Thursday, October 15, 2015

My answer to Jeff Lowder's Answer to me on His Six Points That Disconfirm Theism


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I recently exchanged views with Jeff Lowder (secular web) on his secular outpost blog. He had a piece about six observations from science that disconfirm theism. I answered him on this blog. Now he has made his reply over on secular outpost:"Scientific Evidence Against God’s Existence: A Reply to Joe Hinman."
(October 9, 2015 by Jeffery Jay Lowder).



(1) You expect theological explanation for things with no theological significance. Aspects of science may be real interesting and crucial for humanity but they are not of theological significance so no reason to expect that. They are just neutral facts, that's the crux of the whole deal.

(2) unless you show contradiction and competition between religion and science there is no reason to expect theism to explain anything scientific.Theism or any othyer sort of God belief.

(3 going back to our argument about Bayes and it comes in here. you cannot establish a basis of probability for or against God.

a. no basis for setting a prior;that will be colored by personal beliefs.

b. There is also no new information coming in n God.

When you try to assert explanations or assume their are none for God's actions you just beg thye question.

(4)He gives unequal weight to the various explanations. At least doing so isa danger of this kind of analysis. example: say for argument sake that Fine Turning is best explained by belief in God. But then the fact that I didn't get to be a banker (the great tragedy of my life) is best explained by naturalism. Then I'm going to be a naturalist because if there was a God surely he would have made e a banker!

I've cleared away a great deal of material because it seemed like minutia. A lot of "you said, I said, here's what I meant." That stuff often bogs us down.. Jeff never did come to terms with the issue of contradiction but put up smoke screen by accusing me of not understanding the form of argument. Most of that comes down to probability as the only valid measurer (I take that to be his view). Everything he says he brings back to probability but he couches the argument in terms of best explanation. which is abductive and not based upon probability.

Probability is induction: see Peter Lipton, Inference to The Best Explanation. New York: Routledge, International Library of Philosophy, 2nd ed.,2004.

The distinction he makes between "best explanation" and "better" I find trivial. We know we are comparing between his view and mine no need to worry about all the other possibilities that we will never consider.

In reply to my first argument, he asks, “Why can’t God create the universe with time as opposed to in time?” But that argument doesn’t claim that God cannot create the universe with time. Rather, it simply claims that the universe’s beginning with time is more probable on naturalism than on theism.
Why? Because God can't create the universe with time? No reason is given it's truth by stipulation. Upon what could you possibly base the prior except a bias against belief?

Again the over all point to my whole thing was that we should not expect belief in God to answer questions of science because science and religion are not in competition. The two outlooks deal with different areas, with different magisteraia.

Similarly, in response to the argument from biological evolution, he writes, “No reason why God could not use evolution as a mechanism.” Again,Moreover, Hinman points out that a finding from experimental science is logically compatible with theism and, again, I reply that he’s missed the point of explanatory arguments in general and this argument in particular.
Explanatory is not probability, not necessarily. I did evidential reasoning for four years of college debate and I both beat and got my ass kicked by some of the top teams in the country.. Abduction is not induction (probability is induction). One bench mark of a best explanation is simplicity, but that does not require probability. Moreover, you still have no basis for setting a prior probabili8ty of God from which to calculate. It seems your judgments are guided not by logic or fact in relation to assessing what God would do.

The assertions that naturalism explains it better are ideological, no reasons given. I think you are assuming that if God was real he would be companionate and thus stop extinctions. I'm betting you wont mention my soteriological drama answer. Naturalism probably8 has a more parsimonious explaination but it has no need to explain higher motivations. That of course can't be construed to mean there are none. .

Yes, God could have used evolution. God also could have used other methods to create life besides evolution, methods which are logically incompatible with naturalism.
That seems like a meaningless statement. First because you assume level of knowledge about the universe that humans do not know yet. You assert that God could use other methods but that assumes knowledge of God you don't have. Secondly you assume a dichotomy between natural and spiritu7al (I think you really mean physical) that is meaningless. You are privileging "natural."
Prior to examining the scientific evidence for evolution, theists had good reason to predict that evolution is false. In contrast, if naturalism is true, evolution pretty much has to be true. (I’ll say a little bit more about this in a moment.)
you are arguing from analogy and you are historically wrong. Ministers asserted Darwin helped the Gospel as often as they assumed he hurt it. 4. Hinman seems to misunderstand what I mean by “theism.” He writes: 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 [sic] represented by fundamentalism of the YEC kind. I’, [sic] 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.
Contrary to what Hinman claims, however, I don’t think theism is “represented by fundamentalism of the YEC kind.” The idea that Hinman brings YEC into the discussion strikes me as odd, since nowhere in my post did I even mention the age of the universe. I think it’s charitable to assume that what Hinman really means is that I think theism is “represented by fundamentalism of the anti-evolution kind,” i.e., the kind of theist who denies what Purdue University philosopher Paul Draper calls the “genealogical” and “genetic” theses (see here for definitions and references). This interpretation would be more understandable since I do appeal to evolution against theism. He’s wrong to conclude, however, that my appeal to evolution presupposes that theism = fundamentalist, anti-evolution theism. (More on that in just a moment.)
first I was using YEC in more of an iconic way rather than literal. To me that view epitomizes ignorance and literalism. Secondly several things you say argue for my point: for You say "I do appeal to evolution against theism." That implies that you think they are competing or antithetical. You intimate that only argue that against anti-evolutionists, but you don't make that distinction until you arev pressed. I assume that since evolution is indicated by the evidence then God must have used it. I'm not seeking reasons to give up belief. They don't contradict because they don't compete for the same space. I don't see science as my salvation from big mean God. I'm not saying you do. I think you are more sophisticated than that. Yet you seem to see evolution and religion as antithetical. I do not. you have not demonstrate why we should ask religion to explain things that are not in its domain?
In fact, following Draper (see references here), I define theism as follows: supernatural person: a person that is not part of nature but can affect nature. Examples of supernatural persons include God, angels, Satan, demons, ghosts, etc.
OK not insulting you. I think you views are by and large sophisticated. This is not one of them. Angels and demons hu? that you think that's supernatural tells me you do think religion is about fundamentalism. this is pretty antiquated. that idea of SN comes from the enlightenment. see my essay "the original Christian Concept of the SN." Please take time to read it.
theism: the hypothesis that there exists an omnipotent, omniscient, and morally perfect person (God) who created the universe.
(1) the omnis are not valued in modern theology. Omnipotent is only used once in the bible (pantocrator) and there it doesn't mean all powerful but powerful in all venues. Not so much about ability as jurisdiction. (2) of course God would be morally perfect he's not flesh and blood so no struggle with fallen nature. His character is the standard of the good. (3) God is the personal itself but he's not a person. Like water molecules are not wet. Personhood is a social identity. Persons have personalities and personalities have hang ups. God has neither. a fourth one just occurred to me (4) you think belief in God = theism. it doesn't. Psul Tillich was a Panentheist. I tend in that direction too.
Since my definition of theism is so generic, it is obviously logically compatible with a belief in theistic evolution. So why, then, do I argue that evolution is evidence against theism? Hinman needs to read the section, “Evaluating Auxiliary Hypotheses,” in my essay, “Basic Structure of My Evidential Arguments.” If both God and life exist, then God either directly created life (aka so-called “special creationism”) or He indirectly created life (through either guided evolution ["theistic evolution"] or unguided evolution ["Darwinism"]). These options are auxiliary hypotheses to theism. As Draper has shown, the auxiliary hypothesis of special creationism is antecedently much more probable on theism than either the auxiliary hypothesis of theistic evolution or the auxiliary hypothesis of Darwinism. (Skip down to the section “Draper’s Defense of A” in this post.)
I would like to know upon what basis he concluded that. Sorry Jeff this is the kind of thinking that leads me to say you see Christianity as fundamentalism. No major theologian in the world today would agree with what you said. you would be laughed out of Perkins community lunch if you said that there (and they welcome everyone). I mean by that you mean non-evolutionary or "special" creation is more likely to be what God would do, that is absurd. If you mean more likely to be what the bible teaches of course it is it was written before modern science. But what the Bible teaches and what people think it teaches are two different things.
5. I’m going to stop my reply to Hinman here, at least for now. I’ve left some of his objections unaddressed, but for now I’ll just say this. I think that if you follow the links in my original post to my other posts which defend these arguments in much greater length, you’ll find that I’ve already addressed most, if not all, of his remaining objections. - See more at: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularoutpost/2015/10/09/scientific-evidence-against-gods-existence-a-reply-to-joe-hinman/#disqus_thread


the major points again

(1) You expect theological explanation for things with no theological significance. Aspects of science may be real interesting and crucial for humanity but they are not of theological significance so no reason to expect that. that's the crux of the whole deal.

(2) unless you show contradiction and competition between religion and science there is no reason to expect theism to explain anything scientific. (3 going back to our argument about Bayes and it comes in here. you cannot establish a basis of probability for or against God.

a. no basis for setting a prior,that will be colored by personal

(4)He gives unequal weight to the various explanations. At least doing so isa danger of this kind of analysis. example: say for argument sake that Fine Turning is best explained by belief in God. But then the fact that I didn't get to be a banker (the great tragedy of my life) is best explained by naturalism. Then I'm going to be a naturalist because if there was a God surely he would have made e a banker!


2 comments:

Joe Hinman said...

I asked him if I should look for a reply he said no. I wont claim he gave up I do note never explained the things I asked him to explain. He never answered the four points.

Joe Hinman said...

my review of Lowder's blog the secular outpost:

their comment section (secular outpost) moves like a busy message board. It's not like Carm. They are very intelligent and sophisticated. I bet they area bunch professional Id guys and maybe some science types. They are that but I mean professionally. They are also infuriating because they are very snobbish. they are very narrow minded but at least they don't get ugly like CARM atheists.