This is an analysis of The Deductive Evolutionary Design Argument by A.J. Rogers, found here. At first glance this argument seems to be rather technical, but upon further review one will find that the premise is precipitously suffused with presuppositions and common fallacies. Instead of commenting directly on his blog, I thought it might be better to address these in a post. In doing so I hope to (1) improve my understanding of his argument and (2) entertain counterarguments. Therefore, I shall address each of his five points separately and allow for the debate – if he wishes to engage in one – begin.
1.) Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR): Everything has an explanation. No thing can begin to exist and no fact can begin to be real or actual, and no proposition can begin to be true, without there being a sufficient cause for its being so and not otherwise.
To accept this principle in an unlimited capacity one must allow for the possibility of self-necessitated beings, such as God. Without this admission the principle nullifies the very premise one is arguing in favor of; namely, that god(s) exists. This concept is closely related to what other philosophers have called the First Cause or Prime Mover. They have assessed the natural world and surmised that everything within it is dependent on the existence of something previous to it. The sun, for example, shines in our sky because fusion occurs in its core; fusion occurs in its core because gravity, long ago, pulled gas ever closer, causing temperatures to increase; and an initial event caused this gravitational collapse to begin. Such a cause – fusion, in this example – requires preceding causes, culminating in a First Cause; otherwise, we are left with a seemingly unintelligible answer: infinite regression.
I have italicized “requires” because as sentient beings we are intrinsically enticed by solutions. “I don’t know” is an unacceptable answer. Our issue here is that a natural explanation has yet to be discovered for the existence of something ex nihilo – unless you accept L. Krauss’ latest theory. Therefore, we have extended the application of a perfectly reasonable principle to include an exception. Specifically, an exception that expressly supports one’s own objective – to logically prove the existence of god(s). But in doing so we have contradicted the principle and rendered it worthless.
Moreover, the complexity of god(s) has been ignored, while the complexity of the contention is at the root of the proposed solution. That is, the complexity of “existence” exceeds our current state of knowledge, and so, to enable an immediate solution an infinitely more complex being has been interjected, with an exception creatively at its side. Ockham’s razor hardly seems worth mentioning.
2.) If B is explained by A, then A must have at least as much design as B.
If existence, represented by B, is explained by God, represented by A, then who designed A? Again, I presume God is labeled as a self-necessitated being, but why? Why should we yield and allow for such favorable exceptions? But I have played with the intent of this point. This point is, rather, intended to support the succeeding argument wherein human life is represented by B and “the conjunction of the state of the universe…” is represented by A; thereby inferring that the universe was also designed. On the surface this seems perfectly logical, but there is a presupposition cleverly concealed – design. Removing this presupposition we arrive at a more humble axiom: If B is explained by A, then A can similarly be explained. This eliminates languid conjecture and permits reason to dutifully follow substantive evidence. If, therefore, evidence points to design rather than natural processes, the axiom remains true.
3.) If human life is explained by the conjunction of the state of the universe at time T₁, physical constants, and natural laws (including natural selection), then the conjunction of the state of the universe at time T₁, physical constants, and natural laws (including natural selection) must have at least as much design as human life.
Again, this point presupposes that human life was designed. As I discussed above, the more humble approach is to abandon assertions and permit substantive evidence to independently support the axiom. That is, if we replace the presupposition of “must have at least as much design as human life” with “can similarly be explained as human life,” the following occurs: “If human life is explained by the conjunction of the state of the universe at time T1, physical constants, and natural laws (including natural selection), then the conjunction of the state of the universe at time T1, physical constants, and natural laws (including natural selection) [can similarly be explained as human life].” Because we lack evidence to conclude that god(s) exists, it is more reasonable to conclude that life occurred absent a designer. This sensibleness agrees with previous human experience explicitly related to explaining phenomena.
4.) A God who created human life via the conjunction of the state of the universe at time T₁, physical constants, and natural laws (including natural selection) would have to be at least as powerful and intelligent as a God who could only manage to create human life ex-nihilo.
Fair enough, but you have yet to prove the necessity for the existence of God.
5.) If the inference from human life created ex-nihilo to an intelligent and powerful designer is justified, then the inference from human life created via the conjunction of the state of the universe at time T₁, physical constants, and natural laws (including natural selection) to an intelligent and powerful designer is justified.
I would agree with the overall principle, but I believe my analysis of the preceding points renders the argument, in full, unjustified.
The problem with this argument rests with its initial ill-founded assertion – God exists. Peculiarly, it begins by a contradiction of logic: everything has a cause except God. Now, I have been slightly unfair to Rogers considering his objective. It is evident that the scope of this argument was simply focused on presenting a logical framework for evolution by design via deduction. However, an argument burdened by certainties demands substantiation, and it should be absent exceptions. I would therefore enjoy reading a more robust argument for the initial assertion, if time and interests permit.