Is There a God? Why It Matters to Atheists

I am going to devote a number of posts on the question of the existence of gods and I am currently working on a podcast. I’d like to talk about why I am doing this and there are really two reasons.

I Like the Discussion

I find myself drawn to any discussion on the existence of god. I enjoy seeing good atheist arguments and watching theists’ arguments being defeated. I do not know why. I seem to just like delving into the philosophical, moral, and scientific issues at play.

While I do think answering the question of whether any gods exist is an important one, projects aimed at eliminating poverty, preventing war, healing the sick and, caring for the environment are more pressing. I’m interested in doing this series mainly because I enjoy it.

These Are Important Issues

That said, I certainly do think there are a number of benefits and harms that flow from getting this question wrong. If a god does exist and denying or ignoring him means people will be hurt, including missing out on eternal life and facing to eternal anguish, it would be better to know if this god exists in the first place. There may also be all kinds of other benefits to believing, or acting religious. For example,  prayers and rituals might create positive results in this life and in any afterlife.

On the other hand, if no gods exist, then it would seem that a great deal of resources are being wasted and a multitude of harms have been needlessly imposed. I think we can be more confident about some of these harms than others, and I divide them into three rough categories.

Harms that are Almost Certainly Caused by Religion or Theism

We can be most confident about the social divisions, strife, and psychological distress caused because of differences in religious belief. Families are divided, moms cry for atheist or apostate children they believe destined for Hell. Some believers feel offended or guilty over sin and blasphemy and so on. Also, a lot of money and time is being spent on religious buildings and rituals which could be used more directly for alleviating social problems, for building community, or simply for entertainment. I would also place the refusal of secular medicine on religious grounds in this category.

Harms I Think are at Least Partly Caused by Religion or Theism

There are of course many more troubling issues, but these are also more difficult to link to religion or theism. Terrorism, genocide, and crimes against humanity, such as genital mutilation, seem quite often religiously motivated, and religious justifications are commonly advanced for them. We also have discriminatory views and practices against equity-seeking groups (such as homosexuals and women) that seem to fall into this category as well. But we cannot deny that there are sure to be social, economic, and psychological causes for these harms too. It may very well be that if no one ever believed in any gods, something like the Crusades, the Inquisition, Al-Quaeda, ISIS, and the Westboro Baptist Church would have happened anyway. Of course, the same can be said for the many charitable activities and goodwill for which religion is given as a justification. These kinds of things cut both ways.

I don’t think we know what the relative strength of possible causal factors are for these kinds of harms or good works, or that we ever will know. But what we can say with confidence, is that if theism and religion do play some causal role in these atrocities,  reducing the belief would lessen the harm. Even if there is no causal link, we are still better off in demonstrating atheism to be true, because at least we will have taken away a stated justification. Then again, if charity and goodwill are also partially attributable to religion, these too would suffer. But I think reducing the harms would likely be more beneficial on balance. I can of think good secular reasons for things like helping the poor and curing disease, but I can’t think of any for things like witch-burning, genital mutilation, or homophobia.

Harms I Suspect are Related to Religion or Theism

A harm which is probably the least easy to establish, is my view that theism actively encourages uncritical thinking and bad epistemology about important issues and this bleeds into other important areas. Theism is about things more important than life and death, such as the fate of eternal souls. When it comes to justifying these beliefs, it is not empirical evidence and logic that are employed, but rather tradition, wishful thinking, blind faith, ideology, and dogma. I don’t think that we can honestly say that people will suspend reason on these religious issues, but rely on reason alone for other important issues.

What Do I hope to Accomplish?

I know that many religious apologists will argue that their beliefs can be justified entirely by empirical evidence and/or reason. It is these arguments that I wish to address in these posts. I think all of their arguments can be refuted leaving only things like intuition and dogma to justify believing in any gods. If people still wish to use these to justify their positions, then there is not much anyone can do, but I think they must admit they are in a weaker position.

I don’t think anyone will read single a post here and change their minds. But I think efforts like this provide a counterweight to the well-organized and well-funded projects intended to justify theism. I think counter-apologetics are helpful to thoughtful theists in their journeys  to reason and out of religion, lessening the harm described above.

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My Beleifs – A Comment Becomes a Post

I was writing this in a comment in a blog called Strange Notions. I have not posted anything here for a while and I thought it might make for some interesting reading. It is a comment to an article titled: How to Perfectly Know the Existence of God, by , and it is basically Aquinas’. It is on the website “Strange Notions.”

I am responding to a post by someone saying that if you can’t proof with 100% certainty God does not exist,

“…why [are] atheists (specially on the internet), they’re always trying to deny or disproof God?… I think this is where faith comes [in] , I don’t need 100% proof to believe in God, what I have is enough for me. But atheists, have this same faith to not believe.”

Here is my response:

A God or pantheon of gods may exist. Indeed, all kinds of supernatural possibilities are… possible. The question is how likely are they, given what we observe? Is it reasonable to believe in them?

Generally atheists on the internet are challenging assertions of knowledge of a god, or reasonable belief in a god, or, as is here in this very piece, that perfect knowledge that a god exists can be demonstrated with relative ease.

I agree, you don’t need 100% proof to believe in something, nor do you need 100% proof to reject believing in something. But we can make arguments about what is reasonable to believe based on what we observe.

As for faith, it depends what you mean by that word. I believe things when there is a reasonable basis to do so, based on evidence. I see no point in using the word “faith”.

Generally, atheists like myself lack a belief in any gods because what is presented to us is too vague, or there simply is not a good enough evidence to believe in them, particularly since these gods and other divine beings are claimed to do things that science tells us are impossible. Moreover, particularly with the Christian god, there are large problems of it engaging in acts I consider to be obviously immoral and unconscionable, which are not sufficiently explained by theists, but which are very understandable as historic myths written down by iron age mystics based on theology, oral tradition, and straight up creative writing.

In terms of the arguments against god, particularly the Christian idea of a god, here are a few good positive atheist arguments:

The argument from evil/suffering. (If just one instance of the suffering that seems to be pointless to us, is in fact pointless, there can be no all-powerful, all-good deity, that cares about us.)

The argument from non-resistant unbelievers. (If there is just one person, who honestly does wish to be in a loving relationship with god, and is not, no god exists.)

The argument from non-god objects. (If god created the universe, and he had the option of not creating it, the only good option was not to create. Before elements of creation with free will existed, the universe was populated by perfection and ultra goodness alone. It is impossible to improve upon this, therefore by creating other conscious beings with the capacity for sin and immorality, God could only create the risk of negative effects. It could only degrade his perfection.)

(You will note all of these arguments are related to Justin Scheiber. He is pretty much the only and definitely the individual I have come across, who makes positive atheist arguments.)

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The Non-Conference

November 1, 2014 there will be a conference in Toronto for non-believers. Please come if you can. More info at http://www.thenon-conference.com/

The-Non-Con-Ad

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I Have a Problem with Religion, Not Irrationality.

I do not have a problem with myth, fantasy, imagination,  nonsense, silliness, inspiration, or fiction. I do not even have any inherent problem with arbitrary decision-making, subjectivity, ignoring evidence, or irrational beliefs! I do not think there is anything wrong with these things in and of themselves.

Magic mirror

I have a problem with beliefs based on these things being relied on for important practical decisions. I have a problem with them being considered as important as the health and welfare of human beings. I am especially concerned if they are characterized as the most important beliefs.

I would like to advance a definition of “religious” that captures both this concern and the common usage of the word.

The definition I am advancing does not list set of criteria, such as worship, or a belief in deities, or super-naturalism. I find defining religion in this way renders the definition being either too narrow or too broad. If we limit religion to theism, we exclude Scientology, Raelianism, Taoism, and some forms of Buddhism, all of which are intuitively “religions”. If we expand the definition to something like ‘a perspective on questions of ultimate concern’ we include all kinds of secular philosophy and personal views that don’t seem to fit with what we mean by “religious”.

We also have this phenomena of feeling like some forms of otherwise secular activity are properly characterized as “religious”. We might say someone is not merely an environmentalist,  but is “religious” about it. But when we use the word in this way, I think we really are engaging the same general concept as when we talk of people being “religious” in the theistic sense.

I think all of these things have one aspect in common: a relationship between irrational beliefs and their application to important aspects of human life. The definition I propose is:

“A belief’s religious significance increases, when its personal importance varies inversely with its rational basis.”

In other words, a belief is more “religious” when it is relatively more important, but has less of a rational basis.

If we make “RS” to be “religious significance”, “PI” to be “personal importance” and “RB” to be “rational basis”, the definition can be read as follows:

“RS = PI ÷RB”

By “personal importance” I mean beliefs about things like morality, health, life and death, and whether or not one is going to suffer eternal conscious torture. Contrast this to the importance we give to beliefs about entertainment or hobbies.

By “rational basis” I mean the ability of the belief to be established by scientific, historical, or journalistic methods to professional standards. The more a belief can be established by these methods the more of a rational basis it has.

Needless to say, such a definition does not result in a clear method for placing beliefs into the category of “religious” or “secular”, but I think it draws out what we are getting at when we call something distinctively “religious”.

Lets us look at some examples.  Lets take three Christian beliefs:

  1. the belief in existence of Jesus,
  2. the Resurrection of Jesus, and
  3. that Jesus had “INRI” inscribed on the cross he was nailed to.

By the existence of Jesus, I mean did a human named Jesus live from roughly year 0 to 33 A.D. in Palestine and was crucified by the Roman Empire? Depending on your perspective, this can have either a very high or low Personal Importance. In the context of Christianity, this is, as I understand it, a prerequisite for salvation and eternal life after death. For non-Christians of course it may be trivial or neutral. Let us take the Christian perspective and attribute a very high rating of Personal Importance say 75 out of 100.

This issue also has a pretty high Rational Basis. While not universally accepted, most historians, Christian and otherwise, accept that such a person existed and was crucified. Let us also give it a Rational Basis rating of 75. Applying the algorithm, we have a Religious Significance of 1. (Note to non-Christians, for whom this issue us unimportant, it scores even lower.)

On the question of Jesus’s resurrection, I would attribute a Personal Importance value for this as 100, for everyone. If Jesus really did die and come back to life as a means to save us from damnation (however defined) and to provide an avenue to eternal life, this would be enormously important for any human being. However, the Rational Basis for this claim is quite low. Science tells us that such an occurrence is extremely unlikely if not impossible, it requires something supernatural and contrary to established scientific laws in order to happen. Historians will not generally accept it as true, and so on. Being charitable to this claim, let us give it a Rational Basis rating of 5. This results in a Religious Significance rating of  20.

On our final claim, I think it the question of  whether “INRI” was inscribed on the cross or not, is marginal, if perhaps interesting. Let us give it a low Personal Importance rating of 5. But, it is accepted by historians as quite likely true, so let us give it a Rational Basis rating of 75. This gives us a religious significance of .07.

I think these ratings fit well with our intuitions of how important these various claims are to Christianity in the religious sense. That Jesus existed (score 1) is important to Christianity, but not as important as the resurrection (score 20). Whereas the question of what the Romans wrote on his cross, if anything, is quite insignificant (score 0.07).

The same seems to apply to non-theistic uses of the term “religious”. If we take a spectator sport analogy, we say someone is religious about hockey when their fandom exceeds what most of us would consider reasonable. If someone misses a surgery to watch the final, we would call them religious about the sport.

Moreover, in circumstances where the rational basis is quite low, such as in the case of  art and taste, we don’t consider someone to be “religious” about it until the personal importance rises to a certain level.  For example, a Star Trek fan becomes “religious” about it when she refuses to take off her Starfleet uniform when attending jury duty.

This phenomena of irrational beliefs being given high personal importance is also at play with “alternative” or “complementary” medicine. But I admit, the term “religious” may not fit as well in this context. That is until someone ignores real medicine in favour of something like homeopathy for a serious condition. I think we might label these people as acting religious, but we would more likely characterize these beliefs as ignorant or dogmatic, two terms that also seem to fit quite well in describing religious beliefs I would say.

Ultimately, I do not care what label people use, but the term “religious” seems to fit well for the set of beliefs and actions that I find concerning in this sense, and this analysis unites my interest in anti-theism and other skeptical issues. I know most religious folk will object on the basis that they believe their beliefs are rational, based on evidence, science, history and so on. I usually disagree, let’s have that discussion.

Believe what you like! Enjoy art, fiction, and whimsy and allow them to enrich your life. It seems obvious to say this, but when you start to talk as if these things are reasons to take a belief seriously, I will be concerned. If I think your belief will affect the rights, health or welfare of myself or others, I will try and stop you. To the extent I “attack” religion, it is this aspect I am going after.

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Big M is Kind of a Big Deal

On Sunday, May 30, 1982, police officers of the City of Calgary attended at premises owned by Big M and open to the public. They witnessed several transactions including the sale of groceries, plastic cups and a bicycle lock. Big M was charged with a violation of s. 4 of the Lord’s Day Act.

What a crime! It is hard to believe that thirty years ago you could become a criminal in Canada for operating a business on a Sunday. The law was overturned in “R. v. Big M Drug Mart Ltd.” It was the first major interpretation of the new Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and it struck down the Lord’s Day Act as a violation of religious freedom.

The case, penned by universally revered and respected Chief Justice Brian Dickson, held that a religious purpose is not a legitimate purpose for Canadian legislation and that a law enacted for a purely religious purpose violates our Constitution and cannot be saved for any reason.

sundayshop

Nothing spawns a movement like shopping.

The law in question said:

4. It is not lawful for any person on the Lord’s Day, except as provided herein, or in any provincial Act or law in force on or after the 1st day of March 1907, to sell or offer for sale or purchase any goods, chattels, or other personal property, or any real estate, or to carry on or transact any business of his ordinary calling, or in connection with such calling, or for gain to do, or employ any other person to do, on that day, any work, business, or labour.

As in any Charter case, the Court had to examine the purpose and effect of the legislation In doing so, it recognized that there were two possible purposes for such a law, “one religious, namely securing public observance of the Christian institution of the Sabbath and the other secular, namely providing a uniform day of rest from labour.” Contrary to how almost identical laws in the United States were interpreted, the Canadian Supreme Court held that this law had a religious purpose. To understand why, we need to look at the division of powers between the federal and provincial governments.

The Court looked back at the history of laws promoting Sunday observance, dating all the way back to the King of Wessex in the 7th Century, if you can believe it. Early on in Canadian jurisprudence, provinces attempted prohibit Sunday work under the powers afforded them by the “property and civil rights”, and “merely local or private nature” provisions of the Constitution. These decisions rejected these laws, finding that they were criminal prohibitions under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Federal Parliament. The Federal Legislature then enacted a criminal law, “The Lord’s Day Act”  in 1906, prohibiting work on Sunday and allowing the provinces to ban it as well.

Had the provincial laws been enacted for the purpose of giving people the same day off, they would have survived the division of powers challenge as having a property and civil rights” purpose. Since they did not, the 1906 criminal law challenged by Big M was clearly not for the purpose of giving people the same day off. Therefore, there had to be some other purpose, and the court held that it was definitely a religious purpose. Justice Dickson wrote “Its religious purpose, in compelling sabbatical observance, has been long‑established and consistently maintained by the courts of this country.

This is in stark contrast to how the cases played out in the United States, where similar legislation was indeed held to be for the purpose of a day of rest, according to Dickson J, “in order not to run afoul of the religion clauses of the First Amendment”. Since we have no explicit separation of church and state in Canada, there may have been little fear of these laws being quashed for establishing a religion, particularly back in 1906. But then we enacted the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Justice Dickson did not mince words in killing the law:

To the extent that it binds all to a sectarian Christian ideal, the Lord’s Day Act works a form of coercion inimical to the spirit of the Charter and the dignity of all non‑Christians. In proclaiming the standards of the Christian faith, the Act creates a climate hostile to, and gives the appearance of discrimination against, non‑Christian Canadians. It takes religious values rooted in Christian morality and, using the force of the state, translates them into a positive law binding on believers and non‑believers alike. The theological content of the legislation remains as a subtle and constant reminder to religious minorities within the country of their differences with, and alienation from, the dominant religious culture. Non‑Christians are prohibited for religious reasons from carrying out activities which are otherwise lawful, moral and normal. The arm of the state requires all to remember the Lord’s day of the Christians and to keep it holy. The protection of one religion and the concomitant non‑protection of others imports disparate impact destructive of the religious freedom of the collectivity.

The Court held that a religious purpose is never a valid legislative purpose in Canada. It did so indirectly by rejecting the argument that irrespective of original purpose, the effect of the legislation was secular, to give a day of rest:

Once the purpose has been classified as offensive, then the legislation cannot be saved by permissible effect. As a result it is unnecessary to determine whether the secular effect here in issue is sufficient, or whether a secular effect could ever be relevant, once a finding has been made that the legislation is invalid by reason of an impermissible purpose.

This is important to keep in mind when considering whether Canada has the separation of church and state or is secular. The Canadian constitution prevents the legislature from ever having a religious purpose in its laws. Any religious purpose invalidates the law, even if it doesn’t prevent or compel a religious practice directly.

Another interesting element of the case, of particular note given the recent “Hobby Lobby” decision, is that the “person” here asserting a violation of Freedom of Religion was a corporation. This is because it was the corporation that was charged criminally as a legal “person”. Accordingly, there was no issue of standing for Big M to advance its argument.  To avoid conviction the corporation was able to advance a challenge that the law violated the Charter. The Court held that the fact that it was a corporation was irrelevant, as was its inability to hold religious beliefs. “An accused atheist would be equally entitled to resist a charge under the Act.

In Canada, we can become troubled by the fact that our Constitution allows for state funding of religious education and that the Charter itself proclaims the supremacy of God. It is refreshing to look back at a case like Big M and remind ourselves that our government is secular and cannot make laws for religious purposes.

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The Hobby Lobby Case and the Unreason of Religion

Like most Freedom of Religion cases, the US Supreme Court ruling in Burwell v Hobby Lobby engages the issue of how far courts should delve into the reasonableness of religious beliefs. Like in Anselem, the Hobby Lobby decision reinforces the position that courts should not inquire into this issue at all.

296-1258907863HXOs

An hobby horse.

Responding to the argument advanced by the government that the requirement to provide health insurance covering all birth control is not a substantial burden on religion, the majority in Hobby Lobby noted:

This argument dodges the question that RFRA presents (whether the HHS mandate imposes a substantial burden on the ability of the objecting parties to conduct business in accordance with their religious beliefs ) and instead addresses a very different question that the federal courts have no business addressing (whether the religious belief asserted in a RFRA case is reasonable). [my emphasis]

While the Court observes there are very good reasons for declining to engage in this analysis it does not say what they are. Actually, I think there is only one good reason for this, that religion is simply not reasonable. Requiring religious practices to demonstrate they are reasonable would preclude just about any claim for religious freedom from succeeding.

An hotel lobby.

It is not a question of these issues being too complex, subtle, personal, or emotional to scrutinize in legal disputes. Harassment cases are a good example of how courts can, and do deal with such difficult issues. There is no such aversion to delving deeply into whether a possible victim of harassment’s  view that she was harassed is reasonable. The law (in Canada at least) requires an objective finding that the victim was harassed. “Objective” here meaning that the reasonable person, given the context, would feel harassed.

In terms of religious practice, however, courts rightly decline to make such an inquiry. I would say the reason they do this is that they recognize that religious practices are by definition unreasonable. While religious apologists will claim that their religious beliefs are reasonable, it is quite clear that they would be utterly unable even to adduce convincing evidence, on legal standards, that any god or supernatural phenomena exists in the first place. But in a case such as Hobby Lobby, they would need to show not only that it is reasonable to believe that a God exists, but that this God has a negative position on abortion, that this includes some contraception, and means not allowing your business to have a health insurance package that funds the offensive kind of contraception.

Legal standards of evidence and proof are too high to allow for any such religious claim to succeed. If standards were lowered, contradictory religious beliefs would be accepted in various cases. For example, courts would have to accept as reasonable both an employer’s view that employees must accept Christ as their saviour to continue working there, and the Jewish employee’s view that it is blasphemy for him to do so.

Religious people may disagree and believe that their religious beliefs would be held reasonable in a western court of law. This would seem to be homicide detective J. Warner Wallace’s viewpoint. However, as I have noted, in making his cold case Wallace immediately abandons vital legal standards such as naturalism and the prohibition on hearsay.

It is due to the inherent unreasonableness of religious beliefs that courts decline to rule on their reasonableness. Instead, they rightly limit their inquiry to whether the claimants hold a genuine belief that the practice in question is part of their religion. This is possibly the lowest threshold in law, and it is acceptable only when properly balanced against the rights of others not to suffer a detriment due to such beliefs. I think the Court failed in Hobby Lobby to consider the rights of the women to be treated substantively equal when working at Hobby Lobby, as anywhere else.

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The Futility of Design Arguments

I will grant that one of the most compelling arguments supporting theism is that of design. Like many apologetics, these arguments identify a aspect of the world we observe that is awe inspiring and to which no natural explanation is known and it seems impossible that one will emerge and label God as the unknown and unknowable explanation.

The game of the [celestial] sphere, or the universe according to [the astronomer] Tyco [sic.] Brahe.

Le jeu de la sphere ou de l’univers selon Tyco Brahe. 1661

Take the so-called “fine tuning” arguments. These acknowledge that there are a number of constants in the universe that are so precise that if they were even slightly different, nothing like the present universe could have arisen. Wikipedia provides an example:

for example, the strong nuclear force were 2% stronger than it is (i.e., if the coupling constant representing its strength were 2% larger), while the other constants were left unchanged, diprotons would be stable and hydrogen would fuse into them instead of deuterium and helium.[10] This would drastically alter the physics of stars, and presumably preclude the existence of life similar to what we observe on Earth. The existence of the di-proton would short-circuit the slow fusion of hydrogen into deuterium. Hydrogen would fuse so easily that it is likely that all of the Universe’s hydrogen would be consumed in the first few minutes after the Big Bang.[10] However, some of the fundamental constants describe the properties of the unstable strange, charmed, bottom and top quarks and mu and tau leptons that seem to play little part in the Universe or the structure of matter.

I do not presume to understand the physics of this, or a number of other examples of precise cosmological constants, but I accept that they are extremely precise. One website states that the maximum deviation ratio for the “cosmological constant” is 1:10120. I do not know what this means, but it appears uncontroversial that this is indeed the case. This is really incredibly precise.

The argument is that to be so precise implies that a mind must have decided on these, that they could not have arisen by “mere chance”. This of course simply dismisses the possibility that they are necessarily this precise, either because we are one in an infinite number of universes, or some other physical reason. See the Rationally Speaking podcast and blog for some counter-arguments in this regard.

But the point is that the level of precision itself means they are virtually impossible to be established by any other means than a deity. This is why they are considered “fine tuned”. If we turn on a radio that is perfectly tuned to a station, we acknowledge that it is unlikely that it just happened to be at that frequency by chance. The precision of these cosmological constants is so much more precise, many orders of magnitude more precise, which, we are led to believe implies only a god of such staggering power could have organized.

What I would like to point out is that this is all being considered from the human perspective. The constants are incredibly precise from our perspective, but they would not be precise at all from God’s perspective. A 2% deviation in the strong nuclear force may seem small to us, but it is needlessly vague for a being that has no limits to its power and faculties. This being is designing the laws of nature themselves and it would have no limits  on precision. 2% is twice as big as a 1% deviation. In fact, it would have been nothing for the creator of the universe to make the allowable deviation to be 0.000000000000000000000000001% or a trillion times more precise than that, and so on. In other words, given the power of the suggested god, the precision of the constants shows us nothing. It could have made them much more or much less precise.

What is really going on here is that humans have identified some properties of the universe that we find awe-inspiring and we do not understand them. Any time we have such a situation, theists will say the only answer is a god. The reasonable response is that we do not know why they have this level of precision.

This draws out that the idea God is not really an explanation for anything, it is a place-holder for an explanation. It is unfalsifiable. It is a panacea. It can explain anything and everything and any inconsistencies are actually proof of it because only a god can do what seems impossible to us.

Take the following examples of hypothetical discussions:

Theist: The Universe is designed for us! Look at the cosmological constants, they are so precise!

Atheist: But these same constants make the majority of the universe overwhelmingly hostile to life. Interstellar space, black holes, all the other planets in our solar system…

Theist: But only a god would make it so vast as to show us how special we are and to be in awe of his power.

Atheist: But if there were only one planet it was teeming with life, would that be evidence of no god? Isn’t this what theists used to believe and think made us so special?

In other words, a universe with only one planet filled with life suggests a god made it  just for us. Or a enormous universe with trillions of stars and empty space shows us how special we are too.

If we were to find out tomorrow that we were completely wrong about the constants and that they are much more fuzzy, this would still be proof of God. In this case, it was not God’s hand in designing the constants so precise that allows life, but ensuring that they were so vague that our universe was sure to support life. And so on.

If we were to find out tomorrow,  the top quark is heavier than currently thought, meaning the Universe is much more unstable and likely to annihilate us all in a moment’s notice, would this mean it is less designed for life? Of course not, this would be part of God’s design, likely his final judgment and power to end it all and bring the saved into his timeless, space-less transcendence.

You cannot take a fact and say that it points to God but even if it was completely different it would still point to God. This is why unfalsifiable premises make reasoned arguments pointless.

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