by purujit dasa
Richard Dawkins is a famous atheist who wrote a book called God Delusion, where he is trying to dismiss the existence of God. First, let's look into how Dawkins defines "God". If we can understand the root of the problem, all the other branches of his argument will be automatically understood. The Wikipedia states:
“Dawkins distinguishes between an abstract, impersonal god (such as found in pantheism, or as promoted by Spinoza or Einstein) from a personal God who is the creator of the universe, who is interested in human affairs, and who should be worshipped. This latter type of God, the existence of which Dawkins calls the "God Hypothesis", becomes an important theme in the book.. He maintains that the existence of such a God would have effects in the physical universe and – like any other hypothesis – can be tested and falsified.”
So, from this it is clear that by God he means the Personality of Godhead(not the impersonal conception) and that the personal conception of God he calls "God Hypothesis". Later on the article mentions 4 key points of the book. One of them is the following:
Natural selection and similar scientific theories are superior to a "God hypothesis"—the illusion of intelligent design—in explaining the living world and the cosmos.
Here Dawkins' point is that Personality of Godhead or shortly God is illusion. This is his most important claim. I will now show you how this claim does not make sense at all.
When we speak of the discussion on whether God exists or not there are three possible answers people could give:
1) God exists
2) God doesn't exist
3) maybe God exists, but maybe not
there cannot be any other answer to this question. yes/no/maybe. dawkins' book seems to be in favor of the number two option, so let's look at number two. God doesn't exist. let's just pretend to believe this and let's think of the whole logic behind this conception. God is eternal and God is everything, therefore if God doesn't exist, then there's nothing eternal. our consciousness or the sense of identity which somehow continues despite the changes of the body from childhood, to youthhood and old age is simply a product of ever-changing material chemicals. as long as the chemicals are in favorable situation they are producing consciousness and as soon as that favorable situation is no longer there, consciousness disappears and we call this death. just like a film strip, which consists of many still images of a movement is projected on a screen and it gives us an illusion of a movie, similarly the chemical elements in the body give us an illusion of us being somehow different from the body, although we are not. becuz we are not different from the body, our perception of the body is simply illusion. the body cannot perceive itself by itself because then we would have to accept difference from the body. in reality there is no subject and object and because there is no subject and object, there is no activity. activity means change. for example i walk out of the room. I change my position. but if there's no subject and object, there's no differentiation between me and the room. i am making the differentiation only under the illusion of being a separate consciousness from my body, which is not the fact. therefore me writing this is illusion also. in other words, if there is no God, writing about it is meaningless, because neither I nor you exist as separate entities. if netiher I nor you exist, there's no need to show you proof of God , because any such proof is also illusion. the question is why are you asking me to show you the proof if you truly believe that God doesn't exist if you know that even if the proof was "valid", it would be an illusion?
now Dawkins might object that: "I did not say it doesnt exist, I simply need a proof that's all." and that's precisely what he is doing:
"Dawkins does not claim to disprove God with absolute certainty. Instead, he suggests as a general principle that simpler explanations are preferable (see Occam's razor), and that an omniscient and omnipotent God must be extremely complex. As such he argues that the theory of a universe without a God is preferable to the theory of a universe with a God."
so that's the answer number three. the "maybe" option. what is important to understand is that as opposed to the straightforward yes or no options, the third option is actually not really an answer. it is simply an expression of one's unsure position, but it does not present any sort of strong evidence about what the actual scientifically understandable situation in regards to God might be. 2+2 is 4 is science 2+2 might be 4 or almost certainly is 4 is faith. Dawkins might have a doubt/faith in his conclusions, but finally the answer is either there is God or there isn't. any other statement than yes/no is ABSOLUTELY SURELY ignorance, or in other words the exact opposite of what real science as opposed to a faith or belief is supposed to be. In other words, this sort of speculation does not even qualify for a discussion. If he said God doesn't exist and it is with 100% confidence then we could argue, but this is simply a big joke. He's not really objective either, because he doesn't do what he expect from us.If wants the existence of personal God hypothesis be tested and falsified, why we should not expect the non-existence of personal God be similarly tested and falsified? Are we to take his "faith" as a fact without any evidence?
Prabhupada: Whole world is going on in this way: "We think," "I suppose," "Perhaps," "I believe," like this. Where is science? Science does not depend on your "belief, not belief, supposing, perhaps." This is not science. But they are going on like that. Whole Darwin's theory is based on this, "Maybe millions of years past..." We want perfect knowledge, not such, what is called, saṁśayam. Therefore Kṛṣṇa says, asaṁśayaṁ, "without any doubt." That is knowledge. And samagram, "complete." So if we have got the chance of knowing complete, without any doubt, so why shall I go to you, rascal? Your knowledge is based on "perhaps, maybe." I will have to go somewhere to take knowledge, so why not go to Kṛṣṇa, where the knowledge is complete and without any doubt? Why shall I go to you, you rascal? You simply say "maybe, perhaps, I think." What is the use of this knowledge?
Morning Walk -- October 9, 1975, Durban
so in fact there can be only 2 possibilities in regards to the existence of God : yes or no. and because we have proven that if God doesn't exist you wouldn't ask for a proof of God knowing well that you or me don't exist anyway, the natural conclusion is that God must exist and the proof is your very asking: show me the proof of God. As soon as Dawkins asks for a proof of God he's basically saying : God exists.
Now, this doesn't make sense. How could such a big renowned scientist say such contradictory nonsense? In order to solve this mystery, let's look more closely how Dawkins understands the concept of God:
"At the end of chapter 4, Why there almost certainly is no God, Dawkins sums up his argument and states, "The temptation [to attribute the appearance of a design to actual design itself] is a false one, because the designer hypothesis immediately raises the larger problem of who designed the designer. "
THERE WE GO! This is the crux of the matter. If God is created, how can He be eternal? Obviously, Dawkins does not accept that God is eternal and this changes the whole thing. To be precise, when he is criticizing "personal God" he refers to a person who is created, or in other words not supreme and gets worshipped by some fools as supreme by some pseudo religion. In this sense, we have no objection to his criticism of such conception of God and we must agree that such a conception of God is nothing but delusion. Therefore we have to distinguish between real God who is supreme, eternal and the cause of all causes and a pseudo God who is created by fools, temporary and who is the cause of Dawkins' anger.
Prabhupāda: If God has cause, then he is not God. That is the difference between God and everything. Everything has got cause, but God has not cause. Therefore he is God. That, the rascal, he does not know. He equalizes God and everything on the same level. Then what is the meaning of God? If He hasn't got the extraordinary qualification, then how he is God? He is everything. He does not know. Why there is distinction between God and everything? Because God is not caused by everything, but everything is caused by God. That is the difference. [break] ...is equal to God, then everything is God. That is going on, Māyāvāda philosophy.....of the same quality, then what is the necessity of another God? It is a conclusion like this, that in the hospital everyone is patient. Therefore doctor is also patient because he's in the hospital. In the prisonhouse they're all prisoners. Therefore the superintendent of police he is also prisoner. Or the governor comes to see, visit, he is also prisoner. It is conclusion like that. God means He has got a special potency that He exists without any cause. Sva-rāṭ. This word is used in Bhāgavatam, sva-rāṭ: "completely independent."
Morning Walk, December 12, 1973, Los Angeles
SRILA PRABHUPADA GIVES PROOF OF REAL GOD:
Devotee (3): Those persons who are atheistic, they say that God is created out of a necessity, that people have a necessity to have their father image, so therefore they create religion. This is their basic philosophy, that man creates his own religion. He creates it out of necessity. He needs a father image, so therefore he creates the idea of God.
Prabhupāda: Created? What is that?
Devotee (3): No. They feel that we have created, man has created the idea of God out of necessity.
Devotee (4): The atheists are saying that man needs God although there is no God. They are insecure in this world.
Prabhupāda: What is God?
Devotee (3): They feel basically that it's an idea. God is an idea.
Prabhupāda: Why it is idea? Explain. What for this idea? Why this idea is necessary?
Devotee (1): Basically I think because in the Western countries there's no conception of God.
Prabhupāda: They.... Those who have no conception, that is another thing. But those who talk of God, that there is God or there is no God, what is the conception of God? That is.... Why do they say there is no God? Why do they say there is God? Somebody accept there is God. Somebody does not accept. So, there are two causes.
Hari-śauri: The basic principle is that God is there, so you either accept or reject Him.
Prabhupāda: Yes. (laughs) One is doubtful or one is convinced. God is there. One is doubtful, he says "There is no God." My question is why the question of God is there?
Devotee (1): General consensus is that when one is in need of God, then they accept God. They don't think that out of knowledge...
Prabhupāda: Therefore I am asking what is the conception, why they need, why they do not need. First of all describe food. There is some idea, that food is like this. Then the question of food. If there is no need of food, then why is this food question?
Devotee (1): Just like the child wants to be protected by the parent, they're thinking that..., therefore people are feeling that they want to be protected by God. The child is always seeking protection from the parent.
Prabhupāda: There is necessity of God. Just like the child, there is necessity of the parents, a parent is there. Similarly, you feel necessity of God, God is there. Feeling the necessity of parent, the parents are there. Similarly, if you feel necessity of God, then God is there.
Devotee (1): They say that because people are feeling this necessity, it is a crutch.
Prabhupāda: No, no. Necessity means there is. Otherwise why necessity? When you feel hungry, the necessity of food, food is there. The necessity of light, the sun is there.
Devotee (4): Do you mean, Śrīla Prabhupāda, in order to conceive of something, a thing must be there?
Prabhupāda: There is no "conceive." Necessity. You require it. Just like when you're hungry you require food. Food is there. The eyes want to see; therefore the object of seeing is there. The hand wants to touch, so the object of touching is there. The nose wants to smell: the object of smell is there. So as soon as you feel necessity, the thing is there.
Hari-śauri: And it's there even if you don't feel the necessity.
Hari-śauri: It's there even if you don't feel the necessity.
Prabhupāda: That is another tradition. First of all, as soon as you feel necessity, the object is there.
Devotee (4): They say that necessity should not be God, but that it should be transferred to man.
Prabhupāda: I am not talking of God. I say as soon as you feel necessity, the object is there.
Devotee (5): That necessity is our mistake. That is our insecurity.
Prabhupāda: So.... [break] ...that is mistake, then you are rascal, that's all. Mistake is committed by rascal. So you are rascal. If you commit mistake then you are rascal. Then don't talk, stop talking. (everyone laughs) Who is going to hear a rascal? (indistinct) [break] ...he is hungry, there is no necessity of food? Who's that rascal that says "No, there is no necessity of food"? He's feeling hungry, he wants to eat something, and if he says "No, there is no necessity of food," then is he not rascal? And if you say "Now we are feeling the necessity of food, but that is my mistake," is that answer?
Devotee (1): They're feeling that some people have the necessity for God, but actually...
Prabhupāda: Why? That is the question. Why some people have? That means some people intelligent, some people rascals. That's all. This is wrong.
Devotee (1): The question is, why some people are feeling a necessity for God? That is the question they ask.
Prabhupāda: That is the difference between rascal and intelligent. Just like in Hawaii Island, when the rascals were living, they did not feel the necessity of skyscraper. When intelligent Americans came, they feel the necessity. That is the difference. (everyone laughs) Is that all right?
Devotee (1): Yes, Prabhupāda.
Prabhupāda: Necessity is the mother of invention. That is an English proverb. Is it not? So unless you feel necessity, you are rascal.
Hari-śauri: Well, taking that the other way...
Prabhupāda: Dull matter. Dull matter. It has no necessity. It is dull matter. And as soon as you have got life, there is necessity. Without feeling necessity means dullness. Just like these Hawaiians, very nice. They did not think the necessity of the skyscraper, motorcar.... But when it was inhabited by the Americans, (indistinct) That is the difference between advanced and not advanced.
Devotee (1): Can one say that necessity for eating, sleeping, mating and defending is animal life? The necessity for God is advanced life?
Prabhupāda: Certainly. Necessity means more you become advanced, the more necessity. Necessity mother of invention. Advancement, they are manufacturing so many things. There is no necessity of car, but people are advanced, they are inventing: "Now comfortably I shall..." So necessity means advanced life. No necessity means dull life. That's all.
Devotee (1): The atheists fear that they've put the necessity on the wrong object.
Prabhupāda: That means they're rascals. If there is no necessity, that means dull life, dull brain. The madman will think there is no necessity of clothing: "I can remain naked." And actually remains. He's a madman. And a sensible man, he requires dress, nice dress, first-class dress. So this is the difference between intelligent and dull. Dull has no necessity. Intelligent has necessity.
Morning Walk -- May 28, 1976, Honolulu
The material world is always changing. Your body. This body will stay, say, for fifty years, hundred years. Then you get another body. That's all. Another body. Jagat means changing. Now this color is there. Say, after one hour it will be white. You see. Then you study this black color. Again you study the white color. Again this black color. Punaḥ punaś carvita-carvaṇānām [SB 7.5.30]. Chewing the chewed. That is your business. Just like seasonal changes. Now it is cold. Any moment, you'll have to get out (of) these clothes. It is very warm. So these changes are going on. The whole material cosmic manifestation is subjected to different types of changes. Therefore it is called jagat. Jagat means going, changing. Your body's changing. Similarly everything is changing. What is the eternity behind these changes? That is knowledge. That, the eternity, they do not find. Therefore they are disappointed: "It is void, zero. Eternity is zero." That's all. And when they are asked wherefrom the zero, varieties come...? Zero means there is nothing. So how the varieties come? Therefore Vedic conclusion, the varieties, there is, eternity variety. And this is only shadow of that variety. It is not eternal because it is shadow. But the real variety spiritual world, is there.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: So the material planet, material universe, is a real image.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Image. Yes. Mirage.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: Mirage.
Prabhupāda: Yes, mirage.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: No mirage is... Mirage is not the real image....
Prabhupāda: No, it is illusory. Just like I see there is water in the desert. There is no water. This is illusion. But actually there is water. Therefore I get the conception that there is water. Water is there, but it is not there. Similarly these varieties is here, what we see, the varieties, enjoyment, that is only like that mirage. We have got the experience of water. But we are illusioned. We are seeing in a false place there is water. Similarly, we living entities, we are meant for enjoyment, but we are seeking enjoyment in a false place. Or illusion. Just like animal runs after that desert water. But the intelligent man knows: "Oh, that, there is no water. It looks like water."
Svarūpa Dāmodara: It is a reflection from the sand.
Prabhupāda: Whatever it may be, there is no, actually there is no water. But the animal runs after that water and dies out of thirst. Because they, he cannot satiate his thirst by such illusory water. Similarly we, ignorant, avidyā kāma-karmabhiḥ, we are trying to manufacture so many things to satisfy our thirst of joyfulness, but we are being baffled. Because it is illusion. Therefore real intelligence is: "Then where is the reality? Where is real water?" That is intelligence. Bhāgavata gives: vāstava-vastu vedyam atra. Vāstava vastu. "Real reality, you'll find here."
Morning Walk -- April 28, 1973, Los Angeles