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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Why there almost certainly is a what??, 29 Nov 2009
This review is from: Why There Almost Certainly Is a God: Doubting Dawkins (Paperback)
Keith Ward's task here is rather more onerous than Dawkins'. Ward must attempt to prove the existence of a certain entity, whereas sceptics have no such burden of proof upon them. If Ward wishes to assert the existence of a 'God', then he must first attempt to formulate a coherent definiton of this term. He attempts to explain 'God' as some sort of universal consciousness and proceeds to define it by that which he is not, but gets us no nearer to a meaningful definition.

There are also some inconsistencies in his attempted description of 'God'. The influence of mainstream, but entirely unfounded, Christian thought seems to exert an influence here.

For example, on page 78 Ward writes:

"It is vitally important that we do not think of God as some sort of human like being with lots of arbitrary characteristics"

Later, on page 87, he writes

"God is always free to act and respond creatively. But God will always and necessarily act for good"

The latter is an entirely arbitrary statement, which ignores his advice on page 78. Ward touches upon the intrinsic goodness of God's nature on several occasions, without giving any compelling arguments for his assumptions. This belief seems rather naive and is born out of basic human desires and preferences, rather than sound philosophical reasoning.

Ward, like many other apologist philosophers, largely seeks to promote a case for deism, unaffiliated to any religion. However, his true colours are revealed now and again. On page 64, he attempts to rationalize the Old Testament God with the rather strange assertion:

"This God was always the best sort of God - the ideal of moral perfection - that the people of the time could imagine."

This is palpable nonsense. For arguments sake, would the people of the time reject a God who acted in a similar fashion to the OT God, but who failed to kill all the firstborn of Egypt (just one example here, which seems a little incongruous ,given the mostly serious, philosophical nature of this post, but which serves simply to refute the nonsense written here by Ward).

The book is rather pointless until a meaningful definition of God is brought forward. It is then pretty straightforward to dismiss any definition as arbitrary. This logic also has implication for the title of Dawkins' book of course, but the important distinction is that Dawkins promotes a case for scepticism.
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