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]