Let's have some fun. Play god's advocate. I thought this would be easier. Arguing for god is not easy, especially if you don't use the holy books. My best shot.
(A) I just feel god, in my heart.
I went like this for years until I admitted to myself that I was talking to myself. I was probably a result of childhood indoctrination. It' a weak argument.
(B) There has to be eternal "justice"; what is the point of being a good person. Why not just be a thief and do what ever you want to make yourself happy?
This is the best argument for god, I think. What "goes around-comes around" here on earth, but not always. Granted, it is just wishful thinking that fairness is somehow owed to us.
(C) Something had to create all this
I went with this for a while. Then I figured out that it is "small thinking" and an imposition of our limited life experience.
That's all I got. Take away the divinity of the holy books and its a hard sell. What is your best argument for the existence of god?
If you asked this question 400 years ago it would have been considered a strange question. Why? Well it was “obvious” to everyone back then that a god or gods were the creative or destructive forces behind everything. It was “obvious” because there were no alternative explanations.
Generally the majority of people were uneducated and only concerned with survival. Those that had money and therefore the time to pursue academic interests had to do so in libraries and Universities that were either owned or managed by the Church. Access to Knowledge was tightly controlled. Most intellectual pursuits were of a philosophical nature. Science and its applications were in its infancy. So as a species we knew very little. We had no basic understanding of human biology, cosmology, Chemistry, Earth sciences (or other dark arts). So it made sense that Goddidit.
We have built upon the discoveries of the early Enlightenment. We no longer need to use philosophy as a guide to understanding. Science has replaced it. It gives us answers that can be deemed to be “justified” as being knowledge. Most of us on this site have the resources and the time to evaluate the implications of what we have studied. The keys to the doors of knowledge are more freely available to us and without the umbrella of a Church casting a shadow over what can or cannot be accessed.
So because of what I have discovered, what I know or even what I hold to be true about the knowledge I have gained, I see no reason for needing a god to explain anything. I cannot come up with a valid argument that I cannot immediately shoot down in flames. The idea of there being a god is something I consider to be primitive, a legacy of our dark ages which some have trouble shaking off.
If you ask a Theist they will offer plenty of the usual arguments for the existence for their God but they ALWAYS confuse these arguments as evidence for their God. Take the examples of WL Craig’s assistant Keith Harris, a TA member and Christian apologetic who constantly suggested that his arguments were indeed evidence. Never once could he back up an argument with evidence. In his mind his they are the same thing. Even Dr. Bob refuses to offer any evidence for his god. I have asked several times but he won’t because he has none.
I can understand the reasons why people believe in gods but I cannot think of any valid argument fro them to maintain those beliefs given the knowledge we now have.
Here is an old debate that was fun.
The best reasoning I've ever encountered was as follows:
"Why wouldn't I choose to believe in God? In the darkest of times, just knowing that there's someone watching over my family and me, and working for the greater good, that's what gets me through."
This at face value, sounds to me the best reasoning someone might have. To me though, that seems like a recipe for dependence that's sure to let you down.
That person could just as easily be you, or whoever is working for the benefit of your family. It need not be god.
Interesting Stephen used the words "grand design" and then goes on to say he is "grateful". It begs the question- can there be a design without a designer or do we simply have a need for a better vocabulary to even discuss these things?
I strongly suspect that the problem lies with the vocabulary.
I agree it's a problem with vocabulary. "Design" is only one of many, many words that imply an agent or intention, because (imo) it's been the easiest way for humans to comprehend complexity, or at least since we first invented language. The scientifically literate, critical thinking phase of our intellectual evolution has, after all, been merely a recent blip on the long time scale of our physical brain evolution.
Life! Just think about it. You need a system of chemical reactions that includes several properties, all occurring together, in an ever shifting equilibrium to create life.
You need chemical reactions that are `glue factories´ - producing substances that can glue together all the necessary ingredients for the entire system of reactions. In our case, these are proteins.
You need metabolism. That is to say that you need some of the reactions to be exothermic in order to proliferate the endothermic reactions, such as the glue factories.
You need waste management - chemical reactions that process the byproducts of metabolism and decay in order to keep the systems from becoming toxic.
Finally you need stable yet imperfect replication - an extremely complex reaction that can create another instance of all of the above, passing along information in a manner that is reliable enough to increase population yet unreliable enough to allow for evolution.
The Drake equation doesn´t even touch on these issues. To find a planet that has hit solar energy equilibrium with a biosphere that has just the right mass to induce the sort of convection required to produce a quality protein soup is an incredible long shot. To find an instance of such a protein soup, or similar glue factory, would be rare in a thousand such planets - but to find the glue factory, metabolism, waste management, and evolving replication all occurring in perfect harmony just screams, "DESIGNER!!!"
Yeah. We know the ingredients, but that's not the whole recipe. If the human race ever figures it out...wow. Just wow.
Yeah, knowing the ingredients and the limits for many of the parameters, it is still beyond our greatest minds. Even if we do manage to piece it all together, all we´ll have is better data with which to calculate the impossibility of it every occurring randomly.
I knew that, if anyone could rise to the challenge, you could, Heather.
You've done it. I'm back. Praise the Lord.
I've been trying to deconvert a friend and I was going to point him to this thread, but maybe now I won't.