In the second chapter of The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins defines the concepts that he will later use throughout his book. Concepts such as religion, God, and faith will be defined in quite diverse ways depending on who you ask. I have met many people who claim that science, like religion, is just another form of faith. However, there is an important difference that is always overlooked by people making such claims, namely that scientific theories will change if evidence requires it to. Yes, yes, there is often a lag due to traditions, politics, and economics, but the scientific community did eventually accept that the earth was round, that the earth is about 5 billion years old and that the earth is not the center of the Universe etc. What is faith? Dawkins puts it well in The Selfish Gene:
"But that, after all, is faith? It is a state of mind that leads people to believe something—it doesn't matter what—in the total absence of supporting evidence. If there were good supporting evidence then faith would be superfluous, for the evidence would compel us to believe it anyway. It is this that makes the often-parroted claim that 'evolution itself is a matter of faith' so silly. People believe in evolution not because they arbitrarily want to believe it but because of overwhelming, publicly available evidence..."
Science is not a religion, science is a method in which all the available evidence is organized into theories that hopefully describes and predicts the world as we know it. In The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins treats religious faith as if it was a scientific hypothesis. I think this is the correct approach, however, I know that many people will object and say that science and faith are two separate realms that we should not or cannot mix together. I think that such a view will lead us nowhere. Dawkins defines the God Hypothesis as follows:
"Instead I shall define the God Hypothesis more defensibly: there exists a superhuman, supernatural intelligence who deliberately designed and created the universe and everything in it, including us. This book will advocate an alternative view: any creative intelligence, of sufficient complexity to design anything, comes into existence only as the end product of an extended process of gradual evolution."
One point that Dawkins makes again and again in interviews is that he is not a lonely atheist. In fact it is a fair bet to assert that every human being is an atheist when it comes to most Gods. Not many people believe in Odin and Thor, and if you live in a western country it is also very unlikely that you believe in Shiva or some Voodoo God. In other words, everyone are atheists when it comes to most Gods, we who call ourselves atheists just go one God further… The following sentence I include just because I think it is hilarious. Though while causing me a pleasant laugh it also illustrates how illogical some of the reasoning among theists is:
"The Trinity: Do we have one God in three parts, or three Gods in one? The Catholic Encyclopedia clears up the matter for us, in a master piece of theological close reasoning: In the unity of the Godhead there are three Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, these Three Persons being truly distinct one from another. Thus, in the words of the Athanasian Creed: 'the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, and yet there are not three Gods but one God."
Does Christians believe in one God or three Gods? Please inform me someone, cause the catholic encyclopedia fails to enlighten me… This post cannot, of course, cover even a fraction of what is written in chapter two of The God Delusion, there is however one more issue that I find important and that I would therefore like to discuss. Socrates once said that the only thing that he knew for sure for sure, is that he doesn't know anything. It is possible that we are all in the Matrix. For this reason it kind of annoys me when people say that they know that God exists, in my mind that is impossible, just like it is impossible for me to know that God does not exist, or that the theory of evolution is true. Sure, on a regular day know doesn't really mean know, but many Christians claim to know that God exists even after this distinction has been brought up.
I think that God does not exist, I don't know that he doesn't exists, but I don't think it is 50/50 either (in which case I would call myself an agnostic). I put myself in the same category as Richard Dawkins:
"Very low probability [that God exists], but short of zero. De facto atheist. 'I cannot know for certain but I think God is very improbable, and I live my life on the assumption that he is not there."