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Edward John asks the questions, “Why are there so many evil and stupid people?”
Here is his article: https://medium.com/@edward-john/3-reasons-god-cannot-possibly-exist-208e59588a95
He proposed 3 key reasons God does not exist.
- The human race is a flawed species
- Animals eat other animals to survive
- Consciousness cannot exist alone
I value Edward’s originality but would think there are good reasons why God does exist. Or at least increase the probability he could. Most definitely these would not suggest he cannot possibly exist.
Some of these points are:
- Why there is something rather than nothing. The universe does not exist by necessity as it had a beginning. The beginning must be timeless, spaceless, immaterial as the beginning of the universe represents the beginning of time, space and matter as we know it.
- The existence of will, intent and mind. These point to the fact one can detach themselves from the chemical processes in their head which make no sense if one is simply a result of material physical forces. The existence of an immaterial cause driving this consciousness would point to God.
- Objective moral values exist. Some things are really wrong and evil. They are evil regardless of what some people may think. These principles transcend the material human world and only make sense if objective moral values exist. If God does not exist, objective moral values do not exist. Objective moral values exist, therefore, God exists.
- The value of love. It is noble to limit your own wellbeing or survival to help another. It makes far more sense for love to be something objectively good if the universe is created by a loving Creator than by unguided chemical forces which produce life and only the fittest creatures remain even if unloving and selfish.
- The fine tuning of the universe. Alter the concentration of certain chemicals on this planet, the tilt of the earth’s axis, the earth’s distance from the sun, various constants and you have no life. Nothing. The fact this would pop into being from nothing and maintain a state favourable to life, another accident seems highly improbable indeed.
- Biological complexity. Life comes from non life for Edward, cells form from non cells, DNA is highly complex and packed with information, the eye Edward refers to is irreducibly complex. Sure, things aren’t perfect (it’s a fallen world) but that doesn’t then mean there is no design or intent behind anything. It would make no sense for humans to be all about purpose and intent when there’s no intention around what’s around them. It’s unguided, no purpose to it ultimately. You can’t go from saying there’s flaws in a design to saying there’s no designer even though an object which looks designed exists.
- The resurrection of Jesus. The death of Jesus is one of the best attested facts in ancient history. There’s historical facts which are accepted by atheist and agnostic scholars which can only be really explained by the resurrection. A group of fisherman who had their souls crushed would highly unlikely be willing to die tortuous deaths for a lie they made up. Moreover, the tomb was empty. You don’t have to believe the Bible is God’s Word to accept the facts surrounding the resurrection. More info here: https://streettheologian.com/index.php/2022/02/15/did-historians-and-archaeologists-find-jesus-bones-the-end-of-christianity-discussed/
- We could go into many more such as Plantinga’s two dozen or so theistic arguments. https://streettheologian.com/index.php/2022/02/15/10-quick-reasons-you-shouldnt-be-so-quick-to-write-off-christianity/
Before going into each of these points it is important to note Edward John’s assumptions in his article:
- Evil exists- implying objective moral values exist
- Edward’s mind can discern truth. Truth exists.
- Consciousness exists
- There is something rather than nothing
- Rules of logic exist which is why some illogical people are “stupid” and we can make claims about consciousness
- Human life has some sort of intrinsic worth, therefore, people who take it away are evil.
All of these assumptions are problematic for someone who is produced by chemical processes, accidental, unguided chemical processes in a cosmos which came from nothing and also experienced unguided chemical processes which eventually gave rise to unconscious objects like rocks and pond scum which eventually gave rise to conscious creatures like Edward. Pause for one moment. You exist due to the principles of survival of the fittest. If a lie helps you survive who cares? How is it wrong?
Let’s now turn to Edward’s points:
- The human race is a flawed species
Yes Jews and Christians agree with this. Man has free will and chose to sin and rebel against God, hence, the world is an imperfect place. Edward must prove God cannot have morally sufficient reasons for the existence of evil. A perfect being can create creatures with intent that aren’t robots. Christianity balances the beauty of life with the evil in the world.
This point does not disprove God’s existence in the slightest. It might be a reason Edward dislikes God but does not disprove God’s existence. I would suggest this point actually points to God’s existence.
How? It assumes objective moral values exist. Some things are really evil some things are really wrong. This goes against what many atheists think. We exist for survival not morality or truth. What are these concepts to someone with no will or intent anyway? If you are the result of accidental chemical processes how can you have intent? How can you hold someone with no will or intent but who is simply fizzing with predetermined chemical reactions responsible for doing something they couldn’t help? Many atheists and agnostics realise this issue- if God does not exist objective moral values do not exist.
In the words of atheist Alex Rosenberg, “ Is abortion, euthanasia, suicide, paying taxes, foreign aid, or anything else you don’t like forbidden, permissible, or sometimes obligatory? Anything goes. What is love, and how can I find it? Love is the solution to a strategic interaction problem. Don’t look for it; it will find you when you need it. Does history have any meaning or purpose? It’s full of sound and fury, but signifies nothing.”
Agnostic Alan Lightman adds, “We are a bunch of atoms, like trees, and like donuts.. so, eat a donut, or eat a child. Anything goes.” (Watch more at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Ny30CgaRmU)
Then we have Dawkins famous quote, “In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.”
Thus this point from Edward assumes free will hence responsibility and also the existence of objective morals values. This points to God’s existence so the question is then does Edward dislike God?
2. Animals eat other animals to survive
Animals represent life. Highly complex, interconnected life on a finely tuned planet. Did life come from non life? Did consciousness and intelligence come from unconsciousness? How do animals have any intrinsic worth anyway? They came about by unguided chemical processes. How is there anything wrong with animals eating each other if the world is about survival of the fittest anyway? The weaker should die off the stronger exist under this principle.
Again Edward assumes a lot of things his position would not allow him to assume if it were true. I mean could he even assume anything consciously anyway? Once the cosmos begins chemical processes drive all.
This point links to a lot of points in point 1. I would also add Christianity adds an answer to suffering. Christ. Christ suffered and died. He knew the pain and suffering we experience and offered a solution.
No, what you see is not the “best version”. What you see is a consequence of sin and a fallen world. A direct opposition to God. Yet while God displays His intelligence through the existence of incredibly complex organisms such as the ones Edward mentions and a finely tuned universe, He also offers the way to a “better version” through Christ. He displays His justice and also His love and forgiveness. These are traits you cannot display in a world which has no flaws. Goodness and beauty you could not witness without the existence of evil. Edward, God meets you in your suffering through Christ. The most influential person in history. Read these articles to learn more:
3. Consciousness cannot exist alone
As mentioned before, Edward assumes consciousness exists. What is consciousness to a being created by unguided unconscious chemical processes? Have you thought about that Edward and how that could be consistent with the world you think exists?
This point is flawed on multiple fronts:
- Conscious beings can be conscious of their own existence. If you were placed in a dark room with no sound of light you would still be conscious you are there.
- In Christianity, God is Trinity. 3 persons one being. The 3 persons can be conscious of one another even if nothing else is around.
- “How could an eye exist before there was anything to see?” For one this is theoretically possible. Second, it goes against quantum physics. Things only exist when they are observed in quantum physics. If no “eyes” exist or no mind or no observers exist then nothing exists. Edward believes the earth “existed” before humans so it must have been observed by some being.
In How the Self Controls Its Brain, Australian neurophysiologist Sir John Carew Eccles (1903–1997), who won the 1963 Nobel Prize in Medicine for his pioneering work on brain synapses and neurotransmitters penned the following words, “In some mysterious way, God is the Creator of all the living forms in the evolutionary process, and particularly in hominid evolution of human persons, each with the conscious selfhood of an immortal soul. … Biological evolution transcends itself in providing the material basis, the human brain, for self-conscious beings whose very nature is to seek for hope and to enquire for meaning in the quest for love, truth, and beauty.”
American physicist Nick Herbert, the author of Quantum Reality adds, “The first person to suggest that quantum theory implies that reality is created by human consciousness was not some crank on the fringes of physics but the eminent mathematician John von Neumann. In his quantum bible [Mathematische Grundlagen der Quantenmechanik or The Mathematical Foundations of Quantum Mechanics] …, the most influential book on quantum theory ever written, von Neumann concludes that, from a strictly logical point of view, only the presence of consciousness can solve the measurement problem. As a professional mathematician, von Neumann was accustomed to boldly following a logical argument wherever it might lead. … His logic leads to a particularly unpalatable conclusion: that the world is not objectively real but depends on the mind of the observer.”
Thus he argues consciousness causally precedes reality not the other way around!
Thanks for sharing your thoughts Edward, I hope this leaves you with something to think about.
Oh and a question for you, how do morals, conscious beings and truth exist under your worldview?