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Richard Dawkins

10 Answers
Is a well known intellectual and atheist. Do you believe that God is necessary to explain the amazingly complex and wondrous phenomenon of existence and the sentient beings within it, i.e. life the universe and everything, or do you believe as Dawkins does, that God is a construction of man who simply has limited ability to grasp how life in all its myriad complexities can emerge from a chemical soup and then via evolution into microbes, animals and plants, given enough time, in our case of unimaginable duration. Keep it short and to the point. BTW I hope someone uses the word "teleology" in their argument.
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In answer to your primary question, no, I do not "believe God to be necessary" in explaining the nature of the Universe. Other explanations have, after all, been offered. The existence of God does, however, remain one of the more interesting possibilities to explore philosophically.

Teleology is usually a designation for an exploration into purposeful design as an ultimate explanation for the existence and complexity of our Universe--or design theory, as it is frequently abbreviated. The theory has largely (but not completely) fallen out of favor in philosophy, now mostly occupying the interest of the religious. For obvious reasons the religious have a heavily vested interest in supporting a design-based explanation of the Universe.

The teleological argument for the existence of God is vulnerable to the notion of an infinite regress, such that if God is necessary to explain the Universe, what then becomes necessary to explain God? The argument is also vulnerable to another attack. Even if we allow for the possibility of a God to explain things, we have no reason (at least from the teleological argument alone) to assume a single God--a matrix of gods could just as easily be responsible.

But you did unfortunately ask that my answer be short and to the point. So I will simply assert the following. God as an explanation for everything remains a possibility, but nothing more than a possibility--one possibility, in fact, among several. To claim emphatically, based on our human experience and philosophical inquiries, that God does exist is as foolish a supposition as to claim He does not. Nor can we establish what the nature of God must be. He might be the Universe, itself, in which case it could be said that we, ourselves, are God. Or there may be no God in any form, as supposed by Mr. Dawkins. God may be a mere construction of the human mind. The only absolute truth discernable at this point is that neither Mr. Dawkins nor myself (nor you, for that matter) is going to resolve this question any time soon.

But that question is not the one you specifically asked. You asked if God is necessary as an explanation, and the answer to that is definitely not. Only to those who already assume the existence of God, is he necessary for anything.

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T

I don't think evolution is something very relevant to the existence of God. Hence Bio-Theism, you can have God with or without Evolution.

So the existence of God is a deeper question that depends on your views about Origins of reality, space, time cosmological constants and things like that. Because really, this is where everything hinges on.

Richard Dawkins would have to show how these constants "which seem to have been just put in there" came to be, before he can make the strong claims that he does about the non-existence of a God. I think an argument for Evolution against God is not embarrassingly poor but very weak carrying almost no evidence for the non-existence of God.

You might say then oh well you’re using God as a gap-filler, but hang on, not so much as Evolution. Evolution in this case would be a much bigger / more obvious gap filler, because the possibility of having cosmological constants, or even the presence of a void (which is a vacuum of fluctuating energy, hypothesized as a reason for the big bang) coming from an evolutionary process is zero.

Dawkins is simply directing the reader’s attention to a more shallow argument which might shut of the bigger picture, yes, but it’s so far from the truth of it all. He still admits that he has no idea on how the first self-replicating cell came to be. He has resorted to saying that life (the very start of it) was from an advance civilisation that engineered us. (Sounds a little God like to me)

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F

I believe that God exists. That is a separate issue however from whether or not you believe he is NECESSARY to explain life. I have read some of Richard Dawkins' work, but I find his arguments unconvincing. Just because God may not be 'needed' to explain stuff, does not mean he doesn't exist.

Most Christians see God as the Creator of the natural laws that allowed evolution to happen, for example. Richard Dawkins would see Evolution as the "creator" whereas in contrast Christians would see God as the Creator (of evolution and other natural laws).

The reason that Richard Dawkins' arguments are unconvincing is that he observes upon the complexity of life and expects that to be an argument against God. This sort of argument does nothing to get at the underlying truth of whether or not God exists. The complexity of life could be looked upon equally fairly as an arguments FOR or AGAINST God. Merely observing the physicial world (which is what Dawkins is doing in his books) will not tell you in and of itself whether or not God exists.

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I

God is not necessary to explain our existence. If something is not understood, some humans would rather insert an unprovable explanation or theory rather than simply state that they do not know. Religion has now become a major part of people's lives as these thoughts of a creator have been passed down for generations.

One read of The Blind Watchmaker by Dawkins was enough for me to understand why humans are here, and what our biological purpose is in life (it is to procreate, and stay alive, just like any other living thing).

People tend to have this need for a personal god, maybe as a level of comfort when in need, or simply to explain the unknown, so they make unprovable claims. Teleology is just another example of this, people think that if there are end goals for human actions, they must also exist for the rest of nature. The whole idea is absurd, it is beyond our understanding, there is no need to make up explanations. Humans cannot perceive an "end" so how would we even evaluate such claims.

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P

Dawkins is right in a sense. Man projects onto the gods attributes of himself. This doesn't mean that there is no God. You can do this exercise right now. You start by stripping away all of you. Take away your human senses, your body and your brain.

Assuming the consciousness is not a function of the brain what are you left with? You're left with consciousness. You're a conscious entity. You can explore out of body stuff and get in touch with psychic phenomenon.

However, we are people of the west and doing things like that are not widely discussed. You're just supposed to accept some religion that just makes up everything instead of exploring your meditation states.

Our western scientists are similar to the priests of the old times. People went to them for answers. It's dangerous just following things without subjective experience. Richard Dawkins has a good point, but falls short by falling into a belief trap that this is all there is. An erroneous assumption.

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W

You can always propose some underlying “purpose” or “significance” to complex systems…

That is how numerology attracts adherents…

The teleological argument, however, is totally bankrupt and acknowledged so by its supporters - in a convoluted a curious way…

When faced with purposeless events indicative of a purposeless universe theists will shrug and say…

“God moves in mysterious ways…”

Statements like that are disingenuous and indicative of a vacuous philosophy…

When faced with trying to explain pointless suffering, the explanation that “your reward lies in the afterlife” is mendacious…

The teleological argument is just part of a scam – pure and simple…

It is all about money and power…

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B

Labelled religions are formed by man/men. It's no different than generating children to these myths: Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, superstitions, etc.

People want a label. I always detest them in organized & claimed structured belief systems.

Anyone born & exists in this world has to live & learn. I personally do not believe in following hypocrites. & as far as I'm experienced in testing many waters, they leave the preached & claimed humanities, compassion, & goodness at their church.

Politicians & religious peeps: Do as I say! Not as I do! or what they don't know publicly what I've done = neener!

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B

I agree with Dawkins' fundamental premise that God is nothing more than a human construct. But I sometimes find myself disagreeing with his approach, when he appears to view every aspect of human behavior in light of evolutionary biology.

I realize that evolutionary biology is his field, and I acknowledge the important role evolution has played in the development of human behavior. But sometimes it feels like the good Dr. Dawkins emphasizes it to the exclusion of every other consideration, and that seems to be a one-dimensional take on a very multi-dimensional topic.

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B

What I believe isn't important--if this is an argument for a paper you're responsible for, you need to come up with your own ideas on existence. Keep in mind that even when scientific knowledge was evolving over centuries, some of the most prominent theorists believed in God. But they also acknowledge evolution--they had not problem with the refinement of the human species over time; they just believed that God was the one who made it possible.

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A

Teleological arguments for the existence of a creator have been used for a few thousand years, but the argument that I can't imagine how something could have happened is really an argument based on my lack of intelligence or understanding of the world, not a proof of anything else. Dawkins has been a very outspoken and lucid force for atheism, and, in my opinion, has been winning his argument.

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