They both apparently think it requires considerable courage to attack religion these days - says Dennett, "I risk a fist to the face or worse. Yet I persist.
But here it's not easy to take them seriously. The fact is religion-bashing today is about as dangerous as endorsing the party's presidential candidate at a Republican rally. Nevertheless, Dawkins wrote The God Delusion , he says, partly to encourage timorous atheists to come out of the closet. Dawkins is perhaps the world's most popular science writer; he is also an extremely gifted writer. For example, his account of bats and their ways in his earlier book The Blind Watchmaker is a brilliant and fascinating tour de force.
The God Delusion , however, contains little science. It is mainly philosophy, theology and evolutionary psychology, along with a substantial dash of social commentary decrying religion and its allegedly baneful effects. But despite the fact that this book is mainly philosophy Dawkins is not a philosopher, but a biologist , much of the philosophy he purveys is remarkably jejune. You might say that some of his forays into philosophy are at best undergraduate, but that would be unfair to undergraduates.
The fact is many of his arguments would receive a failing grade in a basic philosophy class.
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This, combined with the arrogant, smarter-than-thou "thou" being believers in God tone of the book can annoying. But let me put irritation aside and do my best to take Dawkins's central argument seriously. Why does Dawkins think there almost certainly isn't any such person as God? It's because, he says, the existence of God is monumentally improbable. How improbable? The astronomer Fred Hoyle claimed that the probability of life arising on earth by purely natural means, without special divine aid is less than the probability that a flight-worthy Boeing should be assembled by a hurricane roaring through a junkyard.
Dawkins appears to think the probability of the existence of God is in that same neighbourhood - so small as to be negligible for all practical and most impractical purposes. Why does he think so? Here Dawkins doesn't appeal to the usual anti-theistic arguments - the argument from evil, for example, or the claim that it's impossible that there be a being with the attributes believers ascribe to God. So why does he think theism is thus enormously improbable?
The God Delusion | Richard Dawkins Foundation
The answer: if there were such person as God, he would have to be enormously complex , and the more complex something is, the less probable it is:. God is the Ultimate Boeing The basic idea is that anything that knows and can do what God knows and can do would have to be incredibly complex. In particular, anything that can create or design something must be at least as complex as the thing it can design or create. As he also puts it, a designer must contain at least as much information as what it creates or designs, and information is inversely related to probability.
Therefore, he thinks, God would have to be monumentally complex, hence astronomically improbable, and hence it is almost certain that God does not exist. But why does he think God is complex? And why does he think that the more complex something is, the less probable it is? Before looking more closely into his reasoning, I'd like to digress for a moment. For this claim of improbability can help us understand something otherwise very perplexing about Dawkins's argument in his earlier and influential book, The Blind Watchmaker.
In that book, he argues that the scientific theory of evolution shows that our world has not been designed - by God or anyone else. Suppose the evidence of evolution suggests that all living creatures have evolved from some elementary form of life: how does that show that the universe is without design? Well, if the universe has not been designed, then the process of evolution is unguided, unorchestrated, by any intelligent being - in other words, blind.
But how does the evidence of evolution reveal a thing like that? After all, couldn't it be that God has directed and overseen the process of evolution? What makes Dawkins think evolution is unguided? What he does in The Blind Watchmaker is three things:.
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From here he goes on to argue that it is biologically possible that these various organs and systems should have come to be by unguided Darwinian mechanisms and some of what he says here is of considerable interest. What is truly remarkable, however, is the form of what seems to be the main argument.
The premise he argues for is something like this:. His conclusion, however, is:. It's worth meditating on the striking distance here between premise and conclusion. The premise tells us, substantially, that there are no irrefutable objections to its being possible that unguided evolution has produced all of the wonders of the living world. The conclusion is that it is true that unguided evolution has indeed produced all of those wonders. The argument form seems to be something like:.
Philosophers sometimes propound invalid arguments, but few of those arguments display the truly colossal distance between premise and conclusion sported by this one. But this is where that alleged massive improbability of theism is relevant. If theism is false, then apart from certain weird suggestions we can safely ignore evolution is unguided. But it is extremely likely, Dawkins thinks, that theism is false.
Hence it is extremely likely that evolution is unguided - in which case, to establish it as true, he seems to think, all that is needed is to refute those claims that it is impossible. So perhaps we can think about Dawkins's Blind Watchmaker argument as follows: he is really employing as an additional but unexpressed premise his idea that the existence of God is enormously unlikely. If so, then the argument doesn't seem quite so magnificently invalid. It is still invalid, however, even if not quite so magnificently - you can't establish something as a fact by showing that objections to its possibility fail, and adding that it is very probable.
Outgrowing Richard Dawkins’ God Delusions
Now suppose we return to Dawkins's argument for the claim that theism is monumentally improbable. The European Revolutions of A brief resume of some poetry quotations that may even qualify as being " Central Poetry Insights " is set out in the following scrollable panel A brief resume of some spiritual quotations that may even qualify as being " Central Spiritual Insights " is set out in the following scrollable panel This page features some variously blatant, flagrant, unapologetic and headlong criticisms of God, religion, faiths and religious beliefs attributed to Richard Dawkins.
It is fashionable to wax apocalyptic about the threat to humanity posed by the AIDS virus, "mad cow" disease, and many others, but I think a case can be made that faith is one of the world's great evils, comparable to the smallpox virus but harder to eradicate. He Dawkins, not Hubbard gets Jesus badly wrong, too. But no, his wisdom, impressive though it was in many ways, was the wisdom of a good man of his time, not a god. Just a man, though a good one. This paragraph is a marvel of compacted error. He suggests Jesus should have explained 21st century science to people of the first century.
In the first place they would have strong empirical evidence to conclude he was wrong.
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The sun-centered solar system required telescopes to show it was right. And does Dawkins really think Jesus would have impressed anyone in the first 15 or so centuries after his time on earth, by explaining that the Americas are slowly receding from Europe and Africa? But how has Dawkins missed the fact that Jesus actually accomplished what he set out to do on Earth?
He launched a global movement that would honor the truth of God in three Persons?
hotsmoguda.ml But my question there is easily answered. Dawkins has it all figured out in his head. The national daily championing freedom, smaller government and human dignity. The Stream offers a rich and lively source for breaking news, Christian inspiration and conservative commentary while challenging the worst in the mainstream media. The Stream. Make The Stream my Homepage.
Tom Gilson. Getting God Wrong He says, for example page 7 , The monotheism of modern Christians and Muslims is also rather dubious.