Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Jeff Lowder's Six Observations that Disconfirm Theism


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Louder was answering a poster, Christian apologist, named "Wintery Knight," what caught my eye was his title something about Six observations that disconfirmj Theism. Then says they are better explained by naturalism than by theism. I do not know Wintery Knight but apparently he's a creationist. I am not, so I wont defend his views.

Now some of these things might be better explained by naturalism. That is appeal to abductive reasoning, or inferences based upon best explanation. That's not proof. Abduction is neither proof nor probability. I'm not saying it's invalid, I make abductive arguments too. But we must weigh the value of those concepts that are best explained by naturalism against the value of those best explained by theism.

Moreover, there is a difference in "disconfirm theism" and "best explained by naturalism." The latter is not proof, it's a form of inference used when proof is not forthcoming. The former implies actual disproof of theism. My argument will be that neither is the case, except maybe in some instances where we understand the naturalistic reasons better, but they don't out weigh the instances where theism is the better explanation.

One other preliminary point. This is not an attack on Jeff. The assumptions he seems to makes behind each of these points is that theism us represented by fundamentalism of the YEC kind. I', basic liberal or perhaps neo-Orthodox, so these things don't pertain to what I think of as theism. I understand he was answering a creationist so of course he makes that assumption. Not a criticism.

The six points:

1.The universe began to exist with time, not in time.
. True, if we are working in the frame work of standard big bang model. I always do. I fail to see why this point disconfirms or requires a theistic explanation. All major theologians in the world today accept this, why can't God create the universe with time as opposed to in time? I anticipate the "no possible action or thought outside time" but I'll let him make that call. I have a good answer.
2.So much of the universe is hostile to life.
He links to a page in this vein:
...that argument commits the fallacy of understated evidence. In other words, even if the general fact of fine-tuning is more probable on the assumption that theism is true than on the assumption that naturalism is true, it ignores other, more specific facts about fine-tuning, facts that, given fine-tuning, are more likely on naturalism than on theism. - See more at: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularoutpost/2013/01/22/hostility-of-the-universe-to-life-understated-evidence-about-cosmic-fine-tuning/#sthash.JMfCWEFH.dpuf
We can get to fine tuning latter, I'm sure we will and when that time comes I will defend it. I have two observations now:

(1) Fine tuning asserts that the universe is hostile to life. That's why life is so improbable. The argument only works if that is the case, so it hardly counts against the argument.

(2) We have to examinje each fact. Ill do two right now.

FT#1 for links to the supporting arguments.)FT1: Our universe is not teeming with life, including life much more impressive than human life. (Given that intelligent life of some sort exists in some universe, the fact that our universe is not known to have relatively more impressive life is much more probable on single-universe naturalism than it is on theism.)
Same answer. If itv was teaming there would be no FT argument. So that hardly counts against. and
FT2: The only intelligent life we know of is human and it exists in this universe. (Given that intelligent life of some sort exists in some universe, the fact that the only intelligent life we know of is human and that it inhabits this universe is very many times more probable on single-universe naturalism than it is on theism.) - See more at: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularoutpost/2013/01/22/hostility-of-the-universe-to-life-understated-evidence-about-cosmic-fine-tuning/#sthash.JMfCWEFH.xDYbMeD5.dpuf
Sorry, I thought you wanted an example of intelligent life? You heard the Republican candidates yet? Well there is Berney Sanders. :-) Seriously that point serves the fundies better than it does you. They could say that proves we are made in God's image so we are the only intelligent life. I don't even think we are that.
3.Complex living things are the gradually modified descendants of simpler living things.
This is meant to counter the creationist he was arguing with so it's understandable why he says it. Yet I will just remark that as I have no problem with evolution I have no problem with this ideas. I don't think it is any better explained in a naturalistic world view. No reason why God could not use evolution as a mechanism. Then to ask why would "he" do so is to assume that God is like a big man. I know Jeff is aware that there are many Christian views that are more sophisticated than that.
4.All non-question-begging examples of minds are minds dependent upon a physical brain.
Of course that's a matter of who is advancing the argument as to what is question begging. For example ameba's exhibit behaviors that imply mind (such as hunt) in fact this is true of the whole class of single cell organisms, they do not have brains.

(Similarly, excluding examples of so-called “complex specified information” allegedly related to intelligent design, all other examples of complex specified information involve a mind dependent on a physical brain.)
I have no problem granting that minds are dependent on brains but don't think that as any relevance in relation to Christian truth claims.

(1) Most Christians would accept that God would create us with brains s that produce minds, most Christians do not identify then mind with the soul.

(2) There's an epistemological problem with your view. It is not possible to rule out the assumption that mind is accessed through brain, like word processing program is accessed by a monitor. Or maybe I should say by an OS. Anyway the point is you can't prove the assertion that brain produces mind. two sub points:

a. Even if it does that doesn't mean mind reduces to brain. It's top down causation.

b. Chalmers proves mind is a basic property of nature. Thus here's an example where theism explains better. Mind behind the universe implants mind as basic property. You really can't account for it naturalistically.

5.Pain and pleasure appear to play a biological, not a moral, role in the lives of sentient organisms.
Shades of Jerry Bentham. I think that's a bit subjective. But it's contradicted by human behavior. Most murders are done due to depraved passions not hedonistic calculus.

6.Only a fraction of living things, including the majority of sentient beings, thrive.
In other words, very few living things have an adequate supply of food and water, are able to reproduce, avoid predators, and remain healthy. An even smaller fraction of organisms thrive for most of their lives. Almost no organisms thrive for all of their lives - See more
I will grant you that this something to wonder about. The real question is why did God make a real world that seems not make his presence obvious? Of course a lot of that depends upon where you look, how you look, what assumptions one makes. I think I have a good answer. It's answered by my Soteriological drama argument.
Furthermore, in addition to these six lines of evidence, we have a seventh piece of evidence (really, meta-evidence): the history of science and the success of naturalistic explanations. Like the first six lines of evidence, this fact is also antecedently more probable on naturalism than on theism. - See more at: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularoutpost/2015/10/05/six-findings-from-experimental-science-which-disconfirm-theism/#disqus_thread
Sorry Jeff, that Sean Carroll sort of argument and it's really just saying "here accept my ideology." The facts you would site as "scientific" to defend that view are accepted by myself, as well as people who really know science (as I don't) such as Polkinghorn or Fritz Schaffer. They aren't led into atheism and they accept ass the same facts you are speaking of, that is a philosophical matter that extends beyond science. God gave us brains and led us into science through devout Christians such as Newton and Boyle. As Popper tells us science is not a big pile of facts, it's about hypothesis eliminating, the last one standing is assumed true. Without actual disproofs there's no eliminating the hypothesis. That's why an abductive approach is not enough. I'm Not saying that it's not valuable but it's not enough to overturn a belief system that for 2000 years has had the lion's share of great thinkers. Even going beyond Christianity there are a lot more great thinkers who are open to some notion of God and don't close that off with labels.
If there is a single theme unifying the history of science, it is that naturalistic (i.e., non-supernatural) explanations work.
Sorry, have to disagree. The French philosophes closed off thinking in terms of scholasticism and made up their own straw nan version of SN and atheists have been attacking it since that time (see my essay What is SN?). No scientific paradigm was ever predicated upon disproof of SN. In fact the philosoes practically worshiped Newton and he thought science proved SN.
The history of science contains numerous examples of naturalistic explanations replacing supernatural ones and no examples of supernatural explanations replacing naturalistic ones.
It also contains examples of disproof of naturalistic hypotheses. Science is not a fortress of facts it'sverisimilitude. It's hypothesis testing. But belief in God is not a hypothesis. You can't test it scientifically.
Indeed, naturalistic explanations have been so successful that even most scientific theists concede that supernatural explanations are, in general, implausible, even on the assumption that theism is true. Such explanatory success is antecedently more likely on naturalism–which entails that all supernaturalistic explanations are false–than it is on theism. Thus the history of science is some evidence for metaphysical naturalism and against theism. Since metaphysical naturalism entails that no supernatural beings exist, including God, the history of science is some evidence for atheism.Series Index - See more at: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularoutpost/2012/07/21/index-the-evidential-argument-from-the-history-of-science-ahs/#sthash.9OCHSUg3.dpuf
That's merely because most people don't go to seminary or study history of ideas. They only know the philosophe's straw man SN,not the real thing.

In The Trace of GodI show a body of work consisting of over 200 empirical studies over a 50 year period, peer reviewed academic journals that demonstrates empirical scientific evidence for the truth of the SN.

9 comments:

JBsptfn said...

That Lowder is a wonderful guy (lol). Stan had some fun with him a year and a half ago on Atheism-Analyzed:

Atheism-Analyzed: Posts dealing with Jeff Lowder

Joe Hinman said...

I like him. If the whole sec web had been like him it would have been ok. I had an exchange with him a couple years ago. Over bayes. In fact I was looking for that when I found this one.

Joe Hinman said...

psssst btw I really am a robot, don't tell em.

The Thinker said...

"why can't God create the universe with time as opposed to in time?"

Because that would presuppose there was time before time, which is or course illogical.

How does a timeless god who knows everything freely choose to create our world and not some other world? God can't make decisions, because if he did that would require time, and he can't be indecisive because that would falsify his omniscience. So god must have the eternal desire and knowledge to create our world, say World X, and not some other world, say World Y, – meaning there was never a time god wanted to create World Y instead of World X; he always wanted to create World X. How then is the creation of World X freely decided by god if the creation of world Y or the forbearance to create any world never existed? And how does god create time, if prior to time existing literally nothing can happen?

Joe Hinman said...

ME:"why can't God create the universe with time as opposed to in time?"

>>>>
TT:"Because that would presuppose there was time before time, which is or course illogical.

"not necessarily. Remember I said I have an answer. My view better explants origins but the atheist view has the same problem, If there is no change in a timeless state then nothing should ever have come to be. That is just as true of a naturalistic world with no God.


My solution is that what we take as "reality" is the sensorium of God. It's in the mind of God. Thus the rules of physical law don't apply and God's imagination is what governs what happens.




TT:
How does a timeless god who knows everything freely choose to create our world and not some other world?

"If God created another world instead of this one we would never miss it. That is a meaningless argument. why would being a different world mean he couldn't do it? I am not a determinist. I assume Laplace was wrong.




God can't make decisions, because if he did that would require time, and he can't be indecisive because that would falsify his omniscience.


"That just assumes laws of nature and physics, you are assuming determinism and closed system. reality is not based energy but upon mind. God is not subject to laws of physics, they are just ideas in his mind and he can think new ideas. That's the only way to explain how we can get around that problem. Naturalistic Godless world can't change laws, so theism is the better explanation."




So god must have the eternal desire and knowledge to create our world, say World X, and not some other world, say World Y, – meaning there was never a time god wanted to create World Y instead of World X; he always wanted to create World X. How then is the creation of World X freely decided by god if the creation of world Y or the forbearance to create any world never existed? And how does god create time, if prior to time existing literally nothing can happen?


In order to answer that I would have know what it's like to be God. But I assume the problems of time and non-time go away when God thinks about a different set up, and that's possible because laws of physics don't control him any more than my day dreams control me.

No offense I'm trying to insult but I think you think of God as a big man and I assume that God is more grandiose than that."

Hey thinker I appreciate the thought that went into your views. Thanks for your input. feel free to post any time! :-)

Joe Hinman said...

I meant to say NOT trying to insult. gereeeeeszzzz!

The Thinker said...

Thanks for your kind words.

My view better explants origins but the atheist view has the same problem, If there is no change in a timeless state then nothing should ever have come to be. That is just as true of a naturalistic world with no God.

Your view doesn't. It's actually logically impossible and requires theists to make special pleading statements. The atheists can say there never was a timeless state. At every moment of existence, time exists.


Thus the rules of physical law don't apply and God's imagination is what governs what happens.

This isn't the rule of physical law, it's the rule of logical law. From timelessness comes timelessness. A timeless mind is by definition non functional.

"If God created another world instead of this one we would never miss it. That is a meaningless argument. why would being a different world mean he couldn't do it? I am not a determinist. I assume Laplace was wrong.

That doesn't even grasp the problem you face. You can't offer an explanation of why got created this world and not another especially since he's timeless. It seems you must come to a brute fact.

"That just assumes laws of nature and physics, you are assuming determinism and closed system. reality is not based energy but upon mind. God is not subject to laws of physics, they are just ideas in his mind and he can think new ideas. That's the only way to explain how we can get around that problem. Naturalistic Godless world can't change laws, so theism is the better explanation."

All this requires is logic, no physical laws are requires. A timeless mind is by definition non functional.

In order to answer that I would have know what it's like to be God. But I assume the problems of time and non-time go away when God thinks about a different set up, and that's possible because laws of physics don't control him any more than my day dreams control me.

In order to think time is requires. So my argument has little to do with physics, it's almost all logic.


Joe Hinman said...

"Your view doesn't. It's actually logically impossible and requires theists to make special pleading statements. The atheists can say there never was a timeless state. At every moment of existence, time exists."

Your assumption is fallacious. You assume there are no circumstances under which the laws of nature do not apply apply. We know there are. Every cosmologist says the laws bend at the singularity..

I said those laws don't apply to God because he made them and he is transcendent of them. You argue truth by stipulation. You have not disproved the possibility of the argument, Its not question begging just because it smashes your truth regime.



"That doesn't even grasp the problem you face. You can't offer an explanation of why got created this world and not another especially since he's timeless. It seems you must come to a brute fact."

saying we would not miss it is a serious answer. My argument was it's a meaningless criticism because we could never know and you must show wny it matters. such a dodge.

"In order to think time is requires. So my argument has little to do with physics, it's almost all logic."

You argue the fallacy of ipsie dixit. you have not proven there's only one way things can e. that's arguing determinism by stipulation. Do you not know that nota,, scientiusts are determonists? we don't have to be.

"This isn't the rule of physical law, it's the rule of logical law. From timelessness comes timelessness. A timeless mind is by definition non functional."

of course it is

Joe Hinman said...

Go read Hawking's grand design. Not that I agree with him but you will see the atheists biggest gun thinks that laws are required for everything.

It's logical that no change in timeless state is because of physical law since every cosmologists explains it in terms of physical laws disappearing at the singularity.