Thursday, February 18, 2010

"Proof" That God Exists

The Proof[sic] that God exists is that without Him you couldn't prove anything.

Thank you, proofthatgodexists.org! And no, I'm not kidding. This is actually the crux of the site.

Before they pop this golden nugget of wisdom up onto your screen, you're led through a series of yes/no answer pages asking you if you believe in logical/scientific/mathematical/moral absolutes. (And if you say you don't care if absolutes exists, it just shows an exit button that links to the Disney website. I feel like I should be insulted.) It's really a waste of time though, as they expect you to answer yes to every one and at the end, they quote the scripture about all men having the knowledge of god. Then, on the very next screen, they display this previously quoted block of text as if it somehow follows. Here, I'll break down each of their sections and explain my answers in detail.

Laws of Logic: These laws exist in that we can conceptualize of them. They don't exist in any tangible way; they merely describe the way our universe works. It follows in this reality that if premise A and premise B are true, then the conclusion will be true as long as it follows both premises. I fail to see how this is in any way directly or tangentially related to any concept of a god.

Laws of Mathematics: These laws also exist only in conceptual form. Mathematicians have defined operators such as +,-,/,×, etc. to have certain meanings on specific sets of numbers. This is a human system, not a divine one, so again, this seems to be unrelated to any diestical proposition.

Laws of Science: These exist, though creationists like Sye TenB (creator of this website) often have misunderstandings about what these are. A scientific law is a statement about a specific phenomenon in nature that is always true under a specific set of conditions, such as Newton's Law of Universal Gravitation. Laws are not a "higher tier" than theories but are rather incorporated into theories as explanations of systems that extend beyond the laws themselves. But I digress - these laws actually exist to the degree that we can confirm them. These laws are necessarily inductive in their nature which means that we could be wrong about any of them (but we're generally pretty confident). I think this website meant to say something along the lines of "there is uniformity of nature," though that wouldn't seem to suit their purposes later. (See their arguments against radioactive dating measures.)

Absolute Moral Laws: This is where it necessarily gets tricky. Not because I don't believe that morality can be absolute or objective, but that, at some level, it is necessarily subjective. I don't want to go into too much detail about it here, but suffice it to say that under any specific definition of morality, we can make absolute and objective claims about actions, pertaining to the definition, that will have positive, negative, or neutral value. None of this requires a deity (and about the rape and child molestation in the Bible, they are commanded and not prohibited, respectively) and as such it is a poor example. Perhaps Sye expects us to naturally assume a god is required to believe in rights and wrongs but I won't grant him that, despite being the kind man that I am.

The Nature of Laws (a): I have confirmed that all of these "laws" exist (with the knowledge that some of these are poorly worded) and declare that they are immaterial.

The Nature of Laws (b): Here's the problem: all of these "laws" are lumped together as one unit and I have to either accept or reject the fact that they are man-made or universal as a group. I'll just say that they are all universal if we consider that under each of their specific definitions, they are either true or false regardless of who interprets whatever falls under their umbrellas.

The Nature of Laws (c): Are these laws changing? Well, theoretically we could redefine mathematics so that 2+2 no longer equals 4, but I don't ever see that happening. Logical absolutes cannot change and the principle of uniformity tells me that scientific laws probably won't change either. Morality, however, is either static or flexible depending on how you see it. It is flexible if you see it as a set of rules, since these rules can change based on culture, religion, and what people enjoy or dislike. It is unchanging if you see it as a means by which to increase well-being and decrease suffering, as any other definition would seem to render any talk of morality meaningless. But I'll just go ahead and answer "unchanging"...

Filler page ("preproof"): To summarize, "If you don't believe, my god's gonna getcha! But it's sooooo obvious, I mean, who could deny it? My god's eternal power (you know what that means) and divine nature (with 'divine' being a well defined and meaningful word) are just radiating from every rock, crocodile, and roadside hooker. If you think he doesn't exist, YOUR STUPID!"

"Proof": "The Proof[sic] that God exists is that without Him you couldn't prove anything."




I fail to see and you've failed to show how any of this requires a god. Because there is uniformity in nature, I must be compelled to concede that a god/creator/something made it? What? I don't think your bold and unfounded assertion makes any sense for even the most abstract concept of god.

If I require a god to believe in absolutes, and god is an absolute, then isn't this just circular reasoning anyway? I don't think the guy who is running this website knows anything about logic, but maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I'm overlooking something.

To be clear, there are two different concepts at play here: reality (ie. the universe and the way it works) and our descriptions and models of how it works, some of which we call laws. And this website is apparently claiming that I require a god to make a conceptual model of this universe based on deductive and inductive principles. Sorry but, to be blunt, you've spent far too much time on what appears to be just another creationist non-sequitur.

2 Comments:

shreddakj said...

Even then though, with quantum mechanics taken into account, the universe isn't even orderly at all. On top of that, what about natural disasters, climate shifts, supernovas, radioactivity, parasites etc. etc. etc. The universe only appears to be orderly on a very trivial level. So the argument for 'design' because of the 'order' of the universe falls flat on its face.

Drew Reagan said...

When I say orderly, I mean that the universe follows patterns that can be attributed to natural physical laws such as gravity, nuclear, strong, and weak forces. Those four simple things govern the way our entire universe works.

However, making the leap from "this is simple" to "this is a design" is an error in thinking. I know that a painting has a painter because I don't see natural ways for a painting to come about, but I do know about painters. I don't know of any natural way for a god to exist and I've never seen him create anything.

Some things have an appearance of design (like snowflakes) but are formed by purely natural processes. Who says the same can't apply to our universe, especially if you can accept a multiverse theory?

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