Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Lessons in Bad Philosophy: Dawkins Edition (part 1)

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear. 
1 Peter 3:15

Based upon the Lord's instructions here, as transmitted through His servant, Peter, every Christian should be prepared to give a reasoned defense of the Faith. Now, there's no way that every believer can know how to adequately answer every argument against God, there are several arguments that every believer should prepare to answer. This is one of those arguments.

Richard Dawkins, who is probably the most high profile of the vociferously rabid, God-hating "New Atheists" of our day, summarized his central argument against God (from his best-selling The God Delusion) in the following syllogism:

1) One of the greatest challenges to the human intellect has been to explain how the complex, improbable appearance of design in the universe arises.
2) The natural temptation is to attribute the appearance of design to actual design itself.3) The temptation is a false one because the designer hypothesis immediately raises the larger problem of who designed the designer.
4) The most ingenious and powerful explanation is Darwinian evolution by natural selection.
5) We don't have an equivalent explanation for physics.
6) We should not give up the hope of a better explanation arising in physics, something as powerful as Darwinism is for biology.
Therefore, God almost certainly does not exist.

Well, it's obvious the man is no philosopher since the conclusion wouldn't follow from the premises even if all six of them were sound. But we should still all be able to refute the faulty premises here and of course the "conclusion."

If you don't think you could interact with this argument in a meaningful way, take this as a challenge from God. This is the loudest and most unrelenting spokesperson for the anti-God movement presenting his central, and therefore seemingly most compelling argument against God as creator. If there's one intellectually-oriented atheist argument we should be prepared to answer with confidence it is this one. 

In my next post on this topic I will offer some arguments against a few of these premises and in subsequent entries I'll take on the final three premises and I'll finish in my last entry in the series by refuting the conclusion. Keep your eyes peeled for that!
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