My atheist friends often have Psalm 14:1 lobbed at them as if the verse ends the conversation like a holy grenade! It says, "The fool has said in his heart there is no God".

But the verse does not mean all atheists are fools. It means anyone who "says in his heart" there is no God is a fool. In other words, anyone who denies God for merely emotional reasons is foolish. An issue this profound is not to be determined by one's psychological state or emotional disposition.

The person who has genuine intellectual questions or objections concerning God's existence is not the biblical definition of a fool. God will honor and answer in the humble quest for truth. The honest inquirer is in a better position before God than the emotionally closed-minded.

Since I'm talking about the Hebraic-Christian Scriptures, they repeatedly say we must humble ourselves before God. Think about it. If God exists, humility is certainly in order in seeking Him. "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you". "Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God", etc.

This shouldn't be hard for the atheist intellectually. Most of my atheist friends agree that humility is in order in the quest for any truth. Don't you agree?

(On the other hand, I can see how horrible I would feel (at least at first) if, say, Islam was proven to me to be true. I would be forced intellectually and emotionally to acknowledge Allah and Muhammad. I would have to begrudgingly and reluctantly bow before them. That would suck! I would acknowledge Allah's existence, but probably continually resist any relationship or love for him until he smote me!

But I must say that my emotional resistance to Islam is mostly for intellectual reasons! Thankfully, I am confident there is nothing forthcoming in Islam that will serve as an adequate defeater of Christ's claims.)

BTW, I am aware of Christ's injunction against calling anyone a fool, yet he himself did. Keep in mind that Christ is forbidding unwarranted name-calling (literally "empty head") from people who are themselves often foolish!

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Those are both very much God of the gaps arguments, the only modification being an element of agnosticism.

Certainly at genesis points there are plenty of unanswered questions, but nothing in science can be used to formulate a cogent hypothesis or even inference of personal or intelligent origins.

This idea that any conditions were fine-tuned for anything is also highly suspect for at least a couple of reasons. 

  1. We do not yet know all combinations of matter which can be characterized as 'life' nor all configurations of matter which can be characterized as 'intelligence'.
  2. We do know that organisms adapt to their environments, which is to say that organisms will, through evolution and natural selection, tune themselves to their environments.

This idea that because we have cause to question something such as conditions prior to the current event horizon also means we have cause to entertain God as a possibility is bunk. In order to entertain something as a possibility, some mechanism for it must at least be hypothesized. What, then, is the hypothetical mechanism by which God exists? What are the mechanisms by which God acts? Is there some set of theophysics at work, or is it just anything goes magic?

Understand that this isn't a rejection of God, but rather a rejection that the proposition even merits serious consideration at this point in time.

 "but nothing in science can be used to formulate a cogent hypothesis or even inference of personal or intelligent origins."


I showed how one can draw inferences from scientific data. You're just denying it without showing why my example is wrong. Please clarify.

"This idea that any conditions were fine-tuned for anything is also highly suspect for at least a couple of reasons". 

Here, you are offering philosophical speculation (and inference) resulting from the data of the fine-tuning aspects of the initial conditions, which proves my point. I've made no arguments based on the fine tuning! I've merely shown what you asked: there are philosophical inferences to be drawn from the physical sciences.

When we get this straight, we can examine specifically how these data can point to God if you wish.

I showed how one can draw inferences from scientific data. You're just denying it without showing why my example is wrong. Please clarify.

You truly did not. you merely stated that, in the face of an unknown, the possibility of God can be considered. You never offered a justification of why God can be considered. This is identically the god of the gaps.

Here, you are offering philosophical speculation (and inference) resulting from the data of the fine-tuning aspects of the initial conditions, which proves my point.

This isn't speculation, but there was a point of misunderstanding as I thought you were extending the argument as far as abiogenesis and evolution. On rereading, I see that was my mistake.

Even so, you have not pointed out where the inference is. What, specifically, infers God in a fine-tuned universe paradigm?

I'm trying to think of a different explanation as to why your inference does not stand as provided.

I exist in a room with three other individuals. This room is entirely sealed with nothing in it apart from the afore mentioned individuals, and a chocolate chip cookie on the (clean) floor. At a given point in time, my eyes are entirely turned from the cookie. The next time I see the cookie, a piece is missing, and there are bite marks and saliva present.

I did not bite the cookie. At the time my gaze was averted, person A and person B were in my line of sight while person C was not. I saw neither person A nor B bite the cookie. I can infer that it was person C. Why? Evidence clearly indicates the cookie has been bitten. I can propose a model whereby any person in the room is capable of making such a bite. I can rule out myself along with A and B. Because there are finite possibilities and I can rule out three out of four of them, I can infer the fourth is true.

Why does this not apply to the origins of the universe?

  • We lack the means to establish a finite set of all possibilities or likelihoods. Even if an infinite universe, multiverses, something from nothing were all ruled out, we aren't dealing with a finite set in which the remaining likelihood must be true. We don't even meaningfully limit the field given the dramatic lack of knowledge humanity possesses in this regard.
  • We cannot establish any likelihood of gods or the supernatural. With multiverses and a universe from nothing, sufficient evidence, hypotheses, and mathematical projections can be provided to at least warrant consideration. The same cannot be said for God. No mechanics or models exist to describe how God could exist or operate are available. There is nothing to evaluate to further the proposition or even establish it by any means other than assumption.

It really is the second point which is critical.

I never thought about it like that. I was a little worried about my argument having some fallacies, but I'm glad that you pointed it out so I can revise it. Perhaps I should explain the context I made the argument in. In Augustine's Confessions he makes the claim that God is unchanging. I was trying to address the fact that modern society has changed quite a lot in 2000 years and what was considered morally right during Biblical times is not the case now. I was looking at it from two rather extreme point of views, but I thought they made a good point. In some cases you would have to pick and choose from the 10 Commandments, like thou shalt not kill is obviously a good one to follow, but thou shalt not worship false Gods before me is one that I think is not quite relevant today. Thanks for your critique! I will certainly revise my arguments.

Excellent! This is a good way to sharpen thinking!

I'll add this. We have to distinguish between what moral values and duties are and what grounds them, etc (Ethics Proper) with how those moral values and duties are applied (Applied Ethics). For example, the Salem Witch Trials were horrific. But notice there was an over-arching moral value ("you should not murder"). The community thought the witches were murderers in the process of murdering others. However, we have better knowledge of what witches are capable of, etc. so we don't execute them (we apply "you should not murder" differently). The moral value is the same (murder), the application of it has changed (what we do to "witches").

You bring up a good point about the First Commandment. Couple that with "you shall not allow a witch to live", etc. and we have examples of laws of the Old Testament theocracy that are no longer in effect because the theocracy is no longer in effect.

Yet, from a spiritual standpoint for those who follow Christ, having no gods before God is valid. That also applies to the moral/spiritual imperative of avoiding witchcraft (because it attempts to interact with the demonic).

I'll take the first argument, Thank you. I worked last weekend.

If you guys want to read more of my stuff go to my blog on this website or on http://reasonable-disbelief.blogspot.com
The arguments that I posted here are from my blog "Augustine and His Confessions"

Hey Kevin – welcome back man. It has been 2 years!! So as I was asking before – have you got any “evidence” yet? Really, I just don’t let go do I?? Not “argument” but “Evidence”.

I am holding my breath with anticipation of Kevin's answer...

Don't take too long here Kevin, the fate of our immortal souls rest in your hands!

I don't have time for the fate of my immortal soul to be resting in anybody's hands but mine! Of course, some theists would say it does rest in my hands and depends on whether or not I choose to believe in not only a deity, but a certain one.  I contend I do not have that choice.  I have a lot of choices, but not that one.  I cannot simply believe, as some so blithely assert.  

I don't have time for this either, but apparently can't resist.

Diane, I agree that none of us has time to place our immortal souls in someone else's hands... unless that someone has the qualifications and credentials to actually affect one's immortal soul! I only know of one person in history who is a good candidate for that!

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