Friday, June 01, 2007

yale philosopher alvin plantinga reviews dawkins 'god delusion'

[CORRECTION: And by "Yale Philosopher" of course I mean "Notre Dame Philosopher". Perhaps that was some kind of Freudian wish-fulfilment on my part. Reformed Epistemologists can sometimes run together in my head. No doubt I was thinking of Nicholas Wolterstorff.]

A choice excerpt:

His detailed arguments are all for the conclusion that it is biologically possible that these various organs and systems should have come to be by unguided Darwinian mechanisms (and some of what he says here is of considerable interest). What is truly remarkable, however, is the form of what seems to be the main argument. The premise he argues for is something like this:

1. We know of no irrefutable objections to its being biologically possible that all of life has come to be by way of unguided Darwinian processes;

and Dawkins supports that premise by trying to refute objections to its being biologically possible that life has come to be that way. His conclusion, however, is

2. All of life has come to be by way of unguided Darwinian processes.


It's worth meditating, if only for a moment, on the striking distance, here, between premise and conclusion. The premise tells us, substantially, that there are no irrefutable objections to its being possible that unguided evolution has produced all of the wonders of the living world; the conclusion is that it is true that unguided evolution has indeed produced all of those wonders. The argument form seems to be something like

We know of no irrefutable objections to its being possible that p;
Therefore
p is true.


Philosophers sometimes propound invalid arguments (I've propounded a few myself); few of those arguments display the truly colossal distance between premise and conclusion sported by this one. I come into the departmental office and announce to the chairman that the dean has just authorized a $50,000 raise for me; naturally he wants to know why I think so. I tell him that we know of no irrefutable objections to its being possible that the dean has done that. My guess is he'd gently suggest that it is high time for me to retire.

Read the whole thing here.

2 comments:

DDX said...

It has long been an accepted "truism" that nothing can be proved from the LACK of evidence.

For those who are already committed however...evidence makes no difference.

DimBulb said...

Hi Father,

I saw your comments on the 153 fish over at Canterbury Tales ans thought I check your site out.

Concerning Dawkins, you might get a kick out of these words of his:

"If, as returning host, I reflect upon the whole pilgrimage of which I have been a grateful part, my overwhelming reaction is one of amzement. Amazement not only at the Extravaganza pf details that we have seen; amazament, too, at the very fact that there are any such details to be had at all, on any planet. The universe could so easily have remained lifeless and simple-just physics and chemistry, just the scattered dust of the cosmic explosion that gave birth to time and space. The fact that it did not-THE FACT THAT LIFE EVOLVED OUT OF NEARLY NOTHING, some 10 billion years after THE UNIVERSE EVOLVED OUT OF LITERALLY NOTHING is a FACT so staggering that I would be mad to attempt words to do it justice. And even this is not the end of the matter. Not only did evolution happen: it eventually lead to beings capable of comprehending the process, and even of comprehending the process by which they comprehend it." (THE ANCESTOR'S TALE: A PILGRIMAGE TO THE DAWN OF EVOLUTION, pg. 613)

Our faith tells us that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth and now holds it in existence.

Dawkins tells us: In the beginning nothing produced almost nothing which in turn produced something, somehow, without a guiding intelligence.

The next time evolutionist want to poke fun at people of faith they might want to remember the faith they have in their theories and the presupposing assumptions they're based on.