Proof There Is No God: Why God Is Logically Unlikely

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Is there proof there is no God? How likely is it that God exists?

In The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins explains that while we don’t have definitive proof there is no God, it is extremely unlikely. Particularly when it comes to creationism, arguments tend to be extremely weak.

Keep reading to find out whether or not there’s proof there is no God.

Proof There Is No God: The Unlikelihood of God’s Existence

In the last chapter, we talked about the extraordinary claims made by religion, all of which would have a significant impact on the world if they were true. In this chapter, we will evaluate the likelihood of the theistic position we explored in the last chapter. Specifically, we’ll:

  • Explore some of the most common arguments that theists put forward for the existence of God—and expose their fundamental weaknesses
  • Examine how science, and particularly the theory of evolution by natural selection, offers a more durable, testable, and evidence-based explanation than religion for the things we observe in the world

The Weakness of Creationism 

Not everyone believes that there’s proof there is no God. Most arguments for God’s existence postulate a supreme designer, similar to the figure we discussed in the previous chapter. Proponents of this belief are called creationists. 

Creationists believe that the universe we observe is the handiwork of an intelligent designer who consciously and knowingly created everything, from the movement of galaxies throughout the universe to the orbit of electrons within an atom. For creationists, an intelligent God is the ultimate and simple explanation for everything. 

The medieval Christian theologian Thomas Aquinas, writing in the 13th century, argued that all things must have a primary cause and that the mere existence of physical things proved the existence of God. He reasoned that there must have been a time before physical things existed. But that meant that a non-physical force must have, at some point, brought the physical world into existence. For Aquinas, that force could only have been God.

But this is where the “simple” theistic position begins to fall apart. If all things can be said to have their root cause in an intelligent God, then one must raise the obvious question—what is the root cause of God? Who designed the designer?

This is the fundamental flaw at the heart of most theistic arguments. You can postulate an infinite regression of the physical universe that terminates with God. But if you can’t explain the existence of God in the first place, the argument collapses.

Proof There Is No God: Why God Is Logically Unlikely

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Richard Dawkins's "The God Delusion" at Shortform.

Here's what you'll find in our full The God Delusion summary:

  • Why Dawkins thinks religion has exerted a harmful influence on human society
  • How Dawkins concludes that the existence of God is unlikely
  • The 3 arguments that challenge the existence of God

Carrie Cabral

Carrie has been reading and writing for as long as she can remember, and has always been open to reading anything put in front of her. She wrote her first short story at the age of six, about a lost dog who meets animal friends on his journey home. Surprisingly, it was never picked up by any major publishers, but did spark her passion for books. Carrie worked in book publishing for several years before getting an MFA in Creative Writing. She especially loves literary fiction, historical fiction, and social, cultural, and historical nonfiction that gets into the weeds of daily life.

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