We're still in chapter 4. Today I want to focus on pages 162-189.
Dawkins is targeting, here, the big question of ultimate origins. Theists suggest the answer to this question is God. Dawkins offers the following alternative points:
1. The origin of life only had to happen once (162)
2. He would not be surprised if chemists figure out an answer very soon (165)
3. The fact that we are here proves that it happened, no matter how unlikely (165)
4. He doesn't think the odds are as bad as sometimes suggested (166)
5. The odds aren't so bad b/c the universe is so big (many chances for luck, 168)
6. The odds are even better b/c there might be multiple universes (173)
7. God is too complex to have been the first cause (which must be simple, 185)
As to #2, I think it is more likely that chemists will tout an answer that isn't actually an answer. They will produce life in a lab using building blocks and pretend like that solves the problem when, in actuality, the problem is where the building blocks came from.
I don't understand how #3 is considered circular reasoning. By 'it happpened,' Dawkins surely means life from non-life without divine aid. He is assuming his conclusion to help him prove his conclusion. He's free to do that in order to show the consistency of his theory, but he shouldn't pretend it helps prove his theory.
I think #'s 1 & 4-6 are strong evidence, again, that Dawkins is doing philosophy in this book and not science. #4 is somewhat of a science (statistical probability), but as we slide down to #6 we're dealing with pure speculation. This speculation is driven not by evidence, but by necessity. If the naturalist worldview is correct, the statistical problem MUST be overcome by increasing the pool of possibilities.
As for #7, I found myself constantly writing the word 'why' next to Dawkins' words from pages 184-186. Dawkins insists that the first cause MUST have been simple. But this is only true if we assume Dawkins worldview from the get-go. Dawkins believes that complexity ONLY comes after a lot of mutations and natural selection. He cannot fathom anything complex existing without such a build-up. And so a complex Being being the first cause is out of the question for him. But why must it be out of the question for me? Why must I work with the same worldview as him?