Monday, November 26, 2012

FacePalm of the Day - Debunking Christianity: Either Choose Science or God, You Cannot Have Both

John Loftus has been busy today. He has posted two articles today attempting to explain why he thinks you can't have science and believe that God exists. He is wrong, but it is entertaining to see him failing to do it...kinda like the proverbial train wreck. You can't just look away. There is quite a lot to look at but I will be looking at one of them.

I think for a blog post I pretty much nailed it, arguing that science would not be possible if there were a miraculous intervening God. But since science does work then there isn't a miraculous intervening God.

The first article goes off the rails really fast. First mistake: Loftus assumes that either God always intervenes or never intervenes in the natural order of the universe. Where does he get this from? It's not from the Bible.  There is no reason to make either assumption.

So choose ye this day: Either science isn't possible because there is a miraculous intervening God, or science works precisely because there isn't a miraculous intervening God.

False choices because Loftus pretends that there are only two mutually exclusive options.  He ignore the Biblical testimony. He bases his ideas of what God's intervention should look like based on what he thinks God should do. This is wrong.

Christian philosopher Victor Reppert objects of course, on two grounds as far as I can tell:

Reppert's first objection? This:
OK, so skepticism about God is front-loaded once we start doing science? Is this the materialist equivalent of presuppositionalism? If this is the case then it is otiose to mention particular scientific developments as evidence against theism. Science, by its very nature, could never say anything else.
Scientists require evidence before accepting a hypothesis, and so science can only investigate that which is detectable. This is its limitation. We all know this.

So he agrees with Reppert here. 

So it operates on the principle of methodological naturalism. It cannot do otherwise. Science assumes there is a natural explanation for everything it investigates precisely because this is the only way it can work.

And like he said that is its limitation. That means science cannot tell you everything there is to know. 

If natural explanations for events were not possible because God regularly intervened in the world, then science simply would not be possible. Since science does work then a miraculous intervening God does not exist.

Notice the qualification Loftus keeps using in describing God: "miraculous intervening". The Bible  tells us that God makes science possible because it is God that keeps the laws and nature going as it is. God set it up. All science is built on the idea that the laws of nature are repeatable, reasonable, predictable, understandable, and definable. Science is making since of those things but it doesn't explain why reality is set up that way. The Bible tells us God did this to make Himself known to His creation. The Bible tells us that God set all of it up and put it in motion and sustains it. Therefore the Bible completely disagrees with Loftus that if God continuously intervenes we can't do science.  Instead it's because of God that we can do science.

Now there are ways that science could detect the existence of God even if he didn't intervene in the world today, but so far this is not what we find. In any case, that wasn't even my point.

The fact that the universe exists at all shows us that God exists. 

The fact is that it didn't have to turn out that science works. God could have made science impossible by intervening into our daily lives just as ancient superstitious people thought he did.

 Loftus cannot demonstrate that God does not intervene in our daily lives. He does. That is why science works.  That is why we have order and random chaos.

That it has turned out the way it has is evidence a miraculous intervening God does not exist. You cannot say this is "a materialist presupposition" without taking into consideration what could have been.

Exactly. Why would having mass mean having gravity? Why is there equal and opposite reaction for every action? Why would celestial bodies orbit one another in elliptical paths? Why is everything in quantum physics comes in factors of 2 and 4? Why is energy in discrete packets? So much! It's God signing His work.

If God regularly intervened in the world then science would be impossible. The fact that he doesn't is significant. It's evidence he doesn't intervene at all, if he exists in the first place.

How does Loftus know God doesn't intervene in the world? He doesn't know that, nor can he prove that God doesn't. 

Reppert's second objection? This:
I want to make sure I have this straight. If Jesus resurrected from the dead, the science buildings in all the universities should fall down, or never have been built in the first place.

This would, of course, be news to hundreds of living scientists, not to mention the likes of Newton, Kepler, Copernicus, et al.
If God exists then it's entirely possible he could do a select few miracles here and there in the world, occasionally. So the Christian God could have resurrected Jesus from the dead (who else would have done this?) and science could still be possible.

But herein lies a problem fit for God.

The more God intervenes then the less likely science is possible.

Hold up. Why? Oh yeah, because if  Loftus allows for Reppert's point he might actually learn something.

Conversely, the less God intervenes then the more likely science can work.

Still don't get why that's even a reasonable assertion. The Bible points out that it's God who sustains all things. This is what is making it possible for science to be done.You want to know who to thank for science:

In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. - Hebrews 11:1-3

But science is not only possible it has amassed an impressive amount of knowledge which has produced our modern world. So how likely is it that God has intervened compared with the weight of knowledge science has produced? At best, if God has intervened at all then he has done so in such minimal ways as to be indistinguishable from him not intervening at all.

Nope. Without God, nothing we have would have been possible. 

The lack of divine intervention in our world is counter-productive for a God who wants us to believe or fry in hell.

Loftus, like many, make  a mistake. We have to reach God and know God as God is on God's terms. God is far from hiding.

We are supposedly created as reasonable people.

Adam and Eve were created as reasonable. The rest of us are born in sin and shaped in iniquity - enslaved to sin and so blind that we actually like what we are doing although it is killing us. "Depraved" is the term the Reformers used. Without God we have no hope of getting out of that - characterized by irrationality and unreasonable. 

Reasonable people need evidence. Reasonable people must go with the statistical trends. Reasonable people must compare comparables.

And that is the problem. Unregenerate and unrepentant people don't have the gift of comparables. You can't compare your life with God unless you have ever known God.  

Given the fact that science works precisely because God does not intervene, then it seems to reasonable people that he doesn't intervene at all.

The fact that Loftus can't see that God gives science meaning shows how unreasonable Loftus' conclusion is.  He can't know that God does not intervene at all.

And if that's the case it's reasonable to think he didn't raise Jesus up from the dead either. It's also a good reason to think he doesn't exist at all.

That is why Loftus desires to deny the intervention of God in daily life so much: so her can deny the Gospel and ignore his personal depravity. 

Why would God be like this? Since he's portrayed as a reasonable God and a reasonable God would not do this, then a reasonable God probably doesn't exist at all.

Hint: God isn't like that. Therefore you can't really seriously follow this line of reasoning. 

Debunking Christianity: Either Choose Science or God, You Cannot Have Both

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