Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Another Anti-Science Rant

"Take a Ford motor car. It is conceivable that someone from a remote part of the world, who was seeing one for the first time and who knew nothing about modern engineering, might imagine that there is a god (Mr Ford) inside the engine, making it go. He might further imagine that when the engine ran sweetly it was because Mr Ford inside the engine liked him, and when it refused to go it was because Mr Ford did not like him. Of course, if he were subsequently to study engineering and take the engine to pieces, he would discover that there is no Mr Ford inside it. Neither would it take much intelligence for him to see that he did not need to introduce Mister Ford as an explanation for its working. His grasp of the impersonal principles of internal combustion would be altogether enough to explain how the engine works. So far, so good. But if he then decided that his understanding of the principles of how the engine works made it impossible to believe in the existence of Mr Ford who designed the engine in the first place, this would be patently false – in philosophical terminology he would be committing a category mistake. Had there never been a Mr Ford to design the mechanisms, none would exist for him to understand.

It is likewise a category mistake to suppose that our understanding of the impersonal principles according to which the universe works makes it either unnecessary or impossible to believe in the existence of a personal creator who designed, made, and upholds the universe. In other words, we should not confuse the mechanisms by which the universe works either with its cause or its upholder." [italics mine]

John C. Lennox, God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God? (Oxford: Lion, 2007), 43-44.

Who is this anti-science John C. Lennox guy, anyway, and is he as well-educated in science as either PJ or Joe Agnost?  What are his qualifications to speak!!!!!!????  My darwinian-lizard brain wants to know!

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4 comments:

Joe_Agnost said...

Lennox is a mathematician, not a biologist. He's also completely insane - he actually believes the miricales in the bible happened! Talking snakes? Yup. Water into wine? You betcha!

The guy's a loon and has been shown as such by Dawkins in their debates.

The whole car_needs_a_designer so everything_needs_a_designer meme fails as soon as you account for the fact that living cells self-replicate and reproduce, cars (and other inanimate objects) do not. That alone shreds Lennox's point.

RkBall said...

"Lennox is a mathematician, not a biologist." Dawkins is a biologist, not a philosopher. Doesn't stop him. Dawkins is a biologist, not a theologian. Doesn't stop him.

Lennox is a mathematician, scientist, and philosopher.

Joe_Agnost said...

I didn't say he wasn't within his rights to opine on the subject - just putting his credentials out there is all.

The fact that he's a total fool and doesn't know what he's talking about is reflected in his lack of scientific prowess.

So, I've pointed out how utterly stupid his 'Ford car' analogy is... and all you can reply is that he's "a mathematician, scientist, and philosopher."
Should I take that to mean you agree with me?

P@J said...

A counter-analogy to your silly Ford one, this courtesy of Douglas Adams (and I apologise for the paraphrase):

A man (following Creatonist logic) didn’t understand how televisions work, and was convinced that there must be lots of little men inside the box, manipulating images at high speed.

An engineer (playing the evolutionary biologist) explained to him about high frequency modulations of the electromagnetic spectrum and about transmitters and receivers. He gave a long treatise on amplifiers and cathode ray tubes, about scan lines moving across and down a phosphorescent screen. He quickly summarised the photoelectric effect. Then the engineer called in a TV Producer who explained about the business of television studios, about the creative process and the concept of commercial sponsorship. He brought along all the legal documentation explaining FCC rules and requirements, and a copy of the TV guide.

The man listened to the engineer and the Producer with careful attention, nodding his head at every step of the argument, asking sometimes insightful questions, occasionally needing more details on some minutia of the technical aspects of the technology. Finally, he pronounced himself satisfied. He really did now understand how televisions work.

Than he asked “So what are the little men in there really doing, then?”

"... nothing intellectually compelling or challenging.. bald assertions coupled to superstition... woefully pathetic"