While browsing around the web this morning I came across this article by Doug McManaman, a philosophy instructor at Father Michael McGivney Catholic Academy in Markham, Ontario, and also the President of the Canadian Fellowship of Catholic Scholars. In the paper, apparently written to his students to deal with the apparent issues raised by Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion, he deals with two of Dawkins’ arguments:
- There is no evidence for the existence of God.
- Truth is essentially scientific.
What I like about McManaman’s article is that it is written for his high-school students, thus I have a fair chance of understanding it. About the issue of the existence of God, he writes:
But the existence of God is not a scientific hypothesis that is meant to fill in the blank to the question of the origin of the universe. It is certainly possible for God or gods to be taken in this way, that is, to attribute certain unexplained natural phenomena to a god, as if the sun is a god, or the rain, etc. If one thinks along these lines, one will certainly have to provide evidence for such an hypothesis. But that is not what Jews and Christians mean when they speak of God.
He goes on to explain, as I have attempted to do in the past, that God is not a contingent being of the sort that Dawkins argues against. Of course, Dawkins has built in an opposition to that question in the book, (“don’t argue that you don’t believe in this god either, I can’t deal with everybody’s particular god!”), but that’s simply because that argument is a rather good one.
With regard to the claim that “all truth is scientific,” he presents a simple exercise in logic that demonstrates the error of this assertion, then deals briefly with Dawkins’ claim that the God of the Old Testament is immoral. Summing up, he says:
So how does Dawkins get away with this? To be honest, I’m not sure how much he’s getting away with. It seems that most of the bloggers and book reviewers I read are able to see through him to some degree or another.
It’s a fairly short, simple, look at these issues, but I think he’s done a good job. Now, having never been Roman Catholic, I doubt that I will agree with some of McManaman’s thoughts on other issues, such as purgatory, penance and the Pope. However, he’s also put together a basic primer on philosophy (from a Catholic viewpoint, of course) which I have bookmarked and will look through.