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The next big debate: Craig vs. Carroll

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Further to “Alvin Plantinga zaps the flying teapot, some people (who are never satisfied with anything, it seems 😉 ) want to know what comes after the Nye-Ham debate.

Actually, those people are right. As Casey Luskin and David Klinghoffer said over at Evolution News & Views, most of the action isn’t actually in Ham’s corner. It is on the broader front of growing evidence for design in nature vs. Darwin’s followers, who currently dominate biology.

So there is plenty of room for more debates. And not just about biology either.

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Sean Carroll

A source tells us the next biggie might be multiverse cosmologist Sean Carroll vs. Christian apologist William Lane Craig (who dismisses multiverses), sponsored by Greer Heard Point Counterpoint Forum. February 21-22, live streaming. On

The existence of God in contemporary cosmology

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William Lane Craig

Background notes: Sean Carroll would retire falsifiability as a science idea. Carroll has contributed to Uncommon Descent, for example, here, in “‘No God Needed’ CalTech physicist responds to Uncommon Descent’s questions”

Richard Dawkins famously refused to debate Craig for reasons that attracted suspicion.

See also: The Science Fictions series at your fingertips (a backgrounder on multiverse cosmology vs. design,to help you understand why multiverse cosmology has become a growing issue).

And “Multiverse advocate defends in Scientific American against charges that his claims are ’unscientific nonsense’

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18 Replies to “The next big debate: Craig vs. Carroll

  1. 1
    Jaceli123 says:

    Finally something better than that kam nye debate. That debate kind of bored me through the entire debate. This will show the absurtity of atheist cosmology and what it foes wrong!

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    This debate ought to be interesting. I can’t recall Dr. Craig ever directly addressing the many absurdities, and logical inconsistencies, inherent in the multiverse scenarios before. This debate ought to force some of those absurdities out in the open.

    a few notes as to the absurdity inherent in the ;random infinities’ of multiverses

    Multiverse and the Design Argument – William Lane Craig
    Excerpt: Roger Penrose of Oxford University has calculated that the odds of our universe’s low entropy condition obtaining by chance alone are on the order of 1 in 10^10(123), an inconceivable number. If our universe were but one member of a multiverse of randomly ordered worlds, then it is vastly more probable that we should be observing a much smaller universe. For example, the odds of our solar system’s being formed instantly by the random collision of particles is about 1 in 10^10(60), a vast number, but inconceivably smaller than 1 in 10^10(123). (Penrose calls it “utter chicken feed” by comparison [The Road to Reality (Knopf, 2005), pp. 762-5]). Or again, if our universe is but one member of a multiverse, then we ought to be observing highly extraordinary events, like horses’ popping into and out of existence by random collisions, or perpetual motion machines, since these are vastly more probable than all of nature’s constants and quantities’ falling by chance into the virtually infinitesimal life-permitting range. Observable universes like those strange worlds are simply much more plenteous in the ensemble of universes than worlds like ours and, therefore, ought to be observed by us if the universe were but a random member of a multiverse of worlds. Since we do not have such observations, that fact strongly disconfirms the multiverse hypothesis. On naturalism, at least, it is therefore highly probable that there is no multiverse. — Penrose puts it bluntly “these world ensemble hypothesis are worse than useless in explaining the anthropic fine-tuning of the universe”.
    http://www.reasonablefaith.org.....friendly=1

    Michael Behe has a profound answer to the infinite multiverse argument in “Edge of Evolution”. If there are infinite universes, then we couldn’t trust our senses, because it would be just as likely that our universe might only consist of a human brain that pops into existence which has the neurons configured just right to only give the appearance of past memories. It would also be just as likely that we are floating brains in a lab, with some scientist feeding us fake experiences. Those scenarios would be just as likely as the one we appear to be in now (one universe with all of our experiences being “real”). Bottom line is, if there really are an infinite number of universes out there, then we can’t trust anything we perceive to be true, which means there is no point in seeking any truth whatsoever.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-362912

    But Who Needs Reality-Based Thinking Anyway? Not the New Cosmologists – Denyse O’Leary January 2, 2014
    Excerpt: Logic and reason are likewise irrelevant. Consider the multiverse claim that there are “infinite copies of you and your loved ones leading lives, up until this moment, that are absolutely identical to yours.” Mathematician George F. R. Ellis notes that, if so, the deep mysteries of nature are too absurd to be explicable and that the proposed nine types of multiverse in one scheme are “mutually exclusive.” True, but in a multiverse, “inexplicable” is okay. “Absurd” and “mutually exclusive” are meaningless concepts. It is equally meaningless to assert that one event is more probable than another. As David Berlinski puts it, “Why is Newton’s universal law of gravitation true? No need to ask. In another universe, it is not”(Devil’s Delusion, p. 124).,,,
    Science writer John Horgan pointedly asks, “Is theorizing about parallel universes immoral?”
    “These multiverse theories all share the same fundamental defect: They can be neither confirmed nor falsified. Hence, they don’t deserve to be called scientific, according to the well-known criterion proposed by the philosopher Karl Popper. Some defenders of multiverses and strings mock skeptics who raise the issue of falsification as “Popperazi” — which is cute but not a counterargument. Multiverse theories aren’t theories — they’re science fictions, theologies, works of the imagination unconstrained by evidence.”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....80281.html

    In fact Tegmark, the multiverse guru himself, wants to retire the ‘random infinity’ that he himself was instrumental in unleashing in science as ‘respectable’:

    WHAT SCIENTIFIC IDEA IS READY FOR RETIREMENT? Tegmark – Infinity
    Excerpt: Physics is all about predicting the future from the past, but inflation seems to sabotage this: when we try to predict the probability that something particular will happen, inflation always gives the same useless answer: infinity divided by infinity. The problem is that whatever experiment you make, inflation predicts that there will be infinitely many copies of you far away in our infinite space, obtaining each physically possible outcome, and despite years of tooth-grinding in the cosmology community, no consensus has emerged on how to extract sensible answers from these infinities. So strictly speaking, we physicists are no longer able to predict anything at all!
    This means that today’s best theories similarly need a major shakeup, by retiring an incorrect assumption. Which one?
    Here’s my prime suspect: infinity. (actually the ‘theory’ that needs to be retired is inflation and multiverses in general)
    MAX TEGMARK – Physicist

    Infinitely wrong – Dr. Sheldon – November 2010
    Excerpt: So you see, they gleefully cry, even [1 / 10^(10^123)] x infinity = 1! Even the most improbable events can be certain if you have an infinite number of tries.,,,Ahh, but does it? I mean, zero divided by zero is not one, nor is 1/infinity x infinity = 1. Why? Well for starters, it assumes that the two infinities have the same cardinality.
    http://rbsp.info/PROCRUSTES/infinitely-wrong/

    Sean Carroll channels Giordano Bruno – Dr. Sheldon – November 2011
    Excerpt: ‘In fact, on Lakatos’ analysis, both String Theory and Inflation are clearly “degenerate science programs”.’
    The sad part about Carroll’s piece, is that it confirms one of Jaki’s hypotheses–that what stopped the science of the golden age of Greece, what stopped the science of the Chinese or the Babylonians or the Caliphate was not politics, not anti-science reactionaries, not an epidemic of stupidity, but bad metaphysics. Bad metaphysics can turn any “progressive science program” into a “degenerate” one, and this infatuation with multiverses is sucking the life of hundreds of grad students, the resources of a hundred tenure-track cosmologists into the impossible task of predicting the unobservable.
    They’d be better off studying theology.
    http://rbsp.info/PROCRUSTES/se.....ano-bruno/

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    The Multiverse Gods, final part – Dr. Sheldon – June 2011
    Excerpt: And so in our long journey through the purgatory of multiverse-theory, we discover as we previously discovered for materialism, there are two solutions, and only two. Either William Lane Craig is correct and multiverse-theory is just another ontological proof a personal Creator, or we follow Nietzsche into the dark nihilism of the loss of reason. Heaven or hell, there are no other solutions.

    “How can this be? Did we not begin with an infinity of solutions, how then did we end up with only two?”

    Because of feedback. When our solutions include us, then we have introduced unavoidable feedback. For positive feedback takes any number or even infinite inputs and returns just two outputs. It is the inevitable consequence of wanting to explain ourselves. If, as in most of our science endeavors, we leave out ourselves, our feelings, our metaphysics, our guilt, our pleasures and focus merely on the task at hand–say, building a better telescope–then we don’t suffer this indignity. But as soon as we try to avoid something that is rightfully ours–our conscience, our responsibility, our will–then we are up to our neck in a mess.

    What can deliver us from this metaphysical pit? Only another person, who isn’t us. Only by having an outside force can we avoid the metaphysical feedback that unleashes the Titans. And only by making that force personal, is the cure any better than the disease. We need a pure light, a simple truth, a thing of beauty, something outside our self to guide us through the minefield.

    Pandora slammed the box shut, but it was too late, the only thing left in it was Hope.
    http://rbsp.info/PROCRUSTES/th.....inal-part/

  4. 4
    phoodoo says:

    I think some obvious questions for Carroll are:

    1.Why does science try to look for the simplest answer rather than the correct one? I think he is already in a hole if he suggests that this is what science must do.

    2. How in the world could multi-universes be the simplest answer for anything?

    It sounds as if he doesn’t put stock in his own odd philosophy about what science is for.

  5. 5
    Barb says:

    phoodoo @ 4: the philosophical principle of Occam’s Razor states that looking for the simplest explanation is best. Whether it’s correct or not is usually up for debate.

  6. 6
    phoodoo says:

    Barb,

    That is not really accurate. Occams razor doesn’t say you look for the simplest answer, it simply is a philosophy that often the simplest answer which is able to explain something is more often correct.

    Plus, there is really no good reason to even assume this is in any way true, but either way, it doesn’t saying anything about science looking for the simplest answer, science doesn’t care if the answer is simple or complex, it is simply taking evidence and deciding what it says. You don’t make conclusions that the supposed simple answer is correct, because how to you define what is the simplest answer. And if that simple answer is not God, it sure isn’t a thousand different universes, none of which we can see.

  7. 7
    Axel says:

    The multi-universe fantasy reminds me of the type of conversations I heard in the play-ground as a six-year old – lads outbidding each other concerning their father’s power:

    Lad A: My Dad’s got fifty guns…

    Lad B: My Dad’s got a hundred guns…

    Lad C: Your Dads can’t have any guns at all, because my Dad’s got all the guns in the world!

    Why bother with tedious details, when you can just put the kybosh on it all in one fell swoop?

  8. 8
    Joe says:

    1- With a multiverse they are conceding that theirs is a position of sheer dumb luck

    2- They can’t explain a multiverse scenario

    3- A multiverse scenario doesn’t refute Intelligent Design. They still have to somehow scientifically demonstrate that it all just happened

  9. 9
    Mapou says:

    A source tells us the next biggie might be multiverse cosmologist Sean Carroll vs. Christian apologist William Lane Craig (who dismisses multiverses), sponsored by Greer Heard Point Counterpoint Forum.

    Here’s a Saturday Night Live take on the debate:

    William Craig: Sean, the multiverse is not a scientific hypothesis.

    Sean Caroll: Bill, you are an ignorant slut.

    😀

  10. 10
    Barb says:

    phoodoo @ 6: Sort of. This is Wiki’s definition of Occam’s Razor: Occam’s razor (also written as Ockham’s razor from William of Ockham (c. 1287 – 1347), and in Latin lex parsimoniae) is a principle of parsimony, economy, or succinctness used in problem-solving. It states that among competing hypotheses, the hypothesis with the fewest assumptions should be selected.

    The application of the principle often shifts the burden of proof in a discussion.[a] The razor states that one should proceed to simpler theories until simplicity can be traded for greater explanatory power. The simplest available theory need not be most accurate. Philosophers also point out that the exact meaning of simplest may be nuanced.[b]

    science doesn’t care if the answer is simple or complex, it is simply taking evidence and deciding what it says.

    Science may not care, but scientists do, which is why they often resort to using Occam’s razor. The problem is when scientists start with an unwarranted assumption or bias and then try to fit the evidence to it.

  11. 11
    teleologist says:

    I think the problem is in the name Sean Carroll. Under string theory the vibrating resonance of the name Sean Carroll has a greater propensity to fall under the delusion of atheism.

  12. 12
    phoodoo says:

    Barb,

    I would caution against ever using Wikipedia to get clear information about anything, seeing as they already violate your principle of not starting with an unwarranted assumption or bias-as this is exactly what Wikipedia does when it comes to any reference to science.Information about science on Wikipedia is almost by definition not accurate, because they actively engage in scientific activism.

    But be that as it may, Occams razor is no more true or useful than is Murphy’s Law. Its just what some guy said some time. The truth simply is what it is.

    It may be complicated and it may be simple. We don’t decide which one we are searching for. What one person calls complicated may be what another one calls the simplest. Its irrelevant to the facts.

    Sean Carroll has no philosophical priority to claim that presuming a God is any more or less complicated than assuming that the “laws of nature” exist by luck. Where is the simplicity in that? And then to jump on the idea of multiple universes just throws his whole idea of simplicity completely out the window anyway.

  13. 13
    bornagain77 says:

    Of note: (Meta)Physics: Hans Halvorson and Sean Carroll at Caltech – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H864JH1tPYU

    Of related note:

    Princeton Philosophy Prof Dr. Hans Halvorson speaks on “Quantum Mechanics and Mind” – video
    http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/~q.....hans#talks
    Of note from preceding video: Introducing quantum information into multiplayer games allows a new type of equilibrium strategy which is not found in traditional games. The entanglement of players’s choices can have the effect of a contract by preventing players from profiting from betrayal.

    The Soul Hypothesis: Investigations into the Existence of the Soul
    Chapter 6 is Hans Halvorson’s ‘The Measure of All Things: Quantum Mechanics and the Soul’
    Hans Halvorsen is a philosopher of quantum physics at Princeton University
    Description: Quantum theory’s strange conclusions are founded on data obtained by measuring effects in certain experimental situations. But if quantum theory is correct there are no determinate data of the required sort, for the states of the measuring instruments will be superposed and entangled and thus indeterminate. The dualist has a way out of this problem. Superposition is when a physical system is in two apparently inconsistent states at once — for example, an electron is passing through both the left-hand slit and the right-hand one at the same time. Because of the nature of linear dynamics, this superposition is retained in a device further down the line of this process. If this continued with an observer, he would be aware of inconsistently believing that the electron was in two places at once. But this is not what happens. Observation ‘collapses the wave packet’ (not a phrase Halvorson generally deploys) and only one determinate state is observed. Now it is often pointed out that measurement collapses the wave packet, but that the measuring device need not be a conscious observer. Halvorson replies to this that a non-conscious measuring device will itself be in an entangled state, but that if a conscious subject observes it, only one of its possible states will be seen, so consciousness is crucial to making reality determinate. (151)
    http://ndpr.nd.edu/news/24611-.....-the-soul/

  14. 14
  15. 15
    kairosfocus says:

    Ph: wiki is biased, but it is so that Occam is sometimes made to bear a strain it should not. In sci explanations of a remote past that appeal to causes, it is sound to insist that a suggested explanation first show itself capable of the relevant effect, in our observation. Blind chance and mechanical necessity do not show themselves capable of creating FSCO/I beyond 500 – 1,000 bits of complexity (a generous needle in haystack threshold), and the only causes known per observation to be so capable are intelligent. But, an a priori materialist bias is openly being imposed to in effect assume that such blind watchmaker candidates MUST have done it. This is a major piece of question-begging and the point that hyps should not be multiplied without NECESSITY then becomes relevant. As in it is necessary to show that a candidate cause meets the vera causa test as already pointed out. KF

  16. 16
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: my rough back of envelope sez that at 1,000 bits the search capacity of 10^80 atoms, 10^25 s Planck time is 10^150 observations. If that is taken as one straw, the set of possibilities for 1,000 bits will be as a cubical haystack billions of times bigger than the observed 93 bn LY across cosmos. Do the blindfolded reach in and grab a 1 straw size sample test, and see where that gets you even with millions of cosmi in the stack. The bulk, straw, dominates. Just so, given that integrated multipart relevantly specific function tightly constrains acceptable configs — think, parts of an engine here — to narrow zones in the set of configs, we are talking maximal implausibility of cosmos scope blind mechanisms of chance and/or necessity originating FSCO/I, which is what we observe. Regardless of the objections, side tracks and dismissals, it remains so that on billions of observations, design is the ONLY vera causa of FSCO/I. One is epistemically entitled per inductive logic to take FSCO/I as an index of design as cause, never mind how the objectors scream.

  17. 17
    kairosfocus says:

    Oops, Planck time per obs per atom for 10^80 atoms. Think giving each a string of 1,000 fair coins to toss . . . and we are neglecting repeats!

  18. 18
    Barb says:

    phoodoo @ 12:

    I would caution against ever using Wikipedia to get clear information about anything, seeing as they already violate your principle of not starting with an unwarranted assumption or bias-as this is exactly what Wikipedia does when it comes to any reference to science. Information about science on Wikipedia is almost by definition not accurate, because they actively engage in scientific activism.

    I started with a basic definition, which is about all Wiki is good for. I have no doubt that some of the articles are bad, but neither you nor I have complete knowledge over every single article there, so it’s just as faulty to say that everything in Wiki is wrong. I think a good portion of it is, however, and that’s a shame. It could be so much better.

    But be that as it may, Occams razor is no more true or useful than is Murphy’s Law. Its just what some guy said some time. The truth simply is what it is.

    But it is a tool for getting to the truth.

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