14 Replies to “Video: A.C. Grayling Demonstrates That He Doesn’t Understand Specified Complexity

  1. 1
    kairosfocus says:


    ACG rather seems to want to paint the target after the fact of the arrow hitting.

    He needs to reflect on a slightly different scenario. There is Leslie’s wall, with long stretches positively carpeted by flies, but here, in this stretch, there’s just one lonely fly sitting there, doing whatever flies do in that situation.

    Bang-splat, the fly is swatted by a bullet.

    Do we think there is nothing to explain about that, or do we not rather suspect that the fly was the sort of thing a good marksman with a tack-driver of a rifle might target, and so the swatting of the fly by a bullet is indeed remarkable.

    Methinks, the latter.

    And so would anyone else, save those determined not to see the point.

    Which also brings up the point that designers hit narrow targets by choice, while that which is at-random, or something like that is blind to the reality of attractive potential targets.


  2. 2
    Chance Ratcliff says:

    KF @1,

    “ACG rather seems to want to paint the target after the fact of the arrow hitting.”

    My thought exactly. I can’t imagine he’s unaware of the distinction, although it certainly appeared that way.

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    kf, “swatting of the fly by a bullet” really does not do the fine-tuning justice. This bullet is more on ‘target’,,,

    Guillermo Gonzalez – Why is the Universe Fine-Tuned for Life? – video
    Quote: “Having a precision of one part in 10^30 is like firing a bullet and hitting an amoeba at the edge of the observable universe” – Guillermo Gonzalez


    “If we modify the value of one of the fundamental constants, something invariably goes wrong, leading to a universe that is inhospitable to life as we know it. When we adjust a second constant in an attempt to fix the problem(s), the result, generally, is to create three new problems for every one that we “solve.” The conditions in our universe really do seem to be uniquely suitable for life forms like ourselves, and perhaps even for any form of organic complexity.”
    Gribbin and Rees, “Cosmic Coincidences”, p. 269

    Anthropic Principle – God Created The Universe – Michael Strauss PhD. – video

    Astrobiology research is revealing the high specificity and interdependence of the local parameters required for a habitable environment. These two features of the universe make it unlikely that environments significantly different from ours will be as habitable. At the same time, physicists and cosmologists have discovered that a change in a global parameter can have multiple local effects. Therefore, the high specificity and interdependence of local tuning and the multiple effects of global tuning together make it unlikely that our tiny island of habitability is part of an archipelago. Our universe is a small target indeed.
    Astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez – P. 625, The Nature of Nature

    Supplemental note:

    Infinitely wrong – Sheldon – November 2010
    Excerpt: So you see, they gleefully cry, even [1 / 10^(10^123)] x ? = 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.

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    correction: ,,, So you see, they gleefully cry, even [1 / 10^(10^123)] x infinity = 1! ,,,

  5. 5
    kairosfocus says:

    BA77, yup, but let’s start with baby steps. If you know what it takes to set up a rifle as a tack driver and to get that kind of accuracy consistently, that is enough to spin your head. Don’t ask about gunlaying and the headaches of getting a shell on target by map! Let’s just say that c 1916, the Germans went through a formal inferential process to deduce that the British had come up with a superior gunlaying method, that was hitting targets under conditions the Germans did not expect. Then there is Jutland and the British Battlecruisers’ failure to judge range correctly and forfeit of major range advantage, leading to serious disparity on losses. And gunlaying is not tack driving. One year later and we were at Bruchmuller’s hurricane bombardments, starting with Caporetto, and going on from there. KF

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  7. 7
    JDH says:

    Sorry, don’t have the foggiest idea of ACG is, but when I see atheist philosophers who are at least famous enough to get themselves on a podcast, so unable to understand why their analogies are way off the mark regarding specified complexity, it all just becomes a great verification of “The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God.”

  8. 8
    kairosfocus says:

    JDH: Initials, pardon. KF

  9. 9
    bornagain77 says:

    OT: Max Andrews was recently interviewed on Apologetics 315


    Max is a graduate student from Liberty University, whose research is in philosophy of science and religion. He talks about his background and education, his interest and research in multiverse theory, the fine-tuning argument,

    more about Max:

  10. 10
    Chance Ratcliff says:

    Jonathan M has an article up at EnV explaining the difference between A.C. Grayling’s analogy and Peter Williams’s with regard to specified complexity.

    British Atheist Philosopher A.C. Grayling Is Confused About Intelligent Design

  11. 11
    bornagain77 says:

    Here is a fairly recent debate between Peter S. Williams and Christopher Norris

    Does God Exist? Peter S. Williams vs Christopher Norris – video

  12. 12
    Box says:

    Thanks Bornagain77 (11) for the youtube link to the debate.
    I enjoyed Peter S. Williams version of the cosmology argument, at 15 min 10 s :

    Suppose I ask you to loan me a certain book. But you say: ‘I don’t have a copy right now, but I will ask my friend to lend me his copy and then I lend it to you’. But suppose your friend says the same thing to you and so on – ad infinitum. Well surely two things are clear: first, if that process of asking to borrow the book goes on at ad infinitum I will never get the book. Secondly, if I get the book then the process of letting me getting it called had gone on ad infinitum. Somewhere down the line of requests to borrow the book someone had to have had the book without having to borrow it.
    Likewise argues Richard Purcell, consider a contingent reality, “then two principles apply, if the process of everything getting its existence from something else went on to infinity then the thing in question would never have existence. And if a thing would have existence then the process hasn’t gone on to infinity. There was something that had existence without having to receive it from something else”.

  13. 13
    bornagain77 says:

    No problem Box. 🙂 Here is a better video link,,,, I thought Williams’ version of the moral argument was very impressive as well,,

    Cardiff University “Does God Exist?” Debate – video

  14. 14
    Phinehas says:

    MAGICIAN: I will now pull the ace of spades from this randomly shuffled deck of cards. Tada!

    *the magician proudly displays the ace of spades, but ACG is unimpressed*

    ACG: I can do that too.

    *ACG takes the deck and shuffles, pulls out a random card, and shows the magician that it is the 8 of hearts*

    ACG: You pulling out the ace of spades is no more unlikely than me pulling out the 8 of hearts.

    *audience groans*

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