Monday, August 04, 2008

Richard Dawkins and the non existence of God

I have to say I have heard a few snippets of what Richard Dawkins has had to say on the subject of religion, but never quite realised what a plonker he is.

Channel 4 have just screened a documentary billed as being about Charles Darwin whereas it was in fact about Richard Dawkins using the Origin of Species as an attack on religion. A bot of a shame really as Charles Darwin was a clever fellow, whom I would have liked to hear about. Richard Dawkins on the other hand I can live without.

His theory on the non existence of God seems to go along the lines of:

Christianity says the world was created in 6 days.

Evolution says it wasn't, ergo God does not exist.

Needless to say with thinking like that, it is no surprise to find h is a biologist rather than a mathematician or physicist.

The problem with Dawkins proposition is that he us taking the bible far too literally. For example what about the earth being created in 6 days? Well who's days? Ours? God's? Where is the evidence to say?

Further more, the bible and others like it have not only been passed down for generations often orally, but also crucially is not supposed to be a scientific treatise which is why it does not mention quantum theory, but a treatise on the way people should interact with each other and with God.


Rob Willox said...

Regardless of what the bible says of how long it took, whose days or should not be taken literally the simple fact is that many people do take it literally as the word of god and base their whole philosophy in it.

If only more people were as enlightened as you and could see the bible for what it is!

The simple proposition of evolution by natural selection, and it can be tested scientifically, is that is unnecessary to invoke the existence of god or, for that matter, any supernatural force, person or power, to explain the wonder of the natural world that we see all around us.

It is typical of the nay-sayers to pick on a simplistic explanation, as you do, in an attempt to discredit a whole branch of science.

I think you will find there are a lot more scientists, including mathematicians and physicists, who you would no doubt similarly dismiss.

Anonymous said...

Indeed, your oversimplification of Dawkins' argument renders it incoherent. Here is a more accurate analysis of his position:

The historical evidence produced by believers combined with the natural evidence we have discovered about the universe suggests that the existence of the abramic god is probabilistically implausible.

The argument is rather convincing given all of the evidence. I also recommend Sam Harris' "The End of Faith" and "Letter to a Christian Nation" as well as Christopher Hitchens' "God is Not Great".

Benedict White said...

Rob, the problem with evolution is that we can't test it as it happens too slowly. There is a lot of evidence ot back the theory but that does not mean that it can be "proved".

"It is typical of the nay-sayers to pick on a simplistic explanation, as you do, in an attempt to discredit a whole branch of science."

What tosh is this? Where do I try to discredit evolution? Dawkins, yes, he is a pratt, but evolution? Show me where I say anything against it.

Benedict White said...

Anonymous, that is not the argument Dawkins put in the programme for the non existence of God. The argument in the program seemed to revolve around the proposition that evolution took so long that literal creationism can't be right, ergo the whole lot is tosh.

Anonymous said...


David said...

I think Dawkins point is that a Scientist would say "based on scientific evidence, God probably does not exist". A religious fundamentalist would respond "Based on what it says in the Bible, God definitely exists". One will never change their mind, the other knows exactly what it would take to change their mind.

Of course there are a thousand shades of grey between fundamental Chrisitan and fundamental athiest but when the religous right want flood geology and Creation science (sic) put in the science classroom, I am happy for Dawkins and his invective to try and gain as much publicity as possible in the cause of science.

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