Sunday, August 19, 2012

Dr. Craig's Closing Statements - an exemplar of organization

I've finally arrived at the closing statements for the 1995 Dr. William Lane Craig - Dr. Massimo Pigliucci debate on "Does God Exist?"

Now, Dr. Craig's's closing statement:

I certainly hope you've enjoyed the debate as much as I have this evening! It's been a very stimulating exchange, I think.

Second Question

Argument from Imperfections

First, what arguments have we seen that falsify the hypothesis that God exists? Well, in the last speech we basically heard again the so called "imperfection argument." But, here, I think, it became evident from Dr. Pigliucci's comments that his arguments are based on the false assumption that according to theism the world is perfect. Frankly, I can't imagine where he got that idea. As Christians, we believe God is perfect, but not that the world is perfect. Look at Genesis, as God saw that the creation was "good."24 And I think it certainly is good! But the idea that it is a perfectly functioning machine is no part of Christian theology or theism. And without that assumption his whole argument evaporates.
Dr. C still keeps hammering with "what arguments have we seen that falsify the hypothesis that God exists?". This is at least the third time he's said this. I wonder if a debate opponent has ever thrown up their arms and exclaimed "Are you stoopid? How many times do we have to tell you that we have no responsibility for falsifying your delusional claims?!?"

As for Craig's claim that "God is perfect, but the universe doesn't have to be" - yes, I get that. God works in mysterious ways, he created a universe that looks exactly as if he doesn't exist. Crafty fucker, ain't he? Looks like he's almost as big a trickster as Loki is.

God - apparently
As for the argument concerning evolution, he misquoted me. He said there is no consensus that human beings would not have evolved by chance. My argument from Barrow and Tipler said that there is a consensus among every evolutionary biologists that sentient life which is comparable to homo sapiens in information-processing ability is so improbable that it's unlikely to have evolved anywhere else in the visible universe. And, therefore, you cannot use evolution as an argument against theism. On the contrary, evolution is actually an argument for theism because it is so improbable that it's unlikely to have occurred in the absence of a supervising Designer.
This is nonsense. If Barrow and Tipler had said something that changed the general understanding of the world, we'd all be singing the praises of Barrow and Tipler and shaking our heads at how wrong everyone else was. That's clearly not the case.

It sounds as if he's retreated to a deist conception of God. How does he defend this?

Pragmatic Argument for Naturalism

Finally, he argued that naturalism is tested everyday, and it works. I would say that it only tests that there are natural laws. But that's consistent with the idea that there is a Creator who has made a universe that functions normally according to natural laws.
I guess we should start calling this "The Argument From Loki".

The idea of a creator - as articulated in this debate by Dr. Craig - is not resolved at all. On the theistic view, God could have created the universe any way it pleased, yet chose to create it so that it looks as if it had absolutely nothing to do with it. Why does it hide behind a framework that gives every indication that no intervention by any entity was ever involved? Why does nature never give any indication that anything supernatural, no matter how un-omni-anything, is going on? Oh, I forgot - It must be part of God's plan.

So none of these arguments provide good grounds for thinking that the God hypothesis is false. In fact what has emerged from this aspect of the debate are two arguments for the existence of God in addition to the five I gave, namely, (1) the argument from evolution and (2) the argument from the existence of evil. So I thank Dr. Pigliucci for giving me two additional arguments on my side of the debate for the existence of God tonight!
For the umpteenth time, Craig swings this "none of these arguments provide good grounds for thinking that the God hypothesis is false" tack hammer to drive a bridge piling. As long as human beings think that any mythical nonsense is valid until proven false, delusional nonsense of this sort is free to propagate throughout the world. This may be the single most compelling reason to reject belief in the supernatural - the crippling effect it has on the human intellect.

First Question

Now what about reasons that verify the God hypothesis?

First Argument

First, I argued that God is required by the origin of the universe. We saw that whatever begins to exist has a cause; the universe began to exist; and, therefore, there must be a transcendent, personal cause of the universe.
We saw that this is wrong.

Refer to the following:

...or Google it!
Second Argument

Secondly, I argued that complex order of the initial conditions of the universe points to God as a Designer over the universe. And here Dr. Pigliucci now says that "This is such a waste of space! The universe is so large!" Not at all! These stellar spaces are necessary in order for the stars to cook up the heavy elements which are necessary for the existence of life on Earth; and in order to be that old the universe would have expand 15 billion years. So the size of the universe is related to the age of the stars, which is related to the furnaces necessary to make the elements requisite for intelligent life. And, frankly, as a theist I may argue that there may be life elsewhere in the universe that God has created. How do we know that it is wasted space? Perhaps God has created life elsewhere. But wherever life exists, it all depends upon that fine-tuning present in the Big Bang itself, which no one has been able to explain by chance.
Audacious of Dr. Craig to claim that this universe, that looks exactly as if it came from a small hot dense mass of quarks and gluons 13.7 billion years ago, somehow needed "an uncaused, changeless, timeless, and immaterial being of unimaginable power which created the universe. Moreover, I would argue, it must also be personal.".
The refutations of fine-tuning and the design arguments are many:
...or Google It!
Third Argument

Thirdly, objective moral values exist. Again, we saw that in the absence of God we are left with moral nihilism: there is no right and wrong. If you do believe that there are objective moral values, then, I think, you will agree with me that God exists.
A shining example of appealing to emotions. We were never treated to any demonstration of, or proof that objective moral values exist. He just appeals to the very common attitude that some things are just plain wrong, and that everyone shares that exact same set of attitudes.
...or Google the mother!!!
Fourth Argument

Finally, with respect to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, I think I showed that the resurrection is the best explanation of those three facts recognized by the majority of New Testament scholars today.
Lack of evidence, anyone? Just to get your mind warmed up, visit the Wikipedia page on The Historicity and origin of the Resurrection of Jesus. Since the Resurrection is really a claim to fact, the discussion is less about sound arguments, and more about the existence of cold hard, undeniable evidence. Since there is none, this is a less persuasive argument in my eyes.

I noted earlier in the series, and even the tepidly curious can independently verify, that Paul (Saul of Tarsus) is the earliest writer of Christian literature, circa 49-51 AD, or about 20 years after Jesus' passing. Another twenty years pass before we see Gospels written in the names of Matthew, Mark, Luke and (later) John. No contemporary civil records exist - the facts of his childhood as related in the Synoptic Gospels do not match each other and the historical record - the historical references to Jesus come late in the First Century, and none have independent verification associated with them. For all anyone knows, it's a complete fabrication, although considering it a local legend is the most charitable interpretation I can give it.
Fifth Argument

Finally, the immediate experience of God. Let me just say this: I wasn't raised in a Christian home or a church-going family. But when I became a teenager, I began to ask the big questions in life--about the meaning of life and death--,and in the search for answers I began to read the New Testament. And I discovered in the person of Jesus a figure that just arrested and captivated me. His words had the ring truth about them. And after a period of about six months of the most intense soul-searching--to make a long story short--, I just gave my life to God, and I experienced a sort of inner rebirth. God became an immediate living reality in my life, a reality that has never left me. And I would just challenge you: if you would like to know God in that sort of way yourself, begin to do what I did. Read the New Testament. I believe it could change your life in the same way that it changed mine.
Dr. Craig has dispensed with debating and is simply preaching here.

I'm glad that Dr. Craig is not the mass-murderer that I can only assume he would be without an abiding belief in a supernatural sky-daddy, but this is unquestionably his weakest argument.

The universe is indifferent, incapable of caring about what we think. Dr. Craig's personal feelings, no matter how broadly people sympathize with them, are irrelevant, thus useless as an argument.

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