Why Richard Dawkins is Wrong

In this post, I would like to show why the deduction in Richard Dawkins’ central argument against the existence of God is false. His logic is based upon the assumption that the designer hypothesis is false because it ‘raises the larger problem of who designed the designer’. We considered the question of who designed the designer in an earlier post (see here), but in this post we will concentrate on the logic of that proposition.

To show this logic is faulty, we simply need to show an answer to a problem that simultaneously raises a larger problem and this turns out to be quite easy to do. Richard, helpfully refers us to Martin Rees’ Just Six Numbers, so let’s work with them to provide our example.

Here are the six numbers that Martin Rees proposed represent the fundamental constants which have values apparently ‘fine tuned’ to allow for the existence of the universe:

  • The number of physical dimensions within which we live
  • The ratio of the strength of gravity to that of electromagnetism
  • The ratio of mass lost to energy when hydrogen is fused to form helium
  • The amount of dark matter
  • The cosmological constant
  • The scale at which the universe looks smooth

Now imagine the following simple mathematical question you probably were required to grapple with in high school: a right-angled triangle has sides of unit length 3 and 4. What is the length of the remaining side? The answer is 5 – right? Now try explaining how you know that to your six year old and you will almost certainly be confronted with the amazingly insightful philosophical question: why?

Of course, it is a good question, so perhaps you might be tempted to answer that in any right-angled triangle, the square on the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares on the other two sides. ‘But Daddy’, says our young philosopher, ‘why?’ Wow – another great question for you to consider. So after a bit of reflection, you answer that it is a basic relationship that can be empirically observed within the three-dimensional Euclidian space within which we live.

Your pleasure with this answer is short-lived when the youngster asks you to move your thinking on to an even higher plane as you are again asked the question: why? But, you know, it is still an excellent question, so after a quick bit of research you are finally able to answer that it is one of the basic constants of the universe which, if it were not set to that value, would mean that life would not exist.

This example connects a mathematical question with the question of the existence of the universe and thereby shows that it is false reasoning to postulate that correct answers cannot raise larger problems. This is a simple proof that the fact that an answer might raise an even larger question does not invalidate that answer.

5 thoughts on “Why Richard Dawkins is Wrong

  1. Will Edwards Post author

    Hi Diego

    These days, leading scientific thought does not necessarily propose that everything came into being at the big bang. Stephen Hawkins, in A Brief History of Time, for example, proposes that as we approach the singularity i.e the big bang, time curves off into another dimension that he calls ‘imaginary time’ and that the universe has always existed with time running in a circular, rather than a linear fashion. It can be a bit to take in because we are all used to thinking about time as running linearly, but it is an elegant theory.

    Will 🙂
    P.S. Your English is very good.

  2. Diego

    Who created God? Let’s simply say God doen’t exist … OK? … just consider the Big Bang, the starting point accepted by science (and proposed by a priest): who created the amount of mass that exploded to create the universe? What did exist before that? Does he try to answer this?

    To me, Dawkings sounds pretty much like a bitter man who lost faith in God and keeps being rude because he expects someone to tell him “the truths” he wants to hear. Because the real truths Jesus brought us are not enough for him, as they’re not enough to a lot of people, because it’s hard to actually believe in God and Christ. It’s hard to embrace them. It’s hard to accept something that’s not comfortable.

    Sorry for the English, I hope I could make myself clear.

    God bless you.

  3. Will Edwards Post author

    Hi Doogan

    The problem is that when someone does not believe in God or The Bible, your opinion is seen by such people to be completely subjective and without foundation – that’s exactly why I believed this article was necessary. The point of the article is to address Richard Dawkins’ argument entirely from a logical standpoint.

    The central argument in The God Delusion is a logical argument favoured by many atheists. Thinking atheists will understand the case I have made and it should provide some excellent food for thought.

    Will 🙂

  4. Doogan

    Dale hits it on the head. Really it doesn’t matter. We have evidence everywhere for design, not chance. Every spade that turns over dirt validates the people, places, and events in His Word. The fact that the name ‘Jesus’ makes so many people uncomfortable, contemplate, emotional, etc., is proof positive that the world is divided (as he said it would be).

    God is “the same yesterday, today, and forever.” The ‘forever’ part means that He is outside of time. He created the passage of time as penalty for our sin. Until that point, all things would have remained ageless. But time doesn’t affect Him. There were none before God. Time began when He said so.

  5. Dale

    Perhaps at the end of it all it is not about who created God and who created him who created God and so on adinfinitum adnauseum. But when the God of the universe says, ‘Whether I am eternal or created, I created you, therefore you are answerable to me. Now, what have you done with my Son and what have you done with my gospel?

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