Saturday, July 06, 2013

Is God inevident?

There's a famous vignette about Bertrand Russell. When asked what he'd say when facing God on judgment day, he replied that he would tell God, "Not enough evidence, God! Not enough evidence!"

Of course, we'd expect Russell to give a self-serving answer to that hypothetical question, but it's striking to compare Russell's response to what some of his fellow unbelievers have observed:

Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose (Richard Dawkins). 
Organisms appear as if they had been designed to perform in an astonishingly efficient way...Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved (Francis Crick). 
Organisms fit remarkably well into the external world in which they live.  They have morphologies, physiologies and behaviors that appear to have been carefully and artfully designed to enable each organism to appropriate the world around it for its own life (Richard Lewontin).
So, by their own admission, we're surrounded by prima facie evidence for God.
Now, on the face of it, the simplest explanation for this observation is that organisms appear to be designed because organisms really are designed. Occam's razor is an oft-cited principle in science. If something appears to be designed, the presumption is that it seems that way because it is that way. The burden of proof lies on those who wish to overcome that initial impression. 
But, of course, Dawkins, Crick, and Lewontin are atheists. They go to tremendous lengths to explain away the evidence. They avoid the obvious explanation. They resort to convoluted alternatives. And that's because they don't want God to exist. Their problem is not lack of evidence. Rather, for them, the existence of God would be an unwelcome truth. 


  1. Good point. Alex Rosenberg does this in his book on Atheism. He has to argue against the common sense notion that things that appear designed are designed. He devotes a chapter about how physics "fakes design". So what was made known is being suppressed. Good to know. ")

  2. I think something similar could be said about the intuition of objective moral standards and obligations and how they can be used as an argument against naturalism and atheism.

    If anyone is interested here are two of my blogs which I believe are relevant (any criticism or comments welcome)

    Detecting and Finding God

    "Unveiling" The Hiddenness of God