Playing fast and loose with complexity: A critique of Dawkins' atheistic argument from improbability
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
This paper is a critique of Richard Dawkins’ “argument from improbability” against the existence of God. This argument, which forms the core of Dawkins’ book The God Delusion, provides an interesting example of the use of scientific ideas in arguments about religion. Here I raise three objections: (1) The argument is inapplicable to philosophical conceptions of God that reduce most of God’s complexity to that of the physical universe. (2) The argument depends on a way of estimating probabilities that fails for the probability of an entity that creates natural laws. (3) The argument supposes that complexity arises from past physical causes; however, some forms of complexity known to mathematics and logic do not arise in this way. After stating these three criticisms, I show that some of these same considerations undermine Dawkins’ critique of agnosticism. I close the paper with some remarks on Dawkins’ conception of God.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library||
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
John Lemos (2003). Rachels on Darwinism and Theism. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 77 (3):399-415.
J. Angelo Corlett (2009). Dawkins' God Less Delusion. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 65 (3):125 - 138.
Jerome Gellman (2008). Critical Study of Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion. Philo 11 (2):193-202.
David Glass (2012). Darwin, Design and Dawkins' Dilemma. Sophia 51 (1):31-57.
Steven D. Hales (2008). A Proof of the Existence of Fairies. Think 16:45 - 48.
J. Thomas Howe (2012). Affirmations After God: Friedrich Nietzsche and Richard Dawkins on Atheism. Zygon 47 (1):140-155.
Georges Dicker (1988). A Refutation of Rowe's Critique of Anselm's Ontological Argument. Faith and Philosophy 5 (2):193-202.
Jason Megill (2011). Evil and the Many Universes Response. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 70 (2):127-138.
Kirk Durston (2006). The Complexity of History and Evil: A Reply to Trakakis. Religious Studies 42 (1):87-99.
Erik Wielenberg (2009). Dawkins's Gambit, Hume's Aroma, and God's Simplicity. Philosophia Christi 11 (1):113-127.
Added to index2009-05-27
Total downloads144 ( #6,351 of 1,101,810 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #306,516 of 1,101,810 )
How can I increase my downloads?