A critique of Dawkins' "Argument from Complexity."

by BurnTheShips 43 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • UnDisfellowshipped


    Excellent thread by the way!

    You said:

    But what is the evidence for materialism? Presumably, that scientific investigation reveals the existence of nothing except material things. But religious believers will plausibly reply that science is suited to discover only what is material (indeed, the best definition of “material” may be just “the sort of thing that science can discover”). They will also cite our experiences of our own conscious life (thoughts, feelings, desires, etc.) as excellent evidence for the existence of immaterial realities that cannot be fully understood by science.

    At this point, the dispute between theists and atheists morphs into one of the most lively (and difficult) of current philosophical debates—that between those who think consciousness is somehow reducible to material brain-states and those who think it is not. This debate is far from settled and at least shows that materialism is not something atheists can simply assert as an established fact. It follows that they have no good basis for treating the existence of God as so improbable that it should be denied unless there is decisive proof for it. This in turn shows that atheists are at best entitled to be agnostics, seriously doubting but not denying the existence of God.

    And as a starter for that subject, if anyone is interested in learning more, I highly recommend Victor Reppert's book, "C.S. Lewis's Dangerous Idea." A real thought-provoker of a book!

  • UnDisfellowshipped

    If this is truly Dawkins' argument:

    1. If God exists, he must be both the intelligent designer of the universe and a being that explains the universe but is not itself in need of explanation.

    2. An intelligent designer of the universe would be a highly complex being.

    3. A highly complex being would itself require explanation.

    4. Therefore, God cannot be both the intelligent designer of the universe and the ultimate explanation of the universe.

    5. Therefore, God does not exist.

    It seems very flimsy to me.

    First, what is the definition of "complex" that Dawkins is using when he says the "intelligent designer would be a highly complex being"?

    Secondly, how does Dawkins know that the Designer would be "highly complex"?

    Since scientists say that the physical Universe (space, time, matter) came into existence with the Big Bang, how does anyone know what kind of Being the Designer would be if He does not exist within space, time, or matter?

  • hamilcarr

    Secondly, how does Dawkins know that the Designer would be "highly complex"?

    He doesn't. But if the designer metaphor is accepted as proof of God's existence, it's logical to state that the Designer is more complex than the thing being designed. If this is wrong, the designer metaphor is flawed.

  • jamesmahon

    I think people have missed the point here of what Dawkins was getting at (expanded a bit I suppose):

    1. People who believe in creation argue that the complexity of the universe and its components (including us) is evidence of a designer or creator
    2. If there is a creator, then who created her/him/it? (actually, given the comments here none of these is probably the correct pronoun)
    3. If this creator is more complex than that which is created, that poses a pretty big problem as to explaining where they came from. If the creator is simpler than that which is created, than that is slightly less of a problem (I suppose) but the existence of how the creater arose still needs explaining, And then who created the creator's creator? And so on. In the end you have to reach a point where the 'life' of the original creator had to arise spontaneously. Now, if you accept that this had to happen but accept that you will never understand how (because he is a 'spirit' or lives outside time and space as some have suggested) why is it so much harder to accept that life on earth (and probably elsewhere) also arose spontaneously?

    All Dawkins was trying to do was point out that an argument for god the creator through complexity does not hold any water.

    I know this is getting off topic now but my understanding of what Dawkins is trying to do and where I agree with him is to stop theism impinging on scientific research and being the explaination for how we got here taught to our children in schools. But that is a whole other thread that I have no doubt has been done to death here.

Share this