The God Delusion

God. Prove it? I am saying this. “God is the intelligence behind coincidence. Trees give off oxygen, absorbing carbon. We absorb oxygen and give off carbon.” You see the design in that. The over all intricacy of the universe is astounding with a persons eyes opened. A male and a female come together to create life. God becomes less distinguished once the small miracles are taken for granted. Water falling from the sky. That’s God. The intelligence it takes to create a habitable planet with cyclical nature laws providing all the necessary resources. Plants growing off sunlight. Food growing from the ground. The fact light refracts every color in the spectrum. All our scientific knowledge and discoveries of the last century are a testimony to God’s magnificence.
Your human body is a wonderful piece of art. Thought, blood stream, nervous system, emotions… consciousness.

“The Big Bang is correct. God Pulled the Trigger.”

Regardless of what you say it is not necessarily correct. Provide evidence that God exists, instead of claiming that God exists because you say it.

@Bombax: Why don’t you provide some evidence that God doesn’t exist?

I just said why above, and apparently you did not read it:

Sorry, you’re right I did miss that. On the other hand we are talking about a book in which Dawkins attempts to disprove the existence of God.

I haven’t come here to proselytize or convert anyone, but your suggestion that it’s a good book led me to assume (perhaps erroneously) that you believe such an endeavor is possible or worthwhile.

I can’t satisfactorily prove the existence of God and I’m not sure such a thing is even possible. In any case I have no intention of trying.

this is turning into one heated debate!! :content:

i wish i were smart enough to join thu :cry:

I feel like the conversation has strayed entirely from the original debate: whether or not “The God Delusion” is worth reading. That being said though, I really don’t think that’s going to derail the current topic :tongue: .

Bombax, I understand your opposition to Argument from Design. It’s simply not a compelling argument for God’s existence. It looks great and makes sense… but only if you’re either (1) already a believer or (2) of a more simple and less questioning faith than inquisitive philosophers such as yourself. As a Catholic, I look at nature and see God’s handiwork in it, and it’s awesome; however, some non-believers look around and see the wonders of science and evolution, and it’s pretty cool for them too. The bottom line is that looking at something in nature and saying, “look at how complex this is! See how it exists in harmony with its surroundings!” simply isn’t enough proof for a non-believer to say, “God must have made this!”

This seems easily reversible to me. From my point of view, you’re theorizing that God does not exist, and in that case the burden of proof rests upon YOU, doesn’t it? We can toss that burden back and forth, but it’s not going to get us very far, is it? So instead, I would like to pose a different, more specific question to you…

As someone who evidently does not believe in the existence of a “God” in any form, how would you refute Thomas Aquinas’s Argument from Causality (explained below)?

[spoiler]Aquinas’s original argument:
“The second way is based on the existence of efficient causality. We see in the world around us that there is an order of efficient causes. Nor is it ever found (in fact it is impossible) that something is its own efficient cause. If it were, it would be prior to itself, which is impossible. Nevertheless, the order of efficient causes cannot proceed to infinity, for in any such order the first is cause of the middle (whether one or many) and the middle of the last. Without the cause, the effect does not follow. Thus, if the first cause did not exist, neither would the middle and last causes in the sequence. If, however, there were an infinite regression of efficient causes, there would be no first efficient cause and therefore no middle causes or final effects, which is obviously not the case. Thus it is necessary to posit some first efficient cause, which everyone calls ‘God.’”

A simplification (though, in my opinion, it seems to be an oversimplification)
(1) Some events cause other events.
(2) If an event happens, then it must be caused by something outside of itself.
(3) There can be no infinite cause/effect chains.
(4) So, there is a first, uncaused cause.
(5) Therefore God exists.[/spoiler]

Also, I feel like I’ve got to address a post from the previous page that didn’t get much attention…

I’ve read Angels and Demons. It’s is a work of fiction… you know that, right? Don’t get me wrong, I actually enjoyed reading it, but just because it’s written by a former Catholic does NOT mean that it is an authoritative work that fully explains/displays God or Catholicism in a correct and complete manner. It’s just a story that happens to draw lightly from history and religion (for example, the Iluminati did exist long ago in history). Hardly something that constitutes a “test of faith”. (thread bump! :grin: )

Not necessarily. The conditions for fossilization are a lot rarer than most people would think, so fossil evidence is patchy. They look impressive when people can wire them together, great to illustrate/represent what life was probably like way back when, but fossils are not the basis for evolution theory-- taxonomy is the basis.

Since we’re talking about evolution, that gives a loooong lot of time. It isn’t that hard a nudge to get from cells that perform binary fission and mitosis, like you described, to ones that can perform meiosis. Protists, for example-- single celled, or in colonies with no tissue specialization, still do meiosis.

Some life forms that we can extrapolate haven’t changed as much as other evolving life forms-- like barnacles, for example-- primitive life forms, well, some are hermaphroditic. Other varieties of barnacles seem to have found it more favorable to specialize, so they do have what can roughly be considered “males” and “females”… but, the males spend their lives embedded in the females like an organ that’s also a being of its own. Not a big leap to think that the barnacles’ umpt cousins a billion times removed, would be nudged towards a form of species that had full individual beings distinctly specialized into males and females.

The rest of this will just be my fanciful keyboard-mashing. To conform to gender-binary as we understand it, the sexes must evolved together in parallel or there wouldn’t be one to define the other-- so, let’s roughly consider us a hermaphrodite that split. But, if I were to revert evolution theory into a modern creation myth, females seemed to have come first. Human embryos show not to be gender-neutral-- until/unless the sperm’s Y chromosome sparks a masculinization, the embryo follows a female template. Men have nipples. All the DNA in a zygote may be half taken from the mother and half from the father, but the cellular organelles like mitochondria are all taken from the mother.

I define proof as a series of statements used to convince another mathematician that a given statement is true. I suppose Existence Of The Universe isn’t proven, because… it’s an axiom.

At that, Computer Simulation/Dream sounds very appealing.

ive noticed alot of oppssition,u know people taking sisde because of thier religion.really to be hones i dont see why the whole “oooh ur a catholic and im an athiest so ur my enemy”,has to be involved in this whay cant we all just be the same and still have a normal discussion about this book and please stop taking sides considering religion.

I don’t think that it’s hard to imagine an uncaused cause. I think that the easiest way to think about it is in terms of dominoes (though it’s a helluva lot of dominoes that we’re talking about here, going from the first “cause” ever to the present day). You have the classic setup: a row of dominoes (standing on end), spaced evenly apart so that when one falls, it hits the next, et cetera, et cetera. Now, within this system of dominoes, no single domino can cause itself to fall, right? We covered this within Aquinas’s proof. Now, in relation to the dominoes, you are God. You are, in the terms of this experiment, an uncaused cause; you are not a domino, and you don’t need a domino to fall on you to allow you to knock down other dominoes. You cause the first domino to fall, and a chain reaction ensues.

I realize that this isn’t an entirely satisfying answer for some people. To just say that God is some infinite entity outside of the rules and logic of the known universe… well, yeah, that seems like a nice cover-all excuse, but I don’t feel that it’s that strange of a concept, either. I think of it in terms of a video game programmer: the programmer creates a video game where live players and NPCs can “live” and interact in an immersive, massive “world”. But he creates his own rules – gravity is similar to the moon’s gravity; you must kill another character every 24 hours in order for you to survive; the sun revolves around the earth. Does this mean that he must be subject to his game’s rules? No. Unless he creates a character and plays the game himself, he exists outside of the game and is therefore not subject to his own rules. In the same way, God is outside of the universe, space, and time because he created them, and is not bound within his own creation except when he chooses to be (Jesus Christ). Again, this probably isn’t a fully satisfying or perfect analogy for everyone, but… well, it’s my best attempt at articulating what I’ve come to believe as true.

Thank you!!! Debating religion doesn’t mean that we have to be antagonistic, folks, and I’d like to apologize if I’ve written anything that you would find directly insulting/counter-productive so far. I really didn’t mean it to be offensive!

I accept the null hypothesis, IE: that there are no gods (atheism). Without reason, I will not move from that position. Reason, and not special pleading! Such pleading seems to be the heart of every attempt at a proof for the existence of any god.

I believe in non-superstitious, non-dogmatic, non-other-wordly, spirituality. I do not need to believe that all is crafted by an benevolent intelligence to feel mind-stopping awe at a beautiful sunrise. I do not need the neurotic clutter of guilt, sin, and penance to feel just. I do not need the promise of another life to make this one worth living: indeed, such a promise would cheapen this life.

Religion is a putrid corpse, but nihilism is a cadaver of the soul. This is also Dawkins’ position, and if one can see past their faith’s hurt feelings, they can see he is quite reasonable in The God Delusion.

You will not prove with science that science is false, IE: with the “proofs” against evolution you can see in this very thread. They are so thoroughly refuted (see for an exact, complete, well-sourced answer to absolutely any common claim). A public forum is not the place for a debate about hard science, but thankfully - your questions have already been completely answered by others on a public website.

You will not prove your faith with science. You removed the burden of your reason from your shoulders when you took a great leap into the abyss. You will not find where you have landed with your mind. You have forsaken it, and it has forsaken you.

Not to that logic puzzle, I grant you… but, then, by that isolated context… what about what else is God? We’ve stuck God in the placeholder of a logical paradox where only God fits by the transcendental nature of God, yes, but it does not follow that Cause1=God and God=Cause1 all equal: love, patriarchy, canonical text, specific codes of morality, grace, fate, free will, Sunday bests, nuns and nurses in the slums of Calcutta, tiffs in Northern Ireland, Christmas pageants, crusades, Inquisitors, indulgences… any more than the aspects of the universe that would certainly not characterize Aquinas’ God.

We might as well say that causeless Cause must be Shiva, or some cosmic Platonian spaghetti.

If you mean that you can’t disprove scientific theories using science then you’re wrong. That’s what science is all about.

If you mean that you can’t disprove the larger concept of science as a way of viewing the world then you might be wrong there too. We know that science works through observation and the very act of observing a phenomena affects it. Science is not a flawless doctrine. I think it may even have been quantum physics that showed this (that would mean science was used to discredit the scientific method).

While there are some who try to do this I wouldn’t say it’s the majority. I am open to hearing reasons not to believe in God, or to change my beliefs about God, but so far I haven’t encountered any particularly good ones - The God Delusion not withstanding.

Furthermore, I see your position as an atheist as a matter of faith. It is essentially unscientific to be an atheist is it not? You cannot disprove the existence of God so your belief in God’s non-existence is essentially a matter of faith. And so I say to you, “You will not prove your faith with science.” But I invite you to try, or perhaps convert to agnosticism.

Would you mind quoting and paraphrasing some of these ‘reasonable’ arguments for those who haven’t read the book recently, or at all. I think this thread would benefit from focusing more closely on what Dawkins has written.

Including quotes from our previous posts, I am 2,571 words into my refutation of your posts, Bombax. I was not able to finish it, as my roommate needed the light to go out and I cannot read from any of my sources. I hope to finish my post by tomorrow night, but as I have not much spare time from a full load of college courses in my senior year, I estimate that it will not be done entirely until Friday night or even perhaps Saturday. Thanks for your patience, I do appreciate it.

Edit: After seeing this post I am about to quote, I decided I need to do a relatively quick refutation tonight, before this poster stops checking this thread.

Atheism affirms that there is no God. Yet atheists cannot hold this position dogmatically, for to make the type of statement with authority, we would have to know the universe in its entirety and to possess all knowledge. If anyone had these credentials, then by definition he would be God. Thus, we can see that, unless the atheist is all-knowing, he cannot make a dogmatic statement on God’s existence. Therefore, he can only either logically state that he is uncertain whether or not there is a God–and this view is agnosticism–or he can accept the principles of atheism on faith–the very faith that atheism supposedly despises in religion.

Logically, then, the choice of pure reason is agnosticism. Agnosticism, by definition does not know whether a God exists. Therefore, in the search for truth, all agnostics should make an effort to know whether or not there is a God. Logically, then, agnosticism is not grounds for rejecting any religion outright, but rather for examining it.

Credit for this argument more or less goes to Josh McDowell and Don Stewart in their book, “Answers”

Just because some brainy intellectual says it doesn’t mean it’s true, you said that yourself.

You could use the same logic for intelligent design, we do not have to provide evidence for every little thing the argument to remain valid.
Also because the laws of science are continualy changing, that means that scientific laws and theroys don’t match the real world, and probaly never will, if you don’t know that half the stuff they have is correct know how do you know what is currently correct and what is wrong?
I’ll take an example from men in black:
Long time ago people knew, that earth revolved around the sun, while back people knew that earth was flat and right now we know that the big bang happened.
See what i mean, just about every generation has seen the world in a way that has been proved wrong, hor do we know that our current scientific belief are right or wrong?

Yeah i think it is.

We did, look at the first page of posts, and if you find no evidence in that, look at the actual book and see his arguments, and if you fail to see his lack of logic,(something that you have been saying we have none of) then take my advice and again deflate your giant ego, it must be bulging up and covering your eyes.
Yes i know, theres some faild logic in that sentece, but it’s true. You are the proof with your giant ego staring us all in the face! Ask anyone in this topic but you, your side or ours.

I did not do this to appeal to flattery, i wrote that because, i’m a nice guy and didn’t want to get in trouble with genuinly nice people for pointing out your flaws.
At the time i only wrote it so i would not get in trouble.

Now i sit back and watch as you tear up my argument and still fail to provid a compelling argument.

I totally posted a criticism of his proof against the existence of God on the first page. A proof you didn’t respond to…

Absolutely! Aquinas’s proof doesn’t really necessitate a Christian God in any sesne (though doubtless it was the existence of the Christian God that he was eventually trying to get to). He developed proofs for that too, but I can’t think of them right now (nor do I have the time, as I’ve got to get to class), but it seemed to me like the main debate was over whether or not it was logical to assume that there must have been a Creator. (Also, points for the Flying Spaghetti Monster reference!)

That’s exactly why I don’t believe in God.

I cannot say with absolute certainty that my teacup is empty, that gravity will hold true tomorrow, or that I am not currently dreaming. Nor does science know anything for certain in this “purely rational” and ridiculous way you describe. Still, we make statements to the effect when we are sure, and we are right to do so.

I - like Dawkins describes for himself in the second chapter of his book - am not the character of pure unreasoning that you picture. I cannot say that this vague concept of god does not exist in a way that is logically absolute and infallible: but nor can you say the same about leprechauns, faeries, invisible flying teapots, unicorns, or literally anything else I could dream up out of whole cloth.

We are not agnostic about everything. We, like scientists, consider the evidence and accept the best explanation. That best explanation in the case of these imagined deities is that they do not exist, and if they do: they do not affect our lives and are possibly unknowable, so stop worrying and enjoy your life.

All evidence for these creatures is laughable and all too human. The same is true of imps, goblins, and other mythical creatures. I will not sit on the fence about everything there is to possibly consider in the universe. When my reason drives me to fall from that fence, I will not clutch it in a desperate attempt to appear “logically pure”. It is no more irrational to be an atheist than it is to cross the street after looking both ways, I will not take this ridiculous label of “Agnostic” on such topics.

Be agnostic about say, life in the universe. Do not be agnostic about Yahweh, Shiva, Bhagwan, Rama, Ek Onkar, Allah, Shen, Ahura Mazda, Thor, Zeus, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster. We have something to say about these things.

I simply don’t have enough time to address all of your arguments, so I will select only a few:

You are not allowed to “reverse” it as stated if you are arguing by the laws of logic. That is why there is a burden of proof. It is not my responsibility to disprove anyone else’s argument of existence, it is for them to prove it. Take the teapot scenario as an exemplum absurdum. Of course we do not wish to have knowledge on this form. That is why logic has a burden of proof.

And now Aquinas’ argument:

Non sequitur - it does not follow from “for in any such…” that “the order of efficient causes cannot proceed to infinity”. In addition, we do no yet have any evidence that causes can proceed to infinity. (However, the Big Bang “theory”, does not even take this into account, but rather denotes the start of time, space, matter and energy).

Sentimental fallacy and non sequitur. It would perhaps be “pleasant” if God was the “first efficient cause”, but that does not mean it is true. Neither does it follow that if there is a first efficient cause, it’s denotion would prove God’s existence (non sequitur). Therefore, Aquina’s argument is invalid.

Give an example where someone said that, or you have made an invalid generalization.

It does not matter if you can imagine it or not. I can imagine God, but that does not mean that he exists. You have to provide evidence that an uncaused cause exists, AND that it is God. The Big Bang has such evidence (for example, the movement of galaxies). There is none for God.

Prove that this analogy explains the existence of God.

Argumentum ad baculum and argumentum verbosium - you are trying to intimidate me by writing this instead of actually presenting the arguments. In addition, a verbose and overly complex argument (verbosium) does not mean that it is correct.

This is getting on my nerves, but I will not turn this into an emotional debate. The “brainy intellectual” has provided evidence in his scientific paper for his claims - otherwise, it would not even get through peer review. These persons you have quoted have so far not provided any evidence at all.

Base rate fallacy, and false analogy. No, you cannot use the argument to support intelligent design, because intelligent design does not have any substantial evidence in favour for it, while evolution does. (And that’s not a small portion.)

Because science doesn’t predict nature to infintisimal accuracy, it is an approximation of reality. Today, the approximation for most theories is excellent but of course not perfect per definition. However, the lack of a perfect truth does not mean we cannot use something that is close enough, and that actually counts as a logical fallacy: the Nirvana fallacy.

Contextonomy - quoting out of context. You failed to quote that the initial post had a mod split message, meaning it in fact started as a post in a different thread. Regardless, it is irrelevant.

You did, but I subsequently proved that the evidence was faulty, and thus invalid.

Argumentum ad hominem.

No, if you wanted to do that in an efficient way, you would have sent a personal message to the moderators. By posting in the topic, you were signaling to others that your argument may be valid through the Appeal to flattery fallacy, which of course is invalid in logic.

Evidence is not opinion. Evidence can support opinion.