Friday, November 19, 2010

Summary and Review of Does the Universe Have Purpose Debate (Dawkins v. Craig)

If you don't like subtle sarcasm, you may not like this summary. But I couldn't help myself.

Speech 1

Matt Ridley - Uninteresting first speech. Seemed to agree that there is no ultimate purpose in the universe.

William Lane Craig - Laid out the two contentions that the theists would defend. "(1)If God does not exist, the universe has no purpose, and (2) If God does exist, the universe does have a purpose." Typical great opener massively constrained by time.

Michael Shermer - Annoying, irrelevant, and churlish. Somehow gay marriage came up in a debate about whether the universe has meaning. Simply asserted that we're all just stardust. Where's the argument for that?

David Wolpe - Passionate speech. Challenged the methodological naturalism and scientism that Craig said pervaded the conference. Gave props to intuitions about objective meaning.

Richard Dawkins - Goes on about how there actually isn't purpose, no matter how pervasive it is in human intuition. Ad hominem; essentially called the theists childish. Apparently his argument for purposlessness is that most people grow out of thinking that way. Gave no argument or evidence for that. Attacks Aristotelian teleology. Contradicts his earlier assertion when he says that we do see purpose in things. Asserts that evolution == no purpose with no argument. How the heck does that follow? Asserts his unscientific philosophical assumption that all things developed unaided and unguided with no argument. Dawkins is devoid of substance. All rhetoric, and not very good at that. We don't know what caused the universe, but we KNOW that science did it.

Douglas Geivett - Restates the two contentions. Gives brief reasons God is a good explanation. God is interested in all individuals and wants a loving relationship with people. This is the only way that a truly purposeful and meaningful life is possible. Shermer's "meaning" isn't meaningful. No God, no intention for anything in the universe. Human history and behavior has no meaning. Free will isn't possible on atheism. The concern people have with purpose is evidence for God. How would a simple collection of atoms consider any purpose?

Speech 2

Craig - Notes the agreement that the atheists have with the two contentions. Atheists have given no arguments against God; answered argument from evil and evolution doesn't disprove God. 10 arguments for God have been given. Dawkins is silly for saying "why questions are silly." Dawkins just believes we're "animated chunks of matter." If God exists, these are meaningful questions. Don't miss God. That would be the ultimate tragedy.

Ridley - RAAHHH!!! "I'm only hearing straw men!!!!" Completely misses half of the debate, apparently, because he claims he just looks at the universe to see if it doesn't have purpose, not because God doesn't exist. [But if God does exist then the universe does have a purpose. You must argue that God doesn't exist.] *Snarl* We don't agree!!! We can live purposeful lives without a purposeful universe or God. Order can come from orderless chance. Yay. Flying spaghetti monster appears. Synthesized urea disproves God. DNA disproves God. Genetic code is simple [ha]. We have the same genes as a mouse [Shakespear uses the same letters as you do, that doesn't mean you're Shakespere].

Wolpe - The answer depends on what you think about yourself. If you agree with atheists, then you must agree that there is no purpose. The universe doesn't have intention. But you may know that there's something special about you, and you and your hopes, dreams, loves can't be reduced to simply mechanistic terms. We lazy religious people acknowledge the mystery of humanity and the purposes of God.

Shermer - THE universe doesn't have a purpose. Mostly stars. [Yeah, that's a good argument Sherm]. Assumes that there is no God without argument again. We can find purpose. This is all just an argument for ignorance. Our own selfish silliness is purpose enough!! We should love people for the sake of love! Pretend there's no God. Did you just lose your purpose? [Uh, yes]. I claim to know what you would do in that situation. Yak. Shermer is a tool.

Geivett - Ridley says there are patterns, but no purpose. Says there's progress that we experience. But what is progress without value? We must be progressing toward some value, otherwise it's just change. Where's the argument that life has no purpose even without God? Saying it's possible that things can come bottom up doesn't mean it's true. Hasn't even been shown that it's possible. Top-down is better explanation. Shermer says no purpose because of stars and helium. This is necessary for our living. Dawkins cherry picked medieval design arguments. Ignores the fine tuning of the universe.

Dawkins - The other side is just emotional. Craig thinks it's intolerable that death is the end. [Yeah, that's all Craig said]. Wolpe claims a monopoly on love. They think I don't love things. I think the milky way and microscopes are awesome! Then he describes his own view and says it somehow means we're meaningful because we have brains. We make our own purpose. [Craig is just laughing at this silliness]. EVOLUTION!!!


Michio Kaku - One side, 100% certain that there is no purpose and no God. One side 100% certain there is purpose and God. [Get ready for the dumbest thing ever]. They're both wrong. Yeah, I'm on the science channel and I think I know things, but basic philosophy escapes me, apparently, because there's this thing called the law of the excluded middle. [Either there is a God, or there isn't. There can't KIND OF be a God]. Pathetic. My cell phone'll fall if I drop it. Whether God exists is undecidable. Can't know scientifically. Can't disprove unicorns. [Don't even consider that maybe some scientific evidence could allow us to infer a designer]. String theory is awesome. *Facepalm*.

Speech 3

Ridley - I agree with mystery. Mystery != God. Unfortunately, that wasn't the argument. Fail. Unicorns are cool. I like talking about them.

Craig - Notice the shift in the atheist side? They've been claiming that we can make our own purpose and feel good. That means we can pretend that there's purpose. That's make believe. That purpose is illusory. The atheists have been arguing from emotion. The only rational arguments given have been for God. Atheism is unlivable.

Shermer - *Groan* Dawkins was wrong. Jealousy is green. Bwahaha. Kaku is right that we can't prove there's a God, but these dumb ol' theists think we can. Spouses would know if we were faking our love. I completely missed the point of the argument. Fail ran out of time. HA.

Wolpe - Points out atheist straw men. I never said good manners and argument are only on our side [heh]. I've been close to death many times, myself and through others. We don't claim we can PROVE God and purpose, but we can infer through them that there is an afterlife.

Dawkins - HEY I'M BRITISH! Wolpe is just thinking wishfully. Nice != true. Godidit is obviously not true, and it's lazy. Darwin proved everything that makes me a big strong man. God of the gaps is dumb, but Science of the gaps is TOTALLY VIABLE!!!!!111!!!oneone!11eleven!!

Geivett - Kaku is wrong. No one claimed 100% certainty. All our arguments are probability arguments. God is likely, and therefore the way we should think. Science isn't the only source of knowledge. We can infer the existence of God through other arguments. Dawkins has given the most emotional arguments. Not argued that God doesn't exist. Not refuted our arguments. Only said that idea of God is "pathetic. That's emotional."

There are some more comments by some of the other guys, and some closing remarks from the debaters. Craig urges the audience to not get sucked into Dawkins' religious bigotry. In philosophy and other areas there are many outspoken and intelligent theists. Dawkins has the final word, which is dumb and basically says that science is da bomb and is the only worthy goal.

This was a lot of us online apologist's wish for a long time; that Craig would get a shot at Dawkins. I think it's obvious who would win a one on one encounter between them, as Dawkins lacks any substance whatsoever. The debate was entertaining, but the speeches were frustratingly short and the speakers weren't able to elaborate much. I'd still love to see a one-on-one between Dawkins and Craig, and I hope Dawkins doesn't think this gets him off the hook. This will have to do for now, I suppose.


The Seeking Disciple said...

I think what feeds atheists such as Dawkins is not facts or science but hatred. He knows that his views are the vast minority and he knows that he must live on the defense from apologists such as Craig whom he knows would defeat him easily in any meaningful debate. At this point militant atheists are defending their views by hatred for God, for Christians, and longing for science to find some evidence for evolution.

Ryan Anderson said...

A very objective review. Just kidding...

Rhology said...

Shermer - "That's all stars are doing".

Um, and you know that how, exactly?

And Dick Dawk's performance was embarrassing.

exreformed said...

@ seeking disciple

If anyone knows about hatred it would be your blood thirsty God

Psalm 5:5

5The (I)boastful shall not (J)stand before Your eyes;
You (K)hate all who do iniquity.

Come on now, let the excuses roll about this passage and how it does not mean what it say's: I am taking it out of context blah, blah blah.

You are the sick sadistic people that have to defend eternal conscience torment.

Rhology said...

Actually, now comes the part where you explain how you know whether being "bloodthirsty" is evil.

exreformed said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bossmanham said...

So, God hating bad things is bloodthirsty? Huh...

exreformed said...

Well, I have to admit, you got me on that one. I can’t tell you how I know being blood thirsty is evil. You have me on the horns of a real epistemological dilemma. Without presupposing your imaginary sky god, I cannot prove anything about anything at all. I guess I will have to repent and become a fundy again and start talking to my imaginary friend.

Oh, and please, subject switcher, please tell me what Psalm 5:5 means?

bossmanham said...

I just told you. God hates evil. So then how is God bloodthirsty for hating badness?

exreformed said...

The passage states that God "hates" the people, not evil.

John said...

Please find a completely different Illuminated Understanding of the nature of Real God via these three references.

bossmanham said...

Yeah, and people can be pretty evil. And if they don't respond to God's love, they face His hate of evil; aka judgment.

bossmanham said...

John, have any arguments to support this silly religion?

thechemistscorner said...


I am interested to hear your defense of knowing that being blood thirsty is bad.

I also am somewhat baffled why the passage has you up in arms. It's not like God hasn't repeatedly stated that he hates sin. By bringing this up, you also ignore the fact the God did exactly what is impossible for man to do himself: reconcile man to God.