I didn’t go to the Reason Rally a week ago because I was in Boston, but I doubt I would have gone anyway, for I’m beginning to tire of many of these convocations (not all of them—some include science, psychology, and philosophy talks that go beyond personal deconversion tales or rah-rah calls for nonbelief). Richard Dawkins, one of the draws—but not a “self-appointed Atheist Leader”—had to make a video for the audience, as a recent stroke kept him from traveling to the U.S. Here’s his short video for the Rally, which concentrates on the incompatibility between science and faith. I especially like the bit where he goes after theologians for asserting that God is not complex but SIMPLE.
As you may recall, in The God Delusion Richard argued that the “First Cause” argument is intellectually bankrupt, for it doesn’t explain the “cause” of a complex God who could create everything. In response, the dimmer or more mendacious theologians say that God isn’t complex at all, but simple. (Some theologians, however, just punt and say that God is the One Thing that Doesn’t Need a Cause.) It is this “simple god” argument that Dawkins takes apart halfway through the video. And, of course, even if God were simple, his appearance in the cosmos still needs an explanation. It just won’t do to say that God is the one thing, among all other things, that doesn’t need a cause. If he was hanging around forever, pray tell us, O theologians, what he was doing before he created the Universe.
Finally, physics has dispensed with the idea of causation; the discipline has no such thing as “a law of cause and effect,” and some physical phenomena are simply uncaused.