Intelligent Design

A quick question for Dr. Liddle and other skeptics

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Over at The Skeptical Zone, Dr. Elizabeth Liddle has written a thought-provoking post, which poses an interesting ethical conundrum about the morality of creating sentient beings.

Dr. Liddle’s post was titled, Getting some stuff off my chest…., and its tone was remarkably conciliatory, as the following extracts reveal:

I don’t think that science has disproven, nor even suggests, that it is unlikely that an Intelligent Designer was responsible for the world, and intended it to come into existence.

I don’t think that science has, nor even can, prove that divine and/or miraculous intervention is impossible.

I think the world has properties that make it perfectly possible for an Intelligent Deity to “reach in” and tweak things to her liking – and that even if it didn’t, it would still be perfectly possible, given Omnipotence, just as a computer programmer can reach in and tweak the Matrix.

I don’t think that science falsifies the idea of an omnipotent, omniscient deity – at all.

Apparently, Dr. Liddle’s main reason for disbelieving in an “external disembodied intelligent and volitional deity” is a philosophical rather than a scientific one: she is “no longer persuaded that either intelligence or volition are possible in the absence of a material substrate.” Fair enough; but Dr. Liddle should tell us what she means by the word “material.” Does she mean: (a) composed of visible and/or tangible “stuff”; (b) having some (non-zero) quantity of mass-energy; (c) spatially extended, and inside our universe; (d) spatially extended, and inside some universe; (e) composed of parts; (f) behaving in accordance with the laws of Nature; or (g) behaving in accordance with some invariant set of mathematical laws? What is Dr. Liddle’s definition of “matter,” and why does Dr. Liddle believe that an intelligent being has to conform to that definition?

But the most interesting part of her post came in two paragraphs where she made it clear that while she regarded the notion of an omnipotent, omniscient deity as quite compatible with science, it was ludicrous to suggest that this deity might also be omnibenevolent:

I do think that the world is such that IF there is an omnipotent, omniscient deity, EITHER that deity does not have human welfare as a high priority OR she has very different ideas about what constitutes human welfare from the ones that most people hold (and as are exemplified, for example, in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights), OR she has deliberately chosen to let the laws of her created world play out according to her ordained rules, regardless of the effects of those laws on the welfare of human beings, perhaps trusting that we would value a comprehensible world more than one with major causal glitches. In my case, her trust was well-placed…

I don’t think that it follows that, were we to find incontrovertible evidence of a Intelligent Creator (for instance, an unambiguous message in English configured in a nebula in some remote region of space, or on the DNA of an ant encased in amber millions of years ago) that that would mandate us in any way to worship that designer. On the basis of her human rights record I’d be more inclined to summon her to The Hague.

This is a little inconsistent. On the one hand, Dr. Liddle declares that she values “a comprehensible world” with no “causal glitches”; but at the same time, Dr. Liddle wishes that the Intelligent Creator, if she exists, would do more to promote human rights and alleviate suffering.

At any rate, here is the question I would like to ask Dr. Liddle. Suppose you were the Intelligent Creator of a world containing life. Suppose also that you have decided that your world should contain no “causal glitches” whatsoever: miraculous interventions are out of the question. Suppose, finally, that the laws of your world happen to dictate that any sentient beings in it will suffer and die, and suppose, also, that death in your world is absolutely final, with no hereafter. That goes for sapient beings as well: in your world, you only get one innings.

The life-forms that currently exist in your world include not only micro-organisms, but also complex animals, rather like our insects, which are capable of a rich variety of behavioral feats, but lack any kind of phenomenal consciousness: they react to environmental stimuli in a very sophisticated manner, but for them, there is no subjective feeling of “what it is like” to experience those stimuli. So far, everything is unfolding in accordance with your pre-ordained program.

Here’s my question for Dr. Liddle, and for skeptical readers. Given the above constraints, would you regard it as immoral to be the author of a program that eventually resulted in the appearance of:

(a) sentient beings capable of feeling pain, but with no self-awareness whatsoever;
(b) sentient beings with some rudimentary self-awareness;
(c) sapient beings capable of reasoning and language, as well as a rich sense of self-awareness?

Putting it another way, would it be better for an Intelligent Creator not to create a world of sentient (and/or self-aware and/or sapient) beings, than to create a world in which sentient / self-aware / sapient beings existed, but where all of these beings would undergo suffering (and where some of them would undergo a considerable degree of suffering), caused by the inexorable operation of the laws of Nature in that world? Or putting it as baldly as possible: if you were the Creator, would you deny us all the gift of existence, on the grounds that it would be immoral to create beings like us?

If your answer is that it would be immoral to create beings like us, then I would ask you to set out, as clearly as possible, the ethical principle which would be violated by the creation of beings like us.

And if it’s not the existence of suffering per se that you object to, but the degree of suffering, where do you draw the line, and why?

Over to you, Dr. Liddle…

84 Replies to “A quick question for Dr. Liddle and other skeptics

  1. 1
    Mapou says:

    she made it clear that while she regarded the notion of an omnipotent, omniscient deity as quite compatible with science,

    If by ‘omnipotent’ and ‘omniscient’ we mean ‘infinitely powerful’ and ‘infinitely knowledgeable’, neither concept is compatible with simple logic, let alone science.

  2. 2
    Mapou says:

    How did Dr. Liddle determined that God was female?

  3. 3
    Joe says:

    I don’t think that science has disproven, nor even suggests, that it is unlikely that an Intelligent Designer was responsible for the world, and intended it to come into existence.

    That would be because science has shown it is very likely an Intelligent Designer was responsible for the world and our existence.

    And if you really think about it the materialistic explanation boils down to nothing but sheer dumb luck- cosmic collisions and accumulations of genetic accidents and all. So if one seriously considers the options as to our existence, materialsim loses.

  4. 4
    Mapou says:

    Dr. Liddle’s piece is insufferably self-righteous, as if it were coming from a closet theist who professes to be an atheist only because she has a bone to pick with a God that she hates. Her repeated assertion that God is female is what exposes her deep gender-based resentment. Why do people insist on doing their laundry in public?

  5. 5
    niwrad says:

    Mapou #1

    “God’s omnipotence” is the theological equivalent of what in metaphysics is the Total Possibility=Supreme Principle, which, having no limit, encloses all possibilities, and outside which there is nothing.

    “God’s omniscience” theologically points to the fact that such Infinite Principle is also Supreme Knowledge.

    Not only such Principle is perfectly consistent with logic, but it is also the highest a priori Primum Esse which all things come from.

    Mapou #2

    Here you are right, indeed given what I said above, to speak of God “male/female” is nonsense.

  6. 6
    Mapou says:

    Dr. Liddle:

    I don’t myself, any more, believe in some external disembodied intelligent and volitional deity, simply because I am no longer persuaded that either intelligence or volition are possible in the absence of a material substrate.

    Well, well. This is interesting. As surprising as this may sound, I agree with Dr. Liddle on this one: I fully agree that there can be no intelligence without a material brain. But that does not make me an atheist. Why should it? Does God have to be immaterial? Is that a law of nature? Who ordered that?

  7. 7
    drc466 says:

    This seems like a fairly simple rehash of the problem of the existence of evil, no? Like this hasn’t been rehashed ad nauseam over thousands of years?
    At least she claims to be open to the concept of Deity. I wish people who rule out God because people suffer would at least acknowledge the fact that theologians have addressed this, repeatedly. Because they have free will (hmm, that might relate to the evil issue), they are free to disagree, but it would be refreshing for them to say they disagree instead of pretending no responses exist.

  8. 8
    niwrad says:

    Mapou #6

    “Does God have to be immaterial?”

    Matter is a property/condition/limit of the universe. The universe is the manifestation of the Principle I speak about in #5. The universe is zero compared to the Infiniteness of the Principle. Therefore to say that the Principle is material is like to attribute a limit to what is Unlimited. It is like attributing zeroness to the Infinite.

  9. 9
    Andre says:

    Mapou

    Here are few things that you can go think about what God is or not….

    1) God cannot be material because matter can be destroyed.
    2) If God is unchanging he cannot consist of matter, because matter can change.
    3) God cannot be made of parts because parts can break down.

  10. 10
    Andre says:

    drc466

    I have to agree with you in #7, What I have come to understand about those that are angry with God about suffering is just their very own deep rooted anger that He gave them free will.

  11. 11
    Mapou says:

    The universe is zero compared to the Infiniteness of the Principle.

    niwrad, I’m sorry but these are just ideas with no foundation other than themselves. The concept of infinity is pure unmitigated nonsense. In fact, you came close to refuting it in the quoted sentence above. Compared to infinity, everything is infinitely small. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the problem with infinity: compared to infinity, everything is both finite and infinite at the same time. The only reason that we, as a species, continue to talk about infinity as a possibility, is that doctrines must be supported at all costs, the truth be damned. Doctrinairism is the enemy and I, for one, rebel against it.

  12. 12
    Querius says:

    We can’t know much about God that isn’t revealed to us. We can’t understand much about God that isn’t first put into terms that we can relate to.

    The Bible says that in the beginning (before mass-energy, space, and time came into existence), there was the Word (logos), from which all creation came into existence. The Bible also says that God is spirit and must be worshipped in spirit and truth.

    And finally, Dr. Liddle might want to consider the letter written by Ya’akov (James), in which he says, “You believe that God is one; you do well. The demons also believe—and they shudder.”

    And even more finally, Dr. Liddle might be encouraged to know that almost 2,000 years ago, Rabbi Shaul (aka the apostle Paul) wrote to the church in Galatia that “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

    -Q

  13. 13
    niwrad says:

    Mapou #11

    “The concept of infinity is pure unmitigated nonsense.”

    It is likely you have in mind the mathematical infinity, which has absolutely nothing to do with the true Unlimited Metaphysical Infinite. I don’t understand why you so forcefully deny a priori the concept of the Total Whole containing all Possibilities, which is the more universal principle of all.

    About, I would suggest you to study at least René Guénon’s “The Multiple States of the Being”. Eventually, after your reading, we can continue the discussion. Given my English, it is unthinkable I can summarize it here.

  14. 14
    Mapou says:

    niwrad:

    It is likely you have in mind the mathematical infinity, which has absolutely nothing to do with the true Unlimited Metaphysical Infinite. I don’t understand why you so forcefully deny a priori the concept of the Total Whole containing all Possibilities, which is the more universal principle of all.

    This is a bunch of dreamed up mumbo jumbo, in my opinion. None of it has any relation to reality or logic. Sorry.

  15. 15
    Mapou says:

    Andre:

    Mapou

    Here are few things that you can go think about what God is or not….

    I’ve already thought about them, many times.

    1) God cannot be material because matter can be destroyed.

    If you’re the most powerful being in the universe, nobody can destroy you.

    2) If God is unchanging he cannot consist of matter, because matter can change.

    You don’t understand what the scriptures mean by “God is unchanging.” There are several instances in the old testament where Yahweh changes his mind (repents). I can quote chapter and verse, if necessary.

    3) God cannot be made of parts because parts can break down.

    Why? Do you have an understanding of all possible types of matter?

    When Moses asked to see Yahweh face to face, Yahweh told him that he would die if he looked at God directly. It follows that God is made of some matter that can radiate energy.

    PS. I assume you’re a Christian. I, too, am a Christian.

  16. 16
    RexTugwell says:

    Andre is correct. God is a spirit; nothing about Him is material.

  17. 17
    Mapou says:

    RexTugwell:

    Andre is correct. God is a spirit; nothing about Him is material.

    Sure, God is spirit. But do you have a scriptural definition for the word ‘spirit’? I would love to see where in the scriptures spirit is defined as being immaterial. I would change my mind in a jiffy and immediately repent from my erroneous ways.

    Look, there is no doubt in my mind that the immaterial exists and that our souls are immaterial. The immaterial soul is what gives us our consciousness and identity. I believe the same is true of Yahweh. It just so happens that our bodies are made of normal matter (the dust of the earth) and God’s body isn’t. The Hebrew and Greek words for ‘spirit’ are frequently translated as ‘wind’. Did you know that? Just because something is not made of ordinary matter does not mean it is immaterial or non-physical.

  18. 18

    niwrad:

    Does God have a body, or is God merely a body?

    Do you have a body, or are you merely a body?

    I would agree that God is not merely a body. But the idea that God cannot have a body is based on some questionable interpretations and assumptions and, indeed, goes against the weight of scripture.

    I recommend it as an illuminating exercise for anyone interested in this issue to do the following:

    Take a piece of paper, draw a line down the middle, label the left side “God has no body,” label the right side “God has a body.” Keep the piece of paper in your scriptures for a year. When you are reading and come across a relevant verse, put it on the appropriate side. No extra interpretations, no quibbling, no justifications, or second guessing (the interpretation and the quibbling can come later). Just keep an open mind, read the plain text on its face, and put it on the appropriate side. After a while I think many people will be a bit surprised about what they find.

  19. 19

    RexTugwell:

    God is a spirit . . .

    Sure He is.

    God is also love. At least that is what the scripture says. 🙂

    Again, rather than relying on a single verse or a single statement, we have to go through the kind of exercise I suggested if we really want to know what the weight of scripture says.

  20. 20
    Querius says:

    Mapou,

    Please reconsider these statements:

    1. We can’t know much about God that isn’t revealed to us.

    2. We can’t understand much about God that isn’t first put into anthropomorphic terms that we can relate to—our heads would explode.

    The Bible says that in the beginning (before mass-energy, space, and time came into existence), there was the Word (logos), from which all creation came into existence.

    Logos is reason or logic, and it’s personified in the Bible: Jesus is the Word of God.

    -Q

  21. 21
    JLAfan2001 says:

    It’s funny how the question was directed towards the atheists and only the theists are debating about it.

    The answer, Dr. Torley, is that god (or the intelligent designer) doesn’t exist. So what’s to answer? Why play this game? Now we atheists can go get a beer, watch the hockey game and enjoy life while you theists continue to debate something that doesn’t matter.

    It’s kinda cute actually. Like watching a group of kids arguing over how Santa can fit down the chimneys or how he can deliver all those presents in one night.

  22. 22
    Graham2 says:

    It started as a post referring to Lizzy, but within 20 comments the christians have all turned on themselves, arguing about god. I think you had better master the basics of your own beliefs before criticizing the heathens.

  23. 23

    Apologies vjtorley, for allowing myself to follow the OT posts above for a moment.

    You raise an interesting question.

    When a creator decides to create a being with sentience, with a separate will, the creator at that point crosses the line of being able to “cause” the created being to avoid all pain, all sorrow, all acts of intrusion by one being on another. One of the great ironies of those who disbelieve in God (not putting Elizabeth in that category), is that they are so arrogantly cocksure about what God would be like if God did exist.

    As for this statement:

    I do think that the world is such that IF there is an omnipotent, omniscient deity, EITHER that deity does not have human welfare as a high priority OR she has very different ideas about what constitutes human welfare from the ones that most people hold (and as are exemplified, for example, in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights), OR she has deliberately chosen to let the laws of her created world play out according to her ordained rules, regardless of the effects of those laws on the welfare of human beings, perhaps trusting that we would value a comprehensible world more than one with major causal glitches. In my case, her trust was well-placed…

    There is much in this I agree with — nearly all. For some reason, however, Elizabeth can’t allow these possibilities to be fully examined, because in the next paragraph she calls for the creator to be brought before the Hague.

    Though it may not be a satisfactory answer to all listeners, the believer, at least, acknowledges the well-placed scriptural caution that “My ways are not your ways; my thought not your thoughts.”

    The idea that a creator is somehow obligated to create a perpetual paradise, without sorrow, pain, and the challenges of life, is not only unsupportable philosophically, but is a rather juvenile, childish, simplistic, facile view.

    All that said, I do agree with Elizabeth’s smaller point that the mere existence of a creator does not require worship — at least not in the sense of traditional theistic worship. But it does require an acknowledgement of the creator’s existence, an acknowledgement of the creator’s capabilities (insofar as they are evidenced in the creation) and that they are vastly superior to our own, an acknowledgement that one owes one’s existence, one’s life, all the good experiences (yes, along with the bad ones) to the creator’s creative act. So a form of acknowledgement and deep respect is at least required. Even gratitude.

    Of course it is to everyone individually to decide whether to also offer allegiance.

  24. 24

    “The answer, Dr. Torley, is that god (or the intelligent designer) doesn’t exist.”

    Asserts JLAfan2001, without a shred of evidence.

    And without acknowledging the serious issues posed by Elizabeth’s comment . . .

  25. 25
    JLAfan2001 says:

    Eric

    I answered it. There is no creator so why bother pretending that there is one? Life is the way it is. No evil, no good, no right, no wrong. Just survival as long as we can.

    Oh, and you are the one making the positive claim that god exists so you should provide the evidence. If you claim that fairies don’t exist, do I have to tell you to prove it?

  26. 26
    jerry says:

    Dr. Liddle’s argument is a silly one especially for Christians because of Christian belief. According to Dr. Liddle, any discomfort in this world would qualify as an affront to human welfare, even a stubbing of one’s toe. The stubbing of one’s toe compared to the most horrible thing one can imagine happening to a human is much closer to each other than what God offers because both are finite and limited in time.

    Christians say that this God offers Dr. Liddle and all the persons of this world something greater than all the riches of the world and her response is to summon this God to the Hague because the offer also includes the possibility of stubbing your toe.

    I would think the creator is interested in much bigger fish than what this world has to offer. That is what Dr. Liddle fails to understand. Her argument is an absurd one. She is floundering.

    I will again repeat what I think was one of the great lessons of the Book of Job, namely that we are insignificant compare to an infinite God. We are closer to the worm or slug than we are to the infinite God. The slug has a better understanding of our motives than we do of God.

    The problem with Dr. Liddle is that she is like a slug trying to tell humans how to do it right. It is much more likely that the slug would get it right than we as humans would about God.

  27. 27
    RexTugwell says:

    Eric and Mapou, are you guys Mormons? If you are, we’ve got bigger disagreements than whether God has a body or not.

  28. 28
    vjtorley says:

    Hi everyone,

    Wow, 27 comments already! That’s quick.

    I’m going to throw a lifeline out to Dr. Liddle, which she may or may not choose to grasp. First, an anecdote. I can remember when I was 15, and my English teacher told me that she believed in God but did not believe in immortality: she thought this life was all we had. My initial reaction was that it would be monstrously unjust of God to make us like that.

    Second, the concept of irreparable harm. A just God might allow sentient / self-aware / sapient beings to suffer, but could a just God allow sentient / self-aware / sapient beings to be irreparably harmed? And how would you measure that?

    Got to go now.

  29. 29
    jerry says:

    irreparably harmed

    The only irreparably harm is the lack of salvation. All other so called harms/evils/sufferings/etc. are insignificant.

  30. 30
    Querius says:

    Nicely put, Eric Anderson@23 and jerry@26.

    Lizzie’s Lament(tm) seems to be that God gave us free will, so why does “she” not prevent people from doing things that cause suffering and pain? (See the definition of free will).

    Christians, myself included, believe that God’s plan is

    – To rescue as many people from spiritual condemnation and death as are willing to be saved, showing them love, mercy, and the promise of resurrection to eternal life!

    – To allow the natural and tragic consequences of selfishness, arrogance, self-will, greed, lustful manipulation, and so on, limited by our lifespans.

    – To demonstrate the peace, joy, wisdom, gentleness, and generosity that blossoms in genuine Christians despite their suffering, and the personal growth that results because of their suffering.

    – To expose religious phonies and secular hypocrites, and provide assurance that God’s justice is slow but inevitable.

    -Q

  31. 31
    Mapou says:

    RexTugwell:

    Eric and Mapou, are you guys Mormons? If you are, we’ve got bigger disagreements than whether God has a body or not.

    I don’t belong to any church nor do I go to church. I have a deep distrust of organized religion because I believe they all tell lies and half-truths to support their doctrines and retain their flocks. That’s the way I see it.

  32. 32
    Barb says:

    I do think that the world is such that IF there is an omnipotent, omniscient deity, EITHER that deity does not have human welfare as a high priority OR she has very different ideas about what constitutes human welfare from the ones that most people hold (and as are exemplified, for example, in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights), OR she has deliberately chosen to let the laws of her created world play out according to her ordained rules, regardless of the effects of those laws on the welfare of human beings, perhaps trusting that we would value a comprehensible world more than one with major causal glitches. In my case, her trust was well-placed…

    It does appear that Dr. Liddle is rehashing the problem of evil in this post. Did she solve the problem? No, because she fails to take into account the problem of evil from God’s perspective; she myopically only sees what a human can see with limited knowledge.

    She claims that the deity in question “does not have human welfare as a high priority.” Yet she pointedly ignores Jesus’s words at Matthew 5:43-45: “YOU heard that it was said, ‘You must love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ ?However, I say to YOU: Continue to love YOUR enemies and to pray for those persecuting YOU; that YOU may prove yourselves sons of YOUR Father who is in the heavens, since he makes his sun rise upon wicked people and good and makes it rain upon righteous people and unrighteous.”

    Then she states that, “or she has very different ideas about what constitutes human welfare…” Well, of course He does, Dr. Liddle. Don’t be stupid. God is far more intelligent than you are; He sees “the big picture” whereas you or I can only see a portion of it. When you don’t have all the facts, you jump to hasty conclusions. When you jump to hasty conclusions, you develop false reasoning and ideas.

    I’m going to post several questions with scriptural answers.
    This is what the Bible states about the problem of evil.

    1. How did evil begin?
    Evil began on earth when Satan told the first lie. Satan was originally a perfect angel, but “he did not stand fast in the truth.” (John 8:44) He developed a desire for worship that rightly belongs only to God. Satan lied to the first woman, Eve, and persuaded her to obey him instead of God. Adam joined Eve in disobeying God. Adam’s decision led to suffering and death.—Read Genesis 3:1-6, 19.

    When Satan suggested that Eve disobey God, he was starting a rebellion against God’s sovereignty, or position as Most High. The majority of mankind have joined Satan in rejecting God as their Ruler. Thus, Satan has become “the ruler of the world.”—Read John 14:30; 1 John 5:19.

    ?2. Was God’s creation defective?
    All of God’s works are perfect. The humans and angels whom God created were capable of obeying God perfectly. (Deuteronomy 32:4, 5) God created us with the freedom to choose between doing good and doing evil. That freedom gives us a way to express love for God.—Read James 1:13-15; 1 John 5:3.

    ?3. Why has God allowed suffering until now?
    For a limited time, Jehovah has allowed rebellion against his sovereignty. Why? To show that no effort to rule without him benefits people. (Ecclesiastes 7:29; 8:9) After 6,000 years of human history, the evidence is clear. Human rulers have failed to eliminate war, crime, injustice, or disease.—Read Jeremiah 10:23; Romans 9:17.

    In contrast to human rulership, God’s rule benefits those who accept it. (Isaiah 48:17, 18) Soon, Jehovah will bring all human government to an end. Only people who choose to be ruled by God will inhabit the earth.—Isaiah 11:9; Read Daniel 2:44.

    ?4. What does God’s patience allow us to do?
    Satan claimed that no one would serve Jehovah out of unselfish love. Would you like to disprove that lie? You can! God’s patience allows all of us to show whether we favor rule by God or rule by man. We indicate our choice by the way we live.—Read Job 1:8-12; Proverbs 27:11.

    ?5. How can we choose God as our Ruler?
    We can choose God as our Ruler by seeking out and practicing true worship based on God’s Word, the Bible. (John 4:23) We can reject Satan as our ruler by keeping out of politics and war, as Jesus did.—Read John 17:14.

    Satan uses his power to promote immoral, harmful practices. When we reject such practices, some friends and relatives may ridicule or oppose us. (1 Peter 4:3, 4) So we face a choice. Will we associate with people who love God? Will we obey his wise and loving laws? If we do, we prove that Satan lied when he claimed that under pressure no one would do as God says.—Read 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10; 15:33.

    God’s love for mankind guarantees that evil and suffering will end. Those who demonstrate that they believe this will enjoy life on earth forever.—Read John 3:16.

  33. 33

    JLAfan2001 @25:

    Oh, and you are the one making the positive claim that god exists so you should provide the evidence.

    Actually I haven’t made that claim, at least not insofar as it relates to ID, and certainly not on this thread. That there was a creator of initial life and much of what we see in biology is quite clear — though some of course refuse to consider the evidence. But the question of God is, at some level, separate.

    What I do take note of in regards to vjtorley’s OP, is the hollow arguments that are often used to assert God’s non-existence. Arguments about evil or suffering or pain or sorrow or bad design — you are no doubt quite acquainted with them — arguments that start with the (often unstated) assertion: If God did exist, He would do X. (Meaning, in most cases, God would do what I think He should do.)

    And herein lies the irony. Believers in the Biblical word are quite aware of the limitations of their understanding; they acknowledge that God’s thoughts are not their thoughts; they make a lifelong effort, however, to follow the scriptural injunction to come to know God as best they can. In contrast, those who are dead set against the possibility of God’s existence are quite sure, often arrogantly so, of precisely what God is like, precisely what he would do, precisely how the world would be different . . . if only such a being existed.

    So we find ourselves with one of the great ironies of the debates about God’s existence:

    Those who believe God exists are hopeful that one day they will come to know Him in some measure, while those who insist there is no God are confident they already have a perfect knowledge of Him.

  34. 34
    Mapou says:

    Eric Anderson:

    Those who believe God exists are hopeful that one day they will come to know Him in some measure, while those who insist there is no God are confident they already have a perfect knowledge of Him.

    Excellent point.

  35. 35
    Optimus says:

    EL’s post seems like an expanded way of saying, “Even if there is a Creator, it’s mean and I certainly don’t owe it anything.” Given the tone of her piece, which exhibits a measure of humility that I would not typically associate with TSZ, I have only a few mild criticisms to offer.

    First, there is a very nebulous quality to atheistic critiques of God’s morality. In Liddle’s case, she obviously is measuring her hypothetical God against some standard of conduct. But what exactly is this standard of conduct, and why should God (or anyone else, for that matter) consider it authoritative? What if Liddle’s perception of what God ought to do is simply wrong? Even if we grant for the sake of discussion some agreed upon standard of good and bad, does it make sense to hold God culpable for the actions morally autonomous beings?

    Second, Liddle’s critique of God’s morality assumes, but hardly demonstrates, that there isn’t some context that might provide justification for the existence of suffering. This is crucial, because a great many actions (or inactions) can be made to appear cruel if removed from their larger context.

    As a hypothetical, imagine the feelings of a very young child (say, 4 or 5) who contracts some serious illness and must undergo hospitalization and subsequent surgery. The child lacks understanding of its precarious situation and is frightened by the environment – garishly lit rooms filled with noisy machinery and strangers with masked faces. Moreover, the strangers hurt the child, jabbing it with needles and cutting it. The child spends long periods of time away from its parents and feels abandoned. Understandably, the child feels fearful, experiences pain and loneliness, and even blames its parents for its distress. But do such feelings, natural though they may be, really provide adequate warrant for indicting the parents as cruel and uncaring?

  36. 36
    CentralScrutinizer says:

    is the problem with infinity: compared to infinity, everything is both finite and infinite at the same time.

    I think what you may have meant to say is that compared to infinity everything is both finite and infinitely small, which makes infinity nonsense. (And I agree.)

    The practical reality is, physicists (those guys who actually try to figure out and explain how spacetime works) hate infinity. If a equation reduces to infinity, it’s nonsense. This is what happens when they try to harmonize the equations of gravity with the equations of quantum mechanics. The only thing they can do with infinity when one appears in an equation is to attempt to cancel it out with another infinity. If you can’t do this, you have nonsense on your hands.

  37. 37
    TSErik says:

    christians have all turned on themselves, arguing about god. I think you had better master the basics of your own beliefs before criticizing the heathens.

    Are you so ignorant as to equate different people discussion different metaphysical views within a theological framework as a failing of belief in God in general?

    If so, Darwinism has failed time and time again for decades upon decades.

    As to JLA: Your tired and cliche, torn from Reddit, arguments only show how limited your mental faculties are. Stating there is no evidence for God is question begging as one assumes existence and life itself are not evidence for a creator.

    Your pathetically plebeian pixie retort is a sad paraphrase of Russel’s Teapot which has been logically refuted over and over.

    This existence appears designed, therefore it stands to reason there would be a designer. And it is here that ID theory picks up.

  38. 38
    TSErik says:

    different people discussion different metaphysical

    Should read: “…different people discussing…”

  39. 39
    selvaRajan says:

    Every religion has their own concept of God. Some religions view God’s emissary as God, in some God has no form, in some there are hundreds of God – some Gods are female.
    Dr. Liddle has her own God (in her perception God is female). You have your own God. When we can’t divine the form of God , how can we know whether He can create a sentient or sapient being ?
    Everyone is arguing based on their own perception of God and since there is no consensus on form of God, it is fair to say – ‘what you think is God is God and what you think He is capable of is His capability’.

  40. 40
    Mapou says:

    selvaRajan:

    Everyone is arguing based on their own perception of God and since there is no consensus on form of God, it is fair to say – ‘what you think is God is God and what you think He is capable of is His capability’.

    In my opinion, Christians and Jews should know exactly what God looks like. The book of Genesis tells us: The Elohim created the Adam (humans) in their image; male and female (masculine and feminine, not men and women) they created them. I interpret this to mean that, in the beginning, both the Elohim and the Adam (the humans) were androgynous creatures and looked like each other. The main difference is that humans are made of the dust of the earth whereas the Elohim are made of something else. The androgynous humans were eventually split into males and females. Are the Elohim still androgynous? I don’t know although I suspect not.

    OK, I admit I have a different understanding of Genesis than most Christians but I can’t help it. I’m a rebel and a heretic by nature. LOL.

  41. 41
    EvilSnack says:

    It seems to be mandatory among atheists that they must present their arguments as if they had been neither presented nor rebutted at any point since the dawn of time.

    I have even read them claiming to have come up with some new disproof of God’s existence, and then when reading this novel disproof find only arguments that Aquinas would have regarded as ancient.

    But as I’ve said here before, the only verifiable contribution that atheists have made to the field of theology is to prove that atheists make very poor theologians.

  42. 42
    Querius says:

    selvaRajan @ 39 noted

    Every religion has their own concept of God . . .

    (snip)

    . . . what you think is God is God and what you think He is capable of is His capability

    I have an image in my mind of your appearance: a dark-haired young man with a neatly-clipped moustache.

    However, Mapou, an imaginative self-described rebel quite possibly thinks of you as a heavy-set older woman, also with a moustache.

    So, just as Schroedinger’s cat is trapped forever between life and death, so you too are also forever held prisoner by our conceptions of you!

    As you pointed out, what we think of you is you, which makes you a young, androgynous, heavy-set person with a moustache named “Adam.”

    It’s a pity, really . . . 😉

    -Q

  43. 43
    Mapou says:

    Querius @42,

    LOL. 😀

  44. 44
    seventrees says:

    Greetings

    Eric, worshiping in spirit and truth goes in hand with what you said about acknowledging him (your comment at 23).

    Jerry at 26: Didn’t Job want to bring God to court? Anyway, as I know, Job recognized his ignorance.

    Eric at 33:

    Those who believe God exists are hopeful that one day they will come to know Him in some measure, while those who insist there is no God are confident they already have a perfect knowledge of Him.

    It is said knowledge of the Lord is insight. Of course, some will deny this. Oh well! Let us see.

  45. 45
    seventrees says:

    If one at least considers that God suffered according to the Christian belief, then, the problem of evil and how it relates to God should make one to think a bit.

    But I guess some people even fail to see this.

    This gives support to the following comment:

    Those who believe God exists are hopeful that one day they will come to know Him in some measure, while those who insist there is no God are confident they already have a perfect knowledge of Him.

  46. 46
    wallstreeter43 says:

    God did create us all with a free will to reject him or seek him, and Christ said in the bible “seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you”

    This is very easy to understand. Christ is saying if you are really seeking him with all of your heart you will find him.
    There are many evidences that lead to God. Is there 100% proof? No , for a few reasons. If there was 100% proof there would be no room for faith. We dont have 100% proof that the last 5 minutes was really an illusion but we reasonably believe that it did happen. So there is enough evidence for God for people that truly want to find him but if you dont want to seek him at all, no evidence will ever convince you.

    Other evidences are things like veridical nde’s that show comelling evidence that teh soul is seperate from the brain and can live outside of the brain. Veridical meaning that they are nde’s that have been verified by sources outside of the nde experiencer, but you will always find pseudo skeptics that will deny these evidences by setting the scientific bar to an unattainable position.

    To find God you must start with an open heart.

  47. 47
    Andre says:

    I have said this before and will do so again,

    The world was never intended to be be perfect but it laid the foundation for Him that saved us.It was through pain and suffering that God revealed His Glory to us. This is not some deep Christian mystery or profound question.

    I hope you’re reading this Dr Liddle…..

  48. 48
    tarmaras says:

    If we believe that we are the body and that we didn’t exist before the body and we won’t exist after the dissolution of the body then we can of course we can speak of the divine injustice. Hence a two-year-old is really a two-year-old and his or her suffering is unjustifiable.

    But what if the two-year old is not, ultimately, a two-year old, but a soul who has lived countless lives before this one and could possibly live countless more after being ejected from this body?

    What if there was subtle law, the Law of Karma, which governs the interactions between conscious selves across multiple lives and which is perfectly just. Anything you cause at the level of another’s consciousness returns to you so that “you know how it feels” — furthering your capacity for empathy, and teaching you valuable lessons stored at the level of the subtle mind (which travels with you across lives). Sort of like the Christian “live by the sword, die by the sword” but within a framework of multiple lives.

    What would Dr. Liddle think of this novel theological context, in terms of divine justice?

  49. 49
    Andre says:

    tamaras

    Karma is not true, here is why, good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people.

  50. 50
    Joe says:

    Seeing that it has been determined that Lizzie and the other alleged “skeptics” are nothing of the kind- meaning they live a life of self-deception, what makes anyone think that they will answer VJT honestly?

    Remember Lizzie and her ilk think that a genetic algorithm, which utilizes a goal-oriented targeted search, mimics darwinian evolution whicxh isn’t even a search and doesn’t have any goals. THAT is how self-deluded they are.

    So why even bother?

  51. 51
    tarmaras says:

    Andre,

    I see where you’re coming from. However, your point would be true if the concept of karma was not also tied with the concept of reincarnation and living multiple lives. In this context, a soul who has good karma from a previous existence can make new choices in this life. The choices could also include squandering all the good karma and making very bad karma in the process (hence, being seen as a bad person in this life). From this perspective our perception of how good or bad a person is depends on our observations from this life, however we don’t know what their “baggage” they come with from previous lives.

    Thus we consider a person to be “good” if we have observed them doing good karma and bad if we have observed them doing bad karma. But the doing of the karma and the receiving of the karmic result are not necessarily simultaneous, nor even perfectly consecutive. Actually, the universal arrangement (according to Vedantic karma theory for instance) is that some of the karma is delayed for the next life.

  52. 52
    TSErik says:

    tamaras

    Karma is not true, here is why, good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people.

    Whether or not karma is an existent force, Tarmaras makes a good point. Dr. Liddle lays down a blanket statement concerning God, not distilling her argument to one specific theological position.

    In this framework, Tarmaras makes an argument within the framework of a God, and the force of karma, existing. In Tarmaras argument, Dr. Liddle’s concept of unjust suffering is completely destabilized.

    One common thread I’ve noticed in atheist arguments, is one of egocentric narcissism. They want God to only exist in their idea of what God SHOULD be, instead of what God IS. They want a wish granter. They don’t want work, or faith, or struggle, because if God really were good they’d not have to endure anything. This is a strangely narrow view of a creator.

    I also find it very elucidating when I juxtapose Dr. Liddle’s statment that even if this God exists, it is not one she finds worthy of worship, and the statement that all souls who go to Hell, walk through the gates voluntarily.

  53. 53
    Andre says:

    Tamaras

    Thank you for clarifying, I have read of many people recounting previous lives, but truthfully the concept of reincarnation, over and over and over again does not seem to be anything the Bible teaches, now before you ask why I find it authoritive; I’ll state my reasons why its the ultimate source.

    If Jesus is God and God himself quote the bible then everything in it is true

    If Jesus is not God and quotes the book then nothing in the book can be true as you know something can not be both false and true at the same time.

    The book does not speak about Karma nor reincarnation on earth

  54. 54

    Andre:

    If Jesus is God and God himself quote the bible then everything in it is true.

    Yet, even granting the Bible is the “Word of God” in a broad sense, we also have to be practical. The Bible was written down by humans, living at various times, within various cultures and viewpoints, with imperfect language which in turn has been translated by other fallible humans into other imperfect languages, often based on second- or third-hand stories handed down for generations, and which was then eventually edited or collected into a particular volume, and even some Bibles have more books than others (see the traditional Catholic Bible for instance; and there are other missing books referenced in the Bible text). And then the whole thing is subject to interpretation . . .

    Don’t get me wrong. The Bible is a remarkable work and is probably the most important book ever written. But it doesn’t follow — either from the book itself or our understanding of how the book came to be — that whatever current English version we happen to be reading is an absolutely inerrant text, with each jot and tittle laid down with precision by God himself.

    Anyway, I’m not necessarily assuming you were going that far, but your comment reminded me of this.

    /soapbox

  55. 55
    Andre says:

    Eric

    You are on the money!

  56. 56
    Joe says:

    The TSZ ilk prove that they are clueless-

    “Children suffer so there isn’t a God”

    “Parasites kill and harm us so there isn’t a God”

    “Pain and suffering so there isn’t a God”

    How stupid can they get?

    In a perfect world we would never learn anything and we could never be judged. We would never accomplish anything and the purpose of our existence would be moot.

    If these “skeptics” applied their skepticism evenly they would see how ridiculous and untenable their position is

  57. 57
    Mapou says:

    The TSZ ilk prove that they are clueless-

    “Children suffer so there isn’t a God”

    “Parasites kill and harm us so there isn’t a God”

    “Pain and suffering so there isn’t a God”

    How stupid can they get?

    They are very stupid. They’re also a bunch of cry babies, throwing a tantrum because God did not change their diapers on time.

    What they fail to realize is that we live in a yin-yang universe. There can be no pleasure without pain, not happiness without suffering, no left without right, no peace without war, etc. That’s just the way it is. And as Solomon wrote, there is a time for everything. Now is our time for suffering. This is humanity’s initiation period. Paradise comes later.

  58. 58
    Joe says:

    So their irritability and irrationality is due to diaper rash? 😎

  59. 59
    Joe says:

    Lizzie sez:

    tbh, it’s why I think that ID, apart from being bad science (and I do think it is bad science) is also bad theology.

    Well ID isn’t theology so that would explain that. Also Lizzie doesn’t appear to know what science is- or what reasoning is as she thinks that goal-oriented targeted searches, ie telic processes are the same as darwinian processes, which are not telic at all.

    So, tbh Lizzie, your dissing of ID amounts to nothing but your gums flapping.

  60. 60
    Mapou says:

    In addition to being a bunch of stupid crybabies, Darwinists are also gutless cowards. Their fear of being ostracized by their own kind is legendary. They fear it like the plague.

  61. 61
    Querius says:

    Here’s a thought regarding Lizzie’s Lament ™:

    A. Assume that God doesn’t exist.
    Someone could argue that God doesn’t exist because “She” isn’t fair, that there’s no justice, that pain and suffering are ubiquitous, etc. But do those complaints actually *prove* that God doesn’t exist? And why then do we seem to have this bizarre concept of “fairness” and “justice”? All that truly matters in this case is that we reproduce frequently, and that the weaker or stupider ones are prevented from reproduction. Fairness and justice have nothing to do with it. Unconvinced? Try this for a pickup line: “For the sake of fairness, you must mate with me.” Also, the ID paradigm still makes sense because the watchmaker, although blind, has still made all these watches.

    B. Assume that God does exist.
    We know that humans have limited understanding and intelligence, and that God, by definition, has complete understanding and an IQ of a billion. How much sense does it make to attempt to fight against or argue with such a being, accusing “Her” of being unfair or unjust? This would be insane. It’s an argument you’re guaranteed to lose, and stupid to start in the first place. Also, the ID paradigm makes sense because the watchmaker is not blind and has made all these watches.

    -Q

  62. 62
    seventrees says:

    Commenting on Joe’s 56th comment, I still wonder where God’s suffering as stated in Christianity, fits into that.

    “Jesus, who is God, suffered. So, there isn’t a God”

    Of course, a few say it is a myth. The few are free to do so at the expense of their intellectual integrity.

  63. 63
    Joe says:

    Well seventrees, Alan Fox was asking about the dolphin slaughter and how that fits VJT’s concept.

    It’s as if they want God to take responsibility for everything. And that is a prediction of Mapou’s “cry-baby” hypothesis.

  64. 64
    selvaRajan says:

    Querius@42,

    So, just as Schroedinger’s cat is trapped forever between life and death, so you too are also forever held prisoner by our conceptions of you!
    As you pointed out, what we think of you is you, which makes you a young, androgynous, heavy-set person with a moustache named “Adam.”

    Erwin Schrodinger’s thought experiment is about superposition – the cat is not ‘between’ life and death. It is both alive and dead. The thought experiment was to ridicule Copenhagen interpretation – not to compliment superposition!
    You are mixing 2 thoughts to create one form of me. That has got nothing to do with Schrodinger’s cat!
    Imagine mixing God’s concepts of various religions together- you will get multiple limbs, multiple heads, androgynous( there are androgynous Gods too),multihued God- so if you are visualizing such a God, that is what God is for you.

  65. 65
    Querius says:

    But selvaRajan, you missed my point.

    My misconception of you and Mapou’s misconception of you have most likely not affected your appearance—unless your conception of you is stronger than ours combined!

    Hmmm. Maybe if Mapou and I agree to visualize you as a heavy-set, middle-aged woman with a moustache, you’ll turn into one! Be afraid! 😉

    My point is this. If the combined searing intellect of Mapou and I cannot affect your appearance in the slightest, how much less can we affect God’s existence!

    -Q

  66. 66

    selvaRajan, regarding Querius @65:

    Furthermore, and importantly, Querius’ and Mapou’s disagreement about you, your qualities, your appearance, your capabilities, and so on in no way means that you don’t exist.*

    Yet that was the alleged problem the materialists were throwing around earlier in this thread: If the believers don’t all have exactly the same conception about God, then God doesn’t exist.

    It simply doesn’t follow. That kind of reasoning is a fallacy. Logic 101 fail.

    Querius’ example is excellent in pointing this out.

    —–

    * It is true, to be sure, that if two people have opposing conceptions of someone’s characteristics, then one or both of them are wrong (or at least have an incomplete understanding) about that particular characteristic. As a result, if two people proclaim opposing views about this or that characteristic of God, we can conclude that one or both of them are wrong or at least lack complete understanding. That would be a valid observation. However, that was not the assertion by the naysayers. Instead they tried to go a bridge too far and assert that the existence of disagreement about this or that characteristic of God proves God doesn’t exist. Very simply put, that kind of thinking is wrong — demonstrably so.

  67. 67

    Dr. Liddle’s (and other atheists at TSZ) issue with God seems to be two-fold; she doesn’t find the moral state of the universe or the physical evidence wrt intelligence compelling in favor of belief in God.

    Yet, if God has provided humans with the free will capacity even to deny God’s existence, isn’t this the very state they should expect to find themselves in – one where the evidence does not compel them to believe?

  68. 68
    phoodoo says:

    William,

    I thought Lizzie argument of why we should see humans as anything more than chemical oddities if one believes in evolution, is particularly unsophisticated. Basically her idea is that, well, we can call humans special, because we feel they are special. And her biggest cop-out, well, they have “emergence”. A completely vague, and unexplainable science term which tries to make sense of how a bunch of ants can make something smart, or how our individual brain cells can put together a complex thought.

    She kept trying to say, “well, they are emergent, see, so that is where we get our moral ideas.” I think she didn’t even have a clue what she was trying to say, but simply was trying to throw out some concepts and hope they deflected the problem of finding morality in a completely materialist world.

    If we are all just different mixes of chemicals, all the talk in the world about emergence doesn’t erase the fact that its just chemicals creating the illusion of value.

    The fact is, science doesn’t even know what emergence is, they have no idea how ants make complex decisions, and how individual brain cells, add up to consciousness. Its a complete mystery,and she is using it as a defense for pulling morality out of thin air.

  69. 69
    Joe says:

    phoodoo,

    What do you expect from people who think that a M&M simulation actually means something wrt reality?

  70. 70
    phoodoo says:

    Joe,

    Well, they are certainly free to believe that they can model a life and death struggle by counting how long it takes M&M’s to “drift” mutations into full populations (agreed its already starting with a preposterous amount of assertions), but when they can’t even count well, then it makes the whole process comically absurd.

  71. 71
    selvaRajan says:

    Querius @ 65 and Eric @66,
    My argument was about form of God, not existence of God and about Dr.Vjt question :’whether God can create a sentient or sapient being’ .
    I noted @39

    Every religion has their own concept of God. Some religions view God’s emissary as God, in some God has no form, in some there are hundreds of God – some Gods are female.
    Dr. Liddle has her own God (in her perception God is female). You have your own God. When we can’t divine the form of God , how can we know whether He can create a sentient or sapient being ?
    Everyone is arguing based on their own perception of God and since there is no consensus on form of God, it is fair to say – ‘what you think is God is God and what you think He is capable of is His capability’.

  72. 72
    phoodoo says:

    SelvaRajan,

    Why would one need to know what God is capable of, if what one is deciding is that they see a world which was likely created?

    Nothing in this world suggests it is just chaos of unordered purposelessness=the nothingness you would expect to come out of nothing; everything suggests there is order and organization. I would think one hardly needs more than this to decide that something is obviously capable of putting it that way.

  73. 73
    Querius says:

    selvaRajan,

    My argument was about form of God, not existence of God

    Exactly! And this is precisely the controversy between Mapou and I regarding your form. As noted previously, we apparently have widely different conceptions of your form (we, of course believe that you exist).

    What we want to know is whether anyone has noticed that your form has changed lately.

    -Q

  74. 74
    selvaRajan says:

    Querius @73,
    Your contention is that the way someone perceives God is not going to change the actual form of God – which is of course true. However if no one has an idea of actual form of God, what He can or can’t do can’t be answered (hence we wouldn’t know whether He is capable of creating sentient or sapient human).
    I may be a bot, a robot or male or female. For me to give birth, I need to be female. If you think of me as androgynous, male or robot, that would be impossible. So what you think of me limits my capability in your perception.
    Unless you know the actual form of God, there is no way to know what He is capable of. Every religion has God in different forms, so what He is capable of differs in everyone’s perception.What you think and perceive may not be true. If it is not true, then whatever you say based on your perception is false. You are looking at the flickering shadows in Plato’s cave. You need to come out of the cave!

  75. 75
    selvaRajan says:

    phoodoo @ 72,

    Why would one need to know what God is capable of, if what one is deciding is that they see a world which was likely created?

    To convince others. If you don’t want to do that, then there is no problem.

  76. 76

    phoodoo:

    Thanks for calling out the “emergence” business. It is amazing how many people buy into the “emergence” buzzword as though it were some kind of actual explanation.

    Emergence, without more explanation of what is actually going on at the micro and macro level, is just another way of restating the old evolutionary storyline:

    Stuff Happens.

  77. 77
    phoodoo says:

    selvaRajan,

    You man if someone shows to you that the world is clearly a designed property, which requires a great amount of specific information content to exist the way it does, and says, look, this is not chaos-some people (you perhaps) would say, yes, I agree, it is designed and ordered, but the problem is, I don’t know if a God can do this. So until I find out what powers it has, I am still not convinced.

    Nothing could convince such a person, so why would someone try? That person wants to NOT believe too badly.

    Apple doesn’t need to convince you that their company is full of brilliant people in order for you to see that their products were designed. The product is the evidence. You may not even like their designs, but you would have a hard time denying their existence.

    You would have an equally hard time saying that perhaps an Apple marketing man just found these things laying in the desert, washed up by the sands. Now you could believe that if it was very important to your worldview to think that, but if someone can’t convince you otherwise, in that case its probably more your job to convince others that they may well have been whipped into shape by a bunch of sand in the Sahara.

  78. 78
    selvaRajan says:

    phoodoo @77,
    If I say mountains are not created by Apple but are the result of plate tectonics would you believe me? Apple obviously didn’t create mountains or Microsoft products. Apple doesn’t have the power to create all products.
    Similarly without knowing the capability of God, you can’t know what creator can create – you don’t expect God to create iPhones and iPads.

  79. 79
    phoodoo says:

    selvaRajan,

    So your problem isn’t in believing in some type of God, but you are on a quest to learn more about the details of this God, to see if he could have created this world? I think many theologians and spiritualists would suggest you need to spend time meditating over this and see if you gain any wisdom or insight. Have you already begun this?

    I am not sure why you are confusing the issue of mountains however, you seem to have spun back into an argument of detecting whether or not something is designed, as opposed to your argument about what the God is like that did it. I think if you keep confusing the two issues, you are not going to make sense of anything.

    Did you actually wish to argue about whether or not we can identify design?

  80. 80
    phoodoo says:

    selvaRajan,

    Surely you can appreciate the difference between deciding if Apple or Microsoft designed a computer, as opposed to deciding if the computer was whipped up by a wind storm in the Sahara?

    Are you giving Apple, Microsoft and the winds of the Sahara equal probability?

  81. 81

    selvaRajan:

    Similarly without knowing the capability of God, you can’t know what creator can create.

    That is true in a sense. However, when we have a created thing in front of us, we know that the creator of that thing at least had the capability to create that thing, including the knowledge, planning, foresight, understanding of physics and chemistry, etc. So we may not know every characteristic of the creator of life, for example, but we know that the creator was an incredibly-capable engineer who had a deep understanding of chemistry and physics.

    Now whether that creator was “God” or not, is a different question.

  82. 82
    Querius says:

    And apparently He loves math, beautiful complexity, and hiding things. 🙂

    Ignorance does not make God indeterminate, nor does it absolve us from reaching out to discover, rather than synthesize, God on His terms.

    Ask yourself whether you are honestly willing to do that.

    -Q

  83. 83
    Querius says:

    Here’s a bedtime story for selvaRajan.

    Once upon a time, there was a rumor about a person hidden behind a curtain. No one have ever seen this person. Some people said that they tried to speak to the person but got no answer, so they no longer believed that there was a person behind the curtain.

    Other people said that they tried to speak to the person behind the curtain and they got a response. Great controversy followed.

    There was once a young man with dark hair and a moustache named selvaRajan—no wait, he’s actually a heavy-set middle-aged woman with dark hair and a moustache . . . or both. Anyway, selvaRajan claimed that there was absolutely NO WAY anyone could be certain about the person behind the curtain, thus people should simply believe what they want to and it would be fine.

    But SelvaRajan was wrong. There is a way to find out whether there’s a person behind the curtain after all, and that is to ask the person behind the curtain, simply and earnestly, “I don’t know if your there behind the curtain, but if you are, I would really like to meet you, and to have a personal relationship with you.”

    The question would be, is selvaRajan serious enough about God to ask?

    -Q

  84. 84
    Querius says:

    I meant to write: “I don’t know if you’re there behind the curtain . . .” (I hate it when I make grammatical mistakes).

    So, how about it selvaRajan?

    -Q

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