Friday, September 23, 2011

Views of logic: theism vs atheism part 2

In the previous post, I reposted on atheist's beef with debating Christians: we don't respect the laws of logic and physics.  His supports this statement by saying that, as soon as we're backed into a corner, and can't find a way out, we essentially say, "Well, we're talking about God, so He can transcend the laws of physics, so we don't have to worry about that."

In a way, I sympathize with him.  I am sure all too often, he has found Christians giving that answer in an unsatisfying way.  We should definitely take heed and avoid things like God-of-the-gaps arguments.  (Perhaps I'll talk about this later.)

But what really jumped out at me after reading this post is that it's actually not the Christian that should have a problem with the laws of logic and the laws of physics.  It's the atheist.  Here's why.

The atheist needs to acknowledge that his point of view has to account for the origin of the laws of physics and the laws of logic. In particular, the laws of logic, which are universal and abstract: how can entities with these features arise in a universe that is purely physical?

On the other hand, the Christian worldview explains these very nicely. The universe is coherent and rational because a coherent and rational mind created it. The order of the laws of logic flow from God's orderly character. The fathers of modern science were all Christians, and this is for a reason: others who didn't take the universe as having a rational foundation were not motivated to study the world rationally.

The argument can be further turned on its head. According to the atheistic worldview, where did this highly finely-tuned universe come from? The answer given is the multiverse, where an infinite number of universes also exist, and we just happen to be present in one of the rare universes that have such finely-tuned laws of physics and configurations of matter.

But if everything is just chance, and we can explain any rare event just by saying we "happen" to live in the universe where that rare event occurred, then there is zero reason to trust the rationality or predictability of anything. Why would such implausibly-rare events happen in the past, but now that we're observing the universe, we can suddenly count on the reliability of the laws of physics? It's actually the atheistic worldview that relies on the suspension of the laws of physics and logic when it becomes convenient.

The problem also exists for a purely naturalistic view of evolution. If everything about us can be explained purely by our (naturalistic) evolutionary history, then the belief in God that is rampant in our species is also a product of evolution. The atheist explains this by saying that false beliefs in god-like personas helped us survive in the past, and thus they are fixed in our species now. But if we are such a product of evolution that we can't even distinguish between false beliefs and true beliefs, how do we know that anything our minds produce is reliable?

The argument that theists have no respect for logic or the laws of physics, while atheists do, really doesn't stand up to much scrutiny.