The ‘Why’ and ‘How’ of the Creation-Abiogensis/Big Bang ‘Debate’

Hello there, all my moral, just, secular people,

Today’s post was inspired by a television show which aired on the ABC (Australia) entitled Q&A, which every week presents a handful of politicians, public figures, theologians and atheists, for an open discussion and Questions from the live and internet audiences, hence the name Q&A. This weeks program was a special program, because it put forward only two panelists, along with the host, and these where the Atheist Richard Dawkins, and Catholic priest George Pell. Richard Dawkins has made appearances on the show before, but this was the first time he went ‘head-to-head’ with only a Christian joining him on the panel. The show has made quite and impact in the media, with a lot of discussion about it going on even on the radio the next morning. The show can be viewed in full right here at this link here -> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xi1EDDuMksw. I will surely be making my comments on the show over the next few days, but here is today’s rant.

During the show, this oft quoted argument was brought up by George Pell, he said (not an exact quote) “Science can tell us a lot about the ‘how’, with evolution and the big bang, but it doesn’t tell us a lot about they ‘why.'” This argument is talked about by Roy Williams in his book I am reading at the moment, and I have heard it from others too. This whole argument is both a red-herring and a non-sequiter, and Richard Dawkins summarized it very well, “That’s just not a valid question.” The whole question of ‘why’ does the universe exist, is not relevant, its like asking why unicorns aren’t very good at snooker. In that way it is a non-sequiter.

Even if you do grant that ‘why’ is a valid question, it is not a question for the science, nor is it a question which could change the fact that the big bang or abiogenesis happened. The question is for philosophers and humanists.

The ‘Why’ question, “Why are we here.” Is also a good example of the unstated major premace fallacy, the question just assumes that there must be some meaning for our existence, when it is quite plausible that we could have no purpose to exist.

This question is also a red herring because it side-steps the real question of the ‘how’. This is the whole problem with Roy Williams’ book, at the start he asks the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ question, and he says, “Science knows the how, but not the why, I’ll write a book about the why.” In this way he can write a whole book without having to address a single question about ‘how’.
It is a really annoying question, because to people who are not aware of the fact that ‘why’ is not a logical question, the argument can have some weight. Most people like to have a purpose for their life, and this is where they get all caught up. The miss the point that Atheism has a point too, “We only live for 80 or so years, and we have no afterlife to look forward too, so lets just make the world as good as possible in this short time.”

I will leave you with my favourite quote from the entire evening where George Pell accidentally walks all over his own argument to try to just contradict Richard Dawkins on everything,
“Dawkins: the only thing that might convince me that Christianity is true is if a 700 ft Jesus walked into the room and said ‘I exist’, and I’m not even sure if that would convince me.
Pell: I’d say ‘you are hallucinating’.”

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12 thoughts on “The ‘Why’ and ‘How’ of the Creation-Abiogensis/Big Bang ‘Debate’

    • I’m sorry. I’ll stop. I have a habit of captalising things, just in case I should.

      I think that, despite Richard Dawkins short temper, he still walked over George Pell. Pell did not defend his position very well. I agree that fr. Bob is a bit of a legend in Australia and he would have made for a much more interesting discussion.
      Richard Dawkins has made few appearances on Q&A now, and I’m sure he’ll visit again next time he is in Australia.

    • Well, I’ll tell you whats happened. You have shown no scientific evidence for a god, nor any logical evidence. I have explained how people can have religious experiences, and I have shown that the creationist standpoint is very weak.

      Your arguments have been so bad and cliche, that you haven’t even inspired me to write a blog post about it.

  1. I will tell you what happened ,you where shown up for the fraud you are,this is why Dawkins only debates certain people and rejects others,so he can look good as yourself .Have some balls and repost the comments including the one `s by email.Let the auidence of so few see the incompetent self confessed genius you are not.

    • I don’t see one word to suggest that I was shown to be a fraud? I have never passed up the opportunity to debate somebody. Dawkins is not a fraud, the only reason Dawkins has not engaged in a debate with Lane Craig is because “It would look very good on his resume, and very bad on my resume, even if I beat him hands down.”
      Craig is not worth the argument.

      I will put our discussion into a post, and I will have a poll on it, and, if I have taught my viewers correctly, they will all see that you are making logical fallacies left and right, and my logic sails.

      You calling me and Richard Dawkins frauds is a huge ad hominem, and untrue at that. It is logically unsound.

      Also, it should be remembered that I haven’t made a dime from my skeptical work, so I can’t be a fraud, by definition.

  2. It seems to me all you have is the critique of an individuals position.Give me your scientific explantion of creation .Let me critque your position on a public site like this one .And don`t remove the posts when I expose you Thanks

    • Roy Williams position is taken up by quite a lot of people I know, and others I have seen on the internet.
      I must say that asking for a ‘scientific explanation of creation’ shows your ignorance of the subject, science and creationism are incompatible, because creation invokes a supernatural creator, and science requires natural occurrances. .

  3. These famous scientists of the past have had faith in God,Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo,, Newton, Mendel and many others .Where they all deluded?How you can even justify using logic is beyond me ,In your matter only world how can the immaterial of the laws of logic exist.You have not answered the question at all in any of your blogs.I will contact Mr Groothius and refer him to your blog and how you think his book is load of nonsense.The joke Mr Pell was an

    embarrasment to all real Christians everywhere, how about you start critiquing some Christians with a bit of knowledge like Craig or Groothius instead of going for easy targets like Pell.

    • “In a material world, how can the immaterial laws of logic exist?” The laws of logic are an abstract representation of the world around us which all flows from 1 + 1 = 2. We know that 1 + 1 = 2 because 1 atom + 1 atom = 2 atoms. We live in a material world, which means that the laws of logic, which describe the material world, must exist. Logic must exist in a material world.

      I was blogging about Pell for a few reasons, 1. He was on national television, so he already had the countries attention, 2. he had enough sway with some of the audience, 3. His views of the world are held by quite a lot of people, so it was worth tackling his arguments.

  4. Well, on the subject ‘why’, which ties in eith the meaning of life, is that there really is none, from an aetheists’ perspective. Life could only be created by accident without life to create it, or at least more of an accident than something with purpose, because nothing id TRULY accidental…

    Contrary to Douglas Adams’ belief, the answer to life, the universe, and everything is, gladly and sadly, not 42. Douglas Adams was, as a side note, a self-named ‘radical aetheist’.

    • When Douglas Adams wrote that the meaning of life was 42, he really meant to demonstrate that there is no meaning to life.

      The question of ‘why’ is a huge non-sequitur and red-herring, because there doesn’t have to be a purpose for something.
      We can ask “How is the sky blue?”, and the answer is because of refraction. But to ask “Why is the sky blue?” in the philosophical sense, is an invalid question because there is no possible ‘meaning’ or ‘purpose’ behind the sky being blue.
      The question of ‘why’ all ready predisposes that there IS a purpose to everything… Which requires belief in a god, and is also therefor a loaded question.

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