Sunday, July 29, 2012

Dr. Craig continues his first rebuttal

Continuing Dr. William Lane Craig's first rebuttal in the 1995 Dr. William Lane Craig - Dr. Massimo Pigliucci debate on "Does God Exist?".

Previous reviews of this same debate can be found starting here through Dr. Craig's first rebuttal

Dr. Craig:

The Regression Argument

(2) What about the regression argument, that the more we know the less we think God intervenes in the universe? Well, notice that that argument doesn't prove that God doesn't exist. It doesn't even prove that God doesn't often intervene in the universe. All that follows from that argument is the sociological factor that we don't think God often intervenes in the universe. And that conclusion is perfectly compatible with the idea that God often in fact does intervene in the universe. But, moreover, even if it were true that God doesn't often intervene in the universe in miraculous ways, that's not incompatible with Christianity. After all, miracles by their nature are relatively rare, and I don't think that God does frequently go around intervening in the universe in miraculous ways. So the argument is simply inconclusive.

Dr. Craig serves up a world-class vacuity: "notice that that argument doesn't prove that God doesn't exist". Ummm ... haven't we established a number of times that the burden of proof is on the claimant, and Dr. Craig - taking the affirmative position on the question "Does God Exist" - has that burden? And aren't we still waiting to hear rational argument that the affirmative position is superior to the negative one? And shouldn't we expect that the negative position won't waste any time on trying to prove a negative? The answers are yes, yes, yes and yes. Dr. Craig is not living up to his responsibility in the debate so far.

Pragmatic Argument for Naturalism

(3) What about the argument that naturalism works? Not at all! What works are scientific hypotheses. But those do not test naturalism because on the hypothesis that there is a Creator God who has designed the universe to operate according to certain natural laws, that could also work. So the fact that scientific theories work is in no sense a proof of naturalism.

What would you call this - a "Me Too" argument? Dr. Craig makes it sound as if naturalism is unproven, except if it is, couldn't it also be that God made it that way, thus proving the existence of God.

If Dr. Craig were interested in proving the existence of God, he would come up with at least one hypothesis that can be tested and whose only explanation would be the existence of God. Throughout human history, such a thing has never been done. It ***could*** be done, but isn't. The universe of possible answers to the question "why hasn't an attempt to prove the existence of God been made" ever been performed has many possible alternatives, including "it can't be done", "there's too much money to be made" and "we need to keep the unwashed masses guessing so that we can retain power". Other answers are possible as well, but these come to mind at the drop of a hat.

By the way, I don't know what tactic Dr. Craig is pursuing in his Me Too argument, but it speaks to believers because they already assume that God is behind it all. Never mind that the point of the debate is "Does God Exist?", and that using God as a term in a premiss is circular, thus invalid. Oh well.

Problem of Evil

(4) He says, "What about the problem of evil?" Well, let me make two responses here.
First, no atheist has ever been able to show a logical inconsistency between the propositions "God exists" and "Evil exists." They tried, but no one has ever been able to show that those two are contradictory. In fact, you can actually show that they are consistent by adding a third proposition, namely, "God has morally sufficient reasons to permit evil." As long as that third proposition is even possibly true, it shows that God's existence and evil's existence are logically compatible. The atheist seems to assume that if God has morally sufficient reasons for permitting evil, we have to be privy to them. But there's absolutely no reason to think that that is true.
In fact, secondly, evil is actually proof that God exists. My argument would go like this:
1. If God does not exist, objective moral values do not exist. (Dr. Pigliucci agrees.)
2. Evil exists.
3. Therefore, objective values exist. (Some things are really evil.)
4. Therefore, God exists.
And thus evil only calls into question God's existence on a superficial level. On a deeper philosophical level evil actually demonstrates the existence of God because evil as such could not exist without God.

Dr. Craigs first "refutation" of the argument from evil puts him in the position of arguing for a God that permits evil. This is strange, since Christianity makes a big deal about God's goodness. Maybe God can't do anything about it. Maybe he doesn't want to. Maybe he's evil. Maybe he doesn't exist. The possibilities are endless. If God exists and evil exists, why worship the fucker?

Notwithstanding my bad attitude about religion, arguing that the coexistence of God and Evil is not inconsistent is no argument for a Christian God. The negative position should press this, as all we get out of this particular argument is a God that humans would be distrustful of.

Noah's Ark

(5) The fifth argument he raised was the problem of Noah's Ark. I would simply just dismiss this by saying: First, it doesn't disprove the existence of God. Secondly, I would take Noah's flood to be a local flood, not a universal flood, in any case.
So all of these arguments, I think, are either invalid or based on false premises and hardly present any good reason to think that atheism is true.

Noah's Ark is a physical impossibility, and Dr. Craig knows it - he squirms his way out of the discussion without providing a rejoinder. A strong point for the non-theist position.

These rebuttals reviewed today are pretty shallow. Both the Problem of Evil and the Noah's Ark interlude raise the question of Bible inerrancy. Obviously Noah's Ark is easy to attack, but so are Yahweh's incompetence, petulance and immoral behavior. Add to that the inconsistencies that abound, and a Christian God becomes an obvious implausibility.

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