To me the most common argument made by atheists is that God doesn’t exist because you cannot prove God exists. Further when one points out that atheists cannot prove God does not exist, the atheist counters with the accurate statement that you “cannot prove a negative”.
As deists we are led by logic and reason, we believe in God because we know the metaphor of “I know a watch maker exists when I see a watch” is accurate, but this is not a sufficient counter argument to the atheist that doesn’t share our faith.
My counter argument to this however, is quite simple as you will hear in today’s episode. The atheist is unable to offer any proof for the existence of life apart from something we would call God. There is nothing here where the atheist can say, they can’t be called upon to produce a negative. Rather we call upon them to produce a positive.
If the basic raw material on the early earth can spontaneously produce life, even one celled organisms, please recreate this for us in a laboratory. Tune in today for a complete examination of this topic.
the problem is, it doesn’t´t sound logical to postulate a higher intelligent creator who is likely to be more complex than us. How do you explain his/her/its coming into being? who created him before he created the universe? My personal belief is that intelligent life came into existence spontaneously, and that however it happened is something science hasn’t figured out yet. Just because we haven´t figured it out doesn’t mean we have to resort to an imaginary creator who is even more difficult to explain. The universe evolved from simple matter and energy, and life has only come into existence late in the universe, from what we know, by some process which could be extremely rare (hence why it can´t be replicated in labs, yet). If you postulate a creator other than the forces of nature (physics and chemistry and more recently biology), then you just belittle nature. I think the forces of nature are our creators. Then someone may be like “oh well, how do you explain the forces of nature then? Aha got you! There has to be a creator that created them!” I would just wonder “then who created the creator?”. I don´t know, that just sound more logical to me.
Not a logical argument! Sorry it just isn’t.
“The problem is, it doesn’t´t sound logical to postulate a higher intelligent creator who is likely to be more complex than us. How do you explain his/her/its coming into being?”
I can’t and I don’t claim to. I personally see God as the eternal constant, that which has no beginning, no end, no middle, no time, no space and yet is all and everything including us at the same “time”.
But I don’t pretend that I am smarter than every other being on this planet and my definition is right, only theists do that and a desist is not a theist in spite of what you may believe to the contrary. You sound like an atheist, as a deist I have more in common with your view than most theists. Likely you are agnostic because it is the only logical view on this type of thing. You have chosen to put your faith in random accident as to the creation of the universe, the evolution of life, etc. I have chosen to place my faith in some higher intelligence behind it.
But I bet we both say, “but I could be wrong, if you show me proof of that I will change my position”. Instead we both look at evidence (evidence is not proof) and draw a conclusion of belief (that is a faith and why I consider atheism a faith).
Ask an atheist to explain abiogenesis and push hard enough and they admit they don’t know how the hell it happened. But they say they don’t need to know to well……..believe it……because their logic and reason leads them to conclude it is most likely.
Now if you have proof of abiogenesis, please do provide it to me, I’d love to see it.
Do you see how similar our views really are?
Neither of us claims to know who/what God is. You just think there is no God and I do, and actually for very similar reasons. Your questions may trouble a theist but they are not troubling to me at all.
I’m 85 yrs old. I’ve always been associated with Protestant Churches, because my wife needed me to be. Long story short, my wife died a few years ago and I’ve begun looking for God. Almost all churches require a faith in the bible and Jesus. I’ve read the bible all my life and have always found it to contain much good advice/instruction. I’ve also found it to be incredible in the true sense of the word. So, for many years I’ve considered myself to be a deist. I’d like to have someone to talk to for companionship and for progress in deism. I’ve read Paine and others, so I’m sure of my convictions. Help me if you can.
I categorize my self as an atheistic agnostic. I do not think with our current understanding of the origins of life and our current level of science and technology, that is possible to say without a doubt that there is or is not a god. But my faith, or belief, is that there is not one.
Atheists place the burden of proof on the deist because they are making a claim that a third party stepped in at some point to create life.
If you try and work your way backwards from where we are now to where we came from your first step (as an agnostic, atheist, or some deists believe) is evolution. Do you believe in evolution?
There are gaps in our current understanding of the evolutionary chain. The missing links between us and apes for example. But we “fill in” that gap with an extension of our current understand. There were steps in evolution to get us from there to here. We don’t jump to the conclusion that an external force acted on us to bridge that gap.
So if you step back again, the gap in our knowledge of exactly how life came to be originally is bridged by a natural explanation, an extension of evolution.
Just because life is currently so complex and we don’t know how it started does not justify jumping to the conclusion that there is a god. Suppose a we spot a comet that does not originate from our solar system (this has happened you can google A/2017 U1). We can’t say for certain where it originated from but based on our knowledge we assume it came from some other solar system, not that it was created by some alien race and thrown at us.
Well explained position but I say your logic is flawed. Why is my argument subject to the burden of proof but not your own?
My position is some form of intelligent “first cause” originated all we see including life.
Your position is nope, just fricken happened by random accident.
Neither one of those position can be proven, but both are extraordinary claims! In fact it is my opinion that your position is also a position of faith and in fact requires more faith than my own.
Consider it this way, my view is oh look there is a watch, since it is so complex, somewhere there must be a watch maker. Your position is oh look there is a watch, given that if shit bumped into each other long enough, something would happen, the watch is what happened. Now given that a single cell let alone the known universe is far more complex than any watch, which position requires a greater leap of faith?
The burden of proof here is equivalent, we both bear it, the deist has no greater burden than the atheist, because zero evidence for either claim exists. We are therefore left with nothing but which faith do we follow, faith in chance, faith in some creator or faith in some theology. I find the second option the most logical.
FWIW I am also agnostic, I am an agnostic deist, I know I don’t know, but I sure know why I believe what I believe. Do you? Do you really?
I did a podcast about this subject here it is, https://moderndeist.org/episode-10-which-requires-more-faith-atheism-or-deism
You are 100% right that both of our positions require faith. We are both agnostics but we have a divergent belief in the origins of life.
I also agree that we both share the burden of proof in our beliefs and as agnostics we know we actually cannot prove it either way.
To me the flaw in your argument of there having to be a watchmaker is if we are so complex that the only explanation for our existence is that we were made, who made the maker? The maker must be more complex than us if it can create life and we cant, so you are left with a more complex watch making the watch. That argument seems to collapse on itself since you are trying to start with complexity (god) and work your way to something less complex (us).
My argument is that you start simple, something much less complex and over time (lots and lots of time, life on earth is 3-4 billion years old the sun is 4-5 billion years old our galaxy is 13-14 billion years old) becomes more complex. If we don’t understand something that doesn’t automatically mean the explanation is extraordinary. Suppose I show you a really convincing magic trick and you have no idea how I do it. Just because it can look fantastic and you have absolutely no way to explain it with your current knowledge, that does not mean I possess actual magic. You would assume there is some logical explanation for it, a trick that you just don’t understand. You’re agnostic because you don’t know how I did it and I won’t show you how, but logically you know there is a rational explanation for it (atheistic agnostic) not that I am actually magical (deistic agnostic)
First it is a PLEASURE to meet an atheist who is HONEST about this subject, that both require faith and both require the burden of proof. In well into the hundreds of contacts on the subject this is the FIRST TIME. So thank you.
I don’t agree with your logic, which of course I don’t, or I would be an atheist too. But I respect your position.
FWIW most Deists are agnostics, in fact most people are agnostics, they just don’t know what the word means. Or they are so deluded by theology they believe themselves to be gnostic as to that which is for now at least currently unknowable.
I will say this, if science ever shows me abiogenesis, it will weaken my faith as a deist considerably. In fact it is their inability to do so that makes my faith so strong. If your explanation is correct, someone, somewhere should have shoved some goo and amino acids together by now and got something, anything.
Oh and why would a singularity of all consciousness need to be “magical”, again that is a flaw in logical thinking. I think many atheists judge deists though the theist lens. That is where much of the break down occurs.
Let me clarify that. Deists and Atheists may refer to say Jesus as “magical” in an argument against a theist. Due to walking on water, multiply bread, water to wine, etc. you get that right?
Okay so if a person could fly, we would call that magic. Not with a plane or other technology, but literally just fly. We would call it magic because we would believe it to be a trick, some hidden technology or illusion, why, people can’t fly.
Okay but is it magic when a bird flies, or when a bat does it, or when say a bee does it? No. Why, birds, bats and bees have an ability to fly.
So since God, whatever God is, (again I see this more as a force then an entity) is not human, why would God doing or causing something to happen that humans can’t do be any more magical than say a bee flying or a fish breathing under water.
I am not asking if you agree, but rather does that position make sense to you?
“I will say this, if science ever shows me abiogenesis, it will weaken my faith as a deist considerably. In fact it is their inability to do so that makes my faith so strong. If your explanation is correct, someone, somewhere should have shoved some goo and amino acids together by now and got something, anything.”
This is faulty thinking. Just because we do not know something now does not mean it is not knowable. Take any disease we have a cure for as an example. Before the cure you could make the same argument, that someone somewhere should have shoved some ingredients together to cure it by now. But just because they haven’t doesn’t mean it is not possible.
I’m sorry if my use of the word magical was confusing, I did not mean my example of a magic trick literally.
Your position makes sense in so far as if god were real it would be natural not magical for it to create. I agree with that. But the part I don’t agree with or understand is the leap that there is actually a god.
I would be interested to hear your take on my argument about there having to be a watchmaker-maker if you believe there is a watchmaker.
To clarify, my point about it being “magical” is that it does not fit with any of our current understanding of the universe. The agnostic part of me agrees that we do not know enough to say either way. But the atheist part of me sees that everything we do know follows the laws of nature. It follows that life would be natural too, I do not see the rationality of bringing in a third party to try and explain life.
I look at it this way. We have a line that starts at the beginning of time and ends when time does. We are on that line at some point. We do not know what the whole line looks like but we have filled in some of the gaps with our scientific knowledge. With that we extrapolate what we assume the rest of the line looks like. And that is based on what we know, all natural explanations. Just because we do not know the specific process yet does not mean it is not natural. It does not also mean for sure that it is natural but it is safer to assume more of the same than some other explanation.
A different way of putting it is if the parts of the line that we can see are blue (natural) and only blue it is a safe bet to assume the rest of the line is blue. You shouldn’t jump to the conclusion that just because the blue looks so fantastic and complicated and that we can’t see all of the line, that that means that some part of the line must be red (god).
Thank you for having an honest and open conversation about this. Like you said, it’s hard to get people to admit they don’t know something.
I am sorry but no, it is not flawed thinking. What you are saying in by complete accident random shit created life. But we can’t make that happen, it isn’t about not knowing how, we have not ever observed it ever happen, EVER at all.
Which is the same argument atheists make against God by the way.
Again this is why I say your faith is a bigger leap than my own.
Ok, just so I understand, the sum of your belief is that we do not know how to create life so that probably means god made life.
I suppose you could similarly sum up my belief by saying that we have no proof that there is any external force acting on the universe so god probably does not exist.
I’m not trying to come across rude if it sounds that way, I am truly trying to understand. Just as you haven’t meet any atheists that admit burden of proof, I have not meet theists this willing to discuss their beliefs. Usually it is just that they believe in god because the bible says he’s real and they believe the bible because it comes from god.
No not “because we don’t know how” but rather the scientific explanation makes no sense absent of not being able to create or observe the phenomenon. It isn’t just about life, that is but one example, one that make a solid case, but I don’t feel absent an intelligence (which may be simply a conscious universe itself) science can explain to my satisfactory the existence of anything.
Also please don’t refer to Deists as Theists, were are very, very different groups of people.
You are right, I apologize. I referred to theists incorrectly, when I meant deist.
I’ve not had time to listen to your podcast yet, but my argument for God is that mind is the only known substance, and we couldn’t even in principle conceive of mind arising out of nonmind, so what’s the point of being anything but an idealist?
This has probably said. Or maybe it’s a new version of Jung’s collective conscious. But my issue with an atheistic view, is that even if you can create life in a lab, there is still the open philosophical argument as to why does live strive to persist? The atoms we all are made of have the same energy and physical properties in us or as part of any inanimate object. But why when it is part of an organism, does that species and/ or individual want to live and strives to thrive. Sometimes as a species and sometimes the species strives to persist by the wrought determination of its individuals to survive. The carbon et al could fall to the earth and nothing about it changes. But in a human it becomes part of a struggle to consume and incorporate more elements, then reproduce another element procuring entity that will convert energy to liquify ionic iron as hemoglobin and trade electron orbitals of oxygen to utilize its energy for more consumption and reproduction.
If you did create life what keeps those elements “alive” and why does everything alive want to proliferate life. Even if you consciously suppress your body’s drives for survival, your body without a cerebral conscience will induce its corporeal elements to eat, breath, evacuate, reproduce, socialize.
Then there is the fascinating issue of DNA evolving to evolve. It seems to want to recombine with a corresponding strand and create new combinations to have the most diversity as possible so as to always find a niche where it could persists regardless of the unpredictable environmental changes. It (life)seems to know that the sun will supernova in a few hundred thousand years and it is already striving (through human intelligence evolving) to relocate, when this planet is no longer suitable.
“I will say this, if science ever shows me abiogenesis, it will weaken my faith as a deist considerably.”
I don’t think that would weaken my faith at all, because it still requires the injection of intelligence/design/imposed order (the actions of the scientists) into the otherwise random system (the raw materials). A better experiment would be to recreate the conditions that supposedly existed when life began exactly and leave it with no further manipulation *at all*. But of course, that experiment will fail, because the whole argument of that evolution could have been unguided depends on extreme lengths of time and/or matter to make the statistics work out. Read the Infinite Monkey Theorem article on Wikipedia to see what I’m talking about. The problem with this argument is the assumption that the size of the universe and the vast length of time since it began are so vast that they are functionally infinite. They are not. Even in such a vast and old universe, the statistics do not pan out, and the odds of a living cell randomly organizing out of raw materials, undirected, approaches 0.
My favorite quote from that article: “These images invite the reader to consider the incredible improbability of a large but finite number of monkeys working for a large but finite amount of time producing a significant work, and compare this with the even greater improbability of certain physical events. Any physical process that is even less likely than such monkeys’ success is effectively impossible, and it may safely be said that such a process will never happen. It is clear from the context that Eddington is not suggesting that the probability of this happening is worthy of serious consideration. On the contrary, it was a rhetorical illustration of the fact that below certain levels of probability, the term improbable is functionally equivalent to impossible.”