Thursday, May 24, 2007

Fallacious Dawkins

I trust by now that most of you realize that Richard Dawkins' extremely popular book, The God Delusion, is anything but a well-reasoned refutation of Christianity. His errors in critical thinking are so many and varied that atheist philosopher Michael Ruse has written that Dawkins' book "makes me embarrassed to be an atheist."

In our Adult Education class at Antioch, we've read through chapter 3, and have been appalled by the unfounded assertions and poor reasoning. This week, I'm preparing a summary of introductory logic and, specifically, a list of some of the most common informal logical fallacies. As I do this, it has been borne in upon me that Dawkins--in his "argumentation"--provides wonderful illustrations of virtually all of these errors in thinking.

In an earlier post, which I titled "The Cosmological Argument" (May 12), I quoted Dawkins and pointed out a category fallacy whereby he asked of the God of Christianity--who is by definition an uncreated, necessary Being--"who created Him?" In that same quote, Dawkins is guilty of a fallacy known as "argumentum ad futuris"--an appeal to the future. In lieu of a transcendent God, he prefers "a big bang singularity or other physical concept as yet unknown." It is, of course, logically absurd to suggest that something (like the big bang singularity) could create itself. It is also fallacious (argumentum ad futuris) to base one's argument on hypothetical future discoveries. Dawkins must do so, however, because the evidence available to us at present overwhelmingly supports a biblical--not a naturalist--worldview.

Look for more classic illustrations--courtesy of Richard Dawkins--of informal logical fallacies in future posts.


Anonymous said...

Hey Rick!

Have you come across any good websites or introductory books on logic in prepping for the Sunday morning discussions?

I'd love to bookmark or look into some more great resources on argumentation and logic...

Rick Gerhardt said...

Hi Ken!

I guess my favorite intro logic book is Geisler and Brooks' Come, Let us Reason. It uses Scripture and theological arguments for many of its illustrations, which makes it more interesting.