Re: [asa] The theist challenge

From: Schwarzwald <>
Date: Tue Dec 02 2008 - 00:03:22 EST


I'd actually go one better. An atheist can even concede that our universe
was definitely designed by a person - but that said designer(s) was not God
in the theistic sense. It could be a computer simulation, for example. Paul
Davies even gets into this, I believe, when talking about what is entailed
with a multiverse scenario. Other atheist philosophers have explored the
possibility as well.

To that end, I'd agree that science cannot settle - and can barely inform -
this issue.

On Mon, Dec 1, 2008 at 11:35 PM, <> wrote:

> "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 deliber ating 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 Tue Dec 2 00:03:56 2008

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