Final Scene from the greatest film ever made, Ingmar Bergman's
The Seventh Seal, the characters deance into eternity
with death.A more full context for god;s "silence" than Naturalism
Last time I took on Jeff Lowder's “F-inductive arguments” which are aimed at making naturalism seem more probable than theism. I made the mistake of trying to answer his 25 and had to use one-liners to do it That's not going to work because the other guys aren't willing to stretch themselves to fill in the gaps. This time I'll focus on a couple of arguments and go in for fill explanations. His arguments focus upon a new concept in inductive reasoning called "F inductive."
The idea here is that the situation would be more expected under naturalism than under theism even though it may well be expected under theism.The operative phrase here, "an argument in which the evidence to be explained favors one explanatory hypothesis over one or more of its rivals," because deciding that is a function what assumptions one makes. Consider his second point in his list of 25 examples:
(2.on his list) The “Anti-Creation Ex Nihilo Argument”
This argument may be summarized as follows:
This argument appears to be a fallacy of composition. Just because each individual aspect of the system has a material origin does't mean the system as a whole does. The assumption he;s making in p1 is totally unsupported in relation to the universe as a while, We have no evince that the universe had to have a material origin, he hasn't even considered my argument that the God of process theology be thought of as material in the same sense that energy is thought of as such. While we are om the subject I also documented that we don't really know what energy is made of. We might be able to think of energy as non-material. This all just highlights the point the assumptions we make have a huge bearing on the outcome of the argument e\]regardless of weather it's inductive or predictive.(1) Everything that had a beginning comes from pre-existing material.(2) The universe had a beginning.(3) Therefore, the universe came from pre-existing material.
Several of his hypotheses dealt with evolution. Examples include: 4.The scale of the Universe, 5. evidence from the hostility of the universe to life, and 7. Complex life evolved from simple life.The point being God might well have created a world that evolves but naturalism is more expected to favor evolution as an explanation because its the only naturalistic exploitation we know about. That means naturalism has to be the more appropriate or more likely explanation for any such evolutionary phenomena. But again it's totally a matter of the assumptions we make. Lowder is assuming God, while he could've used evolution, is less predisposed to it than naturalism which has no choice. That's still just making an assumption. who says God's relationship to evolution is something that he can take or leave? We don't know that. What if God is "naturalism itself?" Of course Lowder assumes an absolute contradiction between naturalism ad theism but he's basing it upon the god of the evangelical. What about the God Teilhard of De Chardin?
I believe God is real, I also believe that evolution is real. Logically then God must have used evolution. I have no reason not to assume that theism favors an evolutionary hypothesis with all the attendant situations that accompany it. What is the reason then for assuming an atheistic naturalism? Theologians like Tilehard de Chardin were very given to flights of fancy about the nature of evolution's use in the divine economy. I know Lower warms us off thinking the possibility of God using evolution is an answer. There's more to it than that, but since evolution is not necessarily the providence of a Godless from of naturalism why assume it is at all.
The Larger framework
Favoring a given explanatory hypothesis does not cancel or negate positive reason to believe. if favored hypothesis can't overcome my reason than God is not made less probable by evolution, or any other phenomena,. That is especially since God can as easily account for evolution. Another point might be that the individual circumstances that spell auto naturalistic narrative, such as the scale of the universe for example, are aspects of a larger framework that is not necessarily devoid of a connection to the divine. For example, fine tuning argument might be reversal of the issues he's discussing.
Several times in Monday's post I pointed out that my soteriological drama argument would answer these issues (12. Flourishing and Languishing of Sentient Beings, and 13. Self-Centeredness and Limited Altruism of Human Beings and others). This is a prime example of how assumptions change outcome. The argument says that God wants us to search for truth because through searching we will internalize the values of the good. The point is God's alleged hiddeness and the vicissitudes of life are explained by the need to make the world appear neutral. That means there's a reason why it has to appear this way. I know the idea is not just that there is no reason, Lowder doesn't deny that God might have a reason, But other evidence being equal the the explanation that most appropriate is is the one most likely and thus the other one is false.
All Evidence is not Equal
The problem is the evidence is not equal. making assumptions that favor naturalism is one way of fudging the data.Another way is to take each explanatory hypothesis in isolation then the surrounding data appears equal or it can at least be assumed so. Yet we do not live in world where these aspects of life can be taken in isolationism. Life evolving from simple to complex, the hostility of nature toward life, these are all aspects of evolution We don;t need to isolate any one of them, Yet evolution is just another aspect in a larger list of reality. Where do we draw the line and say "things on this side are indicative of reality and thinking's on that side are not" and thus not relevant in F inductive arguments?
What we are really looking at in taking life as a whole is a phenomenological approach, Why? because since no good place to draw the line and all of life is too broad we need to allow the sense data to suggest it's own categories, Rather than creating artificial catigories like "naturalism": and "evolution:" as opposed to "spirituality" or categories biased for God rather than against we need to allow the phenomena to give us the answer by suggesting the categories as they present themselves to our experience.
On that level when we think about pain we think about seeking answers and higher meaning we find things like mystical experience of the divine, or notions like meaning that require the divine to explain the redemptive aspects of suffering. To that extent God is not silent, one merely needs to focus and listen. That is how the soteriological drama answers the individual aspects by presenting reasons for God to allow such pain but it also becomes another aspect to be explained; a part of the categories suggested by sense data in phenomenological apprehension.
Some of these categories are going to form major headings into which these other aspects are subjects or sub sets, just as scale of the universe and i'ts hostility to life might be sub sets of evolution.
One such major heading: (24 on the list) God’s Silence About His Purpose(s) for Creating Humans
If humankind was created for a purpose by God and had a role to play in carrying out this purpose, then God would want us to have a possibility of achieving our role so that he would have a possibility of achieving His goal.
Probabilistic argument is not going to overcome a deductive argument. Moreover, given the larger range of answers from other God arguments F inductive is not best exploitation. Example, Nature of being beats any inductive reason. Consider Paul Tillichh's famous statement that icf know being has depth you can't be an atheist:
The name of infinite and inexhaustible depth and ground of our being is God. That depth is what the word God means. And if that word has not much meaning for you, translate it, and speak of the depths of your life, of the source of your being, of your ultimate concern, of what you take seriously without any reservation. Perhaps, in order to do so, you must forget everything traditional that you have learned about God, perhaps even that word itself. For if you know that God means depth, you know much about Him. You cannot then call yourself an atheist or unbeliever. For you cannot think or say: Life has no depth! Life itself is shallow. Being itself is surface only. If you could say this in complete seriousness, you would be an atheist; but otherwise you are not.If he is Jeff is going to start asking questions about God's silence then has to be prepared to hear argument possibility of answer without assertions have to prove God first. I know he's not saying there is a silent God; I know hie's saying silence is indicative of absence of God. Yet he's still raising the question of God He;s going to compare silences he has to be prepared to hear that maybe Goid is not silent but just whispering
 Jeff Lowder, "F Inductive Arguments a New Type of inductive Argument,," The Secular Outpost March 21, 2014 blog, URL: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularoutpost/2014/03/21/f-inductive-arguments-a-new-type-of-inductive-argument/