Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Who Designed The Designer (Part Trente-Deux)?

arroba Email

Or, why is Michael Shermer so selectively skeptical?

As a software engineer I think in powers of two (and in French on occasion, just like David Berlinski, a secular Jew, with whom I had a wonderful conversation in French at BIOLA when his book, The Devil’s Delusion, was first released).

But I digress.

Click here for a discussion about the “Who designed the designer?” debate.

There is a very simple answer to this question. If time came into existence at the birth of the universe, its cause transcends time. It therefore has no past (a quality of time), and therefore no history. That which has no history has no point of origin, and therefore no designer.

But the real question is, Why are such people as Shermer so selectively skeptical? Shermer exhibits absolutely no skepticism concerning the hypothesis that random errors can accumulate to produce error-correcting digital code and the associated high-tech machinery.

This is, on its face, superbly irrational, and entirely unsupported by any evidence or reason.

Therefore I conclude that Shermer has abandoned reason, put his faith in miracles of his own choosing, and is not a skeptic at all.

Frost, Life is full of profound ironies. I was raised as a philosophical Michael Shermer by my father, who is the most brilliant scientist I have ever known (he worked on the Manhattan A-Bomb Project while earning his Ph.D. in physical chemistry under the famous chemist Gilbert Newton Lewis, after whom my father named me). My father is the best father anyone could possibly wish for. He is an atheist, but the most Godly person I have ever known in terms of his ethics and commitment to his family and children. My father taught me to follow the evidence wherever it leads. I did so, and abandoned my atheism as a result. He did not reach the same conclusion. This is off-topic, but for all those fathers out there, have you ever thought about how your example might influence your children? I believe that my father's Godly example, even as an atheist, had a profound effect on me, and eventually led me to faith. As I said, life is full of profound ironies. GilDodgen
"You cannot traverse a countable infinity. So, if you have arrived at now, you did not have an infinity of past seconds." KF, Yes I'm aware of that argument and have employed it myself. I just thought for the average person space is more comprehensible than time. However the argument works both ways with infinite space and infinite time. Actually if we disregard what is most comprehensible for the average person (that's probably more an assertion on my part than anything I can demonstrate), the time argument actually works much better due to some of the arguments materialists employ for the existence of actual infinites - such as the infinite division of a space. I'm not certain if those types of arguments are employed much anymore - probably more by new-age thinkers than anyone else, but infinite time would seem more problematic in that light. It can't be tampered with seemingly logical arguments about the infinite division of time. It appears more absurd than when applied to space; while both are ultimately absurd for the same reasons. Another argument I like to employ is the diminishing of an infinite set. Such as dividing the odd numbers from the even numbers of an infinite set of whole numbers. You end up with two infinite sets; one of even numbers and one of odd numbers. So that's how I would counter an argument regarding the division of an infinite space. This is also why I have a problem with at least the infinite universe concept within multiverse "theory." If our universe could one day end and cease to exist, then it would in an infinite multiverse be an example of taking at least one from an infinite set. Furthermore, if one universe "emerged" and was added to the infinite set of universes......you can see where it leads. The only argument that could possibly counter this problem is the idea that the multiverse has always been in the state that it currently is, which is of course toppled by the evidence we have for the Big Bang as well as other examples of change in the universe - the time dimension is thus intricately intertwined with the space dimension. Big Bang then, for me is evidence that there is no infinite multiverse. There are certain negatives that can be proven due to their non-adherence to first principles of reason as well as to the reality we readily observe. CannuckianYankee
CY: Try counting up at the rate of one natural number per second, say, 1, 2, 3, . . . You will never arrive at infinity -1, infinity, end. Just so, you cannot count down from minus infinity to reach say . . . -2, -1, NOW. You cannot traverse a countable infinity. So, if you have arrived at now, you did not have an infinity of past seconds. The actual past was finite. (And if it were not, you have some serious explaining to do as to why the observed cosmos is not in heat death.) That's before we get to the issue of the implications of the Hubble Expansion inferred form the observed red shifting with distance of spectral lines for stars in galaxies. The observed cosmos -- the only observed cosmos, credibly had a beginning, which implies dependence on a necessary causal factor. No beginning without a begin-ner, in short. Never mind the tendency to try to dismiss such as "assertions" and "assumptions" etc. That's why we need to get people to do the half burned match exercise. Looks like the concept of a necessary causal factor is so alien they need to build it up from concrete experience and reflection. GEM of TKI kairosfocus
Yes time is the reason there is an infinite regress problem. The one who transcends time escapes the problem. Atheists in general and even some theists fail to address the issue (in fact the essence) of time. I agree it is the beginning (but not the end) of the best argument. I would carry it forward to also address the issue (and essence) of space. Space for the same reasons as time cannot be infinite without an absurdity, so the first cause must also transcend space. But of course time and space are intimately intertwined (space/time), so the arguments are similar, and both are in fact involved in what KF has now defined as a design icon - the matchstick demonstration. I think the space argument is a little more fathomable for the average person. It's also a major part of the Kalam cosmological argument in more concrete terms, since we can more readily envision the impossibility of traversing an actual infinite space; but ultimately both face the same problem with an actual infinite and both should go hand in hand. That which transcends space and time cannot have material substance by definition of transcendence. Existence of space and time necessitates that which transcends it in order to resolve the problem of an infinite regress of material/temporal causes. Materialism is thus absurd. "Who designed the designer" is also an absurd question based solely on the a priori assumptions of materialists; who acknowledge the problem of infinite regresses, but dismiss it as irrelevant except when it comes to theism; the very and only logical solution to the problem. I feel all twisted up just thinking about it. CannuckianYankee
I came across a response to the “Who designed the designer” question that is remarkably similar to yours... Yes, I find this to be the most persuasive logical reply, and you almost never hear it, even from people like Stephen Meyer. I've never found the unmoved mover, uncaused cause, prime reality thing to be particularly powerful. It doesn't explain why the mover must be unmoved, why the cause must be uncaused, or why the reality is necessarily prime. GilDodgen
Actually, inference to a necessary being as the causal root of a contingent world is not a theistic inference as such. It is an inference on the logic of contingency and causal factors. Let's start with half burning a match then tilting it head upwards and watching it go out. Then think on necessary causal factors, contingency and the implication of a being that is independent of external necessary factors. --> Looks like the burning matchstick just joined the list of icons of design. kairosfocus
Why Michael Shermer Believes Weird Things... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRGQQQULucI Scootle
Actually Gil, from surfing through Wintery Knight's blog, I came across a response to the "Who designed the designer" question that is remarkably similar to yours: http://winteryknight.wordpress.com/2009/03/09/answering-richard-dawkins-question-who-made-god/ A certain Canbuhay stated: "The First Cause argument is not simply about how the universe must have a cause because everything else we know about, does. Included in the argument is that whatever must have caused the universe must be unique. Why? Because if everything began at the Big Bang, including time, then whatever caused the Big Bang would have to be outside of time. It could literally have no beginning because there was no such thing as “before” or “beginning” when there was no time. The atheistic response that there had to be something that caused the causer of the Big Bang cannot adequately account for the time factor. Whereas, the theistic one can: the causer of the Big Bang is a Deity who lives outside of time." CannuckianYankee
"The President of the British Humanist Association has pulled out of debating renowned Christian philosopher William Lane Craig." Interesting. Maybe she ran into Craig in an elevator? CannuckianYankee
Gil, I'm waiting for 'the empty chair debate' at Dawkins's old school , ,,, the empty chair will certainly be a stunning testament to the 'empty arguments' of Atheists in general not to mention the cowardice of Dawkins personally. bornagain77
...having now looked at his previous performances, this is not my kind of forum... How about some honesty: ...having now looked at his previous performances, I don't want to look like a fool... GilDodgen
OT Gil: Seems Dr. Craig has put 'the fear of God' into another atheist: Humanist Association president Polly Toynbee runs away from debate on God Excerpt: The President of the British Humanist Association has pulled out of debating renowned Christian philosopher William Lane Craig. Polly Toynbee, Guardian columnist and prominent critic of religion, readily agreed in April to debate Craig on the Existence of God but withdrew her involvement last week saying “I hadn’t realised the nature of Mr Lane Craig’s debating style, and having now looked at his previous performances, this is not my kind of forum”.,,, http://networkedblogs.com/lF2Na?a=share&ref=nf bornagain77
"If time came into existence at the birth of the universe, its cause transcends time. It therefore has no past (a quality of time), and therefore no history. That which has no history has no point of origin, and therefore no designer."
Beautifully well put. As for why Shermer is so Skeptical, it is important to consider that by his own admission he once was a "born again" Christain. Therefore, he is like the second example in Christ's explanation of the parable of the sower in Mark 4 16-17:
16: "And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; 17: And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended."
A person like Shermer had faith but had no stomach for it. So now he hides behind the make beleive "intellectual" objections. Of course virtually all of these objections have been fully adressed and refuted, nonetheless, he is making money being a "skeptic", and that is the real answer... Frost122585

Leave a Reply