The God Delusion: by Richard Dawkins…
What do we mean “by Richard Dawkins?” Is it that, at least when book royalties are concerned, the author recognizes the validity of causality? It seems that he does not believe the book “just is.” But it would at least be a possibility, if he were consistent. Of course, every skeptic who writes books about how the door may not really exist still seems to reach out and turn the knob, not just some of the time, but every single time. They never run into doors. Odd thing, indeed, if they doubt, in reality, that objective things outside the mind exist.
Dawkins writes a book that, true, is full of absurdities, ad hominem attacks, straw man arguments, and is a demonstration of repeated logical and ontological fallacy. But he has made some dough off of his books, recognizes that an intelligently designed thing needs an intelligent creator. Of course, the fact of this book being one of “intelligence” certainly is debatable, depending on how you use the analogous term “intelligence.”
Any book that has as its main thesis the non-existence of God, proved or nearly proved, would at least give some real effort to debating the arguments for God. But Dawkins, perhaps a decent biologist (I am not sure, as I am not a biologist, but I assume that a good biologist would be a decent logician as well) is not prepared to meet the philosophical arguments for the existence of God. He certainly fails in this regard, and many atheist and agnostic philosophers concur with me here.
For example, he “refutes” the arguments, commonly known as the five ways, of Thomas Aquinas in a mere three pages. Three pages, mind you, that tell more jokes than deliver argument. And the argument offered merely shows that Dawkins has practically no understanding of the arguments themselves. Dawkins does go on to attempt to refute the so called ontological argument, and devotes much more space to this. As a Thomist, I believe the ontological argument of St. Anselm (God bless his holy soul) is refutable, but Dawkins fails to do a good job refuting it. Funny thing, if Dawkins had any real understanding of Aquinas’ understanding of the proofs of God, he would and could simply use Thomas Aquinas’ own brilliant refutation of this proof. As already mentioned, however, Dawkins has no such understanding, and probably does not want to understand. Those who actually seek truth seek to understand the real arguments of the “other side.” Thomas Aquinas does this; Dawkins does not.
Dawkins also refutes the arguments from “personal experiences.” But why, other than to make his book thicker? Personal experiences are not demonstrations, and only hold force, perhaps, to those who had the experience. No serious philosophers or theologians claim to argue in such a way. Perhaps, after his very sad attempts to refute other arguments for God’s existence, he needed something to “pad the stats” his way. Lastly, Dawkins “refutes” Pascal’s wager. But what does that even mean? Pascal’s wager is not an argument for the existence of God at all. It is a moral argument that the truth about the existence of God is worth seeking. Dawkins misses this entirely, as he has no desire to actually know if there is a God or not. Pascal’s wager may fail in Dawkins case to persuade him to seek whether or not God exists, but it never was an attempt to prove the existence of God. Dawkins, nevertheless, feels a victory in refuting a proof that, well, unlike God, doesn’t exist.
Each of these will be dealt with in more detail later, as well as other parts of Dawkins’ book, especially his chapter “Why There Almost Certainly Is No God,” in which he makes the constant error of confusing the physical empirical sciences with philosophy, even as he mentions constantly how he is not doing so. We will also, over the next few months as I find time to write them, look as his beliefs that teaching kids religion is child abuse, that the origin of religion is a Darwinian side effect of a survival node in the brain, and other various topics.
We will enjoy the delusion that Dawkins has strong arguments against the existence of God.
I do not, of course, propose to have here argued against Dawkins’ book, but only to excite some interest in it, for or against it. The actual arguments will come in future blogs, related to this post. I do not, after having brought up the silliness which Dawkins calls “reason” or “argument,” desire to be classed right there with him.