Sunday, April 25, 2010

Dawkins and the Atheist Straw God argument: part 1

Photobucket

Richard Dawkins.net posts an article:saturday setp 12, 2009

article entitled:

"Richard Dawkins argues that evolution leaves God with nothing to do"


Before 1859 it would have seemed natural to agree with the Reverend William Paley, in "Natural Theology," that the creation of life was God's greatest work. Especially (vanity might add) human life. Today we'd amend the statement: Evolution is the universe's greatest work. Evolution is the creator of life, and life is arguably the most surprising and most beautiful production that the laws of physics have ever generated. Evolution, to quote a T-shirt sent me by an anonymous well-wisher, is the greatest show on earth, the only game in town.
Here we see the atheist willing to take the prescriptive side of physical law, whereas most of them time they will demand that physical law is only descriptive. Notice how Dawkins seems offer physical law and evolution almost as an er zots alternative to God. This is practically a liturgical statement one awaits the following hymns. Yet in taking the prescriptive view Dawkins leaves his view open to my God argument "Fire in the Equasions:

Argument:



1) Naturalism assumes cause/effect.
2) c/a governed by laws of physics.


3) Laws of physics must have orgnaizing principal

4) Mind is the only example for organizing principal

5) An Organizing principal based upon Mind that creates everything is called "God."


Analysis:



1) Naturalists assume necessity of naturlaistic cause and effect (from empirical observation).

Dictonary of Philosphy Anthony Flew, article on "Materialism" "...the belief that everything that exists is ethier matter or entirely dependent upon matter for its existence." Center For Theology and the Natural Sciences Contributed by: Dr. Christopher Southgate: God, Humanity and the Cosmos (T&T Clark, 1999) http://www.ctns.org/Information/information.html Is the Big Bang a Moment of Creation?(this source is already linked above) "...One of the fundamental assumptions of modern science is that every physical event can be sufficiently explained solely in terms of preceding physical causes.." Science and The Modern World, Alfred North Whitehead. NY: free Press, 1925, (1953) p.76

"We are content with superficial orderings form diverse arbitrary starting points. ... sciene which is employed in their deveopment [modern thought] is based upon a philosophy which asserts that physical casation is supreme, and which disjoins the physical cause from the final end. It is not popular to dwell upon the absolute contradiction here involved."[Whitehead was an atheist]
http://www.damtp.cam.ac.uk/user/gr/public/qg_qc.html Cambridge Relativity and Quantum Gravity. 1996, University of Cambridge The physical laws that govern the universe prescribe how an initial state evolves with time. In classical physics, if the initial state of a system is specified exactly then the subsequent motion will be completely predictable.


2) Therefore, if we agree with them, it is logical to assume naturalistic cause and effect as background concition to the emergence and/or production of the universe.

Dr. Sten Odenwald (Raytheon STX) for the NASA IMAGE/POETRY Education and Public Outreach program

Q:Which came first, matter or physical laws?

"We do not know, but matter is derivative from energy, and energy is derivative from 'field' so in some sense, the physical laws that determine the quantum dynamics of fields must have been primary, with matter as we know it coming much later."


3) Since physical laws would have to proceed matter/energy, they would have to reside in some organizing principle (such as a mind?) since they could not reside in the workings of universe that did not yet exist.

This leads to a Dilemma:




a) Either the laws of physics are general law like statements demanding a law giver (law implies a law giver)


b) Or they are mere tendencies which mark conventional frames of reference for our observations of the uiverse.



*If the former, than since all products of the natural world require a cause, what causes the laws of physics? It seems there must either be an infinite regress of causes for physical laws, or a single organizing principle capable of directing physical law; such as a mind?

*If the latter, than the skeptic loses the lock on scientific rationality and with it, the basis upon which to critique religious belief as “unscientific.” After all, just because we don’t notice regular tendencies toward supernatural effects does not mean that they are impossible, if physical laws are nothing but mere tendencies.
4)Major Physicists propose Unitive principle they call "God."

MetaList on Scinece and religion

Stephen Hawking's God



In his best-selling book "A Brief History of Time", physicist Stephen Hawking claimed that when physicists find the theory he and his colleagues are looking for - a so-called "theory of everything" - then they will have seen into "the mind of God". Hawking is by no means the only scientist who has associated God with the laws of physics. Nobel laureate Leon Lederman, for example, has made a link between God and a subatomic particle known as the Higgs boson. Lederman has suggested that when physicists find this particle in their accelerators it will be like looking into the face of God. But what kind of God are these physicists talking about? Theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg suggests that in fact this is not much of a God at all. Weinberg notes that traditionally the word "God" has meant "an interested personality". But that is not what Hawking and Lederman mean. Their "god", he says, is really just "an abstract principle of order and harmony", a set of mathematical equations. Weinberg questions then why they use the word "god" at all. He makes the rather profound point that "if language is to be of any use to us, then we ought to try and preserve the meaning of words, and 'god' historically has not meant the laws of nature." The question of just what is "God" has taxed theologians for thousands of years; what Weinberg reminds us is to be wary of glib definitions.


Ok These guys are not talking about the God of the Bible, but the fact that they do resort to organizing principle proves my basic point. They can't just leave the laws of phyiscs unexplained, they have to resort to organizing principle that ties it all up in one neat package. But why assume that principle can't be the personal God of the Bible? The rest of this Website argues that it is. But the main point here is that it is very logical to assume an organizing principle such a mind which orgainizes and contians physical laws.But "which god" is dealt with else where. at the very least this argument gives us a Spinza-like God.

5) Mind is best explanation for organizing principal.

This principal would not dwell in any location, since it must proceed the existence of all physical matter and objects. It cannot resides in any location, or in the actions of a energy and matter, since it must proceed them for them to come to be, or to exist. Mind is the only thing that explians:


a. non physical location--no topos

b. Organizing function; organizing information and sturctures. The major element of mind is organization and containment of information. Like a genetic structure has to reside in genes, where does an organizing pricipal for the universe reside? In a mind that creates the universe?

6) A mind that contians physical law can be said to be creator and thus God. Therefore,if we assume physical law there must be a "lawgiver," therefore, God exists QED


Corollary:Science cannot Explain Laws of Physics

A. Cause of Physical Laws Unknown

1)Physical Law Merely Assumed to Exist.


OFFICE OF DR. ROBERT C. KOONS Post-Agnostic Science:How Physics Is RevivingThe Argument From Design

Robert C. Koons

Associate Professor of Philosophy
University of Texas
Austin, TX 78712
koons@phil.utexas.edu


"Some have objected that the anthropic coincidences cannot be explained, since they involve the fundamental laws of nature. The laws of nature are used in explaining other things -- they themselves cannot be explained. They are rock-bottom, matters of physical necessity, immutable and uncased. This objection is sometimes based on actual scientific practice -- scientists seek to discover the laws of nature and to use these laws in constructing explanations of phenomena. They do not try to explain the laws of nature themselves. There are several points to make in response to this."

2) Skeptics object, but Some scientist now Ask.

Paul Davies, Author of God and The New Physics, and The Mind of God, skeptic turned believer due to the new evidence on design. From First Things, Tempelton Award address:

"All the richness and diversity of matter and energy we observe today has emerged since the beginning in a long and complicated sequence of self- organizing physical processes. The laws of physics not only permit a universe to originate spontaneously, but they encourage it to organize and complexity itself to the point where conscious beings emerge who can look back on the great cosmic drama and reflect on what it all means."

"Now you may think I have written God entirely out of the picture. Who needs a God when the laws of physics can do such a splendid job? But we are bound to return to that burning question:
Where do the laws of physics come from? And why those laws rather than some other set? Most especially: Why a set of laws that drives the searing, featureless gases coughed out of the big bang toward life and consciousness and intelligence and cultural activities such as religion, art, mathematics, and science?"
Koons, (Ibid.) "...It is no longer true that scientists never seek to explain the laws of nature. Much of recent cosmology and unified force theory has attempted to do that. ...even if scientists never did attempt to explain the fundamental laws, it would still be an open question whether they should do so. Finally, whether something can or should be explained is itself an empirical matter, to be decided on a case by case basis, and not on the basis of dogmatic, a priori pronouncements. The anthropic coincidences are themselves excellent evidence that the laws of nature can and should be explained. If the laws really were absolute rock bottom, inexplicable brute facts, then we would be faced with a set of inexplicable coincidences. If the only price we have to pay in order to explain these coincidences is to revise our beliefs about the rock-bottom status of physical laws, this is a small price to pay."


B. How do Physical Laws make a universe?
Stephen Barr


"The laws of physics are proposed by some, as brought out by Furgesson, as constituting a "final cause" in place of God. This view is actually suggestive of an inversion and can be turned around into an argument for the exist of God. Barr states "The more serious problem with this idea of laws of physics as necessary first cause is that it is based on an elementary confusion. At most the laws of physics could be said to be the 'formal cause' of the physical universe, whereas by first cause is meant efficient cause, the cause of its very existence. Hawking himself asked precisely the right question when he wrote 'even if there is only one possible unified theory is it just a set of rules and equations? What is it that breaths fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe? The usual approach of science constituting a mathematical model cannot answer the question of why there should be a universe for the model to describe.' That is decisive--crushing...." (in First Things)

But Dawkins has more mistakes to make in his insistence upon a atheist straw man God. I'll follow that trajectory in part II...coming soon to a blog new you.

Ironically Dawkins makes a most telling statement:

Wouldn't we be tempted to fall on our knees and worship them, as a medieval peasant might if suddenly confronted with such miracles as a Boeing 747, a mobile telephone or Google Earth? But, however god-like the aliens might seem, they would not be gods, and for one very important reason. They did not create the universe; it created them, just as it created us. Making the universe is the one thing no intelligence, however superhuman, could do, because an intelligence is complex—statistically improbable —and therefore had to emerge, by gradual degrees, from simpler beginnings: from a lifeless universe—the miracle-free zone that is physics.

Of course he thinks he's making a comment on the primitive superstitious mind and how it turns ordinary things we understand into "supernatural." But the irony is this statement really tells us more about Dawkins and the atheist than about medieval peasants. Rather than describing the mind of primitive mind it is rather a window in the atheist mind and shows what they deify; themselves, their own control of nature, their gadgetry, what the assume "primitives" would worship that they so easy understand (making them the objects of worship). It also shows us their need of God. They have jacked down the glamor of the divine from an eternal mystery to something they think have a handle upon, laws of physics, but of course they can't really tell us anything about them. Where are they kept? what makes them happen? How can they exist before there is a universe to describe? The faint trace of mystery and thus of deity lingers in Dawkin's liturgical praise of his own interests.

4 comments:

Loren said...

Your argument:
2) c/a governed by laws of physics.
What???

3) Laws of physics must have orgnaizing principal
If I interpret your spelling correctly, it's an "organizing principle". I've yet to see even the tiniest speck of evidence for that contention.

4) Mind is the only example for organizing principal
I've yet to see even the tiniest speck of evidence for that contention either.

5) An Organizing principal based upon Mind that creates everything is called "God."
It could be something completely different, like a community of sentient entities, or a completely evil one. Or even one that will sentence you to eternal torment for following a false prophet.

Metacrock said...

Your argument:
2) c/a governed by laws of physics.
What???

c/e, E not A as in Effect, cause and effect.

3) Laws of physics must have orgnaizing principal
If I interpret your spelling correctly, it's an "organizing principle". I've yet to see even the tiniest speck of evidence for that contention.


It's obvious. lots of people support that idea, in fact everyone does. Look around. everyone has an organizing principle somewhere they they think is the key to understanding. It may be math, or logic, reason, physical law, scinece, whatever.

4) Mind is the only example for organizing principal
I've yet to see even the tiniest speck of evidence for that contention either.


really? show me anything else besides mind that can purposely organize things.

5) An Organizing principal based upon Mind that creates everything is called "God."

It could be something completely different, like a community of sentient entities, or a completely evil one.

that would still be God. stop thihnking of God as a man with a particular personaltiy and a proper name like Mr. Smith, Mr. God start thinking in terms of mutually exclive univers concepts. that's what God is.

God is not a thing in creation God is the basis of reality and anything that is the basis of reality is a proiri God.

just like anything that has three sides at right angles is a triangle.


Or even one that will sentence you to eternal torment for following a false prophet.

that wouldn't keep him from existing. what you appear to be telling me now is that you are refusing to consider the evidence becasue you don't like the idea of hell. That's not about the existence of God. not liking hell doesn't keep God form existing, and God existing doesn't necessitate hell.

Loren said...

Meta: Look around. everyone has an organizing principle somewhere they they think is the key to understanding. It may be math, or logic, reason, physical law, scinece, whatever.
Me: You're mixing up (1) tools for understanding the Universe and (2) how the Universe behaves.

Meta: show me anything else besides mind that can purposely organize things.
Me: I've yet to see any evidence of cosmic purpose, and natural selection can create pseudo-teleology, the appearance of purpose. Impersonal, non-mental cause and effect has been a VERY successful paradigm, so I see no reason to depart from it. Mind is an emergent effect, just as a house is an emergent effect from an appropriately-arranged pile of wooden boards and the like.

Furthermore, every mind readily accessible to us has a physical substrate, and from that, one can extrapolate that some Cosmic Overmind must have some sort of physical or quasi-physical Cosmic Substrate.

Metacrock said...

Meta: Look around. everyone has an organizing principle somewhere they they think is the key to understanding. It may be math, or logic, reason, physical law, scinece, whatever.

Me: You're mixing up (1) tools for understanding the Universe and (2) how the Universe behaves.

hu? why doesn't understanding entail knowing how it behaves?

Meta: show me anything else besides mind that can purposely organize things.

Me: I've yet to see any evidence of cosmic purpose, and natural selection can create pseudo-teleology, the appearance of purpose. Impersonal, non-mental cause and effect has been a VERY successful paradigm, so I see no reason to depart from it.


that's becasue scientists in the past were no willing to ask "where do the laws of nature come from?" they were willing to just assume there's a frame work and not deal with it,that was part of metaphysics. When we examine it of course it shows purpose because t it's so law like. that's why it's called "physical law."

fine tuning for example is a purposive sort of thing.


Mind is an emergent effect, just as a house is an emergent effect from an appropriately-arranged pile of wooden boards and the like.

I don't know of any house that just accidentally came together. Most house have planners, my father was one, they are called "architects."


Furthermore, every mind readily accessible to us has a physical substrate, and from that, one can extrapolate that some Cosmic Overmind must have some sort of physical or quasi-physical Cosmic Substrate.

(1) that's begging the questin, since phsyical law might be property of mind, then you can't say that.

(2) the evidence shows conscious ens is a basic property of nature, it's not just a side effect of chemicals.

(3) that's irrelevant to the issue. minds in organisms require physical brains, but organisms don't make law of physics.