There Is a God by Antony Flew

Posted by Ali Reda | Posted in | Posted on 12/18/2014

In The Presumption of Atheism and other atheistic writings, Flew argued that we must take the universe itself and its most fundamental laws as themselves ultimate. Every system of explanation must start somewhere, and this starting point itself cannot be explained by the system. So, inevitably, all such systems include at least some fundamentals that are not themselves explained. This is a consequence following from the essential nature of explanations of why something that is in fact the case, is the case.

Science spotlights three dimensions of nature that point to God. The first is how did the laws of nature come to be? and the rationality implicit in all our experience of the physical world. The second is how did life as a phenomenon of purpose-driven, reproducing beings originate from a non-live matter. The third is the very existence of nature or why does the universe bother to exist?

The First Dimension

The important point is not merely that there are regularities in nature, but that these regularities are mathematically precise, universal, and “tied together.” Einstein spoke of them as “reason incarnate.” The question we should ask is how nature came packaged in this fashion. This is certainly the question that scientists from Newton to Einstein to Heisenberg have asked—and answered. Their answer was the Mind of God. Singular facts as our capacity to know and explicate truths, the correlation between the workings of nature and our abstract descriptions of these workings (what physicist Eugene Wigner called the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics), and the role of codes (systems of symbols that act in the physical world) such as the genetic and neuronal codes at the most fundamental levels of life manifest by their very being the foundational and allpervasive nature of rationality. “The world is rational,” noted the great mathematician Kurt Gödel. The relevance of this rationality is that “the order of the world reflects the order of the supreme mind governing it.” The reality of rationality cannot be evaded with any appeal to natural selection. Natural selection presupposes the existence of physical entities that interact according to specific laws and of a code that manages the processes of life. Also another aspect of this rationality lies in the idea of symmetry, According to most accounts of modern physics, symmetry is any kind of transformation that leaves the laws of physics that apply to a system unchanged. The idea was initially applied to the differential equations of classical mechanics and electromagnetism and then applied in new ways to special relativity and the problems of quantum mechanics.

These laws seem to be fine tuned so that life and consciousness may emerge and life would not have been possible if some of these laws and constants had been slightly different (The anthropic principle). Also the contrived nature of physical existence is just too fantastic for me to take on board as simply ‘given.’ It points to a deeper underlying meaning to existence. This fine tuning has been explained in two ways. Some scientists have said the fine tuning is evidence for divine design; many others have speculated that our universe is one of multiple others, a “multiverse”, with different laws and physical constants, and ours happens to have the right conditions for life. But this claim is absurd for two reasons:
1)it is crazy to postulate a trillion (causally unconnected) universes to explain the features of one universe because since they are unconnected then we can't validate this claim by a scientific method, when postulating one entity (God) will do the job.
2) To ask how the laws governing the multiverse originated is the same as asking for the origin of the laws of nature in general again. It doesn't answer anything. We have only shifted the problem of cosmic biophilicity up one level.

Richard Dawkins has rejected the argument that God wrote the laws of nature on the grounds that God is too complex a solution for explaining the universe and its laws. This strikes me as a bizarre thing to say about the concept of an omnipotent spiritual Being. What is complex about the idea of an omnipotent and omniscient Spirit, an idea so simple that it is understood by all the adherents of the three great monotheistic religions;Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
I’m not an atheist, and I don’t think I can call myself a pantheist. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn’t know what it is.We see the universe marvelously arranged and obeying certain laws but only dimly understand these laws ~ Albert Einstein - Einstein and Religion by Max Jammer.
The Second Dimension

The first philosophical dimension to the origin of life relates to abiogenesis, he says that the present physicists’ view of the age of the universe gives too little time for these theories of abiogenesis to get the job done.

A second philosophical dimension to the origin of life relates to the fact that living matter possesses an inherent goal that is nowhere present in the matter that preceded it. An overriding question is when (and then how) sexual reproduction itself evolved and precisely how the first genetic machinery evolved also persists as an unresolved issue. There is no law of nature that instructs matter to produce end-directed, self-replicating entities. It is true that protobiologists do have theories of the evolution of the first living matter, but they are dealing with a different category of problem. They are dealing with the interaction of chemicals, whereas our questions have to do with how something can be intrinsically purpose-driven and how matter can be managed by symbol processing.

A third philosophical dimension to the origin of life relates to the origin of the coding and information processing that is central to all life-forms. The genetic message in DNA is duplicated in replication and then copied from DNA to RNA in transcription. Following this there is translation whereby the message from RNA is conveyed to the amino acids, and finally the amino acids are assembled into proteins. A gene is nothing but a set of coded instructions with a precise recipe for manufacturing proteins. Most important, these genetic instructions are not the kind of information you find in thermodynamics and statistical mechanics; rather, they constitute semantic information. In other words, they have a specific meaning. These instructions can be effective only in a molecular environment capable of interpreting the meaning in the genetic code. The origin question rises to the top at this point. The problem of how meaningful or semantic information can emerge spontaneously from a collection of mindless molecules subject to blind and purposeless forces presents a deep conceptual challenge. The very existence of a code is a mystery. The coding rules (the dictionary of codon assignments) are known. Yet they provide no clue as to why the code exists and why the mechanism of translation is what it is.
[Reason tells me of the] extreme difficulty or rather impossibility of conceiving this immense and wonderful universe, including man with his capability of looking far backwards and far into futurity, as the result of blind chance or necessity. When thus reflecting I feel compelled to look to a First Cause having an intelligent mind in some degree analogous to that of man; and I deserve to be called a Theist.~ Charles Darwin, The Autobiography of Charles Darwin
The Third Dimension

Absolute nothingness cannot produce something given endless time—in fact, there can be no time in absolute nothingness. The emergence of the universe from “nothing” does not violate the principles of physics, because the net energy of the universe is zero? This is an idea first floated by the physicist Edward Tryon, who said he had shown that the net energy of the universe is almost zero and that there is therefore no contradiction in saying that it came to be out of nothing since it is nothing. If you add up the binding (attractive) energy of gravitational attraction, which is negative, and the rest of the whole mass of the universe, which is positive, you get almost zero. No energy, then, would be required to create the universe, and therefore no creator is required. Regarding this and similar claims, the postulation of a universe with zero net energy still doesn’t answer the question of why there should be anything at all. Alvin Plantinga points out that God understood as a necessary Being exists in all possible worlds.
My religiosity consists of a humble admiration of the infinitely superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble minds. That deeply emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God  ~ Albert Einstein - Einstein and Religion by Max Jammer.
Certainly, the existence of evil and suffering must be faced. However, philosophically speaking, that is a separate issue from the question of God’s existence. From the existence of nature, we arrive at the ground of its existence. Nature may have its imperfections, but this says nothing as to whether it had an ultimate Source. Thus, the existence of God does not depend on the existence of warranted or unwarranted evil. With regard to explaining the presence of evil, there are two alternate explanations for those who accept the existence of the Divine. The first is that of the Aristotelian God who does not intervene in the world. The second is the free-will defense, the idea that evil is always a possibility if human beings are truly free.

we are accustomed to hearing about arguments and proofs for God’s existence. Such arguments are useful in articulating certain fundamental insights, but cannot be regarded as “proofs” whose formal validity determines whether there is a God. It is very unlikely that something did come from nothing? Atheists say that the explanation for the universe is simply that it is eternally existing, but we cannot explain how this eternally existing state of affairs came to be. It is inexplicable and has to be accepted as such. Theists, however, are adamant in pointing out that God is something that is not ultimately inexplicable: God’s existence is inexplicable to us, but not to God. A universe would exist uncaused, but rather more likely that God would exist uncaused. Hence the argument from the existence of the universe to the existence of God is a good C-inductive argument. Religious conceptions of the universe  use approximations and analogies to help in grasping ultimate things. They are not the whole truth, but this does not stop them being a part of the truth.

But where is God? How can we relate God to the universe? He says that God is outside spaca and time, “There are a lot of different arguments you might give to try and show that God is outside time, One that impresses me somewhat is simply that if you take special relativity very seriously, you believe that everything that is in time is also in space. It’s just a four-dimensional continuum. No theist has ever thought that God was literally there in space. If he’s not in space and whatever is in time is in space, then he is not in time. The question then becomes: What sense can you make out of there being a personlike being outside of time?”. If God is timeless, then everything he does, he does, so to speak, all at once, in a single act. He couldn’t do one thing first and then another later on. The most basic question is: How could there be a causal connection between a spaceless, timeless finding space for god being and the entirety of space-time? Whether you can make sense of that depends very much on what your theory of causation is. If you think that the concept of cause involves an essential temporal reference [i.e., that cause is tied to time]—for example, a cause is an event that precedes another event and has certain other relations to it—then that’s going to be ruled out. But there are analyses of cause that don’t involve that essential temporal reference. I myself am inclined to the view that the concept of cause doesn’t really have an analysis—that it’s just a primitive concept and that causation itself is a primitive relation. It’s part of the real furniture of the world. If the concept of cause doesn’t have an analysis, then there isn’t anything you can pull out of it by way of an analysis that would rule out a primitive causal connection between a nontemporal God and the whole of time.

The question of whether the Divine has revealed itself in human history remains a valid topic of discussion. You cannot limit the possibilities of omnipotence except to produce the logically impossible. Everything else is open to omnipotence.

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