A Laudable Polemic
- Bewertet: Einband: Taschenbuch
The main thesis of this book is as simple as it is irrefutable: the existence of God does not admit of scientific demonstration. Some theologians have been aware of this fact since times immemorial: "prorsus credibile est, quia ineptum est [...] certum est, quia impossibile - [God's existence] is credible because it is absurd [.... The main thesis of this book is as simple as it is irrefutable: the existence of God does not admit of scientific demonstration. Some theologians have been aware of this fact since times immemorial: "prorsus credibile est, quia ineptum est [...] certum est, quia impossibile - [God's existence] is credible because it is absurd [...] [His existence] is certain because it is impossible." As for Anselm of Canterbury's ludicrous proof - easily taken apart by Dawkins - it does not even merit serious attention. Merely because one can conceptualise a most perfect being, does not entail that there is an actual existent answering to this concept. What may have compelled Dawkins to write such a book, is the intrusion of theology into the domain of science. The proponents of the intelligent design theory are guilty of a fallacy which even the medieval scholastics such as Thomas Aquinas were careful to avoid: there is no need to invoke the existence of a supernatural being in order to explain a natural phenomenon. Even if the existence of God could be demonstrated - a scientific impossibility - the question would still remain as to how he might be the cause of all phenomena, as well as the question of the nature and attributes of such a being. The ancillary thesis of this book is that people who believe in a supernatural being are deluded. On this score, the book has its weaknesses. One thing is to point out the fact that the existence of a supernatural being does not admit of scientific demonstration, whereas to suggest that people who place their hope in something that transcends the domain of time, space, and palpability are irrational is a matter of going too far. Whereas the animal attends merely to the pleasures of the present moment, man possesses an intellect which enables him to conceive of and long for a happiness with no end. The animal's desires attain their end, whereas man seems doomed to end his life in disillusionment. It is precisely in the face of this inescapable tragedy that the yearning for the supernatural arises. If men hypostasise qualities such as love and justice this need not be a deplorable thing, if this prompts these men to accomplish extraordinary deeds. There are those who believe in the eternity of love, and they wish to be partakers thereof. Even if such a desire does not admit of realisation, we should still be capable of appreciating the beauty to be found in the strivings of these irremediable romantics who dare to hope against all hope. It is clear that it is not believers of this kind who are at the receiving end of Dawkins' opprobrium. His main issue is with organised religion and with those who would not shrink from justifying all sorts of cruelties committed in the name of their gods, and who - in their proselytising zeal - have the indecency to shove their "imaginary friends down people's throats".