Dawkins' primary message about the existence, or non-existence, of God, can, IMHO, be reduced to the following:
1. There is no good evidence that there is a God.
This is a function of Dawkin's personal philosophical interpretations of the evidence of science, not a unbiased or dispassionate appraisal of the evidence or facts of science itself. Numbers of scientists would and have disagreed with him.
2. Naturalistic explanations, such as evolution, are sufficient to explain the development of complexity in life forms from simple origins. Ie: there's no obvious "need" for a God.
No, they quite patently are not, especially mathematically speaking, which is why a number of competent and eminent scientists throughout history, including Jeans, Whitehead, Eddington, Hoyle, Denton, Dembski etc, have pointed out, and continue to point out, the theory's quite large deficiencies in this area. Few, if any of these critics believe that evolution did not occur; they only point out that purely random mutational events could not in any conceivable manner have produced even the simplest cellular machinery, let alone the vastly complex, highly interdependent natural world we actually see. This is the boundary that separates evolution from Darwinism (or, what I prefer to call Darwinian fundamentalism) and science from scientism (a form of secular religion hostile to theism).
The above claim is easily argued against when the evidence is looked at in detail, and is yet only another interpretation of the scientific evidence founded in a preexisting philosophical template, not a direct or necessary extrapolation from the evidence itself.
3. Not being able to disprove the existence of anything is not, in itself, a good reason to believe in it.
True. And it is also the case the the very real holes and problems of macroevolutionary theory are, while not in themselves fatal to it (at this time), they are serious enough and of long enough standing to provoke legitimate doubt regarding aspects of the theory as it stands (without resorting to the old "science doesn't have all the answers now, but, given time..." canard).
4. Absent an apparent need for a God, and absent any evidence that there is in fact a God, an atheist is justified in living life from a point of view that assumes that there isn't a God.
The first proposition is deeply problematic because it begs the question of just what the facts and data of science do, in reality, imply. Many scientists throughout history have in fact looked at same data and come to no such conclusion. This is a naturalistic, or positivistic prejudice,
not a unambiguous inferential or necessary conclusion from the evidence of scientific inquiry.
The second claim, that there is is no evidence of God's existence, is fraught with the same subjective philosophical preassumptions and psychological biases as the first. The disconcerting reality is that the universe, its structure, beauty, incomprehensibly fortuitous fine tuning (the many "cosmic constants" that make life in our universe even thinkable) and fantastic complexity all imply the existence of a creator, designer, organizer, architect, and artist who is behind the surface phenomena--the mechanical principles and dynamics that explain, in a strictly mechanistic sense, how and why things happen in the natural world at the level at which science has the methodology and tools to discern phenomena--of the material world. The fact that I believe this and the atheist doesn't says nothing of the actual evidence itself, but only brings into clear relief the biases or interpretational framework both of us have brought to the table.
So many critics of Dawkins will rail on him for not knowing all the nuances of various theological arguments, or of various different religions, but that's really all beside the point. Show him the evidence of a given religion's God in the first place, and then we can talk about the details of the theology in question.
This begs too many questions to answer without going on into an essay length post. Suffice it to say that Dawkin's book was a smarmy, quasi-polemical screed who's target audience could only have been the already convinced atheist choir. No educated, intelligent theist of any kind is going to take most of Dawkin's dismissive, poorly thought through and cursory arguments seriously.
I could propose to Richard Dawkins that the universe was actually created by, and is currently governed and ruled by, a giant, exalted head of lettuce.
I could get any number of Atheists and secular liberals here to do something very similar, only its name would be anthropogenic global warming. There's no evidence for that either, and yet Atheists, the vast majority of whom tend to the Left politically, seem to find enough faith in this (and other alternative myths like overpopulation, environmentalism proper, beliefs in deterministic genetic causes of homosexuality, mulitculturalist mythology, radical feminism, sexual revolution mythologies etc) that they are capable of holding to such notions quite independent of and in opposition to very clear evidence or facts to the contrary.
This is why Atheism, despite the often repeated refrain that it is not a belief system, is not only (obviously) a system of belief (and if it isn't, then this leaves little room to maneuver, as the few alternatives left are a belief based upon emotional response, psychological wish fantasy, or blindly accepted received dogma) but a religion (which I define as a system of belief or worldview that influences behavior and is consistent over time) which stands in opposition to those forms of religion that hold to the existence of a deity.
When was the last time any of you believers actually sat down and investigated, seriously, the religion of the ancient Greeks, and then formulated a response which took into consideration, and addressed, all of the claims that Zeus is in fact the ruler of heaven and earth?
I understand the basic religious worldview of the ancient Greeks, and the manner it differs from my own.
What lesson am I supposed to derive from this that would raise questions about my own beliefs (that just living through the sixties wouldn't do?)?
I'm willing to bet that most of you think like Dawkins in this regard, recognizing that until some kind of evidence surfaces that Zeus really does exist, and really is in charge, there's no reason for you to really think twice about him, much less believe in him "just in case."
First, its not at all clear that all those who originally created the myths and stories about the Gods of Olympus actually believed they existed in anthropomorphic form. Some probably did. Others clearly used the gods as personifications of principles and forces in the universe.
Be this as it may, your request for "evidence" of God belies a very important and, as always, hidden presupposition: that the kind of "evidence" you require must be the only kind of evidence that is possible
. In other words, there is no escaping the metaphysical materialist assumptions about the universe within which your request for "evidence" is conceptually embedded. As long as you get to decide what evidence counts as evidence, and define the metaphysical boundaries of the term, the evidence may be staring you in the face at point blank range while you look on, jaw hanging open, palms upturned and shoulders haunched.