Monday, May 30, 2011

Watchmaker or Teleological argument

"The watchmaker analogy consists of the comparison of some natural phenomenon to a watch. Typically, the analogy is presented as a prelude to the teleological argument and is generally presented as:

The complex inner workings of a watch necessitate an intelligent designer.
As with a watch, the complexity of X (a particular organ or organism, the structure of the solar system, life, the entire universe) necessitates a designer.

In this presentation, the watch analogy (step 1) does not function as a premise to an argument — rather it functions as a rhetorical device and a preamble. Its purpose is to establish the plausibility of the general premise: you can tell, simply by looking at something, whether or not it was the product of intelligent design.

In most formulations of the argument, the characteristic that indicates intelligent design is left implicit. In some formulations, the characteristic is orderliness or complexity (which is a form of order). In other cases it is clearly being designed for a purpose, where clearly is usually left undefined." According to Wikipedia.

This argument is based on a very faulty presupposition. The argument attempts to use probability to prove a designer of the universe. The problem with this line of reasoning is this its not probable. Let me explain:

In order for a complex thing to imply design we would need to see that out of the number of complex things we observe the majority(above 50%) are demonstrably designed. I am being generous with the 50% number I would think it should be higher but we will go with this. So do things we know to be designed outnumber the number of stars, galaxies, black holes, planets, plants, comets, and more. Well the resounding answer is no. The number of things we know to be designed in the universe that are complex pales in comparison to the things we consider complex that have no evidence for a designer and appear to come about naturally.

In the set of watches for example we have seen enough evidence of design that in the watch set it is probable for design. Unfortunately, for this argument the set of watches is not the same as the set of all complex things. Complex things have not been demonstrated to be over 50% designed. That is why whenever you observe something in the set of complex items you need to go a step further and still find further evidence of design, because the probability of complex items being designed has not been proven to be more probable.

Let me provide a further example to demonstrate the failure of this argument. Lets take the set of football's and try to draw a conclusion abut the set of balls(no dirty minds). All footballs are oblong and have points at the end. If someone says they have a football it is reasonable to expect it to have that shape. It may even be reasonable for someone who has only been exposed to footballs to think that all balls will have that shape. Once a person has been exposed to the set of baseballs, soccer balls, beach balls, basketballs, bouncy balls, tennis balls, and golf balls, this stance of expecting a ball to be oblong and have 2 points on it is no longer reasonable or rational. That is the same failure that a person exposed to the facts of the universe makes when they make this argument. You can not attribute a attribute of a subset to a set just because you want to, it is too likely to be flawed.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Presuppositianal apologetics revisited.

I am going to revisit presuppositional apologetics today. For those that don't know presuppositional apologetics is an attempt to make god the necessary presupposition, stating that without god you can't explain things like logic or inductive reasoning. The common practice used here is to then attack the atheist for not knowing. From what I gather of this technique is that they are trying to use a actual logical argument that can be valid. This argument is Reductio Ad Adsurdum or in other words to reduce other position to absurdity. The problem here is a misunderstanding of the dichotomy.

Most of the time the atheists position is that we may not know what the actual reason for these things are so they don't know. The theist will attack this position, where in reality they need to attack the other positions in the actual dichotomy of options for the existence logic or inductive reasoning. To do so would be a ridiculously futile attempt,so I understand why they try to blatantly cheat, by insisting that the atheist doesn't know proves god. Though that is telling the atheist their position. The theist is being very intellectually dishonest, there are many things in life that we may not personally know the cause of but we can still use them. So lets take a look at the options that are part of the true dichotomy of possibilities that could be there for inductive reasoning. This will not include all options, because what makes this even more ridiculous is that there may be many more possibilities we have never thought of. Here is a list they would actually need to attack to be able to use reductio ad adsurdum as their argument(this will be for inductive reasoning for our purposes):

Inductive Reasoning is a brute fact of the universe
Inductive Reasoning fairies
Inductive Reasoning trolls
Other gods, if they intend to prove their god
Inductive reasoning Unicorns
The invisible pink unicorn
Flying spaghetti monster
and many other unthought of natural explanations

Now I can here the morons who use this argument whining, well you don't believe that. Well guess what, whether I believe any of them has nothing to do with whats the truth. That is my point, I don't believe your god either, you need to show me why your god is more likely. I can make cases for several of these options over your god. Lets just try 2 to show the presuppositional apologetic proponents how it is done:

I will defend that inductive reasoning is a brute fact. I would argue that being a brute fact requires the simplest easiest explanation with the least amount of baggage. To add a god would violate the logical construct of Occams razor, that says that the explanation that requires the least amount of extra baggage is preferred, and god is a lot of extra baggage.

I would also argue that Inductive Reasoning fairies are more likely then the christian god as it only requires one seemingly unknown thing, inductive reasoning, where as the Christian god actually requires: zombie resurrections( Jesus, Lazurus, and the zombie apocalypse of Matt 27), so again based on Occam's razor, I argue they are more reasonable.

See how that works, you actually attack the dichotomy of possible answers the question, what is the reasoning we can know inductive reasoning, rather then attacking the withholding of judgement based on their being a larger dichotomy then you want to admit.

I here a recent person I debated on this topic, whining, but we are saying you must presuppose god, not that god is the cause. Well get this, a believer in inductive reasoning fairies could whine the same thing. The burden is on you to demonstrate your presupposition is necessary, not just to whine that I don't believe the other possibilities.