Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Lewis vs. Tzortzis on cosmology and fine-tuning

Tzortzis starts off with a slight variation on the Kalam cosmological argument, arguing to a timeless, immaterial and personal cause (just as WLC does). He then goes on the the argument from a cosmos finely-tuned for life, and provides a reasonably good presentation thereof. As is usual in such arguments, he rules out chance fine-tuning on the implicit assumption that our universe is the only one.

Lewis takes several minutes of dithering (he is a philosopher after all) before really getting into this arguments, which are essentially rebuttals rather than affirmative arguments for either atheism or agnosticism. With respect to the cosmological argument, he tries to show that the idea of a first cause is incoherent in a closed bubble of finite space-time. Respecting the second argument, he tries to show that basically 'luck happens' to at some places and time, especially given the possibility of an incomprehensibly vast multiverse. He also points out that certain solutions to the problem of evil lead to profound agnosticism regarding the nature of the divine.

Okay, now I just have to say this. Tzortzis boldly and confidently puts forth fundamentally fallacious arguments rooted in premises which are highly intuitively appealing but evidentially bankrupt. Lewis, by contrast, timidly and hesitantly presents philosophically sound rebuttals, in a way which makes them sound weak and timid. When it comes to in-person debates, the personas involved the debate really matter, and I've no doubt that the audience came away believing that Tzortzis wiped the floor with Lewis.

Overall rating: 3.5
Believer rating: 2.5
Unbeliever rating: 4.5

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