Dawkins' Central Argument for Atheism Fails
There is a lot of rhetoric and otherwise manipulative prose out there that we must be careful to avoid if we are to seek the truth about reality in an intellectually responsible and careful way. Whether you're theist or atheist, you should be on guard against all forms of sophistry; do not let quick soundbites, dazzling slogans, and other superficialities do your thinking for you. Instead, get to the heart of the matter by closely analyzing the actual arguments that people have.
An argument is valid when its premises lead logically to its conclusion; if we were to accept the premises of a valid argument, then we would be forced, as it were, to accept the conclusion. If an argument is valid, there will be a rule of logical inference that guarantees the conclusion, given the premises. With this in mind, let's look at what Dawkins calls his "central argument":
(1) One of the greatest challenges to the human intellect has been to explain how the complex, improbable appearances of design in the universe arises.
(2) The natural temptation is to attribute the appearance of design to actual design itself.
(3) The temptation is a false one because the designer hypothesis immediately raises the larger problem of who designed the designer.
(4) The most ingenious and powerful explanation is Darwinian evolution by natural selection.
(5) We don't have an equivalent explanation for physics.
(6) We should not give up the hope of a better explanation arising in physics, something as powerful as Darwinism is for biology.
Therefore, God almost certainly does not exist. (157-8, GD)
This argument is invalid, because the conclusion doesn't follow from the premises. If you disagree, then simply respond by stating the logical inference rule that permits one to derive the conclusion from the six antecedent premises. Here is a list of all the inference rules: http://www.philosophypages.com/dy/i9.htm#inru
Rude, offensive, irrational jackass.