Friday, September 02, 2011

Atheists Attempt to Infur God's Non Existence From the Nature of Naturalism


An atheist on CARM makes this argument. He doesn't like me to quote him so I wont include his name. It's a public record, so I will quote it but I wont embrace him.

Through our observations of the cosmos we see that we are but one planet in a solar system of 8 planets is part of a larger galaxy which is in turn just one of billions of such galaxies. As well as all that there are some models of theoretical physics that point towards multiple universes! So why would a universe creating deity be interested in our small insignificant planet?

Moreover we know from biology that it took millions of years for life to develop by well understood mechanisms of evolutionary biology that the bodies that we currently have are just trade offs for certain abilities in terms of biology. So it seems that if a deity does exist and this isn't plausible from the argument above that he doesn't care about his creation at best as there are some serious design flaws in the human body. In terms of being "designed" to live long and just to survive the deity seems to care about beetles a great deal.

So do you still believe in a deity that cares about you personally?

Meta: This kind of argument has been made many times. James Still used to make it on sec web quite a lot. Richard Carrier has been known to make it. The argument is fraught with several bad assumptions that nullify it. One such assumption, probably the major one, is that it assumes we know what a universe designed by a caring God would look like. This is the same mistake the classical design argument makes. It assumes we know what a designed universe looks like with no inverse we know to have been designed to compare to it. This atheist is making the same mistake, he just makes it as a back up to his atheist views rather than as an argument for the existence f God.

Another perilous assumption made is that he pretends to know what God cares about. I thnk we have to assume that God cares about us to maintain a Christian tradition but that doesn't mean that we can assume that God would attach the same kinds of emotional feelings to al species. Why do you think we need to assume that we are the only intelligent beings God has created or that he created the whole thing for just us? why can't we assume that God set the principle of evolution in motion with the creation of sub atomic particles and allowed it to run as it would, creating a multiverse and perhaps giving it bias for bearing life.

God created the proceedings in such a way that it was possible for a complex creature who is capable of love to be produced in the universe over time as a result of evolution. Here we are. What's the big deal? The atheist assumes that caring = perfection That's a false assumption. Design flaws are not indications of not caring. Extinction is the natural process. That makes no more sense as an argument against God than dose arguing that death itself is an argument God. Extinction is not a moral issue, until humanity goes extinct it has not yet touched, to our knowledge, a species capable of understanding it. He's assuming a standard of concern for every species that he has no right to assume. God apparently values growth, change, progression and evolution too. The purpose of life seems to be to learn, to grow, to adapt, to progress. Allowing a species to go existinct, or making a huge universe with the possibility of many intelligent species are not any more indicative of not caring than is allowing one's child to make his own decisions and learn.

Then he makes the protestation that He has no biases and he's not making assumptions. Not making assumptions! really? He's the first totally objective and completely unbiased human in hsitory. To this he says he's just using empirical scinece to tell us the nature of the universe, and that nature excludes a caring creator. That seems to him like a defense but in reality he's only just admitted to my point about the design argument. As for the idea that he can use science objectively and just infer from the nature of things the nature of God's caring (which is that mistake I just mentioned) I said:

Meta:I can use empirical scinece all day and not try to draw conclusions about the original of the world from the way it looks on the surface. The mistake that we make in doing this is to say "I know what design looks like" since we have never seen a world that we know is or is not designed we don't know what it looks like. You make that very assumptions. you say "I know what the created world of a caring God looks like" you can't determine that based upon looking at the world that's like trying to find design based upon looking at the world with no undersigned to look at.

I also argue that

I have explained the reason that we live in a universe where God is not immediately obvious. I have expalined this in terms of the need to search for truth through personal understanding of our existential situation (understand "existential" in the Sartean and Kierkegaardian sense: private subjective reflection upon our own individual existences).

Until you answer that the look of the universe and the way its natural processes function is quite irrelevant. All you are doing is a bait and switch. you are answering the wrong questions and the pretending they are the right ones. This is encapsulated in my argument I call Soteriolgical Drama:

Basic assumptions

There are three basic assumptions that are hidden, or perhaps not so obivioius, but nevertheless must be dealt with here.

(1) The assumption that God wants a "moral universe" and that this value outweighs all others.

The idea that God wants a moral universe I take from my basic view of God and morality. Following in the footsteps of Joseph Fletcher (Situation Ethics) I assume that love is the background of the moral universe (this is also an Augustinian view). I also assume that there is a deeply ontological connection between love and Being. Axiomatically, in my view point, love is the basic impitus of Being itself. Thus, it seems reasonable to me that, if morality is an upshot of love, or if love motivates moral behavior, then the creation of a moral universe is essential.

(2) that internal "seeking" leads to greater internalization of values than forced compliance or complaisance that would be the result of intimidation.

That's a pretty fair assumption. We all know that people will a lot more to achieve a goal they truly beileve in than one they merely feel forced or obligated to follow but couldn't care less about.

(3)the the drama or the big mystery is the only way to accomplish that end.

The pursuit of the value system becomes a search of the heart for ultimate meaning,that ensures that people continue to seek it until it has been fully internalized.

The argument would look like this:

(1)God's purpose in creation: to create a Moral Universe, that is one in which free moral agents willingly choose the Good.

(2) Moral choice requires absolutely that choice be free (thus free will is necessitated).

(3) Allowance of free choices requires the risk that the chooser will make evil choices

(4)The possibility of evil choices is a risk God must run, thus the value of free outweighs all other considerations, since without there would be no moral universe and the purpose of creation would be thwarted.

This leaves the atheist in the position of demanding to know why God doesn't just tell everyone that he's there, and that he requires moral behavior, and what that entails. Thus there would be no mystery and people would be much less inclined to sin.

This is the point where Soteriological Drama figures into it. Argument on Soteriological Drama:

(5) Life is a "Drama" not for the sake of entertainment, but in the sense that a dramatic tension exists between our ordinary observations of life on a daily basis, and the ultiamte goals, ends and purposes for which we are on this earth.

(6) Clearly God wants us to seek on a level other than the obvious, daily, demonstrative level or he would have made the situation more plain to us

(7) We can assume that the reason for the "big mystery" is the internalization of choices. If God appeared to the world in open objective fashion and laid down the rules, we would probably all try to follow them, but we would not want to follow them. Thus our obedience would be lip service and not from the heart.

(8) therefore, God wants a heart felt response which is internationalized value system that comes through the search for existential answers; that search is phenomenological; introspective, internal, not amenable to ordinary demonstrative evidence.

In other words, we are part of a great drama and our actions and our dilemmas and our choices are all part of the way we respond to the situation as characters in a drama.

This theory also explains why God doesn't often regenerate limbs in healing the sick. That would be a dead giveaway. God creates criteria under which healing takes place, that criteria can't negate the overall plan of a search.
See the full argument where I present objections and answer them. See also my corollary Twelve Angry Stereotypes where I answer parodies of my argument made by atheists.

This explains why we have a world that doesn't look like it was created by a caring God. Yet the argument also ignores numerous reasons to interpret caring as designed into the chaos. For example the human ability to love. It's not as though atheists don't sell that short. Now to this he answered that I accuse him of making assumptions yet I'm making assumptions to. In fact I even clealry label part of my argument "assumptions." (see above). Yes, we can't avoid making assumptions of cousre. So I do make them. The trick is to make good assumptions not bad one's His assumptions are based upon the desire to show God up, mine are based upon what I feel is given me and required of the Christian tradition. I think assumptions can be defended as logical implications of the tradition itself, and based upon the character of Christ.

That's my most basic assumption that Christ behaved in a matter that illustrates for us God's true character.


Beachbum said...

This is among the worst of some of the sophistic retorts I've read from CARM.

I'm still reading but I had to get that out so I could stomach the rest of this diatribe.

So far, it seems to me that the atheist is implying Occam's Razor in that their is a simpler, more parsimonious, explanation than a complex deity that fails first and foremost due to infinite regress. Only to fail again at explaining all wasted space, while not conforming to the biblical descriptions of a deity that has specific, much more anthropocentric, dimensions as created by a people that had no concept of a universe outside of a fixed firmament of lights (or even far outside of the Near East for that matter) Genesis 1, and eating food Genesis 18. But, like I said, I'm still reading.

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

I'm not real sure which side you are calling "sophistic." It was actually written by a guy who claims to be a scientist. He's not good at communicating in my view.

Since you are an atheist I am going to assume you mean my response to him is sophist. Of cousre you would find any theist response sophistic becuase as an atheist you have a totally vested interest in finding everything theists stupid and everything atheists say smart.

Your analysis of what he's saying is probably correct but that doesn't make his original argument cogent.

He is of course using all the basic science worship assumption gimmicks that atheists use, everything but actually thinking about what theists say.

Perhaps you assume that references to things parsimony make it a done deal. I would hope you have more brains than that.

(1)Occm's razor cannot be against God. it has nothing to do with God. Occam believed in God so he never thought his Razor disproved God.

Occam: "don't multiply entities beyond necessity." God: necessity. So god is not violating the Razor.

The Razor doesn't prove anything anyway.

(2) infinite regress is logically impossible I demonstrated a couple of days ago.

If not it doesn't beat up on God. that's crazy to think that God "fails" becuase of infinite regress.

of course modern atheists use the Razor for parsimony which Occam never did. the parsimony argument doesn't work against God. for one thing God is simple, for another God is much more elegant as a solution than naturism, which is an ideology not a theory.

(2) I expalined "wasted space" (which is not wasted at all)that was part of my response.
btw you don't actually explain my it's sophist.

(3) The conception of the ancinet Hebrews vis a vi the universe has nothing to do with modern theology or it's concepts of God. Modern theology has kept pace with modern thought. you might as well get used to it.

Kristen said...

Occam's Razor is a helpful tool in finding the most likely solution, but the fact remains that what actually happens in any given scenario is not always what is most likely to happen.

I experienced this personally in childhood, when sometimes my parents would refuse to listen to my somewhat complicated explanation for why something happened (even though it was actually the truth), and punish me based on what was most likely to have happened. It's not that they thought I was lying; it didn't get that far. They often wouldn't even allow me the chance to tell my complicated story. They saw the facts; they saw the simplest explanation for the existence of the facts, and they assumed this to be the truth. But sometimes they were wrong.

They were good parents, on the whole-- but they were parents in an age when actually listening to a child was not really considered as a viable option-- and they erred in using an Occam's Razor mentality that ruled out complexity, even when complexity was the truth.

So I think too much reliance on Occam's Razor can actually result in error. The world is often simply not simple.

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

we have the parents we have. All people have short comings. My folks were the best parents ever. I kow everyone thinks that of their own parents, but you are all wrong, mine were! Even so they had their faults.

Occam never said take the most likely thing or even take the simple thing. He only said don't multiply entities beyond necessity. that only had to do with scholastic concept of essence.