How can you preemptively dismiss the God hypothesis?

The full question, below, makes a some assumptions: that having any answer is better than not knowing until you have a good answer; affecting behaviour is the same as truth; if someone feels they need an answer, an answer with antiquity is the default answer; “God” and his magic abilities are so immune from questions that merely uttering the word overrules the need to ask how God did something. Consider this, briefly: if you ask me how I did a magic trick and I merely give you my name in response, does that explain how I did the trick?

How can you rule out – in advance – ideas that answer important questions that have positive influences on human emotions, but also, and arguably more importantly, ideas that answer intellectual needs?  I say in advance because, for instance, you cannot explain where the universe comes from, or how life began from inorganic matter, but the concept of God can.  Discarding this question, or simply chalking it up to a “God of the gaps” argument betrays your eagerness to avoid it.  An omnipotent god explains these fundamental questions.  Should we be so eager to discard it?

I have a bamboo sock. The care instructions that came with that bamboo sock informed me with great confidence that the existence of my bamboo sock answers all questions. Most things were a mistake on behalf of the sock, and not a sign of its omnipotence. There is no evidence for this. However, absent of better answers to difficult questions I implore you not to discard it so soon.

The question in the title hides a fundamental misunderstanding in how science works. Scientists come up with an idea that conceptually may answer a question. They then spend a long time figuring out the implications of their idea, and testing whether those implications are real. Taking Lawrence Krauss’ Universe from Nothing hypothesis as an example I’m familiar with, the first hypothesis was that “nothing” is not what philosophers and theologians had long since argued. “Nothing” is, in fact, a type of something in that it has property. That property is that it spontaneously decays into something (in the more familiar sense) and the negation of that something. If that were true, Krauss should still be able to find that happening today (instead of just positing that it happened 13.8 billion years ago and leaving it at that). And, in the space between quarks inside protons, he has found exactly that.

Before we even begin to discuss whether the God answer is an apt hypothesis for the beginning of the universe, one must first present a more compelling case that “I implore you not to discard it so soon”.

Footnote

The small anecdote about my bamboo sock is not a semantics game, where I take “God” and call is “a bamboo sock”. It is only true if you define God as the creator of the universe, in which case we may well find “God” is a non-intelligent aspect of physics. But that’s not what you’re arguing, is it?

Related viewing

Re: Organic life: Anything with Dr Jack Szostak (he’s not famous enough)

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15 thoughts on “How can you preemptively dismiss the God hypothesis?”

  1. Who wrote that? And what is this but the concept of God can? That’s about as persuasive as My toaster, not your bamboo sock, is responsible for the existence of the world.

  2. I agree with John.

    Things aren’t true just because they satisfy some sort of nebulous need.

    And since science has proven the existence of God, by the very standards and thought processes of science, it is the atheist who is on the outside looking in.

  3. Any argument for the existence of God or description of the behavior of God or whatever can be refuted by simply substituting the word “unicorn” or “fairy” for “God.” So preemptive dismissal is only reasonable reply for any such claims.

        1. Ark,

          The truth is not determined by the majority.

          So as usual your venture is a hallucination to nowhere.

          Here, let Saint Paul dumb it down for you:

          Acts 17:24 “The God who made the world and all that is in it, the Lord of heaven and earth…”

        2. This is true. And fictional figures such as the biblical character Jesus of Nazareth have been used to portray certain truths as well. Or at least what are perceived truths at any given time.

      1. “If you used the words unicorn, fairy to refute the existence of science your peers would call you a moron.”

        Why would they do that?

  4. I love this post, it made me laugh because I have been a participant and a witness to exactly this logic in FB world.

    A theist, claiming god is the answer of course, roundly rejected the critiques of his argument because, apparently, if you answer “I don’t know” to the question of where did the universe come from, your answer is not an acceptable alternative and therefore the GODIDIT answer is the best explanation.

    The cesspit of circularity lasted days and resulted in a very angry and undignified theist, it was most amusing.

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