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Refuting Richard: Dawkins Doesn’t “Get” God

Richard Dawkins seems to concede that God could make sense of the universe (see his interview with Alister McGrath). However, he does not believe that theism is a good explanation because “God is far too improbable to have jumped into existence.” Dawkins point is simple. If we explain the complex order in our universe by claiming “God made it”, we simply invite the further question “well, how do you explain God’s existence?” To Dawkins mind, theism would simply add to our puzzlement; it would represent a net loss to our understanding. Although much more could be said I’ll briefly state two objections to this argument.

First, Dawkins insists that God is “positively improbable” – just as improbable as “the sudden conjuring into existence of an eye.” Now, an eye has a number of parts that must be arranged in a specific manner if it is to function properly. So it is incredibly improbable that one would accidently assemble from pre-existing parts. We can imagine an ordered process (like evolution) or a Creator (like God) producing an eye. But Dawkins is only appealing to our intuition that the complex mechanisms do not assemble purely by accident.

Analogously, there is barely infinitesimal chance that a Boeing 747 would be produced if a whirlwind passed through a scrapyard. No one thinks that something so complex could be assembled by a purely random series of events. It is this act of assembly that we find improbable. Dawkins is correct that it is unlikely that an extremely complex entity could assemble from simple antecedents purely by chance. But he simply assumes that every complex entity must have been assembled from simple parts. No-one believes that God “popped” into existence! God is uncreated, from eternity to eternity. That’s just what it means to be God! There is no act of assembly to explain!

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