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Flawed Logic—Rebuttals to Arguments Against the Existence of God

Updated on March 5, 2017
Salma Hassaballa profile image

Salma Hassaballa is the author of the awarded book The Case Is Still Open & produced two documentaries about the belief in God.

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Dawkins' Argument Against the Existence of God

Richard Dawkins, a prominent critic of creationism [1], claims that God’s existence is merely impossible. He explained a reason that drove him to such conclusion in his famous book, The God Delusion, by saying the following:

“Any creative intelligence, of sufficient complexity to design anything, comes into existence only as the end product of an extended process of gradual evolution. Creative intelligence, being evolved, necessarily arrives late in the universe, and therefore cannot be responsible for designing it. God, in the sense defined, is a delusion; and, as later chapters will show, a pernicious delusion.” [2]

In other words, Dawkins assumes that if God exists then He has to be a very complex entity and according to His complexity, He has to be an end product of an evolution; therefore, He has to arrive late in the universe. Thus He cannot be the initiator or the creator of the universe. According to Dawkins, this argument is enough proof for the absence of God.

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Flaws in Dawkins' Argument

As we see, one can easily recognize the flaws of Dawkins' argument and conclusion. He assumed that our universe started simple and then got more complicated through the gradual process of evolution. However, I see that this rule applies to man’s own invention. Everything man creates starts off simple, but with further research, investigations, and effort, it develops and matures. But this does not apply to God’s creations, for everything God created is very complex even if it appears simple. A tiny leaf is complex with its photosynthesis; the bacteria cell is very complex in design and function. [3] Any living being that comes to life is complex. What makes living beings alive is rather complex and indefinable. Dawkins also overlooked the fact that evolutionary theory has not been confirmed yet; as the theory is still lacking some data like the missing links between generations. Moreover, equation(s) that should derive some important missing information, like the rate of mutation, are also unavailable.

There is another major flaw in Dawkins' argument which is, according to him, if God exists, He has to arrive late in the universe by gradual evolution! If that is so, then Dawkins assumes that God is subject to the rules of evolution! However, if we assume that evolution is real, then it will be a principle created by God, which He applied to His creation. Believing that God is subject to a rule He made is like expecting a TV manufacturer to behave according to the rules he applied on what he manufactured, that is to say, he should move by remote control! [4]

Other Flawed Arguments Against the Existence of God

Some people try to deny God’s existence by assuming rules that have never been proven, like parallel universes, which imply that our universe is not the only one, but there are many other universes that are parallel to each other. Thus, life has come by chance in one of them, which is our universe! [5] And I wonder if a single universe needs to be created by God, then why should we expect multiverses (if they exist) to be any different?

Some others argue that the belief in God is a kind of psychological disorder, a mental illness, in some sense, that fulfills a psychological need. They claim that religion is a crutch to use in the hard times. [6] However, I believe that the need for God is a proof of His existence. A lost child that seeks his mother certainly doesn’t negate her existence but proves it. In this context, the famous scholar Mustafa Mahmoud says: “Just as our thirst for water is a proof that it exists, our yearning for justice is a proof to us that a just Being exists.” [7]

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The Unawareness of Atheists

I once asked the famous scholar Dr. Hassan Hathout, about his opinion regarding people who deny God, he answered: “To me, people who don’t believe in God look like a person standing in front of a lamp watching his shadow on the wall and moving his hand and his body and watching the movement of the shadow with his own movements and thinking that it is him that created the shadow and it is him that created the movements he is seeing the shadow doing, completely blind to the source of light because the source of light is behind him. That is the person who doesn’t recognize God. He is unable to see. He is under the deception that what he sees is his own making, his own interpretation, his own creation, he does not have the logic that tells him no it is not you, it is the light behind you that is the source of your image and its movement.” [8]

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Believing in God is a Part of Human Nature

Believing in God has been experienced since the dawn of humanity; it coincides with the basic human logic which says that there is no watch without a watchmaker. Also, it is very natural and it goes along with our instinct. The philosopher Prof Stelzer said in this regard:

“We are born believing; how come a little child, who is the weakest and has no power, has got so much trust?! It is impossible to gain trust from experiences in this life. Because most of the things you can experience in this world give you the opposite from trust; they give you distrust and suspicion. That is why when most human beings grow up, they become more and more suspicious and distrustful unless they have faith. So in that sense, I am not saying that the baby is born in order to have faith, I am saying the baby is born with faith, and it may either lose it or diminish it, or it may increase in faith or keep its faith, but these are all possibilities.” [9]

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Certainly, in a very sincere moment, every one of us has felt God deep inside, especially when we need Him most and this is enough evidence of His existence.

Is there enough evidence to believe in God?

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Is there enough evidence to deny the existence of God?

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References

[1] Creationism is the religious belief that humanity, life, and the universe were created by a deity.

[2] Richard Dawkins. (2006). The God Delusion, Chapter 2, Bantam Press, Page 31.

[3] http://www.icr.org/article/just-how-simple-are-bacteria/

[4] Mustafa Mahmoud has drawn a similar analogy in his book A discussion with an atheist when he was refuting the question of who created God, page 7.

[5] http://www.slate.com/bigideas/are-we-alone/essays-and-opinions/Zeeya-Merali-opinion

[6] Dr. Matthew Whoolery. Psychology unit head at the American University in Cairo. (2007). Do you believe? A documentary produced by Salma Hassaballa,

[7] Dr. Mostafa Mahmoud. (2000). Dialogue with an Atheist, Chapter 1, Dar Al Taqwa Ltd. 1994, Second Edition, P. 6 - 7.

[8] Dr. Hassan Hathout. (2007). Do you believe? A documentary produced by Salma Hassaballa.

[9] Prof. Dr. Steffen Stezler. Chair of the Philosophy Department at the American University in Cairo. (2007). Do you believe? A documentary produced by Salma Hassaballa.

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    • AshutoshJoshi06 profile image

      Ashutosh Joshi 3 months ago from New Delhi, India

      This another of those non-ending debates, anyways here's what I felt..

      You quoted Dawkins to throw some wait around your argument however when you couldn't rebut what Dawkins inquires about whether god (as complex he and his creations are) being an end product himself, its seems you take the easier route of a counter argument stating bacteria's or supposed first life forms too are complex. It's more like answering a question with a question.

      Again, when you speak of this not so famous scholar Dr. Hassan Hathout, you try and present his flawed argument as intellectual one but it appears he's just romancing with his philosphy. This whole man, wall, shadow and light source argument that you quote of him, can be expressed in many ways and that doesn't necessarily prove that a non-believer is a fool or devoid of rationale.

      Finally when I say that I am a believer turned non-believer, I am sure whatever I said wouldn't make much of a sense and that's exactly what's the problem with the so called 'flawed logic'. For you as a believer what atheist like Dawkins say is a flawed logic similarly for an atheist what you propose as a counter argument doesn't make much sense either.

    • Salma Hassaballa profile image
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      Salma Hassaballa 2 months ago from Egypt

      Thank you for your comment and I appreciate your input. I did not mean it as you may have interpreted it, and I will agree with you that this is a non-ending debate. A debate worth the research and discussion, however, I think providing three logical arguments refuting Dawkins' is enough to rebut it. One of the arguments is stating that bacteria is complex by itself although it appears simple and this is directly related to Dawkins' argument which was based on the assumption that the world started simple and then it gets complex by time, and I don’t know why you ignored the other two logical arguments. However, as you mentioned, it seems that many are subjective when it comes to what they truly believe. For atheism is also a deep-seated belief, in spite of the fact that many atheists are unaware of it

      Secondly, I appreciate that Dr. Hassan Hathout may not be 'famous' in all regions and fields, but in my particular region and field of research, he is a notable and widely accepted scholar.

      Regarding Dr. Hathout’s argument, it is logical as well as a rhetoric one, just to show atheists the possibility of ignoring some evidence because they are unable to see it; its purpose is for illustration and not to counter attack atheism.

    • AshutoshJoshi06 profile image

      Ashutosh Joshi 2 months ago from New Delhi, India

      Thank you for acknowledging and I appreciate the candid response.

      I do apologise, as I did not intended to sound bigoted or be demeaning towards anyone and nor was I advocating for anybody. Whether its creationism or Evolution both have opportunities and creationism more so. I am a believer of evolution as it sounds reasonable and equally acceptable to me. 'Flawed logic' to me as stated above is more about perspectives!

    • Salma Hassaballa profile image
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      Salma Hassaballa 2 months ago from Egypt

      Thank you for your reply, I really do appreciate your understanding, and I highly respect your point of view as you respect mine. I would like to clarify that I am not against evolution, I'm simply clarifying that it is not yet confirmed. The confirmation or non-confirmation of evolution is not evidence to deny the existence of God.

      I thank you again for your conversation and the value it holds in portraying a full picture of two different angles.

    • John Welford profile image

      John Welford 2 weeks ago from Barlestone, Leicestershire

      I think you are mistaken to claim that evolution is an "unproven theory", because you have fallen into the trap of not understanding what a "theory" is in scientific terms. The evidence for evolution is overwhelming.

      You are also guilty of circular reasoning by assuming the truth of what you are seeking to prove. The "watchmaker" argument falls down because it assumes that the universe is a "creation" in the same sense that a watch is and must therefore have had a creator, but why should you make this assumption in the first place?

    • Salma Hassaballa profile image
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      Salma Hassaballa 2 weeks ago from Egypt

      Hi, John Welford, A “theory” in scientific terms as stated by Jaime Tanner, a professor of biology at Marlboro College refers to the way that we interpret facts. There may be alternative interpretations regarding the same fact, interpretations may be true or false, like the old theory which stated that the fact of alteration of day and night is due to the sun orbiting the earth. Now you are stating that evidence are overwhelming regarding the evolution and I see, as I stated in my article, there is other missed important evidence. I am not against the theory if it is provided with complete evidence. Also, I mentioned that the evolution (if true) doesn’t negate God’s existence.

      Well, saying that the universe needs a creator is like a watch that needs a watchmaker is a very logical argument for me because any creation that contains intelligence and wisdom can’t be found by mere luck or create itself. A book that contains information cannot write itself or come into existence by a chance even if the name of the writer is not written on its cover.

    • John Welford profile image

      John Welford 2 weeks ago from Barlestone, Leicestershire

      Salma, The idea that the planets orbit the Sun is a scientific `theory`, as is the Theory of Gravity. They are not called theories because they are unproven - that is simply another meaning of the word. There is no `missing evidence` that calls the Theory of Evolution into question, although we do not yet know all the precise detail of all the mechanisms that make it work. The thing is that it fits the facts, and no other theory has come along that refutes those facts - certainly not any bizarre notion that a supreme being clicked his fingers and it all just happened. That is a theory that certainly does not fit all the facts.

      You have to ask yourself - what exactly did God create? Did he click his fingers to light the fuse of the big bang and let the laws of physics and evolution get to work that eventually led to what we have today? Or did he create a 'complex' universe at some time in the past that has simply continued to change? Or do you believe in a form of continuous creation, such that everything that happens, and has always happened, is the direct action of God? That idea would lead to all sorts of problems!

      And yes - intelligence and wisdom (and the lack of them) can certainly come about as a result of evolution. Do be careful about falling into a `God of the gaps` mentality, which says that we can understand all sorts of things and how they came to exist, but there are still things we don`t understand and those must therefore have been created by God. Many such gaps have been closed down the centuries, and we can have every confidence that others will disappear in time as science makes fresh discoveries.

    • Salma Hassaballa profile image
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      Salma Hassaballa 2 weeks ago from Egypt

      Hi, John, The scientific theory which states that the Planets orbit the sun and the theory of Gravity are both supported by numerical numbers, equations and data, we know for instance the orbital lengths and distances of objects in our solar system and the value of gravity, we can calculate the velocity of an object by knowing the distance and time; however, this is not the case regarding evolution, still there are missing links, and there is no equation to calculate vital information like how a certain species will look like within a certain number of years and so forth. And as I told you I am not against evolution, if only scientists would explore the missed details.

      The problem with your questions concerning God, that you assumed that God is like man, so He may need a finger to light the fuse of the big bang, You also expected that we can comprehend God’s Wisdom, so you asked me to figure out how He created the universe, despite that fact that studying a single rule and law created by God would require the effort of many scientists throughout several years, decades or even centuries, like the rule of evolution for example. I may answer how a carpenter created a table, but it will be beyond my knowledge to answer how God created the universe. And please bear in mind that it is impossible for the Creator to be like any of His creation, otherwise, it will be like thinking that the computer manufacturer is similar to the computer he manufactured.

      Let me tell you what I think in this regard. I see beauty in everything around me which is not explained by the evolution theory or any other theory. And I see also the limitation of sciences despite the progress we perceive in the digital age; as you mentioned, science, filled many gaps that were missing in the past, however, it fails to give any explanation regarding things that are so close to us, and concern man directly, like if we are only bodies, what makes us alive? How living beings come to life in the first place? Why can’t we create a living thing? Which part of our body is responsible for principles or morals or consciousness? why can't we measure our emotions or ambitions? etc.

      And please give me single evidence that proves that wisdom and intelligence can certainly come about as a result of evolution as to my knowledge there is none.

      Let me tell you that I am not falling into a ‘God of the gaps’ mentality, which makes some of us use the word “God” as an excuse to what is unknown to them. In fact, I think of God and praise Him when I don’t have the answers and when I have them. For when I don’t have the answers, I feel how limited I am. And when I have some answers I feel I am blessed to understand how things came to exist, and I am eager to find further future discoveries as this will never deny the Creator, on the contrary, every scientific discovery points to Him, to His Wisdom, Magnificence, Grandiosity and Mercy.

      Finally, I thank you for sharing your interesting thoughts with me, and you are always invited and welcomed as I believe that people should support each other in seeking the truth.

    • John Welford profile image

      John Welford 13 days ago from Barlestone, Leicestershire

      Salma, We will have to agree to disagree! All your points have been explored and answered - the works of Richard Dawkins provide all the evidence for evolution and the non-existence of God, but he also makes the point that it is impossible to convince deeply religious people to change their minds because they do not accept that the evidence is actually evidence!

      Religion worries me because - although it has inspired many people to do good works - it has also inspired others to do things that could never be described as good. The logic used by both sets of people is strikingly similar - it just depends on the propositions you start from and to which you apply your logic.

      At least you haven`t tried quoting verses from the Bible at me - I find that to be the biggest turn-off of them all!

      I wish you all the best and every happiness - despite not agreeing with you!

    • Salma Hassaballa profile image
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      Salma Hassaballa 13 days ago from Egypt

      Hi John, I love your first phrase, as I appreciate your respect and tolerance to our diversity and differences. As for Richard Dawkins, he failed to give an answer to many questions ( I state some of them in my previous comment) like for example the cause of the existence of beauty and our aspiration for freedom and Justice, and that is OK with me as he is a human being and no human being is capable of providing answers to all the big questions. However, religions do in their original texts and languages.

      I respect your worries regarding the abuse of religions, as I totally agree that religions have been abused since long ago, but in the same time good values have been abused too; wars have been waged under the pretext of the call for democracy, patriotism, and freedom. As you see abuse is not a flaw in religions, but it is a flaw in human beings.

      And Yes I haven’t tried quoting from the Quran or the Bible, not because they are turned off, but because you don’t believe in them.

      Finally, I wish you all the happiness and more!

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