Do you believe Richard Dawkins exists?
Published: 24 February 2011 (GMT+10)
Photo by Matti Á, flickr.com
Do you believe in Richard Dawkins? If your answer was yes, why? Most of us have assumed Dawkins’ existence based on very little evidence. I for one have never met him. And though I’ve seen a couple of pieces of video footage, a few pictures and his name as author on a number of books, when you think about it, it’s not that substantial. I’ve seen video clips and pictures of ‘Santa Claus’, too. And authors use pseudonyms all the time, so there’s no telling who really wrote The God Delusion or The Greatest Show on Earth. By now you’re probably thinking, ‘Of course he exists; I’ve never seen direct evidence but I have good reason to believe he does.’ And even though your belief is based on faith, it’s a reasonable faith to hold. Ultimately, nothing in this world can be scientifically proven with 100% certainty. As humans with fallible reasoning and limited resources, we often have to come to similarly faith-based conclusions, based on the weight of evidence.
We use such reasoning, involving logical deductions and inferences, frequently in everyday life. It’s why I’ve come to believe that I am surrounded in air, even though I can’t see it. And it’s why I believe that there is a country called Uzbekistan, thousands of kilometres away from my home, even though I’ve never been there.
In the same way, I have also been convinced that there is a God who created the world and everything in it, specifically the God of the Bible. In fact, I would argue that I have seen far more evidence for the existence of God than for the existence of Dawkins. Skeptical? Let’s look at some of the evidence for a Creator God.
God cannot be directly measured or detected by scientific means, and the larger scientific community claims that this is a good reason to deny His existence. Dr Scott Todd, an immunologist at Kansas State University, once stated that “even if all the data point to an intelligent designer, such an hypothesis is excluded from science because it is not naturalistic”.1 In other words, supernatural creation, and miracles, are ruled out philosophically, whether true or not.
The existence of everything around us
Most evolutionists believe that the matter and energy in the entire universe, and the laws of physics themselves, ultimately appeared from nothing, out of nowhere, for no reason. Then the astronomical universe—the orderly system of stars, galaxies and planets—came into existence through entirely natural processes, all by itself. If we were to assume the truth of this astonishing claim, the next question is how life arose on earth. Evolutionists claim it occurred by abiogenesis, i.e. life arising from non-living matter, by itself. Yet current scientific evidence only supports biogenesis, i.e. that life arises from living matter. Biogenesis is one of the most basic biological laws. Scientists today laugh at the idea of ‘spontaneous generation’— a theory prevalent in the 1800s that proposed that life could spontaneously arise from non-living matter (for example maggots arising spontaneously from rotting meat) — and yet the idea of abiogenesis is exactly that, spontaneous generation of life from non-life! It is far more logical to attribute the existence of matter, life and the universe to an Intelligent Designer.
Irreducible complexity and the impossibility of evolution
Michael Behe, associate professor of biochemistry from Lehigh University, studied the cell and many biochemical systems in extensive detail. He concluded from his studies that many of these remarkably systems displayed a complexity that was irreducible, i.e. it could not have arisen by natural means because every part of the particular system (e.g. the clotting system in the body, the chemistry of vision, and others) is vital to the functioning of every other part of the cell and hence the entire system must have come into existence at once, as it exists today. Not step by step, with each step being useful, as evolution demands.
In his book, Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution, Behe concluded that “to a person who does not feel obliged to restrict his search to unintelligent causes, the straightforward conclusion is that many biochemical systems were designed.”2 The same is true not just for cells, but for complex organs and even ecosystems. Even Darwin could see the damage that irreducible complexity would cause to his theory, stating that “if it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.”3
Irreducible complexity aside, evolution is a physical impossibility. While there is natural variation in the gene pool of different kinds of animals that is responsible for much of the variety we see today, the idea that pond scum eventually became humans is not so easily explained. Evolutionists claim that ‘goo-to-you’ evolution is possible by means of mutations and natural selection, however, mutations are usually harmful and even those that can be beneficial are virtually always degenerative—i.e. they involve a loss of information.4 Natural selection is a process that occurs in nature, favouring species that are better adapted to their environment, however, natural selection is not evolution. It is a culling process that decreases genetic variation rather than increases it.5 Without evolution to explain the existence of the complex organisms we see today, a Creator God is the only logical explanation.
The transitional fossils are also conspicuous by their absence. In Origin of the Species, Darwin stated that the fossil record should contain large numbers of chains of ‘innumerable transitional forms”, and blamed the poverty of the fossil record in his day for the fact that there were none such. Today, with millions of tons of fossils available to them, at best evolutionists can point to a handful of disputable candidates, which frequently get discarded as future research makes them untenable.6
The Design Inference
What would be your reaction if I told you that the computer you’re using arose from natural processes rather than the intelligent design of a computer manufacturer? How about if I told you the house or building that you are in came about by natural means of wind, rain and erosion of the landscape? We all have the ability to see when something has been designed. William Dembski, a mathematician and philosopher, identified the factors that allow us to recognise that something has been designed—low probability and specificity.7 Where we see something that specifies information or a pattern and there is a low probability that this would arise by chance, we recognise it as design. These factors have led many to believe that the orderliness of the universe and life itself is attributable to a Divine Creator.
The information we find in living things, specifically DNA, is highly specified and extremely low in probability. DNA is the best information storage mechanism known to man. A single pinhead of DNA contains as much information as could be stored on 2 million two-terabyte hard drives.8 Even Dawkins himself admits that “biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”9 God has placed enough evidence in the world around us to convict us of a Creator (Romans 1:20). So there’s plenty of evidence all around us that we were created, but Who created us? Scientific, geological, archaeological and historical evidence points to the God of the Bible as our Creator.
The evidence for the existence of God is far more conclusive than the evidence that I have personally seen for the existence of Richard Dawkins. To be honest, I’m pretty sure Dawkins exists too. But I’m even surer of the existence of God.
Editor’s note: readers might be amused by the following parody, The Dawkins Delusion:
- Todd, S.C., correspondence to Nature 401(6752):423, 30 Sept. 1999 on creation.com/todd. Return to text.
- Behe, M., Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution, The Free Press, 1996, p. 193. Available creation.com/store. Return to text.
- Darwin, C., On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life, Sterling Publishing and Capricorn Link, 1859, p.158. Return to text.
- Sarfati, J., Refuting Evolution, Creation Book Publishers, Powder Springs, GA, 2010. Return to text.
- Ibid. Return to text.
- Reference Russell Griggs article in Creation 33(3). Return to text.
- Dembski, W., The Design Inference: Eliminating Chance through Small Probabilities, Cambridge University Press, 1998. Return to text.
- Sarfati, J., DNA: marvellous messages or mostly mess? Creation 25(2):26–31, 2003, creation.com/message. Return to text.
- Dawkins, R., The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design, Norton & Company, 1996, p. 1. Return to text.
Hahaha, it's great how the same logics in this whole worldview issue just make themselves obvious. I use, almost verbatim, the exact same opening analogy and argument, except I use England and the population of the earth. :D I think it really boils down the essential emotional similarities of belief, no matter what that belief actually is. It's actually amazing to me that the atheists I've engaged with have found great difficulty in conceding this. (Not to sound patronising.) There's seems to be a very powerful 'don't-give-em-an-inch' kind of entrenched mentality that precludes a meaningful exchange. Christians aren't allowed to be conceded as having a rational belief, and atheists aren't allowed to admit having faith of any kind. It's bizarre, but I suppose it's understandable, politically.
Vancea D, you miss the point entirely.
Are you able to address the valid points raised in the article?
I don't need to believe that Richard Dawkins exist, for his writings to make more sense than any religious writings.