Thursday, October 14, 2010

An Atheist Responds to the ID Argument

What if it was found that women at a brothel were dying prematurely from a variety of venereal diseases – not such a stretch of the imagination – and the owner responded:

• “This doesn’t concern me. I’ve provided my ladies with health care and prophylactics. What they do with them is their concern, not mine!”

This, of course, is ridiculous. The owner can’t absolve himself of his responsibility. There are many applications of this same principle. The atheist (philosophical naturalist) does the same kind of thing. He too will say, “These question don’t concern me and aren’t the concern of science.” However, they are and must be!

Last week, an atheist challenged me to explain why ID (intelligent design/ supernaturalism) is preferable to the naturalistic understanding of science. I answered this way:

1. ID can explain everything, naturalism nothing. There is not a shred of evidence that anything happens apart from ID. ID is the most parsimonious and therefore elegant explanation. [It’s simple and requires only one directly un-testable hypothesis.]

2. ID is an adequate cause since God is omnipotent. Instead, naturalism claims that everything sprang into existence, uncaused and out of nothing. This is anti-science – causeless phenomena that just happen.

3. Something or Someone has to be eternal to explain the origin of the universe. However, we know that the universe, time and space aren’t eternal. Therefore, the cause must be found in the supernatural.

4. God is the designer of all the incredibly designed artifacts around us – intelligence, consciousness, the laws of physics, the fine-tuning of the universe. The natural doesn’t design anything. In fact, there are no natural laws apart from ID.

5. The immutability of the laws and the fine-tuning argue for something Transcendent, since this universe is just molecules-in-motion.

6. The uniform operation of the laws throughout the universe also argues in favor of the Transcendent. [Forces diminish with distance. Just try sitting around a campfire. For some supernatural reason, the laws work uniformly no matter where we are.]

7. ID also explains our ability to comprehend the world. After all, we are created in the image of God.

The essence of the response of my atheistic combatant was, “We don’t know; these are not the concerns of science.” Here are his actual responses:

• "Science/Naturalism claims no such thing. We simply don't know, and once again you're shoving your beliefs into the gaps. This isn't an argument…We know no such thing, Daniel…Again, you're making an argument from ignorance…Again, this is an assertion. Why, sans [without] God, would you expect the laws to be chaotic? More ignorance it seems…please tell my why your useless and superfluous so-called explanation, which relies upon your own ignorance, lack of detail, and a lack of supporting evidence, doesn't provide a useful framework for further predictions and research, and is generally based upon the ideology of the proponent rather than external mutually agreed upon evidence for support, should be taken seriously?... Try to detail one of the arguments, how it follows from your concept of God and/or what evidence supports the claim, and why this argument is convincing, rather than simply rehashing the same tired old claims without supporting them.”

The atheist challenged me to give “details” but refused to engage my argumentation. In contrast, it is noteworthy that no atheist has ever been able to provide a natural, evidential explanation for anything. There is simply no evidence that our laws function “naturally,” while there is a lot to suggest that they entail some connection to a Transcendent realm. In essence, the atheist refuses to extend his thinking into those areas of scientific inquiry that upset his apple-cart. “They just don’t concern me or science!” However, placing one’s head in the ground is not fitting for someone who claims to be a rational truth-seeker.

Notice also the common strategy of associating science with the natural, claiming science for themselves! Although we all agree that we can’t place God in a test-tube and that our inferences derive from our investigation of the physical world, this investigation detects the extra-terrestrial fingerprints of our God!

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