The God Delusion

Just unearthed an article I wrote on the topic many moons ago:

[spoiler]I was half-way through the God Delusion when my brother lent me his copy of Catcher in the Rye. Needless to say Richard Dawkins’ dry and often insulting attempt to disprove God has been put aside, for now. Nonetheless, I’ve been meaning to write about his so called proof against God. It’s just that, like reading his book, talking about his book is pretty tiresome. I will however give it a go. I’m not planning to review the book or go into detail about his many tangents and theories and what not. Sure, Richard Dawkins is grumpy about religion and religious people, but that’s not my concern. All I really want to address here is the question of God’s existence.

So far as I can ascertain Dawkins’ argument goes something like this:

The world and the universe and everything that exists is/are exceedingly complex. For God to have created it all he would have to be even more complex than the entirety of His creation. The more complex something is the more improbable it is, therefore the existence of God is highly improbable.

In opposition to this is the idea that scientific hypotheses offer simple explanations for complex problems. For example Darwin’s theory of evolution is a relatively simple theory that encompasses a multitude of incredibly complex genetic mutations and permutations.

Essentially it is the difference between a sky-hook and a crane (whatever that means).

I think my problem stems from the automatic assumption that God is complex. I think that to us God must seem very complex because of everything He is capable of. At several points in his book Dawkins specifically argues for God’s complexity on the basis of His awesome powers. But ultimately I agree with the philosophers Dawkins decries, God is simply perfect and perfectly simple. Every aspect of God’s power stems from some very simple concepts about God. He is capable of hearing every thought and prayer because He is omniscient. He is capable of creating, maintaining and ultimately ending the universe because He is omnipotent. Simply put, He is the sovereign ruler of all.

I also disagree with the assertion that God cannot be both omniscient and omnipotent. Dawkins argues that for God to look forward into the future and see His own actions leaves Him in an awkward position. Either He can’t change His actions, in which case He isn’t truly omnipotent, or He can change His actions, in which case He isn’t truly omniscient. To me this belies a wilful misunderstanding of the nature of God on par with the persistent question of God’s ability to make rocks that he can’t pick up. According to my limited understanding God is perfect and unchanging and exists outside of time. The question of His changing His mind is as irrelevant as the idea of Him looking forwards or backwards in time.

Maybe a small part of my problem stems from the absurdity of measuring the probability of a supernatural being. I believe that the presence of God is ultimately a matter of faith. Equally the absence of God is a matter of faith. There is no proof against God, only your belief that he doesn’t exist. That is a wholly unsatisfying argument for Dawkins, I know because he said as much in his book, but it’s hard to argue against.[/spoiler]


im excited

Again, more logical fallacies!

Again, argumentum ad hominem - rather than addressing Richard Dawkin’s arguments directly, you attack him personally by calling him “Richard Dorkins”.

Secundum quid - hasty generalization. You generalize all the arguments he writes about in his book to something that is very inaccurate. In addition, reductio ad ridiculum: You present Dawkin’s arguments with the phrase “What a joke” in a ridiculing fashion, as to divert from the content of the actual content of the argument, resulting in a straw man argument.

Appeal to flattery - in order to illogically emphasize your otherwise fallacious argument, you praise other authors as to make Dawkin’s writing stand out as especially poor, when it is not necessarily so.

Did you apply any of this logic to his book?

In layman’s terms…

And these are…?
I hardly find it insightful to paste a conclusion without having us even sample the facts that laid the groundwork for it. The above is a conclusion, a fully-formed opinion, not a fact. That the speaker has a Ph.D doesn’t automatically make the above a fact.

A Cambridge doctorate, far from lending weight to the above quote, just affirms for me how a study of science doesn’t necessarily make one scientific. I’ve heard of placeholders like “dark matter” for scientific theories, but the way I understand the scientific process is that you build on what isn’t broken down-- it’s a series of inching steps, and “God made it.” is quite a leap from “spacetime, energy-matter transcendent”.

You would know that “God made it” is making a claim, not questioning. “So what could be spacetime, energy-matter transcendent? Could it be pure information? Could it be a non-spacetime dimension that’s very thin but infinitely long? Could it be something unavailable to our experience and mathematics, let’s just call it sloop while we figure out how to figure it out?” Considering many options and exploring them as the next step. The nature of God (in the likeness of a human being, omnipresent, male, genderless, a single “force”, a triple “force”,) strikes me as far too debatable to be a solid enough next step. I could see how this very ambient nature could have God squeeze itself into any placeholder-- but my layman self wouldn’t really consider that science because it seems to be working backwards from the answer.

In Leviticus 11, it calls a bat a kind of bird. That’s quite contrary to modern taxonomy, and no wonder-- the Bible was written long, long before scientific standards could be properly formed. Why is the inevitable gap between them so difficult to accept?

I would rather argue that the Bible is contrary to scientific thought precisely because it’s more advanced than scientific thought and philosophy, a transcendental truth that, if seeming contrary to science, it is the fault of science becoming increasingly contrary to the ultimate truth. Not a fault of the Bible’s cultural outdatedness, its dealing more with personal histories than hard data, or the fallibility of its writers.

At this, I agree that science has a philosophical bias. Greek logos, which suggests removing a subject from its context in order to see what about that object is true. Eastern philosophy accepts that the truth of a subject relies on context and accepts seeming contracitions-- if this philosophy had been in the groundwork of science, maybe the double-slit experiment wouldn’t have been leapt on by paranormalists for The Importance Of An Observer, if it were already taken for granted that this is how the world works.

There was a time where it shunned experiment and worked on a basis of Platonian idealism alone. Science progresses and changes. It changes its facts, and I can see it changing its own biased system so it will be something else in the far future. Alethics, maybe (study of truth, rather than study of knowledge) or Ascience (knowing nothing-- the true philosophy of the skeptikoi.)
Why on earth would you want to mix your religion with something so changeable and transient? I don’t see them mixing. At all. I think you and Dawkins both epically FAIL trying to explain one by (or against) the rules of the other.

That’s very presumptuous. You can never be certain what removes anyone’s shutters. Or even if they have them-- maybe there’s a log in your own eye, have you ever checked?

Yes. There are quite a few non-jokeful statements that are logically incorrect in the book. However, the density of these logically incorrect statements is relatively small when compared to the density of logically incorrect statements in this thread, for example, or to the most highlighted response to Dawkin’s book, The Dawkin’s Delusion?.

In its current state, I do not think the logically incorrect statements prevent the book from being a useful and interesting read.

@EllyEve: Be careful, telling someone that they “epically FAIL” at presenting arguments counts as argumentum ad hominem. Instead, you should attack the arguments in question.

I appreciate that you layman’s terms-translated some of the latin/english expressions I used. Oh, and “Ceci n’est pas un pomme.” :tongue:

The portion in bold seems to be far from helpful. I’ll admit that I haven’t read Dawkins’ book, but this bit seems to be praising Dawkins and taking a jab at your opposition’s intelligence (potentially, anyway; I’m not accusing you of writing it with the intent of insulting people, but I can see how some would take offense) while not really supplying us with any useful information or arguments to back up this claim.

I agree entirely, though, I would guess, not for the same reasons. I feel that any intellectual work, whether its conclusions are correct or incorrect, is worthy of study. Either way, there’s perspective to be had, and knowledge to be gained, by studying it.

On a personal note, from what I’ve seen of him and his work (which is a limited exposure, granted), I don’t think much of Richard Dawkins as a scholar; I find him to be very much biased (and even insulting, at times), and I don’t feel like he has adequately supported many of his assertions about God’s non-existence.

Now, that being said, it’s purely my OPINION, and it is based upon my current knowledge of the situation. You can peg it as a hasty generalization because I haven’t fully explained every single objection that I have against his arguments, but it’s late in my time zone, I have school in the morning, and I really don’t feel like typing it out right now. If you feel like I need to explain more, please PM me and ask!

And I see that, rather than directly addressing my claims that the God Delusion is poorly written and offensive, you have focused on my cunningly witty put-down.

Sure, there are other things discussed in the book, like the state of religion in America or a theoretical basis for the evolution of religion. But the only argument against the existence of God that I remember from his book is based on complexity and probability. I will however admit that my memory is not infallible.

The claims that Dawkins makes in the God Delusion are far greater (and the ramifications farther reaching) than the claims I’m making on this messageboard (simply that he doesn’t have a good enough case to make the claims he has). I never said the book wasn’t interesting, just that it isn’t the best example of its genre. As to its usefulness, I can imagine a situation where it may come in handy… Need fuel for a fire? Paper for the lavatory? Is that too hyperbolic for you?

God. What a word. What a topic. Been there, done that… but would love to do it again. In my vast studies, debates, and research I have found God to the be the anthropomorphized intelligence behind our universe. Personified as a Omniscient Male Father figure. Based on man’s role in old-society. God answers why, and science answers HOW God did it. The two do not disagree they coincide. Belong together, counter opposites, both necessary for a whole. Probability and chance are best summed up by Professor Albert Einstein, “God does not play dice.”

If you did not design the tree? A beaver, or a bee? Much less you or me? Then who did. Do not say randomness, or a Big Bang. Your inner ignorance will peak it’s ugly head.

As far as the Bible. It’s a METAPHOR. All metaphors. Adam & Eve, a story of lost innocence. Which sounds a lot like growing up. Jesus, a faithful son of perfection. sacrificed to the world. Kind of like having a child, raising him in a fallen world- Hoping to teach him right from wrong sufficiently.

LIfe is a test. There is something keeping score, keeping accounts, records… 'for without purpose existence would cease to existence. We would be a woodpecker beating our heads against a tree without a signifying purpose to separate man from beast.

God is real people. Your perception of the concept maybe not.

I had to check your age to confirm my suspicions before laughing at this…

In what way is the faithful perfect son of God being sacrificed for the world like raising a child and teaching him right from wrong? That does not seem like a particularly useful or cogent metaphor to me…

If this the metaphor you got from the bible then I have to say, “You’re doing it wrong.” Fair enough if that’s your belief, but while the bible may not be clear on every topic, I firmly believe it is clear on some and salvation is one of them.

Stuff came up, I did not get to access my laptop in time to properly address this topic. I have over 2 pages of text saved to Microsoft Word, and I will continue working on it to post the final work tomorrow.

Topic-frequenters, please disregard that one faulty translation. I only meant to emote my personal view of the incompatibility of both paradigms, and should have kept in mind that emoting is more often the downfall of good argument presentation than the spice. :bored:

“You don’t tell God what to do with His dice.” – Neils Bohr

I thought you said God deals with the Whys and not the Hows? Design sounds suspiciously like a How. The way I understood it, the tree designs itself. We design ourselves to an extent, with every choice we make, do we not? Perhaps evolution is free will made solid.

We still need to work with the design of our parents, all the while blueprinting the design of our descendants, and then there’s the world we interact with that encourages the survival of some designs and discourages the existence of others. I wouldn’t say “randomness” even if you didn’t forbid me. I say: complexity.

If I may backtrack…

Isn’t it more willfully ignorant, to outright ban a concept from mere mention?

Even countering the quote with Stephen C. Meyer suggesting that God was the spacetime, energy-matter transcendent source of all that scientists were looking for, I didn’t say, “Oh, puh-lease, ‘God’? You’re so ignorant.” I considered the nature of God, the nature of scientific research, (as I understood them,) found them incompatible, and explained why I found it so. Maybe there’s a flaw in my method, maybe someone has figured out how it all actually fits and can articulate it.

But for you to go, Don’t even … well… that struck me as a very closed-minded thing to say.

No rush. The point of contention will probably still be here in 100 years, whatever we post at each other at present. :tongue:

I can only imagine the environment this guy is typing these messages in.
Have you ever been laid? Actually, have you ever held a girl’s hand?

Bolax, instead of arguing with timothy, you seem to be focusing on the fact that he put down the book.

Now i would be happy to hear you argue for the book, instead of making fun of people who call it the peice of crap it is.

And i know what your going to say,
your just going to point how when i tell you to argue, somehow my logic is wrong and still not put an argument that supports dawkins

He recognized my Magritte reference, I’d tap that. :tongue:

Me too actually…

Believers, give me a break. If you want to test your faith, read Dan Brown’s ‘Angels and demons’. a great novel. taught me a lot about God. There’s probably no God. so stop worrying and enjoy your life

I guess it’s like my Dad used to say, ask a teenager while they know everything… [/patronising]

Tomothy, I’m not offended. Can’t be when I’m right. And as far as the age thing. I know much more relevant information, less trivia, than the average 50-60. Not all, but most. It’s okay oif you don’t think Gods real. You’ll find out one day. Thank God it’s not on me to convince you. We’re called to try, to attempt and share. He opens eyes. And while you smile and patronize, I smile because of the joy and never ending nirvana I’ve found in the Lord. He is personified intelligence. Look around you, what did you create Tomothy? You didnt even create yourself. At most you created a table, a fish tank, birdhouse. God designed the entire universe. As well as LDs. You will wake up one day. Don’t nit pick other people as your reason not to believe. We, as in Christians, arn’t perfect either. But we’re the sect of believers who are TRYING to be.

God does answer Why, Science answers HOW God did it. Design doesnt sound like anything, it’s the other half to a whole. God can answer both. Science lacking purpose in life, can only begin to describe gravity/photosynthesis/atoms. Science is a bunch of fancy words put to things that already existed. We as humans are not discovering more, we are making more stuff up. More irrelevant distractions.

If you dont see God when a baby is born, or during a sunset, or as you hold a female friend, or petting a dog, or watching the wind blow, or seeing a plant grow… then there is nothing I can do. The whole world is a sign of intelligent creation.

“Your probably the type to explain away a rainbow”

Light refracted through gases of whatever…

I’ve tried, and will try again. Pure logic leads to a creator. Surrender control and your ego. Maybe you don’t want to answer to something higher? Dunno? Thats between you and the judge. Hopefully the day you bring a child into the world it will click as you hold life in your hand and you yourself feel like God to that child.

I don’t really have the patience for god discussions :tongue: but I was just wondering if anyone here has seen Zeitgeist? (the first part, at least) what are your thoughts? Although I admit I didn’t really research any of the information presented there :shy: , it made a lot of sense to me. Then again, I wasn’t raised a christian, so…

(sorry if this is slightly off-topic)