26 of 37 people found the following review helpful
Tour de force,
This review is from: God's Undertaker: Has Science Buried God? (Paperback)I will be buying many copies of this book - to give to Christians who don't know how to reply to people who say we are chance occurrence in a meaningless universe and non-Christians who have swallowed the Dawkins view without question.
It is a model of clarity. The key question is - where does information come from. I have often marveled at the fact that DNA codes the information to make all the building blocks of an organism plus the final shape and structure. An analogy would be the design of a Boeing 737 which could be placed somewhere on a patch of land and would then proceed to extract all the required chemicals and metals, make each component and proceed to build the plane and then fly it!
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 22 Apr 2008 14:49:57 BDT
Last edited by the author on 22 Apr 2008 15:01:53 BDT
Charles Gidley Wheeler says:
It seems to me that Lennox's whole argument boils down to little more than a sophisticated version of Bishop Paley's 'argument from design', which Paley pinched from the argument of Cleanthes in David Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion. The problem with Paley's argument is that he chooses as his example something (a pocket watch) that is harmless, complex and useful to show that it must have had a wise and competent creator. He could have chosen a different example. There is little difference in complexity between a pocket watch and a machine gun, so I would like to parody Paley in the following way:
Wheeler's Machine Gun:
In crossing a heath, suppose I pitched my foot against a stone and were asked how the stone came to be there, I would probably answer that its existence was caused by an infinite causal chain of events. Nor would it be very easy to show that my answer was absurd. But suppose I found a machine gun upon the ground, and I were to be confronted with the question how the machine gun happened to be in that place. To be consistent, I could only give exactly the same answer, namely that the existence of the machine gun was caused by an infinite causal chain; nor is there any reason why this answer should not serve for the machine gun as well as for the stone: it is equally admissible in the second case as in the first. When we inspect the machine gun, we find that its several parts are framed and put together for a specific purpose, e.g., that they are so formed and adjusted as to produce the projection of bullets at a very high velocity and in quick succession. The machine gun's mechanism being observed - it requires indeed, an examination of the weapon and perhaps some previous knowledge of the subject to perceive and understand it; but being once, as we have said, observed and understood, the inference we think is inevitable that the machine gun must have had a maker - that there must exist or have existed, at some time and at some place or other, an artificer or artificers who formed it for the purpose which we find it actually to answer, who comprehended its construction and designed it for the specific purpose of harming or killing living creatures, or otherwise doing damage to Nature. In the course of time, we would inevitably discover that the artificer or artificers who designed and manufactured the machine gun were human beings. To be consistent, we should then have to ask how those artificers came into existence. We could only answer by affirming, once again, that they came into being as a result of an infinite causal chain. If we were to answer that the artificers were brought into existence by another artificer, who, when he created them, knew very well what murderous weapons they would be capable of inventing, to be consistent in our method of enquiry we would then have to ask how the creating artificer came into being, and so ad infinitum. We are therefore driven to the conclusion that the infinite causal chain is a part of Nature and that nature must necessarily be infinite, its own cause, and eternal -and that the supposition of an artificer, maker or creator who stands outside Nature is self-contradictory and absurd.
In reply to an earlier post on 26 Apr 2008 09:20:01 BDT
Last edited by the author on 26 Apr 2008 09:20:38 BDT
D. M. Ohara says:
Three comments on Mr. Wheeler's post:
(1) Paley was never a Bishop. His highest ecclesiastical office was Archdeacon.
(2) The argument from design did not begin with Hume's Cleanthes, but can be traced back at least as far [and probably beyond] Thomas Aquinas in the 13th Century. Hume was, incidentally, responding in part in the Dialogues to Bishop Butler's 'Analogy of Religion' published in 1736. Butler was arguably the model for Cleanthes, as Samuel Clarke was for Demea. As a young man, Hume was as impressed by Butler as Darwin, in his early days, was by Paley.
(3) I don't think your own analogy works - but it would take more space than is available here to explain in detail. The 'Free-Will Defence' is worth studying, however.
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