This is the third post in a series in which I debate with myself about whether God exists. Skeptical “Dr. Schriner” has just spoken, and now the atheist gets to speak again. Why? Because in a debate, the negative side has an inherent advantage. It’s almost always easier to poke holes in some theory than to prove that this theory is true. To compensate for this handicap, the affirmative side needs some compensating advantage. One way to do this is to let the affirmative begin and end the contest. It’s very helpful to have both the first word and the last word on some topic. To make this possible, Dr. Schriner, who denies the existence of deity, makes his initial presentation and his first rebuttal in sequence, one after the other.
Returning to the lectern, Dr. R. C. Schriner will offer his first negative rebuttal:
Pastor Chris thinks the laws of the universe are “fine-tuned” to support intelligent life. But physicists say there may be other universes, perhaps even an infinite number of universes. Only a few of these systems might happen to be suitable homes for living creatures. If these creatures didn’t know about all the other universes, it would seem as if “the” universe was specifically designed for their benefit. “Wow, how come everything is arranged so precisely for dear little me? I guess there must be a God!” These creatures would be very lucky to live in a cosmos that supports life, but someone has to live there and be amazed at their good fortune. Besides, the fine-tuning argument is speculation on top of speculation, because we still have so much to learn about cosmology.
Furthermore, the claim that even tiny changes in the laws of nature would eliminate all life is actually controversial. Perhaps natural laws could vary a lot and still support life. Philosopher Bradley Monton reports that we have no idea whether most physicists agree with the fine-tuning theory or disagree.* Besides, even if a super-intelligent mind created the universe, that doesn’t mean it’s a personal god. It might have no emotions, and no sense of right and wrong. It might not even be conscious! And it might be utterly uninterested in Homo sapiens.
In saying we need God, the Reverend resorted to a flippant comment about how matter “magically rearranged itself into dinosaurs.” Well, it’s religion rather than science that relies on magical explanations, and obviously SOMETHING wondrous did happen for no reason. Either matter exists for no reason, or God exists for no reason. People who say God made the universe don’t want to ask where God came from. They just shrug their shoulders and change the subject. As Steven Wright says, “A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking.”
People may get tired of thinking, but science never grows weary of seeking new truth, shrinking gaps in our knowledge, whittling away at the need for the archaic God-hypothesis.
So what do you think of the skeptic’s arguments? In a few days I’ll post Pastor Chris’ reply.
Roger Christan Schriner
* Bradley Monton, Seeking God in Science: An Atheist Defends Intelligent Design, p. 81.
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