In The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins sets out his case against God. There we have the considered arguments of the western world's best known proponent of atheism. It should be powerful. It should be compelling. The Dawkins Proof examines those arguments and shows that, despite the confident assertions, they are based on unverifiable speculation and simple, textbook logical fallacies. It is not simply that Richard Dawkins cannot refute theism. The problem is atheism itself, and the more seriously one takes atheism the more apparent the problems become. The Dawkins Proof takes atheism seriously and shows why it is not possible to be a consistent atheist. Even the most determined atheist cannot live as if atheism is true. Even Richard Dawkins lives as if God exists.
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- Publisher: www.thedawkinsproof.com
- ISBN: No ISBN
- Pages: 129
- Price: 3.11
Do we need yet another book responding to Dawkins? Yes! This excellent little book is quite different from all the many others I have read.
Barns is a computer scientist who has worked in programming and system administration for 25 years. He tells us that he grew up as an atheist, but found that the more seriously he took his atheism the more apparent the problems of atheism became. His aim in the book is ‘to show not only that Dawkins’ arguments against God are invalid but that Dawkins lives, and indeed argues, in a way that is inconsistent with atheism but is perfectly consistent with Christian theism. The existence of God is not something “very very improbable” as Dawkins asserts but is actually inescapable – even for Richard Dawkins.’ (p. 14). It is an unexpected, but powerful argument.
Dawkins describes his atheism as the belief that there is nothing beyond the natural, physical world (p.9). Barns spells out the consequences of such a belief:
- as merely one kind of material system, humans can have no more value or significance than any other such system.
- material systems do what material systems do – there are no standards or morals, nothing they ought to do.
- Mind, reason, science, free will are all illusions – merely names given to kinds of interaction that are ultimately as meaningless as any other in a purely material universe.
It is in that sense that Barns contends that Dawkins’ life and work does not prove atheism, but in fact provides proof of the existence of God. ‘With every moral judgement, with every use of cause and effect, with every rational thought and with every purposeful act Richard Dawkins is living as if God exists. This is the Dawkins proof.’ (p. 117)
Barns also attends to many of Dawkins’ specific arguments for evolution (i.e. universal common descent) and in every case his response is simple, but incisive.
He also touches on some much more serious issues, such as Dawkins willingness to use state power to control children’s education: ‘if it is the duty of the state to protect children’s minds from being “addled by nonsense” by their parents then everyone stands in danger of being persecuted depending on the current government’s definition of “nonsense”. We are all better off not allowing the state to tell us how to think.’ (p. 33)