Our old friend, Richard Dawkins, is back in business, with a book called Outgrowing God, and at the age of 78, you can only salute his energy. It is intended, he says, especially to guard the young against the dangerous influence of religion. Lots of the tropes are familiar from The God Delusion – indeed, a little too familiar. If anyone else rehearses Bertrand Russell’s argument that you can’t disprove a negative, as in, “You can’t disprove my contention that there is a china teapot circling the sun”, I really shall lose it.
Just for the purposes of argument, could atheists not get their head around the notion that God is, as far as we are concerned, the reason why there are teapots, or a sun, or a universe to revolve around in the first place? When they reduce God to one of the gods, that is to say, an item in the universe – the Prof is fond of talking of the God of Abraham as our version of Thor – you realise that we’re not really talking the same language.