[FoRK] The Anti-Memes spread...
Stephen D. Williams
<sdw at lig.net> on
Wed Oct 24 08:59:29 PDT 2007
Jeff Bone wrote:
> On Oct 23, 2007, at 11:23 PM, Stephen D. Williams wrote:
>> Via 3quarksdaily, here is Richard Skinner (”poet, writer, qualified
>> therapist and performer”) elaborating on Why Christians should take
>> Richard Dawkins seriously.  I would argue that they should take
>> him seriously because much of what he says is true, but that’s not
>> Skinner’s take.
> I had to take exception with something Dawkins floated recently. On
> Edge the question was recently asked "What is your formula? Your
> equation? Your algorithm?" The answers were collected as a series of
> images of whiteboards, notes, slides, etc. from folks randing from
> Dawkins to Lisa Randall to Craig Venter:
> Dawkins' offering was a tribute to the explanatory power of evolution,
> (Tangent: he and I apparently have similar tastes in Keynote
> templates... ;-)
> There's a small problem with this. He's handed the opposition --- the
> religious irrationalists --- a massive weapon with the first
> equation. He says:
> Power of a theory = number of things it explains / number of
> things it needs to assume
> Unfortunately god-theorists will (mathematically correctly) argue that
> this means that god-theories belong to the class of most powerful
> theories possible --- indeed, they are by Dawkin's formula infinitely
> powerful, as they (will be claimed to) explain everything while
> assuming only one thing.
You are right, that wasn't worded properly. I think it is much more like:
Power of a theory = number of things it explains / (number * "size" of
things it needs to assume )
Where size is exponentially proportional to how much "faith" vs.
testable fact is involved.
In other words:
Power of a theory = number of things it explains / (number of things it
needs to assume * how much of a leap of faith those are)
God is an infinite leap of faith. You do the math.
> I've pointed this out to him... we'll see how he responds. I suspect
> that the argument against this is that god-theories are not theories
> at all, however, that relies on an understanding of science and what
> is meant by "theory" that is unlikely to be shared with the religious
> in any case.
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