Re: [asa] Dawkins, religion, and children

From: Jack <>
Date: Tue May 01 2007 - 22:02:41 EDT

MessageThere is a long history of philosophical discussion regarding simple vs complex. For example in the dualism tradition man has a body, which has many parts and is complex, and a soul which is of one substance, has no parts, and is simple. God, in this tradition is also simple, of one substance with no parts.

The point here is not whether you accept dualism or not. The point here is that with Dawkins materialism is a given. And because of his presuppositions, he cannot understand how a creator can be simple, that is not a possibility that he can see. So his presuppositions lead to him to conclude that God is highly improbable because of how enormously complex a creator must be. Plantiga is simply pointing out that Dawkins argument about improbablity presumes materialism. Dawkins argument amounts to a tautology.

But this debate about the proofs of the existence of God have been going on forever. That is not the problem with this book, as Plantiga points out, Dawkins is a lightweight in this area, his arguments against God are trivial. However, the problem with Dawkins as I see it, and Pim evidently cannot, is that he wants to stop the spread of the dangerous God meme (virus he calls it) by not allowing traditional "indoctrination" of children by parents. In Dawkins view, if we could have a world where no beliefs were allowed to be passed on from one generation to another, eventually this God meme will become extinct. And in Dawkins view the world would be a much better place.
  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Jon Tandy
  Sent: Tuesday, May 01, 2007 7:31 PM
  Subject: RE: [asa] Dawkins, religion, and children

  How would you know enough about "pure spirit" to say it's simple, not complex, in the scientific definitions of complex? Can spirit be measured or observed in the way that materially "complex" things can be measured? If the "things of the spirit knoweth no man", then it sounds like it could be pretty complex in the natural sense of the word. But we are not talking about natural things. Sounds like a fallacy of definition to me. And the fact that God doesn't have parts was intended a theological argument against anthropomorphism of God (he doesn't have bodily, material parts, as the pagan gods), as I understand it, not relating necessarily at all to definitions of complexity, whatever those might be. It is very possible that God is simple, but if so I dare say He's also complex, in the same unfathomable way that He's three and one, or that Christ is human and divine. I think it would be pretty shaky ground to base arguments on unknown properties of God, as if we really understood them.

  Jon Tandy
    -----Original Message-----
    From: [] On Behalf Of Rich Blinne
    Sent: Tuesday, May 01, 2007 6:04 PM

    It's simple because God is not composite of parts. What's behind this doctrine is perfection would drive simplicity and not complexity. The other is the immaterial nature of God because a pure spirit is not complex but simple.


To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Tue May 1 22:02:51 2007

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Tue May 01 2007 - 22:02:51 EDT