Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Dawkins interviews McGrath

1 hour ten minute video. Very interesting. Go here.

12 comments:

The Barefoot Bum said...

It's very painful. McGrath is stuck in a circle: It makes us feel good because it's true; it's true because it makes us feel good.

Just shoot some heroin and get out of my face, kay?

Steve said...

There are a few things that I don't understand regarding what Dawkins says though:

1. "God must be incredibly complex..."

Why?

2. "You can't just pop God into existence..."

But isn't that what physics does with the universe immediately prior to the big bang?

A theory (among others) is that a singularity existed, which gave rise to the big bang...What was before that?

Isn't the Hartle-Hawking boundry condition precisely what Dawkins says ought not be done? Doesn't the same basic logical argument exist with the entire family of Penrose-style singularity models?

You can's just say, "well it just was" because that's essentially the same argument Dawkins makes in this video, isn't it?

I'm really not here to defend either side ... but I do want logical clarity, and I suspect some logical slight of hand by Dawkins...

cagliost said...

Spelling:
"McGrath"
"sleight of hand"


Steve:
Yeah, I agree, God wouldn't have to be complex. What would this mean, anyway? Humans are complicated. But God is not thought to be made of matter: it's just a mind/an intelligence, which can make things occur by thought (is omnipotent).

Dawkins doesn't need to use this argument, and weakens the cause because people take him up on it. We don't need to know any physics: we have a sound argument just from philosophy already:

God could have just popped into existence, but then the universe could have as well. It's just the cosmological argument, again. Everything needs a cause, what caused the universe to exist, God, what caused God to exist, God existed forever (I thought we just said everything has a cause?), why couldn't the universe have existed forever, QED. We don't need god to explain anything.

The point is, as usual, that there is no evidence for the existence of god.

cagliost said...

Cripes - just looked at the 1533 comments here:
http://richarddawkins.net/article,1212,Richard-Dawkins-and-Alister-McGrath,Root-of-All-Evil-Uncut-Interviews

Steve said...

cagliost said...

"The point is, as usual, that there is no evidence for the existence of god."


Well, no. I'm not interested in that portion of the argument.

I think that facet of the argument is very boring, and it has its own logical problems that I seldom see adequately dealt with. But never mind...

I'm much more interested in the idea that a scientist of Dawkin's reputation is making illogical leaps, (i.e., "God must be complex") with no supporting logical reasoning and committing logical fallacies, such as the regress problem I mentioned, and NO ONE is calling him on it.

The Barefoot Bum said...

Steve: One might justly criticize the support Dawkins does offer but idea that he offers no support for his assertion of God's complexity is ridiculous and intellectually dishonest.

First of all, if God is presented as intelligent, that in itself is an assertion of complexity, since all known forms of intelligence (e.g. animal's nervous systems, computers and other cybernetic systems) are without exception necessarily complex.

Secondly, the argument from natural complexity for the existence of god takes as a premise that a complex system requires a more complex designer; the notion that God must therefore be complex is inherent in the original argument. Dawkins makes this point crystal clear in The God Delusion.

It's blatantly hypocritical to simply define complexity away: God is "just a mind/an intelligence, which can make things occur by thought (is omnipotent)" with no support whatsoever.

An omnipotent God explains nothing. Swinburne notes that a (hypothetical) omnipotent god can create any sort of universe it wants, or no universe at all. To explain this universe we must restore all the complexity of natural law to our conception of God. And worse: If a God performs "miracles", then separate events cannot be explained by universals: Each and every event must be explicitly specified.

The Barefoot Bum said...

Additionally, when even pretending to speak logically and rationally, contradicting yourself in the same sentence, "no supporting logical reasoning and committing logical fallacies," is usually considered an intellectual faux pas.

cagliost said...

Just a quickie:

"I think that facet of the argument is very boring"
I think it's conclusive.

"and it has its own logical problems that I seldom see adequately dealt with."
Seldom? I would have thought once would be sufficient! :-)

steve said...

The Barefoot Bum said...

"Additionally, when even pretending to speak logically and rationally, contradicting yourself in the same sentence, "no supporting logical reasoning and committing logical fallacies," is usually considered an intellectual faux pas."


Excuse me? What exactly is your point? I mean, apart from getting to use the phrase "faux pax."

steve said...

cagliost said...

Just a quickie:

"I think that facet of the argument is very boring"

I think it's conclusive.



Yup. No data. Specultive. Not much to talk about: boring. Pretty conclusive.

steve said...

The Barefoot Bum said...

"Steve: One might justly criticize the support Dawkins does offer but idea that he offers no support for his assertion of God's complexity is ridiculous and intellectually dishonest."


Well, you can lob ad hominem all you like, but it doesn't change the fact that Dawkins presents no objective data to support this claim. NONE.

"First of all, if God is presented as intelligent, that in itself is an assertion of complexity, since all known forms of intelligence (e.g. animal's nervous systems, computers and other cybernetic systems) are without exception necessarily complex."


Intelligence != complexity.


"Secondly, the argument from natural complexity for the existence of god takes as a premise that a complex system requires a more complex designer; the notion that God must therefore be complex is inherent in the original argument. Dawkins makes this point crystal clear in The God Delusion."


What is the operational definition of "comlexity" in this argument? How is such "complexity" measured?

steve said...

The Barefoot Bum said...

"It's blatantly hypocritical to simply define complexity away: God is "just a mind/an intelligence, which can make things occur by thought (is omnipotent)" with no support whatsoever."

Well, first of all I NEVER said "God is just a mind...(etc)" cagliost did. I don't write for cagliost.


Second,

Complexity is generated in nature through processes such as self-organization, time and so on...

Emergent complexity is indicative of natural process and randomness, not a designer.

Complexity doesn’t imply the existence of a designer or a design. The complexity found in computer architecture is artificial.