Posted: Aug 15, 2013 5:48 am
by willhud9
Before I officially give my first argument on the existence of God, which shall be interesting as Mick has a similar debate at the moment on the same topic as this post, I would like to thank the mod team, Life, Byron and everyone who is watching from the Peanut Gallery for this opportunity. In my excitement to get started I totally forgot to give my thanks!

Secondly, for information's sake. I am still your converted atheist you all know and love. I am having this debate for the sake of fun and see if after almost two years I can argue for orthodox Christianity. So without further ado here is my first argument:

Part I Physics

Is there a higher power? A question which has puzzled theologians, laypersons, and even many scientists throughout the ages. Well around a third of professional scientists profess a belief in a God, mainly from one of the Abrahamic religions. Now I am not talking about those "scientists" from the Discovery Institute. They are neither professional nor serious about their academia, but how can scientists whom spend their life dealing with empirical data profess a belief in a God? Because to them there are clues in the science they study.

Kenneth Miller, professor of Biology at Brown University, discussed in his book Finding Darwin's God, what he considered three questions that science could not answer. The first is thermodynamics; the Universe has a plethora of energy, where did it come from? The Universe itself where did it come from? The second is the "anthropic principle" or rather a sort of fine tuning. The conditions of the Universe and the solar system of Earth are just right for human life to develop and form. Now this is not arguing intelligent design, that the universe was designed and therefore perfect, but rather the Universe was affected in some way so that life on earth may develop. And the third is the "uncertainty principle" of quantum mechanics which states that there are slight mathematical inequalities which limit how precise certain pairs of physical properties of a particle can be known simultaneously. It is these three positions I seek to explain in relation to the existence of a god.

So unto the first, thermodynamics. Thermodynamics deals with the reaction of heat and the conversion of energy in a system aside from by work. Energy can neither be created nor destroyed, energy gives way to entropy, etc. Now some creationists use thermodynamics to "disprove" evolution, but we know that is a bunch of hogwash. The cosmological theory of the Big Bang, the most accepted out of the cosmological theories, states that at one point our universe was dense and hot, and that heat caused the universe to rapidly expand.

Now some scientists argue that since energy cannot be created , that the mass of energy from which the universe started has been infinite. And that could be true, but the problem comes with the laws of thermodynamics and entropy. For how long was the universe a condensed mass of energy? If for a long time (alright physicists I know time is relative and may not have been in existence prior to the Bang), was the "stuff" (for lack of a better term) around the mass of energy an open system in which new energy could come in? If for a short time, why the sudden expansion? These are questions for which most answers are speculative at best.

This understanding of thermodynamics in relation to the Big Bang has caused what is called the first cause hypothesis of many religious institutions. In which, the energy of the Big Bang had to have come from an outside source. It could have come from another Universe and our Universe is simply part of a bigger Megaverse, some astrophysicists even adhere to that explanation. And yet, at the same time it hints at something beyond our universe, a potential infinite source of energy. Kenneth Miller, argues that the infinite source of energy is very much God. Now for me that is a jump, so let us look at the other two questions.

The fine tuning argument is one in which the Discovery Institute has assumed as a valid explanation for Intelligent Design, and sadly has made many people cringe when they hear fine tuning. But the reality is the conditions of how earth formed in the billions of years the universe was cooling off, and the physics of the universe itself, are pointing towards a sense of awe that if just small fractions of the science were off during the Big Bang, our existence would not be the same, or even present. Creepy stuff to muse about late at night. Now some scientists, such as Daniel Dennett, have tried to explain away the concept of design, by arguing for multiple universes, but again that brings us back to earlier. Sure multiple universes can make sense, but by that logic and conjecture so can a first cause god.

Finally we have the principle of uncertainty in quantum mechanics. Quantum mechanics is the physics surrounding physical phenomena at microscopic levels and differs from classical mechanics i.e. the study of motion of bodies, on the subatomic levels. The uncertainty principle states that for every pair of properties of a particle observed, the more knowledge of how precise one property is the uncertainty of the other particle becomes. Because of this Miller argues that since electrons are the foundation for every atom and atoms are the literal building blocks of matter and therefore life, the entire foundation of life and nature is uncertainty. Because of the subtle changes in electron behavior due to quantum mechanics, mutations and evolutionary change occur. Because of the unpredictability of electrons, it can be argued that if there was a first cause, and the universe was fine tuned for life on earth, that even on the quantum level the behavior of electrons which are essential for the development of life can be affected by the same first cause which has affected the others. Miller believes that sets the foundation for a god. Perhaps not the Christian God, but a god nonetheless.

Part II Morality

So how do we get from a first cause god-like thing to the actual God of Christianity? Francis Collins, former geneticist of the Human Genome Project and the director of the National Institutes of Health, argues that the Christian God can be arrived at by what he dubbed from CS Lewis, "the Moral Law." The virtue of certain morals have been raised to a point in human society as being intrinsically considered right or wrong. Morals such as malicious lying, malicious killing, adultery, and theft have in human culture been considered morally wrong. Now the degree of the morality is relative. Some cultures believe that murder is justified if in self defense or to protect one's honor. Some cultures believe lying is okay if the lying is not for self gain, but to save lives or emotions. These variants of the morals are what is considered relative morality.

But underlying all the small variants of morals we happen upon a basic structure or framing of basic principles which human cultures have held since humanity began. It is that basic structure which is known as the Moral Law. Incidentally, that Moral Law matches in agreement with the God of Christianity and His Law.

Paul in the Epistle to the Romans wrote: For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

What is God's nature? God's nature is in his moral law. The understanding of right and wrong found within human instinct is part of God's nature. His eternal power can relate back towards the notion of quantum mechanics and uncertainty. Paul continues in Romans saying that people knew God but chose to ignore him. This is in relation to the moral law as well. They knew God's standard, but chose to ignore it for their own purpose. In much the same way we see that on an anthropological level. The subtle variations of morality extend from the basic structure of a moral law.

Now some, such as Dr. Richard Dawkins, have advocated that morality is a part of genetics that human evolution has "wired" us for morality and altruism in order so that our genes could survive, natural selection, etc. And there are two replies to that. The first is even if everything was simply genetics and that the morality humans experience is a result of biological evolution, it would not somehow negate the principle of moral law. Why? Because of quantum mechanics. If God is able to work on the quantum level and affect mutations, he could most definitely affect mutations and genetics to allow for a genetic moral law. But that is if everything was simply genetics.

There is an issue with the genetic argument and that is a disposition to choose i.e. free will. If morality was merely some genetic code hardwired into our DNA than by all means you'd expect everyone to behave the same morally or rather to varying degrees. Just like you have people with brown and blue eyes, you would find people more inclined to behave good and more people inclined to behave badly. But we do not. We see people whom choose to do something exemplary or we see people whom choose to do something wicked. This is shown by people who have done terrible things in the past, turning around and doing great things with their present and future.

Part III A Longing for Something More

So we touched on the science, we touched on the ethics, now it is time for a philosophical approach. Since humans learned to work with tools, and communicate, one of the greatest features of humans is to learn. What drives a human to learn? After all, no other animal actively pursues an education or knowledge. Sure a dog may curiously follow a scent, or a chimpanzee may learn to use a tool, but humans are the only ones who pursue knowledge for knowledge's sake.

So again, what drives a human to learn? It could be an evolutionary trait which helped early hominids survive. Or it could be the desire to seek the truth about life. Questions such as why are we here, and where did we come from? have been asked by humans from all walks of life for thousands of thousands of years. The fact that priests were some of the earliest professions in a civilization shows that for thousands of years people believed there was some higher power. Where did that belief come from? The fear of the unexplainable? The lies of the power hungry? Or perhaps from an actual deity? The longing for truth and for purpose is perhaps one of the biggest supports for God.

The Christian God expressly wants people to know Him. Jeremiah 24:7 reads: And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart. Because of this he created onto people a desire to seek the truth. Going back to the Romans verse from earlier, this also ties in with the concept of God's nature. God wants you to come to Him. His nature is for you to know Him. But people choose to reject God's moral law, and choose to reject God.

Part IV The power of individual testimony

Okay, so maybe individual testimony doesn't have that much power, but it sure can be convincing. Now it is true that many people can be delusional over something trivial. After all, we have a news story of religious people being awed over aphid feces and thinking it an act of God. Yeah, you have stupid people. But then you hear testimonies from former drug addicts and criminals, or suicidal people and how their life has turned around completely since becoming a Christian.

Now the testimony itself is not exactly proof of a God, but is the result found within the testimony an act of God or the individual willpower to change under a God delusion? I will argue it is the former. Life changing events in people's lives require major support and loads of time and effort. A lot of these changes in people's testimony are in a sense beyond what the person could be reasonably considered capable of.

In Romans 12, Paul talks about the renewing of our minds and therefore a transformation of character and that is exactly what we see with many people, a complete change of character. Those who come to be a Christian, are exposed to the Holy Spirit (I will discuss Him more when I discuss salvation) who actively lives within a Christian's life. Paul in Corinthian discusses how every believer is a temple onto God via the Holy Spirit. Because of this, the powers of God can be seen through those who lives through the spirit. Jesus, in the Gospels, said the testimony of his followers are by those who bear good fruit by living his teachings.

Now of course we have professed Christians who do terrible things in the supposed name of Christ or God, but did they really do it for God or for selfish, wicked reasons? The character transforming power experienced by many believers is testimony for his existence.


So I have discussed science, morality, philosophy, and the changing of lives. All of these I believe are sufficient evidences, if not direct proof, for the existence of a God. Can we be certain that this God is the Christian God? Not quite and that will come later. But as for now, I will concede my turn over to my partner and I wish him all the best as he argues why the existence of God is irrational.