Thursday, June 2, 2011

FacePalm of the Day #82 -Debunking Christianity: A Challenge to Theists

John Loftus posted the following video from StampCollector who has issued a challenge to theists.

Before he gave the challenge, Stampcollector ranted and raved about the frustration of dealing with theists who ask atheists to prove that there is no god because the burden of proof is on the theist and not the atheist. I share his frustration because I agree that this trope has been pulled out time and time again and theism has shown how silly it is so I won't bring it up again. But it was telling that he slipped into that "one-less-god" crap. I think everyone who thinks that argument is persuasive argument should read Guest Post: One Less God

His challenge to theists is prove that one god made the universe. He thinks that even granting that the universe is created and fine-tuned it does not necessitate that a a personal god created it. He says he is not making a claim that there is no god or that there are multiple gods. He further does not want the Bible (or any Holy Book) used as proof or to point to faith as an answer.

The difference here is between evidential methods of Apologetics vs the revelational/presuppostitional  approach. Both work when discussing the existence of God. However I'm going to skip the revelational approach right now and ask "Is there enough evidence to point to the existence of a single omnipresent and omnipotent  being?" Is there enough evidence from which we can deduce what that being wants and expects from us.

Unlike StampCollector I do have a background in science and engineering so I'm going to be focusing on that sort of evidence. Consider these points that most people agree with so I can be equally clear..

1. The Universe - Times & Space; Matter & Energy - all came into existence.
2. Stamp Collector granted that the universe is fine-tuned to a precision that defies imagination making life on earth possible.
3. The assumption that there was an outside agents(s) responsible for all of this was already conceded for the sake of this argument. He is asking that someone show it had to be a single God.
4. I'm assuming that he is referring the supreme, personal being of the three monotheistic religions we call "God".
5. Genetic info - the information encoded in every living thing on earth must also be designed if the universe was designed.
6. The universe is decaying - the second law of thermodynamics. 

Omnipotence - being all powerful - has to be a characteristic of  who ever it was who brought the universe into being. The fine-tuned design of the universe and the genetic codes on which life is based would most likely be the product of one mind - one being who has to know everything to plan out such complexities - omniscience. Have you ever tried to design anything in collaboration. It can be interesting...sometimes fun...but it can also be a headache because you will always have disagreements that would be hashed out. We know that the universe is decaying - loosing energy as it's changed from one form to another - order dissolving into chaos.If this being is omnipotent why would this being - we call "God" - need anyone else to bring his creation into existence.

There are other qualities we can learn about the creator. The creator is intelligent, humor, desires diversity, loves color and beauty. It doesn't matter if God is truly like this or if we are programmed to see beauty and be awestruck by the works of his hands because in either case it would have been up to the one who made everything.

The next question is: "Has the creator spoken to us? Has the creator revealed himself to us?". As a Christian, I 'd  say "Yes" and that the Bible is the best candidate "Holy Book" for what that revelation really is and is not. The Bible over the Quran because while they agree that there is one supreme being that created the universe, the Bible tells us why it decays:

18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that[h] the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.
 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
 26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[i] have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.- Romans 8:18-30

Debunking Christianity: A Challenge to Theists
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  1. “Is there enough evidence to point to the existence of a single omnipresent and omnipotent being?” The atheist “is asking that someone show it had to be a single God.”
    Philosophically, whatever created the universe is the ultimate / supreme being and there can only be one ultimate / supreme.

    The atheist, “granted that the universe is fine-tuned to a precision that defies imagination making life on earth possible.” Thus, the logical conclusion is what I express this way: extraordinary fine tuning requires an extraordinary fine tuner.