Re: [asa] Dawkins, religion, and children

From: Rich Blinne <>
Date: Tue May 01 2007 - 12:35:49 EDT

On 5/1/07, PvM <> wrote:
> Collins' argument seems illogical to say the least, especially when
> applied to any other 'entity', such as Thor, Zeus, the flying
> spaghetti monster etc.
Collins' argument does not apply to any other "entity" but to any other
"Being" [Note capitalization]. Since Being is singular the concept of
probabilities does not apply due to the lack of a statistical sample. As
David O. noted the FSM is merely a re-labeling and does not substantively
address either the strengths or weaknesses of the argument. All the normal
pluses and minuses of the ontological argument apply here.

That Dawkins does not have the philosophical chops that even other atheists
have to understand the traditional theistic arguments and their derivatives
was noticed by NY Times reviewer, Jim Holt, of the God Delusion:

The least satisfying part of this book is Dawkins's treatment of the
> traditional arguments for the existence of God. The "ontological argument"
> says that God must exist by his very nature, since he possesses all
> perfections, and it is more perfect to exist than not to exist. The
> "cosmological argument" says that the world must have an ultimate cause, and
> this cause could only be an eternal, God-like entity. The "design argument"
> appeals to special features of the universe (such as its suitability for the
> emergence of intelligent life), submitting that such features make it more
> probable than not that the universe had a purposive cosmic designer.
> These, in a nutshell, are the Big Three arguments. To Dawkins, they are
> simply ridiculous. He dismisses the ontological argument as "infantile" and
> "dialectical prestidigitation" without quite identifying the defect in its
> logic, and he is baffled that a philosopher like Russell "no fool" could
> take it seriously. He seems unaware that this argument, though medieval in
> origin, comes in sophisticated modern versions that are not at all easy to
> refute. Shirking the intellectual hard work, Dawkins prefers to move on to
> parodic "proofs" that he has found on the Internet, like the "Argument From
> Emotional Blackmail: God loves you. How could you be so heartless as not to
> believe in him? Therefore God exists." (For those who want to understand the
> weaknesses in the standard arguments for God's existence, the best source I
> know remains the atheist philosopher J. L. Mackie's 1982 book "The Miracle
> of Theism.")

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Received on Tue May 1 12:36:07 2007

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