The God Delusion

The next book that I have chosen to read is one from the atheists’s point of view. Richard Dawkins, the author of The God Delusion is primarily a ethologist, and evolutionary biologist, but also served as the Professor for Public Understanding of Science. In this position, his job was to take the complex findings of today’s particle physics, genetic tests, and chemical innovations and simplify the results into something that the average citizen can digest. With this in mind, I have no doubt that Dawkins is one of the most intelligent people of our age; however, I regret to say that his book in most cases does not reflect that. For the majority of the book Dawkins’ arguments rely mostly on examples of when a certain circumstance transpired. That is to say for instance, when on the discussion of prayer (to disprove a personal God) he cites an example of a medical study with heart disease patients in which they scientifically tested whether or not praying (without the prayee’s knowledge) affected the outcome of the procedure. While this certainly seems like a good bit of evidence it isn’t something that I would have expected from such a respected scientist. Certainly scientists are trained and meant to see correlations and draw conclusions from what they find, however they are certainly not trained to draw a definite conclusion from a limited scope of evidence, especially that based on feeling and fractured evidence. This offers a stark contrast to On Guard by William Lane Craig which lays out the premises of a proof at the beginning of the chapter and then subsequently elaborates on the points. Personally, as a scientifically oriented mind, I find the latter proofs to be more compelling, while the former simply raises questions about the arguments (and a few very good ones at that, which I find myself struggling to answer). In a debate between two sides it is said that in order to be persuasive, one must not only tear down the other side’s argument but also erect an argument of their own that the first side cannot debate against. While Dawkins raises questions in his book and offers examples of his own, he actually debates relatively few of the most common moderate proofs (as in not extreme and preposterous proofs) and offers no way to tear down their premises and therefore their arguments. when creating his own argument, he just repeats this process, offering evidence contrary to what the atheists believe but erecting no new evidence of his own.