Greylorn Ell wrote:
The only thing that each of these guys have on their side is the agreement of their followers, religionists in Craig's case, atheists backing Dawkins' position. Dawkins is as scientifically conscious as Craig. Both are masters of dialectic for the easily fooled.
Craig's arguments can be refuted with no more than a few tidbits of common-sense logic, but because Dawkins claims to have science on his side, it is necessary to use a few tidbits of scientifically determined information, plus some mathematical logic to refute his position.
My book includes several examples, and in a few weeks I should be able to refer you to a simple essay about the implications of codons in genetics that put the lie to random chance as the cause of genetic change. In the meantime, let's do some really simple probability math, of the sort that when properly attended to makes casino owners rich, and when ignored, makes stupid gamblers poor.
We'll need a few scientific facts to get started. The human genome consists of about 23,000 genes (segments of DNA that code for protein molecules). For the most part these genes range in size from between 900 and 1500 base-pairs (I'm trusting that, as a Dawkins fan, you know your fundamental biology). The average gene size is about 1200 base-pairs, but to keep my presentation simple, let's assume that every gene has only 900 base-pairs.
The only mechanism that science has allowed for the creation of a particular gene is random change to a DNA molecule. (Natural selection can only operate after a gene has been changed, and a new protein put to work in a critter's body.) Random changes are fairly easy to calculate at the base-pair level if one ignores difficulties such as capping or marking the beginning and end points of a gene, or how a gene might be changed in length without drastically changing the protein for which it codes, or how, if a gene is modified to code for a new protein, the next-generation of body does without the old but perfectly functional protein.
So, ignoring those factors and keeping things simple, it turns out the probability for the occurrence of a single, small, 900 base-pair gene is about 1.4 x 10exp-542. That's a decimal point followed by 541 zeroes before the 1.4.
That's an ugly small number. Scientists generally regard a probability of 10exp-40 (a decimal point followed by 39 zeroes before a "1" as impossible.
Considering the scientific fact that there are about 23,000 genes in the human genome, and that probabilities multiply, the probability of the entire human genome coming into existence via the chance rearrangement of molecules is a really ugly number-- more than a million zeroes after the decimal point.
Now, that's science. It's not the kind of science that you'll get from the likes of Dawkins and his followers.
I apologize for offending anyone by introducing an element of mathematical logic into a philosophy forum, but if you are going to claim that bogus science is on the side of a particular idea, mathematical logic is the only way to refute the arguments behind that idea and expose the bogusity of the "science" that allegedly supports it.
I contend that Dawkins and Craig are both bullshit artists, like carnival barkers in opposite tents pitching credulous audiences of different predilections. Pay your $2 to enter either tent and you will get to see (but not examine) some goofy invented structure, perhaps a mummified alien from the Roswell crash, or a beautiful hirsute woman with four tits. Choosing the carnival barker is choosing the fiction he sells. The smart choice is to take a ride on the Ferris Wheel in search of a larger perspective.
If one actually examines the logic of religion and the science behind atheism, and does so with objective honesty, it becomes clear that with respect to the workings of things, and especially with respect to the beginnings of things, that science and religion are equally full of shit.
What's philosophy doing about this? It's trusting one finger up its collective ass, and another into its mouth. Then it plays switch, ad infinitum, as if there was no other game in town.
What are individual philosophers doing about this? I'd have to say, less than nothing. They'll side up with Dawkins without checking his science. They won't study Michael Behe, whose books are full of legitimate (and therefore non-trivial) microbiological science data. They side with the simple-minded dolt because he simplifies the agreement-base they've aligned with. They freely quote the opinions of some phony scientist, but never actually study science, thereby basing their opinions on agreement while claiming to be basing their opinions on science. So far, it looks to me like you're a member of that agreement crowd.
Aha, the old 'probability' non-sequitur beloved by creationists. 'The chances of life happening by chance are 6.254 zillion to one'. Fuck knows where they get their figures from. Actually, talking about the probability of something like that occurring is pointless, because occur it did. Of course, bringing a magic man into the equation increases the odds greatly.