Thursday, October 19, 2006

The SF delusion

So does God exist? Suppose you, a humble mortal, find yourself inadequate to answer that, what do you do? You go to some of the great minds of our times.

Newton, of course, believed in God. So did Einstein, though his God may have little resemblance to the figure in the Old Testament. Very well, what's good enough for them is good enough for you, you say.

(Pascal had a good argument for believing: there may or may not be a God, you may or may not believe in Him, but you can only lose if there is a God and you don't believe in Him.)

Then Richard Dawkins comes along and not only argues persuasively that there's no God, but writes a book called "The God Delusion" to explain why not. (Watch him explain it to a mock-sceptical Stephen Colbert here.)

Then the ghost of Paul Erdős comes along and says, "Well, I don't know about God, but what about the Supreme Fascist, eh? Someone's out to get me, hiding my glasses and stealing my passport."

Irrefutable?

7 comments:

Tabula Rasa said...

liked that bit about "plenty of intelligent design in my book!"

Anonymous said...

http://lrb.co.uk/v28/n20/eagl01_.html

for a convincing critique of Dawkins' book.

Rahul said...

anonymous -- yes I saw that, but before calling it convincing I'll need to read Dawkins' book...

Anyway, my gut reaction is that if Dawkins is oversimplifying the views of most Christians, Eagleton is probably over-intellectualising their views.

Moreover, Dawkins' negation of God is hardly new: the Buddha said pretty much the same thing 2500 years ago (he said it about the Hindu concepts of Iswara, Brahman and Atman but he would have said it even more forcefully about the God of the Old Testament).

Anirudh said...

I love Erdos. :)

Govar said...

Pascal's argument sounds nice, but is flawed. If you don't really believe in God but just pretend that you believe coz there's something to gain, then that God knows that you are opportunistic and your belief is not in faith.

Newton apart, most of the biologists who write abt evolution don't believe. Carl Sagan says he believes in God if God is the some of all unknowns. Einstein believed in God if God is the sum of all physical/natural laws - gravity etc. So even these guys don't believe in a God that's going to do you favors when you ask for. And, seriously, just why would s/he?

Bakar-Junta said...

Why not check this take on God ?

Try : -
http://bakar-junta.blogspot.com/2006/10/mathematical-analogy-to-god_18.html

Rahul said...

Govar - I don't think Pascal was serious. And Dawkins explicitly restricts himself to the "jealous God" portrayed in the Old Testament, not to the metaphysical God of Einstein and many philosophers.

bakar-junta - thanks, I just posted my opinion there.