Michael Battalio


Friday, August 14, 2009

This I Believe (part 15 comments on the comments part 4)

        This post deals with some of the comments from the post “Serious Conversations (part 7)” I’ve really focused in on just the things I felt were important.

Anon2: “All worldviews require at least some faith, but Christianity, as the only one that accurately portrays reality, requires the least, because its claims can be shown to be objective fact.”
Actually, no they cannot be proven to be objective fact, that’s the point. It only appears to be objective fact because you assume that it “accurately portrays reality”. I also think that moral relativism holds if there is no God.

Anon2: Agnostics are "atheists" when it comes to most religions. Why does the agnostic feel that it's quite all right to play dumb [when it comes to the Christian God] but not in the other cases? The agnostic must believe that he has evidence for the existence of the Christian God that prevents her from outright dismissing Him. (Actually, that's the best case scenario from an intellectual perspective. The worst case scenario is that the agnostic is afraid to admit that he does, in fact, dismiss God all together.) … If agnostics want to play dumb they have to explain why playing dumb makes sense in certain cases but not others. … The main argument I have heard that is pro-agnostic is that ‘Church wastes time’
Truthfully, I think that anything is infinitesimally possible. I choose to formally address the Christian God because that is the faith I was indoctrinated in. I suppose I could randomly pick some other infinitesimally possible deity and address him/her. In this sense I lump all popular religions together. I cannot prove or disprove any of them. They are all possible. The difference is that there is a tradition of belief that is why it is different to address all formal religions and ignore an obviously made up religion. For why I only attend a Catholic church see my previous posts, but to reiterate in short: Church is about the people and interacting with those good people, not just worshiping a deity that may or may not exist.

Anon2 referring to Occam’s razor: “the universe cannot replace God as explanation for its own existence. The universe is finite in both size and time. …How did this universe decide to create itself? …The laws of physics are designed with such precision that it is almost inconceivable that they could be the result of chance. …Random chance does not design such a well-crafted universe. All the atheistic explanations for such an exquisitely defined universe require the presence of trillions of other universes, of which ours is the one which happened, by chance, to have the exact physics required for the formation of galaxies, stars and planets. Therefore the atheistic explanation actually goes against Occam's razor since it requires some mechanism by which universes can sprout from some super universe and randomly change their laws of physics. The mechanism by which physical laws could randomly evolve would add further complexity. Design by an intelligent designer is obviously a much simpler explanation.

I am familiar with Occam’s razor, and it would be useful if you could prove that intelligent design is much simpler. The problem is who are you or anyone else to say that the multiverse is more complicated than an intelligent designer. It is relative. There is no way to prove it. How is it obvious that the multiverse or any other explanation is simpler than God.

I refer you to this post I made on the anthropic principle:

[…]
The weak argument refers to the selection of specific times and spaces in the universe for the development of intelligent life. In summary the weak anthropic principle says our existence coincides perfectly with conditions for intelligent life because life would not be around to measure the perfect conditions for its existence if those conditions did meet the needs of intelligent life. To restate, we would not be here to measure stuff if the stuff we were measuring precluded our existence. The strong argument generalizes the weak argument to include fundamental constants and forces of physics. The conclusion to this is we are in a universe where the forces and constants are such that we can exist. (Which, I know, is rather obvious.) An implication of this is that there are universes where forces and constants do not include our existence. So, we are left with a theory of the multiverse, that we are in one of an infinite number of possible universes.
        By introducing this idea of the multiverse, the strong anthropic principle selects our universe as one in which life can exist. This is analogous to the weak version of the anthropic principle selecting our planet at our time for intelligent life, which is also somewhat analogous to the Darwinian theory of Evolution selecting our genes for life.
        So, which is simpler a multiverse, which we cannot prove, or God, which we also cannot prove. At best these considerations leave us agnostic.

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