Re: [asa] Dawkins, religion, and children

From: <philtill@aol.com>
Date: Tue May 08 2007 - 08:51:21 EDT

Pim wrote:
 
> Now one can argue that God is eternal but that's not really an
> explanation but rather an ad hoc argument.
 
Pim, this statement really exposes your (and Dawkins') mistake. If we are talking about a being that is less than eternal then by definition we aren't talking about the God of the monotheistic faiths. Stating that God is eternal is certainly not an ad hoc argument. It is not even an argument at all, nor can it be. It is simply a part of the definition of the word "God". We have to define the word to make sure we are all talking about the same thing.
 
Now, if Dawkins wants to disprove the existence of an eternal being, which we call "God", then he can't start out by discussing some kind of non-eternal being. But that is precisely what he does. We have been telling you this over and over, though you still haven't gotten the point. **Dawkins isn't even talking about God.** He is talking about a straw-man super-intelligence that is part of the material world. He claims to disprove this material super-intelligence (and maybe he does so successfully). But he has said nothing about God. His argument is fundamentally flawed at this point and it is even silly. No serious author should have made the error that Dawkins made in his book.

You have never yet made any response to the very clear argument that I posted twice, in which I show exactly how Dawkins' error appears in his syllogism in the form of an equivocation. I can provide the link to it in the archive if you have lost it. (Platinga made the same argument that I did, although he spent much more time camping out on the distinction between simple and complex, which I thought was a less accessible argument.)
 
If I read you right, you are claiming that it is circular for us to assert God is eternal as a response to Dawkins. But it is not circular since it has always been part of our definition of the word "God" and was not devised as a response to Dawkins. It is certainly true that we see God's eternality as an escape from infinite regress. But if it is wrong for us to appeal to an eternal being as the escape from infinite regress, then Dawkins has certainly not said anything to show us why it is wrong. Instead, he merely asserts that a non-eternal being fails to resolve the infinite regress. So what? We agree! But that's not talking about God.
 
You also quote Dawkins saying this:
 
> 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.
 
But the problem is that Dawkins is seeing only the complexity as the issue and so he mindlessly blows over most of the other necessary parts of the IDer's argument. Organized complexity alone doesn't demand a designer. The IDers aren't saying that it does. They are saying that organized complexity inside spacetime and subject to physics demand a designer, because physics in spacetime is incapable of producing the appearance of design. (Whether or not they are correct is not my point.) Dawkins has latched onto just one part of their argument -- complexity -- and ignores the rest. God is not subject to the same physics as bacterial flagella. If bacterial flagella were likewise outside of physics and spacetime, then the ID-ers would never be arguing that they need a designer.
 
You also stated

> Dawkins defines the God Hypothesis as follows
 
> <quote> ...<snip>...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>
 
But we conceive of God in a way that is analogous to the way we conceive of the number 1 (for example). We didn't invent that concept. We just apprehended it. It appears in nature, for example, in the integral values of quantum numbers. "One" is simple, not complex, and thus Dawkins may not like it as an analogy for the Designer. But consider the fact that "one" cannot exist by itself. It must exist in the context of arithmetic, and Godel's theorem shows that no arithmetic system can be reduced to a finite set of axioms unless it is incomplete, and no finite or infinite set of axioms can ever be known to be free of internal contradiction through any countable set of deductions. IMO, we see through this that arithmentic cannot have real and consistent existence apart from an infinite Mind. Its existence implies the Mind's existence. Whether or not this infinite Mind is "simple" in the theological sense, I do not know, but I do know that it cannot be reduced and it can
 not arise through an evolutionary process from a reduced state the way Dawkins asserts.
 
We conceive of God as an eternal being who ends any infinite regress and who cannot be reduced to an unthinking, unknowing axiom of physics or mathematics. Dawkins has not said anything in TGD about this being.
 
Perhaps God's "evolution" can mapped into an internal dimension of self-knowing so that it does not occur through the time dimension. Perhaps this is the way to explain to Dawkins how God can exist as a thinking Being apart from an evolutionary process in time. Perhaps the "evolution" actually does exist in a non-temporal way within the eternal essence of God. I don't pretend to know God's being that well. But like mathematics in view of Godel's theorem, the infinite regress of nature has to end somewhere, and it must be a wholistic Mind that is eternal, not a few algorithms of physics. When we assert faith in God, we are asserting that only a Being with God's nature can self-exist. We are asserting that unthinking physics is incapable of self-existing. Dawkins has said nothing about this assertion, which is at the essence of monotheism. For that reason his book is silly and unworthy to organize any debate.
 
Phil
 
 
 
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Received on Tue May 8 08:52:07 2007

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