Is God improbable because he has to be more complex than his creation and complex things have very low probability of emerging?
Richard Dawkins argues that by proposing to explain the complexity of the world using a God, theist don’t solve but end up doubling the problem of complexity because God has to be at least as complex as his creation. What is the answer to this argument?
Transcription by: Shalini Ahluwalia
Question: We use the design argument to point to the existence of God but Richard Dawkins in his book “God Delusion” states that if we look at the complexity of the creation then the creator has to be even more complex and the more complex a being is the more improbable that is. Just as we say that a complex thing cannot be designed then a complex design coming by chance is extremely low. Its highly improbable. Then a complex God coming by chance is even more improbable. And therefore we don’t solve the improbability problem we only compound, double the improbability problem by proposing a complex God to explain a complex designer. So how do we refute this argument.
Answer: Here Richard Dawkins commits the error of assuming that which he is setting out to prove. Let me explain this point. His logic is that we start from the whole idea of theory of evolution is that simple things can come out by themselves and simple things by organising – by random chance, by selection, by natural selection, by genetic mutation – all these processes – a complexity will eventually emerge from simplicity. And the idea for this is that simple things can come about by chance. Complex things cannot. Now if we trace this backward, backward, backward then we will come to an extremely simple thing and his logic is that the simple thing will be very easy to come about. But to say that God made that, God is far more complex. Then for God to have made that is very improbable. The problem with this logic is he is already assuming materialism to be true. That the ultimate thing has to be something which is assembled by chance or by natural selection or by whatever thats why for it to come by that process its probability is extremely low and therefore it would be improbable. So God would be improbable if materialism is true. So what he is assuming here is that God has also need to have come about by the same means as the things of this world have come about. So the conception of materialism is dragged onto and superimposed on God because Dawkins starts with the presumption of materialism. So its like using, if you want to prove somebody guilty, what is the evidence that we use, we say that that person is guilty thats why that person has to be guilty. Thats no logic at all. So you want to prove that there is no God, that matter is the only reality. And then we say that if God exists he also has to come from matter only. And because God is so complex and things from matter to have come to such complexity is very improbable therefore God is improbable. The fundamental point is that God is not a material being. And materialism is not necessarily true. There is nothing in science which proves that matter is all that exists. Matter is what science primarily investigates but science cannot give us any positive information whether anything exists outside matter or not. So therefore the whole logic is based on a false presumption. Now moving forward if we start – these are fundamental questions – was there matter in the beginning or there was consciousness at the beginning. In Western theology the word mind and consciousness is used interchangeably so whether things began from matter or they began from mind or consciousness. One is called materialism other is called idealism. So consciousness is the original reality. Now the point is that when we see, if you want to look back we have to start either with matter or with consciousness, we have two possibilities. Now if you start with matter then leave alone the probability of God coming about from matter which is actually an absurd proposition because God – no religion, none of the great theistic religions conceive God as a material being. So God doesn’t have to come about by some changes through matter and therefore he has his probablility becomes very low. God has a pre-existing being. God is not a portion of existence, God is a pre-condition of existence. Thats the way the theistic religions conceive God. Now Dawkins may not believe this, that is upto him but he cannot, basically he is creating a strawman over here. Strawman means say two champion boxers are supposed to fight each other or one upstart boxer challenges a champion boxer to fight and now this upstart boxer knows that I cannot defeat the champion boxer so what the upstart boxer does is creates a strawman. Strawman is just a replica, just an image that looks something like that boxer but is basically made of straw. And then bam ! punches and knocks out. And (thinks) I have defeated the champion boxer. This is strawman and like that there are strawman arguments. That means you want to defeat your opponent but you do not have enough logical skills to defeat your opponent so misrepresent the argument of the opponent in such a way that it seems very simplistic and then defeat that misrepresented argument and act as if you have defeated the opponent. That is called using the strawman argument and it is considered in logic unethical. So basically Dawkins is constructing a strawman over here when he is saying that God is a product of matter and he is refuting that. So God is spiritual. And as i was saying if we start from matter leave alone the emergence of God, according to mainstream science itself, the emergence of even the simplest unicellular organism, the emergence of the first cell, the complexity of a cell as molecular biology has discovered, it exceeds the biggest factory and factory chains that we see in society today. So event the probability of a cell coming from matter by chance is by itself so improbable has to be impossible. So if we want to go by probability materialism itself is disproved leave alone God being disproved because even the first life form will not come about by simple chance because at that time natural selection will also not work because nothing is there in nature to select. Nothing is there at all. So therefore materialism itself becomes countered by inbuilt logical problems. So if we just start with matter what to speak of God nothing will emerge. The smallest unicellular organism will not emerge and therefore materialism is false. On the other hand if we start with Supreme Conscious Being who has energies one of which is matter then he can arrange matter and he can give rise to the creation that comes about. So now what is the nature of that God. Because that God is complex in the sense that he is omniscient, he has enormous amount of knowledge with him therefore he is complex in that sense if you want to use the word complex but he has not emerged from any process. He is the eternal cause of all causes. And therefore his existence is not determined by any probability. Infact his existence is the foundation for the existence of anything else. So by committing a category error by assuming materialism to be true when he has to actually prove materialism to be true by creating a strawman where he assumes God to be material being and by neglecting the fact that by given materialism the smallest unicellular life form is unlikely to come Dawkins argument is actually completely unsound. And it self-destructs if examined critically.
Thank you, Hare Krishna!