William Lane Craig and His Probability Nonsense

The odds against William Lane Craig ever being born are so astronomically high, that it cannot possibly ever have happened. There are around 300,000,000 sperm in every ejaculation – the odds that the particular sperm that resulted in Bill one the race are 1 in 300 million, but it doesn’t stop there, what are the odds that his parents would have met each other (and that both his grand father’s sperm would have resulted in his mother and father, again that’s 1 in 300 million)? And their parents before that, and so on all the way back to the dawn of life on this planet. The existence of William Lane Craig requires so many vastly improbable things to occur that the odds against it are astronomical, therefore we can conclude that William Lane Craig cannot ever have come into existence.

This is of course all nonsense. Bill does exist, and you’re quite right not to be impressed with my argument against his existence. The odds of his existence aren’t astronomical, they are precisely 1 to 1. You can construct a silly probability argument like that against lots of things that did actually happen like a particular stone being in a particular place in your driveway, or something equally stupid, but the truth is they all have a probability of precisely 1 in 1. William Lane Craig does the exact same thing when he makes the fine tuning argument. The odds that constants of the universe are such that they permit intelligent life are precisely 1 in 1, they are not astronomically small as Craig would have you believe. When we have a sample size of only one universe, this probability could not be anything other than 1 in 1. We do not even know whether the constants can be altered – without more than one universe to compare this is a completely unfounded assumption.

Probabilities are meaningless when assigned to events that already happened, they can only be used to predict the likelihood of future events. Craig is either completely ignorant of probability or, he is deliberately dishonest with it, in order to deceive people. He is simply using a trick, but as I demonstrated I can use the same trick to make his existence seem astronomically unlikely.

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26 Comments

Filed under Critical Thinking, Religion

26 responses to “William Lane Craig and His Probability Nonsense

  1. The idea is pretty deceptive. Dawkins himself wrote that the number of people that could have been in his place are astonishingly high. (of course he is not denying his own existance!)

    But obviously what has happened happened. The illusion that we can deny what has actually happened based on probability is just silly.

  2. This is horrible logic. Bill Craig argues the astronomical odds given chance as the explanation. The odds would not be astronomical given design as the explanation. They would be 1 to 1, precisely what you argue the odds are currently. The argument against Bill Craig’s existence isn’t valid because Craig’s existence as a piece of his own argument would be by design, which again is 1 to 1. Now the odds of Craig’s existence by sheer luck or chance would be astronomical, and you are correct in that. Which is why intelligent design is the best explanation for the way things are the way they are.

    We can’t deny what has happened. We can argue reasonably that what has happened is more likely on design than on chance, which makes theism the more plausible worldview.

    Get the argument right, then you can comment on it.

  3. Doctor Bad Sign

    It seems you don’t understand probability either.

    We have 1 universe to look at, we don’t know what caused the constants to be the way they are, or if they could be any different. Without this knowledge taking about probability is useless. Then if we had more than one universe it would drastically change the odds making it far more likely that there would be one that supports life. If the universe is cyclic and the laws of physics are reset at every crunch/bang then again this would change the odds. Without all the data, it is utterly meaningless to talk about probability.

    Even if the constants were variable, chance can still be a perfectly valid explanation. Imagine you’re watching the lottery and you see the balls rolling out of the machine in this order 1,2,3,4,5,6 – most people would be inclined to think that this was incredibly unlikely and call in complaining that the result was fixed. But 1,2,3,4,5,6 is just as likely to appear as any other combination of numbers, it’s just the significance that we attach to those numbers that makes it seem unlikely that they could arise in that order, but 1,2,3,4,5,6 in the lottery is equally as likely as 23,19,2,4,35,11. Our minds are built to seek patterns and are not properly equipped to deal with probability. The probability that chance would throw up a universe that is habitable is the same as the probability that it would throw up one with any other combination of constants.

    I shall reiterate once more. Talking about probability of things that already happened is meaningless. Craig is being dishonest when he uses this tactic. Probability is used for predicting future events. I can take something completely random, such as a leaf falling in the woods and make it seem astronomically unlikely that it would land in that place at that particular time, but it is meaningless, the probability that a past event happened is 1 in 1. The probability that the universe is the way it is, is 1 in 1 even if chance was behind it.

  4. On your theory then, there is no reason to calculate probability for anything, because regardless of what you calculate, the result will always be 1 to 1, so probabilities are meaningless and we should do away with the entire branch of statistics.

    The question we’re trying to answer isn’t “Are we here?”; the question we’re trying to answer is “Why and/or how are we here?”. And when answering the latter question, probability is a valid tool for explaining the data that we have. Should we be here given the data we have? Why is there something rather than nothing? It’s an important question to be able to answer on a philosophical level; you’re limiting yourself to the scientific only.

    Why is our brain trained to see patterns? You said yourself that six lottery balls coming out 1,2,3,4,5,6 would seem like cheating, which would be by design. So the fact that a patterned result looks designed means that our brains are trained to spot design. Why would that be the case if our brains were assembled randomly, and the things around us were assembled randomly too? Shouldn’t chaos make more sense than order given the supposed nature of everything by random chance?

    • Doctor Bad Sign

      No, when you calculate the probability of a future event it hasn’t happened yet so you can’t say definitely what the outcome of all the variables is, therefore it works. When something has already happened then its 100% likely that it happened because it did! How likely is it that all the events in your life happened? It’s a pointless thing to ask!

      Probability is a valid tool for trying to calculate the outcome of future events, nothing more.

      Our brain is trained to see patterns because it has a survival advantage. We notice anomalies because; hearing a growl + seeing movement in the bushes, potentially spells danger. We are trained to recognise things that seem out of the ordinary because when we notice things like that it could spell danger. The downside of this is that we often see patterns arising where there are none – because it is better to run away when it’s actually just a fruit falling from a tree and rustling the bushes, than it is to not run away and it actually be a predator. If you think our brains evolved by random chance I suggest you learn more about evolution, although the mutations that are selected for or against by natural selection are random – the selection process is anything but. Seeing patterns in things is part of our evolutionary heritage there is no need to postulate divine design behind it.

  5. But if an improbable event happens given the probabilities, what you’re saying is that there is no value in going back to the probabilities to determine why that event happened and if your probability calculations were wrong. To determine if and not why is bad science, and for you to suggest there is no value to the probability of past events is short-sighted.

    Regarding patterns, how do we know that danger runs in a pattern unless our brain is designed to equate the two? The survival advantage to patterns only works if you have superseding knowledge that survival conforms to pattern. Otherwise you’re still in the same boat. You’re just pushing the regress back one step further. Patterns only make sense if they are designed to be a pattern and we are designed to recognize them. Chaos understanding chaos doesn’t make sense, and neither does chaos understanding patterns.

    If our brains didn’t begin the evolutionary process by chance, then it is by design. The starting point for the brain was either random or it was designed. Which side do you fall on? You can’t say “Well it was random at first, and then nature designed it through evolution.” The second law of thermodynamics says entropy and disorder in nature is increasing, not the other way around.

    • Additionally, saying probability has no value for past events would then mean it makes no sense for you to even argue for anything in the other blog post about the KCA, because by arguing best explanation you are assigning probability to the cause of a past event. So you’re arguing in circles over the span of two different blog posts.

      So would you say there is value to discovering the cause of the universe, or no value? If you say the former then you completely discredit your entire argument on this blog post, and if you say the latter than you completely discredit the entire argument of your other blog post. So which one of you arguments do you want to admit is absurd?

      • Doctor Bad Sign

        There is value discovering the cause of the universe, but there is no value in trying to figure out the probability that things happened that way. Assuming that the explanation for the cause of the universe is correct then the likelihood that it happened is 100%. Saying that it is pointless to assign a probability to the universe being the way it is, is not the same as saying it is pointless trying to discover it’s cause.

    • Doctor Bad Sign

      It is utterly meaningless to try and calculate the probability of past events, even more so with regards to the universe because we simply do not have all the data to be able to come up with accurate figures. For example if the constants of the universe cannot be any other way then this changes the calculations entirely, if there is an infinite number of other universes this would change the calculations entirely, if the universe is cyclic it would change the calculations entirely. There is no point trying to assign a probability to a past event, more so when we have no idea of the variables!

      Our brains are designed to see patterns, but they are not designed by a being, they are designed by nature. Here’s how it would work, a being who is more adept at seeing patterns that might indicate danger would be far better at evading danger, meaning they would be less likely to be killed and more likely to have children which they pass on their trait of pattern seeing to. Those who are less aware of the indications of danger would be wiped out of the gene pool over time. It doesn’t require any prior knowledge that patterns mean danger, certain patterns do mean danger! Therefore an organism that becomes aware of this, consciously or otherwise will have a survival advantage. The less aware of it you are the more likely you would be to succumb to that danger and not pass on your genes.

      Natural selection is NOT chance, and it does NOT involve a designer. The simple pressures of the environment are enough to produce adaptations like brains. The arising of the first life would have been more of a chance based process but once that life arose, natural selection would take over, and the process would be non-random from then on. A mutation in the genes is chance based. But whether or not that mutation conveys an advantage or a disadvantage in terms of survival certainly is not chance based, it is highly selective and non-random. Just because it is not random does not mean that a designer had to be involved.

      Thermodynamics states that entropy increases over time in a closed system, ours is not a closed system, we have more than enough energy coming from the sun to allow complex life to evolve. When the sun burns out then yes entropy will increase rapidly and life will die out, but until then it can become more and more complex because it is not a closed system.

    • Doctor Bad Sign

      Craig is appealing to William Dembski? That dishonest Intelligent Design proponent who asserts that things such as the immune system are too complex to have evolved – and when presented with a pile of books on the evolution of the immune system he simply dismissed them as not being satisfactory despite having read none of them? I would have thought he could do better than appealing to someone who was shown in a US supreme court to be dishonest. The ‘irreducible complexity’ that Dembski asserts in biology simply doesn’t exist.

      The complexity argument does not imply design. As demonstrated by evolution, high levels of complexity can arise through a natural process which does not require intervention from a designer. Complexity has been shown to arise from simplicity time and time again. The universe began in a much simpler state, that was highly condensed, uniform, symmetrical, where the forces were unified (the weak nuclear force and the electromagnetic force have been demonstrated to have been unified in the early universe, and it proposed that the other forces were unified too), particles had no mass, and gradually the universe expanded and cooled, the forces became distinct, particles gained mass, atoms formed, then later galaxies, 2nd generation stars produced planets out of the heavier elements formed in the hearts of 1st generation stars – then given appropriate conditions life arose on at least one of those planets and evolved to the level of being able to comment on blog posts.

      None of the stages in cosmic evolution are ‘irreducibly complex’ none of these stages require the intervention of a designer. This argument fails for the same reason Dembski’s argument for irreducible complexity in biology fails – the complexity simply isn’t irreducible.

      • Terry

        really demski was showin to have lied in a us supreme court, would like you to back that up

      • Laurens

        Look up the Dover trial, Dembski was shown on several occasions that his irreducible complexity arguments were false…

  6. “The argument against Bill Craig’s existence isn’t valid because Craig’s existence as a piece of his own argument would be by design, which again is 1 to 1. Now the odds of Craig’s existence by sheer luck or chance would be astronomical, and you are correct in that. Which is why intelligent design is the best explanation for the way things are the way they are.”

    Bad Logic? Really now, you are surely joking my friend.

    Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that you measured that probability and almost impossible (which you can’t), and we accept by that measure the world has a “designer” (which we won’t, for good reasons nonetheless), and this designer is omnipotent and allmighty, which would mean that he or she or it would never do anything by chance (remember, God doesn’t play dice!), and nothing in the world has happened or happens by chance, all by his/her/its invisible hand.

    By all means, this makes the whole idea of “probability” meaningless. Which would ruin your “very logical” argument, because you began by measuring probability.

    ———————————–

  7. It only makes sense to argue probability when the probability isn’t 1 to 1 going into it. That would be the case with luck or chance, not with design. So your hypothetical of me measuring probability to determine design is a logical fallacy from the outset, and that’s not what I’m doing. It’s not my logic that is bad, friend. It’s both your logic and your representation of my position that is bad.

  8. Your answer was already given by the doctor, I was conducting a mental exercise in order to show you reaching to desing and designer by this way is self refuting. It’s just a simple thing: Accept the idea of plan and design by an allmighty deity, and you get rid of luck and chance, and probability forever (from the past to the future: God and dice and playing). The problem is, you begin by going on about how it is “unlikely” and “improbable” that the world has come about by chance. And that’s because you seem to only see one way, not the ways that it could have come about, many of them we don’t know yet, and most of them we just theories.
    The creationists seem to forget that they are talking about “everything” in the cosmos.

    The sheer ignorance in the notion that that was unlikely, therefore it was designed is just mind blowing. The things that happen, happen. No matter how much they alone seem unlikely. If you shuffle a deck of cards randomly, it is significantly unlikely that a certain set of cards happen to be, but at least one set is bound to happen, and that’s the point: if you focus on that set “after” it has come, you’ll jump off your chair and shout “someone’s a cheat!”. The problem is, you see one set, not the fact that all sets are equally probable, which the doctor explained kindly before.

  9. It’s just a simple thing: Accept the idea of plan and design by an allmighty deity, and you get rid of luck and chance, and probability forever (from the past to the future: God and dice and playing).

    As it pertains to the creation of the universe, absolutely. But there’s a difference in creation and intervention, and it appears you’re trying to link the two. The reason probability is brought up is because the atheist consistently touts the scientific method as some sort of end-all, be-all, and the scientific method necessitates evidence. And evidence doesn’t establish proof, it establishes probabilities. So Craig is really speaking to you only as it applies to your limited capability–for you, science is the only game in town, so you are forced into probabilities for everything else you believe. He is appealing to that idea, and yet you are telling him that the probability that you cling to for everything else (probability of a multiverse, probability of evolution, etc.) is absurd.

    Again, when Craig is discussing probabilities, he is discussing likelihood before the fact. You are discussing likelihood after the fact. The two are not compatible, so no wonder you don’t see eye-to-eye. The problem is, as a statistician, I can confirm that probabilities are only worthwhile if you’re discussing them in a “before-the-fact” scenario.

    So you are arguing from an inferior position. “It is the way it is because it is, so deal with it!” If I gave you that line, you’d laugh it off as a load of hooey, so forgive me for doing the same with you.

    • Doctor Bad Sign

      The reason probability is brought up is because the atheist consistently touts the scientific method as some sort of end-all, be-all, and the scientific method necessitates evidence. And evidence doesn’t establish proof, it establishes probabilities.

      Science does not establish definite proof, it establishes ever refining approximations. Probabilities aren’t involved, no one says this theory has a 86% chance of being right… Because again you can’t assign probabilities to past events. A theory explains all the known evidence, in no way has it got anything to do with probability unless the theory is describing something that is inherently probabalistic, such as quantum mechanics. No one goes around saying special relativity has a 20 to 1 chance of being correct, special relativity is the best means we have of explaining a certain amount of observations about the behaviour of space and time.

      Again, when Craig is discussing probabilities, he is discussing likelihood before the fact. You are discussing likelihood after the fact. The two are not compatible, so no wonder you don’t see eye-to-eye. The problem is, as a statistician, I can confirm that probabilities are only worthwhile if you’re discussing them in a “before-the-fact” scenario.

      William Lane Craig is saying how statistical likely it was that our universe is the way it is through chance, without any supporting data. Scientists are making detailed observations, using data from the WMAP, CERN, as well as dozens of other expensive and precise experiments to formulate a theoretical understanding of how the universe really was 13 billion years ago. Scientists record and analyse the data – ever refining their theoretical understanding of the observations, coming up with an approximation of the events at the beginning of the universe. One is a jumped up candidate for the greatest example of the Dunning-Kruger effect the world has even known, trying to assign probability to events that happened in the past without a clue about any of the data, and another is a world wide team of great minds working to get a picture of what our universe was like in its earliest moments – using observation and experiment. Notice the difference?

      So you are arguing from an inferior position. “It is the way it is because it is, so deal with it!” If I gave you that line, you’d laugh it off as a load of hooey, so forgive me for doing the same with you.

      Inferior only because you have presented science as some kind of process of guess work, based on probability of past events. That’s not what science is. That’s what Craig does, because his ignorance knows no bounds, but it’s not what science does. Science uses experiments to gain an ever more accurate picture of how the universe really works. Science is far, far superior I’m afraid.

  10. You’re masking probability with the word “approximation,” but you are still determining likelihood of one hypothesis versus another. That’s probability statistics. Don’t pretend like you’re above the point you’re arguing; you’re very much smack dab in the middle of it.

    Science uses experiments to gain an ever more accurate picture of how the universe really works. Science is far, far superior I’m afraid.

    Except that science has no answer for the beginning of the universe, so it comes up with a random hypothesis about a multiverse and then uses data to determine the likelihood (aka probability) of this versus the God hypothesis. So naturalistic science is really no better, and your arrogance outstrips your intelligence in assuming so.

  11. Doctor Bad Sign

    You don’t seem to understand my point. William Lane Craig states that the universe coming into existence through chance is so statistically unlikely that it could not have possibly happened. This is an assertion with no founding whatsoever, we have none of the data required to make any kind of judgement about that sort of thing. If for example, the physical constants could not be any other way, or there are multiple universes then the input to the calculations is going to be drastically different. Without this data the argument is meaningless. What’s more probability means calculating the likelihood of future events, applying it to the past is incredibly pointless. Craig is, for want of a better description, a deceptive, credulous moron.

    Now what does science have to say? Well, cosmologists actually have a picture of the early universe, it’s called the cosmic microwave background, or CMB. A great deal of information about the birth of our universe can be derived from the image produced by the WMAP satellite, and an even more detailed picture will be seen in the near future from the Planck satellite – which will give us an even more detailed image of the early universe. Scientists can use the CMB to learn about the conditions in our early universe, and test these theories using the particle accelerators at Fermilab and CERN, as well as experiments to detect gravitational waves LIGO and other places. Scientists are looking for an explanation for the data, that is not falsified by experiment, there are huge amounts of people using huge amounts of equipment, building huge amounts of future equipment to test these ideas to the limit.

    Scientists have come a long way to understanding the workings of our universe and why things are the way they are. Of course our quest is not complete, but it is a highly precise task that relies on detailed empirical observation.

    The nonsensical ramblings of William Lane Craig are in no way whatsoever comparable to the achievements of modern cosmology and particle physics. Whilst we have a long way to go before we have a unified theory of everything, we are making good headway. Craig has simply already decided what the theory of everything is, and he’s not even open to comprehending any other possibility – that’s about as far from science as you’re ever going to get.

  12. “But there’s a difference in creation and intervention, and it appears you’re trying to link the two.”

    And where would that difference be? In other words, where exactly God does Not intervene?

    “The reason probability is brought up is because the atheist consistently touts the scientific method as some sort of end-all, be-all,”

    Really?
    Science bashing is irrelevant, yours or Craig’s, and yours in particular is wrong too. No dear, someone (not just anyone!) once said that probabilities however interesting, in scientific method are always equal to zero, but I think that’s for another time… 😉

    “So Craig is really speaking to you only as it applies to your limited capability–for you, science is the only game in town, so you are forced into probabilities for everything else you believe.”

    Seems you’ve already decided what is for me, though I never knew that about myself! 🙂

  13. “But there’s a difference in creation and intervention, and it appears you’re trying to link the two.”

    And where would that difference be? In other words, where exactly God does Not intervene?

    “The reason probability is brought up is because the atheist consistently touts the scientific method as some sort of end-all, be-all,”

    Really?
    Science bashing is irrelevant, yours or Craig’s, and yours in particular is wrong too. No dear, someone (not just anyone!) once said that probabilities however interesting, in scientific method are always equal to zero, but I think that’s for another time… 😉

    “So Craig is really speaking to you only as it applies to your limited capability–for you, science is the only game in town, so you are forced into probabilities for everything else you believe.”

    Seems you’ve already decided what is for me, though I never knew that about myself! 🙂

  14. I guess I’m too stupid to see the atheistic perspective that randomness and chance are more plausible explanations for why the Universe exists instead of nothing. I do hope, however, that their position is the correct one, not for my own sake, but for the atheists’ sake. Imagine burning in hell, in absolute agony, with no mercy, no second chance, and with full knowledge that your punishment is just, not to mention the demons of hell verbally tormenting you, telling you how stupid you were to believe their deceptive lie to entice you to follow the pathway to eternal torment. I don’t think that kind of final resolution is a nice one. Interestingly,I burnt my hand on the grill today, but I was fortunate enough to be able to pull my hand away from the flames, an option that I’m sure will be lacking in hell.

    Also, If you think you have a good argument against Craig, why not challenge him on the Q&A section of his blog. I’d like to see how he responds to your critique. Many atheists have challenged Craig, thinking that they could somehow outsmart a man with two PhD’s and over two dozen published books not to mention numerous journal essays. I’m not saying you don’t have a good argument;I’m just not as smart as you to know for sure (I’m one of those dumb Theists who need to be rescued from his benighted past), and as a result I just might fall victim to an end of life disappointment, as I come to the horrible realization that there is no “after” after death. Oops, see, my stupidity is pervasive; silly me, of course I wouldn’t be conscious to “realize” any such disappointment, one way or another. But, as for the Atheist, I’m not so sure his end will be without sudden notice and unpleasant surprises. We can all hope for the best, I guess.

  15. Laurens

    “I guess I’m too stupid to see the atheistic perspective that randomness and chance are more plausible explanations for why the Universe exists”

    Can you give me a clear explanation of why randomness and chance cannot explain the universe and phenomena within it? The thing is, our brains are not built to deal with probability, I’ll continue with this point shortly. But first, let me illustrate this with a question; in a 6 ball lotto, using numbered balls from 1-30, which combination of numbers is most improbable:

    A. 1,2,3,4,5,6

    or

    B. 34,9.48,6,13,19

    “I do hope, however, that their position is the correct one, not for my own sake, but for the atheists’ sake. Imagine burning in hell, in absolute agony, with no mercy, no second chance, and with full knowledge that your punishment is just, not to mention the demons of hell verbally tormenting you, telling you how stupid you were to believe their deceptive lie to entice you to follow the pathway to eternal torment. I don’t think that kind of final resolution is a nice one. Interestingly,I burnt my hand on the grill today, but I was fortunate enough to be able to pull my hand away from the flames, an option that I’m sure will be lacking in hell.”

    Yes, but we have no reason to believe that hell exists. I’m just as scared of hell as I am of mumba jumba land where bad people go to be eternally tormented by Robbie Williams music after they die. If there was good reason to believe the following: 1. That God actually exists and 2. That God is evil enough to send innocent people to be tortured forever, then I might have good cause to be scared of meeting infinite torture. But I have no substantial evidence that these things are true.

    “Also, If you think you have a good argument against Craig, why not challenge him on the Q&A section of his blog. I’d like to see how he responds to your critique. Many atheists have challenged Craig, thinking that they could somehow outsmart a man with two PhD’s and over two dozen published books not to mention numerous journal essays.”

    Having a Ph.D. or two doesn’t mean that you are necessarily going to make good arguments, and not having two Ph.D.’s doesn’t mean you’ll never refute him. Craig is inconsistent when he argues, you can see this in my latest blog post. He is clever, but mainly in a sly sense. In other words he is good at making it sound like a coherent argument, but there is no consistency to anything he claims to believe.

    “I’m not saying you don’t have a good argument;I’m just not as smart as you to know for sure (I’m one of those dumb Theists who need to be rescued from his benighted past), and as a result I just might fall victim to an end of life disappointment, as I come to the horrible realization that there is no “after” after death. Oops, see, my stupidity is pervasive; silly me, of course I wouldn’t be conscious to “realize” any such disappointment, one way or another. But, as for the Atheist, I’m not so sure his end will be without sudden notice and unpleasant surprises. We can all hope for the best, I guess.”

    I see no reason to believe there will be an unpleasant surprise in store. There is just as much evidence to prove that the Bible was a trick made by Satan to fool all the credulous people, and God actually rewards people for being able to think for themselves as there is for atheists being sent to hell.

  16. “Can you give me a clear explanation of why randomness and chance cannot explain the universe and phenomena within it? The thing is, our brains are not built to deal with probability, I’ll continue with this point shortly. But first, let me illustrate this with a question; in a 6 ball lotto, using numbered balls from 1-30, which combination of numbers is most improbable:”

    Let’s say for argument sake that randomness and chance can’t explain the universe, is that a more “plausible” explanation than that the physical universe is the result of a series of fortuitous events, undirected by an intelligent agency and guided by the accidents of time, chance and indeterministic molecular motions. If i were to see the results of six lotto balls come out in a 1,2,3,4,5,6 number sequence, I would not rule out chance. Why? because even though the probability of such a sequence coming out is no less than any other, the chances of repeating that sequence by chance many many times, simultaneously with other sequences that must co-evolve with each other in order to form a unit of functionality, necessary to sustain and maintain such an evolution, is too astronomically high for me to not be more inclined to favor design as a more “plausible” explanation.

    To be clear, my quibble with chance and randomness is not that I can’t conceive of them as being explanations; I just think the evidence I’ve seen, or as I understand it, is more weighted to an explanation of design.

    If you were to ask me to pic 6 lotto balls, with numbers 1-30, and I chose 6 balls with replacement 5 times in a row, and each time the resulting sequence was 1,2,3,4,5,6, would you honestly think that there was no chance that I was cheating? Let’s say you didn’t think so, how about if the sequence result kept repeating 5 more times, would you at least start to lose confidence that chance was the main culprit, or would you reason, that although chance could still explain the result, the evidence is at least weighted more toward some type of intervention that had a color similar to design and planning? The order of the universe and its complex system of laws is much more interdependent and conditional on other factors and physical principles, many of which could not have evolved without giving the astronomical odds against such a result more weight than design.

    Also, and on a different note, regarding William Craig’s observed inconsistencies, I would not disagree, but I’ve also read many of the writings of Michael Martin (the impossibility of God and the Improbability of God) as well as the essays of Quentin Smith and many other prominent Atheist Philosophers, and I can tell you that their writings produce just as many, if not more, inconsistencies; and many of their arguments rely on word and definition ambiguities that are the hallmark of an informal language whose primary unit of expression is inherently susceptible to obfuscation and is often not amenable to the clarity its author hoped to achieve.

  17. Laurens

    “Let’s say for argument sake that randomness and chance can’t explain the universe, is that a more “plausible” explanation than that the physical universe is the result of a series of fortuitous events, undirected by an intelligent agency and guided by the accidents of time, chance and indeterministic molecular motions. If i were to see the results of six lotto balls come out in a 1,2,3,4,5,6 number sequence, I would not rule out chance. Why? because even though the probability of such a sequence coming out is no less than any other, the chances of repeating that sequence by chance many many times, simultaneously with other sequences that must co-evolve with each other in order to form a unit of functionality, necessary to sustain and maintain such an evolution, is too astronomically high for me to not be more inclined to favor design as a more “plausible” explanation.”

    The thing is, we are unaware of the variables so how can we determine that the origin and evolution of the cosmos is unlikely to have turned out the way it did? To try to put odds on the universe turning out how it has by randomness and chance alone is like trying to decide the probability of a dice roll with no knowledge of how many sides the dice has, how many dice are being rolled, whether the die are biased in any way or how many times they have been rolled previously. We simply do not have enough knowledge to say whether our universe is extremely improbable or whether it was inevitable.

    We don’t know whether there is one universe or many. We don’t know whether all the “constants” of the universe vary independently or whether their values depend upon the values of the others. We don’t know within what margins these constants can vary, if at all. Without this knowledge there is no way anyone can honestly say whether or not the universe is likely or unlikely.

    “To be clear, my quibble with chance and randomness is not that I can’t conceive of them as being explanations; I just think the evidence I’ve seen, or as I understand it, is more weighted to an explanation of design.”

    What evidence?

    “If you were to ask me to pic 6 lotto balls, with numbers 1-30, and I chose 6 balls with replacement 5 times in a row, and each time the resulting sequence was 1,2,3,4,5,6, would you honestly think that there was no chance that I was cheating? Let’s say you didn’t think so, how about if the sequence result kept repeating 5 more times, would you at least start to lose confidence that chance was the main culprit, or would you reason, that although chance could still explain the result, the evidence is at least weighted more toward some type of intervention that had a color similar to design and planning? The order of the universe and its complex system of laws is much more interdependent and conditional on other factors and physical principles, many of which could not have evolved without giving the astronomical odds against such a result more weight than design.”

    Your analogy is incomplete without presenting good reason for thinking that the universe is analogous to the sequence “1,2,3,4,5,6” multiple times by chance.

    One might also ask, how likely is it that a time-less, omnipotent, immaterial, disembodied mind who answers prayers, and sends innocent people to hell “just exists” with absolutely no explanation? Why is this not just as vastly improbable as a universe that just happens to have the same fundamental laws that allow life to exist?

    Let me ask you this also, how likely is it out of all the thousands of Gods that have been dreamt up over the millennia, that your particular interpretation of a particular one of those gods is actually correct?

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