Thus, he explains, they are "simply compounding the problem."
But Christian theologians have historically posited that God is purely
simple. In so doing they are following in the footsteps of Jewish theologians: ". . .but the Deity is not a
compound object. . ." (Philo Judaeus, On the Change of Names, Chapter
I); "And is not this reasonable? for it follows of necessity that the
virtues of God must be pure and unmixed, since God is not a compound
being, inasmuch as he is a single nature. . ." (Philo Judaeus, On the
Change of Names, Chapter XXXIV).
This is considered an important point, "There cannot be any
belief in the unity of God except by admitting that He is one simple
substance, without any composition or plurality of elements: one
from whatever side you view it, and by whatever test you examine it:
not divisible into two parts in any way and by any cause, nor
capable of any form of plurality either objectively or subjectively,
as will be proved in this treatise." (Moses Maimonides, The Guide
for the Perplexed, p. 84). It would be a mistake to assume Christian
theologians would rather side with Dawkins in ascribing composite
complexity to God: they do not: "When we speak of the simplicity of God, we
use the term to describe the state or quality of being simple, the
condition of being free from division into parts, and therefore from
compositeness. It means that God is not composite and is not
susceptible of division in any sense of the word."
(Berkhof, Louis. Systematic Theology (Kindle Locations 1269-1271). GLH
What they mean by this is that God is not assembled from
'off-the-shelf' parts, or indeed any parts at all; He is not a
composite whole which comes to life through assembly. He cannot be riven
into His constituent parts, because there are not any; thus He is 'simple.' In imagining
his 'complex designer,' Dawkins is simply assuming God is a
biological organism. One wonders if he also believes a designer who
designs something big like an elephant must be big himself, or
something small like an ant must be small. If so he should hold the
thought: a designer who designs a universe which is intelligible, as
is ours, must be intelligent, as this is the most parsimonious
way to account for this quality.
It is this author's boast that he pays no attention to his
critics; willed ignorance is his calling card. Though there is no
theist who says, 'God, if He exists, is an immensely complicated
biological organism,' Dawkins doggedly demonstrates the fallacy in
this unheard argument:
"Seen clearly, intelligent design will turn out to be a redoubling of the problem. Once again this is because the designer
himself (/herself/itself) immediately raises the bigger problem of
his own origin." (Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, pp. 145-146).
"In any case, even though genuinely irreducible
complexity would wreck Darwin's theory if it were ever found, who is
to say that it wouldn't wreck the intelligent design theory as well?
Indeed, it already has wrecked the intelligent design theory, for,
as I keep saying and will say again, however little we know about
God, the one thing we can be sure of is that he would have to be
very very complex and presumably irreducibly so!" (Richard Dawkins,
The God Delusion, p. 151).
In other words, the one thing we can be sure of is that, if God exists, He is nothing at all
like what the theists describe Him as being. This is a shouting match between deaf people.
Richard Dawkins himself realizes theologians say that God is
simple: "Theologians had always defined God as simple." (Richard
Dawkins, The God Delusion, p. 183). And he understands what 'simple'
means; it means 'not comprised of parts:'
"A God capable of continuously monitoring and
controlling the individual state of every particle in the universe
cannot be simple. His existence is going to need a mammoth
explanation in its own right. . .Indeed, the biologist Julian
Huxley, in 1912, defined complexity in terms of 'heterogeneity of
parts,' by which he means a particular kind of functional
indivisibility." (Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, pp. 178-179).
So what is his response to the discovery that theologians do not agree with his premise
that God is a very, very big biological organism? What any two-year-old's response would be,
he screams 'Liar!' It is difficult to see the problem: "Richard Dawkins has rejected this argument on the
grounds that God is too complex a solution for explaining the universe and
its laws. This strikes me as a bizarre thing to say about the concept of
an omnipotent spiritual Being. What is complex about the idea of an
omnipotent and omniscient Spirit, an idea so simple that it is
understood by all the adherent of the three great monotheistic religions —
Judaism, Christianity, and Islam?" (There is a God, Anthony Flew, p.
A recurrent problem with the 'New Atheists' is that what they
know about Christianity could fit within a thimble. Here is a
case in point. Is God understood, by theists, to be an intruder, a
new-comer, an alien invading the province of another? If so, His arrival
might have been spotted by telescope! He must be a material being after all;
what other kind is there?
When Dawkins wades into philosophical waters, his
arguments become infantile. He has heard that philosophers ask questions like,
'Why is there something rather than nothing?' and 'Is
there a God?,' and offer their various answers. He has no idea where and when these
questions occur. They are found as a rule further back up in the
hierarchy than any question he knows how to ask. In asking 'Does God
exist?,' the inquirer is not seeking yet one more constituent
of the universe for which we will search with a telescope or
tracking dogs. The question occurs prior to that; for example, when
we ask, 'Why is there something rather than nothing?', or 'Why is
there a world?' (I don't mean that this where people of faith
encounter God, but where it occurs to the metaphysician to ask.) One simply
must not ask these questions: "Some questions simply do not deserve
an answer." (The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins, p. 80).
An especially egregious recent example is the author Lawrence M. Krauss, for
whom Richard Dawkins provided a worshipful afterword. The atheists have no
answer for certain questions, and thus bark out to the world the command, 'You must not
ask that question.' 'Why is there something rather than nothing?' is a good
example. This is the forbidden question par excellence, the first entry on
the prohibited question list. They hand us their List of Approved
Questions, explaining that 'you may ask these questions, because we can
answer these, or might be able to in the future; you must not ask
questions omitted from the list, because we cannot answer those.' On our new
list, this perennial, but now forbidden, question has been rephrased into
a form which a physicist might answer. Thus Lawrence Krauss has helpfully
revised the question, 'Why is there something rather than nothing?' into
'How is it there is dark matter and dark energy in addition to visible
matter and energy?' A physicist might have something to contribute to
discussion of this new and improved question, though forced into silence on the original
question. Richard Dawkins, always lighter than air, must positively been held
down lest he escape earth's atmosphere in his upwelling enthusiasm for Krauss' adventures in word-redefinition.
The atheist savant Nietzsche pointed out that nature-loving
artists are especially drawn to those elements in nature. . .which
they can paint, not the colored yet Stygian gloom of a shadow in
sunlight, not detail dwindling down to the infinitude of the very small, but, may it be, 'masses:'
"The Realistic Painter.
"'To nature true, complete!' so he begins.
Who complete Nature to his canvas wins?
Her tiniest fragment's endless, no constraint
Can know: he paints just what his fancy pins:
What does his fancy pin? What he can paint!"
(Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science, Jest, Ruse and Revenge, Section 55, p.
In a similar vein, Dawkins and Krauss demand that their viewers
ask questions. . .they can answer. None others will be admitted! How
they expect to get people to stop asking metaphysical questions, in
the absence of a police force, I don't know, but this is what they
expect: you may ask questions, of course. But you may ask only those
questions which the physicist or biologist can answer, not questions
which fall outside the purview of any empirical field of inquiry. Moreover,
'it happened by chance' must be admitted as an 'explanation.' In the end the reader can only
conclude that neither one of these gentlemen can even understand what it
is that people mean when they ask, 'Why is there something rather
than nothing?' How else could they proffer their new question as in any way
equivalent to the old, or even in the same ball park? Though they can't
quite wrap their minds around the original question, give them a break: if we were to redefine the words so that 'something'
meant 'visible matter and energy' and 'nothing' meant 'dark matter and dark energy,'
then they would have something to say: