Dec 9, 2009

too complicated

It’s interesting that Richard Dawkins on one hand is well known for criticising the of concept God, i.e. the God of Christian theism, as being a being too complex to actually exist; or at least have any explanatory power – and yet he is found suggesting that if God does exist, he’s going to be “bigger and a whole lot more incomprehensible” than our current God. Is it just me, or is it the Dawkins claim that some kind of God type thing could possibly exist but only if it’s a bit more complicated than those religious dolts think?

Perhaps we should just take this as Dawkins admitting he has no interesting philosophical arguments against God’s existence. This, in any case, has been clear enough to various philosophers for a little while.



    (okay to be fair, complex and incomprehensible are listed as synonyms for abstruse.) But the moral of the story is that complex and big/incomprehensible are not quite the same thing - especially not in sense that he uses them. Though I tend to agree Dawkins doesn't have a whole lot of philosophical arguments for atheism (since there are no new arguments for atheism anyway). Anywho, the point of these ramblings was to ask if you're planning to go and see Dawkins speak when he comes to uni next year?

  2. Thanks for the English lesson senor. I'd love a chance to see the mighty Dawkins visit our world in the flesh, but as we have found, there are complications therewith.

    I was, I note, thinking more along the lines of "intricate" which you will note is also a synonym for both.

    Perhaps I was being too clever; perhaps. But I wonder if my point remains. Would not the god of the future who is apparently acceptable to our Oxford friend not also fall foul of the complexity barrier? With all due respect, pointing me to the Internet with a little chuckle at my supposed ignorance of words does not solve the puzzle;

    Who made Dawkins' friend? If he/she were to reveal himself to us; in the enlightened future where everyone is "bright"; without providing a cogent naturalistic account of his/her own origin, it appears that the D man would be duty-bound to reject said revelation as opposed to the spirit of science - or am I talking crap?

    To rephrase: Dawkins' main objection to God seems to be that he is no good as an explanation for the reductionist scientist as he is complex. How would this god of non-revelation which might somehow exist be any better and why, as an aside, can these arguments for simplicity, or against reductionism, if indeed they exist, not be used for the real God?


  3. Sorry, intricate is a synonym by way of abstruse for incomprehensible - but perhaps you get the point.
    There are a couple of interesting arguments against the comprehensibility, or perhaps better "coherency" of Dawkins' position there anyway.
    Also, he doesn't necessarily need to offer new stuff if he can do the old stuff well - I submit that, for all his passion, he fails there.

  4. I think Dawkins is doing a climate change denier trick (comparison ends there though):
    - The world isn't warming. But if it is warming it is natural. If it's not natural then there's nothing we can do about it.
    - God doesn't exist because of the complexity problem. But if God does exist then he's probably a bit more interesting than the God of traditional monotheism.

    I don't think there's anything wrong with presenting two mutually exclusive arguments just in case one is wrong. Sometimes it might look a bit silly though. But maybe I'm not getting what you're saying?