August 24, 2013

The Dawkins Debate

So, I watched the whole debate here between Dr. Dawkins and Dr. Lennox about the existence of God and just had to make some comments:

First, I want to say that Dr. Dawkins appeared to be a somewhat better debater. But, the truth is not determined by who wins a debate.

1. Dawkins wrongly dismisses the Gospel based on a human sense of beauty

It is ironic that Dawkins claims that the idea of Jesus coming and dying is “petty” in comparison to the grandeur of the universe. On the one hand, Dawkins see the beauty of the universe and can't help but be impressed and enthralled, which are subjective human feelings quite akin to worship and love. In his mind, these feelings are purely subjective byproducts of evolution, and have nothing to do with absolute Truth.

On the other hand, Dawkins appeals to a human sense of beauty and importance to reject as “petty” the immeasurable love of God displayed in the incredible sacrifice of His Son on the cross for fallen and unworthy humanity. (Consequently, he confirms what the Bible says about how scoffers view the cross: 1 Cor. 1:22-23.) He appeals to human feelings to determine the truth of the Bible. Again, these feelings have absolutely nothing to do with truth. The best he can do is show that this is why he personally rejects the Gospel. It is subjective. I, and all Christians, believe just the opposite: the magnificence of the universe pales in comparison to the beauty and glory of Jesus Christ redeeming man on the cross. But how we feel about these things has little or nothing to do with absolute truth. We can't prove anything from these feelings.

Lennox did not seem to verbalize this faulty reasoning of Dawkins. If, as it seems, Dawkins was trying to use his emotional reasoning to dismiss the truth of the Gospel for everyone, then he is using a cheap and unreasonable ploy.

I have to seriously wonder if Dawkins ever experienced deep love in his childhood. I kind of doubt it; otherwise, it is unlikely he would think the love described in the Bible is “petty.”

2. Dawkins trivializes justice

Obviously, as an atheist, Dawkins can't believe in any kind of absolute justice. He has had to reconcile himself to the idea of no ultimate justice, no absolute right and wrong, and no higher meaning to existence. It is no wonder that Dawkins can't see any beauty in the cross. He sees no purpose in God finding a way to save humanity justly, rather than just willy-nilly forgiving people free of charge. If there is a God, then it makes most sense that God would be just, for we have a strong internal sense of justice. How then could God ever forgive sinners in a just manner? The answer is the cross. According to laws of justice, evil must be punished harshly one way or another. Sin-debt must be dealt with by a repayment. The cross provided a way whereby God could forgive without trivializing evil. We see in the cross that God always, always, always takes sin seriously even when He exempts some people from personally paying the price of justice. It's called substitution—something that no other religion really understands.

To become an atheist, you must forget about trying to find justice. You must forget about any kind of emotional and spiritual answers to life. Pain just is. Evil is just the byproduct of “selfish” evolution. Meaning and purpose are what you make them to be for your brief and vain life.

3. Dawkins assumes that Evolution is a sufficient answer to the complexity of life

Dawkins repeatedly stated as fact that the theory of evolution adequately solves the question of how complex life—like humans—came into existence. Disappointingly, Lennox failed to address this point very strongly. For starters, the theory of evolution does not seem to adequately explain the mechanisms behind how dinosaurs sprouted complex wings and how modern birds eventually formed. The mechanisms are supposedly mutation, natural selection, genetic drift, etc. It's an unguided, blind process—supposedly. By very definition, then, the traditional theory of evolution is unable to explain the rise of complexity quickly over short periods of time. No evolutionist would suggest that a normal crocodile could give birth one day to a baby crocodile with feathers. Complexity like that cannot (or very nearly cannot) appear in one generation. It should take many generations, some failed experiments, and many relatively minor genetic alterations. (Organisms, by the way, protect against random mutations.) How then is it that we see very early Cambrian creatures with complex compound eyes? Compound eyes with perfect little lenses should never have evolved that soon at the dawn of the animal kingdom—unless it arose by a series of large accidents. However, evolutionary history is too replete with such examples of complex creatures forming quickly. It is not consistent with blind, random, and inefficient mechanisms.

Dawkins presumes that neo-Darwinism holds the basic answers to how simple cells evolved into humans in approximately 4 billion years. Not all evolutionists are convinced. If you read any science articles related to evolution at all, you can detect that there are still many unanswered questions about how evolution does what it does (as if it were a rational agent). There are questions of how gradual evolution really is. There are questions about what role epigenetics plays in evolution. There are questions still about basic mechanisms—e.g. maybe living space of creatures is the major driving force of evolution. These sorts of questions indicate that evolution is not yet well understood and that scientists are still looking for (or even needing) more compelling mechanisms to easily explain how “it all happened.” If the process of evolution is somewhat poorly understood then it is inaccurate to say that “we know” that naturalistic mechanisms were the underlying cause behind increasing complexity.

4. Dawkins falsely assumes that an uncreated universe is a better "answer" than an all-powerful Creator because it is simpler

Dawkins indicated in the debate that the universe at its essence is very simple, since it may have began as a set of “simple” laws of physics. For that reason he thinks that an uncreated universe is more reasonable than an uncreated God. But, what makes us think that the foundation of existence is a simple
foundation? Dawkins argues that introducing God replaces the question of the universe's existence with a bigger question: where did God come from? I disagree. The question is the same either way.

Really there is only one impossible question for us humans to answer here, and that is the question of pure existence—of anything—whether that be God or the universe. There can never be an adequate answer to this question, because it involves the concept of infinity beyond our finite capacity of imagination. Thus, regardless of an all-powerful Creator or an uncreated universe, there is no real, fully-satisfying answer to this nagging question of existence. An eternal universe does not feel okay logically any more than an eternal God. A universe that popped into existence does not feel okay. A universe that existed only in an abstract form of “laws” and then that gave rise to energy and matter does not feel okay, either. We are forced to except the inexplicable nature of existence. So, the so-called simpler answer to existence is really not an answer at all. What would make us so sure that the core basis of reality/existence is simple vs. complex, when we cannot even begin to comprehend how anything could exist at all? Either way, existence feels like a miracle. A simple, uncreated universe does not help me understand existence. A “simple universe” that exists without cause does not seem like a smaller miracle than a God who exists without cause.

(By the way, we don't know how complex God is to be able to compare Him with the universe.)