Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Evidence For the Existence of God

Continuing this thread to its next logical step. First, it was established that neither atheists nor Christians can prove or disprove the existence of God. I suggested that the logical method for proceeding to determine the most likely reality when a major premise cannot be proved or disproved is to try and determine which has the preponderance of the evidence.

From there I further offered that the major premise and the various pieces of evidence that might support the major premise should not be treated as all or nothing propositions, but rather each should be weighed based on the likelihood of its being true.

Now it seems sensible to lay out the basic evidences for the existence of God. This will be shorthand version. Many very capable theologians and philosophers have done extensive works on this subject. I don't pretend to be able to come close to their authority.

1. The basic human assumption on seeing complexity in design is to assume an intelligent designer, not a random occurrence.

2. A shared experience of perception by large majorities of the population gives rise to an assumption of its being real.

3. Underlying "rules" of properties (matter, energy, life) that are consistent through known time and space suggest intelligent forces at work, not randomness at any level.

4. An almost incomprehensible set of requirements for support of life as we know it on this planet maintained in critical balance for either millenniums (Bible) or millions of years (science). Such balance is beyond the imagination of most humans to contemplate without intelligence tweaking systems which might have otherwise gone awry. (Consider how science is now telling us that a mere 6% of warming might destroy human life that has survived for a very long time without help from science.)

5. Emotions such as love, hate, empathy, selflessness, patriotism, even the contemplation of beauty don't seem to fit into survival patterns without a real stretch. In other words, most honest evaluators would not think that sacrificial love is a product of evolution.

6. It is possible to come up with convoluted explanations for how bats use radar to find their way around in caves by natural evolution, even though it strains credulity to imagine why they would start creating the sounds needed when their ears weren't evolved to respond, or why their ears would evolve to respond prior to their "voice" being able to create the sound. Then it gets more difficult yet to figure out how both of these things evolved to the point of usefulness prior to some bat trying to use it in a cave. It isn't that one can't create a story line to solve this mystery. It is just that the story line wouldn't pass muster in Hollywood.

This is only one such mystery that needs such a workaround. Some, like the eye, are much discussed, but truly there are mysteries concerning almost every organ and organism which beg to explain how one thing developed before the other, even though there was no need for the second thing until the first came about. And that is only one kind of such mystery.

7. First cause. For those who want it all to be natural, they ultimately must deal with how the first thing came into existence. For God proponents, they must deal with who created God. Science has absolutely no answer, and it is beyond credibility that they ever will.

Those who believe in God propose that the spiritual realm has no space/time continuum, and that God is the first cause. We can't prove it, but at least we have a conceptual framework.

8. Life from non-life. Science has now proposed large number theory as a way to explain how life came from non-life. Once again I would assert that this very recent theory, while plausible, is extremely fragile.

To believe that God created life, as He created everything, is not that hard to believe. Billions believe it to be true. So it can hardly be called illogical or primitive. That would suggest that a very small percent of the population has, with absolutely no proof or even a way to get to the proof, determined that the vast majority of the population (including some pretty smart people) are delusional, and only they have it right. This would not hold up very well in a court of law with finders of fact trying to get it right.

9. There are 1000's of "coincidences" of fact regarding the Bible that would give rise to an assumption that the Bible is special beyond any other "human" achievement. One can look at all of these facts and deny all of them, and therefore conclude that the Bible is merely an astonishing human work. However, once again, that is not how we look at evidence. Each of these 1000's of facts would need to be addressed individually, and then they would need to be viewed in the context of the entire lot of them.

10. You can take #9 and pretty much just insert the name of Jesus in each place where it says Bible. There can be almost no question that He was the most remarkable human to ever walk the planet, and has had the most impact of any other man. Given his short life, very brief public activity, location of his birth, life, and death, methods of his work, and claims made by him and about him, an honest intellectual cannot dismiss the possibility that He was more than mere human. It is evidence that must be weighed.

Therefore, the logical way to approach this subject is to look at the 10 evidences above plus many more and give each some weight. If there were only three logical arguments that lead a large percentage of the population to a certain conclusion, and a dozen that point the other way, then a logical person would likely conclude theory B to be the better one. I submit that this is why the vast majority of humans conclude there is a God. People with IQ's of 70 and 200. Folks in primitive cultures and the most advance cultures. People with horrible upbringings and privileged upbringings. People who have acted very badly in their lives and those who try their hardest to be good citizens, parents, friends.

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