• What if a Deity Did Start the Universe

    This came up recently on Panda’s Thumb in a long term blog back-and-forth between Robert Asher (a religious paleontologist) and Jason Rosenhouse.

    The original article by Asher.

    Rosenhouse’s response.

    Now, in this discussion on PT, there’s a lot going on.  Feel free to check it out.  However, in this discussion the thing that came to my mind was that the generic theist position is as untenable as any other religious position.  This isn’t a formal philosophical proof, but feel free to comment.

    First, I ask, how can Asher believe in something that is fundamentally false?  Even if we take a generic religion, every religion that I am aware of has some aspect that is fundamentally, provably incorrect.  For example, most religions of which I am aware have something called ‘prayer’, in which a person may communicate with their deity.  Any religion that has a deity has a way to communicate with that deity.

    Now, we know that prayer doesn’t actually do anything.  This has been shown in study after study.  Prayers are not answered, unless the answer is always “no” in which case, what’s the point?  So, every religion has a fundamental flaw in it right there.

    Now, let’s assume that one is a Christian.  There are many contradictions and outright incorrect statements in the Bible.  But, the religious person says, those can be explained away or they aren’t a fundamental part of my beliefs.  Well, if those parts can be explained away, what else can be explained away?

    It really bothers me the kind of mental contortions that the religious scientist must make.  Is there some switch that they can turn off when they do science and turn back on in church?  A switch that turns off the critical thinking part of their brain?

    But more critically, how do we know when that switch is on or off?  When is the paleontologist speaking and when is the religious believer speaking?  Can we ever trust his conclusions?  Sure, if he provides sufficient data, then we can make our own conclusions.  But how can he know that his belief system isn’t playing with his results.  Is there any bias that’s being introduced into his data? We don’t know.  He doesn’t even know, because at least some of the time, he’s turned off his ability to think.

    The closest I can come to accepting belief in a deity is something that started our universe, then walked away.  If there was/is any kind of meddling with the universe, then that supernatural thing will leave traces… just we see wind blowing the leaves.  That’s what ID advocates do, they say that they have discovered these traces.  But there is absolutely no evidence of any of these traces, from healing miracles to the design of a bacterial flagella that has been examined and accepted to be actual evidence of a supernatural entity.

    Now, let’s say there is a deity and that it started the universe and walked away.  Then what is the point in praying to it?  What is the point in worship?  It’s not going to do anything.  We would be a tiny tadpole hoping that momma frog will come back and protect us, but she won’t.  She’s gone and though we had a creator, we are on our own now.


    Category: AtheismCreationismSkepticism


    Article by: Smilodon's Retreat