Lawrence Krauss refutes “Science Increasingly makes the case for God”

Note:  On Dec. 26, 2014 an opinion piece appeared in the Wall Street Journal titled  “Science Increasingly makes the case for God.” Lawrence Krauss responded with the following letter disputing its specious science claims. Unfortunately the editors of the WSJ failed to print his response. Since then, the opinion piece has gained traction on right-wing and religious websites, spreading inaccuracies and misinformation. Lawrence’s letter corrects the record.

By Lawrence Krauss

To the editor:

I was rather surprised to read the unfortunate oped piece “Science Increasingly makes the case for God”, written not by a scientist but a religious writer with an agenda.  The piece was rife with inappropriate scientific misrepresentations.  For example:

  1. We currently DO NOT know the factors that allow the evolution of life in the Universe.  We know the many factors that were important here on Earth, but we do not know what set of other factors might allow a different evolutionary history elsewhere.  The mistake made by the author is akin to saying that if one looks at all the factors in my life that led directly to my sitting at my computer to write this, one would obtain a probability so small as to conclude that it is impossible that anyone else could ever sit down to compose a letter to the WSJ.
  2. We have discovered many more planets around stars in our galaxy than we previously imagined, and many more forms of life existing in extreme environments in our planet than were known when early estimates of the frequency of life in the universe were first made.  If anything, the odds have increased, not decreased.
  3. The Universe would certainly continue to exist even if the strength of the four known forces was different.  It is true that if the forces had slighty different strengths ( but nowhere near as tiny as the fine-scale variation asserted by the writer) then life as we know it would probably not have evolved.  This is more likely an example of life being fine-tuned for the universe in which it evolved, rather than the other way around.
  4. My ASU colleague Paul Davies may have said that “the appearance of design is overwhelming”, but his statement should not be misinterpreted.  The appearance of design of life on Earth is also overwhelming, but we now understand, thanks to Charles Darwin that the appearance of design is not the same as design, it is in fact a remnant of the remarkable efficiency of natural selection.

Religious arguments for the existence of God thinly veiled as scientific arguments do a disservice to both science and religion, and by allowing a Christian apologist to masquerade as a scientist WSJ did a disservice to its readers.

Lawrence M. Krauss is Professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration and Directors of the Origins Project at Arizona State University, and the author most recently “A Universe from Nothing: Why there is something rather than nothing.”

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3 Responses to Lawrence Krauss refutes “Science Increasingly makes the case for God”

  1. Lawrence rebuttal is the usual atheist’s collection of straw man arguments, logical fallacies and what amounts to a complete denial of the findings of modern science.

    1. Here, Lawrence uses the ever useful straw man argument by making an issue out of the factors of evolution elsewhere in the universe.

    Since we have never observed those factors Lawrence refers to, Lawrence is using what hasn’t been observed to refute what has been observed.

    If conjuring up an alternative universe can be used to refute the facts of our real universe, then nothing is knowable or factual.

    And this sentence of Lawrence, “The mistake made by the author is akin to saying that if one looks at all the factors in my life that led directly to my sitting at my computer to write this,” is pure sophistry.

    The truth is that the biological factors in any person’s life are what allow us to be sitting or standing anywhere, doing whatever.

    Each of Lawrence’s other three points are constructed of the similar gibberish. For brevity only one point is refuted in this single comment.

    • tildeb says:

      And this sentence of Lawrence, “The mistake made by the author is akin to saying that if one looks at all the factors in my life that led directly to my sitting at my computer to write this,” is pure sophistry.

      The truth is that the biological factors in any person’s life are what allow us to be sitting or standing anywhere, doing whatever.

      Oh this is too rich to pass up

      Higharka has been arguing for exactly this reason why evolution cannot possibly be caused by any mechanism known as ‘natural selection… because of the Maths!, the Maths!

      Now you’re calling this reason sophistry. Care to demonstrate why when an atheist says something, it’s irrational and/or sophistry but when a theist uses the same reason suddenly on SoM’s world it’s all fine and dandy? What a hypocrite you are.

      And then after I explained to higharka that the probability for natural selection to have been active in common ancestry is P=1 and not the maths bass ackwards approach HA used is identical to Krauss’ point that the calculated probability for him sitting there is almost zero, here you suddenly pop through your religious bubble to recognize the brute fact that, Hey! You’re sitting there no matter what the maths/tornadoes/junkyards/747s says.

      Duh.

      • tildeb,

        Since my argument has nothing to do with the veracity of evolution, you comparing it to another comment in another blog on a completely different subject is an example of the you, the atheist, hallucinating an alternate reality and screaming, “Welcome to my world.”

        When you get back to this universe, if that is even possible, stick to the subject at hand, the blog at hand, post at hand and the comment at hand.

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