In his critique of religion, The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins makes several fundamental flaws in his reasoning for disputing the arguments in Thomas Aquinas’s Five Ways, particularly the Third Way: The Argument From Contingency. Dawkins writes of this argument, and the others, in a condescending, blatantly contemptuous manner. It is clear that he did not make an attempt to thoroughly understand the points that Aquinas makes, and in his rush to refute them, he overlooks a few errors of his own. Dawkins seems to have misunderstood the Third Way particularly egregiously. He misinterprets this argument, and then criticizes his misinterpretation for being false using faulty logic, and unfounded statements. According to Dawkins’ interpretation, the Third Way uses an infinite regress to conclude that every physical thing must have a non-physical reason for coming into existence, and this is what people call God. Dawkins criticizes this argument in several ways. First, he states that the argument makes the “entirely unwarranted assumption that God himself is immune to the regress.” (77) He then goes on to say that if there is a terminator to the regress, there is no reason to believe it has any of the properties that God is believed to have, and that it would be better to say the terminator is the big bang, or some other physical thing. Finally, Dawkins argues that some seemingly infinite regresses have natural terminating points, and that it is not at all clear that Aquinas’ regresses are terminated by God. All of these criticisms are either irrelevant, false, or both.
Dawkins’ first criticism is easy to dispel quite thoroughly. Dawkins states that the argument makes the unjustified assumption that God is immune to the regress of conti...
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... the terminator, without giving any reason or evidence, and provides another type of alternate explanation would be better, despite his explanation is explicitly stated to not be a solution to the regress. These errors, and several others, demonstrate that however otherwise intelligent and knowledgeable Dawkins may be, he is vastly underqualified, and in at least one respect, possibly even too immature, to attempt to refute the argument presented in Aquinas’ Third Way. It is possible that Aquinas was wrong, and that his premise is false, or his argument invalid. However, rather than seriously considering any part of the argument, Dawkins takes an almost childish approach to the issue. Dawkins makes so many errors of reasoning throughout his argument that it is completely invalidated, and cannot be used to support any conclusion, no matter what that conclusion may be.
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