Dawkins Straw God Arguments Part 1


Richard Dawkins.net posts an article:saturday setp 12, 20

article entitled:

"Richard Dawkins argues that evolution leaves God with nothing to do"

Before 1859 it would have seemed natural to agree with the Reverend  William Paley, in "Natural Theology," that the creation of life was  God's greatest work. Especially (vanity might add) human life. Today  we'd amend the statement: Evolution is the universe's greatest work.  Evolution is the creator of life, and life is arguably the most  surprising and most beautiful production that the laws of physics have  ever generated. Evolution, to quote a T-shirt sent me by an anonymous  well-wisher, is the greatest show on earth, the only game in town.

 Here we see the atheist willing to take the prescriptive side of physical law, whereas most of them time they will demand that physical law is only descriptive. Notice how Dawkins seems offer physical law and evolution almost as an er zots alternative to God. This is practically a liturgical statement one awaits the following hymns. Yet in taking the prescriptive view Dawkins leaves his view open to my God argument "Fire in the Equasions:


1) Naturalism assumes cause/effect.

2) c/a governed by laws of physics.

3) Laws of physics must have orgnaizing principal
4) Mind is the only example for organizing principal
5) An Organizing principal based upon Mind that creates  everything is called "God."


1) Naturalists assume necessity of naturlaistic cause and effect  (from empirical observation).

Dictonary of Philosphy Anthony Flew, article on "Materialism" "...the belief that everything that exists is ethier matter or entirely  dependent upon matter for its existence."   Center For Theology and the Natural Sciences Contributed by: Dr.  Christopher Southgate: God, Humanity and the Cosmos (T&T Clark,  1999) http://www.ctns.org/Information/information.html Is the Big Bang a Moment of Creation?(this source is already linked  above)    "...One of the fundamental assumptions of modern science is that every  physical event can be sufficiently explained solely in terms of  preceding physical causes.."      Science and The Modern World, Alfred North Whitehead. NY: free Press, 1925, (1953) p.76

"We are content with superficial orderings form diverse arbitrary  starting points. ... sciene which is employed in their deveopment  [modern thought] is based upon a philosophy which asserts that physical  casation is supreme, and which disjoins the physical cause from the  final end. It is not popular to dwell upon the absolute contradiction  here involved."[Whitehead was an atheist]
http://www.damtp.cam.ac.uk/user/gr/public/qg_qc.html  Cambridge Relativity and Quantum Gravity. 1996, University of Cambridge  The physical laws that govern the universe prescribe how an initial  state evolves with time. In classical physics, if the initial state of a  system is specified exactly then the subsequent motion will be  completely predictable.    

2) Therefore, if we agree with them, it is logical to assume  naturalistic cause and effect as background concition to the emergence  and/or production of the universe.

Dr. Sten  Odenwald (Raytheon STX) for the NASA IMAGE/POETRY Education and Public Outreach program

Q:Which came first, matter or physical laws?

"We do not know, but matter is derivative from energy, and energy is  derivative from 'field' so in some sense, the physical laws that  determine the quantum dynamics of fields must have been primary, with  matter as we know it coming much later."

3) Since physical laws would have to proceed matter/energy, they  would have to reside in some organizing principle (such as a mind?)  since they could not reside in the workings of universe that did not yet  exist.

This leads to a Dilemma:

a) Either the laws of physics are general law like  statements  demanding a law giver (law implies a law giver)

b) Or they are mere tendencies which mark conventional  frames of reference for our observations of the uiverse.

*If the former, than since all  products of the natural world require a cause, what causes the laws of  physics? It seems there must either be an infinite regress of causes for  physical laws, or a single organizing principle capable of directing  physical law; such as a mind?

*If the latter, than the skeptic loses  the lock on scientific rationality and with it, the basis upon which to  critique religious belief as “unscientific.” After all,  just because we  don’t notice regular tendencies toward supernatural effects does not  mean that they are impossible, if physical laws are nothing but mere  tendencies.
4)Major Physicists propose Unitive principle they call "God."

MetaList on  Scinece and religion

Stephen Hawking's God

In his best-selling book "A Brief History of Time", physicist Stephen  Hawking claimed that when physicists find the theory he and his  colleagues are looking for - a so-called "theory of everything" - then  they will have seen into "the mind of God". Hawking is by no means the  only scientist who has associated God with the laws of physics. Nobel  laureate Leon Lederman, for example, has made a link between God and a  subatomic particle known as the Higgs boson. Lederman has suggested that  when physicists find this particle in their accelerators it will be  like looking into the face of God. But what kind of God are these  physicists talking about? Theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg suggests that  in fact this is not much of a God at all. Weinberg notes that  traditionally the word "God" has meant "an interested personality". But  that is not what Hawking and Lederman mean. Their "god", he says, is  really just "an abstract principle of order and harmony", a set of  mathematical equations. Weinberg questions then why they use the word  "god" at all. He makes the rather profound point that "if language is to  be of any use to us, then we ought to try and preserve the meaning of  words, and 'god' historically has not meant the laws of nature." The  question of just what is "God" has taxed theologians for thousands of  years; what Weinberg reminds us is to be wary of glib definitions.

Ok These guys are not talking about the God of the Bible, but the fact  that they do resort to organizing principle proves my basic point. They  can't just leave the laws of phyiscs unexplained, they have to resort to  organizing principle that ties it all up in one neat package. But why  assume that principle can't be the personal God of the Bible? The rest  of this Website argues that it is. But the main point here is that it is  very logical to assume an organizing principle such a mind which  orgainizes and contians physical laws.But "which god" is dealt with  else where. at the very least this argument gives us a Spinza-like God.

5) Mind is best explanation for organizing  principal.

This principal would not dwell in any location, since it must proceed  the existence of all physical matter and objects. It cannot resides in  any location, or in the actions of a energy and matter, since it must  proceed them for them to come to be, or to exist. Mind is the only thing  that explians:

a. non physical location--no topos
b. Organizing function; organizing information and  sturctures. The major element of mind is organization and containment of  information. Like a genetic structure has to reside in genes, where  does an organizing pricipal for the universe reside? In a mind that  creates the universe?

6) A mind that contians physical law can be said to be creator and  thus God. Therefore,if we assume physical law there must be a  "lawgiver," therefore, God exists QED

Corollary:Science cannot Explain Laws of Physics

A. Cause of Physical Laws Unknown
1)Physical Law Merely Assumed to Exist.

OFFICE OF  DR. ROBERT C. KOONS   Post-Agnostic Science:How Physics Is RevivingThe Argument From Design

Robert C. Koons

Associate Professor of Philosophy
University of Texas
Austin, TX 78712

"Some have objected that the anthropic coincidences cannot be explained,  since they involve the fundamental laws of nature. The laws of nature  are used in explaining other things -- they themselves cannot be  explained. They are rock-bottom, matters of physical necessity,  immutable and uncased. This objection is sometimes based on actual  scientific practice -- scientists seek to discover the laws of nature  and to use these laws in constructing explanations of phenomena. They do  not try to explain the laws of nature themselves. There are several points to make in response to this."

2) Skeptics object,  but Some scientist now Ask.

Paul Davies, Author of God and The New Physics, and The Mind  of God, skeptic turned believer due to the new evidence on design.  From First Things, Tempelton Award address:

"All the richness and diversity of matter and energy we observe today  has emerged since the beginning in a long and complicated sequence of  self- organizing physical processes. The laws of physics not only permit  a universe to originate spontaneously, but they encourage it to  organize and complexity itself to the point where conscious beings  emerge who can look back on the great cosmic drama and reflect on what  it all means."

"Now you may think I have written God entirely out of the picture. Who  needs a God when the laws of physics can do such a splendid job? But we  are bound to return to that burning question:
Where do the laws  of physics come from? And why those laws rather than some other  set? Most especially: Why a set of laws that drives the searing,  featureless gases coughed out of the big bang toward life and  consciousness and intelligence and cultural activities such as religion,  art, mathematics, and science?"
Koons, (Ibid.)  "...It is no longer true that scientists never seek to explain the laws  of nature. Much of recent cosmology and unified force theory has  attempted to do that. ...even if scientists never did attempt to explain  the fundamental laws, it would still be an open question whether they  should do so. Finally, whether something can or should be explained is  itself an empirical matter, to be decided on a case by case basis, and  not on the basis of dogmatic, a priori pronouncements. The anthropic  coincidences are themselves excellent evidence that the laws of nature  can and should be explained. If the laws really were absolute rock  bottom, inexplicable brute facts, then we would be faced with a set of  inexplicable coincidences. If the only price we have to pay in order to  explain these coincidences is to revise our beliefs about the  rock-bottom status of physical laws, this is a small price to pay."

B. How do Physical Laws  make a universe?
Stephen Barr

"The laws of physics are proposed by some, as brought out by Furgesson,  as constituting a "final cause" in place of God. This view is actually  suggestive of an inversion and can be turned around into an argument for  the exist of God. Barr states "The more serious problem with this idea  of laws of physics as necessary first cause is that it is based on an  elementary confusion. At most the laws of physics could be said to be  the 'formal cause' of the physical universe, whereas by first cause is  meant efficient cause, the cause of its very existence. Hawking himself  asked precisely the right question when he wrote 'even if there is only  one possible unified theory is it just a set of rules and equations?  What is it that breaths fire into the equations and makes a universe  for them to describe? The usual approach of science constituting a mathematical model cannot answer the question of why there should be a  universe for the model to describe.' That is decisive--crushing...." (in  First Things)

But Dawkins has more mistakes to make in his insistence upon a atheist straw man God. I'll follow that trajectory in part II...coming soon to a blog new you.

Ironically Dawkins makes a most telling statement:

Wouldn't we be tempted to fall on our knees and worship them, as a medieval peasant might if suddenly confronted with such miracles as a Boeing 747, a mobile telephone or Google Earth? But, however god-like the aliens might seem, they would not be gods, and for one very important reason. They did not create the universe; it created them, just as it created us. Making the universe is the one thing no intelligence, however superhuman, could do, because an intelligence is complex—statistically improbable —and therefore had to emerge, by gradual degrees, from simpler beginnings: from a lifeless universe—the miracle-free zone that is physics.

Of course he thinks he's making a comment on the primitive superstitious mind and how it turns ordinary things we understand into "supernatural." But the irony is this statement really tells us more about Dawkins and the atheist than about medieval peasants. Rather than describing the mind of primitive mind it is rather a window in the atheist mind and shows what they deify; themselves, their own control of nature, their gadgetry, what the assume "primitives" would worship that they so easy understand (making them the objects of worship). It also shows us their need of God. They have jacked down the glamor of the divine from an eternal mystery to something they think have a handle upon, laws of physics, but of course they can't really tell us anything about them. Where are they kept? what makes them happen? How can they exist before there is a universe to describe? The faint trace of mystery and thus of deity lingers in Dawkin's liturgical praise of his own interests.


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