Tuesday, April 2, 2013

William Lane Craig - Science Denial and Hypocrisy


Note: What follows is a transcript of the above video, but I've embedded links here since there's obviously no description box on my blog.


I wanted to make a short video pointing out some pretty amazing science denial and hypocrisy by William Lane Craig.  

The short of it is that Craig recently called Young Earth Creationists an embarrassment to Christianity on his Reasonable Faith Podcast.  Craig calls out the Young Earth Creationists because they are pretty much in explicit science denial.



The hypocrisy of Craig becomes apparent when you consider that he's engaging in science denial just like any Young Earth Creationist or Flat Earth Society member. He's just doing it in a more sophisticated way on a rather esoteric area of science that most people don't really know about.

This stems from Craig’s explicit science denial of the evidence underlying Special Relativity.  

Now I’m going to hit on a few scientific terms here that viewers may not be familiar with.  If you’d like a background on exactly what these things are, I highly recommend going back and checking out my fourth video in the Countering the Kalam series which I’m linking in the description box.  
 
Basically what you’ve got to understand is this:

Einstein’s relativity shows that space and time are actually the same substance, a four dimensional “space-time”.  

Relativity shows this 4D space time because of what’s known as the Lorentz Invariance of space and time.
We can confirm the Lorentz Invariance of space and time by the phenomenon known as Time Dilation and Length Contraction.  We actually use Time Dilation every single day because it’s something we have to account for when communicating with satellites in orbit around our planet. 

This is a problem for Craig because he has had to admit that if time is part of a 4D space-time, then his Kalam argument for the existence of a god does not work, and it contradicts the Christian dogma of creation ex-nihilo.

Again, that’s a lot of complex topics, for an explanation of this please check out my other video.
Now to get around the problem, Craig denies the existence of a 4D space-time and argues for what’s called the “Neo-Lorentzian” interpretation of relativity.   The problem for him is that the core of this Neo-Lorentzian view is unfalsifiable and cannot , in principle, ever have any scientific evidence to confirm it.   In fact, the evidence we have for Time Dilation and Length Contraction completely discredit the Neo-Lorentzian view.
And this is where Craig gets going with his science denial.  We can see this by looking at Craig's own writings on special relativity and the Neo-Lorentzian view, to quote:

“For the characteristic feature of the Lorentzian Interpretation is that it rejects Lorentz invariance.
 […]
On this view Lorentz invariance is merely apparent not real.”
William Lane Craig, “Response to McCall and Balashov”

Just so we’re clear “Lorentz Invariance” means Time Dilation and Length Contraction.

So what Craig is saying here is that while we observe Time Dilation and Length Contraction, they don't really occur.

That's pretty bad, but it becomes absurd when you look at what else his Neo-Lorentzian interpreation states:

The absolute privileged reference frame is undetectable in principle. So as a result of this interpretation this privileged frame is the only reference frame from where Time Dilation and Length Contraction would actually not be observed.

This view goes directly against Occam’s Razor, postulating a much more complex theory to account for all available data in comparison to the 4D Spacetime interpretation.

So to recap, on this Neo-Lorentzian view Craig holds that:

1.) Length Contraction and Time Dilation are observed to occur.
2.) Any test we could ever conduct for Length Contraction and Time Dilation will always show that they occur.
3.) Despite this, Length Contraction and Time Dilation don't actually happen.
4.) In addition, we can never actually gather any empirical evidence that Length Contraction and Time Dilation don't actually occur.
5.) Craig directly argues that we should accept this rejection of all available empirical evidence, based solely on Craig's theological and metaphysical arguments.  Not based on any kind of scientific evidence.

Craig tries to be artful about this, but when you examine exactly what he’s saying, this is explicit science denial. 

He's denying empirical scientific evidence about the nature of space-time based solely on his theology and metaphysics. There's literally nothing in science that couldn't be rejected using this methodology. Young Earth Creationists could just as easily reject the age of the universe by claiming that the starlight of stars that are hundreds of millions of light years away from us was merely created "on it's way" to earth 6000 years ago, and they justify believing this based on their theological & metaphysical views."

Or they could deny Evolution, stating that while there may be fossil and genetic evidence of evolution in biology, it only appears to happen, it doesn't actually occur. And they can use the exact same justification Craig uses.

Flat Earth believers can do the same thing.

So what I'd like to know from William Lane Craig or his supporters is how he can call Young Earth Creationist's an embarrassment to Christianity, but avoids the charge himself.

References: 

Craig calling Young Earth Creationists an Embarrassment:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VEQhPvtvc1w
Direct link to full Reasonable Faith Podcast Episode where Craig does this:
http://www.reasonablefaith.org/dr.-craig-on-collins-vs-dawkins-on-design-of-universe 

5 comments:

  1. By asserting that time dilation and length contraction are apparent, not real, then one can also assert that the law of conservation of energy/matter is apparent, and so is every laws of physics. Unknowingly, Craig is basically anti-science.

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  2. I wonder how someone who holds to Craig's Neolorentzian view addresses the famous Ladder paradox

    I suppose he'll just deny that length contraction is real, even though we have empirical evidence is exists.

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  3. How does WLC account for General Relativity?

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  4. http://www.reasonablefaith.org/is-the-kalam-cosmological-argument-circular

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  5. Kalam is a refuted argument.

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