Tuesday, May 8, 2007

The Dawkins Delusion

A group of folks at our church (Antioch) is reading and discussing a chapter each week from Richard Dawkins' very popular (but painful) book, The God Delusion. Reading it makes me kinda grumpy, and so I'll use this space to vent a bit.

In Chapter 3 (which is this week's assignment) Dawkins is especially infuriating. Here, he claims to refute all of the traditional arguments for the existence of God. He begins by mischaracterizing each of these arguments (the 'straw-man' fallacy). He then provides no arguments against them, but offers up silly pseudo-analogies. In the end, he simply assures the reader that he finds no validity to them, dismissing not only the arguments themselves but the many philosophers (from across the theological spectrum) who have found and still find these arguments compelling and worth serious scrutiny. The reader is led to believe (throughout the first two chapters) that Dawkins is going to interact with these arguments in a meaningful way, perhaps even offer some new insight worth considering. The reader of this particular book had better get used to disappointment, because--when it comes to formulating logical arguments--Dawkins is clearly outside his area of expertise.

The more pervasive problem (with the entire book), however, is Dawkins' unwillingness to present any arguments or evidence for evolution. For him, neo-Darwinism is itself God-like. It is beyond the need for evidential support, it somehow accounts for a great deal more about the universe than merely the diversity of life, and ascribing to it is a deeply religious matter for Dawkins (more about this later).

If you'd like to read and discuss this with us (given the foregoing sparkling review), we meet in Theatre 5 at the Regal Cinemas at The Old Mill in Bend, Oregon, Sunday mornings from 8:15 to 9:00. We'd love to have ya!

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