Thursday, August 29, 2013

William Lane Craig: Math Proves God Exists!

God is the best explanation of the applicability of mathematics to the physical world according to William Lane Craig. He argues:

1. If God did not exist, the applicability of mathematics would be just a happy coincidence.
2. The applicability of mathematics is not just a happy coincidence.
3. Therefore God exists.

Craig made this awful argument during his recent three part dialogue with Lawrence Krauss in Australia earlier this month, (See link to video here). It's so bad to me that I don't even want to waste any real time trying to show how bad it is. But I'm forced to now.

According to Craig, the fact that the universe can be described mathematically proves god exists, because if god didn't exist, it would just be a coincidence that our universe is mathematically descriptive. Now is it just me, or do "professional philosophers" like Craig have a little to much time on their hands? Craig says, "the atheist has no explanation for the uncanny applicability of mathematics to the physical world." Does it need one? This doesn't appear to be a huge issue atheists are wrestling with. It seems to me like Craig is just creating another dilemma to try to erect a cheap argument for theism. Anything physical that exists is going to be able to be described mathematically, either through weight, mass, momentum or velocity. That does not in any possible way prove Yahweh exists.

I've debated with so many theists now over the years that I've come to learn that if you already presuppose your conclusion (i.e. that god exists) you will be able to find any absurd syllogism to try and "justify" it.

Take for example this argument I saw a theist make to justify original sin:

  1. If the doctrine of Original Sin is true, then Christianity is likely to be true.
  2. The doctrine of Original Sin is true.
  3. Therefore, Christianity is likely to be true.
And another one: 
  1. If Original Sin is not true, then any instance of sin must be caused by our moral ignorance (ignorance of what is truly good, ignorance of what is for the best, etc.).
  2. There are instances of sin not caused by our moral ignorance (where we know that what we do is wrong, and we do that which we do not wish to do).
  3. Therefore, the doctrine of Original Sin is true.

Do you see what's missing here when it comes to the existence of original sin? Let me give you a hint: Evidence! There's simply no evidence that an episode of original sin ever took place. There was no Adam, no Eve, no two first people — nothing derived from the natural sciences confirm that. In fact, all the evidence goes against their existence. The doctrine of original sin must be taken by Christians purely on faith. That's it. There is no valid logic where you can go from saying "There are instances of sin not caused by our moral ignorance" to concluding "Therefore, the doctrine of Original Sin is true." Absolutely no way. Both premises in these arguments are flawed beyond repair, and their conclusions are absurd. 

Imagine me making the following logical argument for atheism:

  1. If god existed, prayer would work.
  2. There are instances of prayers that do not yield working results.
  3. Therefore, god doesn't exist.

Do you see how fallacious and ignorant such an argument is? What Craig is offering us above is logically no better. It tries to draw a huge metaphysical conclusion using really bad and highly contentious premises. Just imagine if a highly educated person like William Lane Craig could be using his talents in other ways, instead of sitting around thinking up of bad arguments like the one he's proposing above. The reason why I spend so much time defending atheism is because it is constantly under attack. If it wasn't, I'd be focused a lot more on political activism on economics, climate change and social issues — things that offer us real tangible results. 

Let's hope this stupid argument never becomes a standard talking point that Craig's minions pick up on like a piece of mud to be hurled at the wall in the vain hope that it sticks. It won't.


  1. I have written a blog post on the first of the "discussions" here.

  2. I have written a blog post on the first of the "discussions" here.

  3. Craigs argument ignore the fact that Mathematics was developed (at least in part) to model and describe reality, and as such, the fact that it is useful in doing so should be completely unsurprising.

    The only way Craig's argument could have any force is if he showed that Mathematics was developed completely divorced from reality.



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