Friday, November 17, 2006

Some Dawkins "arguments" easily refuted

Gosh this Wikipedia business is hard work!

Part of the problem is that some of Dawk's arguments are so bad than no-one has yet bothered to publish refutations. So even obvious logical points get deleted cos they are "Original Research".

For example the 747 Gambit is obvious rubbish the moment you think about conditional probabilities.

Dawkins does not explain what he means by statistically improbable. The standard probabilistic form of the argument from design is to take some feature of the universe (X) and to argue that p(X|God) >> p(X|No_God). Obviously p(God|No_God)=0 < p(X|No_God), but this says does not address the argument for design. So Dawkins seems to be arguing:

  1. If "D designed X" then, for any Background assumptions B, p(D|B) < p(X|B)
  2. Hence for any B and X, if "God designed X", p(God|B)< p(X|B)
He gives no justification of (1) and consideration of an artist D who designs n paintings all but one of which are destroyed shows that (1) is not necessarily true. And this argument says nothing about a comparison of p(X|N) with p(X|G).

And the teapot/God analogy totally breaks down when you consider that:
  1. No scientist has made such a farcical claim as to seriously advocate the existence of this "teapot"
  2. There is ample ground for disbelief in the claim.
  3. The cumulative case for God, on the contrary, has persuaded at least a considerable minority of scientific minds.
  4. This teapot is a rhetorical and non-scientific device to associate a serious case with a ridiculous one.
However the usual atheist Wikipedian editors have removed these points from the articles, not becuase they have any arguments against their validity, but because they are "Original Research." Ah well. Of course if they were published we could cite them.

Interesting post here "Richard Dawkins is probably among the finest evolutionary biologists of our time [hmm...] but ... that does not preserve him from making some remarkably bad--indeed, in some cases embarrassingly bad--arguments when he steps outside the domain of his own area of expertise. To notice the badness of his arguments, however, is not the same thing as to be fully immune from their effects."

2 comments:

John Farrell said...

Good post. It would be interesting to find other similarly detailed...er...fiskings of Dawkin's arguments.

DA said...

PLEASE DO MORE...These are great! Refuting specific Dawkins arguments are needed much more. Thanks for taking the time!