- One of the greatest challenges to the human intellect has been to explain how the complex, improbable appearance of design in the universe arises.
- The natural temptation is to attribute the appearance of design to actual design itself.
- The temptation is a false one because the designer hypothesis immediately raises the larger problem of who designed the designer.
- The most ingenious and powerful explanation is Darwinian evolution by natural selection.
- We don’t have an equivalent explanation for physics.
- We should not give up the hope of a better explanation arising in physics, something as powerful as Darwinism is for biology.
There are a few problems with this argument, though. The biggest is simply that the conclusion does not follow the premises. It does not follow by necessity. It does not follow by probability. It just does not follow. Even if the premises were true, the argument only attacks the Teleological Argument, or the Argument From Design. There are many other arguments for the existence of God, so the conclusion that follows such specific premises could not be so general as "God almost certainly doesn't exist."
The fifth and sixth premises are completely irrelevant to the issue of God's existence and do not lead to the conclusion.
The fourth premise is also irrelevant because Darwinian evolution does nothing to disprove the existence of God. At best, it disproves Young-Earth Creationism. Old-Earth Creationism is entirely consistent with the theory of evolution.
The first two premises only serve to set up the third, which is the only one that says anything meaningful about God's existence.
Unfortunately, while the third premise is the only meaningful one, it is also the most problematic.
Dawkins' first mistake is a technical one. When one offers an explanation for a given phenomenon, they are not required to offer an explanation for the explanation. This is because it would set up an infinite regress and make it impossible to know anything. One would be required to offer an explanation for the explanation for the explanation, and an explanation for the explanation for the explanation for the explanation, etc.
By this, I do not mean to say that one should accept God as an explanation even though we cannot explain God. I only mean to say that, logically, God's lack of explanation is not a valid reason to eliminate Him as a possibility.
A second problem with this premise lies with Dawkins’ assumption that God is complex, and therefore cannot be invoked to explain the design in the universe. Although he constantly claims throughout his book that God is extraordinarily complex, he never actually defends this assertion. In fact, many theologians and philosophers have plausibly argued that God is actually very simple. This argument fails to address any of these arguments (or any besides the Argument from Design), so once again, it cannot draw the conclusion it claims to draw.
Finally, even if God were complex, it does not follow that He would require a creator that is more complex and improbable. For example, despite the vast complexity of the universe, Dawkins argues that the existence of such complexity does not require design. Complexity, Dawkins argues, does not require design.
The main argument of this book is then self-refuting. The only meaningful part of it is the question, "Who designed the Designer?" Dawkins gives the answer himself: Nobody, because complexity doesn't need a designer.