How do you answer the argument that god exists from the supposed perfection of the universe?

I was just talking to my otherwise very smart, even brilliant friend (you've all heard this story before) and the first argument he gives me for why he believes in god (and is a Christian no less) is that he just couldn't believe that something so perfect as all this could exist without a god to create it. I took up the argument on other points, but I was wondering how y'all like to counter this bit of nonsense.

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I think your point is the key issue.  What does "perfect" have to do with the universe?  The universe just "is".  Since humans evolved on the earth as the earth's climate and geography existed - and evolved - of course it is perfectly suited to us - we were evolved within this ecosystem.  Which is also precautionary, since we are in the midst of destroying it....

Good points SB!

I agree Pamela. The point I think my friend was really trying to make was a conflation of the universe being extremely complex, which is a separate argument but one which is much easier to answer, and that the universe turned out pretty good for him, because if he meant that it turned out pretty good for everyone, well, that would be pretty absurd, wouldn't it? Thanks for the response.

In any argument, the first thing you want to do is pick out the warrants.  The warrant here is obvious with the use of the word "supposed."

Another warrant is that your friend is stating that "a perfect universe" is evidence for the existence of God(s).  Here it would be wise to ask your friend his or her criteria for said "perfect universe."  This would be something like, "In order for the universe to be considered 'perfect', x, y, and z must hold true."  Although I know the argument will not get further than this, let's continue to stroll down this path a bit more.    

You would thus continue to argue that the universe is not perfect.  However, even if the universe is "perfect" by your friends likely non credible set of criteria, which according to your friends logic would as a result produce a God, why is it that only one God is produced?  

Maybe a wise Christian (oxymoron here?) could argue that when the conditions are just right to produce one planet, one god is also produced.  But this would mean that their would be many Gods throughout the universe who had a jurisdiction of one planet. Or perhaps maybe when the conditions are just right for one universe to be produced, then as a result one God for that universe is also produced.  But this breaks down the fundamental belief of theists that the universe was created by a Deity.   

If your friend reverts back to the argument that God was always their from the beginning (make sure to ask him/her when exactly the beginning is...) and perfect which is why the universe is perfect, then you should refer to the argument that the universe is not perfect.  

You can see how absurd the logic will become when it is rooted in the assumption that a perfect universe is evidence of God.  
 

Hope this helps...

Perfect, in what way?


The observation that life/the universe exists is only indicative of those things alone. What would a universe look like that does not contain a God, and how do you get from "a God exists" to "a Christian God exists". Remember, he is making the claim, so the burden of proof lies on him.

As for certain arguments such as fine tuning, how does he know that the universal constants are fine tuned? Can he demonstrate that they even can exist with different values? How does he come to this determination? By what method does God tune them? How does he know that, given Gods existence, he can tune these constants? Sure, you can define him as being able to do so, but this does not indicate that he can.

There are so many possible avenues for him to take this argument, and equally as many rebuttals, that it's hard to give advice for further counter-claims without knowing what his exact argument is.

Thanks Chris, I did actually make the argument to my friend that the arguments for believing in a deity are one thing, but the arguments for believing in Christianity are so absurd that no rational person could believe them. I'm not sure what effect this argument had on him yet, if any. Time will tell!

If god's exists on universe,then the god will help us.Albeit the topic is fait accompli.

Perfection of the universe? Interesting... The universe may appear organized or perfect to a being(human) who is here for a micro-fraction of its existence, but it is not. In fact, it is a place where Black Holes are sucking up everything near them including light; where massive amounts of radiation is emitted from just about every object; where star are continually exploding; taking its solar system with it, and where asteroids and whole galaxies are destructively colliding into each other. Besides the fact that nearly everything on this planet and in space can easily kill life as we know it?


When theists come to me spouting arguments about the existence of a god or gods, I simply ask them to “Prove it”. ;O) You see, I contend that “truth” is always verifiable. And that the very nature of “truth” is what makes it distinguishable from what is false. By this I mean truth(anything that is true and real) has independently testable/verifiable evidence to directly support it. Also that it consistently, and continually manifests in some way in which it can be independently measured, tested and verified.


I sometimes illustrate my point by showing the difference between something as elusive to the senses as their god character and lets say: gravity. You see, with gravity, one cannot see it, hear it, touch it, smell it, or taste it, yet it exists. That is because gravity consistently manifests in reality where I, or anyone else can independently demonstrate its effect. Then I point out the fact that this cannot be said/shown of the fictional/imaginary god that they believe in, or any other of the equally imaginary characters such as fairies, leprechauns, unicorns, and/or Spiderman. ;O)


Like Tracie Harris from Atheist Experience more or less stated. After every argument(logical or otherwise) has been presented for the existence of a particular god(or gods); ultimately the theists needs to demonstrate/prove it with independently testable/verifiable evidence. Because arguments alone do not equal proof of existence. :O)


Katalyzt

In my entire non-believer life I have always been mystified by those who accept the god story as immutable truth. I can understand a child’s capacity to accept the story just as they accept Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and monsters under the bed. However, at a young age the fat guy, rabbit, and the monster cease to be real but the god myth remains. Even in the young there is little difficulty seeing those myths for what the are yet the far more incredible fabrication is accepted without doubt. ….I remain mystified.

I understand you being mystified Jim.  I was a believer for ~55 years and I'm still mystified why it took me that long to break-out, as I was always a lover of science, and scientific thinking.

Some of my tentative conclusions so far are:

1.  Fear!!  When we question Santa, adults let us.  When we question God, we get jumped-on and made to fear Satan getting his hooks into us and fear eternal torture.  In my case, it was mostly the Mormon fear of never being good enough to be with my wonderful family in heaven.

2.  Personally, I had very loving parents, and for a long time, "knew" they would never do me wrong.

3. Despite my love of science and scientific reasoning, I was so completely brainwashed that I "knew" that scientists sometimes were completely wrong (when they contradicted Mormonism).  The biggest contradiction was Evolution.  I was programmed to reject Evolution without studying it, and I did.  Once I realized that religion had never lived-up to it's promises and had never helped me, that realization gave me the courage to study Evolution.  Once I started those studied, I very quickly saw that it made sense and had overwhelming evidence that showed it to be true.

Because I was brainwashed from intfanthood upward, I can to some extent understand why those in my position take a long time to break-out or never break-out.  The people that mystify me are the ones that are not raised religious, and yet seek-out religion, as well as those that see the falsity of a religion they were raised in, but go on to believe another instead of questioning and studying.  I also have a hard time understanding those that believe other questionable things that have no scientific evidence to back them up.

It's just plain hard to see the viewpoint of someone that is outside our experience.

Your name rocks. 

1. No matter how they spin it its still institutionalized child abuse and even today we still see it all over. Not implying your family did.

It really is the saddest part that people whose family are not religions seek out religion. I go with the assumption that there has to be a genetic component to superstition and needing it.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2615824/

I am mystified as well Jim.  I find it weird, sometimes laughable, sometimes scary, etc...

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