Things are getting increasingly incoherent at the blog the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute‘s creationist public relations and lobbying operation, the Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids, a/k/a the cdesign proponentsists).
We can’t count how often we’ve seen them — and other creationists — argue against evolution because “the odds against it are astronomical” and therefore Oogity Boogity (or their magic designer) is the only logical explanation. We have a whole series of posts specifically aimed at the creationists’ probability argument, starting here: The Inevitability of Evolution (Part I).
[M]ultiverse proponents hope that inventing more universes will help them explain the insanely small probability of finding a universe whose physical laws are finely tuned for life.
That’s their evidence that the universe was designed — it’s all based on their estimates of probability. And we’ve written about their use of that argument before. For example, in Discovery Institute: No Evidence for Evolution, the Discoveroids argued:
More importantly, accounts that invoke such [evolutionary] mechanisms almost never attempt to assess the likelihood of mutations producing the genetic changes in question.
Today, the Discoveroids are ignoring all their earlier arguments and are suddenly flipping things completely around. Their blog features this new item: Richard Dawkins’s Roll of the Dice. It’s about a recent statement by Richard Dawkins — they even provide a video — to the effect that he’s an agnostic, rather than the type of atheist who asserts that gods literally don’t exist.
This gem is written by David Klinghoffer, whose creationist oeuvre we last described here, and upon whom the Discoveroids have bestowed the exalted title of “senior fellow” — i.e., flaming, full-blown creationist. According to Klinghoffer:
He [Dawkins] explained that he can’t know with certainty that God doesn’t exist but on a scale of 1 to 7, (with a nervous laugh) he rates himself a 6.9. Well, that would work out to 98.57 percent confidence.
Well! Dawkins is using an argument that, in effect, says that based on the absence of evidence, the odds against God’s existence are quite high. It’s exactly type of argument that creationists — including Discoveroids — use to claim that evolution can’t occur and the universe can’t exist. But Dawkins is invoking the argument appropriately, because while there’s no verifiable evidence of gods, there is abundant evidence for evolution.
How do the Discoveroids handle it when a “Darwinist” like Dawkins uses their own style of argument against them? After babbling about odds and rolling dice, Klinghoffer concludes his little article with this:
Dawkins said, “I think the probability of a supernatural creator existing is very very low.” Yet even at 98.57 percent, the odds were not that bad. I would be somewhat reluctant to bet a hundred bucks on that basis. If I were Richard Dawkins it sure does seem like, rather than continue a campaign of mockery against religion, the better-advised course would be to continue on my course of enhanced modesty and just be quiet.
So there you are. If the Discoveroids don’t like what they imagine to be the odds against evolution, that somehow proves it didn’t happen. But if Dawkins doesn’t like the odds against God’s existence — then he’s making a stupid argument. Heads, tails, it doesn’t matter. The intelligent designer always wins!
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