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Evidentialism and Reformed Epistemology

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Problem with Dawkins' "Crane"?
« on: September 18, 2009, 04:52:28 pm »
Hello all!

   

   I've been giving a lot of thought to Dawkins' central argument against God in The God Delusion, and it seems there may be a crucial problem with it that I haven't heard Craig, or anybody else, comment on:

   

   One of the most critical aspects of Dawkins' argument is the notion of Cranes and Skyhooks. A "skyhook" is an explanation which postulates an increase in complexity to account for the existence of complexity, and thus results in an infinite regress of causes, and is therefore worthless. Intelligent Design, Dawkins argues, is untenable because it raises the problem of "who designed the [presumably more complex] designer" and thus constitutes a skyhook.

   

   The alternative model, Cranes, are better because they postulate gradual increases of complexity from simple, more statistically probable, origins. for example, evolution by natural selection takes something very simple and allows it to slowly grow into the complexity we observe today. This is apparently better than a skyhook, because it is grounded in growth from simplicity, rather than design from complexity.

   

   However, I'm doubting that this is the case. If Dawkins can ask "who designed the designer" and cause an infinite regress, surely one can equally ask "what evolved the evolver"? If the reason for something existing is that it evolved from a simpler entity, then that entity also needs something simpler out of which it can evolve ad infinitum.

   

   Let's imagine that one day we were to find that the universe appears to have begun from the simplest, tiniest sub-atomic particle; that particle is still immensely complex when compared to the alternative of nothing existing. Somethingness, no matter how simple in composition, is far more complex than nothingness (and a probability of something coming from nothing is simply zero).

   

   And so it seems the "Crane" isn't actually sitting on any firm ground. Like the Skyhook, it keeps going forever and ever - the only difference being that while the Skyhook's complexity increases, the Crane's complexity decreases. Ultimately, therefore, unless Dawkins is willing to concede that it is possible for an entity to exist timelessly and necessarily - which could apply either to God or this tiny particle - it seems that his Crane is no more of a solution to infinite regress than the Skyhook which he has spent so much effort rejecting.

   

   Thoughts?

1

john thomas

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Problem with Dawkins' "Crane"?
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2009, 10:44:21 am »
Hi Byrom,

I think the reason you haven't heard anyone comment on this idea is that it is based on a mistaken view of evolution.

Evolution is a biological theory that attempts to explain the diversity of life on earth.  It does not attempt to explain either of:
1. the beginning of the universe, or
2. the beginning of life.

These questions are considered by those that study cosmology and abiogenesis, respectively.
Marcus Aurelius:
"Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be go

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Problem with Dawkins' "Crane"?
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2009, 10:58:38 am »
I know that evolution explains the variety of life on Earth. My point is that Dawkins extrapolates the principle of the Crane as a model we should use for trying to discover why the universe exists, and it doesn't seem to work.

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Problem with Dawkins' "Crane"?
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2009, 06:25:20 am »

Hi Byrom

Check out this link...it's an article by Alvin Plantinga and part of it deals with Dawkins' increased complexity, decreased probability argument!
Cheers


http://www.christianitytoday.com/bc/2007/marapr/1.21.html


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Problem with Dawkins' "Crane"?
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2009, 06:04:16 am »

If Dawkins' argument for increased complexity decreased probability is true then why are we humans here....and so plentifull!!??


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Problem with Dawkins' "Crane"?
« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2009, 06:23:43 am »
It's not about something being complex which makes it less likely in itself, but if there is no probable, gradual entity preceeding it.

   

   I'm having this discussing on the Dawkins forum and its a riot. So many of them are simply attacking me and assuming I'm a theist and simply can't get their heads round what I'm saying lol. I might as well be in the deep south!

   

   http://www.richarddawkins.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=63&t=93142

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Problem with Dawkins' "Crane"?
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2009, 07:03:38 am »

So if Dawkins can't apply that to God how can he make that assumption, that God cannot exist because of no prior model, if the very God there is no prior model for he rejects from the first instance? Isn't that a circular?


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Problem with Dawkins' "Crane"?
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2009, 07:40:27 am »
Beats me. Most of the answers I'm getting in the Dawkins forum are pathetic, essentially preaching the gospel of Darwin without even acknowledging that I've already accepted it and am questioning its extrapolation into origins of the universe. there are some smug dullards out there lol.

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Problem with Dawkins' "Crane"?
« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2009, 08:23:15 am »

I am a theist, and have recently shifted from rejecting to accepting, as very plausible, Darwinian evolution as accountable for the biological diversity we see. But I still reject materialism as the progenitor of human experience/consciousness and moral law. For what my opinion's worth!


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Problem with Dawkins' "Crane"?
« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2012, 11:02:27 am »
Byrom wrote: Beats me. Most of the answers I'm getting in the Dawkins forum are pathetic, essentially preaching the gospel of Darwin without even acknowledging that I've already accepted it and am questioning its extrapolation into origins of the universe. there are some smug dullards out there lol.

Welcome to popular, "bright" atheism!

10

innerbling

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Re: Problem with Dawkins' "Crane"?
« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2012, 06:24:42 pm »
Quote
The alternative model, Cranes, are better because they postulate gradual increases of complexity
from simple, more statistically probable, origins. for example, evolution by natural selection
takes something very simple and allows it to slowly grow into the complexity we observe today.
This is apparently better than a skyhook, because it is grounded in growth from simplicity,
rather than design from complexity.

The problem is that he does not understand complexity at all as complexity refers to set of instructions needed to build the thing in question. So every mechanism is algorithmically at least as complex as the thing it constructs.

So from algorithmic perspective there cannot be 'gradual increases in complexity'.

11

John Dee

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Re: Problem with Dawkins' "Crane"?
« Reply #11 on: September 05, 2013, 07:32:33 am »
The other problem for Dawkins with the regression issue and his who made God quip is that the laws of thermodynamics put him in exactly the same position as the theistic one which he criticises.

Basically you can’t get something for nothing
And nothing useful lasts for ever.

For the atheist existence is still a full blown miracle, because you can’t get something natural for nothing, that is for them existence is a free lunch which pops out of nothing. For the theist, existence is a free lunch but “reasonably” explained as balanced across the supernatural divide, a gift from the first cause creator God.

I also think that innerblings comments are very important. Yes everything constructed is made up of smaller and simpler constituents, but this is hardly a ground breaking observation. The point always comes back to whether the construction is directed through information and design; both of which types must be considered as highly organised or low entropic states which can then drive their pool of organisation down the waterfall of free energy if they are so energised OR if it is undirected and the organisation of life are just accidental pools of organisation collected from small bits on the way down.

Again in both cases the direction is down from an organised and low entropy pool at the top of the entropy waterfall and the crane and skyhook distinction is irrelevant. 

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Re: Problem with Dawkins' "Crane"?
« Reply #12 on: November 24, 2013, 12:09:01 pm »
Dawkin's skyhook objection to God is based on a misunderstanding of theism. Theism postulates divine simplicity, so the designer couldn't have been made by anything, He just is.

It's like asking "which Harry Potter book preceded the first one?" Dawkins completely misrepresents the theological ideas he's arguing against.