Ray Ingles is confident that Dawkins’ argument can be saved and that I’m being unfair to it somehow. He claims that my Dawkins exegesis is lacking, that I steamroll context, that I show no charity. I’m a fair individual. I’m willing to listen to anybody who wants to argue that this argument, which by Dawkins’ own admission stands at the heart of his book, can be saved. So here is the argument again:
1. One of the greatest challenges to the human intellect, over the centuries, has been to explain how the complex, improbable appearance of design in the universe arises.
2. The natural temptation is to attribute the appearance of design to actual design itself. In the case of a man-made artefact such as a watch, the designer really was an intelligent designer. It is tempting to apply the same logic to an eye or a wing, a spider or a person.
3. The temptation is a false one, because the designer hypothesis immediately raises the larger problem of who designed the designer. The whole problem we started out with was the problem of explaining statistical improbabiilty. It is obviously no solution to postulate something even more improbable. We need a ‘crane’, not a ‘skyhook’, for only a crane can do the business of working up gradually and plausibly from simplicity to otherwise improbable complexity.
Now I haven’t bothered to take issue with (1) or (2). But I have huge problems with (3). So what I want is a believable reconstruction of (3) with numbered propositions which has a valid logical form and premises that are plausible. I’m not asking for anything more than that. Please, no flights of fancy into Dawkins exegesis. Just the argument as it has been presented.
One final note: the argument appears to be enthymemic, so please draw out those hidden premises into the light of day so we can have a look at them.
If you can’t do that then please, grab a shovel and help me complete the burial of this empty piece of contorted rhetoric.