Sunday, September 15, 2019

Is Evolution Indicative of No God?

Image result for God and evolution are compatible



My friend Jeff Lowder at the Secular outpost has written a paper supporting  Paul Draper's argument. I doubt that Draper has bothered to consider the brand of God belief he  messes with. The problem I see with this argument is that it makes the unnecessary assumption that a world created by God would be less inclined to include evolution as a creative mechanism. I see no reason to make that assumption.To say it another way the argument is predicated upon naturalism v theism, which is to divide reality into ideological doctrines. That kind of thinking might work in a world created by the God of Pat Robertson but not one where God is being itself such a the view of Paul Tillich. There is just no reason to juxtapose evolution to God. The attempt to assess probabilities for God vs evolution is just a matter of which God one seeks to reject.

Lowder's argument:

The idea that evolution is somehow a threat to “religion” is nothing new. Ever since the publication of Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species, there have been allegations of a “war” between “science” and “religion,” with evolution arguably constituting one of the war’s front lines. For most of this “war’s” history, the philosophical “fighting” has focused on questions of logical compatibility, such as whether evolution is compatible with Christian theism (specifically, with a literal interpretation of the Biblical book of Genesis) or, more broadly, whether it is even compatible with “mere” or “generic” theism; no one had bothered to make a serious effort to consider, apart from questions of logical compatibility, whether the truth of evolution might constitute evidence against theism even if it is consistent with it. This changed in 1997. Philosopher of religion Paul Draper, well-known for writing what is widely considered one of the best versions of the argument from evil (1996), developed what may be called the “evidential argument from evolution.” It takes the following form:(1) Evolution is antecedently much more probable on the assumption that naturalism is true than on the assumption that theism is true.(2) The statement that pain and pleasure systematically connected to reproductive success is antecedently much more probable on the assumption that evolutionary naturalism is true than on the assumption that evolutionary theism is true.(3) Therefore, evolution conjoined with this statement about pain and pleasure is antecedently very much more probable on the assumption that naturalism is true than on the assumption that theism is true. (From 1 and 2)(4) Naturalism is at least as plausible as theism.(5) Therefore, other evidence held equal, naturalism is very much more probable than theism. (From 3 and 4)(6) Naturalism entails that theism is false.(7) Therefore, other evidence held equal, it is highly probable that theism is false. (From 5 and 6) (Draper 1997)[1]
Lowder is an expert in probability and I am not. Still I think these mistakes are prior to any consideration of probability. The entire argent is predicated upon dividing reality into ideological camps, naturalism vs theism. The camp you belong to will determine the assumptions you make.But why should reality conform to philosophical camps? Let's just examine each premise.

(1) Evolution is antecedently much more probable on the assumption that naturalism is true than on the assumption that theism is true.

My Answer: It is more likely that an evolutionary view will be  predicated upon a naturalistic outlook but that is not the same as saying evolution is more  likely to be had in a Godless world. God is not less likley than nature to use evolution. Those who might think this is the case are merely assuming  God is a magnification of humanity. It is a historical accident that humans have tended to consider evolution  more in a climate of unbelief than in a  climate of belief in God. 




(2) The statement that pain and pleasure systematically connected to reproductive success is antecedently much more probable on the assumption that evolutionary naturalism is true than on the assumption that evolutionary theism is true.

My Answer: What? He seems to be shaping God in a puritanical image. Does he assume God would not make reproduction pleasurable? That is merely absurd.


(3) Therefore, evolution conjoined with this statement about pain and pleasure is antecedently very much more probable on the assumption that naturalism is true than on the assumption that theism is true. (From 1 and 2)

Answer: Why? Only if we assume God might work without using evolution.We have no reason to assume that, it's not as though the writers of the Bible compared systems.


(4) Naturalism is at least as plausible as theism.

My Answer:

I am not so sure about that. The obvious point at which  one might have difficulty is that of origins. The skeptic is often heard to  equate the notion of eternal God with timeless nature. I once wrote a tie breaker for this question:


To break the tie we just need to distinguish between the two kinds of un-caused nature. The argument is going to turn-on the concept of a BF. The nature of God's un-caused state is not the same as the nature of BF. To be a BF a thing must have no connection to a higher purpose. God can't have a purpose higher than himself but he can have a purpose higher than mere brute facticity. Semantically the two are different, Brute facts have NO higher purpose, God has aseity not brute facticity. That it is part of the definition of what God is that he is eternal and necessary. It's not part of the definition of the universe that it exists. That's existence as a predicate. On that basis Bertrand Russell ruled out the ontological argument. Existence is not a quality to be defined as part of the object, "I have one of those brick houses it;s the kind that exists." That goes beyond the semantic aspect and it can be understood in terms of the nature of being.
God is being itself or the ground of being.[2] The universe is not the ground of being. Even if it has no cause and has always existed the universe cannot be called the ground of being without attaching to it some higher sense of special nature such that we can think of it as "holy being." But before we go deifying the universe there is no reason to assume that the universe is eternal or uncased. If it was, if we could call it God there would be a God and atheists would be wrong , even if Christians were wrong too. We can eliminate that possibility.  We know the universe is not eternal [3] and It did not pop out of nothing.[4] The real contest is between a meaningless accident that somehow came to be for no reason with no higher purpose ,which we call "the universe" vs.  the ground of being or holy being which is eternal, necessary (could not have failed to exist) and eternal cohere's within the infinite folds of a core purpose upon which the all existence coheres. That is not  purpose higher than itself but is it;'s own purpose (that the universe doesn't have). [read the entire essay see fn [2]

(5) Therefore, other evidence held equal, naturalism is very much more probable than theism. (From 3 and 4)

My Answer: 3 an 4 were wrong. see above.

(6) Naturalism entails that theism is false.

(7) Therefore, other evidence held equal, it is highly probable that theism is false. (From 5 and 6) (Draper 1997) 

My Answer: Naturally these are wrong if 1-4 are wrong.


The problem I see with this argument is that makes the unnecessary assumption that a world created by God would be less inclined to include volition as a creative mechanism. I see no reason to make that assumption,To say it another way the argument is predicated upon naturalism v theism, which is to divide reality into ideological doctrines. That kind of thinking might work in a world created by the God of Pat Robertson but not one where God is being itself such a the view of Paul Tillich. There is just no reason to juxtapose evolutionist to God. The attempt to assess probabilities for God vs evolution is just a matter of which God one seeks to reject.

Ryan M's answer to my argument "There is just no reason to juxtapose evolution to God. The attempt to assess probabilities for God vs evolution is just a matter of which God one seeks to reject."

Your last point is fine enough, but you need to make the point that Draper's argument is only successful against a proper subclass of theism. That is, Draper's argument is successful against some interpretations of theism but not others. That would be fine, but in a way irrelevant. What is at issue is whether Draper's argument is successful with respect to the interpretations of theism he is tackling AND whether Craig is successful in rebutting Draper's argument against the interpretations of theism Draper takes issue with.[3]
That's ok for those who play SOP's little game of "get Craig" but those who seek truth might notice Draper's argument does not rule out God.  




Sources

[1] Jefery Jay Lowder,"Draft: William Lane Craig on the evidential argument from Evolution.." Secular Outpost (sept 7,2019)

[2] Joseph Hinman, "Tie Breaker: God Cannot Be a Brute Fact," Metacrock's blog (Nov 7,2017)

foot notes in this quote are:


[2] Ground of being is a concept made famous by Paul Tillich and other theologians, I've written about it vociferously. It basically amounts to saying God is the basis of reality. My A"Introduction to Paul Tillich's Existential Ontology" Metacrock's Blog http://metacrock.blogspot.com/2010/02/introduction-to-paul-tillichs.html
[3] Quentin Smith, “The Uncased Beginning of the Universe.” The British Journal of the Philosophy of Science, (1988, Vol., 55, no. 1), 39-57.
[4] Joseph Hinman, "Quantum Particles Do not prove universe from Nothing," The religious a priori, website URL: http://religiousapriori.blogspot.com/2016/03/quantum-particles-do-not-prove-universe.htmlaccessed 7/23/16


[3] Ryan M,   Comment Section,   Jefery Jay Lowder,"Draft: William Lane Craig on the evidential argument from Evolution.." Secular Outpost (sept 7,2019)https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularoutpost/2019/09/07/craig-on-evidential-argument-from-evolution/#disqus_thread




2 comments:

Jesse said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

thanks