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No Richard, I don't believe in that god either

Dawkins was asked in an article - Where does evolution leave God?  He answered:

“Before 1859 it would have seemed natural to agree with the Reverend William Paley, in “Natural Theology,” that the creation of life was God’s greatest work. Especially (vanity might add) human life. Today we’d amend the statement: Evolution is the universe’s greatest work. Evolution is the creator of life, and life is arguably the most surprising and most beautiful production that the laws of physics have ever generated. Evolution, to quote a T-shirt sent me by an anonymous well-wisher, is the greatest show on earth, the only game in town.


“Where does that leave God? The kindest thing to say is that it leaves him with nothing to do, and no achievements that might attract our praise, our worship or our fear. Evolution is God’s redundancy notice, his pink slip. But we have to go further. A complex creative intelligence with nothing to do is not just redundant. A divine designer is all but ruled out by the consideration that he must at least as complex as the entities he was wheeled out to explain. God is not dead. He was never alive in the first place.”

Again ask the question - who or what has Dawkins taken aim at?  He's railing against a divine designer entirely dependent on its own creation.

Rail away Richard.  Christian theology does a far better job, but if it makes you feel better - go for your life.

And if you want to lay the smackdown on some god-of-the-gaps who is posited simply to explain the inexplicable, then please don't let us stop you.

And if you're invigorated by venting splenetic rage on a god 'ruled out' by the logic of its own creation well Richard, who isn't?  I'm regularly energized by such disdain.  And we certainly have no wish to spoil your fun.

While you heap adolescent contempt on those gods, we'll be over here - stoning modern-day Paleys for providing you with such irrelevant and idolatrous targets.


By the way - if you read the Dawkins quote and thought to yourself 'Aha, but who created the laws of physics!?' - you are Paley.  And I'm coming to get you.


0 thoughts on “No Richard, I don't believe in that god either

  1. Larry

    Awesome humour, but equally very glad that I didn't think of science as the answer, else i'd be afraid to answer the door for a while. These "im not macho like mark" masculine types are still pretty scary.

  2. pgjackson

    This is one of the hardest points to get over to people apologetically. The instinct to respond to a Dawkins by saying things like:

    'Aha, yes, a big bang, but who lit the match!'

    is very strong amongst us evangelicals imho. And, also imho, misses the point almost entirely.

    "Paleys" - I'm not getting the (cultural?) reference?

  3. Si

    William Paley was someone who observed the same variation as Darwin, came up with the idea that animals adapt to changing conditions or die (ie natural selection) and said "isn't the way God works great". He was a deist and came up with the "you see a watch - you can't say it just happened, as it looks designed and is complex" argument for God. He's the first pin up boy for the ID movement (ie the we're designed, but God used mechanisms to design us - rather than the creationist viewpoint - the terms are misunderstood, especially by the secular media and everything gets confused).

    Despite beating Darwin to a theory of natural selection, he is almost universally forgotten, and Darwin credited with coming up with the theory, simply as Darwin allowed the possibility of there not being a God and extrapolated giving a theory of evolution that would allow, but not necessarily mean an atheistic origin story. Simply as Paley added a metaphysical commentary to his theory (just like Dawkins et al do today - only with a different metaphysical view), his work is rejected by us today. Darwin was adamant that evolution was agnostic - which is kind of right - you can be deist, or Islamic, or atheist and evolution holds no bar against your faith.

    I've just heard an interesting radio program on Radio 4 talking about Newton and his contemporaries. Newton's science, politics and philosophy all match up - one ruler, many individuals underneath and interference from the ruler to make sure everything is ticking along. A contemporary German had a many monad idea, left to carry on under the rules, which reflects the German fiefdom/many princes system better. Interesting...

  4. Glen

    Hey Larry,
    Shucks, I guess I do have a bit of Driscoll in me after all. But it's not stay at home dads that bother me - I admire them. No, if you want apoplectic, throat-shredding, vein bulging, youtube-worthy rage, get me in front of some natural theologians... "How dare you!! Who... do... you... think... you... are!!"

    Now that'd be fun.

    And thanks Si - good answer to Pete's question.

  5. Si

    I was wrong, Paley only came up with the watch idea of the universe and that it had to be designed due to it being difficult to come about by accident.

    However Darwin still didn't come up with evolution - his Grandad was an evolutionist. Darwin still only came up with evidence for natural selection (as did others before, and Wallace at the same time) and a solution making atheism sound reasonable: darwinian evolution or darwinism.

    Dawkins, when forced to deal with the real God of the Christians (occasionally in closing statements), sounds like Steve Chalke - he hates the idea of wrath as he's a 'nice chap' (also why he rejects social darwinism, eugenics and so on, just like Darwin, who, despite justifying such things in the Descent of Man, hated such things). He also can't have Jesus rising from the dead as his worldview cannot hold anything that doesn't fit in with science. His objections aren't scientific, or even psudeo-scientific, they are philosophical and moral.

    However, given that philosophy and ethics aren't his strong point, and he believes in science as holding all the answers, he attacks straw gods - ie man-made idols.

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