Intelligent Design, the best explanation of Origins

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Intelligent Design, the best explanation of Origins » Philosophy and God » Common objections to theist claims and the response to these.

Common objections to theist claims and the response to these.

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Common objections to theist claims and the response to these

Why there is no god

Dawkins in The God delusion attempts to refute the God hypothesis by asking:

"Who created God ?" Other common attempts to refute God are for example the claim that God is a mere gap filler. " We don't know how X emerged, therefore God did it". 

Who or what created God?

Another common response is: "The properties and nature of the ’cause’ could forever remain a mystery or be naturalistic.". Basically, nature of the gaps. We don't know, therefore nature. Another attempt of explanation of the origin of the univese are virtual particles: " In fact, something can come from nothing and we are able to observe it in the form of virtual particles and quantum vacuum fluctuations. ". - not considering that virtual particles require a quantum vacuum, and therefore a cause, and time, which could not be eternal, otherwise we would not here, this moment in time could not be reached from an eternal past. 

Virtual particles require a quantum vacuum. What was the cause of the vacuum ?

Another common objection is that posing God as the ultimate explanation of reality is a " special pleading fallacy". “All lemons are citrus. Mushrooms are not citrus.” This isn’t special pleading because there is a category difference. God is not in the same category as the creation. God is in a league of His own. He is… the great I AM.By doing so, unbelievers disconsider that pointing out the obvious is not special pleading. The natural universe had a beginning. Therefore, the cause of the natural universe must be supernatural. If logic does not account for justifiable special pleading then such logic is clearly flawed. Of course, an Infinite Creator Who created everything would involve a justifiable special pleading. Such Creator would not be like the rest of us. It is as simple as seeing the difference between an Infinite Being (notice I didn't say "existence") and billions of "finite beings." 

Is attributing eternity to God special pleading?

Another common objection is that: The universe is extremely hostile to life. Extinction level events have nearly eliminated complex life on Earth on five separate occasions. As a response to that silly argument, it should be obvious that the fine-tuning argument holds in the relation to the universe as a whole, and is not meant to address the question of why you cannot live on mars or breathe on the moon. Of course sources of energy (stars) are needed to permit life, and of course you cannot live on them. Nor can you live in the space of the universe, far from earth. So what is the point? Nobody would deny that the light bulb is an invention that is extremely useful for us. But when you touch a hot light bulb , you would burn your finger. Is the light bulb then "hostile to your finger"? Certainly not. This example imho shows how utmost ridiculous and nonsensical the argument really is – one of those false arguments that appear to be brought forth and rehashed solely in order to avoid the deeper issues.

Is the universe hostile to life ?

Another common attempt of refutation is that:  Complexity does not imply design and does not prove the existence of a deity. Even if design could be established we cannot conclude anything about the nature of the designer (Aliens?).  First, in order to recognize an explanation as the best, we don't need to have an explanation of the explanation. This is an elementary point concerning inference to the best explanation as practiced in the philosophy of science.  In fact, so requiring would lead to an infinite regress of explanations, so that nothing could ever be explained and science would be destroyed. 

Confirmation of intelligent design predictions

Another attempt is to deny idealism and/or monism. It is simply claimed that we cannot prove that the mind is non-physical. And as long as that cannot be demonstrated, its unworthy of serious consideration.  Jon Lieff MD psychiatrist, with specialties in geriatric psychiatry and neuropsychiatry, writes : The fact that OBE’s can be stimulated in the laboratory clearly demonstrates that the sense of “I”, the self-identity, can be separated from the body consciousness. Flowering plants of the genus Musa will always only generate Bananas. Citrus species will always only produce citrus fruits like Orange, lemon etc. Only an intelligent mind, capable of logical reasoning, is an adequate cause to create other minds able to reason. If we as humans possess the capability to intellectually understand and to know, then the cause must have the same or better capabilities of the same sort. Arguing that matter can produce a mind, consciousness, intelligence, and the capability of logical reasoning is special pleading. Another rather disingenious accusation is that : skeptics of naturalism/atheism can’t believe/understand a world without God OR No god is too unlikely. 

Idealism, dualism, or materialism? The Mind is Not The Brain

They accuse theists of Argument from incredulity / Lack of imagination and Argumentum ad Ignorantiam.  "Incredulous" basically means "I don't believe it". Well, why should someone believe a "just so" story about HOW reality came to exist ? That is the THING that we are incredulous about - a *certain scenario* ( naturalism, cosmological, chemical, and biological evolution, abiogenesis and Neo-Darwinism, and that irreducibly complex biological system, coded, instructed or specified complex information, and entire factory complexes composed of myriads of interconnected factories, full of computers and robotic production lines could emerge naturally ) that's only *imagined* about how various amazing abilities of animals and plants happened all by themselves, defying known and reasonable principles of the limited range of chance, physical necessity, mutations and  Natural selection. The proponent of naturalism is "incredulous" that an intelligent creator/designer could exist, beyond and behind our entire space-time continuum, who is our Creator. But there is nothing ridiculous about that - especially if you can't personally examine reality to that depth - how do you know nature is all that exists? What IS ridiculous (IMO) is trying to imagine a *naturalistic origin* of these things.  What we need, is giving a *plausible* account of how it came about to be in the first place, and the " No-God hypothesis" simply doesn't cut the cake.

God of the gaps and incredulity, a justified refutation of ID arguments?

And another is that theists are shifting the proof, a common attempt to shift the burden of proof or ‘make room’ for a god. It goes that the failure to disprove the existence of something does not constitute proof of its existence. Well, first , atheists do have the burden of proof as well. If they believe, that naturalism explains reality better than theism, they have to provide positive evidence for that claim. And: William Dembski:  Eliminative inductions argue for the truth of a proposition by arguing that competitors to that proposition are false. ( Contrast this with Popperian falsification, where propositions are corroborated to the degree that they successfully withstand attempts to falsify them ) Provided the proposition, together with its competitors, form a mutually exclusive and exhaustive class, eliminating all the competitors entails that the proposition is true. As Sherlock Holmes famous dictum says: when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. This is the ideal case, in which eliminative inductions, in fact, become deductions. The problem is that in practice we don't have a neat ordering of competitors that can then all be knocked down with a few straightforward and judicious blows.

Another claims is that: Since god’s existence is an extraordinary claim, perhaps the most extraordinary claim, proving it requires equally extraordinary evidence. No. The proposition ‘God Exists’ has extremely high probability of being correct, and therefore, extraordinary evidence is not needed. The proposition nature is all there is has little probability of being correct, therefore extraordinary evidence is required.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

Another claims is that: Pascal’s Wager does not actually argue in support of the existence of a god, rather, it simply attempts to coerce insincere worship.

If the weight of the Christian worldview is making sense above 50 % compared to atheism, or any different religion, then it is rational to believe in Christ, and commit living as a Christian.
Christianity has at least a 50 % chance of being true.
Therefore, it is rational to commit to live as a Christian.

Pascal's Wager in new clothes

Another claim is that:  Faith simply reinforces your belief in what you would like to be true, rather than what really is. Of course, we are all biased upon a certain degree. Nonetheless, we can diminish our bias to a sufficient level, and permit the evidence to lead wherever it is. Faith per se is not bad. We need to distinguish between reasonable, unreasonable, and blind faith.

Unreasonable, blind and reasonable faith:

Another argument is: Why can’t atheists just leave theists alone? Because religion has been, and continues to be, responsible for countless horrors throughout human history.  The Bible's first command is:

The Bible's first command

Matthew 22:39
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

Deuteronomy 6.5
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

Leviticus 19.18
Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself.

It is evident that if humanity would follow these commands, we would live in a better world. If there have been commited atrocities in the name of the God of the Bible, then these people did not follow what God ordered them to do. So not everybody that calls himself a Christian, is indeed a Christian, but as Christ said, only who does his commands. 

What good has the christian faith brought to us

"This is our culture's powerful emphasis on compassion, on helping the needy, and on alleviating distress even in distant places. If there is a huge famine or reports of genocide in Africa, most people in other cultures are unconcerned. As the Chinese proverb has it, 'the tears of strangers are only water.' But here in the West, we rush to help....Part of the reason why we do this is that of our Christian assumptions....The ancient Greeks and Romans did not believe this. They held a view quite commonly held in other cultures today: yes, that is a problem, but it is not our problem....However paradoxical it seems, people who believed most strongly in the next world did the most to improve the situation of people living in this one." -D'Souza

Another complaint is that Christians accuse: Militant atheists are just as bad as religious ones.. The problem is: There cannot be objective moral values if there is no God, so if someone endorses atheism, the consequence is anarchy and oppression. So, the attempt to drag believers down to unbelief is a senseless endeaveour.

Why do positive, active, strong militant atheists or weak atheists/agnostics promote naturalism with such fervour and time spending?

Another claim is: Belief gives life meaning/purpose OR Atheism is nihilistic.  instead of asking “What is the meaning of life?” (which is begging the question) an atheist might ask “What meaning, if any, can I give to my life?”. Truth said, without a creator, there is no meaning . We came from stardust, and to stardust we return, and whatever we did in this life, in ten thousand years, nobody will remember.

Meaning and purpose of life

Science keeps changing, it isn’t reliable. Science has demonstrably produced the most accurate and reliable models of the universe that mankind has ever known and it is upon these models that all modern technology, medicine and industry are based.  Truth is, science based on methodological naturalism has failed, and keeps failing to give a consistent answer to the fundamental questions of where we came from. Science per se is neutral, but the philosophical circle around it is not. Depending what the a priori assumptions are, the inferences diverge.  When misused, science provides basically no consistent answer to any relevant question of origins. When, however, looking from a creationist lense, everything makes sense.

Genesis, vs secular science explanations of origins

Science takes faith / Science is a religion. Science is an enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions. Science per se, no. But scientism is a false epistemological framework to make consistent conclusions of origins. The right approach is to consider science, philosophy, and theology.

Scientism,  verificationism and the quest of a sound epistemological approach to find truth in regards of origins

If God is the Potter, who are we to say what he does with his clay? Why would a perfect potter create an imperfect mold, order it to be perfect and then judge it based on the imperfections he gave it?  Truth is: Whilst God’s wisdom, intelligence and power are manifested in all parts of creation, his goodness is most apparent in his sense of justice, moral code, and plan of justification and grace expressed in Christs coming, death, and resurrection. If creation consisted merely in the amazing beauty and complexity of the universe and its mathematical structure, laws and fine-tuning, then God’s great wisdom and power would be evident, but not his goodness. In order to manifest his goodness, God created minds, rational and moral creatures upon which he can exercise justice, mercy, forgiveness, and so on. When we deal with God, we deal with the highest being conceivable, also what regards goodness and justice. When we reject God and accuse him of immoral acts, as too often seen by atheists, they do judge from a human limited perspective, which is faulty and unreliable. Basically, they fool themselves. I cannot conceive greater foolishness than to reject God on such unreliable ground.

Why does God allow evil and suffering in the world?

Theistic arguments which assume god’s existence are logically valid. An argument is only sound if it is valid and its premise and conclusions are true. Thats correct. Nonetheless, there are plenty of reasons to prefer a theistic worldview, to a naturalistic one:

125 reasons to believe in God

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