Richard Dawkins Tortures Reason to Suggest Evolution Created Religion

In His Book “The God Delusion” Chapter 5 “The Roots of Religion” Richard Dawkins Demonstrates Logical Fallacies Common to Darwinian Authors

Richard Dawkins is a well-known author, atheist and Darwinian theorist. In his book The God Delusion (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2006), Dawkins argues that faith is irrational and potentially deadly. He attempts to demonstrate the extreme improbability that God exists. In doing this, Dawkins adopts a rabid faithfulness to Darwinian evolution.

Dawkins lists necessary elements of Darwinian evolution. Dawkins tells us that compared to mathematics and physics, Darwinism is, “a remarkably simple theory, childishly so.”[1] With this I must agree. The mechanism that Darwin believes is responsible for evolution is merely the natural selection of random mutations.

According to Dawkins and Darwin, evolution has no direction which Dawkins makes quite clear when he states, “Natural selection, the blind unconscious, automatic process which Darwin discovered . . . has no mind and no mind’s eye. It does not plan for the future. It has no vision, no foresight, no sight at all.”[2] Naturally, one would assume that assigning human characteristics to evolution would therefore be forbidden. However, we will see that this is apparently not the case. In a momentary lapse of illogic, Dawkins defines biology as, “the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”[3] This is not a meaningful definition of biology. And frankly it has no relevance to biological life.

Dawkins’ worldview creates the bizarre situation where the mechanism of creation in biology, which he feels is an illusion, can applied to the creation of religion, which he believes is a delusion. To promulgate a theory for the creation of religion that is consistent with Darwinism, Dawkins uses the logical fallacies of a priori arguments, circular reasoning, the argument from ignorance and the ubiquitous anthropomorphisms that haunt all Darwinian authors. In chapter five, Dawkins establishes his worldview from which one a priori argument arises. Dawkins states his worldview then asks, “Knowing that we are products of Darwinian evolution, we should ask what pressure or pressures exerted by natural selection originally favoured the impulse to religion.”[4]

Attempting to answer his question, Dawkins begins his line of reasoning in a self-defeating manner. He uses anthropomorphisms to describe how the childishly simple mechanism of natural selection works. Among other statements he claims that natural selection: “targets and eliminates waste,” “Nature is a miserly accountant,” “grudging the pennies,” “watches the clock,” “punishes the smallest extravagance,” etc.[5] But Darwinian evolution is a random, physical process and although it may be poetically pleasing, attributing human characteristics to Darwinism is self-defeating.

Oblivious to the self-defeating nature of anthropomorphism, Dawkins quotes anthropomorphic arguments from Darwin himself, “natural selection is daily and hourly scrutinizing, throughout the world, every variation, even the slightest; rejecting that which is bad, preserving and adding up all that is good; silently and insensibly working, whenever and wherever opportunity offers, at the improvement of each organic being.”[6] A true science such as physics, chemistry and biology does not need, and scrupulously avoids human characteristics. Ironically, according to Dawkins anthropomorphisms are forbidden.

As Dawkins attempts to demonstrate the mechanism of Darwinian evolution, he uses a very simple equation—anything that is a “benefit” will be selected whether it is sociological, psychological, religious, etc. Find a benefit and insert Darwinism as the argument from ignorance—the legal system, art, music, morals, anything will work in a circular argument. By using circular and tortured logic, Dawkins states that religion must have a benefit because it exists and therefore was selected. He finds it necessary to explain what those benefits may have been. Dawkins categorizes benefits of religion as, “group selection,”[7] “religion as a by-product,”[8] “memes”[9] and “psychologically primed.”[10] Dawkins goes on to postulate that, “The design stance and the intentional stance are useful brain mechanisms, important for speeding up the second-guessing of entities that really matter for survival, such as predators or potential mates.”[11] The curious person will no doubt ask, where does all of this second-guessing, group selection and meme usage, etc. occur in the brain? What nucleotides code for the brain mechanisms? Unfortunately, Dawkins has no idea.

Undaunted by lack of evidence, Dawkins presses on. He asks a rather poetic question, “Could irrational religion be a by-product of the irrationality mechanisms that were originally built into the brain by selection for falling in love?”[12] Until Dawkins can tell us where the sequence of nucleotides that are responsible for falling in love reside (we know Darwin cannot), this is a frivolous question.

Undeterred by the lack of any molecular biology in his philosophy, Dawkins equates genes and memes![13] And to do this he must make the incredible statement, “The exact [emphasis mine] physical nature of a gene is now known . . .”[14] From ignorance is born arrogance.

Another glaring example of Dawkins’ ignorance of things medical is this description of embryology, “It [the analogy of memes and genes] concerns embryology which—the fact is often misunderstood—is completely distinct from genetics.”[15] Embryology is nothing but genetics! I suspect his outrageously uninformed statement arises from the need to keep evolution childishly simple. We all know genetics is extremely complicated and getting more complicated with each new discovery.  As if this weren’t bad enough, in chapter 6 Dawkins takes the entire group of logical fallacies and applies them to explain how morality was created by natural selection.[16]

What has Dawkins shown us in The God Delusion? In no single page did Dawkins demonstrate (or even suggest) where one nucleotide in all of DNA mutated from what, to what in order to produce any anatomic or physiologic change. Darwin at least had an excuse for this failure—he had no idea that DNA existed. Dawkins has no excuse.

FOOTNOTES

[1] Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design (New York: Norton, 1996), xv.

[2] Id., 5.

[3] Id., 1.

[4] Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion (New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2006), 190.

[5] Id.

[6] Id., 191.

[7] Id., 198.

[8] Id., 200.

[9] Id., 222.

[10] Id., 208.

[11] Id., 213.

[12] Id., 215.

[13] Id., 222.

[14] Id., 223.

[15] Id., 229.

[16] Id., 240.

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