Knight plays chess with Death, from Ingmar
Bergman's great film The Seventh Seal
Jeff Lowder at the Secular Outpost has 25 questions for theists They are not intended to be tricks or rhetorical but to drive home his point about his probability argument,
Lowder says of his questions:
Many people incorrectly assumed that the list was supposed to function as a list of “gotcha!” questions. Even our own Keith Parsons commented, “Any Bible-believing Christian could easily answer these.” Sure enough, many did. It’s easy to invent “just-so,” ad hoc explanations for why, if God exists, God allowed some fact F to obtain. But that is of very little philosophical interest. (More on that in a moment.) But even more important, it misses the point....Lowder's major point is a huge probability argument in which he shows over and over again in a variety of ways that reality is more easily explained by naturalism and thus it is more probable as an explanation.I contend that the argumemt, like the questions primarily reflect what Tillich calls the "surface level" being thus of course they reflect naturalism because he's not examining areas where supernature is an issue, Hopefully this will be seen in the answers I give. I will only do half the questions this time.
Each question is a specific instance of a more generic ‘meta-question’: “Which explanatory hypothesis, naturalism or theism, is the best explanation?” For details, see “Basic Structure of My Evidential Arguments.” That page lays out the schema for all of my evidential arguments.
1. The question “Why is there something rather than nothing” presupposes “nothing” as being the normal state of affairs. Why believe that? Why can’t we flip the question on its head? In other words, why can’t it be the case that the normal state of affairs is for things to actually exist and nothingness itself would be weird? (HT: Thy Kingdom Come (Undone))
No it does not, the question does not assume nothing is normal it assumes it's the only alternative to being. I do not mean to offend you,I respect you as a thinker but that strikes me as suggesting you need to read Heidegger. Thet question was made famous by him it has a huge palemcest that is firmly rooted in Heideggerian fermentation. It is not intended to evoke God, Heidegger was an atheist. In fact he says Christians can't answer it because they have a ready jade answer, so the question is really like an ink blot,it just spurs thinking. Tillich moves on from Heidegger and expropriates the questions as a starting point but only in light of the Heiderrian history of the question. Modern apologists know nothing of these things most of the time,l thin k They should.
2. Given that the universe has a finite age, why did the universe begin with time rather than in time.
Time is based upon the rate of change in physical conditions,any physical condition constitutes a universe so you can't have time running prior to having something to change, thus a universe. I don't think that contradicts reactivity,I know matter warps space and creates time but that still makes time a function of space, or the universe. Thus time and matter must begin together. In relativity the four coordinates, time and three physical dimensions are all one thing they can't be separated thus space/time. Nothing in that formulation makes God less probable.
3. Why is so much of our universe intelligible without any appeal to supernatural agency? Why does the history of science contains numerous examples of naturalistic explanations replacing supernatural ones and no examples of supernatural explanations replacing naturalistic ones?
This is really two separate question. Because you are only looking at the bits that are on the surface, that's the natural it's empirical. This is what Tillich means when he links atheism with "surface level of being." You are only thinking of what you can see. If you want to deal with morality or meaning or anything below the surface then you do need SN. Don't forget my understanding of that term is different from yours. It has nothing to do with magic and does not necessarily involve miracles. It is synonymous with God consciousness.4. Why is the physical universe so unimaginably large?
That's explained by FT argument. Evolution needs space. That question requires only knowledge of the surface so it's not necessarily a theist's question. Evolution includes the stars,m the universe as a whole, thus it needs lots of room.5. If you believe that visual beauty is evidence of God, why isn’t the universe saturated with auditory, tactile, or other non-visual types of sensory beauty?
I don't know that I do believe that. But it is saturated with auditory and other kinds of beauty but you don't notice it unless you are blind. If you want to know the valid logical best version of the aesthetic argument read Has Urs Von Balthasar.6. If you believe the universe is fine-tuned for intelligent life, why isn’t our universe teeming with life, including life much more impressive than human life?
Who says it's not? we have insufficient data for that assumption.
7. Why would God use biological evolution as a method for creation? Do you have any answer that is independent of the scientific evidence for evolution?
You are making an anthropomorphic assumption that God is so much like us that has to rationcentenate the decisions to create in such a way that we would appreciate it. How about he just chose evolution because it's the default from naturalistic creation. You are assuming God doesn't work like a principle but has to say "I am God I shall create stuff." Canadian theologian John Macquarrie has a phrase "being let's be" to describe God's creative process that more of a manager for creative principles. I think God actively engages with consciousness but since he's working on a higher level of consciousness we would not understand it.
We might theorize a reason we can understand. It would deal with my view my theory I call "soeteriological drama." God wants a neutral world where his existence is not a dead giveaway so we have to seek truth and thus internalize the values of the good, Read more.
8. Why would God desire to create embodied moral agents, as opposed to unembodied minds (such as souls, spirits, or ghosts)? Why is the human mind dependent on the physical brain?
That is also answered by the link above to bacteriological drama, If we were pure spirit beings (pure mind) we would have no doubt of God and we woudl not seek truth and thus internalize the values of the good.
The answers are hiding in plain sight, We can find them but we have to look,We have to want them, That may sound like a game of cat and mouse but I don't it ism, i think it's necessary to internalize values of the good.
This question makes me think of one of my favorite Twilight Zone's. The most philosophical of the show. A solider, a clown ,some others are trapped in a room with no doors or windows, They have no memory of being who they are. Turns out they are toys in a toy box at Christmas. We find ourselves here in this life we have no idea why we are here they answer could be so radically different we can't know it, in that metaphor the answer is determinism,9. Did Australopithecus have a soul? What about homo habilis? Homo erectus? Neanderthals? Why or why not? (HT: Keith Parsons)
Yes. "The only Hebrew word traditionally translated "soul" (nephesh) in English language Bibles refers to a living, breathing conscious body, rather than to an immortal soul." Soul is not necessary the thing that lives on but a symbol for life, by extension the relationship of the living being to God Thus saved souls or lost souls. The thing that survives death is spirit,although in translation these can be synonymous.
10. How do souls interact with physical matter? Do you have any answer that is not tantamount to “I don’t know?” (HT: Keith Parsons)
The term soul is most often used of the physical life of the person so it;s interaction is obvious. Now you will ask about spirit the same question plug in spirit. Spirit = mind. How do minds interact with physical matter? By perceiving and interpreting it.
11. If you believe humans have free will, why would humans have free will if God exists? Why are we able to exercise free will in some situations but not others?
Question is backward. If God did not exist we should expect biological organisms to be deterministic. It's only with humans made in God's image we should expect reason and free will.
12. Why are pain and pleasure so connected to the biological goals of survival and reproduction, but morally random? Is there some greater good that logically requires (or logically requires risking) that suffering be used to motivate animals to pursue the biological goal of self-preservation? Does some moral end make it desirable for suffering to continue even when it serves no biological purpose? For example, why do sentient beings, including animals which are not moral agents, experience pain or pleasure that we do not know to be biologically useful?
You are only thinking in terms of physical pleasure that is a function physical existence. You can't explaimn having a physical body and yetalso finding higher forms of pleasure especially when it requires higher forms of consciousness.
13. Why do only a fraction of living things, including the majority of sentient beings, thrive? In other words, why do very few living things have an adequate supply of food and water, are able to reproduce, avoid predators, and remain healthy? Why would God create a world in which all sentient beings savagely compete with one another for survival? Why do an even smaller fraction of organisms thrive for most of their lives? Why do almost no organisms thrive for all of their lives?
We do have physical existence, that's not doubted by any. Most organisms are not made in Gods image and wont share in eternal life so they are just accouterments of physical existence. Their well being is tied entirely to the physical realm. The higher up the scale of mental activity we go the closer we come to spirit, So we might find animals like dogs with spiritual qualities, since they have emotions they might find some pleasure in spiritual basics like emotion.You can talk about the physical workings of the empirical end of the universe forever and not mention God because it's created to run on it's own. Then of course you can play the games of reductionist designed to keep God hidden.
That doesn't mean you can leave God out if you want to go beyond the surface. Science doesn't go beyond the surface (not it's job) so of course science appears not to need God. The universe is made to look neutral.
I'll do the rest next week