The Dawkins Delusion

Quite a huge goal, the one Mr. Dawkins has put on himself with his book "The God Delusion". By the end of reading it, according to him, the reader would become atheist. Hm. Didn't quite work on me.

B
ut then again, people like me might be "biased", or not enough "open minded", as Mr. Richard Dawkins alludes in his book. The truth is: I am very open minded. I wasn't just "raised to be a Muslim". I used my own mind to question, research, compare, ask and evaluate everything I was raised to believe. The fact that I am now even more Muslim than I was, tells something.

The adversity of most modern atheists towards religion is a reflection of the adversity towards Christianity and it's flawsAnyway, back to Dawkins: Mr. Richard "the proud Atheist" Dawkins, in his 2006 book "The God Delusion" calls all believers to abandon religion and God and embrace atheism, as a "splendid" way of life [1]. To succeed at this, he applies methods of pretty much "picking and choosing" of quotes from famous scientists and theologians, always suitable to his cause. It is obvious that Mr. Dawkins was raised in a predominantly Christian culture and this is the one big flaw in his reasoning - one, by the way, which almost all the modern "atheists" have in common - his adversity towards religion is a reflection of the adversity towards Christianity. Many people who became atheists, did so, as a response to several "flaws" in the Bible and Christianity as a religion. Some could just not accept the classical idea that God is an old man with a beard sitting somewhere in Heavens (this is of course not the reason for Dawkins' atheism, as he points out), or that God is actually one of three persons, each of them divine, yet there are not three Gods, but one God [The Doctrine of Trinity, 2], others abandoned faith because of convenience (it is much easier to not believe than believe) and then there are those, like Mr. Dawkins, who, being scientists, reach a level where they think they have grasped it all: there simply is no need for God, because everything can be explained in the light of science.

Let's see how exactly Mr. Dawkins is trying to prove that God does not exist, and that belief in a deity is a delusion.

One of the examples Dawkins uses to prove the non-existence of God and to ridicule the believers is The Great Prayer Experiment. It was an experiment funded by the Templeton Foundation, to test experimentally the proposition that praying for sick patients improves their health.[3] The result, after three groups of people in three different churches prayed for sick patients, was that their condition did not change. Dawkins, cynically, brings examples of several reasons why the prayers "might have not worked", by quoting some Christian theologians that try to defend their views, and explains these as "grotesque piece of reasoning, so damningly typical of the theological mind". [4]

What Dawkins doesn't consider here is this: What if they were all praying to the wrong God? I would assume that most of them, if not all, were Christians, who might have been praying to "God", but since they believe Jesus is God, then they were praying to Jesus, a man. Further more, for any prayer to be accepted, the one praying must be a righteous person. What do we know about the persons who were praying? Not much.

Dawkins criticises Islam without even having read the Qur'anIn other words, to discredit religion, Dawkins is using all the wrong examples, like people having Visions of Virgin Mary, Christ, Angels, etc. Why do I say this? Because Virgin Mary was a human being, so was Jesus - they won't just "show up" to people, because they can not do it. Angels will only show up to prophets, real prophets. Thus, when we as Muslims, hear of these "visions" we don't think of it as "another proof there is no God, since people only hallucinate", we only think as "another proof their belief is wrong, because you can't actually see virgin Mary, who has been dead now for 2000 years".

In case of God, this is even stronger, since contrary to Christianity, Islam doesn't believe God enters his Creation - God is "outside" his Creation - if he would enter his creation he would be subject to the physical laws of the same, thus he would cease to be God. Bear in mind though, that when I use the analogy of God being "outside", this does not imply a physical presence of God "somewhere", i.e. we cannot say "God is there but not there" or assign a spacial constrain to God, it is thus a pointer to emphasise that He does not physically enter the creation. The analogy of this, used by many Muslim scholars when debating Christians is: If Jesus was God incarnate, which means God entered his creation, was subject to physical laws, and was killed - then he ceased to be God the moment he entered the creation. If they killed God, who was running the universe?

Might I say that this is one of those typical arguments Dawkins would also use, but to "prove" that there generally is no God, since Jesus could not have possibly been God. But just because Christians have it totally wrong, it doesn't mean God doesn't exist. It would be like trying to prove that God doesn't exist, just because some tribe in the Amazonas jungle worships a big round stone as God. In other words, the wrong concept of God doesn't eliminate His existence.

And so, by pointing out errors in the Bible, absurdities or simply cut, forgeries [5], Dawkins thinks he will "push" people to atheism, but he is only having the opposite effect. I for one, already know that the Bible has been changed, edited, corrupted, etc, as do ALL Muslims. That is only one more argument for me that the Qur'an is indeed the Word of God, since these claims were in the Qur'an 1400 years before Dawkins and biblical textual criticism.

Another point Dawkins would like to raise is that, simply put, the more religious you are, the dumber you are, thus only "the not so smart" people really believe in God. [6] I would argue the opposite: The smarter you are, the more will you be able to understand God. There are of course those who are very smart, or think they are very smart, but don't believe in God (Dawkins included) for several reasons, arrogance not excluded. Since God is beyond time and space, he knew what would people like Dawkins do:

For he thought and he plotted; And woe to him! How he plotted! Yea, Woe to him; How he plotted! Then he looked round; Then he frowned and he scowled; Then he turned back and was haughty; Then said he: "This is nothing but magic, derived from of old. This is nothing but the word of a mortal!" [7]

By the way, following these verses is the one verse where number 19 is mentioned. Would like to see how Dawkins would explain the 19 based mathematical system in the Qur'an. Coincidence? Yeah, right.

Another front, where Dawkins likes to fight, since he is a biologist, is the origin of life. He brings an example of how the first "sparkle" of life started, saying that, the first thing to start life must have been a DNA or more probably an RNA molecule. He answers his own question of "Where did the first molecule come from" with a convenient mathematical probability example:

It has been estimated that there are between 1 billion and 30 billion planets in our galaxy, and about 100 billion galaxies in the universe. Knocking a few noughts off for reasons of ordinary prudence, a billion billion is a conservative estimate of the number of available planets in the universe. Now, suppose the origin of life, the spontaneous arising of something equivalent to DNA, really was a quite staggeringly improbable event. Suppose it was so improbable as to occur on only one in a billion planets . . . even with such absurdly long odds, life will still have arisen on a billion planets - of which Earth, of course, is one. [8]

Note something interesting in his claim? "The SPONTANEOUS arising of DNA".

If life can really arise "spontaneously", how come we don't see it happen every day? For example, a biologist is looking through microscope into a drop of clean water, and "POOF!" all of a sudden a DNA molecule pops up!

Do not worry: A random horse will never "pop into being" in your living roomIt reminds me of a remark Dr. William Lane Craig made in a debate with Peter Slezak that, if things can simply pop into existence without a cause and out of nothing, "then why is no one worried that, while he is watching the debate, a random horse will just pop into being in his living room, defiling his carpet?" [9]

Although this idea of the anthropic principle sounds really really absurd, that would seem to be Dawkins' main argument to explain not only the origin of life, but the universe also. Dawkins simply states that the universe exists because we exist, or, to put it another way, the universe conveniently decided to pop into being out of itself, and the fact that we are here, discussing this, is the proof that it happened just like that. It simply could not have happened differently. Got it? No?

Well, let us see what does he say about the role of God in the creation: First, Dawkins states that any being capable of creating a highly complex universe would have to be even more complex - therefore highly improbable, so, since the existence of God is highly improbable, he does not exist!

Wow ...

OK, let me see: Dawkins, ERRONEOUSLY gives God the attributes of his own creation: in other words, the existence of a being in our universe which would be even more complex than the universe itself is highly improbable. He asks "How do they cope with the argument that any God capable of designing a universe, carefully and foresightfully tuned to lead to our evolution, must be a supremely complex and improbable entity who needs an even bigger explanation than the one he is supposed to provide?" [10]

I ask, why would you even try to explain God, who is outside space time, with his laws which are inside it? The space time laws are only valid for everything which is part and within universe, not for a being which is not subject to those laws.

By using complex thought formulas like the ones above, Dawkins is trying to "impress" us - a kind of proof that they (the atheists) actually study and research, and don't take things for granted - contrary to this, he claims, Christianity and Islam, both require unquestioned faith from their followers. Now this is, at least in case of Islam, outright false! The very first verses revealed to Muhammad from God where the commands to "Read/Learn". Throughout the Qur'an there are a multitude of verses where God encourages us to question and research as opposed to blind faith. Let me just bring you some of those verses:

Have they never learned to think for them selves? God has not created the heavens and the earth and all that is between them without [an inner] truth and a term set [by Him]: and yet, behold, there are many people who stubbornly deny the truth that they are destined to meet their Sustainer! [11]

Had We bestowed this Qur’an from on high upon a mountain, thou wouldst indeed see it humbling itself, breaking asunder for awe of God. And [all] such parables We propound unto men, so that they might [learn to] think. [12]

And so, the parable of those who are bent on denying the truth is that of the beast which hears the shepherd's cry, and hears in it nothing but the sound of a voice and a call. Deaf are they, and dumb, and blind: for they do not use their reason. [13]

Verily, the vilest of all creatures in the sight of God are those deaf, those dumb ones who do not use their reason. [14]

Finally, what evidence does Dawkins offer in his book against God's existence apart from "theories", conjecture, "probability principles"? None. Here is a verse for him in this regard:

Behold, as for those who call God’s messages in question without having any evidence, therefore in their hearts is nothing but overweening self-con ceit, which they will never be able to satisfy: seek thou, then, refuge with God - for, verily, He alone is all-hearing, all-seeing! [15]

As a book, "The God Delusion" might seem interesting to someone who never read God's Revelation, but to anyone else it just leaves the taste of a cheap writ. The only one really deluded seems to be the author.

Nay, who is there that can help you, (even as) an army, besides (Allah) Most Merciful? In nothing but delusion are the Unbelievers. [16]

 

  • Notes

    1. Dawkins, Richard; The God Delusion, Page 1. [back]

    2. "Trinity". Britannica encyclopaedia of world religions. Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica. 2006. [back]

    3. H. Benson et al., 'Study of the therapeutic effects of intercessory prayer (STEP) in cardiac bypass patients', American Heart Journal 151: 4, 2006, 934-42. [back]

    4. Dawkins, Richard; The God Delusion, Page 64. [back]

    5. Ibid, Page 93-97. [back]

    6. Ibid, Page 102-103. [back]

    7. Qur'an, 74:18-25. [back]

    8. Dawkins, Richard; The God Delusion, Page 137-138. [back]

    9. "Atheism vs Christianity", Sydney Town Hall, 27 August, 2002. [back]

    10. Dawkins, Richard; The God Delusion, Page 167. [back]

    11. Qur'an, 30:8.] [back]

    12. Qur'an, 59:21.]  [back]

    13. Qur'an, 2:171. [back]

    14. Qur'an, 8:22. [back]

    15. Qur'an, 40:56.]  [back]

    16. Qur'an, 67:20.] [back]

 

Last modified onWednesday, 10 September 2014 21:56
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