Challenge Response: Belief in God Is Rational

Posted: August 27, 2010 by Brett Kunkle in God is Real, Intelligently Designed, Weekly Challenge

Thanks to everyone who participated in this week’s challenge.  I give my thoughts here:

  1. Samuel says:

    I think you completely misinterpreted (or intentionally misrepresented) the point I was trying to make. Every single seemingly outrageous phenomenon that used to be attributed to the supernatural has since been shown to have a natural explanation. There are NO exceptions to this trend. What evidence could you possibly have that we will find a supernatural cause, rather than a natural one, when we are able to fully examine the mysteries of the Universe? I’m curious.

    Since the 1500s religions have had to perform mental gymnastics to find ways to coalesce their beliefs with our ever growing knowledge about the cosmos. The latest (and perhaps most corrosive) of these attempts to reconcile god with science is the intelligent design movement, which in essence tries to fill the gaps in our knowledge with an intelligent designer… not only are their methods for arriving at this conclusion unscientific, but ID is a fallacy by its’ very definition. The fact is that the more we learn about the Universe, the more our place in it becomes diminished. Before the advent of science, the church was convinced that the Earth was the center of the Universe and that everything revolved around us… that god created the Universe for humans. We’ve since learned that Earth revolves around the sun, and that our solar system is only one out of 100 billion in our galaxy, which itself is only one out of hundreds of billions of galaxies. We’ve also learned that small terrestrial planets like Earth, Mars, and Venus in our own solar system are not unique to our solar system, but are actually quite common among the star systems in our galaxy. We’ve learned that the most common molecules in our bodies mirror exactly the most common molecules throughout the Universe. We’ve learned that life essentially boils down to chemistry, and that the organic molecules that brought about life on our planet are common throughout the cosmos. This preponderance of observations renders it impossible for any reasonable person to justify the incredibly conceited belief that the Universe is here just for us, and that it was made strictly for us… yet this is exactly what just about every popular religion professes. I don’t know how you can honestly look at the physical reality we have before our eyes and still come to the conclusion that there is a personal god. Perhaps there is some kind of being that took action to begin this Universe, I won’t rule that out… but I think we can definitely rule out the possibility of a personal god that is concerned wholly with humans simply by looking around us and acknowledging our plebeian role in the cosmic structure.

  2. Adrian Urias says:

    It’s interesting, this whole “gaps” business.

    Skeptics tend to accuse us theists about putting forth this “god-of-the-gaps” sort of thing, but I wonder, are skeptics, like those represented by Samuel, guilty of the same thing? A kind of “atheism-of-the-gaps”.

    Samuel seems to say there is no exception to natural processes, everything has a natural explanation, but then seems to be open to a cosmic creator…which would mostly likely be (by definition) supernatural (or non natural or whatever terimnology you prefer). So I wonder if that could be a counter example to his “no-exceptions” statement.

    But I liked the video. My name was mentioned. YEE!!!

    • Samuel says:

      We don’t know how the Universe began… I don’t claim to know… no scientist claims to know. We do have theories as to how the Universe could have come about completely naturally using known physics, and there is evidence to support these theories, but they are still fairly young. So how is saying ‘we don’t know’ a sort of ‘atheism of the gaps’? I’m not even making a positive claim.

      To rule out any possibility entirely would be unscientific. No real scientist would ever say ‘there definitely is no god’. The observational evidence may make them lean very heavily in one direction, but in science no possibilities (no matter how remote the chances are) are ever completely dismissed.

      If there was a cosmic creator and it was supernatural then obviously that would be an exception to the trend of natural explanations replacing supernatural ones. Notice the ‘if’ though… IF there was a cosmic creator… until somebody finds concrete observational evidence that a supernatural being is responsible for creating the Universe then your ‘counter example’ will remain hypothetical. The fact remains that every phenomenon we have ever observed and explained was driven by natural processes… not divine intervention.

      • Jake says:

        See the thing is, the day you find the concrete evidence of God that you are looking for, is the day you are bowed before Him. That day, EVERYONE will believe. The challenge in the meantime, is to see the hints that He leaves for us.

        Yes there are scientific answers for almost everything out there. Notice the ‘almost’ though. One of the explanations that irritates me is the “given enough time and random occurances” theories. We are accused of using the “God of the gaps”, but no one complains when non-believing scientists use the “time of the gaps” to help exlain that which they don’t know…yet.

  3. Adrian Urias says:

    It seemed like you were claiming that though there could be a cosmic creator, that this is only so until we find a natural explanation. So you induce that because there has always been a natural explanation, there is one for the universe as well, and atheism will win. That’s what it seems like you’re insiniuating. Atheism of the gaps.

    but you want to seem open minded and say we can’t rule out any possibility. Agreed. but realize that some of your secular comrades might nto feel the same way about issues sympathetic to theism, such as ID. but no matter, by simply saying that in the future, there will be a natural explanation, that implies that God is currently the best explanation.

    But I’m not even sure that you’ve understood cosmological arguments properly. They aren’t scientific arguments, they are philosophical ones, so this whole business of scientists ruling out God is really irrelevant. Big Bang cosmology is only part of the case for God. A creator only follows if (using the Kalam) the first premise is true.

    So I think that even if we did find out how the universe began, that wouldn’t do much so rule out a first cause.

    But I digress. I’ve said what I’ve had to say about gaps.

    • Samuel says:

      We already have a natural explanation for the origin of the Universe… if you’d like more details about the current theories then I’d be happy to oblige you. Despite these theories I still conceded that a creator is a possibility. Do I find it very likely? No, but it’s a possibility nonetheless.

      I, like many academic enthusiasts, am fervently against the Discovery Institute and their Intelligent Design movement. These men have simply refactored creationism and are masquerading it around as science. ID is not science and it never will be. Their methodology was fundamentally flawed to begin with… rather than hypothesizing, experimenting, and forming conclusions from the observational and experimental results (aka the scientific method), ID ‘scientists’ start with the conclusion (that the Universe was designed) and then look for evidence to support that conclusion… that’s not the scientific method. As if that weren’t bad enough, every attempt by the DI to discredit evolution or to assert the fine tuning of the Universe by a designer has been thoroughly debunked by the academic community. They’re posers, and the fact that this movement has gained so much momentum is a testament to our countries failure to properly educate its’ populace.

      “but no matter, by simply saying that in the future, there will be a natural explanation, that implies that God is currently the best explanation.”
      How does that imply that god is currently the best theory?? Even if we didn’t have a valid natural explanation for the beginning of the Universe (which we do) that still wouldn’t mean that god must be the best theory by default. That’s somewhat of a false dichotomy.

      Philosophy is useless in this domain… you can talk all day about ‘first causes’ and the like, but there is no reason to believe that the Universe must adhere to the philosophical musings of a human. The beginning of the Universe was a quantum event, and quantum events are anything but logical.

      • Tee Ar says:

        @ S a m u e l —
         Why is a scientiSSStic method & supposition superior? Did Kekulé err when he got an idea from a dream about a snake biting its tail, which is analogous to Benzene’s structure?

         How fair-minded (or even-handed) is an Establishment that says, “We cannot allow a divine foot in the door?” as Dr. Richard Lewontin said when he was a Prof. of Biology/ Zoology at Harvard U., in the Jan. 9, 1997 edition of the New York Review of Books —
        cited by a Bible Prof., Nathan Busenitz, in his book “Reasons We Believe: 50 Lined of Evidence …,” excerpts of which are available @ = the archive of the Shepherd’s Fellowship @
        [a ministry of John F. MacArthur & Grace Community Church, Sun Valley/ L.A. @ …]
        & @

         Are you attmpting to push Prots. off of the playing field & then declare victory by default? Please let me put a pebble in each of your shoes, about an A-bio-genesis Hypothesis’ prediction about a carbon-isotope-ratio (#13 rel. to #12), & C-14 in diamonds (5 – 200 milliionths of original sample after 70k – 100k years).

  4. Tee Ar says:

    Hugh Ross (ex-astronomer, @ … supplied the zinger about the C.I.R.

    If his Progressive Creationism (intermittant creation in various Ages-as-Days-of-Genesis) can conform (as it were) to both Genesis & Scientism
    (as if clouds, in Psalm 104: 80 physical parameters or ratios there-of must be in small margins of variation in order for any conceivable life to exist. For example, naturalistically speaking, 2 kinds of stars should have exploded concurrently in order for all of the elements necessary for life to exist here.]]

    • Tee Ar says:

      ERROR – Some of my last post was deleted somehow. Characters between angular parentheses (inequality symbols) disappered.

      I was trying to write:–
      … (as if clouds, in Psalm 104:[before verse]10, and mist or steam concealed the form of the sun before “day 2”),
      wouldn’t that bless your soul? ….

      If we can imagine naturalistic, fortuitous convergences of beneficial conditions, we should consider Providence, too. Dr. Ross says that [more than] 80 conditions … must exist ….

    • Tee Ar says:

      Another reason to doubt the in-errancy of Scientism: Communists dobut the Geological Column. (i.e., putative arbitrary dating).

      A Chinese scientist, part of a team which found a 2-inch-long fish in “the Pre-Cambrian Level,” said (approximately), “In China, we’re not allowed to question the Gov’t, but we may question Darwin. But in America, you’re allowed to question the Gov’t, but not Darwin” (cited by Carl Baugh).

      [[ Last year, a plant was found in the Pre-Cambrain Level, too (-Dr. Ross).]]