A creationist writes in

I usually throw creationist comments into the trash, but for some reason I put up this one, by Alex (you can see it here), for reasons I can’t quite fathom. But if you want, go ahead and reply below (I’ve already asked him—assuming he’s male—to provide evidence for god and for the truth of his religion over, say, Islam and Hindisum, and urged him as well to read WEIT).  Alex’s comment appears after yesterday’s post, “Does the nature of the universe show that there’s no God?” (I should have said “. . . makes the existence of God less likely?”) Anyway. heeeere’s Alex:

This article is trying to explain the existence of God from the nature of the material world, and therefore the premise is absurd. Everybody knows that the material world is constrained by space and time. God is not. St Augustine said: “we must not try to imagine a God who exists somewhere and sometime in what we believe to be reality. The reality which God possesses, which is inherent in his being, does not require time to exist.”

What is extremely unlikely is that the universe is the result of random evolution that out of luck brought a world full of structure and consistency (which almost sounds like a fairy tale).

Alex isn’t banned, just moderated, so if you respond below he may get a chance to show off his knowledge of God (and his ignorance of evolution) in further comments.  I’ll let him know about this post.

My own comments are only two. First, Alex appears to have missed the point of the piece, which was not that God is constrained by space and time, but that the nature of the Universe doesn’t seem to comport with the God of the Bible, a god concerned with humanity. After all, the material universe, for believers, is a product of God, presumably reflecting his concerns.

Second, Alex apparently knows nothing about evolution, but appears to think it’s a “fairy tale”. For one thing, evolution by natural selection isn’t completely “random”. I recommended that he read WEIT, but of course the chance that will change his mind about evolution, given that he’s a believer, is roughly 0.0000000073.

 

87 Comments

  1. yazikus
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    “which almost sounds like a fairy tale”
    Unlike the book with unicorns, talking asses, bat/bird shenanigans and zombies. Okay.

    • claudia baker
      Posted November 5, 2017 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      In other words, bat-shit crazy.

    • nicky
      Posted November 5, 2017 at 11:59 am | Permalink

      Yazikus, I think you are mistaken comparing unicorns to fairy tales. They do exist, and heavily so. It’s just the name, we call them Indian Rhino’s (Rhinoceros unicornis nowadays.

      • yazikus
        Posted November 5, 2017 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

        And were the writers of the text in question exposed to them? Perhaps, I suppose.

      • Posted November 5, 2017 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

        Can you imagine fairy tales of virginal girls with a Rhinoceros Unicornis head in her lap? Not quite the same picture,is it? Especially at the present time when said Rhino may have a bloody stump instead of a horn since Rhino horns are being cut off Rhinos and sold to be made into fairy tale medicine for limp old men.

    • Posted November 5, 2017 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

      Genesis 1:1. “Once upon a time…”

  2. Posted November 5, 2017 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    So, basically he’s saying Quantum Theory and The Laws of Physics are wrong. Well, good luck with that, Alex. Your Nobel Prize is waiting

  3. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Alex,

    Evolution has both a random element (mutation) and a non-random one (natural selection). The latter locks in the results of successful mutations so that they persist in the system, replicating themselves. (Richard Dawkins book “Climbing Mount Improbable” deals with this rather well.

    This does not necessarily imply the absence of a deity, but does imply that the process of evolution is sufficient unto itself to produce complex life forms without direct intervention.

    • nicky
      Posted November 5, 2017 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

      1- Yes, “Climbing Mount Impossible” explains it quite clearly. A must read, Alex, before you call evolution a fairy tale. And have you read your host’s “Why Evolution is True”? Quite some evidence you will have to explain away.
      2- Note that the universe is not really understood to be the result of ‘evolution’. That term refers to the cause of the diversity of life and it’s complexity, and it is far from ‘random’ at that.
      3 – Your host did not try to explain the existence of a god from the material world, only that the universe does not appear to support the notion of a god that is specifically interested in humans or Earth.

  4. Gregory Kusnick
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    I had just posted my reply to Alex in the original thread. Here’s the link.

    • Mark Joseph
      Posted November 5, 2017 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      And quite an excellent reply it is! The last line, especially, is a keeper:

      “An omnipotent God has no need of physical law, and a world run by physical law has no need of God.”

      • Steve Gerrard
        Posted November 5, 2017 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

        Yes. Shades of Laplace and “that hypothesis.”

        Also a good response to any version of the “fine tuning” argument. Why would a god be constrained by physical laws?

    • nicky
      Posted November 5, 2017 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

      “An omnipotent God has no need of physical law, and a world run by physical law has no need of God.” The latter echoing Laplace: “I have no need for that hypothesis” (referring to a god)(Je n’ai pas besoin de cette hypothese la).

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted November 5, 2017 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

      Yes, those are good points & I aight add that if God exists outside of space and time, He cannot interact with our universe as proven by the laws of physics.

  5. yazikus
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    Dear PCC,

    For those not inclined to read much, have you seen this book & do you have an opinion on it?

    https://www.amazon.com/Evolution-Visual-Record-Robert-Clark/dp/0714871184

    It is absolutely lovely, visually.

  6. busterggi
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    “St Augustine said: ”

    And? A fictioneer from the 5th century doesn’t impress me.

    • yazikus
      Posted November 5, 2017 at 11:26 am | Permalink

      Simmer down, Shania!

    • DrBrydon
      Posted November 5, 2017 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      Exactly, St. Augustine is only a valid authority to the extent that what he says clearly represents either the Bible or the actual historical experience of god. He clearly fails both these tests because a) his interpretations are not accepted by most people, b) there is no demonstrable historical experience of god.

      • Mark R.
        Posted November 5, 2017 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

        And no demonstrable historical experience of Jesus either.

        • jimroberts
          Posted November 5, 2017 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

          “And no demonstrable historical experience of Jesus either.”
          That’s not quite true. According to Paul, Jesus after his death and resurrection manifested himself to Paul in a vision, and, as Paul believes, also to other people. Much the same continues today, when millions of USAmericans testify to having ongoing experience of the risen Christ.
          I would go with: no demonstrable experience of Jesus on Earth. What value we can assign to the visionary experiences is a rather different question.

          • Posted November 5, 2017 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

            I don’t consider Paul’s so-called vision of jesus evidence for an historical jesus. Many human beings (maybe all) have experienced visions that are not credited as being evidence for anything occurring in the physical world. As has been mentioned here, our minds
            attempt to make sense of what’s around us, real/unreal, is mostly made up individually based on one person’s experiences, stories, cultures, etc. If we had the time, interest and energy to share our individual visions, many of the rest of us would be shocked.

            • Mark R.
              Posted November 6, 2017 at 12:09 am | Permalink

              And if my thought-dreams could be seen

              They’d probably put my head in a guillotine

              But it’s alright, Ma, it’s life, and life only.

              He got a Nobel Prize for Lit., so I guess he’s an authority.

              • Posted November 6, 2017 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

                Thanks for sharing this. Being unaware of the source and author, I had to go look it up. Forty years ago I took a college course on the lyrics of Bob Dylan and am severely behind on what he’s done since. Back then, I had difficulty puzzling out the meaning of some of his lyrics. He seems to have gotten less opaque if this is a representative sample.

                It’s a good thing we can’t read other people’s minds. It’s difficult enough to read our own.

              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted November 14, 2017 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

                [Words]
                He got a Nobel Prize for Lit., so I guess he’s an authority.

                That would be Paul? As in John-Paul Satre?

  7. Posted November 5, 2017 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    When people imagined gods in everything around us, the gods were always at hand, but when these new fangled gods were created, they were somewhere else. So, if they were somewhere else, where were they? Since we couldn’t see them they must be places we hadn’t been, so deep underground or on the tops of mountains. But eventually we got to the tops of mountains and … no gods. So they must be even farther away, in the clouds and the sky (Yahweh is a sky god.)

    Of course, we then invented airplanes and checked out the clouds and sky and .. no gods. So, the gods must be even farther away, out in space. So, we got into space … etc.

    So, if they are nowhere to be found, where are they? Oh, they are “beyond space and time.” Try to find them there, mofo!

    These idiots should first have to describe what there is “beyond space and time” and how they know that anything can exist under such conditions, before so proudly claiming, that’s where their god is.

    • Posted November 5, 2017 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

      OT: Is Yahweh’s appearance as a burning bush related to his being a sky god? i.e., because bushes would burn when hit by lightning.

      /@

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted November 14, 2017 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

        OT: Is Yahweh’s appearance as a burning bush related to his being a sky god? i.e., because bushes would burn when hit by lightning.

        Natural hydrocarbon seep – gas, liquid or “solid”. Most likely. For my tuppence worth. That and a quid fifty will get you on the bus to find the next geologist.
        There is actually one small oil company operating in the “Holy Land” purporting to base their exploration plans on biblical reading followed by standard geological prospect assessment techniques. “Zion Oil”, IIRC. I saw their offices once on an industrial park somewhere between Haifa and Herzilya.
        “Successful” was not a word I’d associate with them, particularly as I was coming back from making the biggest hydrocarbon discovery in Israeli history to that date. It came into production several years ago.
        The De’il may ha’e a’ the best tunes, but I suspect that atheism has the best geologists. [Buffs nails on shirt.]

    • jimroberts
      Posted November 5, 2017 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

      “Yahweh is a sky god”
      In particular, a storm god, as indicated by various scriptures, but also in ongoing popular tradition, as in the hymn “O worship the king”: youtube.com/watch?v=RAyKmYD2Zg8 (This rendition is painful to hear, but it it has the advantage of showing the complete lyrics.) “His chariots of wrath the deep thunderclouds form”. Interesting is also the hymn’s idea of the Earth as a single landmass surrounded by water, as in the first Genesis creation myth, but supported by other scriptures. Pity about the existence of the Americas.

      • Posted November 7, 2017 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

        Also a war god: “Lord of Hosts”.

        • jimroberts
          Posted November 7, 2017 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

          And also in ongoing popular tradition, as in the hymn “Onward Christian soldiers, marching unto war”.

  8. Martin X
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    The claim that God is not constrained by space and time doesn’t even make sense logically. Anything you say about God deciding, acting, perceiving, or regretting requires the existence of time and time is a property of the universe.

    A God unaffected by time is no god at all.

    • Mark R.
      Posted November 5, 2017 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

      Yup, no use praying to something that exists outside of space and time. Something existing there doesn’t really exist in the first place.

    • DiscoveredJoys
      Posted November 5, 2017 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

      Plus if God is not constrained by space and time… how do you know or demonstrate that there is no Supergod – not constrained by space and time or the God Christians assume to exist? Or a Super-Supergod and so on.

      Many of the ‘arguments for God’ are actually arguments arising from the axiom of God existing. Other axioms are available.

      • Posted November 6, 2017 at 5:40 am | Permalink

        It’s superturtles all the way up.

        • busterggi
          Posted November 6, 2017 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

          doesn’t DC comics already own the rights to Superturtle?

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted November 14, 2017 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

          … hence the sincerity with which Discworld theologians debated (and eventually launched a space programme) the question of the gender of Great A’tuin.

  9. jaxkayaker
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    While one must acknowledge Alex’s polite and moderate tone, in contrast to many creationists. However, his comment on the previous thread is no less a non sequitur than the comments of the rude creationists. He doesn’t engage with the actual text of either the post nor the article that inspired it, to say nothing of the many publications explaining evolutionary theory or empirical evidence of evolution.

  10. FB
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    What’s “absurd” is pretty much everything St Augustine wrote. Some bits are interesting – for example, when he talks about memory – but when he writes about angels, demons, God or the age of Methuselah, it’s all absurd. And talk about fairy tales.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted November 5, 2017 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

      I dunno, I found the early parts of the Confessions about what a depraved sinner Augustine was pretty good reading. In that sense, it’s like The Autobiography of Malcolm X; the narrative bogs down in both once they find religion.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted November 6, 2017 at 4:18 am | Permalink

        Add “picaresque memoir” to the list of things religion ruins.

  11. Sastra
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    This article is trying to explain the existence of God from the nature of the material world, and therefore the premise is absurd… What is extremely unlikely is that the universe is the result of random evolution that out of luck brought a world full of structure and consistency …

    Pick one or the other. Either the material world does not point to the existence of God — or it does. This ‘have my cake and eat it, too” attitude does no credit to the apologist.

  12. Randall Schenck
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    As already suggested to you here, you must read Why Evolution Is True and introduce yourself to the real world and not the superstitions of the past. Somewhere in there you will see there are a thousand reason to know that evolution is true and nothing to show it is not. Science is all
    about evidence and the search for truth not burying your mind in stuff written 2000 years ago.

  13. BobTerrace
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    If god is out of space and time and has no effect then how does he or St Augustine possibly know that there’s a God.

    His comment about evolution is not worth responding to if he ignores the vast amount of evidence.

  14. Banner
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps a more humble (for a scientist) question to consider, rather than “Does God exist?” would be, “Has there ever been any spiritual, psychic, or super-natural phenomenon that really did happen – ever?” Has anyone in all of human existence really read another’s mind (in the psychic sense)? Has anyone ever had even the most miniscule effect on the physical universe by thought alone (other than known quantum phenomenon)? Has anyone ever perceived the world from a distance in the extra-sensory sense? Etc.
    This sort of thing has been studied scientifically (for years at Princeton, for example; see the book: The Margins of Reality) and the jury is not totally out. Scientific anomalies did show up – anomalies that still remain unexplained. Modern science turns away from considering such questions or the scientific anomalies that resulted from researching them, perhaps somewhat irrationally. The lab at Princeton closed down at least in part because it screwed up student scientist’s careers if being part of that lab was in their resume – even though the lab tried hard to be as scientifically rigorous as it could be.
    It is a humble question for a scientist to ask because, like the speed of light anomaly or the double slit quantum experiment, if ever in the entire existence of the universe, one of those sorts of things really did happen, all of science as we know it will need to be revised & updated.

    • Liz
      Posted November 5, 2017 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

      I ask questions like that but very quietly and with the correct language. Coming on here and reading this and the previous post was a flashback to sophomore year of high school and again college. I love talking and debating religion but I do it on my own. After being rejected by all of your friends and family for being what they call an atheist, rejected by atheists for asking too many questions, and rejected by “spiritual” or NDE people for being a “skeptic” you learn that the rogue and alone side of yourself is your best asset. The religion thing is one thing. I enjoy talking with very religious people. When you find yourself with questions that no one has answers to that brush up on consciousness and other biological experiences that there isn’t much research on, you have to proceed very carefully. I also honestly didn’t realize atheism was this simple. I couldn’t verify until two years ago with confidence that I was an atheist, but after reading these two posts, I could have done that at 16.

      • Posted November 5, 2017 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

        “rejected by atheists for asking too many questions”

        Oh. Which atheists are these?

        /@

        • Gregory Kusnick
          Posted November 5, 2017 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

          And which questions?

          • Liz
            Posted November 5, 2017 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

            I have a lot of them or have had that weren’t answered until recently. Some are still unanswered. There are too many to list here but I have them. I’d love to email.

        • Liz
          Posted November 5, 2017 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

          Are you asking me to name names? I’d rather not. As in an organization or specific people among different organizations?

          • Liz
            Posted November 5, 2017 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

            In addition the few people in my friends group who were atheists. Same thing. You want to know who they are? A few were raised Catholic, one Jewish, a few others raised as nothing – why are you asking?

            • Gregory Kusnick
              Posted November 5, 2017 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

              Because you claimed you were shunned by atheists for asking the wrong questions. We’re asking you to substantiate that claim. You don’t have to list every unanswered question you have; just give us an example or two of what you’re talking about.

              • Liz
                Posted November 5, 2017 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

                We?

              • Liz
                Posted November 5, 2017 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

                Us? Who are you talking about?

              • Liz
                Posted November 5, 2017 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

                I would mostly ask questions about whether Jesus existed or not, about why things couldn’t be a particle and a wave at the same time- this is when I was around 22 ish- so many questions to everyone all of the time. I came across a number of people who were angry with having been lied to or angry with the fact that religion didn’t accept homosexuality and not as many people who were asking deeper questions about the truth of our universe. It doesn’t really matter now to me. I’d rather be accepted among atheists who don’t ask the same questions and who aren’t atheists for the same reasons than be asking these questions without anyone at all. It’s six and one half to me after all of this time whether people accept me or not. Maybe not shunned but I really just found dead-ends everywhere I turned. I went numb after being rejected from an organization with mostly atheists because I knew it was where I was supposed to be. Apparently not. I don’t care anymore about fitting in with whatever group. I just like to discuss and ask questions. I can give specific examples of being shunned by the new age community. I mean, it’s less obvious with atheists but the rejection I had was numbing. If you want to know more, email me. I don’t know if that substantiates to your liking but it’s the best I can do.

              • Posted November 6, 2017 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

                Probably a bit late on my reply, but Jesus probably existed as a cult leader and the resurrection was a result of legends being exaggerated.

                Why things can’t exist as both a particle and a wave most likely comes down to their definitions. Particles are 0-dimensional by definition, so they can only follow one trajectory. Waves are defined as being able to diffract and interfere with other waves. Their mutually contradictory definitions prevent things from being both.

    • Steve F
      Posted November 5, 2017 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

      Biological activity of the brain is a function of the electromagnetic force/particle interactions which is very well modeled by QFT. So far, there has been no demonstration of any cryptic reasonable degree of freedom beyond this that would allow for action at a distance universe influencing the mind or mind influencing the material world.

    • Torbjörn Larsson
      Posted November 5, 2017 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

      Seriously, “the jury is not totally out” on “spiritual, psychic, or super-natural phenomenon”!?

      Have you missed that we from 2012 and on has tested all loopholes and the jury *is* totally out? The LHC collaboration has, due to the nature of quantum field vacuum, managed to set constraints on what interactions affect ordinary mass. Besides the standard model forces, which can result in biochemistry but not “spiritual, psychic” communication et cetera, we are at most subjected to on average one dark matter particle hitting a nucleus in our bodies each year.

      Our resident website physicist Sean Carroll has publicly spoken about this several times. I recommend his Gifford lectures (links and context here: http://www.preposterousuniverse.com/blog/2016/11/23/gifford-lectures-on-natural-theology/ ), though I cannot remember in which of them he kills ‘gods, spiritual, psychic, or super-natural’ evidently non-existing purported phenomena. He describes how it is not only the completion of our standard quantum field theories but also now five years of followup evidence that have hit those ideas and totally killed them forever. (Well, you can always claim that something odd happens inside black holes. But they evaporate, so they will not last the universe out. So forever in practical terms.)

      I admit it will take time before these results percolate and are understood, but anyone that was interested in these (former) areas should try to be up to date on these interesting results.

      • Torbjörn Larsson
        Posted November 5, 2017 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

        It is in the #2 video, where Sean first notes that the existence and nature of physical laws kills “magic” (for short) but also ~ 40 minutes in discuss the weakness of what is allowed to happen.

        • Liz
          Posted November 6, 2017 at 9:41 am | Permalink

          This with the information in your post above is what is the most important to me. Wilson’s work and Sean Carroll’s interpretation and explanation of all of this are important for my understanding. I’ve seen that video about five or six times since it was first posted. As I recall, that’s right around the mark. I’m so grateful. I don’t really understand how someone is an atheist without that information but maybe that’s just because I needed that. I still don’t really use the word atheist even though it’s technically accurate.

      • Posted November 5, 2017 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

        I think you mean, the jury is no longer out – i.e., it’s no longer deliberating; we have our verdict.

        /@

        • Liz
          Posted November 5, 2017 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

          “We”? What part did you play in that?

          • Posted November 6, 2017 at 1:16 am | Permalink

            You mean apart from my Ph.D. In high-energy collider physics? 😝

            But, no. I meant it rhetorically – we, the scientific community, or even, we, humanity.

            /@

            • Liz
              Posted November 6, 2017 at 9:41 am | Permalink

              Nice. Thanks for your work.

            • Posted November 7, 2017 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

              Also, as Sagan put it, “we remember those who prepared the way, seeing for them also.”

    • Gregory Kusnick
      Posted November 5, 2017 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

      If science has turned away from questions of spiritualism and psychic phenomena, it’s because well over a century of investigation (since the time of Conan Doyle) has failed to turn up any persuasive evidence that any such phenomena exist. Serious scientists don’t study them anymore for the same reason they don’t go looking for the builders of the Martian canals. It’s 19th-century idea that simply didn’t pan out.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted November 5, 2017 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

      @Banner

      Please name some of these students who had blighted careers due to their involvement in the PEAR [Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research] Lab ‘research’ program

      The PEAR lab did not close down [in part] because of the above – the founder Robert G. Jahn, decided to shut up shop saying “If people don’t believe us after all the results we’ve produced, then they never will.” Does that seem scientific to you Banner? The reason he shut the lab was the money ran dry, it relied entirely on donations & of course to get donations Jahn turned the place, from day one, into a media dog & pony show.

      PEAR was a serious embarrassment to Princeton – not so much the link to parapsychology research, but the claims made by Jahn & all the other departmental ‘boosters’ who went media mental at the slightest hint of anomalous results. If the folks in the lab had been rigorous in their experimental methodology & had not sought media attention…

      PEAR got themselves into a situation where they [& by extension, Princeton] became a laughing stock. It turned out that other labs could not reproduce the anomalous results & neither could PEAR when they ran under a more tightly controlled experimental regime. It turns out that Jahn [an engineer by trade] had no understanding of statistical analysis – he fooled himself into creating the anomalies! What he was doing was using a randomiser, but when a test run showed an anomaly he’d keep that result, but discard the ‘boring’ ones. You can’t do that & then claim that some human subjects are effecting 3 in 1,000 coin flips on average.

      Jahn & company also claimed they couldn’t get their papers published in the reputable journals because of prejudice against ESP research. Well I looked into it & the main problems were [1] the dog & pony show at the lab [2] Unprofessional presentation within the papers i.e. the research was statistical in nature & thus the papers would require a detailed outline of the controls in place & the other methodologies used. This didn’t happen to a satisfactory standard in the papers. Thus rejection at every turn.

  15. wayne
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    time for Alex to read some science in lieu of the bible which is fiction.

  16. rickflick
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    I wonder how arguing with a fundamentalist/creationist can be of any use. They are usually not the type to be curious or questioning, so it might be hard to get them to seriously consider counter arguments. But, I am reminded of the web call in show atheist-experience.com which gives counter apologetic arguments to religious callers. On occasion they will succeed in converting them to a more skeptical and often atheistic stance. So it does happen.

  17. BJ
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    “…we must not try to imagine a God who exists somewhere and sometime in what we believe to be reality.”

    St. Augustine was right. Belief in a god requires a disregard for reality.

    • Posted November 5, 2017 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      How can a God that doesn’t exist somewhere and sometime in what we believe to be reality intercede in the real world?

      /@

  18. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    “Everybody knows that the material world is constrained by space and time. God is not.”

    Alex still needs to show evidence for his claims, including the existence of his purported “gods”, before anyone could take them seriously.

    But as it happens, as I noted in other comments on that thread, we can observe that religious magic is seriously rejected by complete absence of magic and miracles. And moreover the quantum field vacuum happens to constrain religious magic. E.g. we now *know* there is no ‘soul’ in our brains and bodies. It did not need to be that way, but that is how nature works.

  19. Ken Kukec
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    I take it you computed the odds on Alex’s reading WEIT logarithmically?

  20. grasshopper
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    As science reveals more and more marvellous facets of the universe, and the religious play catch-up and point to these discoveries and play the game of “see the majesty of god revealled in his creation”, then the second coming will have to wait until science knows everything. What we know about god is peanuts to what we are going to know.
    It’s going to be a long wait.

    • Torbjörn Larsson
      Posted November 5, 2017 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

      Well, we know “everything” of the fundamentals that can happen in us normal matter bodies in everyday life. Again, Sean Carroll has written and talked about this.

      We have killed ‘gods’ outside of black holes, and black holes does not last forever. Evidently ‘gods’ were as mortal as we are. 😀

  21. Posted November 5, 2017 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    You Alex have missed an opportunity (so far) to experience and learn of the true splendour, intensity of the natural world without the filter of a non existent god and living a lie.
    To do this you will have to discard your comfy blanket you call god… are you brave enough?
    If he is beyond our spacetime (probably just as well) by your own account makes your claim a little hollow (one big echo) … in other words,
    god! where the hell are YOU then if you don’t operate in this universe.
    To be fair though, nature is not looking after your interests, the universe owes you zip and it is why non godly’s like us are trying to make reason and science, how life actually works, as the basis for humanity, our fellow travellers, our wonderful planet, to progress. If nothing else I hope you can understand that.

  22. FB
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    Please forgive my ignorance, but why is the evidence for evolution sufficient, and the existence of evil (or suffering), which is incompatible with an omniscient-omnipotent-benevolent being, not sufficient proof that that kind of being cannot exist? Of course, a creator is still possible, but it wouldn’t be omniscient-omnipotent-benevolent. Why is evolution a fact and the impossibility of a traditional christian god is not a fact? And, of course, original sin makes no sense because evil (suffering) predates our species.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted November 5, 2017 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

      I’m wondering if your comparing things that aren’t comparable. Evolution says nothing about an omniscient being. It does Explain through evidence that is falsifiable and through a process that is testable and can make predictions, that life evolved through natural processes. It makes no other claims including no claims on the likelihood of the existence of a Christian god.

      • FB
        Posted November 5, 2017 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

        Maybe you are right and they aren’t comparable. But honestly I can’t see why. I’ll try again:
        Evolution is true (we have lots of evidence), therefore, homo sapiens didn’t exist 10 mya.
        Evil (animal suffering) existed 10 mya (we have lots of evidence), therefore, an omniscient-omnipotent-benevolent being didn’t exist.
        What am I missing?

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted November 5, 2017 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

          PERHaps it would be easier if you stated your hypotheses. I’m not really understanding what you are refuting and who said it.

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted November 5, 2017 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

          @ FB I’m agreeing with you that it’s a FACT that an omniscient, omnipotent & benevolent creator god does not exist.

          I think it is more certain a fact than evolution because the suffering in this world is so blatantly obvious. Why would a benevolent creator make living things so tasty & nutritious? Why did he make all, but the base organisms dependent on the death of other organisms?

        • FB
          Posted November 5, 2017 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

          What I’m saying is that in both cases (Evolution and the impossibility of an o-o-b god) the only reasonable thing to say is that they are true. Because of evidence and reason (I’m not using the words “science” or “scientific”)
          I know what Epicurus said more than 2200 years ago (that that kind of god wasn’t conceivable), but what we said was basically dismissed or ignored. One of the reasons it was dismissed, IMO, is that the Christian belief in the Creation (which they believed occurred a few thousand years ago) and original sin (the cause of evil and suffering) was a reasonable alternative. And because animal suffering wasn’t seriously considered.
          Now, the overwhelming evidence for Evolution and for the existence of suffering for hundreds of millions of years is quite recent (it wasn’t overwhelming 100 years ago).
          So, I agree we cannot prove that there is no god, but I believe that is a fact (for the same reasons Evolution is a fact) that there isn’t any o-o-b god.

  23. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    Ummmmm

    Religions are truth claims produced by scientific illiteracy

    It’s not your fault.

    It’s not your fault.

    It’s not your fault.

  24. Posted November 5, 2017 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    This article is trying to explain the existence of God from the nature of the material world, and therefore the premise is absurd. Everybody knows that the material world is constrained by space and time. God is not.

    Well, Alex, regardless of the composition and location of your god, if she makes a difference in the material world, then we should be able to measure it. If she don’t, who cares?

    What is extremely unlikely is that the universe is the result of random evolution that out of luck brought a world full of structure and consistency (which almost sounds like a fairy tale).

    Evolution is a process *within* the universe; the founding book of the most famous theory of evolution was On the Origin of Species, not On the Origin of the Universe.

  25. Wotan Nichols
    Posted November 6, 2017 at 5:53 am | Permalink

    I think Alex has articulated a form of apophatic theology, a term I first read about right here at WEIT. “No physical sound you can make, no mark on paper, no pixel on a screen can touch the ineffable nature of this thing outside of space & time that I claim to believe in.” Take that, atheists!

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 7:17 am | Permalink

      And the opposite of “apophatic” is cataphatic, believe it or not.

      One hopes Professor Ceiling Cat would approve this message.

  26. Zetopan
    Posted November 8, 2017 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    “What is extremely unlikely is that the universe is the result of random evolution that out of luck brought a world full of structure and consistency”

    Please show your probability calculations that support the above claim. You would also need to show your probability calculations for the existence of your “god” so that we can compare them to determine which is more likely. Creationists never seem to want to follow through by displaying the math that their claims indicate. In the few rare occasions where they display their math, every single case has been shown to actually fail their claims.


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