I am not the only blogger who is discussing The God Delusion. If you want a view that is really different from mine you can go to the Apologetics homepage where you will find comprehensive criticism of Richard Dawkins latest book. Deepak Chopra whom I recently criticized for his abuse of quantum physics also taken the challenge of trying to break the arguments put forth in The God Delusion. Needless to say I don't think that the Apologetics or Chopra are able to break the very strong message in the God delusion, but that should be up to you readers to decide.
After having met the many arguments or proofs for God, one by one, in chapter four Richard Dawkins goes on to describe not only why we do not need a God to describe our world but also why such a God in fact is quite implausible.
He starts out by explaining why the alternative to a creator God, Charles Darwin's (see picture) Theory of Evolution, is not, as many people tend to think, the same as blind chance. It is really quite wearisome to hear people say "so you think we just popped into existence" when you say you believe in evolution, but I have already written about this issue in my blog post Evolution is NOT blind chance. Dawkins also points out that to call upon a creator in order to explain complexities which we have not yet understood does not solve nothing, all it does is to invent another complexity that needs to be explained. I would like the ID proponents to suggest an empirical test, similar to the one below, which if it succeeded would support their "theory" and if it failed would falsify it. Dawkins writes:
"Darwin himself said as much: 'If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down. But I can find no such case.' Darwin could find no such case, and nor has anybody since Darwin's time, despite strenuous, indeed desperate, efforts. Many candidates for this holy grail of creationism have been proposed. None has stood up to analysis"
Another common tactic used by religious people is "The worship of gaps". Whenever there is something science cannot explain such as for instance language, certain religious people take this as proof of God's existence. After all, if science doesn't have the explanation, then it has to God right, right?
"The logic turns out to be no more convincing than this: 'I [insert own name] am personally unable to think of any way in which [insert biological phenomenon] could have been built up step by step. Therefore it is irreducibly complex. That means it is designed."
But what about the Universe and what about us humans? Why should there be a Universe? Why should we exist? Surely someone must have wanted us to exist? No not of necessity. Though I am still merely an amateur astronomer (I am trying to help that by following a lecture series by Professor Alex Filippenko available at Berkeley's webcast), I know that there are theories out there which could potentially elucidate why our Universe looks the way it does. There are also good attempts to explain how the first cells arose. These theories I admit can sound a bit far fetched an even unlikely. However, it seems that we are also relatively lonely in our Universe and so the unlikely event of a cell (see below) forming spontaneously from various organic constituents only had to happen once for us to exist. If you throw a dice billions and billions of times you are likely to at least once get say 10 sixes in a row even though the probability of this series is as low as 0.00000002.
We humans are also ill equipped to accept hard nosed scientific theories instead of explanations that invoke an agent such as God. Humans have a natural tendency to see agents everywhere. Dawkins writes:
"Maybe the psychological reason for this amazing blindness has something to do with the fact that many people have not had their consciousness raised, as biologists have, by natural selection and its power to tame improbability. J. Anderson Thomson, from his perspective as an evolutionary psychiatrist, points me to an additional reason, the psychological bias that we all have towards personifying inanimate objects as agents. As Thomson says, we are more inclined to mistake a shadow for a burglar than a burglar for a shadow. A false positive might be a waste of time. A false negative could be fatal. In a letter to me, he suggested that, in our ancestral past, our greatest challenge in our environment came from each other. 'The legacy of that is the default assumption, often fear, of human intention. We have a great deal of difficulty seeing anything other than human causation.' We naturally generalized that to divine intention."
In summary, chapter four in The God Delusion, bring up a few quite important points. It is shown that a creator God is really an inadequate answer since it merely brings up another problem namely who created the creator, or who designed the designer? The best theory we have to explain our own existence without invoking an agent is the beautiful and simple Theory of Evolution.