by Cato 9/25/14
Creationists invoke the “cause => effect” argument with evolutionists quite frequently. The absolute demand is that every effect have a definitive, visible cause; every event a precedent. Tracking back, creationists arrive at the first effect, the first event and ask what came before.
Asked what produced the first effect, the universe, cosmologists will for example answer “the Big Bang”, to which a creationist will ask “what came before and caused the Big Bang”? No one knows, of course, and the only valid answer is “nothing came before it … the universe emerged out of nothing we can define; a singularity”. Creationists, having in their minds won the debate, will then say with certainty that they know what came before that first effect: an intelligent designer. Prime Mover. God.
Pete Chadwell employed a carefully buried version of this argument in his essay “Contradiction: The Common Thread of ID Criticism”, the core element of which was the illogical conclusions of Darwinists specifically, and by extension scientists in general.
“When biologists uncover the kind of evidence that, had it been received through a radio telescope would have sent SETI fans into a palm-sweating ecstasy, we ought to be free to conclude, using precisely the same methodology and logic, that biological life had an intelligent cause.”
The trivial, surface irrationality here is equation of the structure of DNA with sculpted bushes and the Rosetta Stone. This is the thin argument that anything that appears to have structure must have been designed. Clouds appear to exhibit design and structure … battleships, lion’s heads … where there is obviously none. But that’s just the trivial irrationality. And no one is saying Pete isn’t free to believe what he wishes; that is just a subtle red herring in his prose construction, too. Deeper and more important is the implied issue of cause and effect.
This is a blatant case of loading the logical dice. Creationists will not accept any effect as valid that has no obvious cause. Something emerging out of nothing, structure arising naturally through eons of trial and error, is scoffed at and waved off as nonsense. Yet having driven evolutionists and cosmologists into this C=>E corner creationists immediately violate their own rule: they invoke as the cause of the first effect an “intelligence” that itself has no cause and no precedent.
If ID’ers and creationists are to remain true to the “logic” of their ideas they must accept the validity of the question “what caused God?” They must realize that their willingness to accept God as an arbitrary end point to the C => E chain is granting themselves a response they deny evolutionists and cosmologists. One can’t have it both ways. The finality and conviction of the ID answer is, therefore, no more logical or rational than the science they wave off. To my mind their convictions are based on nothing more than their emotional and religious commitment to a capitalized three-letter word.
Cato blogs at Cato’s Domain.
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