Arguments against God, pt 2

Continuing with the some of the typical arguments against God, we come to the “God is not necessary to explain the universe” line of thinking. For suitable definitions of “universe”, I agree wholly. You see, I fully subscribe to the line of thought which is summed up with the statement “Science explains how, Religion explains why”. This, however, I have to take as an article of belief/faith, because I can’t really point to any evidence that religion is even working on the question of why, let alone providing us with an adequate reason. But just because I see religion as being derelict in its duties doesn’t negate the fact that it is indeed its duty.

The physical universe obviously exists. There are physical laws by which it operates, and those laws obviously exist whether or not it was created by a God or Gods, whether it is a simulation ala the Matrix, or whether it just is. When one is trying to figure out how gravity works, it is quite irrelevant whether God decided to create gravity specifically, if it was simply a side effect of something else God decided, or if there wasn’t even a God. At this level, we’re not concerned how gravity got here, we’re concerned with figuring out how it works. Yes, this specifically means that I believe that people should keep God out of science classrooms, just like I believe that religious classrooms should avoid claiming to have figured out how old the earth is.

The problem comes when atheists attempt to use this as a justification for their disbelief in God. The fact that God’s presence isn’t necessary to explain what we can see in the universe doesn’t provide justification either way. “Occam’s Razor”, they chant in sycophantic unison, properly realizing that one should strive for the simplest explanation possible.

In truth, one should strive for the simplest explanation possible, but no simpler than necessary. You see, it can be easily shown that there exist many things that are not fully explained by just the “how” as science provides. Anything that happens as a result of someone’s conscious decision also needs the “why” to complete the explanation. My understanding of internal combustion engines and physics can explain my observation of a car traveling to a movie theatre, but it cannot tell me whether the driver wanted to see a movie or had personal business with the owner. That car’s transit to the movie theatre can indeed be explained by a sufficient understanding of physics, but since it only happened due to someone’s decision to go there, any full explanation of the event is incomplete without addressing both questions.

IFF there is a God which made a decision to create this universe, then the universe’s existence isn’t fully explained until you’ve figured out why God did so. It has been stated before by minds greater than my own that the real question isn’t whether or not God created the universe, rather, it is how much choice God had when doing so or deciding to do so.

God’s existence boils down to a 50-50 choice of belief, neither of which has any exclusive evidence or proof speaking towards it. All observable evidence can be taken as evidence for either belief equally. Atheists like to play the game of saying “My disbelief isn’t a belief, it is simply a lack of belief”, which is mere semantics. Saying “the coin is heads-up” is synonymous with “the coin is tails-down”; you can’t say one without implicitly saying the other. Saying “I disbelieve in a creator” is the same thing as saying “I believe there’s no creator”. When an atheist laughs at a theist for accepting ideas without evidence, it shows a good measure of hypocrisy, once again illustrating the “what you dislike in others is what you dislike about yourself” concept.

If I may interject my own personal opinion here, put me down on the side of positing the existence of a consciousness which directed the creation of the universe as we see it. Similar to the atheists, I invoked Occam’s razor in selecting my belief. The difference is that, in my mind, atheists need to quit claiming that Occam’s razor favors the randomness of a room full of monkeys over the precision of a competent writer in the production of comprehensible literature.

One Response to “Arguments against God, pt 2”

  1. DG Says:

    “Occam’s Razor” actually says “entities should not be multiplied beyond necessity”. It applies very well to your own statement that “God’s presence isn’t necessary to explain what we can see in the universe.” If a deity is not necessary, don’t add it to the proposed explanation.

    Occam’s Razor (and logic as a whole) can not disprove the existence of a deity, but it suggests we apply the null hypothesis to it. It is also a correct, non-hysterical application of Russell’s Teapot: the burden of proof rests on he who suggests the hypothesis.

    I agree with many of the opinions you’ve expressed on the practical aspects of religion: where it’s useful, where it’s not, and its role in society.

    I still doubt I can accept that any god exists, even the pared down version you’ve espoused. But I’d really like to hear a more detailed description of the deity you believe in, hopefully in a blog post.

    From your posts, it sounds like you believe in a deity that:
    1. Has a will
    2. Created the universe
    3. Exists, or at one time existed, outside the universe (a corollary of having created it)

    As you say, that the universe exists is obvious. But there is nothing obvious that there exists or ever existed any time or place outside the universe. For all we know, time and space itself is part of the universe.

    I also think that the idea of will itself is an abstract notion humans have attributed to some, but not all, moving creatures. (I guess I should just say “some animals, and humans if you don’t believe humans are a type of animal”.) It looks like a post-hoc definition humans have invented for the part of the decision-making processes we don’t yet understand. As in the case of the universe, science has done a good job of pushing out the frontier of understanding decision-making processes. Admittedly, I’m not convinced of my off-the-cuff description of will, but in my defense, the notion of will has little consequence to me unless it explains the origin of the universe. So I would just like to hear what you think “God’s will” is, and how or whether it is similar to will of humans.