Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Counterpoints: William Lane Craig and Richard Dawkins on Evolution


Richard Dawkins- "...although atheism might have been logically tenable before Darwin, Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist."1

William Lane Craig- "“Barrow and Tipler, two physicists in their book "The Anthropic Cosmological Principle," list ten steps in the course of human evolution, each of which is so improbable that before it would occur the sun would have ceased to be a main sequence star and incinerated the earth. And they calculate the probability of the evolution of the human genome to be somewhere between four to the negative 180th power to the 110,000th power and four to the negative 360th power to the 110,000th power. So, if evolution did occur on this planet it was literally a miracle, and therefore evidence for the existence of God.”2

Checkout the rest of the posts in our "Counterpoints" posts here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

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Footnotes:
1. Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker, p. 6.
2. Hitchens Debate Transcript found here. If readers would like to view the debate, it's here.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

This refutation only works if you claim evolution has an eventual goal or desired result (humanity). The chances of the desired result coming about completely by a chance process would indeed be vastly unlikely. However, this definition is to misunderstand evolution, evolution is not goal orientated, and thus to hypothesise a positive end result in such a way is not logically sound. The argument from evolution is that humanity is a by product of a random process, in the same way not a desired goal that has been reached.

Those were just my thoughts, please get back to me.

Anonymous said...

Can you please define a “random process”. That makes no sense to me. If something is random, there is no process. If it is a process it is not random, there is a goal in mind.

Chase said...

To the Anonymous one who said the following:

This refutation only works if you claim evolution has an eventual goal or desired result (humanity).

I do not think Dr. Craig claims here that the desired result of evolution is humanity. But clearly he does state that if evolution did occur on this planet humanity resulted from it. And it is this result (humanity) that is extremely improbable regardless of whether evolution has an end result or not.

Andrew Ryan said...

"And it is this result (humanity) that is extremely improbable regardless of whether evolution has an end result or not."

If you shuffle ten packs of cards together and then deal four poker hands from the top, the result will be 'extremely improbable', in that that the chance of that particular set of cards coming up is trillions to one. That doesn't mean a miracle is required to deal a hand.

Also, it is significant that this 'improbable' claim comes from two physicists rather than biologists.

"If it is a process it is not random, there is a goal in mind."

This is false. Waves sort pebbles on a beach in order of size – this is a non-random process with no goal in mind.

Bob S said...

The probability of one particular bridge hand is one chance in 2×10^11. And yet when you play bridge, there it is--yet another super rare bridge hand.

Things get interesting only when you predict beforehand a certain hand.

Wm. Lane Craig gets these two confused in his quote. Predicting humans at the Big Bang (or the creation of the solar system) would be pretty amazing. Looking at it after the fact, however, and the probability is 1.

Craig isn't even good at philosophy. He should certainly stay away from science and math.

Chad said...

Hello Bob,

You said:

"Craig isn't even good at philosophy. He should certainly stay away from science and math."

Have you seen Craig's list of Publications or his Curriculum Vitae?

Shall we compare these to your own lists?

Respectfully

Bob S said...

Chad: Yes, I understand Craig's CV. Very impressive. What I'm saying is that his reputation and the reality are different things. Like someone who can't stop picking his nose in public, Craig keeps being drawn to comment about physics, cosmology, and the like.

My guess is that the disapproval from people who understand the science (not really me; I just read the experts' critique) doesn't much matter to him. He pleases his followers, and that's all that he wants.

Chad said...

Hello again Bob S.,

Thank you for the reply.

I was thinking about your bridge analogy. Please keep in mind that I am not a card player and don't know the first thing about bridge!

First off, you write ”Things get interesting only when you predict beforehand a certain hand.”

This is clearly false. Consider if I am playing Uno with my daughter. If the cards are dealt out and the outcome is supposed to be random, but my daughter gets all the draw fours and all the wild cards in the first deal, then I would not need to predict it beforehand for it to be "interesting" or to detect design! It would be evidence of intelligence because of the meaningful outcome. In other words, the dealer most likely rigged the game in favor of my daughter. (Most likely my wife!)

Secondly, you argue "The probability of one particular bridge hand is one chance in 2×10^11. And yet when you play bridge, there it is--yet another super rare bridge hand."

I am not sure how this is analogues to what Craig is arguing here. I am not interested in why you got the particular "hand" you did. Rather I am astonished by why, against overwhelming odds, (see the quote) you got a life-permitting "hand" rather than a life-prohibiting "hand." That question is just not addressed by saying, 'Well, some hand had to be picked!'

In the same way, some universe has to exist, but whichever universe exists, it is incomprehensibly more probable that it will be life-prohibiting rather than life-permitting. So we still need some explanation why a life-permitting (when the quote is considered, one where human evolution actually successfully occurred) universe exists."

Respectfully

Bob S said...

Chad:

If fours + wild cards is a great hand, then that was decided beforehand.

Said another way, you decided beforehand the tiny number of hands out of the great many possible hands are important, and then you get excited when you get one of those rare hands.

Wm. Lane Craig’s error is in saying, here is one unremarkable hand out of many . . . what are the chances?!

Well, the chances are the same as every other hand. There’s nothing remarkable there.

“I am astonished by why, against overwhelming odds, (see the quote) you got a life-permitting "hand" rather than a life-prohibiting "hand." ”

First off, tell me all the possible conditions that would allow life of any kind—kinds that we know of as well as all the others—to exist. Can’t do it? Then we should be cautious about saying what’s likely when we don’t know how rare life is.

Second, Craig talks about “the probability of the evolution of the human genome.” Do you see the problem? It’s like saying, “I just got an unremarkable hand!! How amazing!” He’s taking his unremarkable hand and reinterpreting it as remarkable.

What if we had intelligent dinosaurs? What if we had any of billions of other interesting possibilities with intelligent life?

This is why Craig’s arguments please only Christians and aren’t convincing to anyone who’s a little bit skeptical.

Chad said...

Hello Bob S.,

Thanks for the reply.

So, if I understand your view correctly, all the possible universes that could have existed were equally improbable, but one of them, by chance, had to win.

Does this represent your point fairly?

Respectfully