Alweer ek oor Dawkins

19 07 2010

Richard Dawkins beskryf op p157-8 van “The God delusion”sy sentrale argument as volg:
1.One of the greatest challenges to the human intellect has been to explain how the complex, improbable appearance of design in the universe arises.

2. The natural temptation is to attribute the appearance of design to actual design itself.

3. The temptation is a false one because the designer hypothesis immediately raises the larger problem of who designed the designer.

4. The most ingenious and powerful explanation is Darwinian evolution by natural selection.

5. We don’t have an equivalent explanation for physics.

6. We should not give up the hope of a better explanation arising in physics, something as powerful as Darwinism is for biology.

Therefore, God almost certainly does not exist.

Selfs al aanvaar ons dat elke stap waar is, is daar geen manier waarop hy vanaf die 6 stappe ewe skielik tot by daai gevolgtrekking kan kom nie.

Siende dat geen van my gaste hier bang is om goed woord vir woord vanaf ander bronne hier te kom papegaai nie, sal ek maar dieselfde doen en Bill Craig direk aanhaal:

“This argument is jarring because the atheistic conclusion that “Therefore, God almost certainly does not exist” seems to come suddenly out of left field. You don’t need to be a philosopher to realize that that conclusion doesn’t follow from the six previous statements.

Indeed, if we take these six statements as premises of an argument intended to logically imply the conclusion “Therefore, God almost certainly does not exist,” then the argument is patently invalid. No logical rules of inference would permit you to draw this conclusion from the six premises.

A more charitable interpretation would be to take these six statements, not as premises, but as summary statements of six steps in Dawkins’ cumulative argument for his conclusion that God does not exist. But even on this charitable construal, the conclusion “Therefore, God almost certainly does not exist” simply doesn’t follow from these six steps, even if we concede that each of them is true and justified. The only delusion demonstrated here is Dawkins’ conviction that this is “a very serious argument against God’s existence.”2

So what does follow from the six steps of Dawkins’ argument? At most, all that follows is that we should not infer God’s existence on the basis of the appearance of design in the universe. But that conclusion is quite compatible with God’s existence and even with our justifiably believing in God’s existence. Maybe we should believe in God on the basis of the cosmological argument or the ontological argument or the moral argument. Maybe our belief in God isn’t based on arguments at all but is grounded in religious experience or in divine revelation. Maybe God wants us to believe in him simply by faith. The point is that rejecting design arguments for God’s existence does nothing to prove that God does not exist or even that belief in God is unjustified. Indeed, many Christian theologians have rejected arguments for the existence of God without thereby committing themselves to atheism.

So Dawkins’ argument for atheism is a failure even if we concede, for the sake of argument, all its steps. But, in fact, several of these steps are plausibly false in any case. Take just step (3), for example. Dawkins’ claim here is that one is not justified in inferring design as the best explanation of the complex order of the universe because then a new problem arises: Who designed the designer?

This objection is flawed on at least two counts.

First, in order to recognize an explanation as the best, one needn’t have an explanation of the explanation. This is an elementary point concerning inference to the best explanation as practiced in the philosophy of science. If archaeologists digging in the earth were to discover things looking like arrowheads and hatchet heads and pottery shards, they would be justified in inferring that these artifacts are not the chance result of sedimentation and metamorphosis, but products of some unknown group of people, even though they had no explanation of who these people were or where they came from. Similarly, if astronauts were to come upon a pile of machinery on the back side of the moon, they would be justified in inferring that it was the product of intelligent, extra-terrestrial agents, even if they had no idea whatsoever who these extra-terrestrial agents were or how they got there.

In order to recognize an explanation as the best, one needn’t be able to explain the explanation. In fact, so requiring would lead to an infinite regress of explanations, so that nothing could ever be explained and science would be destroyed. So in the case at hand, in order to recognize that intelligent design is the best explanation of the appearance of design in the universe, one needn’t be able to explain the designer.

Second, Dawkins thinks that in the case of a divine designer of the universe, the designer is just as complex as the thing to be explained, so that no explanatory advance is made. This objection raises all sorts of questions about the role played by simplicity in assessing competing explanations—for example, how simplicity is to be weighted in comparison with other criteria like explanatory power, explanatory scope, plausibility, and so forth. If a less simple hypothesis exceeds its rivals in explanatory scope and power, for example, then it may well be the preferred explanation, despite the sacrifice in simplicity.

But leave those questions aside. Dawkins’ fundamental mistake lies in his assumption that a divine designer is an entity comparable in complexity to the universe. As an unembodied mind, God is a remarkably simple entity. As a non-physical entity, a mind is not composed of parts, and its salient properties, like self-consciousness, rationality, and volition, are essential to it. In contrast to the contingent and variegated universe with all its inexplicable physical quantities and constants (mentioned in the fifth step of Dawkins’ argument),3 a divine mind is startlingly simple. Certainly such a mind may have complex ideas (it may be thinking, for example, of the infinitesimal calculus), but the mind itself is a remarkably simple entity. Dawkins has evidently confused a mind’s ideas, which may, indeed, be complex, with a mind itself, which is an incredibly simple entity.4 Therefore, postulating a divine mind behind the universe most definitely does represent an advance in simplicity, for whatever that’s worth.

Other steps in Dawkins’ argument are also problematic; but I think enough has been said to show that his argument does nothing to undermine a design inference based on the universe’s complexity, not to speak of its serving as a justification of atheism.

Several years ago my atheist colleague Quentin Smith unceremoniously crowned Stephen Hawking’s argument against God in A Brief History of Time as “the worst atheistic argument in the history of Western thought.”5 With the advent of The God Delusion the time has come, I think, to relieve Hawking of this weighty crown and to recognize Richard Dawkins’ accession to the throne.”

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9 responses

20 07 2010
Wouter

Dit lyk my nie net dat Craig weet daar is ‘n God nie, maar ook presies watse form Hy is. In die geval net ‘n cosmic mind, wat ‘n paar bewerkings doen. Nie ‘n God wat met mense en diere praat en beheer nie, nie ‘n god wat virgins bevrug nie, nie ‘n god wat ‘n vorm van ‘n brandende bos en whatnot verander nie, nie ‘n god wat al die natuurlike wette kan breek nie, nie ‘n god wat gebede hoor en antwoord nie, nie ‘n god wat omgee wanneer jy mag werk, wat jy mag eet en met wie jy mag slaap nie, nie ‘n god wat water in wyn verander, nie ‘n god wat sê daar gaan ‘n 2de koms wees, nie ‘n god wat ons sonders vergewe, nie ‘n god wat ‘n duiwel laat rond wals nie, nie ‘n god wat vir Abraham gesê het hy moet sy kind offer nie.

Nee, vir Graig is julle God niks meer as ‘n cosmic fart nie, iets meer eenvoudig as nikkel.

20 07 2010
vryedenker

Dis nie my standpunt nie, daarom haal ek hom aan. Wat ek wel wil he jy moet aan herkou is die dele waar Dawkins se foute van Logika uitgewys word. Die res is poeding.

20 07 2010
Wouter

Nee, as Graig argumenteer vir die drie enige God, ‘n komplekse god val sy argument plat.

En Graig weet dit, dit is hoekom hy sê:

“As a non-physical entity, a mind is not composed of parts, and its salient properties, like self-consciousness, rationality, and volition, are essential to it. In contrast to the contingent and variegated universe with all its inexplicable physical quantities and constants (mentioned in the fifth step of Dawkins’ argument),3 a divine mind is startlingly simple. Certainly such a mind may have complex ideas (it may be thinking, for example, of the infinitesimal calculus), but the mind itself is a remarkably simple entity. ”

Graig is ook verkeerd as hy probeer sê ‘n brein wat calculus kan doen is nie kompleks nie, dit is duidelik dat hy geen idee het waarvan hy praat nie. ‘n Brein is ‘n fisiese entity. Net omdat Graig sê God is niks meer as ‘n cosmic fart, beteken nie dat dit enigstens lê op enige vorm van bewyse nie. Hoe weet hy dat ‘n “divine mind is startlingly simple” is? Wat ons in die natuur vind is presies die teenoorgestelde!

En hoe meer Graig probeer sê hoe eenvoudig god is en hoe nader hy kom daaraan om te sê dat God niks is nie, wys my hy kom actually nader aan die waarheid, dat hy en niemand ander enige idee het indien daar ‘n God sou wees hoe of wat hy is nie. En vir my is dit ook ‘n argument in atheiste se gun, nie in sy Christelike geloof nie.

Net om weer die punt huis to te hammer, ons moet onthou dat Graig nie ‘n deist posisie inneem nie, waar God net die cause is nie, maar die komplekse God van die Bybel is.

20 07 2010
Retha

In die geval net ‘n cosmic mind, wat ‘n paar bewerkings doen. Nie ‘n God wat met mense en diere praat en beheer nie, nie ‘n god wat virgins bevrug nie, nie ‘n god wat ‘n vorm van ‘n brandende bos en whatnot verander nie
Nee, vir Graig is julle God niks meer as ‘n cosmic fart nie, iets meer eenvoudig as nikkel.

Vertaling: Wouter kan nie indink hoe ‘n verstand kan inwerk op materie nie, en daarom glo hy Craig se God kan nie. Want, aldus Wouter, moet God kleiner as Wouter se verbeelding wees.

Graig is ook verkeerd as hy probeer sê ‘n brein wat calculus kan doen is nie kompleks nie, dit is duidelik dat hy geen idee het waarvan hy praat nie. ‘n Brein is ‘n fisiese entity.

Waar vertel hy ‘n brein is nie kompleks nie? ‘n Brein is hardeware, ‘n verstand is sagteware. Jy ken nie die verskil tussen ‘n brein en ‘n verstand (mind in Engels nie, en jy glo jy weet beter as iemand wat as top-filosoof beskou word en meeste van sy debatte wen? Probeer weer, jy druip hierdie toets. Jy kan nie eers Craig spel nie.

En hoe meer Graig probeer sê hoe eenvoudig god is en hoe nader hy kom daaraan om te sê dat God niks is nie

Jy het duidelik nie eers reg gelees hoe eenvoud gedefinieer word hier nie.

21 07 2010
Wouter

EIsh ja, ek het mind biedjie verkeerd vertaal. Maar ek dink my argument staan non the less nogsteeds na die korreksie, selfs miskien beter.

Vertaling: Wouter kan nie indink hoe ‘n verstand kan inwerk op materie nie, en daarom glo hy Craig se God kan nie. Want, aldus Wouter, moet God kleiner as Wouter se verbeelding wees.

In Frans: Wouter kan nie indink hoe iets eenvoudigers as ‘n skoenlapper die winde op Jupiter kan skep nie. Sure ek gee toe, ek kan dit nie insien nie, seker omdat niemand nog met ‘n wetenskaplike model voor die dag gekom het oor hoe so iets sal kan werk nie. Craig doen presies die teenoorgestelde as om te sê God is kompleks, hy sê God se mind is ‘startlingly and/or remarkably simple’. Hy gebruik die logika van homeopaths, haha. Maar is God se verstand remarkably simple? Nee, God gebruik sy verstand nie net vir kompleks wiskundige formules nie, hy kan ook al die stuff doen in die Bybel. Vir die rede moet God se brein ook kompleks wees, dit moet net soos ons lug vibrasies omskakel in taal, sensory meganismes hê om kleur te kan sien en dies meer. En dit is net die begin.

Waar vertel hy ‘n brein is nie kompleks nie? ‘n Brein is hardeware, ‘n verstand is sagteware. Jy ken nie die verskil tussen ‘n brein en ‘n verstand (mind in Engels nie, en jy glo jy weet beter as iemand wat as top-filosoof beskou word en meeste van sy debatte wen? Probeer weer, jy druip hierdie toets. Jy kan nie eers Craig spel nie.

Ja sure, brain, mind, altwee moet kompleks wees in God se geval. The mind is what the brain does.

…a divine mind is startlingly simple. Certainly such a mind may have complex ideas (it may be thinking, for example, of the infinitesimal calculus), but the mind itself is a remarkably simple entity.

Weereens, hoe weet hy die mind of God? Hoe weet Craig hoe kompleks dit is? Dit is nie net eenvoudig omdat hy sê dit is eenvoudig nie! That does just not follow, veral as ons kyk na clues in die natuur.

22 07 2010
vryedenker

Bruce Lee sou jou hard teen die kop geklap het. Die onderwerp van bespreking is Dawkins se twyfelagtige argument-konstruksie, nie hoe jy voel oor die natuur van God nie.

Antwoord my eerlik: dink jy Craig se kritiek op Dawkins se argument is regverdig?

22 07 2010
Wouter

@VD
Sure, mens moet Dawkins se argument betwyfel, maar daar kort iets meer oortuigend as Craig se argument, wat ek dink ek suksesvol afgeskiet het. Sonder om eers te expand na ander dele in sy teenargument waar ek dink hy dit ook verkeerd kry.

Dit is vir my snaaks dat jy se dit gaan nie oor hoe ek voel oor die natuur van God nie, maar Craig kan enige God vir homself wens, en dit is juis op dit wat ek hom call.

As jy enige probleem het met my kritiek van Craig se teenargument, lug dit uit. Bruce Lee mag my maar hard teen die kop klap, maar Craig sal nogsteeds met iets beter as daai argument moet opkom.

26 07 2010
Retha

The mind is what the brain does.

Staan opsy, filosowe wat oor philosophy of mind dink: Wouter het in een assertion sonder bewys klaar besluit wie van julle is reg. [/sarcasm]

Weereens, hoe weet hy die mind of God? Hoe weet Craig hoe kompleks dit is? Dit is nie net eenvoudig omdat hy sê dit is eenvoudig nie!

Craig vergelyk dit met die heelal as hy sê dis eenvoudig:
But leave those questions aside. Dawkins’ fundamental mistake lies in his assumption that a divine designer is an entity comparable in complexity to the universe. As an unembodied mind, God is a remarkably simple entity. As a non-physical entity, a mind is not composed of parts, and its salient properties, like self-consciousness, rationality, and volition, are essential to it. In contrast to the contingent and variegated universe with all its inexplicable physical quantities and constants (mentioned in the fifth step of Dawkins’ argument),3 a divine mind is startlingly simple.
‘n Mind- God s’n, enigiemand s’n, is volgens hom eenvoudig in vergelyking met die heelal, en eenvoud beteken hier -soos ook volgens Dawkins se eie definisie- dat dit nie uit fisiese dele bestaan nie.
Leer om behoorlik te lees voor jy vrae vra.

12 04 2011
neox3d

great analysis…Thumbs up

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