Wonderful overview of the fuss about The God Delusion
Excellent thinking and writing about this age old conundrum. Since I consider myself an agnostic, I look for and enjoy these kinds of discourses. It is so much easier to find this kind of piece in this Web 2.0 space. I am beginning to find Google Reader a very effective tool to fill out my intellectual interests. Google Reader and Diigo a great combination! – post by robertg69
Last three paras of Sean’s review of TGD:
But then, of course, Darwin’s theory of natural selection undercut the justification for the design argument just as thoroughly as classical mechanics undercut the justification for the cosmological argument. Indeed, the unpurposeful meanderings of matter in the universe can produce the wonderful intricacies of the human eye, and much else besides. Believers haven’t given up entirely; you’ll now more commonly find the argument from design placed in a cosmological context, where it is even less convincing. But for the most part, theologians have basically abandoned the project of “proving” God’s existence, which is probably a good move.
But they haven’t given up on believing in God’s existence (suitably defined), which is what drives atheists like Dawkins (and me) a little crazy. Two thousand years ago, believing in God made perfect sense; there was so much that we didn’t understand about the world, and an appeal to the divine seemed to help explain the otherwise inexplicable. Those original motivations have long since evaporated. In response, theologians have continued to alter what they mean by “God,” and struggled to reconcile the notion’s apparent internal contradictions — unwilling to take those contradictions as a signal of the fundamental incoherence of the idea.
To be fair, much of Dawkins’s book does indeed take aim at a rather unsophisticated form of belief, one that holds a much more literal (and wholly implausible, not to mention deeply distasteful) notion of what God means. That’s not a completely unwarranted focus, even if it does annoy the well-educated Terry Eagletons of the world; after all, that kind of naive theology is a guiding force among a very large and demonstrably influential fraction of the population. The reality of a religion is manifested in the actions of its adherents. But even an appeal to more nuanced thinking doesn’t save God from the dustbin of intellectual history. The universe is going to keep existing without any help, peacefully solving its equations of motion along the way; if we want to find meaning through compassion and love, we have to have to invent our own god!