Randy

Dawkins. Selected chapters and thoughts of his from his best selling book "The God Delusion.

  
By:  Randy  •  Religion and science  •  7 years ago  •  10 comments

Dawkins. Selected chapters and thoughts of his from his best selling book "The God Delusion.

 Why there is almost certainly no God.

The Priests of the different religious sects...dread the advance of science as witches do the approach of daylight and scowl on the fatal harbinger announcing the subdivisions of the duperies on which they live'

Thomas Jefferson

The Ultimate Boeing 747

The argument from improbability is the big one. It is the traditional guise of the argument of design., it is easily today's most popular argument offered on favor of the existence of God and it is seen, by an amazingly large number of theists, as completely and utterly convincing. It is indeed a very strong and, I suspect, argument - but in the precisely the opposite direction from the theist's intention. The argument from improbability, properly deployed, comes close to proving the God does not exist. My name for the statistical demonstration that God almost certainly does not exist is the Ultimate Boeing 747 Gambit.

The name comes from Fred Hoyle's amusing image of the Boeing 747 and the scrapyard. I am not sure if Hoyle ever wrote it down himself, but it was attributed to him by his close colleague Chanra Wickramasinghe and is presumably authentic. Hoyle said that the probability of life originating on Earth is no greater then the chance that a hurricane, sweeping through a scrapyard would have the luck of assembling a Boeing 747. Others later have borrowed this metaphor to refer to the later evolution of complex living bodies, where is has been a spurious plausibility. The odds against assembling a fully functioning horse or beetle or ostrich by randomly shuffling it's parts are up there in 747 territory This, in a nutshell, is the creationists favorite argument - an argument that could only by made somebody who doesn't understand the first thing about natural selection: somebody who thinks natural selection is a theory of chance whereas - in the relevant sense of chance - it is the opposite.

The creationists misappropriation of the argument from improbability always takes the same general form, and it doesn't make any difference if the creationist chooses to masquerade in the politically expedient fancy dress of 'intelligent design' (Intelligent design has been unkindly referred to as creationism in a cheap tuxedo). Some observed phenomenon - often a living creature or one of it more complex organs, but it could be anything from a molecule up to the universe itself - is correctly extolled as statistically improbable. Sometime the language of informational theory is used: the Darwinian is challenged to explain the source of all of the information of living matter, in the technical sense of information content as a measure of improbability or 'surprise value'. Or the argument may invoke the economist's hackneyed motto: there is no free lunch - and Darwinism is accused of trying to get something for nothing. In fact, as I shall show in this chapter, Darwinian natural selection is the only know solution to the otherwise unanswerable riddle of where the information comes from. It turns out to be the God Hypothesis that tries to get something for nothing. God tries to have it's free lunch and be it too. However statistically improbable the entity you seek to explain by invoking a designer the designer himself has got to be at least as improbable. God is the ultimate 747.

The argument from improbability states that complex things could not have come about by chance. But many people define 'come about by chance's as a synonym for 'come about in the absence of deliberate design'. Not surprisingly, therefore, they think improbability is of design. Darwinian natural selection shows how wrong this is with respect to biological improbability. And although Darwinism may not be directly relevant to the inanimate world - cosmology, for example - it raises our consciousness in areas outside of it's original territory of biology.

A deep understanding of Darwinism teaches us to be wary of the easy assumption that design is the only alternative to chance., and teaches us to seek out growing ramps of slowly increaseing complexity. Before Darwin, philosophers such as Hume understood that the improbability of life did not mean it had to be designed, but they couldn't imagine the alternative. After Darwin, we should all feel deep in our bones, suspicious of the very idea of design. The illusion of design is a trap that has caught us before, and Darwin should have immunized us by raising our consciousness. Would that he had succeed with all of us.

Richard Dawkins. The God Delusion. Beginning of chapter four.

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JohnRussell
Professor Principal
link   JohnRussell    7 years ago

Evolution is not incompatible with belief in or the existence of God. 

 
 
 
Randy
Sophomore Guide
link   author  Randy  replied to  JohnRussell   7 years ago

It is completely incompatible. Completely. 100% Some of the people who are facing the facts of science desperately look for ways to mold the bible around the science, but there just is not a fit. Have you read the complete bible? The King James or the Catholic one? I mean from cover to cover to cover. Until you do you can not have any basis of understanding just how far apart the bible and science really are.

I have read them both (though it's been a good 30 years ago) and in reading them I came to question the faith I was brought up in (Catholicism) realize that they just don't make sense. The bible, far from reinforcing the stories and things I was being taught, made me question why the book itself is so completely wrong.  The inconsistencies of science and the differences in the stories. The complete inconsistencies and hypocrisy of the supposed god are incredible. The slaughter in the Old Testament. The fact that the Four Gospels in the New Testament conflict with and don't support each other and that they were randomly chosen out of dozens of other gospels. The bible started me on my road to complete atheism. The fact that people say they want their children to get their morals from this book mystifies me when it is far and away one of the most immoral books ever written. I had my children read it not so they could believe, but to see just for themselves how badly the morals, especially in the old testament, are taught.

The vast majority of people who object to atheism have not read the bible and don't have any idea of what they are talking about and the people who have made religion and the study of the bible their life have just wasted the many years of their life studying a myth. If that's what what they wanted to do with their life, more power to them. However theology is and always has been a waste of many otherwise intelligent minds.

I will be posting more of Dawkins' writings and you can choose to read them or not or believe them or not, but they are undeniable science and they are not in any manner consistent with the bible. Wait for coming attractions.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
link   JohnRussell  replied to  Randy   7 years ago

Randy , every one who believes in God, and for that matter, every Christian, does not believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible. As far as this particular phase of this argument goes, that is all there is to it. 

You try to apply particular arguments too broadly. 

 
 
 
Randy
Sophomore Guide
link   author  Randy  replied to  JohnRussell   7 years ago

Tell that to people who pick and choose parts of the Old Testament to justify their particular hate or bigotry, such as against gays. Of course they take it literally as they choose to. Besides there are still at least 50% of (mostly fundamentalist) Christian churches that take it, including the Old testament literally. Just ask Ben Carson how old the Earth is and see. Or go to services at a church in rural Kentucky or Alabama or Mississippi or Oklahoma or South Dakota. Or try watching any of the religion channels on TV (other then the obvious conman that is). There are tens of thousands of churches that interpret the bible, cover to cover, literally and they are running the Christian vote right now and the scary part is that very, very, very large block, votes.

My argument is not anywhere close to being broad enough.

If 3 out of 4 Americans believe the Bible is the word of God, then they are going to interpret it literally, since they don't want to disagree with god. Besides, the 3 out of 10 who say IT IS to be taken literally is scary enough all on it's own.

 

 
 
 
Hal A. Lujah
Professor Expert
link   Hal A. Lujah    7 years ago

"God is the ultimate 747."

That about sums it up.  Furthermore, the ultimate 747 is now sitting in the scrapyard  alongside all the other aged and un-serviceable 747s.

 
 
 
Randy
Sophomore Guide
link   author  Randy  replied to  Hal A. Lujah   7 years ago

I couldn't agree more. I think that science has gone beyond proving that there is no existence of a god or designer and that someday in the future all intelligent people will realize it (most already do). Of course that won't stop the fanatics of all religions from fighting because they have been so completely indoctrinated by their parents that they will have a hard time accepting cold hard scientific facts from biology that show there is no god. It will be a cultural shock to their system that will be hard to recover from. However I think that as each individual stands up and says clearly to themselves that god does not exist, they will feel a freedom such as they have never known.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
link   JohnRussell  replied to  Randy   7 years ago

Randy, it is not POSSIBLE to prove that there is no God, so science will NEVER come up with such proof. 

By definition , God is a "super"-natural entity, meaning it exists partially or wholly outside of nature. Science cannot investigate anything that exists outside of this nature (this existence) . Science cannot ever ever ever prove that there is no God. 

 
 
 
Randy
Sophomore Guide
link   author  Randy  replied to  JohnRussell   7 years ago

It is not necessary to prove there is no god. It is necessary to prove that there is. The burden of proof exists only with the people claiming that there is one and so far they have presented zero evidence at all.

 
 
 
Randy
Sophomore Guide
link   author  Randy  replied to  Randy   7 years ago

Until the people who profess that there is a god can prove it, then there is not one.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
link   JohnRussell  replied to  Randy   7 years ago

It is not necessary to prove there is no god. It is necessary to prove that there is. The burden of proof exists only with the people claiming that there is one and so far they have presented zero evidence at all.

This is what atheists like to believe and argue, but it is nonsense. 

The "default" position belongs to neither side.