Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Another Proof Of GOD

If I am a fish looking out of the water at a fly, I see the location of the fly and propel myself out of the water in that direction. If I don't take into consideration the refraction of light coming into the water, I will miss the fly.

Everything that I think I know is impacted by things about which I have no idea. Those who are currently claiming that the earth will warm by 4 degrees over the next 40 years admit that they no next-to-nothing about clouds. Thus there may be actions of the clouds that will dramatically alter their predictions.

In order for me to make predictions about thousands of things each day, I assume that certain conditions that existed last time will exist again this time. I also use deductive and inductive reasoning to come up with variations on these predictions.

In reality, however, I don't really know if the apple will taste sweet and not kill me. This is because I don't know if it has been adulterated as to taste or poisoned. I don't know everything. Therefore, in the broadest sense, I don't know anything.

However, I act every day on the basis of this reasoning, and so does everyone else, theist and naturalist alike. This is because we believe that things are coherent, structured, and uniform. There is no actual basis for believing this without God.

See here for more detail.

11 comments:

bernardo said...

"If I don't take into consideration the refraction of light coming into the water, I will miss the fly."

This does not have to be done deliberately. There is a classic experiment to show how the brain can take different factors into account automatically. You put on goggles that have fairly flat prisms for lenses, so everything appears to be a few degrees to the left. Throw a baseball to someone, and you will throw to their left. But throw a few times, and your brain will adjust automatically. When you take the goggles off and throw again, your throw will go to the right, since your brain has adjusted your aim and now this has to be un-done.

I know this is being nit-picky, and missing the overall point of your post. But when you suggest that the archer fish's ability to hit a fly is in part due to a knowledge of "having to adjust the aim due to distortion at the surface", rather than by trial-and-error plus the adaptability of neurons... I feel I had to not let you get away with it.

I did agree with everything else you said, including "I act every day on the basis of this reasoning, and so does everyone else, theist and naturalist alike. This is because we believe that things are coherent, structured, and uniform"... up until:

"There is no actual basis for believing this without God."

That makes no sense.

Why do you need God in order for things to be consistent? Can't things just "be" consistent by themselves? If things need a deliberate creator in order to be consistent, then this suggests that God himself must have been deliberately created. If God does not have to have been created, then why does the universe (which is less amazing or powerful than God) have to have been created? Just because it's consistent?

I must admit I am only reacting to your post, and have not followed the link you give "for more details". I'll follow it later today and let you know what I think.

Randy Kirk said...

I just happen to believe that this is the strongest argument for God. Stronger by far than life form non life. If it is hard to imagine no first cause, it is harder to imagine no rule maker and sustainer.

Hey Skipper said...

Randy:

That is classic God-of-the-Gaps, with an unacknowledged regression problem thrown in for seasoning.

It is just as difficult to imagine an uncaused first cause as it is to imagine the universe without a first cause.

The result is a dead heat, for which "Dunno" is the only honest answer.

Randy Kirk said...

The reason I find it more compelling than time, space, matter is that rules have to exist before any of those can exist. And the consistant application of rules seems to be a necessity of science. It is one of those things that you don't expect and for which God is really the only explanation.

bernardo said...

I see your point. It's a pretty good one.

That is, IF you need an "explanation" for where the rules come from.

Your explanation is "God set up the rules", but you then fail to explain where God comes from (or to demonstrate very much about him), so really it's not much of an explanation. It goes back one step and, by invoking God, says that you can't go any further.

To many people (mostly scientists who would technically be pantheists, like Einstein), God IS the rules, since there is nothing else that God could be, and since the nature of the rules (where they came from, how they change, how they are related) is quite different from the nature of the stuff they govern.

Or, there could be an infinity of universes, each with a different permutation of the rules, in which case we just happened to arise in a universe with rules friendly to our rise.

"It is one of those things that you don't expect..."

Speak for yourself. I expect it. To me it would be surprising and amazing if the rules DID change quickly.

We've gone over these points before...

Anonymous said...

Bernardo,

I think you try to define God from only our limited senses.
What you describe is somewhat accurate about God's qualities.
We know he is beyond us to define with our limited physical dimensions.
He might be somehow in the laws. The Bible says God is love. But what is love? The Bible says God spoke and the world came into existance. However, he made man from the dust of the earth. He worked differently in creating the two things.
The Bible says His thoughts are higher than ours and we can't know them.
I think that is why Jesus came. It is difficult to communicate with a God who isn't made like us. If he doesn't have a body, ie. ears and eyes that see in the same way for instance.
Thus Jesus ( God man ) came in human form to communicate to us at our level.
Interestingly God is out of time. That is a whole other subject. Humans have to live in time God doesn't.
God talks to water and the water obeys.
The real God is so fascinating. To me science just gives us more insight into his qualities because science gives us more details of his creation.

bernardo said...

What are you saying, Anonymous? To be perfectly honest, I'm having trouble extracting a point from your post.

You might be saying that, if I imagined God as more unimaginable, then I would have an easier time with the thought that God exists. But I'm not trying to define God. I'm trying to define God's relationship with the natural world, and to be honest I don't see anything in the natural world that needs to be explained by a relationship with a supernatural Creator. You COULD explain lots of things in terms of a supernatural creator, but I personally find those explanations to be messy, vague, and ultimately unsatisfying. That's because the things that satisfy me in an explanation are different from the things that satisfy you or Randy in an explanation. Besides, my naturalistic world view still leaves room for a creator with a deliberate plan. I just don't think that all the miracles (and some other characteristics often attributed to the Christian God) are worth the trouble. I have never claimed that the "God" I imagine is an entity defined by, or bound in, the space and time and matter of our universe, since all those things would be a product of his design. Of course a "God" would have to have thoughts of a scope greater than ours, if you assume that the stage for our thoughts was created by him (in other words, of course a computer's maker can have thoughts of a broader scope than the computer). And if you assume that God deliberately set up the laws, then of course all matter obeys him, in a sense.

But even if I assume all those deist things, none of them gives me a good reason to doubt the picture presented by science about the Big Bang, billions of years, evolution by natural selection, and the naturalistic (nothing but matter interacting via physics) nature of thoughts and emotions, love, consciousness, etc.

What do you mean when you say "he made man from the dust of the earth."? Yes, we are composed of the molecules on earth, but I have a feeling that this is not what you mean.

And why is God out of time?

Anonymous said...

Bernardo,

What am I going to do with you?

Maybe we need to ask you...

What would a person need to show you or explain to you that would cause you to think there might be a personal real God who planned the universe?

kathy

Randy Kirk said...

I would love to know what Cordin, Duck, and hey skipper have to say about this one.

Randy Kirk said...

Whoops. hey skipper has spoken. I meant Tom.

bernardo said...

Kathy,

I know that there might be a real God who planned the universe.

I just don't think that I need "God" to explain any of the things I observe in the world. Since "no God" is simpler to me than "God", I assume there is no God, since there is no good reason for me to assume otherwise.

Besides, I find naturalistic explanations much more satisfying than "God" explanations. When I ask "How does this happen" and you say "Due to supernatural intervention", this means that I don't get to do it myself, or to understand how it works, predict it, tweak it, or reliably benefit from it. When you say "God did it", you put "it" in a black box that can't be opened, which often is the wrong step to take, and can be an obstacle to honest, methodical, thorough investigations into the causes and mechanisms and other factors behind a phenomenon. When you attribute something to God, you are telling me "You don't get to understand this, ever". So I hope you understand why I don't like it when God is unnecessarily included in explanations.

What would a person need to show you or explain to you that would cause you to realize that maybe the universe does not have a purpose, a "meaning", a plan? That maybe all that there is are particles interacting with each other according with the laws of physics? That all possible universes exist, so naturally (i.e. no luck needed) we arose in the universe where the laws and constants are such that chemistry (and thus life) can happen?

I'm not saying that your world view cannot be correct. You could be right, I could be wrong. I'm saying that my world view is also possibly correct (you could be wrong, I could be right), and I like it better, so I'll stick by it.