The Evangelists of the Nothing–Richard Dawkins
by Matt Rawlings
Richard Dawkins is a hero to young atheists who are not academics but largely an embarrassment to skeptics who are scholars. For example, outspoken atheist and philosopher of science Michael Ruse dismisses Dawkins (and fellow best-selling author Sam Harris) as a joke. To be fair, however, what does Dawkins argue?
Dawkins, a zoologist by trade, wrote several books that were lauded by academics such as The Selfish Gene and The Blind Watchmaker but he entered the public consciousness with his best seller The God Delusion, which has sold upwards of two million copies. The book made fans of the likes of producer Seth MacFarlane and magicians Penn & Teller.
There is a lot to outline in The God Delusion but let’s jump to the heart of it. Dawkins’ argument, as set forth on pages 157-158 and summarized William Lane Craig, is as follows:
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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.
Darwkins argues these six statements proves God does not exist. In other words, Darwinian evolution explains the appearance of design and there is no explanation for God’s existence. Thus, Dawkins believes he has demonstrated beyond doubt that belief in a deity is wholly unwarranted for naturalism explains everything. But does it?