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VIDEO: Which of These 4 New Arguments to Believe In God Do You Find Most Compelling?

The new offering from Prager University this week updates a powerful course from the late Frank Pastore.

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February 23, 2014 - 10:00 am

Every week day a book excerpt, video, news story or some combination thereof to provoke spirited debate on controversial subjects. Have an idea you'd like to offer up for discussion? Email PJ Lifestyle's editor Dave Swindle: DaveSwindlePJM [@] Gmail.com

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All Comments   (5)
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I've been down similar thought paths. That's how I wound up a theist. I was raised as a Roman Catholic but my Christian identity foundered on a couple of things.
Mr. Pastori's theist apologia here rests on the likelihood of God but ends there. There is no specific need for the Judaeo-Christian God, the Muslim Allah (who may be the same or may not), nor any of the particular polytheist or pantheist entities that make up the organized religions we know.
The "god of the gaps" argument is one way to define this position as Jeff has done. The gap between what reason and observation and what we believe can be called faith. Understanding that there's almost certainly a gap between what we believe and the reality of God could be called humility.
Jeff G, your point that "You don't know so I must be right" is an unsatisfying answer is very powerful. It does not vitiate the idea that the God entity initiated the Big Bangs -- and it leaves room that the first Bang set the others in motion, perhaps by design. Indeed I believe by design, though I may be wrong.
MC88, later science showed up gaps in Darwin's theory, gaps he acknowledged in his own writing and some he didn't see coming. Darwin's core ideas remain valid and are often confirmed by new information. Certainly Darwin knew nothing of genes as material, nor of DNA, but he understood that only heritable variations would be subject to natural selection and he understood the basics of heredity as we understand them now. Darwin put little stake in mutation because he believed that mutations were too rare, and valuable ones rarer yet, so that mutation would have only slight effect on species.
So both of you have something to like here, J and M, and both will have a thought or two that chafes.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ah, the eternal god of the gaps argument. It might be a bit more convincing if Mr. Pastori has any idea of the current state of the art in cosmology or biology. Actually, never mind "You don't know, therefore I must be right" is never a convincing argument.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Actually, never mind "You don't know, therefore I must be right" is never a convincing argument."

Funny, that's how I interpret what you just said. You have faith that there is no God and all will be explained rationally at some future point in time. However since that point is some unknowable point in the future, how is your faith really that much different from mine?

Darwin, whom so many cite, was clear on his theories about biology, which were absolutely wrong (i.e. he had no understanding of DNA and how traits are inherited and other microscopic realities) yet they are the foundation of his theory of evolution. So while so many put his faith in him, indeed the gaps in the theory of evolution grow ever wider as well. But no worries, I'm sure your faith is well founded and they'll figure it out sooner or later.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
I've never claimed that my faith is different than mine in anything but details. My point was simply that the arguments presented demonstrate a deep lack of understanding of the topics and are unconvincing, primarily because the same argument has been made about other unknowns that were later figured out. Actually, on second thought, my faith is fundamentally different than yours. Mine is inquisitive. We know there are plenty of things that we don't know, and so we seek answers (which usually bring along an escort of new unknowns). Yours is fundamentally stagnant. There's not much motivation for exploration when the answer to "How did X happen?" is "God did it."

Darwin, being ignorant of Mendel's work, didn't have a mechanism for how traits were passed from generation to generation or how they changed. Later scientists, rediscovering and expanding on Mendel, filled that gap by the late 1950's. While there is still plenty of debate in the biology community about the relative importance of mutation and natural selection, the core of Darwinian evolution - Common Descent and Evolution Through Natural Selection of Random Mutation - are as settled as science gets. Any evidence claiming to overturn them would meet the same scrutiny as evidence claiming to overturn the Laws of Thermodynamics.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
" Mine is inquisitive...Yours is fundamentally stagnant..."

Ah, the conceit of the non-religious. Too bad I can't cite any scientists that also rationally practice religion. Nope, none come to mind. Shucks, all us unthinking Godly folks just skip down the daisy path at peace that "God did it."

My field is not biology so I won't even attempt to be drawn into a discussion of the specifics, except to say that my understanding of the field is that natural selection and random mutation are well documented, and insufficient to address most of the questions posed regarding transition from nothing, to single-celled organisms, to multi-celled organisms up through self-awareness.

But that is an aside because you can debate the video, and you can debate "God of the gaps", but to my understanding (which may be incorrect as specific religious philosophy is not my field either) this video is not about a God of the gaps. Where gaps are mentioned it is only to point out that as our understanding of the complexity of the system increases the gaps get wider. The typical understanding of "God of the gaps" is that the gaps get smaller as a knowledge expands and increasingly desperate religious people are forced to ever smaller space to defend their god. This is not the point of the video at all, but instead how our understanding of the complexity of the world demonstrates how huge the changes in the history of the universe are.

And even if it were, I don't have to believe in a God of the gaps because I believe in an honest God of infinite complexity, i.e. there will always be gaps, and those that are within human understanding will have rational explanations, because otherwise would be dishonest. You can believe in God, as I do, and still ask "how does God do that?" and not be inconsistent. If God wants to bring water to California, I don't expect rivers to run backward and against gravity, but for a large storm to hit in a way that is totally explainable by meteorologists. The fact that it can be explained doesn't mean God is less powerful. Your implication that those with faith in God don't believe in academic inquiry mostly just betrays your ignorance of believers. I understand the confusion as most atheists believe that faith in any god is irrational and most claim their disbelief proven. But I'm impressed that you are able to both admit your faith AND dismiss mine.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
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