Dawkins bashing? (The atheist delusion)

by dhw, Wednesday, December 24, 2008, 12:20 (4178 days ago) @ Muhamad Khalil

Muhamad Khalil writes: "That line was a totally unfair "Dawkins bashing" line indeed. How sad."

Dawkins' book is entitled The God Delusion, which some might class as unfair religion-bashing. Over and over again, as I have pointed out in the context of the line you have isolated (see below), Dawkins' response to the design argument is to make statements like the following: "A designer God cannot be used to explain organised complexity because any God capable of designing anything would have to be complex enough to demand the same kind of explanation in his own right" (p. 109). The line you object to is: "But who says that different, unsolved (possibly insoluble) problems invalidate a proposition?" In the light of the above, I fail to see why this should be classed as unfair "bashing". Perhaps you would explain.

Many scientists, including our own David Turell, have made a powerful argument against the possibility of chance assembling the extraordinarily complex ingredients for life ... and even Dawkins admits that it may be "very very improbable" (p. 137). To dismiss the design argument on the grounds that we cannot explain the designer is a non-sequitur. Design is one proposition to explain the origin of life, and chance is another. The origin, nature, and continued existence of a possible designer are a separate issue. Postbox49 argued: "Unless there is proof of the proposition, what reason would we have to believe it?" I agree. Until the case for design or chance is proven, the whole question remains open, and Dawkins' belief in chance is as irrational as belief in an all-knowing, all-powerful, all-good deity.

Having reread postbox49's post of 15 January 2008, I'm struck by his conclusion, in which he says it is far more important for us to discuss "what should our values be in the light of our views, and how will we personally live ethically and how will we seek to influence society for good?" I see no reason why we shouldn't discuss all aspects of the topic, and over the last year we have certainly had a good go at ethics, but it's not a bad note to end on at Christmas!


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