Tuesday, November 26, 2013

No explanation, must be God!

Often times I hear an argument for the existence of God that goes as follows: "You can't explain how we got here so I'm going to believe in God."

Yes, it's true that scientists at this time can not offer a concrete explanation on where the universe came from or how life arose from non-life. They have hunches for sure and are working on the problems, but nothing has been proven yet. For example, many Chemists believe that if the right chemicals are mixed together under the right conditions over time then simple life will eventually appear. Unfortunately, this process likely took billions of years to happen naturally on Earth so it's not something that can be replicated & verified so simply in a lab. Similarly, our universe is a very difficult place to explore. It's very big and very old, so it's impractical to send probes to locations outside our solar system. There are hypotheses which show how the universe may have originated from nothing, but at this point while plausible they're really just educated speculation.

However, none of this really matters because the original argument is incredibly logically flawed anyway. This is important. Just because there is no explanation for something doesn't mean a God had to be the cause. For example, we have absolutely no clue why an otherwise healthy middle-aged person who lived a clean life would all of a sudden get pancreatic cancer. Does that mean God caused cancer in that individual? What an absurd thought! There are numerous mysteries we don't understand yet. That doesn't mean a God is the cause of each one.

What we do know for sure is that there have been hundreds of phenomena over history which humans once thought were caused by God but today with our increasing scientific and mathematical knowledge can now easily explain without the need to invoke the supernatural. For example, just a few thousand years ago it was thought that rainbows, lightning storms, and solar eclipses were caused by God. There were even specific gods named after each one (e.g., Iris, Zeus, Helius, etc.). Today we know better!

Another thing we do know with 100% certainty is that in terms of the origin of the universe and the origin of life, the Bible's explanation in Genesis is completely wrong. We know that Earth didn't form before the first stars. We know it took longer than a few days for life to appear after the first stars formed. We know birds did not appear before the first land animals. We know the first human didn't appear out of a whirlwind of dirt. We know the first woman didn't form from a man's rib. We know there wasn't a global flood, and so on.

One last thing we are certain of is that there has not been one phenomenon that we didn't know the cause of in the past but today we know for sure it's God. I'm not sure of the exact score now but it's probably like Physics 1000 and God 0 in terms of things that can be explained today that we didn't know in the past.

So, which the more likely explanation of how we got here, natural or supernatural? The odds would say that there's a physical explanation to the origins of the universe and life but just haven't figured it out yet. Science and math have done a pretty good job so far of explaining our world. On the other hand God hasn't explained anything how he did it, and the Bible has a good track record of being wrong!

My money is going on the side of physics rather than in a church collection bin.

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