  • Richard Dawkins;
  • materialism;
  • naturalism;
  • Nietzsche;
  • science

Abstract.  In this essay, I compare the atheism of Friedrich Nietzsche with that of Richard Dawkins. My purpose is to describe certain differences in their respective atheisms with the intent of showing that Nietzsche's atheism contains a richer and fuller affirmation of human life. In Dawkins’s presentation of the value of life without God, there is a naïve optimism that purports that human beings, educated in science and purged of religion, will find lives of easy peace and comfortable wonder. Part of my argument is that this optimism regarding the power of objective science is subject to Nietzsche's criticism of Socrates and what he calls the “theoretical man.” As such, it fails in terms of providing a true affirmation of life in the godless world.