Proof #11: No Scientific Evidence

A reply to proof #11 of God is Imaginary.

Understanding the Rationalizations

Notice that I didn't touch on or assert anything about the necessity of God remaining hidden to preserve faith and free will decisions.  Those are terrible arguments from the Christian side.

Further, it is a terrible argument from the Christian side to say that since science has no explanation for the origin of the universe or of life, that it must be God.  However, there is good reason to think that God had his hand in both of those events.  As I've already stated in the proof, since God isn't a physical entity, you're not going to find any physical evidence of his hand.  Instead, you're going to find breadcrumbs that lead you to the conclusion that God was behind it.  This article by Casey Luskin explains how we can know an Intelligent Designer is at work.

Equally, it is a terrible argument from the atheist side to say that because the Bible contains apparent mythological explanations for pain in child bearing, rainbows, and the multitude of human languages that the entire thing can be easily dismissed as a fairy tale.  Truth is always more complex than that.  Because we understand the mechanics of rainbows and the etymology of language, it is tempting to dismiss God as having a hand in these things.  However, that is equivalent to concluding the magician who performed at your second grade birthday party doesn't exist because you understand how the evaporating milk trick works.

Understanding the mechanics of design doesn't disprove a Designer.

The opening line of this proof is an overly broad statement that borders on useless.  "There is no scientific evidence indicating God exists."  What does that even mean?  Here are some examples GII has offered:

  1. God has never left any physical evidence of his existence on earth.
  2. None of Jesus' "miracles" left any physical evidence either. (see this page)
  3. God has never spoken to modern man, for example by taking over all the television stations and broadcasting a rational message to everyone.
  4. The resurrected Jesus has never appeared to anyone. (see this page)
  5. The Bible we have is provably incorrect and is obviously the work of primitive men rather than God. (see this page)
  6. When we analyze prayer with statistics, we find no evidence that God is "answering prayers." (see this page)
  7. Huge, amazing atrocities like the Holocaust and AIDS occur without any response from God.

In light of these points, we're asked to accept that there is no scientific evidence for God. But we do not.

With regard to (1), God isn't a physical entity.  He is a Spirit, and he isn't native to our plane of existence.  Which means that he isn't going to leave empirical evidence when he acts.  Clues to his existence or his action are there, but nothing that we can lay our hands on, hold triumphantly in the air, and exclaim, "Ah-ha! God!"

As for (2), examining the GII page discussing the sort of proof that they want from Jesus to believe that he is God is ridiculous, flip, and just immature.  They wanted Jesus to move Mt. Sinai to Newark, NJ in a way that scientists of the modern era can prove that Jesus, in fact did it.  They also suggested that Jesus explain the mathematical concept of pi, then calculate portions that only supercomputers can so that scientists of today can verify it.  No one sets the bar of evidence that high for anything; doing so with Jesus' miracles is a gross double standard.

Point (3) is correct.  God has never taken over the airwaves and broadcast a message to humanity.  Would it matter if he did?  Doubtful.

To declare (4) is to ignore the writings of the Bible, where it is unambiguously declared that Jesus appeared to many, many people.  As many as 500 at once, according to an early Christian creed recorded in Paul's writings.  Of course, GII means, per (3), that Jesus doesn't appear anymore, which is unnecessary.  Having appeared once, and been Resurrected, Jesus has been vindicated as the Son of God and it is now on the Christian to bring his message to the world.  When Jesus appears again, it will be game over world.

Atheists often state (5), but the truth is that no one has proven the Bible incorrect.  The Bible has some question marks around it, that is true.  There are some points of contention with other written histories and with archeology.  This is nothing new.  In the past, where the Bible appears to be wrong at first blush, it has always been vindicated.  In the end, the Bible has shown itself to be a reliable document.

Analyzing prayer with statistics per (6) creates seriously misleading results.  First, the studies that GII references to bolster their argument are flawed.  Second, per my reply to proof #4, God isn't a natural force or law that acts blindly without will or purpose.  Those types of things are testable under various circumstances, and their actions can be predicted.  God is an intelligent agent, and therefore may act according to the circumstance.  Repeat: God is not a force or a law.  God is a person, with a personality and goals.

Looking at (7) without reading and understanding the book of James first is a mistake.  Evil and strife exist in this world, there is no doubt of that.  However, the book of James tells us to count such things as joy because they help perfect our faith in God.  Faith isn't an abstract concept debated by crusty philosophy professors--it is an active faith that seeks to emulate Christ and affect the world around us positively.  Without evil and strife, there would be no opportunity to do that.  Bottom line: it is not God's job to fix every single thing wrong with life, and things that are wrong with life aren't evidence against God.

At the end of the day, the conclusion that GII draws is that no empirical evidence for God means that God is imaginary.  However, there's a problem with accepting that conclusion.  Since God isn't a physical entity that resides in nature, he wouldn't leave empirical evidence for us to study.  This is typically expressed flippantly by saying that the atheist is asking for "wet evidence of a dry entity."

Morality, a finely tuned cosmos, ecosystems that work in total harmony, and the infinite complexity of simple matter all suggest a Designer.  None of those things are evidence that Designer exists (or clues to the identity of the Designer), but they are the circumstantial breadcrumbs that lead us to conclude a Designer is out there.

One final observation.  This proof assumes that empirical evidence is the only valid evidence.  That isn't true.  A basic understanding of jurisprudence shows us that even the most stringent judge will admit more than just empirical evidence, even in a criminal case where the burden of proof is much higher.  Circumstantial evidence is admitted, and criminal cases are often won on the strength of it alone.  Eyewitness testimony is also used extensively in these cases, even though critics are fond of pointing out that it is unreliable.

I am here admitting that there is no direct, forensic, empirical evidence for the existence of God.  But, I am qualifying that by saying the conception of God as a Spirit who is separate from his creation precludes any possibility of such evidence existing.  The totality of circumstances already mentioned form a strong circumstantial case for the existence of God.