I understood where Dawkins was coming from when I saw him on the television. I applauded him for challenging people's thinking and making them understand that questioning is good. I applauded Krauss for that, because we need to think more and question more critically if we are ever to decipher the plainest truths of reality and nature.
I know the analogy is supposed to get you thinking that maybe they both are kinda the same in likelihood and while you can't prove any of them to be false, this doesn't mean they are true.
However, they neglected some very important information which for the younger audience concerns me. This concerns me, because I see many young people who are easily influenced, and they can be pulled one way or the other -whether it be by religions OR charismatic speakers of science. This doesn't mean they are thinking or critically coming to their own conclusions. They are still being led.
That is what is scary.
Maybe there is a God, maybe there is not. This because a side issue for me when confronted with the lack of independent thinking and critical thinking done on both sides of the debate. Not with the Dawkins and Krauss and the others like Hitchens and Sam Harris. Obviously, they have well thought out reasons for coming to their conclusions. (Of course I'd argue their perceptions of God are obtuse), but at least they've studied this subject for themselves and have good reasons for what they think.
Sadly, many of their followers do not, other than the fact that they are following leaders they hold to high esteem as the wisest, most intelligent of their species. It's scary how GodLike these people have become in the minds of many of their followers. There is a religious "AWE" there.
I know this was likely not any of the speakers intentions, but this is in fact what is going on for many of the youth.
However, to address the point of the atheist argument I have to bring up some neglected facts.
The concept of God is a highly complex one, much more complex than a flying teapot or purple unicorn, and by putting God in the same category the atheist tries to diminish the complex, intuitive, historical, cultural, spiritual and emotional impact the concept of God has had.
The complexity of the concept of God is experienced when people look at nature and their own existence, and feel a sense of wonderment, the fact that we can bare witness to this phenomenon not only called life, but called nature as well. The moon might not know of its significance for us, or its amazing splendorous existence which might not have occurred had one factor been different. But we know. The tides rushing over the sand might not feel the romantic sensation of movement, but we feel it over our feet as we walk on the shores. Does nature know how amazing it is? Does nature know that it once did not exist and in time will not again? Does nature miss what it once was? Does nature know how or why it exists at all? I'm sure most of us would say, probably not. But what we do know for sure is, we do or are compelled to find out.
When we engage ourselves in nature and observe nature, we become connected to this wonder. Many of us intuitively have been brought to a place of admiration for this seemingly limitless power and yet humble existence. Intuitively many philosophers and mystics have defined this wonder. Maybe they could not calculate the distance from the sun to the Earth, but they could ponder some of the deepest questions that still boggle the minds of some of our greatest thinkers today.
Did it all come from nothing? or from something eternal? or both?
These questions have been contemplated by Indian philosophers, Kabbalists, mystics, Hindus, Buddhists, and others around the world to various intuitive conclusions. They were not scientists, but they were connected to nature in ways most of us are not today -and that includes many scientists.
"In both Buddhist and Kabbalistic cosmologies, a great deal of time is spent explaining how the world seems to exist as it does. For the Kabbalists, this explanation involves the emanation of the ten sefirot: the evolution of God from Nothing. But the Kabbalah, again like Buddhism, emphasizes that this evolution is one of appearance only. It did not happen at some point in time, and now it’s over and the world exists. Time itself is part of the “world” which exists only as illusion. In the Now, in the present moment, where is time?"- http://www.learnkabbalah.com/yesh_and_ayin/
Kabbalah and Indian thought also go into descriptions of God and creation and how this all came from nothing. The Kabbalist will say God is infinite and everywhere. In order to create something, he had to withdraw himself. This withdrawal is what caused the void. Rabbi Ramban describes this void like the size of a grain. Then it expanded into what we know. What is amazing is these ideas are more than 500 years old! Without modern science!
Both Kabbalah and Buddhism and Hinduism are interesting in that they teach the physical is what is the true illusion and in fact Buddha called it the delusion. So while scientists discover the natural world and I love discovery of it as well, we may very well be discovering an illusion. Because true reality is beyond us, not the physical, not the temporal...but the eternal and infinite and how much of it do we really comprehend or experience?
What is this energy that is true reality really?
This power was described by various faiths as infinite, illimitable, all powerful, all encompassing, eternal and as No Thing. Beyond human comprehension.
All these definitions we find in various religions all predating modern science. It is important to realize because religion is not rationalizing in light of science and more importantly religious concepts of God and creation show that people from the past were not just ignorant peasants as atheists like to call them. They were certainly connected to nature in a way more than modern man ever is and contemplated deeper meanings and observed the natural cycles in far more intuitive ways because of their connections to nature and to each other, instead of sitting at their televisions and iPods and radios.
We see that nature indeed hides itself from us. The uncertainty principle shows us that nature is unseen. This is not a weakness of humanity, but a characteristic of nature and indeed a vital one to understand, because if a part of nature is alway unseen (only ever knowing the momentum or the location) than why would we think we could see the fullness of God? If nature is a reflection of the ultimate source which many call God, then this source would be partly hidden from us as well.
In fact, this also is not a new concept. Kabbalah talks about God's concealment as well. Evolution is also not a new concept. Kabbalah teaches all is mysteriously One and in fact in modern science with cosmological and biological evolution and understanding the building blocks of all things we can see this is a fact. But Kabbalist taught this much earlier than we had this factual knowledge. So, what led them to these conclusions? because they were only ignorant peasants after all.
Some Greek, Roman, and even Sufist and early Jewish German's thoughts also show agreement to concepts of evolution. One could even argue that Buddhism and Hinduism with their teachings of reincarnation is a kind of evolution as well.
Flying teapots and purple unicorns are never alluded to as infinite, illimitable, all powerful, all encompassing, eternal and are not referenced in philosophical papers or, mystical thought, or scriptures. Plainly, most people don't take them seriously. Why then do people take the notion of God or spirits or ghosts seriously?
Historically, scriptures from around the world are devoted to the subject of God and so are many philosophical inquiries and mystical pursuits. Teapots and Unicorns do not date back to 30,000 years ago and arguably 300,000 years in the past. But religions do.
Teapots and Unicorns don't influence cultural and human behavior. Cultures as far back as 30,000-300,000 years ago have been influenced by the ideas of the afterlife, souls, spirits, gods, and the complex nature of nature.
Millions around the world from 30,000 years ago to today have not left behind evidence of their encounters and beliefs and personal experiences with teapots and purple unicorns. We do find evidence of cultures leaving behind traces of their beliefs, encounters, and personal experiences of ghosts, souls, spirits and gods or angels.
Flying teapots and unicorns don't have legions of people who claim to have seen them or have had a personal experience with them.
Spiritually and emotionally "God" and the soul or ghosts have had a huge impact on millions and even billions of people not only from today but in the past as well.
If millions of people started claiming to have had experiences with flying teapots and purple unicorns maybe I'd think "um" maybe there is something to this, maybe I should look more into this.
They are hardly the same thing and don't deserve to be in the same category.