Tuesday, April 25, 2006

How Many Darwinists Does It Take to Screw in a Lightbulb?

As satire goes, this is pretty funny. Here's my favorite:
Richard Dawkins: To say that it took a Darwinist to do the screwing in of the lightbulb is to explain precisely nothing. The obvious question becomes: Who did the screwing to create the Darwinist screwer? And who did the screwing to create that screwer? There would have to be an infinite regress of screwers. And if you invoke some invisible, mystical Unscrewed Screwer (for which we have no credible evidence) to start the whole thing off, why not just say that the lightbulb screwed itself in and be done with it?
(Note: This is not a quote from Dawkins himself, but it creatively parodies his favorite knock-down 'refutation' of the design argument, namely, that the Designer would need a designer, and so forth.)


At 4/25/2006 4:27 AM, Blogger Ocham said...

Quod autem Deus sit primum omnium ista primitate probo: et primo de primitate efficientiae sic: Aliquod ens est effectum, quia productum; aut igitur producitur a se, vel a nihilo vel ab alio. Non a nihilo, quia nihil nullius est causa; nec a se, quia nihil est quod seipsum gignat vel producat (I De Trinitate, capitulo nono). Ergo, ab alio.

Si ab alio, ergo illud producitur a nihilo vel a se vel ab alio, et sic proceditur in infinitum. Ergo oportet stare ad aliquid non productum, nec virtute alterius producens sed virtute propria; et hoc voco primum.


At 4/25/2006 10:13 AM, Blogger Alan Rhoda said...

My Latin's good enough to get the gist of those quotes, but can you provide a translation?

At 4/26/2006 12:33 AM, Blogger Ocham said...

It's from Scotus, of course. Can get the exact reference. I don't have a translation to hand, but the gist is:

1. Nothing can be produced out of nothing, i.e. nothing can be caused to exist by nothing.

2. But neither can anything bring itself into existence (nihil est quod seipsum gignat vel producat)

3. Therefore anything that comes into existence must be brought into existence by something else. (Ergo ab alio)

4. If by something else, if that something else is itself brought into existence by yet another thing, this would go on ad infinitum.

5. There must therefore be a first cause, which is not produced, but which produces by its own power. (sed virtute propria).

This is actually the first bit of the argument. Scotus then goes into bullet points, as it were, to justify each step of the argument. Each of these bullet points has sub-bullet points, each of which has sub-bullet points and so on for many pages, as Scotus tends to.

The main argument he faces is why the process in fact can't go on ad infinitum, which is the cause of many subtle Scotistic distinctions, and the invention of a whole dictionary full of technical terms.

Best, O.


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