A critique of Dawkins' "Argument from Complexity."

by BurnTheShips 43 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Terry

    I long ago realized evolution is too complex for me to understand it.

    So, I can't argue the merits.

    What I can do is fall prey to persuasive-sounding arguments on either side.

    This is how I got sucked into Jehovah's Witnesses!

    Fool me once, shame on you.

    Fool me twice, shame on me.

  • besty
    So, you are saying that the courts decide what is fantastical? The courts did good job with Galileo, didn’t they?

    You are shooting yourself in the foot, my friend. Galileo was an early example of why religion should steer clear of science. The court you refer to was the Catholic Inquisition and they took a mere 359 years to apologize for their error in convicting him of suspected heresy and works 'contrary to Scripture'. Sound familiar?

    Not sure why you introduced Galileo to support your point of view....

    So let’s see if I have this right:

    You don't.

    Evolution was not on trial. Teaching ID in the science classroom was.

    The Court decided ID was not scientific, and it would be anti-constitutional to teach it in the classroom.


  • Mad Dawg
    Mad Dawg

    True, my history was off a bit, but the irony was that the Church was holding to the theories of Greek philosophers in line with what was taught in the secular universities. Scriptures were misused to support it.

    Let’s see, you tell me that I have it wrong – that courts don’t determine what is true or fantastical. But wait! You immediately appeal to… *wait for it*.. the courts! The constitutionality of teaching ID is irrelevant to this discussion.

    If someone makes a positive assertion, it is up to them to defend it. The following statement was made:

    (T)he designer of something is ALWAYS more complex than the thing they design.

    All I have asked is that someone prove it using something more than an anecdote.

    Bohm said:

    1) Complete misrepresentation of what evolution is. You know evolution does not mean what you say it mean, yet you keep on saying it. Why? What have I said that it means? However, you take great joy in misrepresenting creationist thought.

    2) Define complex. … So what is your definition of complexity? My understanding of complexity is the simple common understanding of complexity that I presume that Dawkins uses. If you notice, I left the question open as to whether Dawkins was referring God’s being or intellect.

    3) your last point seem to be claiming that some scientists are somewhat like bad pastors,… Yes that is exactly what I was saying except that they are no different than bad pastors.

    and therefore they are full of shit and bias and will never abbandon their own ideas. The bad ones – absolutely. To do so would be to give up on their fame and fortune and would subject themselves to ridicule and scorn.

    whenever i hear that complete non-point,… Does that mean you will never again point out bad pastors to push your Misotheism?

    …i keep thinking that its being made by a person who know he dont give a crap about evidence,… I am always very concerned about the evidence. I am still waiting for evidence to support the statement about a complex designer.

    but want me to buy the delusion scientists are like him. So now, a person is delusional if he believes scientists are human?

  • jamesmahon

    Mad Dawg

    I have been trying to follow this thread but losing it a bit to be honest. Not quite sure where you are coming from. Are you saying that god is not complex, is complex in a way that we do not understand or is not complex in the sense he is not lots of intricate pieces that have to be put together in a certain order but rather of a complexity of a nature that cannot be thought of in a material sense? Not trying to be facetious here, just can't get it. If you are saying that you do not need complexity to generate complexity then you do not need god, which is all Dawkins is saying. I cannot see how that is evidence of the existence of god is unless I have missed a line of reasoning somewhere.

  • bohm

    Mad Dawg:

    You wrote that i was being nasty for saying you misrepresented evolution: "What have I said that it means? However, you take great joy in misrepresenting creationist though"

    Poor you! and you never said such a thing!

    "Fundi Atheists - We really don't know how we evolved from rocks, but here are some fantastical stories! Buy my books! "

    Oh wait there it was - evolution is about rocks evolving. please tell me how rocks evolve. Please. What is the rock-genomen? how does rocks multiply?

    And by the way, sorry i misrepresent your very serious creationist model - which talking animal did i leave out? Ms. Piggy?

    Regarding the part about the designer allways being more complex - The problem is that noone define what complexity mean in the context. If we by designer mean something like a deterministic computer program which generate data then the statement is true: The content of the program is allways greater than the data; but i doubt any theist will buy that model of God (the question: What is the computer? comes to mind). However, if the program has access to a random source - well, randomness IS complexity in the kolmogorov sence, and i dont really know how to continue from there.

    If we are talking in the laymans sence, i dont see how that solve anything. Try to look at this: The universe has a maximal storage capacity and a maximal capacity for computation; those are fixed by thermodynamics. What is the maximal storage capacity and maximal computative power of God? Infinite right? every way i turn it it seem God can do a hell of a lot more things than this universe, and that sort of corrolate with complexity in my head.

    Since your wrote your concerned about evidence, here is a challenge:

    Which non-trivial predictions has been made based on the noahs-ark model which has later been found to be true?

    Just give the best you can think of, with a reference to the journal or book it was puplized in.

  • Mad Dawg
    Mad Dawg

    I do not take your comments to be anything but an honest inquiry.

    Dawkins says that, because of the complexity of the universe, an even more complex God would be needed to create the universe.

    My response is:

    1) To ask for proof of the premise of the statement – that the universe requires a complex designer.

    2) To question the complexity of God. His being is simple: He is a spirit. Personally and intellectually, He is unknowably complex.

    The rest of it is responding to stuff that is brought up.

    It is not my purpose here to address whether or not God exists. I am merely responding to Dawkins statement. The Evo’s (not meant derogatorily) here could actually shut down the simple/complex issue pretty quickly – if they were to make one key observation. However, that would still leave items 1 and 2 above unanswered.

    I hope this clarifies it for you.

  • BurnTheShips


    Please, people, whether for or against, let's stay on topic! I do appreciate your interest, but this topic is about Dawkins' "Ultimate 747" argument.

    The two things are different. I would appreciate sticking to the topic. I would, especially, like to hear supporting views towards Richard Dawkins argument.



    P.S. I am more than happy to discuss evolution, with both sides. Terry, would you kindly start a topic? I don't have the power. I am limited to one per day by the board Nazis (or should I say bored Nazis?).

  • bohm

    Mad Dawg:

    1) By your own admission, you dont have the faintest definition of what complexity is. Your using it as a layman term. Then you ask for "proof" of that. How can there be a proof for something which is not even defined?

    Dawkins can at most - and do at most - appeal to the intuition. And let me reask: The universe has a given storage capacity of X bits. God has a storage capacity that far exeed X bits. In that respect, is the universe or God more complex?

    2) Your second attempt to explain how God is not complex is really really weird. Lets go through the statements:

    His being is simple: He is a spirit.

    How do you know spirit is simple? Is that an experimental fact or just an assumption? Other question - what is spirit, and how do we know God is made of it?

    Personally and intellectually, He is unknowably complex.

    Again, how do you know that? Experimental fact or just an assumption? What does it mean - is it unknowable in the mathematical sence, or something else? how does that argument not apply to spirit, which you "know" is simple? Are you just using unknowable as a filler word?

    3) Rank the following after complexity: You, God, the galaxy, the universe, a tullip and the american constitution.

  • Simon
    If someone makes a positive assertion, it is up to them to defend it. The following statement was made:
    The designer of something is ALWAYS more complex than the thing they design.

    You're asking me to prove a negative? To show that there are no cases where the designer is less complex.

    It's up to you to come up with an example where a designer is less complex that the design to prove me wrong.

  • stillajwexelder

    Well said Simon - could not have put it better myself

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