KARL  JASPERS  FORUM
TA 106 (Müller)

 

Commentary 9

 

THE  GOD  HYPOTHESIS  NEEDS  RECONCEIVING
by Maurice McCarthy
24 March 2008, posted 29 March 2008

 

<1>
Dawkins states what he means by "The God Hypothesis" on page 52.

"There exists a superhuman, supernatural intelligence who deliberately designed and created the universe and everything in it, including us."

This is indeed the traditional image of God the Father.  It is held by the overwhelming majority of Christians.  Notwithstanding this the Old Testament image and should rightly be judged as decidedly non-Christian.  It is long overdue that the concept of God was re-invented to into a form more appropriate to the age.

I agree with Dr. Müller that despite the assault on religion Dawkins often imports the traditional religious MIR attitude into his own views.

 

<2>
The God Hypothesis is a contradiction in terms.  (Dawkins overlooks this.)  It is impossible for the Creator to design anything.  Design is a form of knowledge and the first prerequisite of knowledge is a content to be known.  So, design implies a prerequisite for God.  Yet the Creator is supposed to create out of nothing.  Strongly then, God the Creator cannot be Omniscient.  The Creator has to be Absolute Ignorance, as I have said many times.  Further, if knowledge is power, then the collapse of Omniscience implies the collapse of His Omnipotence also.  If there is a Creator then the Creator has shared both knowledge and power with the created.  Even this gets worse.

After the fact of creation the Creator must remain ignorant.  Why does anyone seek knowledge ?  Only because there is a mystery before them.  If you have solely created the Universe then there is no mystery anywhere in it.  You would ask no questions of it.  How could you ?  In fact you could only be perfectly oblivious of its detail - beyond any possibility of knowledge, beyond all consciousness.  At best, knowledge is a means for the created to admire Creation and overcome their inner separation from it.

Both Creationism and Intelligent Design, as currently conceived, are refuted theories.

Social Comment

 

<3>
The Church now gets flogged in public on a daily basis with little appreciation of how it held in check the excesses of individualism for centuries.  During their lifetimes strong characters could make ripples in the social structure but once they were gone things soon returned to normal, religiously dictated.  This was possible since people were not as intellectual nor as individuated as today.

To appreciate an inner quality you have to experience it to some degree. Thomas Aquinas was a great intellect but, in his own time, it was his memory which really impressed people. He dictated hundreds of pages of the Summa Theologica from memory.

Since taking command of your own constructing activity is prerequisite for a strong sense of personal identity then it follows that the consciousness of the Middle Ages was very different to what it is today.

 

<4>
Social norms must be suited to the consciousness of their time but today there is a disjointedness and excessive individualism (egoism) is tearing society apart.  Fundamentalism represents an anachronistic error of trying to use an outmoded religio-social form as a counter-balance.  In fear of losing their cultural identity, in which they wish to ground their egos, fundamentalists retreat into outdated religion.  That must sound paradoxical, but that is the dynamic I see before us.

I don't agree with Dawkins but I'm glad he wrote this book as robustly as he did.  We must acknowledge the social reality of the day and so, in my view, the appropriate social corrective would be to educe individual morality and not retreat into religio-judicial authority.  The latter would sharpen the social tension in the long term.  Bolstering fundamentalism would be to promote a tendency of increasing evil between mankind.  The former respects the freedom of the individual.

- - - - - - - - -

Maurice McCarthy.
    e-mail <moss (at) mythic-beasts (dot) com>