Re: [asa] Dawkins, religion, and children

From: PvM <pvm.pandas@gmail.com>
Date: Sun May 06 2007 - 23:07:15 EDT

Nothing at all presupposes materialism, after all the God hypothesis
is formulated in purely scientific terms. That's the beauty of
Dawkins' argument, taking ID's argument and turning it nicely around.
If people insist on presenting God as a scientific hypothesis, then,
as Dawkins argues, the probabilities of such seem to be small.
I am also confused why one has to be an expert to counter an expert,
lest we are now arguing from authority.
Lets not confuse the issues by such flawed logic. I am merely showing
why I believe Plantinga's 'argument' is fallacious.
Now I have the advantage of having read Dawkins' book. Have you read Dawkins?

Let me help you out here.

Dawkins defines the God Hypothesis as follows

<quote>Instead I shalldefine the God Hypothesis more defensibly: there
exists a superhuman, supernatural intelligence who deliberately
designed and created the universe and everything in it, including us.
This book will advocate an alternative view: any creative
intelligence, of sufficient complexity to design anything, comes into
existence only as the end product of an extended process of gradual
evolution.</quote>

As to Plantinga's 'argument', he does indeed argue that God is simple

<quote>First, is God complex? According to much classical theology
(Thomas Aquinas, for example) God is simple, and simple in a very
strong sense, so that in him there is no distinction of thing and
property, actuality and potentiality, essence and existence, and the
like.</quote>

Then Plantinga denies that which you claim he is saying

<quote>Of course it is unlikely that there is such a person as God if
materialism is true; in fact materialism logically entails that there
is no such person as God; but it would be obviously question-begging
to argue that theism is improbable because materialism is
true.</quote>

What Plantinga is stating is that

<quote>So if Dawkins proposes that God's existence is improbable, he
owes us an argument for the conclusion that there is no necessary
being with the attributes of God—an argument that doesn't just start
from the premise that materialism is true. Neither he nor anyone else
has provided even a decent argument along these lines; Dawkins doesn't
even seem to be aware that he needs an argument of that sort.</quote>

Of course, somehow Plantinga forgets to address the argument which
Dawkins does provide.

Dawkins addresses some of the theologians' responses

<quote>For better or worse, I attended two days at the Cambridge
conference, giving a talk of my own and taking part in the discussion
of several other talks. I challenged the theologians to answer the
point that a God capable of designing a universe, or anything else,
would have to be complex and statistically improbable. The
strongest response I heard was that I was brutally foisting a
scientific epistemology upon an unwilling theology, f Theologians had
always defined God as simple. Who was I, a scientist, to dictate to
theologians that their God had to be complex? Scientific arguments,
such as those I was accustomed to deploying in my own field, were
inappropriate since theologians had always maintained that God lay
outside science.</quote>

And then Dawkins' argument

<quote>I have alluded to it several times already. The whole argument
turns on the familiar question 'Who made God?', which most thinking
people discover for themselves. A designer God cannot be used to
explain organized complexity because any God capable of designing
anything would have to be complex enough to demand the same kind of
explanation in his own right. God presents an infinite regress from
which he cannot help us to escape. This argument, as I shall show in
the next chapter, demonstrates that God, though not technically
disprovable, is very very improbable indeed.</quote>

Now one can argue that God is eternal but that's not really an
explanation but rather an ad hoc argument.

So how is complexity defined by ID?

complexity is the basically the negative log 2 of the probability that
a particular system or event can be explained by appeal to natural
processes of chance and regularity. One may argue, that God is a
necessity and thus the probability is 1 and the complexity is zero. If
that is the case, then there must be a natural law which makes the
probability of God close to 1. The question then becomes, given such a
law, why is there but one God? As an interesting side note, ID critics
have proposed a multiple designer hypothesis based on the observation
of multiple 'design' instances.

Specification comes easily: God is specified by His written Word.

See also http://www.talkreason.org/articles/ef.cfm for a clever
application of the EF.

If God is simple, then God must be due to chance alone. Now that's
quite an interesting angle.

On 5/6/07, Jack <drsyme@cablespeed.com> wrote:
> Why dont you try actually reading Plantiga? Even in that easily accesible
> review of "The God Delusion", you misunderstood Plantiga. Plantiga's
> argument does not REQUIRE that God be simple. He is granting that even if
> God is COMPLEX, Dawkins argument is circular because God being improbable
> because of this complexity, PRESUPPOSES materialism.
>
> Personally, I think one should be careful about saying that an argument by
> an expert like Plantiga a "logical flaw" unless you are an expert in that
> area as well.

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Received on Sun May 6 23:07:54 2007

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