This is the title of a book by David Berlinski. As the title may suggest, it is a refutation of the arguments set out in Richard Dawkin’s “The God Delusion”. I have read quite a few good refutations of Dawkins, but none as good as this one. It is short, always to the point, and well argued and written. I highly recommend it.
If you know Dawkins’ work, you will know he is a militant atheist. He is at pains to show that God does not, and cannot, exist. I do not think it an oversimplification to say that his argument is as follows:
There is no scientific evidence for the existence of God.
In any event, there is no need for God, because science has shown how the universe began, how life got stated, and how we human beings have evolved to what we are today.
Science may not have all the answers, but it will eventually. (The inference is that science’s “truths” are the best truths!)
Berlinski refutes all of this, with very compelling arguments. I am much more convinced by Berlinski than by Dawkins. But this raises an interesting question: why are Dawkins’ book and arguments so well known and so widely accepted, and why are Berlinski’s book and arguments so little known? Is it because of the zeitgeist? Is it because we are living through very materialistic times, this reflected in the current predominance of the beliefs and worldview of science? There is no doubt that this is part of the reason. However, I think it is also because we non-materialists tend to be quiet. We tend to keep our beliefs to ourselves, rather than trumpeting them loudly in books, conferences and on YouTube.
All this puts me in mind of the “intellectual dark web”. If you have not come across this, you could do no better than explore the videos put on YouTube by Rebel Wisdom. While some of the content and some of the personalities (notably Jordan Peterson) make compelling viewing, one is left with the impression that much of it is just scientific materialism dressed up in new clothes. For example, much time is devoted to evolutionary biology, of which Dawkins is a big part. To be fair, Jordan Peterson is clearly a fan of Carl Jung and his archetypes, and he appreciates the significance of deep myth, including some of the stories in the Bible. And I am heartened to see that Rupert Sheldrake is getting the airing that his ideas have long deserved. Overall, however, there is little that is new. Yes, it is true that Ken Wilber has made some recent appearances on the IDW, but Ken and his ideas have been around since 1973, the year of his first book “A Spectrum of Consciousness”.
My thoughts about all this are still not fully formed, but I will end this with just one thought. I do believe that there is a need for some new thinking about the big, important things. But I also believe that this needs to go well beyond what Rebel Wisdom seem to be trying to achieve. It needs to include intelligent, open exploration of those topics and questions that are largely ignored by science. The list is alarming long, and it includes unusual forms of consciousness (not induced by drugs), as well as the whole range of so-called paranormal experiences and phenomena. Now, that would be an intellectual web that I would be proud to be part of!
2 thoughts on “The Devil’s Delusion”
Isn’t it so that the leading scientists the spearhead in science are very aware of their limits? Isn’t it so that these people working at the edge of knowing explore very clearly that there must be something behind the manifested world whereby manifested for us only means our perception?
Maybe dear Chris do you do an injustice to scientists – maybe?
And apart from science or non-science, God or devil, it must be for anybody if blind or not blind if deaf or not deaf absolutely clear and obvious that mankind and he self on his over technical trip must fail.
I think the cause of „our“ current misbehaving is only partly related to science. And yes the question is, why do we non-materialists do not make a greater impact ?
For me it feels that there emerges a change in the zeitgeist! (independent to science)
Thanks Frank. Yes, indeed. Many scientists are very aware of other dimensions to space-time and of a reality beyond the 3-Dimensional. Yet mainstream science is still perceived and practiced as objective, with no room for the subjective, for intuitions or cosmic consciousness. That is what disturbs me. Where is the broader take on life within mainstream academia and education? Even where it exists, when you look more closely (as Chris mentions in this blog) you’ll find the old, stale, objectivity and rational supremacy not far beneath the potential for real, deep, change. I’d love to be proved wrong, but I see little sign of that happening at the moment . . .