The God Delusion Session 2: Son of Kong or son of God ADULT FAITH EDUCATION SERIES 7:30 pm on Feb 12 - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

1 / 106
About This Presentation

The God Delusion Session 2: Son of Kong or son of God ADULT FAITH EDUCATION SERIES 7:30 pm on Feb 12


... the fact that the sizes of the moon and sun and their distances from the earth ... how the fossil record has struck many a forlorn palaeontologist looking to ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

Number of Views:440
Avg rating:3.0/5.0
Slides: 107
Provided by: Lau161


Transcript and Presenter's Notes

Title: The God Delusion Session 2: Son of Kong or son of God ADULT FAITH EDUCATION SERIES 7:30 pm on Feb 12

The God DelusionSession 2 Son of Kong or son
Feb 12th, 2009.St. Augustines Parish, 1060
Baseline RoadOttawa, Ontario
  • Timothy Lau,
  • MD, FRCPC, MSc
  • Assistant Professor, Faculty of Medicine,
    Department of Psychiatry, Geriatrics, ROMHC

The New Atheists and their Faith
  • There is no transcendent reality beyond the
    natural world that is to say there is no
    immaterial soul and no life after death.
    (Session 12)
  • The natural universe is self-originating, not the
    creation of a divine being. (Session 1)
  • Humans, like the universe have no ultimate
    purpose or meaning beyond that which they create
    themselves (Session 2).
  • Science does a better job of explaining nature,
    including human nature, than religion. Belief in
    God is the source of much of the worlds violence
    and disorder, and mankind would be better off
    dispensing with religion (Session 2 and 3).

Session 1 Summary points
  • Following causality logic can demonstrate that
    there is an all powerful, eternal, and
    all-knowing God
  • Science is the study of how the physical world
  • The foundation of science is based on the
    assumption of order, rationality, predictability
    and causality.
  • Faith in materialism is the foundation of the
    modern atheists philosophy or reductionism
  • Our humanity is based on a transcendental

3 Sessions
  • Session 1
  • Reasonable arguments for Gods existence
  • Session 2
  • Atheism as irrational and dehumanizing
  • Session 3
  • Faith and God, a family affair. A God different
    than any other.

Absolute unquestioning faith
  • It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet
    someone who claims not to believe in evolution,
    that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or
    wicked, but I dare not say that)
  • Richard Dawkins
  • What happened to the spirit of intellectual
    inquiry? Modifiable, testable, empirically
    verifiable hypothesis? Are you wicked if you
    question it?

Questions with regards to evolution
  • What did Darwins Origin of Species
  • Does the evolution of species exclude God? How?
  • What is the Neo-Darwinian synthesis?
  • How does the philosophy of materialistic
    Darwinism dehumanize man?

The limits of Neo-Darwinism
  • Far from being able to replace traditional
    metaphysics and religion, Neo-Darwinian
    philosophy cannot begin to tell us what brought
    the world into existence, nor why the world
    exists, nor what our ultimate destiny is, nor how
    we should act in order to be the kind of persons
    we ought to be.

Only God Creates from Nothing
  • One day a group of scientists said to God that
    they decided they no longer needed Him. The
    scientist said God we are at the point that
    people can do many miraculous and creative
    things. We can clone sheep, humans and design
    humans from stem cells.
  • God listened patiently and said Very well, how
    about this, lets say we have a man-making
    contest? to which the scientists answer great.
  • But God added we are going to do it just like I
    did it in the days of Adam. One scientist said,
    Sure no problem and bent down to get some dirt.
  • God just looked at him and said No, you make
    your own dirt

  • We are not some casual and meaningless product
    of evolution. Each of us is the result of a
    thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us
    is loved, each of us is necessary.
  • Pope Benedict XVI,
  • In his inauguration Mass as Pope on April 24,

Two things to ponder
  • All things happen for a reason
  • Nothing happens truly randomly
  • randomness is an illusion that arises from our
    limitations of being able to know all the causes
    and effects of everything in the universe we
    just dont know all the reasons
  • An eternal all-powerful and all-knowing creator
    is not limited in the way He creates or brings
    things into being
  • The unevolved soul
  • What evolution describes is how the material
    world evolves.
  • When it comes to man, which has a soul and body,
    the soul, which is immaterial, is not the product
    of evolution. It is directly created by God.

Session 2. Outline
  • Design and Causality
  • Is the Universe fine tuned?
  • Finely Tuned Earth
  • Origin of Life
  • Evolution
  • The Anthropic Principle Misconstrued
  • Climbing Mount Improbable
  • The problem of morality

5th Way. Finality or design.
  • The teleological argument
  • The argument states simply that design implies a
  • Things in the world move toward goals, just as
    the arrow does not move toward its goal except by
    the archer's directing it. Thus, there must be an
    intelligent designer who directs all things to
    their goals, and this is God.

Paleys Watch
  • By analogy with a watch, the argument states that
    design implies a designer.
  • In crossing a heath, suppose I pitched my foot
    against a stone, and were asked how the stone
    came to be there I might possibly answer, that,
    for anything I knew to the contrary, it had lain
    there forever But suppose I had found a watch
    upon the ground, and it should be inquired how
    the watch happened to be in that place I should
    hardly think of the answer I had before given,
    that for anything I knew, the watch might have
    always been there.
  • William Paley, Natural Theology (1802)

Paleys Watch
  • By analogy with a watch, the argument states that
    design implies a designer.
  • There must have existed, at some time, and at
    some place or other, an artificer or artificers,
    who formed the watch for the purpose which we
    find it actually to answer who comprehended its
    construction, and designed its use. (...) Every
    indication of contrivance, every manifestation of
    design, which existed in the watch, exists in the
    works of nature with the difference, on the side
    of nature, of being greater or more, and that in
    a degree which exceeds all computation.
  • William Paley, Natural Theology (1802)

Charles Darwin autobiography
  • Although I did not think much about the
    existence of a personal God until a considerably
    later period of my life, I will here give the
    vague conclusions to which I have been driven.
  • The old argument of design in nature, as given by
    Paley, which formerly seemed to me so conclusive,
    fails, now that the law of natural selection has
    been discovered.
  • We can no longer argue that, for instance, the
    beautiful hinge of a bivalve shell must have been
    made by an intelligent being, like the hinge of a
    door by man. There seems to be no more design in
    the variability of organic beings and in the
    action of natural selection, than in the course
    which the wind blows. Everything in nature is the
    result of fixed laws.

Charles Darwin in the Origin of Species
  • I see no good reason why the views given in this
    volume should shock the religious feelings of any
    one. It is satisfactory, as showing how transient
    such impressions are, to remember that the
    greatest discovery ever made by man, namely, the
    law of the attraction of gravity, was also
    attacked by Leibnitz
  • A celebrated author and divine has written to me
    that "he has gradually learnt to see that it is
    just as noble a conception of the Deity to
    believe that He created a few original forms
    capable of self-development into other and
    needful forms, as to believe that He required a
    fresh act of creation to supply the voids caused
    by the action of His laws.
  • The theory of natural selection is consistent
    with God who may use this as a mechanism to bring
    about the human body

From Aristotle 4 CAUSES
  • The four causes provide answers to four
    questions one might ask about something, for
    example, a man
  • What is it made from ? Flesh and so on
  • What produced it? The father and mother
  • What is its form or essence? A two legged
    rational creature.
  • For what purpose? The big question.To live a
    life according to reason

Aristotle to Darwin and Back Again
  • Different types of causes
  • Etienne Gilson argued in his 1971 book From
    Aristotle to Darwin and Back Again that Francis
    Bacon and others perpetrated a philosophical
    error when they eliminated two of Aristotles
    four causes from the purview of science.
  • They sought to explain everything in mechanistic
    terms, referring only to material and efficient
    causes and discarding formal and final causality.

Aristotle to Darwin and Back Again
  • Formal vs. material cause
  • Without the form, or the formal cause, it would
    be impossible to account for the unity and
    specific identity of any substance. In the human
    composite the form is the spiritual soul, which
    makes the organism a single entity and gives it
    its human character.
  • Once the form is lost, the material elements
    decompose, and the body ceases to be human. It
    would be futile, therefore, to try to define
    human beings in terms of their bodily components

Does a material or efficient causes exclude a
First Cause?
  • Consider a Ford motor car
  • If you discovered all the information and
    processes necessary to make a car including how
    it works does that mean you can prove either that
    Mr. Ford, the designer of the car, doesnt have a
    reason for making the car or even that he exists?
  • Can one derive a why out of a how?
  • How does part of an explanation (mechanisms)
    remove the need for the rest of the explanation
  • Do the knowledge of secondary causes or a chain
    of subsequent causes disprove a primary cause
    Final CAUSE?

Dawkins Faithextrapolation to material causation
  • The universe is nothing but a collection of
    atoms in motion, human beings simply machines for
    propagating DNA, and the propagation of DNA is a
    self-sustaining process. It is every living
    objects sole reason for living
  • Nothing but, sole or simply. HOW DOES HE KNOW
    THIS? It is an ideological assumption.

Nothing objectionable. A true statement of
  • The universe is a collection of atoms in motion,
    human beings machines for propagating DNA, and
    the propagation of DNA is a self-sustaining
    process. It is every living objects reason for
  • Now by removing nothing but, sole or simply
  • The problem with ontological reduction is that it
    is a philosophical assumption rather than
    anything based in reason

Design and causality
  • 3 things that suggest a designer
  • The fine tuned universe
  • The Origin of life
  • The Origin of Human life (including
  • Randomness is not a good explanation for 1-3
  • What the natural sciences demonstrate with
    regards to the above, is that our current
    theories are missing information
  • Is the missing information a stacked deck (ie.
    Initial conditions)

Design and causality
  • 3 things that suggest a designer
  • The fine tuned universe
  • The Origin of life
  • The Origin of Human life (including
  • The missing information
  • There may be many other physical or material
    causes that are unknown.
  • Aside from his comments on Multiple Universes,
    Dawkins himself said, these constants maybe
    connected in some way so that they are determined
    to be the way they are. This suggests that there
    is even more of a unified design.
  • What is missing of these 3 points is our
    knowledge of the final cause.
  • Our understanding of the material and efficient
    causes is deficient (at least at the current time
    for 1 and 2. Number 3 can never be explained
    soley in terms of matter without dehumanizing

A Brief History of Time
Beginning T-13.7 billion
  • Origin
  • of Life
  • T- 4 billion

Human Life T - ?
Scientific American, special edition Vol 12 No 2
The Fine Tuning of the Universe
  • The universes fundamental forces are amazingly,
    intricately, and delicately balanced or
    fine-tuned in order for the universe to be able
    to sustain life.
  • Recent research has shown that many of the
    fundamental constants of nature, from the energy
    levels of the carbon atom to the rate at which
    the universe is expanding, have just the right
    values for life to exist. Change any of them
    just a little, and the universe would become
    hostile to life and incapable of supporting it.

Universal Fine Tuning
  • Physicists such as Stephen Hawking have pointed
    out that the earliest seconds of the universe
    after the Big Bang reveal some strange constants
  • the exact rate of the universe's expansion (the
    Hubble constant)
  • the precise numerical values of the various force
    fields -- nuclear, electromagnetic, gravity --
    that hold the universe together
  • and the equally precise ratio of particles and

Universal Fine Tuning
  • The laws of nature seem to be calibrated in order
    that galaxies, stars, planets and life itself can
    appear, says science writer David Toolan in
    summarizing this picture of constancy.
  • If gravity was just a bit stronger, the universe
    would have collapsed before stars -- the
    factories for the chemicals of life -- could
    appear. If gravity had been any weaker, the
    universe would have ballooned too fast for stars
    to form.
  • If there had been a slight variation in the
    strong nuclear force, the universe would be a
    vast, starless desert.
  • If every proton created in the early universe had
    been matched by an anti-proton, they would have
    eliminated each other. That would have ended the
    story of life right there.

Universal Fine Tuning
  • If the ratio of the strong nuclear force to the
    electromagnetic force had been different by 1
    part in 1016, no stars could have formed.
  • The ratio of the electromagnetic force-constant
    to the gravitational force constant must be
    equally delicately balanced. Increase it by only
    1part in 1040 and only small stars can exist
    decrease it by the same amount and there will
    only be large stars.
  • You must have both large and small stars in the
    universe the large ones produce elements in
    their thermonuclear furnaces and it is only the
    small ones that burn long enough to sustain a
    planet with life.

Fred Hoyle
  • Would you not say to yourself, "Some
    super-calculating intellect must have designed
    the properties of the carbon atom, otherwise the
    chance of my finding such an atom through the
    blind forces of nature would be utterly
    minuscule." Of course you would . . . A common
    sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a
    superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well
    as with chemistry and biology, and that there are
    no blind forces worth speaking about in nature.
  • The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to
    me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion
    almost beyond question.

Universal Fine Tuning
  • An alteration in the ratio of expansion and
    contraction forces by as little as 1 part in 1055
    at the Planck time (10-43 seconds after the
    origin of the universe) would have led either to
    too rapid expansion of the universe with no
    galaxies forming or too slow an expansion with
    consequent rapid collapse.
  • It seems as though someone has fine tuned
    natures numbers to make the universethe
    impression of design is overwhelming.

Universal Fine Tuning
  • Paul Davies suggests that it would be akin to the
    kind of accuracy a marksman would need to hit a
    coin at the far side of the observable universe,
    twenty billion light years away.
  • Alternatively Hugh Ross said if you cover America
    with coins in columns reaching the moon, paint
    one coin red and pick it out of the stacks.

Stephen Hawking
  • "If the rate of expansion one second after the
    Big Bang had been smaller by even one part in a
    hundred thousand million million, the universe
    would have recollapsed before it even reached its
    present size."
  • So the odds against us being here are, well,
    astronomical. And yet we are here. Who is
    responsible for this?

A Just Right Universe
A Just Right Galaxy
Fine tuned Earth
  • Distance from the sun.
  • Too near and water would evaporate, too far and
    the earth would be too cold for life. A change
    of only 2 or so and all life would cease.
  • Surface gravity and temperature
  • are also critical to within a few percent for the
    earth to have a life-sustaining
    atmosphere-retaining the right mix of gases
    necessary for life.
  • The planet must rotate at the right speed
  • too slow and temperature differences between
    night and day would be too extreme, too fast and
    wind speeds would be disastrous.
  • Astrophysicist Hugh Ross
  • makes a conservative estimate that the chance of
    one such planet existing in the universe is about
    1 in 1030

A privileged planetGonzalez and Richards
  • Earths remarkable suitability to do science
  • Habitable but also placed to make a stunning
    diversity of measurements, from cosmology and
    galactic astronomy to stellar astrophysics and
  • We might have been a part of the universe where
    we could not see deep into space because of
  • Our atmosphere might have been opaque or simply
    translucent rather than transparent
  • Witness the fact that the sizes of the moon and
    sun and their distances from the earth are just
    right that a perfect eclipse is possible (which
    allows the chromosphere of the sun to be
    investigated scientifically)

Origin of Life
  • The first living things on Earth were single cell
    prokaryotes and they first appeared on Earth
    about four billion years ago, just a few hundred
    million years after the formation of the Earth
    itself (shortly after the Earth cooled). Against
    all odds, the simplest cell formed almost
  • By 2.4 billion years ago the ratio of stable
    isotopes of carbon, iron and sulfur shows the
    action of living things on inorganic minerals and
    sediments and molecular biomarkers indicate
    photosynthesis, demonstrating that life on earth
    was widespread by this time

Origin of Life
  • It has become inordinately difficult to even
    begin to think about constructing a naturalistic
    theory of evolution of that first reproducing
    organism. Anthony Flew
  • The difference between the living and non living
    world represents the most dramatic and
    fundamental of all the discontinuities of nature.

Origin of Life
  • Molecular biology has shown us that the basic
    design of the cell system is essentially the same
    in all living systems on earth from bacteria to
  • In all organisms the roles of DNA, mRNA and
    protein are identical. The meaning of the
    genetic code is also virtually identical in all
    cells. The size, structure, and component design
    of the protein synthetic machinery is practically
    the same in all cells.
  • Michael Denton

Origin of Life
  • We have no idea what the structure of a
    primitive cell might have been. The simplest
    living system known to us, the bacterial
    its overall chemical plan is the same as other
    living beings. The simplest cells available to
    us have nothing primitive about themno vestiges
    of truly primitive structures are discernible.
  • Jacques Monod Nobel Prize Winner

Haldane and Oparin The Primordial Soup Theory
  • Much enthusiasm subsided
  • Consensus opinion among geochemists think that
    the earth did not contain significant amounts of
    ammonia, methane or hydrogen that were needed to
    produce a strong reducing atmosphere as required
    by the Oparin hypothesis.
  • Much more likely to have nitrogen, CO2 and water
    vapour. There was also significant O2 which
    would inhibit the production of crucial
    biomolecules. Environment hostile to amino acids.

The problem with proteins
  • Proteins are made up of amino acids (a.a.)
  • Amino acids have 2 forms (chiral centremirror)
  • (a.a. both, proteins only L) chances of getting
    them all in a 100 a.a. protein in the L form
    would be (1/2)1001030
  • Peptide bonds join a.a.
  • In prebiotic simulations only half the bonds are
    peptide. Chances again would be (1/2)1001030
  • Protein Folding
  • Needs machinery to do the above correctly

The problem with proteins
  • Improbability Isaac Asimov did it for the
    particular protein haemoglobin, and called it the
    Haemoglobin Number. 10190
  • Richard Dawkins
  • It has been estimated that, left to its own
    devices, a concentrated solution of amino acids
    would need the volume of fluid the size of the
    known universe, to go against the thermodynamic
    tide, and create a single small polypeptide
  • Physicist Paul Davies

The problem with proteins
  • The odds of randomly getting the right
    combination of a.a. for a small protein (100
    a.a.) 1 in 20100.
  • Dawkins suggest the chance of the origin of life
    is 1 in 109.
  • You dont have to be a scientist or statistician
    to notice the difference in the number of zeros.
  • These calculations are for single proteins.
    Cells require multitudes of proteins.

  • Deoxyribose nucleic acid
  • Made up of smaller molecules (nucleotides with 4
    different bases) collections of which (genes)
    code for protein structure
  • The human genome contains some 30-40 000 genes.
  • A chimp may share 98 of its DNA with humans but
    it is not 98 human it is not human at all.
    Does the fact that we have genes in common with a
    mouse or a banana say anything about human
    nature. The idea is absurd.

The problem with DNA
  • The chances of generating the right sequence of a
    small DNA strand, say 100 bases, by chance alone
    is 4100. This is clearly more than 109
  • We see again the example of how Dawkins generates
    values in his head with the hopes of convincing
    people that there is some substance in his
    calculation or reasoning.

Cricks sequence hypothesiscentral dogma
(No Transcript)
Chicken or egg or both at the same time?
  • The previous calculations showed the problems of
    having particular single small proteins or single
    DNA strands.
  • The cell is a complicated system each of these
    three types of molecules requires other type to
  • For example DNA which carries the information but
    cannot put that information to use, or even copy
    itself without the help of RNA and protein
  • Irreducible complexity at the beginning

The Origin of Life
  • Probability of random events producing life has
    been estimated at
  • 1 chance in 1040000

The Voyage of the Beagle
  • A survey expedition of the ship HMS Beagle, 27
    December 1831-2 October 1836.
  • While the expedition was originally planned to
    last two years, it lasted almost five
  • Darwin spent most of this time exploring on land
    (three years and three months on land 18 months
    at sea).
  • Darwin observed and described his observations
    covering such topics as biology, geology, and

The Voyage of the Beagle
  • Observed
  • Developed a theory

Darwins theory
  • Every species is fertile enough that if all
    offspring survived to reproduce themselves
    population growth would result.
  • Yet populations remain roughly the same size,
    with small changes.
  • Resources such as food are limited, and are
    relatively stable over time.
  • A struggle for survival ensues.
  • In sexually reproducing species, generally no two
    individuals are identical.
  • Some of these variations directly affect the
    ability of an individual to survive in a given
  • Much of this variation is inheritable.
  • Individuals less suited to the environment are
    less likely to survive and less likely to
    reproduce, while individuals more suited to the
    environment are more likely to survive and more
    likely to reproduce.
  • The individuals that survive are most likely to
    leave their inheritable traits to future
  • This slowly effected process results in
    populations that adapt to the environment over
    time, and ultimately, after interminable
    generations, these variations accumulate to form
    new varieties, and ultimately, new species.

Random mutation and selection
Natural Selection
  • Natural selection is the process by which genetic
    mutations that enhance reproduction become, and
    remain, more common in successive generations of
    a population.
  • It has often been called a "self-evident"
    mechanism because it necessarily follows from
    three simple facts
  • Heritable variation exists within populations of
  • Organisms produce more offspring than can
  • These offspring vary in their ability to survive
    and reproduce.
  • These conditions produce competition between
    organisms for survival and reproduction.
  • Consequently, organisms with traits that give
    them an advantage over their competitors pass
    these advantageous traits on, while traits that
    do not confer an advantage are not passed on to
    the next generation.

What is Evolution? One term several meanings
  • Change, development, variation
  • Microevolution
  • Survival of the fittest
  • Macroevolution
  • Arrival of the fittest
  • Artificial selection
  • Breed the best
  • Molecular evolution
  • Arrival of the first
  • Neo-Darwinian synthesis
  • natural selection operating on variations that
    arise through mutation, genetic drift

The modern Atheists answer to metaphysics
  • We no longer have to resort to superstition when
    faced with deep problems Is there a meaning to
    life? What are we here for? What is man? After
    posing the last of these questions, the eminent
    zoologist G.G. Simpson put it thus The point I
    want to make now is that all attempts to answer
    that question before 1859 are worthless and that
    we will be better off if we ignore them
  • Dawkins The Blind Watchmaker

Evolution to Atheism
  • Since Dawkins believes that everything regarding
    life can be accounted for by evolution, there is
    no creator. For him, evolution implies atheism.
  • But again this is proposing a mechanism (a
    material cause or secondary cause) as an
    explanation for a Final or First Cause.
  • The following assertions both fail but remain the
    basis for why Dawkins believes that the design
    argument fails
  • Assertion 1 Biological evolution is incompatible
    with the existence of a Creator
  • Assertion 2 Biological evolution accounts for the
    existence of all of lifes complexity

(No Transcript)
Dawkins The Blind WatchmakerDoes evolution
exclude God?
  • 5 claims to prove the blind evolutionary
  • The forces of physics are the only watchmaker in
  • The forces of physics are blind
  • Natural selection is a blind, automatic, process
    with no purpose in mind
  • Natural selection is the explanation for the
    existence of all life
  • Natural selection is the explanation for the form
    of all life

  • Observed by Darwin in connection with the
    Galapagos finch species
  • Includes such processes as natural selection,
    mutation, genetic drift. This is constantly
    being recorded. One classic example is bacterial
    antibiotic resistance
  • One of the most common examples of evolution
    industrial melanism in the peppered moths. At
    most this is a description of microevolution.
    Both types of moths existed before. For the
    complete story of the peppered moth, see of men
    and moths by Michael Majerus, the Cambridge
    expert on moths.

  • When ideas are based on observations, as
    Darwinian theory certainly was, it is usual for
    them to be valid at least within the range of the
    observations. It is when extrapolations are made
    outside the range of observations that troubles
  • Fred Hoyle Astrophysicist and mathematician

  • Refers to large scale innovation, the coming into
    existence of organs, structures, body plans, of
    qualitatively new genetic materials.
  • For example the evolution from single celled
    structure to multicellular, or the evolution from
    prokaryotes to eukaryotes, or even the generation
    of a new genus or family or any level broader
  • Many consider the distinction between micro and
    macro artificial especially the evolutionary
  • Regardless the question remains as to whether the
    process of successive macroevolution by purely
    random processes would have occurred. An appeal
    to the Anthropic principle is illogical

The Fossil Record
  • Relative absence of Transitional forms
  • The impression that microevolution is limited in
    its scope is suggested by the comments of Wesson
    to the effect that the fossil record gives no
    good examples of evolution.
  • R. Wesson, Beyond Natural Selection, MIT Press,
    Cambridge, MA, 1991
  • From the outset, some of Darwins strongest
    objectors were palaeontologists.
  • He himself gives us the reason for this it
    concerns the absence of the transitional forms in
    the fossil record, which his theory led him to

The Fossil Record
  • Darwin wrote in The origin of species
  • the number of intermediate varieties, which have
    formerly existed on earth, should be truly
    enormous. Why then is not every geological
    formation and every stratum full of such
    intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not
    reveal any such graduated organic chain, and
    this, perhaps is the most obvious and gravest
    objection which can be urged against my theory.

The Fossil Record
  • Zoologist Mark Ridley comments on the situation
  • The fossil record of evolutionary change within
    single evolutionary lineages is very poor. If
    evolution is true species originate through
    changes in ancestral species one might expect to
    be able to see it in the fossil record.
  • Palaeontologist David Raup of the Field Musuem of
    Natural History
  • The fossil record has greatly been expanded. We
    now have a quarter million species, but the
    situation hasnt changed much. The record is
    surprisingly jerky and, and ironically we have
    fewer examples of evolutionary transition than we
    had in Darwins time.

Intermediate vs. Transitional Forms
Land mammals to aquatic mammals
Fish to amphibians
Reptiles to mammals
Quadrupedal primates to bipedal primates
Reptiles to birds
Punctuated Equilibrium
  • The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the
    fossil record persists as the trade secret of
    palaeontology. Steven Jay Gould
  • When we do see the introduction of evolutionary
    novelty, it usually shows up with a bang, and
    often with no firm evidence that the fossils did
    not evolve elsewhere. Evolution cannot always be
    going on somewhere else. Yet thats how the
    fossil record has struck many a forlorn
    palaeontologist looking to learn something about
    evolution. Niles Eldredge

Irreducible Complexity
  • Darwin himself pointed out the potential problem.
  • The most formidable difficulties are Darwin's
    'organs of extreme perfection and complication
    Maybe there is something out there in nature
    that really does preclude, by its genuinely
    irreducible complexity, the smooth gradient of
    Mount Improbable.
  • Richard Dawkins God Delusion
  • 'If it could be demonstrated that any complex
    organ existed which could not possibly have been
    formed by numerous, successive, slight
    modifications, my theory would absolutely break
    down. Darwin the Origin of Species

Irreducible Complexity
  • Michele Behe
  • Critically reviewed book Darwins black box.
  • Modified in response to critics
  • An irreducibly complex evolutionary pathway is
    one that contains one or more unselected steps
    (that is, one or more necessary-but-unselected
    mutations). The degree of irreducible complexity
    is the number of unselected steps in the
  • The difficulty of having steps that lead to
    complex structures that are selected for but
    provide no selective advantage.

Irreducible Complexity
  • Michele Behe
  • Evolution simply cannot produce complex
    structures in a single generation as would be
    required for the formation of irreducibly complex
  • To imagine that a chance set of mutations would
    produce all 200 proteins required for cilia
    function in a single generation stretches the
    imagination beyond the breaking point.
  • And yet, producing one or a few of these proteins
    at a time, in standard Darwinian fashion, would
    convey no survival advantage because those few
    proteins would have no function-indeed, they
    would constitute a waste of energy for the cell
    to even produce.

Information Theory
  • 2nd law of thermodynamics
  • Things do not go randomly from simple to complex
  • Machines transform information, they do not make
    information from nothing
  • Computer programs are complex because of their
  • Monkeys, starting with 100 doubling every few
    days, typing randomly on a typewriter led to the
    current record of 24 consecutive letters of
    Shakespeares Henry IV after 1040 monkey years.
    The age of the universe is measured in 109
  • Dawkins model of chance and necessity involves
    first a goal (a target sequence) and the
    injection of information from a retained
    components of a target sequence. How could blind
    evolution not only see a target but compare an
    attempt with it, in order to select it, if it is
    nearer than the previous one?

Mount Improbable
  • Darwinism is widely regarded as a theory of
    'chance'. It is grindingly, creakingly,
    crashingly obvious that, if Darwinism were really
    a theory of chance, it couldn't work.
  • You don't need to be a mathematician or physicist
    to calculate that an eye or a haemoglobin
    molecule would take from here to infinity to
    self-assemble by sheer higgledy-piggledy luck.

Mount Improbable
  • It solves it by breaking the improbability up
    into small, manageable parts, smearing out the
    luck needed, going round the back of Mount
    Improbable and crawling up the gentle slopes,
    inch by million-year inch.
  • Richard Dawkins, Climbing Mount Improbable
  • Natural selection works because it is a
    cumulative one-way street to improvement. It
    needs some luck to get started, and the 'billions
    of planets' anthropic principle grants it that
  • Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion

The Lucky Mount Improbable
  • Premise 1.
  • There is a huge mountain to climb
  • Premise 2.
  • People arrive at the top
  • Premise 3.
  • There are lots of places where people have
    stopped along the way
  • Conclusion.
  • Therefore people took the stairs

Dawkins and luck
  • Nevertheless, it may be that the origin of life
    is not the only major gap in the evolutionary
    story that is bridged by sheer luck,
    anthropically justified.
  • Mark Ridley in Mendel's Demonhas suggested that
    the origin of the eukaryotic cell (our kind of
    cell, with a nucleus and various other
    complicated features such as mitochondria, which
    are not present in bacteria) was an even more
    momentous, difficult and statistically improbable
    step than the origin of life.
  • The origin of consciousness might be another
    major gap whose bridging was of the same order of
  • The God Delusion

Anthropic Principle Miscontrued
  • Brandon Carters synthesis
  • What we can expect to observe as scientists
    must be restricted by the conditions necessary
    for our presence as observers.
  • 1973 Krakow Symposium honouring Coperinuss 500th
  • In other words
  • The origin of human life including the beginning
    of the universe is an extremely improbable event
    that none the less happened. We know it happened
    because we are here to observe it.
  • He DID NOT suggest a cause for the improbability,
    for example, CHANCE.
  • Dawkins erroneously extends this principle to
    mean that the anthropic principle means that
    because we are here to observe something proves
    we arrived here a certain way, for example
    evolution or random chance.

Chance, their New God
Statue of Limitations
  • What would be the rational reaction to our
    seeing, in broad day-light, a marble statue of
    the Virgin Mary suddenly wave at us?
  • Complete astonishment, and overwhelming belief
    that one had witnessed a miracle
  • Complete astonishment, and nearly overwhelming
    belief that one had witnessed a miracle coupled
    with the conviction that a through investigation
    should be made into another possible cause
  • Uttering, that sure was lucky and going about
    ones business

Anything goes
  • In the case of the marble statue, molecules in
    solid marble are continuously jostling against
    one another in random directions. The jostling
    of the different molecules cancel one another
    out, so the whole hand of the statue stays still.
  • But if, by sheer coincidence, all the molecules
    just happened to move in the same direction at
    the same moment, the hand would move. If they
    then reversed directions at the same moment the
    hand would move back. In this way it is possible
    for the marble statue to wave at us.
  • It could happen
  • Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker p. 159-160

Anything goes
  • The odds against such a coincidence are
    unimaginably great but not incalculably great. A
    physicist colleague has kindly calculated them
    for me. The number is so large that the entire
    age of the universe so far is too short a time to
    write out all the noughts!
  • It is theoretically possible for a cow to jump
    over the moon with something like the same
  • The conclusion to this part of the argument is
    that we can calculate our way into regions of
    miraculous improbability far greater that we can
    imagine is plausible.
  • Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker p. 159-160

  • Even if a supercrane could lift itself up by its
    bootstraps, which is illogical itself, it cannot
    make itself (origin of life).
  • Maybe some sky hook in the form of aliens is the

  • The problem
  • People dont want someone seeing what they are
    doing when no one is looking
  • They want everyone else to act as if there was a
    someone doing this though.

Darwins Dangerous IdeaThe Evolution of an idea
Survival of the fittest, focusing on survival.
Survival of the fittest focusing on fittest. The
will to power beyond good or evil. Master vs.
slave morality
Selection of the Arian Race by force
RACISM. Eugenics removal of unfit individuals
The evolution of morality extension to man
  • Man, like any other animal, has no doubt
    advanced to his present high condition through a
    struggle for existence consequent on his rapid
    multiplication and if he is to advance still
    higher he must remain subject to a severe
    struggle. Otherwise he would soon sink into
    indolence, and the more highly gifted men would
    not be more successful in the battle for life
    than the less gifted. Hence our rate of
    increase, though leading to many and obvious
    evils, must not be diminished by any means.
    There should be open competition for all men and
    the most able should not be prevented by law or
    customs from succeeding best and rearing large
    numbers of offspring.
  • The finale of the Descent of Man, Charles

  • At some future period, not very distant as
    measured by centuries, the civilized races of man
    will almost certainly exterminate and replace
    throughout the world the savage races. At the
    same time the anthropomorphous apes ie. Most
    human looking, like the gorilla or chimpazee
    will no doubt be exterminated. The break ie.
    Evolutionary gap will then be rendered wider,
    for it will intervene between man in a more
    civilized statethan the Caucasian, and some ape
    as low as a baboon, instead of as at present
    between the negro or Australian and the gorilla.
  • Darwin, Descent of Man

  • With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon
    eliminated and those that survive commonly
    exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilized
    men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check
    the process of elimination we build asylums for
    the imbecile, the maimed, and the sick we
    institute poor-laws and our medical men exert
    their utmost skill to save the life of everyone
    to the last moment.
  • There is reason to believe that vaccination has
    preserved thousands, who from weak constitution
    would formerly have succumbed to small-pox. Thus
    the weak members of civilized societies propagate
    their kind. No one who has attended to the
    breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this
    must be highly injurious to the race of man. It
    is surprising how soon a want of care, or care
    wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a
    domestic race but excepting in the case of man
    himself, hardly anyone is so ignorant as to allow
    his worst animals to bread. Charles Darwin

The problem of moralityor how moral is this
  • Moral Zeitgeist is evolving (that is, it is
  • There is no guarantee that it is moving upwards,
    for without an absolute basis for morality
    upwards is no more meaningful than sideways.
  • The only change that is guaranteed is the one
    that leads to more reproduction

The problem of moralityThe following section
from Hahn and Wiker
  • Dawkins Zeitgeist
  • Super niceness as a kind of moral goal that has
    its origins in the evolution of altruism
  • Evolution provides something of a common moral
    sense, and in fact, grounds a common human nature
    that allows for a common moral foundation
  • We now enjoy a growing broad liberal consensus
    of ethical principles. Most of us wont cause
    needless suffering, we believe in free speech, we
    pay taxes, we dont cheat, kill or commit incest
    and we generally follow the golden rule

  • While Dawkins accepts the general admonition not
    to kill, he may decide whether a particular act
    can violate this prohibition
  • given that a human embryo lacks a nervous
    system, shouldnt the mothers well developed
    nervous system have the choice?
  • And late term abortions? Well reasons Dawkins, if
    late-term abortions suffer
  • it is not because they are human that they
    suffer. Indeed, no embryo at any age would seem
    to suffer more than a cow or sheep embryo at the
    same stage of development. An in fact, claims
    Dawkins, adult cows or sheep in the slaughter
    house certainly suffer more than any embryo,
    human or not.

from Hahn and Wiker
Abandoning Humanity
  • Our common humanity?
  • After championing our common humanity as the sure
    ground of the new moral Zeitgeist, Dawkins
    asserts that secular moralists do not ask whether
    an embryo is human, but instead focus on the
    quantity of suffering Never mind whether it is
    human (what does that even mean for a little
    cluster of cells?) at what age does any
    developing embryo of any species, become capable
    of suffering?

from Hahn and Wiker
Abandoning Humanity
  • No reason to prefer humans
  • Drawing on John Stuart Mills Utilitarianism
    ethics is rooted, not in our common humanity but
    in the maximization of pleasure and the
    minimization of pain.
  • The difficulty with this type of ethical theory
    is that a full grown animal might indeed suffer
    more than a child in or out of the womb. In fact
    there is no reason to prefer human beings morally
    at all. If such is the case, human beings should
    receive no moral preference over equally or more
    developed animals.

from Hahn and Wiker
Humans as animalsPeter Singer
  • Unjust Species Discrimination
  • Dawkins praises atheist and philosopher Peter
    Singer as the most eloquent advocate against the
    speciesist notion that human beings are somehow
    morally superior. For Singer, all species with
    significant brain power should be treated
    morally. It really means treating human beings
    like other animals.

Humans as animalsPeter Singer
  • Get rid of the unfit
  • In Singers advocates euthanasia and its
    extension to infanticide, not just to relieve any
    alleged suffering of the infant, but even more,
    for the sake of any hesitation of the parents
    over keeping their newborn. Just as with the
    Nazis, Singer would allow the retarded, the
    feeble-minded, the handicapped, in short, all the
    unfit, to be exterminated without twinge of
    conscience. That is how we treat animals.

Humans as animalsPeter Singer
  • Enjoy yourself
  • On the positive end of extending our relationship
    to animals, Singer is perfectly cheerful about
    bestiality, provided of course that the animal
    does not suffer.
  • Sex with animals does not always involve
  • Dawkins says in his ten commandments enjoy your
    sex life so long as it does not damage others,
    and leave others to enjoy theirs in private
    whatever their inclinations

  • Suffering pain
  • Joy pleasure
  • Pleasure mesolimbic dopaminergic pathway
  • Freedom neurochemical reactions
    therefore illusion
  • Love illusion
  • Human creativity illusion
  • Moral law Sociology
  • Religion Sociology
  • Theology Sociology

God Delusion Session 2
  • Design remains a powerful argument for a designer
  • Random chance is a poor explanation for fine
    tuning of the universe, the origin of life and
    evolution itself.
  • The theory of evolution by natural selection
    remains the best scientific theory to explain the
    complexity of life but there exists more
    questions than answers
  • Evolution does not imply atheism. Materialism
    requires evolution as an explanation for the
    diversity of life but removes the soul from man
    and makes de-humanizes him on a continuum with
  • Morality is not a product of evolution. The
    morals derived from survival of the fittest
    include racism, murder, and eugenics

  • The belief that there was nothing, and nothing
    happened to nothing, and then nothing magically
    exploded for no reason, forming the universe in
    just the right way, and then a bunch of stuff
    magically rearranged itself for no reason what so
    ever into complex self-replicating machines, that
    for no reason at all magically turned into
    rational, mindful, conscientious morally
    responsible and free beings which unfortunately
    is actually all an illusion. I assume it
    magically all happened the way I imagine it to be
    because I am here to observe it.
  • Wow. Makes perfect sense.

2 views of moral laws
  • Secular morality
  • Moral laws are man made like the rules of a game
    like tennis, created by human will and changeable
    by human will.
  • Traditional view
  • not only Christian by all the worlds major
    religion and nearly all pre-modern philosophies.
  • Principles to discover like the laws of nature in
    the created world, like anatomy.
  • Based on human nature which is essentially
  • but human nature has a spiritual dimension. Man
    is the only creature on earth that can act in
    opposition to his/her nature.

Moral Coherence
Relativism Situation ethics Utilitarianism
Coherence All three have to be good or at least
morally neutral for the act to be good. Any of
the three can make the act bad. Example for a
movie to be good not only the characters, but
also the plot and the details.
  • Subjectivism-
  • in different varieties, reduces it to the good
    intentions of the agent, judged by subjective
    criteria. For some moral judgements are
    expressions of feelings which arise from ones
    ingrained tastes in matters of behaviour. For
    others moral norms come into force for people
    only if they choose to adopt them
  • Emotivism
  • Moral norms are expressions of feelings that is
    wrong means I dont like that. Reduces to
  • Cultural relativism
  • Moral norms are nothing more than attempts by
    members of each particular society to say what
    behaviour is necessary for their society to
    survive and flourish. Is-ought fallacy. Just
    because something happens in a culture doesnt
    make it right. Ex. Female genital mutilation,
    child sacrifice, concentration camps etc.
  • Inspirationism
  • Moral norms do not proceed from principles, but
    are isolated truths, intuitive thoughts, messages
    from God

  • Epicureanism
  • pleasure principle
  • Social Utilitarianism
  • most good for the most people
  • Will to power.
  • Thrasymachus, the ancient Greek philosopher,
    believed that right is found in might. According
    to this position, "justice is the interest of the
    stronger party." What is morally right is defined
    in terms of who has the power. Machiavelli,
    Nietze, etc. Fails to distinguish power from
  • Stoicism-
  • standard of morality with right reason so that
    man must live in accord with right reason without
    any regard to personal happiness
  • False conception of the fundamental option
  • Consequentialism
  • Proportionalism

  • Human rights
  • Gender equality
  • But who is human
  • Humane treatment of the handicapped
  • Unless they are suffering
  • Universal condemnation against torture, cruelty,
    slavery and racism
  • Loss of an objectively real, universally binding
    moral law
  • Morality as subjective and relative.
  • Rift between the rich and poor have never been
  • 20th century has been by far the bloodiest

The Essence
  • Can man be good without God?
  • If God does not exist, everything is
    permissible Dostoevsky. For if it is only mans
    will and not Gods that makes moral laws, then
    they are as unchangeable and contingent as the
    rules of a game. If we make the rules we can
    change them or unmake them.
  • But Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Confucius
    and Lao Tzu knew much of the content of the moral
    law and recognized its binding force without
    knowing much of God directly.
  • Men, pagan as well as Christian, can know Gods
    moral law through natural reason and conscience
    as St. Paul writes of the law written on the
    hearts of men Rm 117-21.
  • What Dostoevsky is saying is that God, the first
    cause and ultimate origin of the moral law, did
    not exist, then an objectively real and
    universally binding moral law would not exist
    either. Man can know the law without knowing the
    lawgiver. By way of analogy all men know
    Creation, but not necessarily the Creator of it

The Essence
  • Can man be good without God?
  • A practical consequence of Dostoevskys point is
    that man cannot really be good without God.
  • Even if he does not know God, whenever anyone is
    good, that is mans cooperation with Gods grace,
    whether the person knows it or not. God is the
    source of every good endowment and every perfect
    gift James 117, especially our natural moral
    knowledge and our good moral choices. God turns
    our freedom on, not off.
  • Natural Law
  • Tradition that good must be chosen, evil avoided,
    in other words some things are right, others
    wrong, in between, worlds of difference.

Natural law tradition
  • the rule of conduct which is prescribed to us by
    the Creator in the constitution of the nature
    with which He has endowed us. Our design is for
    something eternal. Our nature is contradicted
    when we choose something wrong.
  • According to St. Thomas, the natural law is
    "nothing else than the rational creature's
    participation in the eternal law" (I-II, Q.
  • The primary principle is that good is to be done,
    and evil avoided (I-II, Q, xciv, a. 2).
  • St. Paul says, is written in the human heart
    (Rom., ii, 14).
  • It can be more or less summarized in the
    decalogue/10 commandments

  • Dismantling Dawkins
  • Scott Hahn and Benjamin Wiker
  • Gods Undertaker. Has Science Buried God?
  • John Lennox
  • Chance or Purpose.
  • Cardinal Christoph Schonborn
  • The Truth of Catholicism
  • George Weigel
  • Hooked on Philosophy
  • Robert ODonnell
  • How the Catholic Church Built Western
  • Thomas Woods
  • What is so great about Christianity
  • Dinesh DSouza
Write a Comment
User Comments (0)