Thursday, 10 January 2008

The God Delusion, just another delusion

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I respect Richard Dawkins as a scientist and since I'm only halfway through The God Delusion at this point I'm not going to judge the book or his conclusions. I'm also going to state now that while I'm coming from a faith based background I'm prepared to read his arguments and become better acquainted with them since knowledge and understanding are the only ways to counter his points.

I have noticed a major flaw in one of his arguments and I want to point it out now. Dawkins states that the fact that we are here to ask the question about the origin of life proves that the chemical reactions and biological processes necessary to create life and consciousness did occur regardless of how improbable an event it was. A fair point I concede. the flaw in the argument occurs when he is refuting the Creationist/Religious argument that God had a hand in these processes. He states that as the existence of a God is so statistically highly improbable it can be ruled out. Regardless of how improbable the existence of a God might be the fact that we are here to ask the question can just as easily lead to the conclusion that a God does exist.

I can state that while the existence of God is statistically improbable and the occurrence of the chemical reaction is also statistically improbable one or both is probable for I am here to write this.

You may say however that the probability of two highly improbable events occurring together is so improbable that it is virtually impossible and again that's mathematically and logically fair. But I would answer that by giving the example of a programmer of a computer system who must act within the laws of that system for an event to occur. Even the people who hack his system are simply bending the rules of the system, they do not break them since breaking the rules collapses the system. In this analogy I'm obviously taking God to be the programmer. If God's existence is highly improbable but is true then the chemical reaction to create life suddenly becomes much more probable since the programmer must use this method to create His new entity within the system. If we assume that since life exists the chemical reaction to create it occurred, and therefore statistically equals 1, then the only probability that actually matters is the probability of God existing and no matter how improbable this is it is not impossible, ergo it is possible.

The counter point to the computer system analogy is the occurrence of miracles. These seem to totally defeat the idea that God is acting within the confines of his system. In fact by definition these acts appear to totally break the rules of the system and should logically collapse it. Look a little closer at the miracles that occur however and you will see that far from breaking the fundamental rules they simply alter the parameters of the object in question for a short time. Healing the sick for example is altering the human object from a state of unwell to a state of health. Not a fundamental shift and therefore not outside the system. Walking on water, if true, is the changing of the density of a tiny area of water for a brief time. Catastrophic if applied to all water but inconsequential is applied to a tiny mount for such a short time. Turning water into wine again is simply the altering of a small amount of water into another similar object. Everything required to make these changes is within the system and will not have a wide ranging consequence on the system.

In conclusion I'm saying that while Dawkins states that God is improbable he cannot say for sure that the probability of his existence is 0 therefore the existence of God is just as probable as life originating from a spontaneous chemical reaction and cannot be ruled out so flippantly. I expect more logical arguments in the rest of the book.

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