Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Best Evidence for God in One Paragraph

Lawrence Auster’s highly-recommended website, View from the Right, just opened a new discussion: “Arguments for the Existence of God that are Logical, Easy to Understand, and Unanswerable.”

I wasn’t satisfied with the arguments that were being used, so I emailed Mr. Auster to voice my opinion…

I believe in the existence of God, but the arguments used in your blog post are not "logical, easy to understand, and unanswerable." Rather, they are flimsy, vague, and abstract. If you (or anyone else) wants to validate scientifically the existence of God, you have three solid arguments at your disposal: First is the Anthropic Principle (discovered by Brandon Carter in 1973) which proves (beyond any reasonable doubt) that the laws of physics were "pre-planned" to be "life-friendly" at the conception of the universe because even the slightest tinkering of those laws would make life anywhere impossible. Second is Intelligent Design in biology (best articulated by Philip Johnson, Michael Behe, Stephen Meyer, and others), in which the conception of purposeful Design is vastly superior to the blind, meaningless Darwinian paradigm of natural selection. In the past few decades, the evidence from DNA, irreducible complexity, and the fossil record plus the LACK of evidence for Darwinism has shifted the debate radically in favor of a divine solution. Finally, the vast collection of data from Near Death Experiences (NDEs) shows--again, beyond any reasonable doubt--that consciousness is independent of the brain and survives death, and thus, the materialist paradigm ("matter is all there is") is destroyed beyond any hope of repair. The philosophical implications of these breakthroughs is played out in my novel, The Mustard Seed.

A few minutes ago, Lawrence was kind enough to post my email on his website.


**UPDATE, AUG. 14, 2009**

Since yesterday, Lawrence and I have exchanged a few emails, and someone named Sage McLaughlin has also provided some commentary (click on Lawrence’s website to read the whole exchange). In case – for some odd reason – my writings get deleted from Lawrence’s site, I’ve posted all of my comments bellow…

I read through Sage McLaughlin's post, and, I have to say, I don't think he characterized my views very well, or drew the right conclusions from them. First of all, I never said there is "scientific proof of God's existence." In fact, I agree with Sage that such a statement is impossible. Rather, I offered "three solid arguments" to "validate scientifically the existence of God." In other words, I am offering what I can consider to be the best arguments to "validate" God's existence through reason, not faith. If you have faith (as Sage apparently does), God bless him, but a lot of people don't have faith, and it's appropriate for us to persuade those people using the tools they are most familiar with--namely, science and reason. This entire discussion between us proves that when faith is absent (after all, we're not obligated to take Sage's opinion on faith), reason is the only means of communication.

I used three arguments for God's existence: The Anthropic Principle, Intelligent Design, and Near-Death Experiences. I'm not sure why Sage was so dismissive of these arguments. In the case of the first two arguments, if I understand him correctly, he's basically saying, "Yeah, they sort of imply God exists, but it doesn't clinch the argument." The only problem is I never claimed it would clinch the argument. As we all agree, the argument about God's existence cannot be clinched. However, just because we don't have certainty doesn't mean we can't go with the probabilities. In the case of the Anthropic Principle and Intelligent Design, the probability that material forces can be responsible for the creation of life and the universe are so astronomically remote, any truly objective person would affirm that there is a non-material agent at work (specifically, God). To use an example: If you won the lottery 15 times in a row, I suppose you could shrug and say, "It's all chance," but an honest person would say, "I think the game is fixed." And in a sense, the game IS fixed. And that's important.

In the case of the final argument--Near Death Experiences--Sage is just plain wrong. Why? There are two overarching facts. First, these people are dead. Let me repeat that: DEAD. Whether it's for five minutes, 20 minutes, or some cases longer, they are dead. If you are dead, you cannot hallucinate. You cannot have any sensory or mental experience. Period. Second, there are many, many cases where dead people were later able to document events outside their body--i.e, they were able to describe what was happening in our hospital rooms, what their families were doing at home miles away, etc. This is so well-documented a ten minute Google search would suffice.

In conclusion, it's clear that Sage and I are people of faith who think faith is critical to saving our civilization. I respect him for that. But ultimately, I think he is too quick to dismiss my arguments, and in doing so, he is limiting our ability to actively engage and change our culture for the better.

Later – in response to some further commentary by Lawrence - I wrote…

I think your last post was fair and reasonable. However, I would like to reply to your conclusion, "I can't get all that excited about Back to Deism."

I don't want to put words into your mouth, but I presume the source of that statement is an assumption that Deism does not feature a personal God; that God is effectively a "blind watchmaker." However, my faith (which I wouldn't describe as Deism, per se) DOES feature a personal God who loves us. Indeed, that is the evidence provided to us by Near-Dear Experiences and other major mystical events.

But there's an even larger point. For me, the "excitement" doesn't rest in faith directly. Faith itself is not the primary. What is primary is a life of rational self-empowerment. The conviction (supported by experience) that each person, through the use of his mind, is able to succeed and find happiness on this Earth. In other words, our happiness is not contingent on others. We are truly the authors of our own destiny--to the extent that we wish to pick up the pen and write our destiny. That--for me--at least, is something worth getting excited for.

Later still…

I agree that Deists usually use the Anthropic Principle to validate their philosophy. However, I would argue that people shouldn't limit their interpretation of the Anthropic Principle to Deism (the "blind watchmaker" thesis). We know the act of creation was "fine-tuned" to support life. To quote the physicist Freeman Dyson, "the universe knew we were coming." Life - and specifically, conscious human life - was planned from the start. As such, I think we can infer that God cares for his creation (human beings) and is invested in our progress. Indeed, once we recognize this powerful fact, it is
practically illogical to limit our faith to Deism.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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