Re: [asa] The theist challenge

From: <philtill@aol.com>
Date: Mon Dec 01 2008 - 23:35:03 EST

"Here's one I would propose. I think the "fine tuning" argument for God is
very strong. If science can easily explain how "something can come from
nothing," then this may be a strong case against God. I have no inkling on
how science could do such a thing..."

Bernie,

Fine tuning and "coming from nothing" are not hard to explain away within an atheist world-view.? I don't know of any atheists who struggle with these questions taken individually this way.? Fine-tuning is explained through multiverses, and self-existence (the "coming from nothing') is countered with the question, "well, if God can self-exist, then why can't the universe self-exist?? Why does it have to be God that self-exists?? You can't explain God's ability to self-exist, and so I am not required to explain the universe's ability to self-exist.? We both agree something self-exists."

The "trick" is that atheists always agree that there must be a subset of God's attributes and then they show how this limited subset is sufficient to entirely answer the questions; they show that there is no need on any particular question to appeal to the entirety of a Person, God.? It's an inherently successful approach because on any given question (such as fine tuning) you don't need to appeal to all of God's attributes to see the explanation.? For example, we don't need to appeal to his Mercy or Justice to explain fine tuning.? All you need to explain fine-tuning is the full ensemble of what God knows about universes, but this ensemble can be explored through a random physical process (like the randomness of an infinite, self-existing multiverse) just as thoroughly as through the organized processes of a deliberating mind.? Hence, multiverses are and adequate explanation for this limited question of fine-tuning.

This judo-move to overthrow God in natural theology is guaranteed to always work because if God can explain something, then of course only a subset of God's attributes can explain it.? Thus we can propose that the limited set of attributes is the alternative to God.? This judo-move is guaranteed to work every time.

The actual question separating atheism from theism is whether it is a wholistic **Person** (the One who is the origin of morality and love and meaning) that must self-exist, rather than just some of the attributes of God such as mathematical logic or the ability to self-exist and spew out universes, or something else like that.? Only the Personhood of God is what matters in this debate.? Limited arguments based on fine-tuning can't even begin to address the real question.

I don't think science can ever answer the real questions, the ones that arise from revealed theology such as whether Moral Law or Love has ultimate meaning, or whether it is a Mind rather than a scalar field or set of equations that self-exists.? If we try to substitute the place of these important questions with the lesser one from natural theology, then we are in danger of finding answers to the lesser questions and being deceived that our entire justification for faith has been overthrown.? (This, by the way, is exactly the history of Western civilization for the past 200 years.? Don't repeat it in your own life!)? It's better to go ahead and build your faith on the more important questions from revealed theology and leave natural theology in its biblical place, as something that works upon our hearts to glorify God and draw us to Him wholistically rather than being our means of "proving" or "disproving" God via particular, limited questions.?

So I'd offer some brotherly caution against putting your faith in any particular arguments such as fine tuning or how something comes from nothing.? Atheists as well as theists know that something Great must exist outside our observable universe to explain these things.? But it's inheretly possible to answer EVERY question from science without God, simply by appealing to something that has some subset of God's attributes instead of all of them.? It is possible every time!? You have to put your faith somewhere else -- like knowing Christ personally and experiencing the power of His resurrection -- as the safest place.

Phil

 

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Received on Mon Dec 1 23:36:25 2008

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