Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Richard Dawkin
The God Delusion

Many people judge Richard Dawkins just on the title of his book alone without even reading a word. If people would actually read what they criticize, and try to really understand what is being expressed, there would be more understanding in the world instead of immediate hatred.

I saw Dawkins on Bookspan and the man is actually a softspoken and seemingly kind person who has a very strong stance that religion is the cause of much of the evil in the world. Religious extremists aren't satisified to believe and worship as they choose, they want to force everyone on the bandwagon, whether by physical force, or by psychological and emotional manipulation. If there weren't so many people like this in the world, people like Dawkins could focus on working on scientific advances to make our lives better, make the world a better place in which to live. The God Delusion is written in protest against those who stand in the way of scientific advancement and knowledge, and progress.

The God Delusion provides a very good perspective from the scientific and atheist/agnostic community. Humans are the only ones who can make a difference. If we sat still looking up into the cosmos waiting for divine intervention, nothing at all happens. This is the point that Dawkins, Harris and other atheists who are finally coming out of the closet are saying. Helping hands and thinking brains get things done in this world. While even scientists don't agree amongst themselves on many things, they all agree that they must try to work together to solve life's challenges, find cures for illnesses, figure out how to divert dangerous asteroids, figure out how to solve the problems that we can do something about, exchanging ideas and finding solutions. It's a coming together of human intelligence.

7 comments:

Cody said...

I read a good portion but haven't had a chance to pick it back up yet. I think that Dawkins is a great biologist but was completely out of his league in trying to discuss history, theology, and philosophy when he hadn't a clue about these fields. He failed to do any of them justice.

Also, his logic was just way off. Let me show you what I mean. On 157-158, he shares "the central argument" of his book. Here it is--

"1. One of the greatest challenges to the human intellect has been to explain how the complex, improbable appearance of design in the universe arises.

2. The natural temptation is to attribute the appearance of design to actual design itself.

3. The temptation is a false one because the designer hypothesis immediately raises the larger problem of who designed the designer.

4. The most ingenious and powerful explanation is Darwinian evolution by natural selection.

5. We don't have an equivalent explanation for physics.

6. We should not give up the hope of a better explanation arising in physics, something as powerful as Darwinism is for biology.

Therefore, God almost certainly does not exist."



In points 1 and 2, he admits that the universe has the incredible appearance of design, which most human beings note. In 3 and 6, he makes his real counter-argument.

Point 6 just says, "we have FAITH that we can prove God wrong if we just give these physics guys some more time." This is hardly an argument. If a Christian said something like this in arguing for God, atheists would tear him apart.

Point 3 is the only point that is even remotely valid. He states that the designer hypothesis doesn't explain the universe very well because God would be even more complex than the universe and require and even bigger explanation (who designed the designer?). However, Dawkins shows his lack of philosophical and theological knowledge here. God is, by definition, the creator of the universe. He is also immaterial. If God creates ALL matter (which is held by time), then he exist both before time and matter. And because God exists before time, it would be senseless to refer to anyone "designing Him" because that would invoke the idea of cause and effect, which only makes sense in a time-based universe. Now, this doesn't prove that God exists, but it does put a big hole in Dawkins objection. And if that is really the central argument of the whole book, I would personally struggle to see how anyone could be impressed with the book as a whole.

Stardust said...

I read a good portion but haven't had a chance to pick it back up yet.

Then how can you fairly and adequately discuss it?

I think that Dawkins is a great biologist but was completely out of his league in trying to discuss history, theology, and philosophy when he hadn't a clue about these fields. He failed to do any of them justice.

Again, you haven't read the entire book, so how can you critique it? Also, I suspect you are being influenced by your god-believing friends when analyzing the book. You are simply cherry-picking bits and pieces here and there and commenting on those.


"1. One of the greatest challenges to the human intellect has been to explain how the complex, improbable appearance of design in the universe arises.

Making up imaginary beings as an explanation for this you cannot explain is not very intellectual at all. It is merely superstitious thinking, and lazy. Human beings want to think everything is "made" somehow by some other human-like entity similar to us, only with super powers since the universe is so big. Humans think everything must have a "design"...when in fact, the universe is so complex, so vast and is quite chaotic. Most everything happens by chance, and there are some very violent events happening continually and we have been very fortunate that the Earth is still here. However, one day will come when an huge asteroid or comet will hit the Earth and that will be the end and no god is going to stop it.

And one thing we know for certain is that the sun will one day explode and engulf the first few planets...one of them being Earth and no god will be able to stop that, either.

Stardust said...

2. The natural temptation is to attribute the appearance of design to actual design itself.

Most people cave in to just giving the credit to an imaginary being since they cannot comprehend something just appearing out of chaos.

3. The temptation is a false one because the designer hypothesis immediately raises the larger problem of who designed the designer.

There is no designer...only in the imaginations of lazy and impatient humans who are afraid of death and no longer existing...so they create imaginary gods and supernatural stories for themselves. Read Joseph Campbell or watch his videos The Power of Myth if you don't like Dawkins.

4. The most ingenious and powerful explanation is Darwinian evolution by natural selection.

Have you ever actually read Darwin's writings on this? Most people haven't, even those arguing for evolution.

5. We don't have an equivalent explanation for physics.

So goddidit?

6. We should not give up the hope of a better explanation arising in physics, something as powerful as Darwinism is for biology.

There is scientific proofs and evidence for evolution, there are none for your god hypothesis.

Therefore, God almost certainly does not exist."

Exactly...no verifiable reproducible evidence has been found to prove otherwise.

Stardust said...

In points 1 and 2, he admits that the universe has the incredible appearance of design, which most human beings note. In 3 and 6, he makes his real counter-argument.

This does not mean that a goddidit.

Point 6 just says, "we have FAITH that we can prove God wrong if we just give these physics guys some more time." This is hardly an argument. If a Christian said something like this in arguing for God, atheists would tear him apart.

And atheists always do tear this argument apart. Most intelligent Christians admit that their god cannot be proven to exist and it's merely a matter of "Faith"...a "hope" that a god exists...and everlasting life because they are afraid to die. The Egyptian religion lasted more than 4,000 years before it finally died. They firmly believed in life after death so much so that they buried people with all of their possessions, and those who had servants, the servants were killed immediately so as to serve their masters in the afterlife. People have been wishing to live forever since humans could reason...they think they can "reason" away death. You cannot, and no imaginary friend will help you.

Point 3 is the only point that is even remotely valid.

You say this only because he brings your imaginary friend idea into the discussion.

He states that the designer hypothesis doesn't explain the universe very well because God would be even more complex than the universe and require and even bigger explanation (who designed the designer?). However, Dawkins shows his lack of philosophical and theological knowledge here.

No, he shows lack of belief in the supernatural.

God is, by definition, the creator of the universe.

God by imagination is the creator of some people's idea of the universe.

He is also immaterial. If God creates ALL matter (which is held by time), then he exist both before time and matter. And because God exists before time, it would be senseless to refer to anyone "designing Him" because that would invoke the idea of cause and effect, which only makes sense in a time-based universe. Now, this doesn't prove that God exists, but it does put a big hole in Dawkins objection. And if that is really the central argument of the whole book, I would personally struggle to see how anyone could be impressed with the book as a whole.

A person who wants badly to cling to his or her god beliefs would have a problem with this or any book talking about the God Delusion. You struggle because you are afraid of losing your faith.

No god exists, no god ever comes. Humans help other humans, we conceive via each other, we birth our own, we die alone...no god comes. No gods come to stop the tsunamis, no god comes to stop the poverty, no god comes to stop tornadoes, earthquakes, sickness, starving children, abused children and women, rapists, murderers, incest, floods, and so on, and so forth. But humans endeavor to help each other, humans have to clean up the mess of natural disaster and rebuild. NO GOD COMES...EVER.

Cody said...

You're right. I need to finish the book. But that doesn't mean I can't make some observations based on the portions I did read. You didn't argue that I misunderstood him, so where were my conclusions about his arguments wrong?

Also, you seem to think that rape and murder are wrong. Why is that?

Stardust said...

Murder and rape are wrong because it is harmful to our species. It is harmful to our society. Humans make up rules and morals in order to get along with other humans and to live in a peaceful and orderly society. Also, we have laws because it seems that many people cannot obey the laws set in place by their society. And if they break these laws, they must answer to HUMAN justice. No god comes. No god intervenes.

Baconeater said...

We have evolved a sense of remorse, guilt and empathy.

Murder and rape upsets the apple cart in most areas, whether it be the victim, victim family and in most cases the perpetrator who knows he was wrong, unless he is a sociopath.

Even chimps experience remorse, guilt and empathy and it prevents them from murdering and raping within their tribe in most cases.

It wouldn't be good for the survival of the species if we didn't have empathy and guilty. We simply wouldn't be here today.