I don't see any reason to continue debating this. I assert that the argument on page 31 is flawed as a result of a logical blunder, and you have not provided one shred of counter evidence from the argument.
Quote:Dawkins views the attempts to argue that God is "outside" of explanation, logic, or whatever is merely a cop-out
Good for him! What does that prove?
Anything beyond our universe is outside logical explanation, but it doesn't follow from that that nothing is outside our universe.
The explanation for complexity in the natural world has been convincingly provided by science, (sophisticated theists like Kenneth Miller, and probably MadArchitect, agree to this as easily as non-theists). But the facts that the universe exists and that natural laws exist are beyond science, beyond logical explanation. There is simply no way to prove that the universe and natural laws exist because of God or not because no empirical evidence applies. Maybe the universe is all that exists and maybe it came into existence by itself. Or, maybe the universe is NOT all there is and it didn't come into existence by itself. There is no way to know.
I'm not making this argument because I believe God is responsible for the existence of the universe. In fact, I don't. But I can't prove that and neither can you. Guess what, Richard Dawkins can't prove it either. People who believe in God are not any more deluded than people who don't. (People who believe the Earth is 6,000 years old or that evolution isn't real are another matter, but neither belief is essential to theism.)
What is really hard to admit is that one just doesn't know. And, in fact, can't know. But this doesn't justify pretending otherwise. Or saying that people who don't agree with you are deluded.
I haven't read the book, but I was addressing the snippet you posted.
Quote:We need not ask if the nature of quantum physics proves the existence of a Supreme Being, which it certainly does not. Quantum physics does allow for it in an interesting way, and certainly excludes the possibility that we will ever gain a complete understanding of the details of nature.
What is he saying? Quantum physics doesn't prove the existence of God, but it can accomodate God.
In other words, quantum physics gives us no reason to believe in God, but it does not rule out God either--this is a God of the gaps argument if indeed he is tryin to say that the fact that it doesn't rule out God gives us reason to believe in God--despite the fact that he admits in the first half that it doesn't prove the existence of God.
The theory of plate tectonics doesn't prove the existence of God, either, nd it is compatible with claims about God's existence, too. This hardly provides a suitable foundation for "finding God", though.
As much as I respect Miller for his work against Creationism, I think this particular argument about God is lacking substance. Perhaps he is trying too hard to show that evolution doesn't preclude belief in God, and bending over backwards to show it. I suppose if people who believed in leprechuans were forming political movements that critiqued evolution, he'd publish a book titled "Finding Darwin's Leprechaun" and explain how science doesn't necessarily rule out their existence, despite the fact that it hasn't proved their existence, either.
Quote:In other words, quantum physics gives us no reason to believe in God, but it does not rule out God either--this is a God of the gaps argument if indeed he is tryin to say that the fact that it doesn't rule out God gives us reason to believe in God--despite the fact that he admits in the first half that it doesn't prove the existence of God.
Even in the snippet I provided Miller explicitly states that quantum indeterminacy does not prove the existence of God. What he argues is that if God does exist, quantum indeterminacy would be required for him to interact with the natural world. It's an interesting argument, but to understand it you'll have to read the book.
I can't explain in a couple of paragraphs what he covers in 300 pages. And, rather obviously, he did not convince me that God exists. What he did convince me of is that a perfectly reasonable and rational person, in fact a scientist, can believe in God without being deluded.
Science doesn't prove God's existence, but in fact God's existence is compatible with scientific claims in quantum physics. Therefore, it is reasonable to believe in God. (Even though we are given no "reasons" to believe in God? Perhaps Miller should find out what makes a belief reasonable!)
Belief in extraterrestials with polka dot hats who like to eat stray cats is also compatible with all science tells us, but that doesn't make it reasonable for scientists to go about believing in such a thing. The fact that he has no solid reasons for believing in these beings is what makes his belief unreasonable!
It could only be considered "reasonable" if one accepted that God of the gaps arguments are "reasonable". All Miller is saying is that God is compatible with science, not that anything regarding God is shown to be true. Arguing that God is compatible with science is NOT the same thing as showing that belief in God is reasonable or somehow correct.
Quote:Anything beyond our universe is outside logical explanation, but it doesn't follow from that that nothing is outside our universe.
Actually, I would think that the way you have described it here does make it follow that nothing is outside our universe! Think of everything that is "outside logical explanation". A square circle is one example. Or a dog that is a dog but also a water balloon at the same time and in the same respects. Or how about a cat that both exists and doesn't exist at the same time, and which is also both big and small in the same respects? These are things that clearly do not exist. In fact, one of the definitive ways of proving nonexistence is to show that something is illogical or contradictory. It makes no sense to say that something contradictory or illogical exists. So to argue that there is a realm where "logic does not apply" is essentially to argue that there is a "nonexistent" realm. In other words--such a realm does not, and could not, exist.
But at any rate, I think we can rephrase what you are saying to be less problematic. We can simply say:
Quote:The fact that a realm is beyond our comprehension doesn't entail that such a realm does not exist.
But you are missing the point. Dawkins isn't arguing that God doesn't exist because we can't comprehend him, or because he is outside of our understanding. Instead, he is arguing that God does not exist because a supernatural God is not a legitimate explanatory entity--when it does attempt to explain complexity, it only multiplies it and leaves us pondering how God got to be so complex, and when it doesn't attempt to explain complexity by arguing that at some point complexity needs no explanation, then it leaves us without any reason to posit the God's existence in the first place. To posit a realm "beyond explanation" to dodge criticisms about the lacking explanatory power of an entity is as foolish as positing a realm "beyond logic" to dodge criticisms about the contradictory nature of an entity. This isn't "theology" but instead the most blatant and contrary to reason ad hoc cover-ups ever mustered.
Imagine a student arguing with his teacher about math. The teacher says that one and one don't make three, but the student says that the teacher lacks an understanding of "numerology", which posits the existence of a realm where traditional mathematical rules don't apply, and where one and one DO make three. The teacher would rightly construe this as the flimsiest and most ridiculous ad hoc response ever offered to try and save an incorrect answer.
Quote:Science doesn't prove God's existence, but in fact God's existence is compatible with scientific claims in quantum physics. Therefore, it is reasonable to believe in God.
This is a non-sequitor, and it's not what Miller argues.
Quote:The fact that he has no solid reasons for believing in these beings is what makes his belief unreasonable!
What do you know of Miller's reasons for believing in God? In fact, you haven't read the book so the only thing you know about it are the three paragraphs I posted above, which you haven't even read carefully. Yet this has not prevented you from leaping to all sorts of conclusions about Miller's arguments.
It seems to me that you're not interested in listening to and understanding what other people are trying to say about theism because you've already made up your mind on the subject.
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Re: Ch. 2 - THE GOD HYPOTHESIS
I think my perception of what's going on in this chapter is different than some of the others.
Dawkins describes the god hypothesis as the proposition that "there exists a super-human, supernatural intelligence who deliberately designed and created the universe and everything in it, including us."
He goes on to write, "This book will advocate an alternative view: any creative intelligence, of sufficient complexity to design anything, comes into existence only as the end product of an extended process of gradual evolution."
Since, according to Dawkins, creative intelligences arrive late in the evolutionary process and are, thus, a relatively recent feature of the universe, a creative intelligence cannot be responsible for designing the universe. Thus, "God," in the sense defined, is a delusion. At least, that's the author's contention.
Dawkins states the god hypothesis and then offers an alternative to it that he thinks has more value and that he proposes to defend in his book. The first statement is what will be discussed in this chapter. The second statement is a position that will be defended throughout the book
After stating the god hypothesis, Dawkins considers various approaches that have been made to it. He writes briefly about polytheism, including in that discussion some comments about the Christian doctrine of the Trinity and the Catholic pantheon (yes, I know Catholics don't consider them gods
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Re: god mattered...
DH: Being unable/unwilling to make the distinction between Bull Connor's God of White Supremacy and Dr. King's God of Agapic Revolution should disqualify anyone from making any meaningful comments on the matter
As I said, to Dawkins, myself and many others, making a distinction between your two versions of god is useless. It's like making a distinction between the comic book and movie versions of Superman (or Storm in the X-Men who I think was seriously misinterpreted in the films) within a real world context. Just because you believe god exists, doesn't mean that Dawkins has to tread lightly in making sure he doesn't insult your particular delusion. His conclusion is outside the interpretation of gods, it is directed at all gods, good or bad. I am not going to comment further, for fear of indulging your mushroomesque posts (you're not a member of UDV are you?), which could result in steering the discussion away from the book. There's already a thread largely dedicated to Dawkins' tone, use that to vent.
Niall:...religion is used to justify anything and everything, both positive and negative, in a religious country.
That's exactly my point. Religion, or god, didn't do these things (good or bad), despite the attempt to attribute causality to religion or god. People, not god, are responsible for their actions.
If you want to look at how religion was used to justify slavery I suggest you look up When Slavery was Called Freedom: Evangelicalism, Proslavery, and the Causes of the Civil War (Religion in the South) by John Patrick Daly. This book develops the idea that both pro and anti slavery views developed from the same religious perceptions of "freedom." I, however, can't actually recommend the book; I haven't yet read it through, merely put it on my "to-be-considered" reading list. I also did a quick search on James Henley Thornwell (actually I was looking for some of his quotes) and found this article: "The US Civil War as a Theological War: Confederate Christian Nationalism and the League of the South." Its works cited list, I think, would give you ample of reading material to further investigate, if you wish.
Quote:So because the existence of God doesn't explain how the natural world operates, God can't exist? Does this seem convincing to you?
That is not what I have said. I have said that God is posited to explain something about the natural world. However, it turns out that God is NOT an explanation for the thing in question. Therefore, we have no reason to believe in God.
Quote:What do you know of Miller's reasons for believing in God? In fact, you haven't read the book so the only thing you know about it are the three paragraphs I posted above, which you haven't even read carefully. Yet this has not prevented you from leaping to all sorts of conclusions about Miller's arguments.
I know of Miller's arguments the bits you have posted, which show that he has not given a reason to believe in God. Earlier, you said that Miller's arguments made it "reasonable" to believe in God, but so far, the only "reasons" you have offered by quoting Miller are God of the gaps arguments: "God is compatible with quantum physics", etc.
Compatibility doesn't make a belief reasonable.
If Miller makes a legitimate argument for belief in God based upon some sort of evidence or reason, then by all means, post it. All I'm saying is that the excerpts you've posted here don't give anyone a reason to believe in God at all.
Quote:If Miller makes a legitimate argument for belief in God based upon some sort of evidence or reason, then by all means, post it. All I'm saying is that the excerpts you've posted here don't give anyone a reason to believe in God at all.
All I'm saying is that your characterization of Miller's arguments is inaccurate. If you are interested, read the book for yourself. There is no way I can read it for you.
PS: Don't take this as an unfriendly put down -- I'm simply not qualified to make Miller's arguments. Moreover, whatever you think regarding Miller's Christianity, his critique of Intelligent Design is absolutely devastating and something any atheist interested in the matter would benefit from reading.
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