DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

You met me at a very strange time in my life...

Read my novel: Complete Darkness

Listen to the PODCAST I co-host: Hosts in the Shell

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The God Delusion - review / response

Star Wars VII - No real hope featuring 'Darth inSidious'...

The God Delusion

By Richard Dawkins

Review / response by Matt Adcock

“Science flings open the narrow window which we are accustomed to viewing the spectrum of possibilities…”
Richard Dawkins

Unfortunately, it seems that the existence of God is one possibility that is just a step too far to make it onto this wonderful ‘spectrum of possibilities’. I must declare an interest here – whilst I’m a born again Christian, I enjoy listening to and thinking about other people’s views, thinking and beliefs (some of my best friends are devout atheists – doesn’t mean I don’t respect and love em…). But according to Dawkins, apparently I’m deluded and my personal faith is nothing but wishful thinking – obviously that’s just his opinion but in The God Delusion you can read his arguments as to why he thinks it's like that…

Dawkins wants to make it absolutely clear that there can be no rational, conceivable way for any non intellectually challenged, brain washed or conditioned individual to justify actually believing in God. It is his stated intention that he hopes ‘religious readers who open it (The God Delusion) will be atheists when they put it down’- which is at least a candid admission of his evangelizing mission on behalf of atheism.

In case he ever reads this I have to quickly say “sorry my angry friend but while I found your book an interesting rant against the worst excesses of religion (which I would happily join in with) - there is nothing here to make me want to consider giving up my faith”.

And ‘rant’ is an apt word; I’d love to have a good conversation with Dawkins over a lunch or something one day but maybe with the proviso that it be only after he’s been to see a good anger management therapist… You can almost see Dawkins’ red faced vitriolic statements steaming off pretty much any chosen page of The God Delusion, come on man, let’s chill a little, it might add some readability to the clunky angry prose.

At several points I was moved to make small annotations in my copy of The God Delusion – much along the lines of Dawkins himself who scribbled ‘teapot’ on ‘page after page’ of Alister McGRawth’s book entitled Dawkins’ God: Genes, Memes and the Origin of Life, in reference to the ‘celestial teapot whose existence cannot be disproved’… My small annotations weren’t teapots, mine were tiny phalluses which indicate wherever I though Dawkins was ‘being a bit of a knob’…

E.g. many times Dawkins puts hypothetical words into the mouths of hypothetical theists etc – but surely that only proves what a great imagination he has, you can’t expect to use that device to sway a supposedly scientific argument – can you?

An imaginary atheistic thinker might say:

“An otherworldly pall lies over the horizon; surely it is our human struggle to press ever on towards this desolate place where we will find that our significance in the cosmos has turned our minds to bramble jelly… From there we can only resign ourselves to being beings of inordinate minutiae… sweet, delicious and lovely on toast or crumpets but minutiae all the same…”

But then again, he might not, and even if he did – it’s only because I made him and his words up!?
That’s heavyweight argument that for sure…

One thing I also found a bit weak was where Dawkins backs out of any 'is there a God?' argument using his ‘Creative intelligences, being evolved, necessarily arrive late in the universe, and therefore cannot be responsible for designing it’ line. To me that just indicates a complete inability to comprehend the supposed nature of God, who by default, if He did exist would be outside of His ‘created’ universal laws… i.e. He might have created everything that we can detect with our God given intellects (refined by natural selection if you like that theory – why not?) but that doesn’t limit Him to having to only operate in or obey the scientific laws which He created.

You simply cannot have such a being confined by the same scientific rules that we the ‘created’ are – it would be like a hypothetical (to use Dawkins’ way of presenting ideas) sentient artificial intelligence in a PlayStation 3 game pondering how the ‘creators’ of the game could possibly not be made up of the same ‘game code’ that they are made from and limited by the rules of (thus whilst the creator is able to exist outside of the entire ‘game universe’, the denizens of the game universe cannot understand how the creator is able to ‘break the rules by which they are designed to operate within’).

Then there’s what my wife pointed out as Dawkins’ ‘shuffling of feet and hedging of bets’ with his chapter entitled – 'why there almost certainly is no God', come on man, if you’re so sure that you’ve called your latest book ‘The God Delusion’ you might as well follow through on your convictions and say ‘why there is certainly no God’ – or are you keeping just the tiniest get out clause for yourself should He one day turn up and confront you about all this nay saying business?

I’m just playing of course but more than that – hopefully I’m ‘consciousness raising’ about the fact that this is one seriously annoyed atheist… Consciousness raising is something Dawkins goes on and on about in most disgusted terms when talking about children being called by their religious backgrounds… Still, that's his thing I guess.

Overall The God Delusion is of interest only really to those looking for a one sided ‘anti God’ reference tome but the ‘selectedness’ of the material presented – especially the edited bits of the bible that Dawkins refers to is grating after a while… Kind of like only being able to hear one side of a conversation.

Out of 5 you have to go with an overall Darkmatters rating of öö1/2 (was hoping for more balance - and less anger!!)

Darkmatters: H O M E
Posted by Picasa


Anonymous said...

I can't believe how someone could read this book and still have an unshaken belief in a personal god! I'd love to think that god/heaven/topless angels etc exist and that I'll be rocking it up with Lennon and Hendrix when I die, but I'm just too sensible to believe it.

The God Delusion is a fascinating book (with sharp and witty prose!), passionately written, and is a huge accomplishment. Your wife's "shuffling of feet and hedging of bets" comment made me laugh - Dawkins is certainly doing no such thing! I admire Dawkins and hope that this book steers our species away from archaic beliefs and superstitious nonsense.

And no, I don't think Dawkins is worried about God showing up and confronting him!

Mike11 said...

While I stumbled across this website by total mistake, I feel the need to comment. The person who (Matt) gave a really great response to his mind set after reading the book. I love the fact that you are able to open up your mind and let other thoughts in (like the thought of no god), yet still believe. You brought up many valid points of why after reading the book you were not swayed into changing.

I’ve been on this earth for 35 years, arguing for most of them with people of faith. What I’ve learned is you will never ever ever change someone’s belief or disbelief. From what I’ve seen from most family, friends, who ever they will not change because you brought some undisputable fact to them.

An old saying for the Catholic Church is “Catch them when they are young” and it still stands. What you are raised to believe will become fact no matter what in your mind after much thought. While you might say it’s because you “made the choice to believe” or later changed your way and did the same you are now a person of faith. I have no problem at all with that. In fact I think it is inspiring to others, keeps people on a moral track, and mentally helps the person.

This is what I’ve always said to my wife (who is a devout Catholic), “what ever makes you live your life in a correct way and help out others is a good thing. Weather it be through religion or just personal knowledge of right and wrong.” I believe most try and live their lives to some degree of a moral code. Weather it be religious or not, mankind strives to move forward.

I don’t believe AT ALL IN GOD, yet I still have a great respect of people who look at their faith in an intellectual way and accept others views.

Thank you (matt I guess) for guiding me to your blog, I found it randomly (not from a higher source). I hope you all success and happiness.

P.S. I was just searching for reviews of the book and landed here.