Natural Arguments For God

Mark Tapscott has what he thinks are the five best ones. I find none of them particularly compelling, and the third one is very weak.

As I note in comments (the discussion has been going on for a couple weeks), science is orthogonal to the issue of whether or not God exists, and (as I argued with Hugh Hewitt years ago) the desire of believers to misuse/misunderstand the nature of science to validate their religious beliefs is indicative of a certain lack of faith. And of course, the fallacy of the blind watchmaker appears, in which I have to point out that rolexes don’t replicate with random errors to improve the breed.

12 thoughts on “Natural Arguments For God”

  1. Rand, thanks for the link and thanks for the conversation on HillFaith. We obviously see things differently on some really fundamental issues, but I enjoy your analysis and hope you will continuing offering your thoughts.

  2. The natural-order arguments really only argue for a deistic Creator who set the parameters of the universe and let it run, yet time and again I see them used to argue for the theistic God of that particular arguer’s faith tradition.

  3. Quoting from Rand:

    “No, the response is not that “it can’t be.” It is that “This is not science.” Science intrinsically precludes God, because once a god is involved, natural explanations are meaningless. That is not to say that there is no God, just that scientists, by definition as people who try to explain nature, not the supernatural, cannot accept that as an explanation. I have no firm opinions as to whether God exists or not, but I do know that I cannot invoke Him in a scientific explanation. That is the underlying fallacy of this entire subject.”

    Try this one on for size; the Universe as a “program”. In the sense that if I setup a program, (will call it “Tim-Universe”) I dictate the boundary conditions. I setup the “physical laws” and of course stated initial conditions. I can therefore make my computer reality do what I want by just setting up the program to behave as I wish. Including the laws being fine tuned to allow for the creation and subsequent evolution of life; etc. There is no need for “supernatural” intervention; it will do what I want because I designed (programed) it to. I am for all practical purposed “omnipotent” as far as the program is concerned; “all knowing” to practical limitations within my defined parameters. Of course God can do the same with actual reality not just computer generated illusionary reality. Yes I know this doesn’t “prove” the existence of the Judeo-Christian God or any other in particular but still seems an interesting line of thought.

    1. It is 18th century natural theology. it continues with the idea that “science” as the study of natural laws *is* a religious act, in that God reveals Himself through His creation. Thus, understanding the natural world represents a greater understanding of God. Natural theologians were often scientists who viewed nature essentially as an artifact of God, which provided insight into the nature of God in the same way that archaeologists infer the characteristics of extinct civilizations through artifacts they leave behind.

      The notion that religion and “science” are either orthogonal or opposed is an artifact of 18th and 19th century politics which “created” the conflict as an attempt to justify attacking religious influence in civil authority.

      As an aside, Rolexes may not replicate themselves, but robots can, and do, and software that adapts to the environment is now common. Alister McGrath quotes a Catholic Archbishop (whose name I forget) in one of his books on this subject who, upon learning about Darwin’s ideas, noted how wonderful was a God who not only made life, but who made life that makes life.

  4. As long as people’s beliefs in a particular deity or religion don’t affect me, I don’t care. I have my beliefs, and ultimately, will either be proven correct, or it won’t matter a damned bit, so why stress over it?

  5. I think God exists as I think the Sun exists.
    I don’t believe in the Sun nor in God.
    And I don’t think that the Sun doesn’t require that I believe in it, and nor does God.
    There probably is value in believing in the Sun and/or God exists
    for the believer.
    People once thought that the Sun was God, which is wrong, but one could argue about metaphorical value of thinking the Sun is God, but I believe it will cause “errors” or” harm” to think or believe this.
    And it would not cause errors or harm if God did not exist.
    The Sun and God are entities outside the control of humans, other than human can try to understand them.
    And it seems likely we don’t understand the Sun very well, and believer of God might understand God better than we understand the Sun. Or we might understand the Sun a lot better in future than we do now, but might not get much improvement in understanding God in the near future.
    I think I have in terms of beliefs a more important thing to believe in, and that is the faith, that science doesn’t end. Or I try not to have much faith in the current understanding of science, and I know that science requires skepticism.
    It’s not as clear to me that believing in God requires skepticism- but it seems to me that skepticism has been involved in the faith in God in what seems like important ways.

  6. Georges Lemaître, the Catholic priest who formulated the Big Bang Theory, would point to Isaiah 45:15. That passage of the Bible says that God conceals himself. I tend to believe that.

    If the universe we live in is an artifact, it seems to me the creator(s) are concealing themselves from us.

    Freeman Dyson is an agnostic who still calls himself a Christian. While he may not believe, he still seems to regard Christianity as a positive influence.

  7. There is something that might be useful to understand. I called it “The God Postulate”. When I was a sophomore in high school my friend and I were taking Geometry together. Whenever we would get to a tough spot in a proof we would laugh and say “Because God made it that way!” of course this never helped solve the proof and we did it just to be stupid funny as nerdy 15year olds do. But I think that many religious people tend to do something like this. However, this restricts their god to only “that which we don’t understand.” Thus when someone discovers how it really works they feel like it is taking something away from their god. I’ve meet and worked with many Christian scientist and most all define their god as something much bigger. “We live within his creation and as a scientist, I learn more about my god by studying his hand in the beauty of it all.”

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