Monday, October 31, 2011

The Central Argument of The God Delusion

While I often have not liked the way William Lane Craig presents some of his arguments I found this video to be interesting as he talks about the central message of Richard Dawkins book "The God Delusion." You may not agree with much or anything WLC has to say but it's worth a watch anyway.


  1. Some good points by WLC and some that I disagree with too. The one that keeps bugging me is that he acts as though atheism is attempting to disprove god. It cannot. Nothing ever will. Even if we find out exactly how the universe came to be, one can always say "god did it and he loves me".

    WLC is right that Dawkins cannot disprove god by simply arguing that the argument from design is a poor argument for god. There are plenty of other arguments for god. I know you've seen my breakdown of WLC's arguments for god, so I won't get into that. I'm just frustrated by the lack of substance in every one of them. It all boils down to faith.

    Also, I have a problem with this sentence when used to support the notion of god: "In order to recognize that an explanation is the best, you don't need an explanation of that explanation". The problem, of course, is that God is not the best explanation for the origin of the universe. Going back to good ol' Carl Sagan, if you want to say God was eternal you could just say the universe was eternal and now you have an even better explanation (simpler, using Occam's Razor). Or if you want to say you don't need an explanation for god you can save a step and say you don't need an explanation for the universe. There, problem solved. Of course, nobody is willing to say that this is the 'best explanation' because there are still unknowns. But it is certainly simpler and better by all means than saying you don't need an explanation for God (an additional, unnecessary entity).

    I don't believe that WLC fails to understand this. I think he knows the counter arguments and just chooses to ignore them. He knows he's fighting for a mysterious thing that cannot be known, but he chooses to pretend that it is the most logical argument anyways when it isn't. At least most Christians are willing to admit that their beliefs aren't the most "logical" or "reasonable" - by saying that they need faith. And that's fine. But WLC seems goofy in acting as though he has the most reasonable approach when it just isn't.

  2. Thanks for the feedback man I was wondering what your thoughts would be. I like it when people attempting to argue for God say atheists need to disprove God, its a good face-palm moment :)

    And I agree somewhat in that you can't know if God is the best explanation or not because we certainly don't have all the variables that come into play in such a large universe. That said I think one can make a good case for why God is the best explanation but that doesn't necessarily mean He IS. God may very well be the simplest solution to the origin of the universe. Or at least to the origin of a habitable universe with consciousness and morals etc. I think we can sit here and imagine some sky-monster sitting in outter space and then we think that God seems like an unreasonable "firt cause" but wthout fully understanding what truely makes God god its hard to know for sure.

    Anyway its finals week so back to the books I go. See you in 2 months!

  3. Hey man... can you just clarify one thing?

    I agree that God is the "simplest" solution to explain things in that it doesn't require any thought... you can just say 'goddidit' for anything and everything and it's a simple of an explanation as you can get. Of course, through science we know that things are far more complex. But when you really dig down and start wondering about the origins of life and so forth, "god" isn't all that simple either because then one can ask "where did god from?" or "how did God always exist?". The answer for that, of course, would be that god transcends the rules. But is that the simplest response? Isn't it simpler to just say "life" or "everything" transcends the rules. I don't know... I just don't see it as all that simple except that it's the easiest answer without having to find out "why" or "how".

    Anyways, good luck on the finals! Can't wait to see ya, man!

  4. Well I'll try and give you a quick answer because I'm going to be up till 2 or 3 as it is now. When I say simplest I don't mean we should be satisfied saying "God did it, end of story." I think God might be the best explanation in the same way that I could say Billy over at Chevrolet made my truck. Ultimately Billy is the simple answer for how my truck became a truck but if I wanted to know how every single part of it worked and how it was all put together I could take the time to study every little detail about it and how it works. I think thats similar anyway to where I stand at this moment in time. To quote an old friend I think God gives us the answer of why we are here at all, and science is slowly but surely telling us the how.

    So simply God is the simple answer, but that doesn't mean we should just stop at that. :)

  5. Gotcha... and why do you use God as the explanation? Due to irreducible complexity and appearance of design?

    (I hope you got some sleep man!)

  6. Because I think its the best explanation for consciousness and morality, for why we should have the ability for thought and interaction. It's almost a god-of-gaps type arugment I know but Francis Collins and Karl Gibberson give some pretty good arugments and explanations for why its not a god-of-gaps position in "The Language of God" and "The Language of Science and Faith." Though I did get Sam Harris book "The Moral Landscape" online about 2 or 3 weeks ago and I plan on reading it between now and Christmas break to get his perspective at least on the morality part.

    And I'm not a subscriber to irreducible complexity because every example that believers have brought up to be I.C. has been shown to be false (or atleast every example I've looked into). However, I also think a strong argument can be made on the appearance of design but at the same time we shouldn't confuse appearnces with actuality. Apperances can be deceiving right?

    And thanks 4 exams down 2 to go tomorrow so far they've all gone extrememly well so I'm pumped about that!

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Good to hear your exams are going well... awesome!

    To be honest, I see nothing in the morality argument. I'm not sure if you've watched these two videos on my blog, but they cover it quite well in my opinion:

    Sam Harris has an interesting take as well. You'll enjoy the book.

    As for consciousness, it's certainly a mystery that I don't have an explanation for. I've seen various mythologists argue that everything that is living has consciousness (plants, animals, humans) but that our enhanced ability to communicate makes us feel as though we are far more special than we necessarily are. I just don't know. To me, we as humans are very special. But it just doesn't necessitate a god in my mind because that would only suggest that one mystery requires an even greater mystery in order to explain it. As in - how do we have this amazing gift of consciousness and morality? Two options: 1) We could 'just have it' in that we are special or 2) A being that goes far beyond our own gifts of consciousness and morality gave it to us. But then you'd need to explain how that entity gained his consciousness and morality. Again, why require the extra step?

    I think too much. Anyways, I can't wait to see ya again. We need to line up some floor hockey when you're here.

  9. Thanks, and I'll watch them this weekend for sure. I have watched some Sam Harris videos on morality but I can't remember if I watched the ones on your site awhile back.

    Consciousness is a pretty unique gift. I don't know if it requires a God or not but it does make sense, and at least seem plausible, that consciousness can only arise from consciousness. I mean you only see certain things in the observable world and one of those things is that for anything to have consciousness or some idea that it is alive it must come from a previously conscious entity. I don't think God introduces a "greater mystery" especially if you consider that the Bible (and all the major holy books for the main monotheistic religions for that matter) state that God has always existed, He didn't aquire his consciousness out of nowhere. It also addresses Carl Sagan's "why not save a step and say the universe was always eternal" because the universe is a nonconscious thing and like I said earlier consciousness is only observed coming from consciousness. So like I always say I don't know if that means a God is necessary or not but to me it certainly says that a God is plausible and not necessarily a huge leap of blind faith.

    Maybe we are just lucky but for me that seems like just as big of a leap of faith.

    You don't think too much, you just like researching the topic more than most people I know. Thats a good thing though, I have never really had someone to share ideas with before except in the God thread but that usually just ended up in atheists insulting theists intelligence.

    And hockey will for sure be organize at least once when I get back. I hate not having ball hockey in the states. No fun...

  10. Me and my silly spelling mistakes :p 4 hours of sleep in the last 48+ hours will do that I guess.

  11. Thanks man... good response and some good thoughts for me to chew on. We'll keep in touch. Now get some sleep and enjoy the weekend with your wife!