Professor Craig debated Professor Wolpert at Central Hall, Westminster, Feb. 28, 2007, with John Humphrys in the chair. Professor Wolpert is Professor of Biology as Applied to Medicine at University College, London and is well known for his atheistic beliefs.
Craig is the author of many books, most recently In Quest of the Historical Adam.
Lewis Wolpert (1929–2021) was “one of the giants of twentieth-century developmental biology. His name is most often associated with the “French flag model” and with his pronouncement that “It is not birth, marriage, or death but gastrulation which is truly the most important time in your life,” but he has made contributions to solving many key problems.”
Here are Wolpert’s views on religion, which he offered in greater depth in Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast (1977).
Hat tip: Ken Francis, co-author with Theodore Dalrymple of The Terror of Existence: From Ecclesiastes to Theatre of the Absurd
8 Replies to “William Lane Craig vs. Lewis Wolpert: Is God a delusion?”
“A giant” that completely missed the point of biology as cybernetic system?
I remember being very unimpressed with Wolpert’s flippant, even juvenile, responses to Dr. Craig, and the moderator, during the question and answer session after the debate.
For instance, this exchange where Wolpert, when cornered on the fact that the universe had a beginning, flippantly remarks ‘I think it (the cause of the universe) is a computer”
Maybe the Universe is a simulation and the Matrix computer is the “ground of being”. It’s possible.
Seversky: It’s possible.
Only if an infinite regress is possible. Hard to believe anyone believes that.
I watched pat of William Lane Craig’s response, but I think he would have been more successful with Lewis Wolpert’s fatuous response by going along with him:
LW: “I think it was a computer.”
WLC: “A computer? Really? Tell me more about this computer.”
LW: “Yes, this is a special, self-designing computer.”
WLC: “What else did this computer design?”
LW: “Everything else.”
WLC: “Did this computer design space and time?”
LW: “Yes, of course.”
WLC: “Did this computer design all the mass and energy in the universe.”
LW: “Of course.”
WLC: “Did this computer design consciousness?”
LW: “Yes, it designed everything.”
WLC: “Did it design its own consciousness as well?”
LW: “Yes, it’s a special computer.”
WLC: “So, how is this amazingly special, self conscious, all-powerful computer different than God, besides the name you’re calling it?”
LW: “No, it’s a computer.”
WLC eventually gets there, but naturally, LW cannot allow himself to concede and will continue arguing for its own sake.
Good point. But someone will say they believe that even if they really don’t. If not an infinite regress, of special computers creating other special computers (within time), there’s also an infinite regress in a special computer creating itself. But I guess this is a very, very special computer!
I’d say the idea that we are in a simulation would align with theism too…. I heard a quote once: “we aren’t material beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a material experience”
This thought coupled with quantum mechanics to me is somewhat compelling, but nothing I hang my hat on.
Well put! My sentiments as well.
One is reminded of Isaac Asimov’s short story: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Last_Question .
But that too requires an infinite regress, unless AC can somehow fold time back on itself to start the universe in which itself was created. Gotta love those time travel paradoxes!