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God – Delusion? (2)

9 November, 2006

As you may have gathered from my last post, I was disillusioned by Richard Dawkins’ latest oeuvre ‘The God Delusion’. I felt it lacked the scientific rigour for which he is famous.

Here’s another reason.

Dawkins isn’t short on self-confidence. His aim in this book is none other than that ‘religious readers who open it will be atheists when they put it down’. Does he succeed? Well… not quite.

I  agree with him that most of the traditional arguments for God’s existence are weak (if not, as he puts it ‘spectacularly weak’).

I am interested by his theories about the mechanisms for the cultural transmission of religion (based on his meme theories).

I understand the scientific explanation that the appearance of design in the universe is mere illusion: because nature appears to have been designed, doesn’t mean that it was; it wasn’t.

And I am convinced of the validity of Darwinism as an explanation of the way life evolved on this earth.

But I find that Dawkins goes too far when he asks us to accept his speculation not only that there could be an (as yet undiscovered) mechanism to explain the development of the universe(s), but also that such an explanation would be incompatible with belief in a God.

There are many theories about the origins of the universe(s). Each has its backers amongst scientists. Each is in the stage of being tested against the evidence. But Dawkins goes further and tries to build an argument against the existence of a God upon some relatively flimsy theories. 

His motives for adopting this particular theory seem to stem more from his burning urge to disprove the existence of God than by a scientific weighing of the current evidence from physicists and cosmologists.

It’s as if Dawkins is just as uncomfortable with not-knowing as some fundamentalist Christians are.

In these matters, what’s wrong with saying ‘we just don’t know. Maybe some day we will, but until then, we remain agnostic on this point…’? Why not accept that we have not yet developed far enough to be able to explain absolutely everything?

What’s wrong with being a bit humble?

What’s wrong with a bit of doubt?

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