Note: I don’t know how this post got posted here -it should be the introduction to the God Delusion criticism blog which is here: http://kyrani99godnscience.wordpress.com/
I found the Dawkins book of The God Delusion seriously flawed with respect to God but also misguiding in some areas with respect to science. For these reasons I decided to critically discuss it on this blog.
To begin with I want to address two terms that Dawkins uses, which go to the heart of the matter and that is not God per se. One term is in the title of his book and the other is found in chapter one “The God Hypothesis”. In the title he uses the word “delusion”. He admits that psychiatrists want to claim the word for themselves because they use it as a medical term. The psychiatric profession consider people who are delusional are mentally ill but so do lay people. However where psychiatry is concerned there is a long history. People have been and are being considered as mentally ill on religious grounds. The persecution of witches may have started with the Catholic Church but it was soon followed by the medical profession. And the treatment of followers of the Wicca and other Pagan faiths were treated horribly, even criminally by the psychiatrists. And then there is the “it depends on cultural considerations if you believe something to be considered sane or not” argument. So if you believe in Voodoo for instance and you’re African, then you’re sane but if you believe in Voodoo and you’re an American of Anglo-Saxon extraction on the other hand then you’re insane. This is a highly prejudiced diagnosis. Furthermore some psychiatrists have even claimed that prophets or avatars of God such as Jesus Christ are mentally ill. So using the word delusional in the title next to God raises all of these matters, whether intentionally or not.
Dawkins points out that the dictionary definition of delusional is a false belief or impression. So what is being said is that a belief in God is a false belief. False on whose count, on atheist scientists? The defence that Dawkins attempts in using the Microsoft Word definition that delusion is “a false belief held in the face of strong contradictory evidence” is qualified by the second part of Microsoft’s definition and that is “especially as a symptom of psychiatric disorder”. He wants to use the first part of the definition to apply to religion. Atheists don’t have the knowledge or the authority to make such a claim. But for all that God and religion is really the excuse. The core problem has to do with science and for a variety of reasons. This is revealed in the use of the second term in the first chapter.