bookmark_borderLeviticus and Homosexuality – Part 5: More Reasons for Skepticism about God

WHERE WE ARE
Should we view homosexual sex as morally wrong because it is (allegedly) condemned in the book of Leviticus?  In Part 1 of this series I outlined a dozen reasons to doubt this viewpoint.  Here is the first reason:

1. God does NOT exist, so no prophet and no book contains truth or wisdom from God. 

In Part 4 of this series I presented some of my reasons for skepticism about the existence of God.
In this current post, I will present more of my reasons for skepticism about the existence of God.
 
MORE REASONS FOR SKEPTICISM ABOUT THE EXISTENCE OF GOD  
G. The serious problems with one of the best cases ever made for God (by Richard Swinburne) support skepticism about the existence of God.
[Excerpts from my posts on Swinburne’s case for God:]
But when we come to the third argument, TASO (Teleological Argument from Spatial Order), the factual claim is not at all obviously true:

(e3) There exists a complex physical universe which is governed by simple natural laws, and in which the structure of the natural laws and of the initial conditions are such that they make the evolution of human bodies in that universe probable.

People are not born with modern scientific knowledge about plants, animals, chemistry, genetics, geology, etc.  We have to be educated over a period of many years, and even then, many (most?) people in the USA don’t learn enough scientific information and concepts to be in a position to know that human bodies evolved.  Certainly, many educated Christians in the USA have doubts about the claim that human bodies evolved in this universe.
Second, assuming it to be a fact that human bodies evolved in this universe, this still does NOT imply that the structure of the universe (the initial conditions at the time of the Big Bang plus the specific laws of nature in this universe) made this outcome PROBABLE.  For all we know, the evolution of human bodies might have been an extremely improbable event.  Many events that have occurred are improbable events.  The fact that event X actually occurred does NOT show that the universe was so structured that it was probable that X would occur.
[…]
Clearly, (e3) is NOT something that is “known by those who dispute about” the existence of God.  I doubt that anyone knows (e3) to be true, but even if there are a few such people, they are a tiny portion of the large population of those who “dispute about” the existence of God.   Therefore, premise (2) is FALSE.
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2018/01/27/problems-taso-part-1/

Richard Swinburne

So, in order to KNOW that (e3) is true, one must be aware of a great deal of information, and that information includes facts that support some of the most powerful objections to belief in God: the many and pervasive problems of evil.  But then when one evaluates the probability of the hypothesis that God exists in relation to (e3), one cannot rationally and reasonably set aside and ignore the many and pervasive problems of evil.  So, in order to rationally evaluate the probability of the claim “God exists” in relation to (e3), one must take into consideration not just the meaning and implications of (e3), but also the large collection of facts and data that allow one to KNOW that (e3) is in fact true.
If one takes into account most or all of the various and pervasive problems of evil in evaluating the strength of TASO, then it is unclear and very doubtful that all of this additional information increases the probability that God exists.  Given most or all of the various and pervasive problems of evil, that information might very well outweigh whatever positive support the hypothesis of theism gets from the fact that the universe is structured in a way that makes the evolution of human bodies probable.
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2018/02/05/problems-taso-part-2-favorite-objection/
H. Evolution provides a good reason for skepticism about the existence of God.
Evolution has at least two connections to the problems of evil.  First, in order to know that animal species evolved and that humans evolved from primates, one needs to learn a good deal of information about geology, paleontology, biology, chemistry, and anthropology.  This body of concepts, facts, and theories contains information about evils that have occurred and that continue to occur.  Thus, knowledge of evolution includes knowledge about evils.  That creates a serious problem for Swinburne’s Teleological Argument from Spatial Order (as I have pointed out above).
Second, evolution itself constitutes a significant problem of evil.  There is more than one example of evil in this world, and different evils have different characteristics making it difficult for there to be a one-size-fits-all-solution or response to all of the various kinds of evils that occur.
For example, there is a traditional distinction made between moral evil and natural evil.  Moral evil is evil that is constituted by or caused by the choices of human beings.  The traditional “solution” to moral evil is to point to free will, and assert that God allows moral evil to exist in order to give human beings the great good of having free will.  But natural evil cannot be explained this way (not plausibly), because natural evil is NOT the result of the choices of human beings.
Natural evil, such as death and suffering from a flood or earthquake, could be explained as the result of the free will of demons or of the devil, but such explanations are no longer plausible, given the advance of science, which allows us to understand the physical causes of earthquakes and floods and other natural examples of natural evil, and which also gives us good reason to disbelieve in the existence of demons, ghosts, angels, and the devil.
There are different kinds of evil, so different examples of evil can constitute different problems of evil, problems that have their own unique characteristics, and which may not be explainable by a single idea about how and why God fails to prevent or eliminate evil.
It is VERY UNLIKELY that God would structure the universe in such a way that human bodies would probably evolve (naturally, apart from any divine intervention).
God is, on Swinburne’s own definition, an eternally omnipotent person, and an eternally omniscient person (with omniscience being limited in relation to knowledge of the future, because God’s free will and human free will make it logically impossible to know every detail of the future).  Since God is omnipotent and omniscient, God would be able to create all existing plants, animals, and human beings in the blink of an eye, along the lines of the Genesis creation myth.
It is very implausible to suppose that God would use the long, random, and uncertain process of evolution to produce plants, animals, and human bodies when God could have instantly created billions of earth-like planets all filled to the brim with thousands of kinds of plants, and animals, and creatures with human-like bodies.
Furthermore, God is also supposed to be a perfectly morally good person, and all of the pain, disease, suffering, and death involved in a billion years of the evolutionary struggle for survival could have been avoided by God creating all of the desired plants, animals, and human-like creatures in an instant.  God, if God exists, had a very powerful moral reason to prefer instantaneous creation of living creatures over the slow, random, uncertain, and suffering-filled natural process of evolution.
There seems to be no strong reason for God to prefer the natural process of evolution over instantaneous creation of all living creatures, including the creation of human bodies, and there is an obvious powerful moral reason for God to prefer instantaneous creation over the natural process of evolution.
Since it is very unlikely that God would choose to create human beings by means of the process of evolution, and since human beings came into existence by means of the process of evolution,  this gives us a good reason to believe that there is no God.
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2018/01/27/problems-taso-part-1/
I. Skepticism about the two initial phases of Classical Apologetics (because of our ignorance of the plans and purposes of God) supports skepticism about the existence of God.
Some of my criticisms of Richard Swinburne’s case for God can be applied more broadly to any case for God (or to most cases for God).  In Classical Apologetics, there are three main phases:
(1) prove that God exists,
(2) use miracles to prove that Jesus or the Bible (or some religious authority like the Catholic Church) is inspired and authorized to provide messages from God,
(3) use the teachings of Jesus (or the Bible or the Catholic church) to support the truth of the rest of the Christian worldview.
In Part 3 of this series (see the section: “H. Skepticism about Miracles and Revelation casts doubt on Western theistic religions”) I argued that the second phase of Classical Apologetics is doomed to failure, because we don’t know any details about the plans and purposes of God.
However, most arguments for God involve assumptions about the plans and purposes of God.  That is explicitly the case with Swinburne’s case for God, but I have examined the arguments for God in Kreeft’s case for God, and discovered that they too are based on assumptions about the plans and purposes of God.
To the extent that we are ignorant about the plans and purposes of God, most arguments for the existence of God are doomed to failure.  This gives us a good reason to be skeptical about the existence of God.
Richard Swinburne recognized this important aspect of arguments for God, but he failed to show that we have sufficient knowledge of the plans and purposes of God to make his case work.  Other Christian apologists, like Peter Kreeft and Norman Geisler are oblivious to the fact that their arguments depend on such assumptions, so they have not even  attempted to argue for these assumptions required to make their cases for God work.
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2018/12/01/the-logic-of-miracles/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2018/12/16/the-logic-of-miracles-part-2-showing-that-god-exists/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2018/12/19/the-logic-of-miracles-part-3-kreefts-first-ten-arguments/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2018/12/20/the-logic-of-miracles-part-4-kreefts-last-ten-arguments/
J. The problems of evil support skepticism about the existence of God.
I have previously mentioned some of the natural evils associated with evolution: injuries, diseases, mutations, famines, hunger, starvation, predation, pain, suffering, and death.  Just in learning enough scientific information to know that animals and human beings are the products of the process of evolution requires learning about the occurrence of such natural evils.
Furthermore, as I argue above, evolution is itself one example of a major natural evil, and all by itself constitutes a good reason to believe that there is no God.
Setting aside the fact that animals and humans came into existence as the result of evolution, there are natural evils that are powerful evidence against the existence of God whether evolution is true or not:  injuries, diseases, mutations, famines, hunger, starvation, predation, pain, suffering, and death.  These natural evils clearly exist and can be observed today.
The primary explanation that Christians have traditionally provided for such natural evils is that they are the results of the “Fall”, they were caused by human beings sinning, by human disobedience to God.  Everything was “Good” and wonderful, then Adam and Eve (the first human beings) sinned against God, and this corrupted all of nature.
This explanation, however, is clearly and obviously FALSE.  Predation existed long before human beings came into existence.  Injuries, diseases, famines and starvation existed long before human beings came into existence.  Pain, suffering, and death existed long before human beings came into existence.  Sentient animals existed on Earth long before human beings arrived on this planet.
Even if human beings were not the product of the process of evolution, even if human beings came about because a creator god instantly produced human beings out of nothing, or out of a lump of clay, it would still be a fact that humans have only existed on Earth for about a million years, and that sentient animals have existed on the Earth for hundreds of millions of years, and that sentient animals have been experiencing injuries, diseases, famines, predation, hunger, pain, suffering, and death for hundreds of millions of years.
In other words, injuries, diseases, famines, predation, hunger, pain, suffering, and death appear to be built into nature.  If the natural world of planet Earth was designed and brought into existence by a creator god, then that creator either designed the natural world to include injuries, diseases, famines, predation, hunger, pain, suffering, and death, or else these are unintended errors and flaws in the work of this creator god.  In either case, the creator god cannot be the God of Judaism, Christianity, or Islam, such a creator god cannot be an all-powerful, all-knowing, and perfectly morally good person.
Thus, the existence of natural evils provide us with good reason to believe that God does not exist.  If there is a creator god, that god is a finite and imperfect person.
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2018/02/05/problems-taso-part-2-favorite-objection/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2018/08/16/a-simple-and-obvious-explanation/
There are other problems of evil that should also be considered:

  • The suffering of innocent children.
  • Great suffering or evil that is not required in order to produce or make possible a greater good.
  • The large number of instances of evil and suffering that don’t appear to be required in order to produce or make possible a greater good (making it probable that some evil and suffering are NOT required to produce or make possible a greater good).
  • The evil of the eternal suffering of those people who are condemned to hell.
  • The evil of the sorrow of those in heaven about the eternal suffering of loved ones in hell (or the alternative evil of the rejoicing of those in heaven about the eternal suffering of loved ones in hell).

K. Contradictions between the divine attributes support skepticism about the existence of God.
God is immutable AND God is a perfectly morally good person?

If God is immutable, then God is not a person.

If God is not a person, then God is NOT a perfectly morally good person.

THEREFORE:

If God is immutable, then God is NOT a perfectly morally good person.

God is outside of time AND God is a perfectly morally good person?

If God is outside of time, then God is immutable.

If God is immutable, then God is not a person.

If God is not a person, then God is NOT a perfectly morally good person.

THEREFORE:

If God is outside of time, then God is NOT a perfectly morally good person.

God is impassible AND God is a perfectly morally good person?

If God is impassible, then God does not love human beings.

If God does not love human beings, then God is NOT a perfectly morally good person.

THEREFORE:

If God is impassible, then God is NOT a perfectly morally good person.

God is bodiless AND God is a perfectly morally good person?

If God is bodiless, then God cannot be identified as a person.

If God cannot be identified as a person, then God is not a person.

If God is not a person, then God is NOT a perfectly morally good person.

THEREFORE:

If God is bodiless, then God is NOT a perfectly morally good person.

God is omniscient AND God is a perfectly morally good person?

If God is omniscient, then God knows every choice that God will ever make.

If God knows every choice that God will ever make, then God does not have free will.

If God does not have free will, then God is NOT a perfectly morally good person.

THEREFORE:

If God is omniscient, then God is NOT a perfectly morally good person.

I realize that ALL of the above arguments are controversial.  I don’t expect to PROVE that the concept of God is incoherent by just presenting these brief summary arguments.  I am merely indicating the sorts of arguments that I would be likely to use in an attempt to show that the concept of God is incoherent.
Actually, my preference is to toss out the “divine attributes” that seem to most clearly contradict the divine attribute of being a “perfectly morally good person”.  I would toss out “immutable”, “outside of time”, and “impassible” without a second thought.  Those seem to me to be inessential, less important, less central than other traditional divine attributes, like “omniscience” and “omnipotence” and being “bodiless”.  Obviously,  I think that the attribute of “perfectly morally good person” is central to the traditional concept of God.
One important objection to all of the above arguments is the Thomist view that “God is not a person.”  However, I find the Thomist concept of God to be absurd, so this objection doesn’t carry much weight for me.
I think the bottom line for me is that I could never bring myself to view being that was NOT a person as something that was worthy of worship and adoration.  Those are things that only make sense relative to a being who is a person.  Also, a being that is not a person could NOT be “perfectly morally good”, and again I could never bring myself to view a being that was NOT “perfectly morally good” as something that was worthy of worship and adoration.
It is possible that this is just my own peculiar personal bias, but if it is a bias, I strongly suspect it is one that I share with hundreds of millions of Christian believers.  I don’t think believers in the pews would have much interest in the “God” of the Thomists.  This point, by the way, is a perfect segue into my final reason for skepticism about God.
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2016/10/11/cases-for-god/

David Hume by Allan Ramsay, 1766 and Sigmund Freud by Max Halberstadt, c. 1921
David Hume and Sigmund Freud

L. Hume’s and Freud’s objections to theism provide good reason for skepticism about the existence of God.
Sigmund Freud had a few different ideas about the psychological basis of religion, especially Western theistic religion.  One idea is that humans commonly fear the awesome dangerous forces of nature, and that this fear is an important part of our thinking and our feelings.  Another idea is that when we are babies we look up to our parents as our source of food, life, comfort, and safety.  Our parents are like our gods when we are infants.
When we become children, we learn that our parents are imperfect and vulnerable, and that all humans are subject to the awesome dangerous forces of nature.  Thus, about the time we learn that our parents are not actually gods, we learn that we are in great need of protection, in need of a god-like parent in the sky who can protect us from the dangerous forces of nature.  Belief in a very powerful, very wise, and caring parent-in-the-sky becomes appealing to human beings at an early age.  So, belief in God, can be viewed as a result of WISHFUL THINKING.  We DESIRE to have a powerful, wise, and caring parent-in-the-sky, and so we make ourselves BELIEVE that there is such a being or person.
Freud’s view of the psychological basis for belief in God provides some reason for skepticism about the existence of God, because it suggests that this belief is based in WISHFUL THINKING.  However, Freud’s view also can be related to, and work together with, a skeptical view about belief in God promoted by David Hume.
David Hume was skeptical about the existence of God in part because he saw that there was a logical tension in the very idea of God.  On the one hand, Christians, and other religious believers in God, want God to be transcendent.  God must be more than a human being, and even more than just a “superman”.  God must be the absolute best and highest being that we can imagine.  Anselm talks about God as “the being than which none greater can be conceived”.  Theology that takes this idea of Anselm’s seriously, is called “Perfect Being” theology.
On the other hand, Christians, and other religious believers in God, want God to be immanent.  God cannot be so different from us that we cannot relate to God.  I think probably the most powerful motivation for viewing Jesus as being the “divine Son of God” and “God Incarnate” is that Jesus was a human being with a physical body, a human being who walked and talked and ate food, and drank, and swam in the sea of Galilee.  Christians, and other religious believers in God, want a God with whom they can talk, a God that they can view as being a friend or a parent.
But as Hume repeatedly points out, we cannot have our cake and eat it too.  If God is an absolutely infinite and absolutely perfect being, and God has infinite power and infinite knowledge, then God cannot also be just an ordinary human being who we can view as a friend or parent.  We cannot have a meaningful conversation with an absolutely infinite and absolutely perfect being.
So, the bottom line for me is this.  Freud and Hume together give us good reason to view the idea of God as the product of human desires, and this not only raises the suspicion that God is the product of WISHFUL THINKING, but also that because we desire logically contradictory things,  it is impossible for God to actually exist.
What we desire in God are a combination of attributes that it is not possible for one being to possess.  We cannot have our cake and eat it too, no matter how much we DESIRE this outcome.  We cannot have a God who is both transcendent and immanent, no matter how strongly we desire that such a being exist.

bookmark_borderIntelligent Design: Get ready for another round

President Trump’s choice for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, is very likely a supporter of teaching Intelligent Design (ID) in public schools. Her husband, Dick DeVos, ran for Governor of Michigan in 2006 and explicitly stated his support for ID ( http://scienceblogs.com/dispatches/2006/09/21/devos-and-intelligent-design/ ). It is not unlikely, then, that ID proponents will be emboldened to make a fresh push to include it in school science curricula.
A key strategic claim for ID proponents is that ID is not merely a repackaging of creationism.
“The theory of intelligent design is simply an effort to empirically detect whether the “apparent design” in nature acknowledged by virtually all biologists is genuine design (the product of an intelligent cause) or is simply the product of an undirected process such as natural selection acting on random variations. “ (http://www.intelligentdesign.org/whatisid.php)
The unstated details of ID tell another story, however. Here is why:
Consider one of the favorite examples of ID proponents – the bacterial flagellum. Some bacteria have a little whip-like tail that allows them to propel themselves forward like a little motor. Distilled to its essential core, the ID claim is that it is massively improbable that such a structure could have come about by purely natural means. But it is at least less improbable that it should have come about by supernatural means (intelligent agency). The claim is usually made using the term “design.” But this avoids the question of how, exactly, the design is implemented. That is, if the bacterial flagellum begins as a design in the mind of an intelligent designer, how does the designer get the flagella into the world?
Since ID rejects the claim that there is any natural pathway from flagella-less to flagella-ed bacteria, there are only a few apparent options. The designer could simply create flagella-ed bacteria were before there were only flagella-less bacteria. Or, the designer could start with a population of flagella-less bacteria and then create, by supernatural intervention, flagella for them (“let these bacteria become flagella-ed!”) and simultaneously modify their DNA so that their descendants would also be flagella-ed. Or, the designer could start with a population of flagella-less bacteria and only modify their DNA so that their descendants would be flagella-ed. Each these options postulates a miraculous intervention. (I suppose that the second and third options might not fit a narrow enough definition of creationism, but positing miraculous intervention is close enough.)
We could design experimental protocols that would test for each of these options. For the first, we could set up some sterile pertinent dishes devoid of any bacteria and periodically check to see whether any flagella-ed bacteria had appeared in them. Preferably, we would hope for a previously unknown strain. This should not be too unreasonable an expectation on the ID view, since according to ID, history contains many many instances – perhaps millions – of complex structures appearing in the world as a result of intelligent intervention. Why think the designer has permanently rested and no longer implements intelligently designed organisms? True, there is the religious doctrine that God is the designer and rested after the 6th day, where perhaps “resting” could be interpreted as being permanently finished, but this would be scientifically ad hoc, and ID is supposed to be a scientific (not religious) hypothesis that doesn’t invoke religious doctrines.
Or, we could stock some petri dishes with flagella-less bacteria and watch them carefully to see whether they become spontaneously modified to have flagella or suddenly produce offspring with flagella. Oddly enough, this is actually how many people commonly understand (or rather misunderstand) the naturalistic story to go, when in fact the naturalistic story involves much more gradual changes over very long spans of time. But if such a thing were observed, we would have to choose which of several competing hypotheses was the most reasonable: (1) An extremely unlikely natural event happened, or (2) spontaneous mutations resulting in complex structures are far more likely than we had previously thought, or (3) intelligent agency (design) is responsible.
We are also supposed to impose probability estimates in isolation from what would surely be relevant teleological questions in the case of intelligent agency. So, for example, we are supposed to consider the relative probabilities that an intelligent designer is responsible for the complexity of bacterium B without also considering the probability that an intelligent designer (who may or may not be God) would be responsible for the fact that B causes extremely unpleasant death for many of those who end up being infected by it. So if one were to take the view that intelligence and morality are correlated (a position I am not arguing for but which does have a rich historical pedigree), then instances of moral neutral or morally negative complexity would seem to count more strongly in favor of a naturalist explanation than an ID explanation. To those who say, “I don’t know who or what the designer is, but whatever it is must be intelligent” it seems fair to reply “I don’t know who or what the designer is, but whatever it is must be morally disinterested in what this complex bacterium actually does when let loose in the world.”
Of course, the strongest pushback of all against the ID strategy is to provide empirical evidence showing that (and how) the highlighted instances of complexity very plausibly can be built up stepwise by naturalistic evolutionary processes. The more often scientists can respond to the examples trotted out by ID proponents and say, “Sure this could come about naturally. Here’s how…” the weaker the ID case becomes.

bookmark_borderGeisler’s Five Ways – Part 10: The Goodness of the Creator

REVIEW OF MY EVALUATION OF GEISLER’S CASE (SO FAR)
In Phase 1 of his case for the existence of God, Norman Geisler presents five arguments for five different conclusions:

  • There is exactly one being that caused the universe to begin to exist.
  • There is exactly one being that has sustained the universe in existence until now.
  • There is exactly one being that is the designer of the universe.
  • There is exactly one being that is the supreme moral lawgiver.
  • There is exactly one being that is a necessary being.

In Phase 2 of his case for the existence of God, Geisler presents more arguments for conclusions about the attributes of “the” being that caused the universe to begin to exist.  So far, we have looked at four arguments in Phase 2 supporting three different conclusions:

  • The being that caused the universe to begin to exist is a powerful being.
  • The being that caused the universe to begin to exist is an intelligent being.
  • The being that caused the universe to begin to exist is a moral being who can tell the difference between right and wrong actions.

How many of the Phase 1 arguments were good solid arguments?  Geisler admits that Argument #5 of Phase 1 is a bad argument, and we have critically examined the other four arguments in Phase 1, and NONE of them were good solid arguments.
What about the arguments in Phase 2?  How many of the four arguments that we have examined were good solid arguments?  NONE of them were good solid arguments.
So, of the arguments that we have considered so far, ZERO out of NINE were good solid arguments.  Plus, as I pointed out in Part 5 of this series, there are invalid logical inferences between Phase 1 and Phase 2 in Geisler’s case,  so it is reasonable to conclude at this point that Geisler’s case for God is a steaming pile of dog shit.
CLARIFICATION OF ARGUMENT #5  OF  PHASE 2
But there are a few more arguments left to consider in Phase 2, and,  guess what?  Argument #5 of Phase 2 is just as crappy as all of the other arguments that we have examined.  Each premise in Argument #5 is unclear or has a meaning that is problematic, and once we clarify the argument, the premises (at least two of them) are dubious or false.  Big surprise.  You would think that after studying philosophy of religion and Christian apologetics for nearly three decades* that Geisler could produce ONE solid argument in a case for the existence of God, but it looks like this is not going to happen.
Here is the passage where Geisler lays out Argument #5 of Phase 2:
The existence of a moral law in the mind of a moral Lawgiver shows us that God is a moral being. …We know that part of what He created was people, and persons are good, in and of themselves. …But whatever creates good things must be good itself (a cause can’t give what it hasn’t got).  So, God is not only moral, He is good.  (WSA, p.27)
Argument #5 of Phase 2 (using Geisler’s wording)
41.  God created people.
42.  People are good.
43.  Whatever creates good things must be good itself.
THEREFORE:
44. God is good.
The conclusion is not stated accurately by Geisler.  He clearly links this argument to the argument that “God is a moral being.”  But the obvious objection, given that the creator is a “moral being” who “knows…the difference between right and wrong” is that the creator could still be evil or a morally bad person, because knowing the difference between right and wrong actions does NOT guarantee that a person will always choose to do what is right.
Most adult human beings know the difference between right and wrong, but adult humans frequently choose to do morally wrong actions despite this knowledge, and some adult humans are downright evil, even though they know the difference between right and wrong. Thus, it seems strongly implied by the context here that Geisler is answering this objection/concern by arguing that God is MORALLY good, not just that God is good in some other way.
Furthermore, when Geisler presents a similar line of reasoning in his book Christian Apologetics, he explicitly states that this argument is one “showing that the God proven by the cosmological argument is a morally good kind of being.”  (Christian Apologetics, p. 248, in footnote #13, emphasis added).  So, it seems that the conclusion that Geisler intends to prove here is that “God is a morally good being” :
Argument #5 of Phase 2 (Rev.1)
41.  God created people.
42.  People are good.
43.  Whatever creates good things must be good itself.
THEREFORE:
44A. God is a morally good being.
But when we revise the conclusion to state accurately what Geisler is trying to prove, then the inference in this argument becomes logically invalid.   The conclusion talks about a morally good being, but the premises of the argument only talk about good beings.  The conclusion (44A) does not follow from these premises.  (NOTE: I believe that Rev1 represents the argument that Geisler intended to give, so I believe that the argument he intended to give is logically invalid.) So, in order for this argument to have any chance of success, we must also revise the premises, so that they too speak about moral goodness:
Argument #5 of Phase 2 (Rev.2)
41.  God created people.
42A.  People are morally good.
43A.  Whatever creates morally good things must be morally good itself.
THEREFORE:
44A. God is a morally good being.
This argument, like other arguments we have examined, misuses the word “God”.  Geisler is trying to prove the existence of God, so premise (41), for example, begs the question at issue by asserting that “God” did something.  Such a premise assumes that God exists, which is precisely what Geisler is attempting to prove.
Geisler is not actually begging the question here because he is using the word “God” in an idiosyncratic sense.  What he means by “God” here is “the being that caused the universe to begin to exist”.  Geisler is trying to prove that “the being that caused the universe to begin to exist” has all of the various attributes that constitute the ordinary conception of “God”.  So, to avoid the confusion caused by Geisler’s idiosyncratic use of the word “God”, we should replace this word with what Geisler means by this word, in this context.
Argument #5 of Phase 2 (Rev.3)
41A.  The being that caused the universe to begin to exist created people.
42A.  People are morally good.
43A.  Whatever creates morally good things must be morally good itself.
THEREFORE:
44B. The being that caused the universe to begin to exist is a morally good being.
Now we are getting close to a reasonably clear statement of argument #5.
EVALUATION OF ARGUMENT #5 OF PHASE 2
Is premise (41A) true?  There are two different claims involved here.  First, there is the claim or assumption that there is such a thing as “The being that caused the universe to begin to exist”.  In Phase 1, Geisler FAILED to prove that such a being exists, so there is good reason to doubt the truth of (41A).  Second, the universe is about 14 billion years old, but people (human beings on planet Earth) have been around for less than one million years.  Thus, even if there was such a thing as “The being that caused the universe to begin to exist”,  we have no good reason to believe that this being ALSO created people, and Geisler has made no attempt whatsoever to show that this being was ALSO the creator of human beings.  So, this is a second reason for doubting that (41A) is true.
But the most important reason for doubting that (41A) is true, is that scientific study of the origins of the human species have shown that human beings evolved from previously existing species of primates, and thus science has shown that the human species was NOT created by any being, but rather evolved from a previously existing species of animals.  Thus, it is highly probable that premise (41A) is FALSE.
Is premise (42A) true?  This premise is still unclear, at least in terms of quantification.  So, we need to consider the following three possible interpretations of premise (42A):

  • ALL of the people (who have existed on the planet Earth) are morally good.
  • MOST of the people (who have existed on the planet Earth) are morally good.
  • SOME of the people (who have existed on the planet Earth) are morally good.

The interpretation that claims something about ALL people clearly makes (42A) false, so we can toss that interpretation aside.  The interpretation about MOST people makes (42A) questionable, so we should use that interpretation only if there is no better, more plausible, interpretation of this premise available.  The interpretation about SOME people would make premise (42A) true, so by the principle of charity, this is the best interpretation of (42A).
But once we clarify the quantification in premise (42A), we also need to clarify the quantification in premise (41A), because if the cause of the beginning of the universe only created SOME of the people (who have existed on the planet Earth) , and only SOME people (who have existed on the planet Earth) are morally good, then the cause of the beginning of the universe might NOT have created ANY people who are morally good, but might have only created some people who are evil or morally bad.  Thus, it seems that in order to ensure that the cause of the beginning of the universe created some morally good people, we need to assume that this being created ALL of the people (who have existed on the planet Earth):
Argument #5 of Phase 2 (Rev.4)
41B.  The being that caused the universe to begin to exist created ALL of the people (who have existed on the planet Earth).
42B.  SOME of the people (who have existed on the planet Earth) are morally good.
43A.  Whatever creates morally good things must be morally good itself.
THEREFORE:
44B. The being that caused the universe to begin to exist is a morally good being.
Premise (42B) does appear to be true, but now premise (41), on this interpretation, is even more certainly FALSE than it was before.
Even if we believe that there was a being that caused the universe to begin to exist and even if we believe that this same being created the first human beings (e.g. Adam and Eve), it still would NOT be the case that this being created ALL of the people (who have existed on the planet Earth), because every human being who came to exist after the initial pair(s) that were created would be produced by sexual reproduction, not by divine intervention.  Since premise (41B) is undeniably FALSE, this version of the argument is clearly UNSOUND.
What this also means is that even if we assume that there is a creator of the human species, we still cannot know whether this being created any morally good people, because we cannot know whether the original pair(s) of human beings were morally good people. So, we cannot know whether the creator of the human species (if there were such a being) created any morally good people.  This whole line of reasoning is doomed to FAIL.
Is premise (43A) true?  Geisler gives a reason in support of (43A):
…But whatever creates good things must be good itself (a cause can’t give what it hasn’t got).  (WSA, p.27)
The reason given is a bit unclear.  It seems like it might be concerned with the properties of a cause, but this is less than certain.  So, I suggest that we consider two different interpretations of the reason given in support of (43A):

  • A being B cannot cause an effect at time T that has a property P unless being B had property P at time T.
  • A being B cannot give X to another being at time T unless being B had X at time T.

Here are some examples related to the second interpretation:
I cannot give you my car keys at 9pm tonight unless I have my car keys at 9pm tonight.
I cannot give you twenty dollars at 9pm tonight unless I have twenty dollars at 9pm tonight.
Although the principle stated in the second interpretation has some plausibility, it is in fact FALSE, as the following counterexample shows:
I can give you the measles at 9pm tonight even though I do not have the measles at 9pm tonight.
I could give someone the measles by injecting them with a liquid that contained the measles virus.  Thus, I can cause someone to get or have the measles even if I myself never get or have the measles.
Similarly, sometimes people who do not have AIDS cause other people to get or have AIDS.  One can carry the virus that causes AIDS without first developing AIDS.  So, it is possible for a person P to cause someone else to get or have AIDS even if P never has AIDS.
Clearly, there are exceptions to the general principle stated in the second interpretation of the reason given in support of (43A).
What about the first interpretation of the reason given in support of (43A)?

  • A being B cannot cause an effect at time T that has a property P unless being B had property P at time T.

This principle is also FALSE.  A  150-pound mother can give birth to a 7-pound baby.  The mother does not weigh 7 pounds at the time she gives birth to her child, but the child has a different weight than its mother.  A bullet that causes a serious wound to a person, will usually cause the wounded person to bleed.  But bullets themselves do not and cannot bleed.  The property of bleeding is not a property that bullets possess.  Sodium and Chorine combine to form common table salt.  Sodium chloride is salty, but neither sodium nor chorine are salty.  Clearly, effects can have properties that differ from the properties of their causes, so the principle given in support of (43A) is FALSE on the first interpretation of the principle.
So, on both possible interpretations of the principle given in support of (43A), this principle is FALSE, and thus the argument supporting (43A) is UNSOUND and unacceptable.
Furthermore, there is no good reason to think that only a morally good person could create a morally good being.  In so far as the parents of a child “create” or cause the existence of that child, we reject the claim that a child can be morally good ONLY IF its parents were morally good.  A child can be morally good even if it was produced by parents who were NOT morally good.  Thus, premise (43A) is not only unsupported, but we have good reason to believe that it is FALSE.
As we saw above, premise (41B) is based on unproven and dubious assumptions, and even if we assume the assumptions are correct, the premise would still be FALSE, becuase it is clear that nearly all human beings were produced by sexual reproduction, not by divine intervention or divine creation.
Since two of the three premises of argument #5 are FALSE  (or at least NOT TRUE), we must reject this argument as UNSOUND.
Geisler’s case is now ZERO for TEN; he has presented ten arguments as part of his case for God (so far) and NONE of the arguments is a good solid argument, not a single one.
I will examine one or two more arguments from Phase 2, but I have no reason to expect anything other than more crappy and unclear arguments with dubious or false premises and/or invalid logic.  I strongly suspect that Geisler’s final tally will be ZERO for TWELVE.
================
*Norman Geisler earned a B.A. in philosophy from Wheaton College in 1958.  He did graduate study in philosophy in the 1960s, and earned his PhD in philosophy from Loyola University in 1970. He published a book called Philosophy of Religion in 1974, and a book called Christian Apologetics in 1976.  The book When Skeptics Ask, which Geisler co-authored with Ronald Brooks was published in 1990.  So,  WSA was published two decades after he earned his PhD, and three decades after he started graduate-level study in philosophy.
Link to Geisler biographical information
 
 
 
 
 

bookmark_borderGeisler’s Five Ways – Part 8: The Design of the Human Brain

The third argument in Phase 2 of Geisler’s case for God is another development of his argument from design, and it has many of the same problems as the second argument in Phase 2.   
Here is the third argument, sticking closely to the words used by Geisler:
ARGUMENT #3 of PHASE 2  
26. God designed our brains. (WSA, p.26)  
27. IF God designed our brains, THEN God knows everything there is to know about the way we think.  (WSA, p.26)
THUS:  
28. God knows everything there is to know about the way we think.  
29. IF God knows everything there is to know about the way we think, THEN God had great intelligence.  
THEREFORE:  
30. God had great intelligence.  
Once again Geisler misuses the word “God”, making his argument unclear and confusing.  Geisler is trying to make a case for the existence of God, so to assert that “God designed our brains” as a premise in his argument for the existence of God blatantly begs the question at issue.  That is, if Geisler was using the word “God” in it’s normal sense, then premise (26) would clearly commit the fallacy of begging the question.  
But Geisler does NOT believe that he has proven the existence of God (in the nomal sense of the word) at this point in his argument. He does think that his initial argument from design proved the existence of “a Great Designer of the universe”.  So, when Geisler uses the word “God” here, he probably means “the designer of the universe”.  
To avoid confusion, the word “God” needs to be stripped out of this argument and replaced with the phrase “the designer of the universe”:
ARGUMENT #3 of PHASE 2  (Rev.A)  
26a. The designer of the universe designed human brains.   
27a. IF the designer of the universe designed human brains, THEN the designer of the universe knows everything there is to know about the way humans think. 
THUS:  
28a. The designer of the universe knows everything there is to know about the way humans think.  
29a. IF the designer of the universe knows everything there is to know about the way humans think, then the designer of the universe had great intelligence.  
THEREFORE:  
30a. The designer of the universe had great intelligence.  
But Geisler’s conclusion in this part of Phase 2 is that “whatever caused the universe…had…great intelligence.”  (WSA, p.26) So, once again, he needs premise (25), which he also needed in Argument #2 of Phase 2:  
25. Whatever being caused the universe to begin to exist is also the designer of the universe.  
From the combination of (30a) and (25), Geisler can infer his desired conclusion:  
31. The being that caused the universe to begin to exist had great intelligence.  
Because Argument #3 of Phase 2 requires premise (25), this argument FAILS, because premise (25) is questionable, and because Geisler FAILS to provide any reason whatsoever to believe that (25) is true.  Because this argument rests upon (25) it FAILS, just like Argument #2 of Phase 2, which also rested upon (25).
Here is a diagram of Argument #3 of Phase 2 (Rev.A), with the conclusion at the top, and the supporting premises below it: 
Argument 3 of Phase 2
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The other main premise of this argument is (30a), but this premise is obviously controversial and needs to be supported with a strong reason or argument.  Accordingly, Geisler provides us with an argument in support of (30a):
28a. The designer of the universe knows everything there is to know about the way humans think.  
29a. IF the designer of the universe knows everything there is to know about the way humans think, THEN the designer of the universe had great intelligence.  
THEREFORE:  
30a. The designer of the universe had great intelligence.  
The inference in this argument is logically valid (a standard modus ponens), so the only question we need to consider is whether both premises are true.  
Is premise (29a) true or false?  This premise is clearly FALSE, because there is a break in the logical connection between the antecedent and the consequent.  The antecedent uses the present tense verb “knows”, while the consequent uses the past tense expression “had great intelligence”.  So, the time-frames don’t match up.  
The fact that Joe knows calculus NOW, after passing the final of his third semester of calculus classes does NOT show that Joe “had a good grasp of calculus” when he was six years old, and just starting elementary school.  People can learn things and grow in knowledge and intelligence over time.  Similarly, even if the designer of the universe has a lot of knowledge NOW, this proves nothing about the knowledge or intelligence of the designer of the universe a thousand years ago, or a million years ago (the human brain has been around at least one million years).  
Geisler screwed up the reference to time frames in this argument, because he is a sloppy and unclear thinker.  The key time-frame that he FAILED to clearly point out and designate is this: when the human brain was being designed.  If there was a being who was “the designer” of the human brain, and if the design for the human brain was developed at some point in time (at least one million years ago), then “the designer” of the human brain must have had the required level of knowledge and intelligence to create such a design at the time when the design for the human brain was being produced.  For all we know, the designer of the human brain might have had less knowledge or intelligence prior to that time, and might have declined in knowledge or intelligence after the design of the human brain was completed.
For premise (29) to have any chance of being true, the time-frame in the antecedent must correspond to the time frame in the consequent:  
29b.  IF the designer of the universe knew (when the human brain was being designed) everything there was to know about the way humans think, THEN the designer of the universe had great intelligence (when the human brain was being designed).  
And for premise (28) to affirm the antecedent of (29b), it must be modified to also refer to the same time frame:  
28b.  The designer of the universe knew (when the human brain was being designed) everything there was to know about the way humans think.  
The conclusion of this modus ponens inference must also be modified to refer to the same time-frame:  
30b. The designer of the universe had great intelligence (when the human brain was being designed).  
What about premise (29b)?  Is it true or false?  Since we have revised the premise so that the time-frame reference in the antecedent matches the time-frame reference in the consequent, I see no reason to doubt or reject (29b).  
So, the question of whether to believe that (30b) is true or false rests upon whether we believe that premise (28b) is true or false.  Premise (28b) is a controversial claim, and it is not obviously true, nor is it a necessary analytic truth.  In fact, as we will see later, there is a very good reason to doubt that (28b) is true.  But Geisler has provided us with an argument for (28b), so we need to examine that argument.  First we need to modify the time-frame reference in the consequent of premise (27), so that the inference to (28b) will be logically valid: 
26a. The designer of the universe designed human brains.   
27b. IF the designer of the universe designed human brains, THEN the designer of the universe knew (when the human brain was being designed) everything there was to know about the way humans think.
THUS:  
28b.  The designer of the universe knew (when the human brain was being designed) everything there was to know about the way humans think.  
Because we have fixed the confusion about time-frames in Geisler’s argument, the inference here is logically valid.  So, we just need to determine whether the premises are true or false.  Is (26a) true or false?  Geisler has FAILED to show that there is such a thing as “the designer of the universe”, so (26a) might literally be talking about nothing at all.  If there is no such being as “the designer of the universe” , then (26a) would be neither true nor false, since the expression “the designer of the universe” has no referent.  
Suppose that there were a being that was “the designer of the universe”, would it be reasonable in that case to believe that this being “designed human brains”?  There are some good reasons to doubt this.  
First, there is good reason to believe that the human brain is the product of random, unthinking forces and processes (i.e. evolution), and thus that even if there were a being that was “the designer of the universe” that being was NOT the designer of the human brain, because the human brain was not the product of ANY intelligent designer.  
Second, the universe has been in existence for billions of years, so the designer of the universe, if there ever were such a being, might well no longer exist, and might well have ceased to exist billions of years ago.  Since the human brain did not exist until about one million years ago, if there was a designer of the human brain, that being might well only be a few million years old, not old enough to be the designer of the universe.  So, even if there was a designer of the universe and a designer of the human brain, they might well have been two different beings who existed in different time-frames, separated by billions of years.  
Third, even if there was a designer of the universe, and even if that being still exists today, it might well still be the case that some OTHER intelligent designer produced the design of the human brain.  Geisler has provided no reason or argument in support of (26a), so given that there are good reasons to doubt (26a), and no good reason to believe (26a) is true, we ought to reject this premise as probably false.  
What about premise (27b)? Is that premise true?  There is a good reason to believe this premise to be false.  If there was a designer of the human brain, then this designer produced the design of the human brain at least one million years ago, because human brains have been around for at least that long.  The structures and functions of the human brain have a very large influence over “the way humans think”, but another significant influence over “the way humans think” is cultural in nature:  language, child-rearing, story-telling, education, religion, art, history, music, and philosophy.  These various social and cultural factors shape “the way humans think”.  
But human languages, cultures, stories, religions, art, history, music, philosophical ideas, are all complex historical phenomena that develop in random and unpredictable ways.  It seems impossible for any being, no matter how much knowledge it had of the biology and physiology of the brain, could predict all of the detailed ways in which human thinking would develop and evolve over the span of hundreds of thousands of years.  
Predicting the specific behaviour of fairly simple systems of physical objects accurately over hundreds of thousands of years is extremely difficult, so the much more complex and random developments of human cultures and societies (plus the interactions between various human cultures and societies) appears to be an impossible task, even for a being of superhuman intelligence.  Thus, there is good reason to doubt that even a being that had a good grasp of the structures and functions of the human brain would be able to anticipate the myriad of random details that would develop in human cultures and societies which would in turn have significant impacts on “the way humans think”.  Premise (27b) should be rejected because it is probably false.  
Because both of the premises in Geisler’s argument for (28b) are probably false, the argument for (28b) is very probably an UNSOUND argument, so we ought to reject that argument.  Furthermore, (28b) is subject to some of the same objections as the premises it is based upon.  Like (26a) it might well be talking about NOTHING, since it is questionable whether there is such a being as “the designer of the universe”, and Geisler has FAILED to show that there is such a being.  Like (27b), there is the problem of knowing about all of the various details of how human cultures and societies will evolve hundreds of thousands of years BEFORE those developments actually occur.  So, we have good reason to believe that (28b) is false, and Geisler has FAILED to provide a good reason to believe that (28b) is true, so we ought to conclude that (28b) is probably false.
Because (28b) is probably false, the argument provided by Geisler in support of premise (30b) is probably an unsound argument.  Furthermore, we have good reason to doubt that premise (30b) is true.  Premise (30b) is subject to some of the same objections raised against other premises in this argument.  
First, the assumption that there is such a being as “the designer of the universe” is highly questionable, and Geisler has provided no good reason to accept this assumption.  Second, even if there were such a being as “the designer of the universe” it is quite possible that this being ceased to exist billions of years ago,  billions of years before human brains were being designed, and thus it would not be true that “the designer of the universe” had great intelligence at the time the human brain was being designed.  Third, there probably is no such thing as the time “when the human brain was being designed” because the human brain is the product of random, unthinking forces and processes (i.e. evolution).  Fourth, even if there was such a thing as “the designer of the universe” and there was such a thing as “the designer of the human brain”, these beings might well have been different beings, and thus the intelligence of “the designer of the human brain” would have no relevance for determining the intelligence of “the designer of the universe.”  
Geisler has FAILED to provide a good reason to believe that premise (30b) is true, and there are some good reasons to doubt that (30b) is true, so we ought to reject (30b) as probably false.  So, Geisler has FAILED to provide a sound argument for this conclusion:
31b. The being that caused the universe to begin to exist had great intelligence (when the human brain was being designed).
CONCLUSION:
Here is the diagram of my final version (Rev.B) of  this argument:
Argument 3 of Phase 2 RevB
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I have argued that every premise in Argument #3 of Phase 2 ought to be rejected, except for premise (29):

  • Premise (25) is questionable, and because Geisler FAILS to provide any reason whatsoever to believe that (25) is true.
  • There are good reasons to doubt (26a), and no good reason to believe (26a) is true, we ought to reject this premise as probably false.
  • Premise (27b) should be rejected because it is probably false.  
  •  We have good reason to believe that (28b) is false, and Geisler has FAILED to provide a good reason to believe that (28b) is true, so we ought to conclude that (28b) is probably false.
  • Geisler has FAILED to provide a good reason to believe that premise (30b) is true, and there are some good reasons to doubt that (30b) is true, so we ought to reject (30b) as probably false.

I did argue that premise (29a) was clearly and obviously FALSE, because Geisler screwed up the references to time-frames in that premise.  But after revising (29) to fix the problem with the mis-matched time-frames between the antecedent and the consequent of that premise, I accepted the revised premise (29b) as a true premise.  Other than this one premise, which is true only because I fixed an obvious problem with that premise, every other premise in the argument ought to be rejected.  
This argument is a hot steaming pile of dog shit.  It is completely unworthy of a professional philosopher who has spent decades teaching and writing about the philosophy of religion and Christian apologetics.  
How can Geisler write such crap?  I think part of the blame goes to Thomas Aquinas* and to Thomists who follow in the footsteps of Aquinas.  As Richard Swinburnes says somewhere, Aquinas’s Five Ways are probably the least successful parts of the philosophical reasoning by Aquinas.  But many view the Five Ways as good or plausible arguments for the existence of God, and this widespread delusion creates a very low bar for arguments for the existence of God.  The Five Ways should be viewed as examples of HOW NOT TO ARGUE for the existence of God.  Because they are often viewed as examples of good arguments for the existence of God, many people are led astray.
Another, perhaps more obvious, problem is that Geisler is preaching to the choir.  The audience or readers of Geisler’s books are generally Evangelical Chrstian believers who just want someone in a postion of authority to say “We have very good reasons and arguments to show that God exists, that Jesus is divine, and that the Bible is the Word of God.”  These Christian believers are uncritical thinkers, at least when it comes to theology and philosophy, so they will accept any pile of dog shit that Geisler serves them on a china platter.  Because Geisler writes for readers who are not skeptical and who are uncritical thinkers, he is intellectually lazy and sloppy, and has no real incentive to do any better.
 
*I should note that although I think the Five Ways of Aquinas are lousy arguments for the existence of God, I also think that Aquinas never intended the Five Ways to be taken as arguments for the existence of God.  Rather, they are merely the initial arguments of a long and complex case for the existence of God that extends far beyond the one page or so where he presents the Five Ways.  His case for God is presented in the “Treatise on God” in the First Part of Summa Theologica, specifically the first 26 Questions covered in Summa Theologica, consisting of about 150 pages of interconnected arguments.

bookmark_borderGeisler’s Five Ways – Part 7: Argument #2 of Phase 2

Here is the second argument in Phase 2 of Geisler’s case for the existence of God:
ARGUMENT #2 of PHASE 2
21. “…the design of the universe is far beyond anything that man could devise.” (WSA, p.26)
22. IF the design of the universe is far beyond anything that man could devise, THEN the designer of the universe had great intelligence (when the universe was being designed).
THUS:
23. The designer of the universe had great intelligence (when the universe was being designed).
24. Whatever being caused the universe to begin to exist is also the designer of the universe.
THEREFORE:
25. Whatever being “caused the universe” to begin to exist “had great intelligence” (when the universe was being designed).  (WSA, p.26)
Here is a diagram of this argument (with the conclusion at the top, and the premises below it):   

Argument 2 of Phase 2
 
 
 
 
 
 
This argument is also clearly a FAILURE.    Let’s begin with an examination of premise (24):
24. Whatever being caused the universe to begin to exist is also the designer of the universe.
Geisler does not explicitly state this premise, but he clearly NEEDS this premise in order to get to the conclusion, which talks about a being that “caused the universe”.   The other premises of this argument appear to be focused on the “designer of the universe”, so those premises are irrelevant to the conclusion apart from the assumption that the being that caused the universe to begin to exist and the designer of the universe are the same being.
But not only does Geisler FAIL to make this assumption explicit,  he also FAILS to provide any reason whatsover to believe that this assumption is true.  It is certainly NOT a necessary truth, because it is conceivable and logically possible that one being designed the universe and another different being caused the universe to begin to exist.  
One way this could happen is if one being were to create the basic matter of the universe, and then a second being came along and organized that matter into planets, stars, solar systems, and galaxies.  The first being would have caused the universe to begin to exist, but the second being would be the designer of the universe, at least of the major astronomical features of the universe.
Another way this could happen is if one being were to design both the structure of matter of the universe and also the basic astronomical features of the universe, and then a second being came along and brought a universe into existence based on the design that had been developed by the first being.  
Clearly (24) is NOT a logically necessary truth.  It is possible for a cause of the universe and a designer of the universe to be two different beings. Since it is possible that (24) is false, and since there is no obvious reason to believe that (24) is true, Geisler’s argument is unacceptable unless and until he provides a good reason or argument showing that premise (24) is true.  Since Geisler makes no attempt to provide a reason or argument in support of (24), this argument is clearly a FAILURE, as it stands, because it is based on a questionable premise that we have no good reason to believe to be true.
The other key premise in this argument is (23):
23. The designer of the universe had great intelligence (when the universe was being designed).
This is obviously a questionable and controversial claim.  It would be question-begging to simply assume this premise to be true. Accordingly, Geisler provides us with an argument in support of premise (23):

21. “…the design of the universe is far beyond anything that man could devise.” (WSA, p.26)
22. IF the design of the universe is far beyond anything that man could devise, THEN the designer of the universe had great intelligence (when the universe was being designed).
THUS:
23. The designer of the universe had great intelligence (when the universe was being designed).

Is this a sound argument?  The logic is fine (a standard modus ponens inference), so we only need to be concerned about whether the premises are true.  If both premise (21) and (22) are true, then we ought to accept (23).  
Let’s begin by examining premise (21).  Is this premise true?
In order to evaluate whether (21) is true, we must first understand what (21) means. As with most of Geisler’s premises, this statement is UNCLEAR, so we cannot evaluate the truth of this premise as it stands.  The sentence asserted in (21) has a subject and a predicate.  The subject of (21) is unclear, and the predicate of (21) is unclear.  
Let’s start with the subject:
(S21) The design of the universe…  
As it stands, this premise begs an important question.  It ASSUMES that there is such a thing as “the design” of the universe.  But this is hardly an obvious or self-evident truth.  This is a controversial claim which Geisler needs to support with reasons or arguments.  
Furthermore, the use of the definite article “the” implies that there is EXACTLY ONE design that is a design of the universe.  Thus, even if we assume that the universe has a design (i.e. at least one design), the expression “the design of the universe” might not refer to anything at all, because there might be MANY designs of the universe.  
If there are MANY cars in the parking lot of the Safeway grocery store near my house, then the claim that
The car in the parking lot of the Safeway grocery store near my house is a Volkswagen
is NOT a true claim, because the subject “the car in the parking lot…” does not refer to any specific car.  
Because there are many cars in the parking lot, the expression “the car in the parking lot” has no clear referent.  Similarly, if there are MANY designs incorporated into various parts or aspects of the universe, then the expression “the design of the universe” has no clear referent, and thus premise (21) could not, under such circumstances, assert a true claim.  If there are MANY designs of the universe, then premise (21) is literally not talking about anything, because (21) would have no actual subject. Let’s rephrase the subject of (21) to make this point clear:
(S21a) There is EXACTLY ONE design that is a design of the universe…
One logical possiblity is that the universe incorporates several designs. For example, one being might have designed the electron, while another being designed the proton, and a third being designed neutrons.  Each sub-atomic particle might have been individually designed.  Each planet and each star could have been designed by a different being, or each solar system designed by a different being, or each galaxy designed by a different being.  The laws of gravity might have been designed by one being, while other laws of physics were designed by another being.  If different parts or aspects of the universe were designed by different beings, then although there would be MANY designs incorporated into the universe, it might well be the case that there is no such thing as “the design” of the universe, no single overarching plan that was devised for all of the major parts and aspects of the universe.
What this means is that in order to show that (21) is true, Geisler needs to prove not only that there is “a design” incorporated into some aspect of the universe, but that there is EXACTLY ONE design of the universe as a whole.  It appears to me that Geisler has made no attempt to show this to be the case.  If he has made no attempt to show that there is EXACTLY ONE design of the universe, then he has FAILED to show that premise (21) is true.
Before we move on to clarify the predicate of (21), it is important to note that there is a distinction between “a design IN the universe” and “a design OF the universe”.  Geisler, as usual, is sloppy in his writing and thinking, and he quickly slides over this distinction without any comment or clarification. Note that in his argument from design, Geisler uses the expression “design in the universe” in one of his premises:
All designs imply a designer.
There is a great design in the universe.
Therefore, there must be a Great Designer of the universe. (WSA, p.20, emphasis added)  
The second premise asserts that there is a great “design in the universe”.  Even if that were true, it does NOT imply that there is such a thing as “the design of the universe”. There may be parts or aspects of the universe that have “a design” even if the universe as a whole does not have a design.  For example, my car, my bicycle, and my cell phone are all objects in the universe.  Each of these things is a part of the universe, and each of these things has a design.  So, clearly there are parts or aspects of the universe that have a design, but the fact that my car was designed does NOT imply that the universe as a whole was designed.  It is a logical fallacy to infer from the fact that some parts or aspects of the universe have a design that the universe as a whole has a design.  
In the conclusion of his argument from design, Geisler talks about “a Great Designer of the universe”.  If the existence of such a being logically implies that there is such a thing as “the design of the universe”, then the inference in Geisler’s argument from design is logically invalid, because the premise only talks about there being “design in the universe”, and that could be the case if just one part or aspect of the universe had a design while the universe as a whole lacked a design.  The second premise of this argument from design appears to be too weak to prove the conclusion, because it leaves open the possibility that there is no such thing as “the design” of the universe.  
On the other hand, if the conclusion that there is “a Great Designer of the universe” only implies that there is AT LEAST ONE designer who designed AT LEAST ONE part or aspect of the universe, then this weaker conclusion might logically follow from the second premise, but this weaker conclusion is inadequate for Geisler to build upon in Phase 2.  If the possibility of there being MANY designers and MANY designs in the universe is left open, then Geisler cannot make inferences from the design of one specific part or aspect of the universe to the intelligence of “the designer” of the universe as a whole.  In order for Geisler’s Phase 2 to work, he needs to show that there is EXACTLY ONE designer of the universe, but he has not provided any reason whatsoever to believe this to be the case.  
So, it seems that the UNCLARITY in Geisler’s writing and thinking in relation to the difference between “design IN the universe” and “design OF the universe” hides a serious problem in his case for the existence of God.  By becoming clearer about the distinction between these two different ideas, we can then see yet another way in which Geisler’s case for God FAILS.  
Now let’s consider the predicate of premise (21):
(P21) …is far beyond anything that man could devise.
As it stands, the wording here is vague.  However, in context it is clear that what Geisler has in mind here is complexity of structure and function, especially in the design of a machine.  It is helpful to consider the full sentence that Geisler wrote:
Even Carl Sagan admits that the design of the universe is far beyond anything that man could devise.  (WSA, p.26)
Here Geisler refers back to his presentation of the argument from design and to a quotation that he gave from Carl Sagan’s book Cosmos:
The information content of the human brain expressed in bits is probably comparable to the total number of connections among neurons–about a hundred trillion….  If written out in English, say, that information would fill some twenty million volumes, as many as in the world’s largest libraries.  The equivalent of twenty million books is inside the heads of every one of us.  The brain is a very big place in a very small space. … The neurochemistry of the brain is astonishingly busy, the circuitry of a machine more wonderful than any devised by humans.    (WSA, p.21. Geisler is quoting from Cosmos, p.278)
[Note that Sagan was talking about the human brain, not about the universe as a whole.  So, even if it were true that the human brain has a design that was produced by some being who existed prior to the human species, it does not follow that there is such a thing as “the design of the universe,” nor that there is such a thing as “the designer of the universe,” nor that “the designer of the universe” must be as intelligent as the designer of the human brain.  Sagan also does NOT claim that the complexity of the structure and function of the human brain is something that “is far beyond” what humans “could devise”, but rather that it is beyond the complexity of any machine that has been devised by humans (so far). That leaves open the possibility that humans might in the future create a machine that was as complex in structure and function as the human brain.]
The paragraph in which this quote of Sagan is given begins this way:
That’s where the next premise comes in [i.e. “There is a great design in the universe.”]. The design we see in the universe is complex. (WSA, p.21)
What is the relevance of the design in the universe being “complex”?  The relevance is indicated at the end of the paragraph prior to the one just quoted:
…the more complex that design is, the greater the intelligence required to produce it.  (WSA, p.21)
The more complex a design is, the more intelligent the being that produced that design must be.  Given the context of the quote from Sagan and the context of the relevance of the concept of “complexity” of a design, we can clarify the meaning of the predicate of (21):  
(P21a) …is more complex in structure and function than that of any design (of a machine) that human beings could ever (with their limited intelligence) devise.  
We can now re-state premise (21) so that it’s meaning is significantly more clear:
(21a) There is EXACTLY ONE design that is a design of the universe, and that design is more complex in structure and function than that of any design (of a machine) that human beings could ever (with their limited intelligence) devise.  
A reasonably full-fledged “design of the universe” would presumably include the following: (a) a specification of the laws of physics,  (b) a specification of the sub-atomic structure of atoms, (c) a specification of the amounts of various kinds of matter and energy in the universe at the beginning of the universe, (d) other initial physical conditions of the universe, and (e) a specification of the astronomical structure of the universe (e.g. billions of galaxies each containing billions of stars and planets) that would result from the other design specifications.  
But a desgn of the universe might only be a partial design.  For example, suppose that the laws of physics and the sub-atomic structure of atoms has always existed and is undesigned.  Some intelligent being (or beings) could have taken this already existing material and created our universe according to a plan or design that was aimed at producing billions of galaxies each containing billions of stars and planets.  In this case, it would make sense to speak of “the design of the universe”, but that design would be focused on the astronomical structure of the universe and it would NOT include the sub-atomic structure of atoms, nor would it specify the laws of physics, because those other elements of the universe would already be in existence, and there would be no need to design or create those aspects of the universe.  
At the other extreme, “the design of the universe” could include every little fact about the universe, and every event that would ever occur in the universe, including what I would eat for breakfast this morning.  Geisler believes in a creator being who is omniscient and omnipotent, and such a being would have the knowledge and power to determine in advance every little fact and event in the history of the universe, including what I would eat for breakfast this morning.  
Given the wide diversity of possible contents of “the design of the universe”–ranging from a specification of only the astronomical structure of the universe, to a full-fledge design that includes laws of physics, sub-atomic structure, various initial conditions, and astronomical structure, to the extreme concept of a design that includes every fact and event in the entire history of the universe–the concept of “a design of the universe” is still a rather broad and vague concept in need of careful examination and treatment.
Finally, as mentioned previously, there could be some things in the universe that were designed, even if the universe as a whole was NOT designed.  Geisler in presenting his argument from design quoted Carl Sagan’s comments about the amazingly complex structure and function of the human brain.  This does not appear to help Geisler’s case though, because even if the human brain was designed, this does NOT imply that the universe as a whole was designed.  Furthermore, even if we granted the assumption that the human brain was designed and that the universe as a whole was designed, this does NOT imply that the designer of the universe is the same being as the designer of the human brain.  So, the intelligence of the being that designed the human brain might well be greatly superior to the intelligence of the being that designed the universe as a whole.  
To be clear about the concept of “a design of the universe”, we should keep in mind some various logical possibilities:
POSSIBILITY 1  
There is such a thing as “the design of the universe” but there is no particular being that is “the designer of the universe”, because there are MANY designers who produced the design of the universe, not just one.  
POSSIBILITY 2  
There is such a thing as “the design of the universe”, but there are no beings who are designers of the universe, because the design of the universe is the product of random or unintelligent forces and is NOT the product of a person or an intelligent being.
POSSIBILITY 3   
There are specific things in the universe or specific aspects of the universe that were designed (e.g. DNA, or the human brain), and thus there is “design IN the universe”, but there is no such thing as “the design OF the universe” because there is no overarching plan or design of the universe as a whole.  
POSSIBILITY 4
There is such a thing as “the design of the universe” and there is also a being who is “the designer of the universe”, but this being did not design some of the natural phenomena that have complex structures and functions because those natural phenomena are not the product of an intelligent designer (e.g. the human brain is the product of evolution and random variations and genetic changes and mutations, not the product of an intelligent designer).  
POSSIBILITY 5  
There is such a thing as “the design of the universe” and there is also a being who is “the designer of the universe”, but this being did not design some of the natural phenomena that have complex structures and functions (e.g. the human brain), but some OTHER intelligent being(s) produced the design of the other complex natural phenomena (thus the designer of the human brain might be very intelligent, while the designer of the universe might be much less intelligent, perhaps less intelligent than human beings).  
These scenarios all appear to be logical possibilities, so in order for Geisler’s case to be successful, he needs to show that either these are NOT logically possible, or that there is good reason to believe that these scenarios are highly improbable (or that some of these scenarios are logically impossible and that the others are highly improbable).  
POSSIBILITY 2 appears to be ruled out by the first premise of Geisler’s argument from design.  Here is his argument from design:
All designs imply a designer.
There is a great design in the universe.
Therefore, there must be a Great Designer of the universe. (WSA, p.20, emphasis added)  
If it is true that “All designs imply a designer”, then doesn’t that eliminate the possibility that there could be such a thing as “the design of the universe” without there also being at least one “designer of the universe”?  That depends on how we interpret the word “imply” in the first premise.  One straightforward interpretation is that “imply” means “logically entail”:  
All designs LOGICALLY ENTAIL the existence of at least one designer (who produced the design in question).  
However, if we interpret the first premise of Geisler’s argument from design this way, then his argument FAILS for two good reasons:  (1) the first premise would be FALSE, and (2) the second premise would beg the question at issue.
On this interpretation the first premise of Geisler’s argument from design would be FALSE, because it is logically possible for a design to happen by random chance.  Geisler admits this to be a logical possibility, because he argues that it is IMPROBABLE that something like the complex structures and functions found in a living cell would occur as the result of random, unintelligent forces and processes.  Claiming that this is IMPROBABLE, implies that it is logically possible, for if there was a logical contradiction in the idea of a design produced by random, unthinking forces and processes, then Geisler would simply point out that logical contradiction and that would be sufficient to eliminate the possibility of a design existing apart from a designer.   But Geisler does not do this; instead, he argues that the it would be IMPROBABLE that all of the various structures and functions of a cell would just happen to occur as the result of random, unthinking forces and processes.  But even if it is highly improbable that X will happen, that still leaves open that possibility that X will happen.  Even if it is highly improbable that I will win the state lottery tomorrow, that still leaves open the possibility that I will win the state lottery tomorrow.
On this interpretation, the second premise of Geisler’s argument from design would beg the question at issue.  If we assume that the first premise of his argument was true, if we assume that the very concept of “a design” logically entails the existence of “a designer”, then the second premise would presuppose what the argument is trying to establish:  
There is a great design in the universe.
This premise would, on this interpretation, presuppose the existence of a designer.  In order to KNOW that this premise was in fact true, one would have to first KNOW that there exists a designer of the universe.  But that is what the argument is trying to establish!  So, this is not merely the weak sort of question begging where a premise that is controversial is asserted without reasons or evidence; this is the strong form of question begging that we call circular reasoning.  On this interpretation of the first premise, the second premise presupposes the truth of the concusion of the argument, and thus the argument would commit the fallacy of circular reasoning.
In order for Geisler’s argument from design to have any chance of being successful, we must interpret the first premise to be making a weaker claim, a claim that does not assert a logical entailment between “design” and “designers, a claim such as this:
All designs PROVIDE EVIDENCE that increases the PROBABILITY of the existence of at least one designer (who produced the design in question).   
This revised version is probably too weak to provide adequate support for Geisler’s case for God, but however one modifies and clarifies the first premise of his argument from design, that premise wil have to leave open the logical possibility of a design existing without it having been produced by a designer.  
So, let’s return to the key question: Is premise (21a) true or false?
(21a) There is EXACTLY ONE design that is a design of the universe, and that design is more complex in structure and function than that of any design (of a machine) that human beings could ever (with their limited intelligence) devise.  
Is there exactly one design that is a design of the universe?  Is there an overarching design of the universe as a whole?  I don’t think so.  As far as I can see, Geisler has not even attempted to show this to be the case.  He talks mainly about the complexity of the structure and function of DNA, living cells, living organisms, and the human brain.  But these are just things IN the universe or aspects of the universe.  So, even if these things or aspects were designed, that does not imply that the universe as a whole was designed, nor that there is a design of the universe as a whole.  
Furthermore, if we think about the universe as a whole, the analogy with a machine (like a watch) is not a very good analogy.  A watch has a clear and obvious function (keeping track of the passing of time), and all of the structures and functions of parts and aspects of a watch can be related to the function of the watch as a whole.  But there is no similarly clear and obvious function of the universe as a whole.  
The main function that is often suggested is the production of living creatures or the production of intelligent creatures (like human beings).  But, why is there a need for billions of galaxies each filled with billions of stars and planets?  One little solar system with a few planets orbiting one sun would do the trick.  But the chance of a living simple organism forming out of non-living chemicals on a planet seems highly unlikely, especially in a period of only thousands or millions of years.  So, one might argue that in order to ensure that a simple living organism is produced by random natural processes, the universe had to be terrifically large, with a fantastic number of stars and planets and solar systems, and the universe had to be designed to last for billions of years to allow enough time for random natural processes to produce simple living creatures somewhere in the universe.
But then, if an intelligent being wanted to produce living creatures, why do so using random physical processes that would take billions of billions of solar systems billions of years to produce one living creature? and then another billion years or more for that creature’s offspring to (possibly) produce intelligent creatures (if the planet and solar system continued to exist for that long)?  Why not produce living creatures or even intelligent creatures DIRECTLY, as in the creation myth in the book of Genesis?  
Using slow and random physical processes to produce a living creature, and using the slow and random process of evolution to produce an intelligent creature from a simple single-celled organism, seems like a terrifically stupid and inefficient way of producing living creatures and intelligent creatures. If the purpose of the universe is to produce living creatures, it is a fairly lousy mechanism for accomplishing this purpose.  The universe does not appear to be a carefully designed mechanism for producing living creatures, or anything else.  
Suppose I am wrong, and there is exactly one design that is a design of the universe as a whole, and suppose that the purpose of the universe is to bring about living creatures or intelligent living creatures.  In this case, would the design of the universe be so complex in structure and function that it would be “far beyond” the limited intelligence of human beings to produce that design or the design of a machine in which the complexity of the structure and content of the machine was of a similar degree as the complexity and structure of the design of this universe?  I don’t think so.  Geisler has given us no good reason to believe this to be so.  His discussion of DNA, cells, and the human brain is irrelevant, because he has given us no reason to believe that the design of these things (DNA, cells, and the human brain) was produced by the being who produced the design of the universe as a whole.  
Assuming, for the sake of argument, that there was exactly one design that was a design of the universe as a whole, this design need not have included the structure and function of DNA, cells, or the human brain.  In fact, it is highly implausible that a design formulated billions of years ago concering the initial conditions of our universe, would have any relevance to the specific structures and functions of human brains, which evolved as the result of the random, unthinking process of evolution.  The initial physical conditions of the universe only, at best, allowed for the coming into existence of solar systems where living organisms might form by random, unthinking physical processes, and thus allow for random, unthinking process of evolution to start up.  But creating the conditions to make it possible for the evolution of life and of intelligent creatures, is not the same thing as determining the specific path that the evolution of intelligent creatures would follow over the course of a billion years or more.  
So, if “the design” of the universe did not include DNA, cells, or the human brain, then what would it have included? Presumably, it would include the sub-atomic structure of matter, the laws of physics,  the initial conditions of the universe, and the general astronomical structure of the universe that was intended to result from those other aspects of the design.  Is such a design “far beyond” the complexity of any design that human beings will ever be able to produce?  I don’t think so.  We human beings seem to have a pretty good handle on the sub-atomic structure of matter, the laws of physics, the initial conditions of the universe, and the general astronomical structure of the universe.  So, the content of this alleged design of the universe appears to be something about which human beings, at least smart and well-educated human beings,  have a pretty good understanding.  So, it does not seem at all unlikely that human beings would one day be able to produce a design for a machine that has the same level of complexity of structure and function as the universe.  
There is good reason to doubt that there is exaclty one design that is a design of the universe and Geisler has FAILED to provide a good reason to think otherwise. There is also good reason to doubt the degree of complexity in the design of the universe is far beyond the intellectual capability of human beings, and Geisler has FAILED to provide a good reason to think otherwise.  So, we ought to reject premise (21a) as being probably false.  This is a second reason for rejecting Argument #2 of Phase 2 of Geisler’s case for the existence of God.
================================
UPATED on 11/14/16
I have added comments on premise (22).
================================
There is one more premise to examine in this argument:
22. IF the design of the universe is far beyond anything that man could devise, THEN the designer of the universe had great intelligence (when the universe was being designed).  
First, before we try to determine whether this premise is true or false, it needs to be revised in keeping with the clarification of premise (21):  
22a. IF there is EXACTLY ONE design that is a design of the universe, and that design is more complex in structure and function than that of any design (of a machine) that human beings could ever (with their limited intelligence) devise, THEN there is EXACTLY ONE designer of the universe, and that designer had greater intelligence than any human being (when the universe was being designed). 
Is premise (22a) true or false?  The points I have made previously in this discussion of Geisler’s argument from design point to some significant problems with this premise.
Strictly speaking, this premise is FALSE, because no matter how complex a design might be, it is always logically possible for that design to have been produced by random, unthinking forces and processes.  However, since we are supposed to assume here that the complexity of the design of the universe is so great that humans could not ever produce a design of that degree of complexity, one could argue that it is highly improbable that random, unthinking forces and processes would produce such a highly complex design.  So, although the conditional statement above is false, interpreting the IF/THEN as one of logical entailment or logical necessity, it could be argued that the connection between the antecedent and the consequent is quite a strong one.  The antecedent, it might be argued, provides a very powerful piece of evidence for the truth of the consequent, even though it falls short of being a necessary logical connection or implication.
Mr. Geisler’s own example of the complexity of the structure and function of the human brain, however, works as a counterexample here.  We have very good reason to believe that the complex structure and function of the human brain was produced by random, unthinking forces and processes.  Thus, if the human brain has a design (as Geisler insists), and if the human brain has a design that is so complex that it would not be possible for human beings to produce a design with that degree of complexity (as Geisler insists), then one of the most complex designs in the universe is a design that was produced by random, unthinking processes, and was NOT produced by an intelligent designer, nor by a group or team of intelligent designers.
Furthermore, as we have previously seen, even assuming that there is EXACTLY ONE design of the universe, that design might have been produced by MANY designers, so the existence of EXACTLY ONE design of the universe does NOT show that there is EXACTLY ONE designer of the universe who produced that design.
Finally, since for all we know it might be the case that the ONE design of the universe was produced by a group or team of designers, we cannot infer the degree of intelligence of individual designers on the basis of the degree of complexity of that design.  The degree of complexity of a design that was produced by a group or team of designers can exceed the level of knowledge and intelligence of any individual designer in the group or team of designers that produced the design.  
So, we cannot legitimately infer from the existence of a complex design that there are any intelligent beings who produced that design, nor that the design was produced by EXACTLY ONE designer, nor can we infer from a highly complex design the existence of a designer of great intelligence, since the design may have been produced by a group or team of designers. For these reasons, we ought to reject premise (22a) as being probably false.
CONCLUSION
We ought to reject Argument #2 of Phase 2, because it rests on a questionable and controversial premise, premise (24) and Geisler provides no reason whatsoever why we ought to believe that premise is true, and because there are good reasons to doubt the other basic premises of this argument, premises (22a) and (21a), and Geisler has FAILED to provide good reasons to believe those premises to be true.

bookmark_borderGeisler’s Five Ways – Part 6: Arguments for the Intelligence of the Creator

Here is my version of Geisler’s first argument in Phase 2 of his case for God:
ARGUMENT #1 OF PHASE 2
10a. Only a being with great power could create the whole universe by itself, and only a being with great power could sustain the existence of the whole universe by itself  (for even just one moment).
11a. There is a being that both (a) created the whole universe by itself (in the distant past), and that (b) sustains the existence of the whole universe by itself (right now).
THEREFORE:
12a. There is a being that created the whole universe by itself (in the distant past), and that being both (a) had great power (in the distant past) and (b) has great power (right now).

Premise
 (11a) presupposes the following two claims:
13. There is a being that created the whole universe by itself (in the distant past).
14. There is a being that sustains the existence of the whole universe by itself (right now).
Geisler believes that Argument #1 of Phase 1 proves (13) and that Argument #2 of Phase 1 proves (14), but in the previous post we saw that the inferences from the conclusions of the Phase 1 arguments to (13) and to (14) were logically invalid.  
I also noted that Geisler needed to prove that a being that caused the universe to begin to exist (in the distant past) must be the same being as a being that causes the universe to continue to exist (right now), but that Geisler provides no reason or argument supporting this critical assumption.  Thus, Geisler FAILED to provide a good reason or argument for all three assumptions supporting premise (11a).  Since premise (11a) is a controversial and questionable premise, and since we have been given no good reason to believe (11a), Geisler has FAILED to show that (12a) is true.
The conclusion of the second and third arguments in Phase 2 is implied in this sentence:
The argument from design shows us that whatever caused the universe not only had great power, but also great intelligence.  (WSA, p.26)
This sentence may appear to imply that the argument from design shows that whatever caused the universe had great power, but that is not what Geisler means.  He has just finished arguing that his cosmological arguments show that whatever caused the universe had great power, and now he is moving on to use the argument from design to show the additional claim that whatever caused the universe had great intelligence
Here is the second argument in Phase 2 of Geisler’s case for the existence of God:
ARGUMENT #2 of PHASE 2
21. “…the design of the universe is far beyond anything that man could devise.” (WSA, p.26)
22. IF the design of the universe is far beyond anything that man could devise, THEN the designer of the universe had great intelligence (when the universe was being designed).
THUS:
23. The designer of the universe had great intelligence (when the universe was being designed).
24. Whatever being caused the universe to begin to exist is also the designer of the universe.
THEREFORE:
25. Whatever being “caused the universe” to begin to exist “had great intelligence” (when the universe was being designed).  (WSA, p.26)
Here is a diagram of this argument (with the conclusion at the top, and the premises below it):
 Argument 2 of Phase 2
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Geisler also provides another closely-related argument for the great intelligence of “God”:
ARGUMENT #3 of PHASE 2 (Geisler’s wording)
26. God “designed our brains.” (WSA, p.26)
27. IF God designed our brains, THEN “God…knows everything there is to know about the way we think…” (WSA, p.26)
THUS:
28. God knows everything there is to know about the way we think.
29. IF God knows everything there is to know about the way we think, THEN God had great intelligence.
THEREFORE:
30.  God had great intelligence.
If Geisler was using the word “God” in its ordinary sense, then premise (26) would clearly beg the question at issue, which is whether God exists.  So, Geisler is again using the word “God” in a non-standard way, and since he has failed to explain or define what he the hell he means by the word “God” in this argument, it is confusing and misleading to use the word “God” here.
Given that Geisler is attempting to make use of his argument from design, the most likely interpretation of the word “God” in this context is “the designer of the universe”. Furthermore, we need to clarify the time frames in these premises and conclusions, and it is clear that the time Geisler has in mind is the time when our brains were being designed.  
Here is my clarified version of this argument:
ARGUMENT #3 of PHASE 2 – Rev. A
26a. The designer of the universe designed our brains.
27a. IF the designer of the universe designed our brains, THEN the designer of the universe knew (when our brains were being designed) everything there is to know about the way we think.
THUS:
28a. The designer of the universe knew (when our brains were being designed) everything there is to know about the way we think.
29a. IF the designer of the universe knew (when our brains were being designed) everything there is to know about the way we think, THEN the designer of the universe had great intelligence (when our brains were being designed).
THUS:
30a. The designer of the universe had great intelligence (when our brains were being designed).
31. Whatever being caused the universe to begin to exist is also the designer of the universe.
THEREFORE:
32. Whatever being caused the universe to begin to exist had great intelligence (when our brains were being designed).

Here is a diagram of this argument (with the conclusion at the top, and the premises below it):

Argument 3 of Phase 2


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
In the next post I will begin to evaluate these two arguments from Phase 2 of Geisler’s case for the existence of God.

bookmark_borderRice Chemist says that we Know Nothing about Pre-biotic Chemistry

James Tour, a synthetic chemist and nanotechnologist at Rice University, recently spoke at Waterloo University in Canada and delivered a vigorous castigation of anyone who presumes to think that we know anything about abiogenesis:
http://www.evolutionnews.org/2016/06/on_prebiotic_ch102902.html
This report is from Evolution News, which should more honestly be called Intelligent Design Theory News since it is an anti-evolution advocacy site. Needless to say, the IDers are delighted that a prominent chemist would say that nothing is known about the origin of life. They are delighted because they do think that they know, of course. For them, gaps are good, and the bigger the gap the more room for their designated gap-filler (you get one guess who, or maybe I should say Who).
Is Tour an intelligent design advocate? He says not, and the article does not claim that he was arguing for intelligent design. Still, to be told that there is no scientific answer is a great comfort to those who grind an ax for a non-scientific answer.
Tour states his own religious beliefs here:
http://www.jmtour.com/personal-topics/personal-statement/
Have his beliefs tainted his science, tilting him to a more pessimistic assessment of the state of knowledge than is justified? Do other similarly qualified experts justifiably hold that we in fact are in a far better position? It is hard for a layperson to know what to make of such pronouncements other than to point out that whatever problems science may have, Intelligent Design does not have the solutions.

bookmark_borderAdamson’s Cru[de] Arguments for God – Part 6

Cosmic pluralism, the plurality of worlds, or simply pluralism, describes the philosophical belief in numerous “worlds” in addition to Earth (possibly an infinite number), which may harbour extraterrestrial life.  
(from Wikipedia article “Cosmic Pluralism“)
In my criticism of Adamson’s initial argument for the existence of God, I pointed out that cosmic pluralism is an idea that has been around since the beginning of Western philosophy about 2,500 years ago (the pre-socratic philosopher Anaxagorus advocated cosmic pluralism, for example), and that cosmic pluralism was advocated in Europe more recently by Giordano Bruno, about 430 years ago. Furthermore, cosmic pluralism was a view held by many of the leading philosophers that are usually covered in introductions to philosophy and in history of philosophy courses: Gottfried Leibniz, Rene Descartes, George Berkeley, John Locke, and Immanuel Kant. Some of the founding fathers of our nation were cosmic pluralists: Thomas Paine, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and probably Thomas Jefferson too.
I previously pointed out that science fiction books, stories, movies, and television programs often assume the truth of cosmic pluralism, so even if Adamson was completely ignorant of the history of philosophy and ignorant about the cosmological beliefs of our founding fathers, she ought to have been aware of the idea of cosmic pluralism from science fiction books or movies or television shows.
One might object that cosmic pluralism is a matter of speculation.  Anaxagorus was not a scientist, at least not in the modern sense.  He did not use a telescope to observe the planets in our solar system or the stars in our galaxy.  Bruno was not a scientist; he was a philosopher and theologian.  Bruno arrived at his theory of the universe based on abstract philosophical and theological reasoning, not on the basis of empirical science, not on the basis of careful observations and measurements, not on the basis of experiments.  Science-fiction stories and movies might well assume the truth of cosmic pluralism, but that doesn’t mean that we ought to believe that cosmic pluralism is true; fiction can be based on false or unproven assumptions.
In the previous post in this series I pointed out that Bruno may have been influenced to adopt cosmic pluralism and the view that the universe was infinite by the English mathematician and astronomer Thomas Digges.  Furthermore, Bruno was burned at the stake (by the brilliant Christian leaders of the Roman Inquisition) in 1600, and just ten years later Galileo published the first scientific work of astronomy based on observations made with a telescope: Sidereal Messenger (or Sidereal Message).  In that publication, Galileo reported that he was able to see many more stars with his telescope than what others had been able to observe with the naked eye. In 1750, the English astronomer and mathematician Thomas Wright published a book which suggested that observed faint nebulae indicate that the universe includes far distant galaxies.  By the end of the 19th century, astronomers were able to observe about 125 million stars using the telescopes available at that time. In 1920, there was the “Great Debate” in astronomy over whether the universe includes far distant galaxies beyond our own galaxy (as Thomas Wright had proposed back in 1750). In that debate the astronomer Heber Curtis argued that Andromeda and other  nebulae were separate galaxies. In 1925, the astronomer Edwin Hubble presented a scientific paper that provided powerful evidence supporting Curtis’ view that the universe included far distant galaxies.
So, we see that from the time of Giordano Bruno through the 1920’s scientific investigation of the universe has provided more and more evidence supporting cosmic pluralism. However, until fairly recently, we had no scientific proof that there were other planets in the universe outside of our own solar system.  Although astronomers and other scientists have long supposed that there were other planets in other solar systems (called “exoplanets”), scientific proof of this did not exist until near the end of the 20th century:
For centuries philosophers and scientists supposed that extrasolar planets existed, but there was no way of detecting them or of knowing their frequency or how similar they might be to the planets of the Solar System. Various detection claims made in the nineteenth century were rejected by astronomers. The first confirmed detection came in 1992, with the discovery of several terrestrial-mass planets orbiting the pulsar PSR B1257+12. The first confirmation of an exoplanet orbiting a main-sequence star was made in 1995, when a giant planet was found in a four-day orbit around the nearby star 51 Pegasi. Some exoplanets have been imaged directly by telescopes, but the vast majority have been detected through indirect methods such as the transit method and the radial-velocity method.  (from the Wikipedia article Exoplanet)
Many planets and planetary systems have been discovered in recent decades:
Over 3000 exoplanets have been discovered since 1988 (more specifically, 3412 planets in 2554 planetary systems, including 578 multiple planetary systems, have been confirmed, as of 23 May 2016).    (from the Wikipedia article Exoplanet)
So, we now know that Giordano Bruno’s view of the the universe was largely correct.  There are at least 100 billion planets in our galaxy, the Milky Way galaxy, and there might well be about 10 trillion planets in our galaxy.  If we use the lower estimate and assume this to be an average number for a galaxy, then the approximate number of planets in the observable universe is about the same as the number of stars:
200,000,000,000 galaxies  x  100,000,000,000 planets/galaxy =
 20,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 planets
Most of those planets are not hospitable places for plants and animals and humans, but even if only one-in-a-million planets was suitable for living creatures, that would mean that about this many planets would be suitable for life:
 20,000,000,000,000,000 planets
If there are anywhere near this number of planets that have conditions suitable for sustaining living creatures, then it is virtually certain that there are other planets in other solar systems in the universe that have living plants and animals on them, and it is highly probable that among those other planets in other solar systems that have living plants and animals, there are some intelligent animals that have developed language, mathematics, and knowledge about natural phenomena.  In other words, scientific investigation of the universe has shown that it is highly probable that cosmic pluralism is correct.
Giordano Bruno should not have been burned at the stake.  If anyone deserved to be burned at the stake, it was the shit-for-brains Christian leaders of the Roman Inquisition who should have been barbequed.  My thanks to Adamson for reminding us of the history of ignorant, dogmatic, and brutally oppressive Christian leaders in Europe by her failure to make any mention of Giordano Bruno or of cosmic pluralism, which constitute an obvious objection to her pathetic and intellectually worthless initial arguments for the existence of God.
 

bookmark_borderAdamson’s Cru[de] Arguments for God – Part 4

Campus Crusade for Christ sponsored a website called EveryStudent.com, a site that targets college students as its primary audience.  The director of the website is Marilyn Adamson.   Adamson wrote a key article for the website called “Is There a God?” which provides six reasons in support of the claim that God exists.   Adamson completely destroys her own credibility in the opening paragraphs of the article where she presents an obviously bad argument that constitutes the first of the six reasons.
A portion of Adamson’s first argument is presented in the opening paragraphs, and it can be summarized in two sentences:
(SJR) The size of the Earth is just right, so that the Earth can sustain plant, animal and human life.
(RDS) The Earth is the right distance from the Sun, so that the Earth can sustain plant, animal and human life.
One serious problem with Adamson’s arguments is that they are very sketchy and thus are unclear. Most of her argument for this first point is left unstated, which means that it is the readers of her article who must do all the heavy lifting.  The most obvious clue to her intentions comes in the following sentence from her presentation of the first argument (emphasis added by me):
Earth is the only known planet equipped with an atmosphere of the right mixture of gases to sustain plant, animal and human life.
Because of this clue, we can infer an important unstated premise of Adamson’s argument, which I will refer to as the Natural Improbability Thesis or NIT:
(NIT) Given our knowledge of the laws of nature, and of the general configuration of matter and energy in the universe, and of the natural processes involved in the development of stars and planets, it is IMPROBABLE that natural processes would lead to the formation of at least one planet with the right size and at the right distance from a sun that would make it capable of sustaining plant, animal and human life (if there was no God to guide, or intervene in, those natural processes).
This assumption suggests a contrast with the alternative view that there exists a God who could, and who probably would, guide, or intervene in, natural processes in order to bring about the formation of a planet capable of sustaining life.  This second key unstated premise of Adamson’s argument I will call the Divine Guidance Thesis or DGT:
(DGT) If God exists, then given our knowledge of the laws of nature, and of the general configuration of matter and energy in the universe, and of the natural processes involved in the development of stars and planets, it is PROBABLE that at least one planet would come to exist with the right size and at the right distance from a sun that would make it capable of sustaining plant, animal and human life, because if natural processes would not cause this to happen on their own, then God would probably guide, or intervene in, those natural processes to bring about the existence of such a planet.
If (NIT) and (DGT) are both true, then (SJR) and (RDS) would provide some evidence for the existence of God.  But if (NIT) is false (or dubious), then Adamson has failed to show that (SJR) and (RDS) constitute evidence for the existence of God.  And if (DGT) is false (or dubious), then Adamson has failed to show that (SJR) and (RDS) constitute evidence for the existence of God.
The main problem with (NIT) is that we know that the universe contains a fantastically huge number of stars and planets of various sizes and configurations, so it is a matter of common sense that some of the planets in the universe are bound to be of the right size and the right distance from a sun so that those planets would be suitable for sustaining plant, animal and human life.  Therefore, it is clear that (NIT) is false and that Adamson has failed to show that (SJR) and (RDS) constitute evidence for the existence of God.
Suppose, for the sake of argument, that I am wrong, and that (NIT) was actually true.  In that case Adamson’s argument would still be defective, because (DGT) is also problematic and dubious.  If (NIT) were true, and if God existed, then that would mean that God designed the universe in such a way that it would be IMPROBABLE for natural processes to bring about the existence of a planet that was the right size and the right distance from a sun to sustain plant, animal and human life.
But God is, by definition, all-knowing and all-powerful, so if God designed and created a universe with natural laws and processes that make it IMPROBABLE for a life-friendly planet to come into existence, then this is evidence that God did NOT want or intend for such a planet to come into existence, which implies that God did NOT want or intend for plants, animals, and humans to come into existence.  It does not make sense to believe that an all-knowing and all-powerful God would design and create a universe which contains natural laws and processes that are opposed to his basic intentions or purposes for the universe.
If an all-knowing and all-powerful person wanted to design and create a universe that would contain planets that can sustain plant, animal and human life, then we would reasonably expect that the natural laws, and the configuration of matter and energy in that universe, and the natural processes involved in the development of stars and planets in that universe would be such as to make it PROBABLE that some planets would develop that have the appropriate properties to sustain living creatures.  Thus, if (NIT) were in fact true, this would cast significant doubt on the truth of (DGT).
The problem of evil also casts significant doubt on (DGT).  In reality,  plants, animals, and humans face injury, disease, natural disasters, and death.  This has been the case on planet Earth for millions of years (at least for plants and non-human animals).   Contary to Christian fundamentalism, injury, disease, destruction, and death were realities before human beings arrived on the scene.  So, if there really was an Adam and Eve living in a garden on the Earth,  then injury, disease, disasters, and death were already a part of the history of this planet long before Adam and Eve existed.  Given these well-established facts, it is reasonable to infer that if an all-powerful and all-knowing person designed and created this universe, then it was the creator’s intention that plants, animals and human beings suffer from injuries, diseases, natural disasters, and death.
Adamson and other Christian believers would likely insist at this point that we ought not to rush into judgment about the intentions of the creator of the universe.  A person who is all-powerful and all-knowing has an understanding of reality that far exceeds the intelligence and grasp of human beings who have limited and finite minds.  God’s thoughts and ways are above and beyond human understanding, so although it appears that the Earth was designed to result in injuries, diseases, natural disasters, and death for plants, animals and humans, we cannot rely on our limited human intelligence to draw firm conclusions about the intentions of an all-powerful and all-knowing creator.
This common approach to the problem of evil, however, is a two-edged sword.  If skeptics cannot confidently conclude that the creator of the universe intended for plants, animals, and humans to suffer injuries, diseases, natural disasters, and death, because the thoughts and ways of God are above and beyond the reckoning of finite human minds, then religious believers also cannot confidently conclude that the creator of the universe intended for there to be some planets that have life-friendly properties, planets that are the right size and the right distance from a sun to sustain plant, animal and human life.  The minds of religious believers are just as finite and limited as the minds of skeptics, so they too cannot presume to understand God’s thoughts and intentions based upon the facts about how things actually are in this universe.
Furthermore, given that God is, by definition, all-powerful and all-knowing, there are more options available to God, if God exists, than just the option of bringing about a planet of the right size and right distance from a sun in order to have a planet filled with plants, animals and humans for an extended period of time.  God could have placed the Earth much closer to the Sun, and created a giant cooling system to remove the excess heat from the Earth.  Or, God could have placed the Earth much farther away from the Sun, and created a giant heating system to ensure that the surface of the Earth did not get too cold for plants, animals and humans to survive.
Or, God could have located the Earth closer to the Sun but designed plants, animals and human beings so that we could tolerate higher temperatures.  Or, God could have located the Earth farther away from the Sun but designed plants, animals and humans so that we could tolerate lower temperatures.
Also, since God is all-powerful, God could locate the Earth far away from the Sun but directly cause the atoms and molecules in the atmosphere and in the water of rivers, lakes, and oceans, to remain at a nice moderate temperature.  Being all-powerful means that God does not require any natural processes or mechanisms at all to accomplish this objective.  God could simply will that the temperature of the air around the Earth remain at 68 degrees fahrenheit, and it would do so, even if there were no giant heater, and no giant air conditioning system, even if there were no stars (suns) in the universe at all.
Another option for an all-powerful and all-knowing creator is that the Earth could have been placed much closer to the Sun, and the surface temperature of the Earth could have been much hotter, say 600 degrees fahrenheit, but God could directly cause the cells of plants, animals and humans to remain at constant moderate temperatures.  Human cells could remain at 99 degrees fahrenheit, for example, even if the air temperature was 600 degrees.  Being all-powerful means that God could simply will that all human cells remain at a temperature of 99 degrees, and that would be what happened.  God, being all-powerful, is not limited by the ordinary laws of nature.  Whatever God wants, God can have, period.
Because an all-powerful and all-knowing person is not limited to, or constrained by, the laws of nature or the natural processes that we observe in this universe, such a person has a wide variety of alternatives for acheiving the objective of having a planet with living creatures on it, where the creatures continue to live and to survive on the planet for an extended period of time.  Because God, if God exists, is such a person, God has many options available to acheive his aims and purposes, so that makes it difficult to predict HOW God will acheive his aims and purposes.
Thus, even if we could somehow KNOW that God wanted or intended the universe to have one or more planets filled with plants, animals and humans for an extended period of time,  we would still not be in a position to know HOW God would be likely to achieve that purpose.  Thus, we would not be able to know or predict that God would arrange for a planet to have the size and location of the planet Earth, even if we did know (which we don’t) that God’s purpose or intention was to bring about the existence of a planet with plants, animals, and humans that would live on the planet for an extended period of time.
Adamson’s unstated premise (DGT) is not as obviously false as (NIT).  However, there are a number of problems with (DGT) that make it a dubious assumption.  First, if (NIT) were true, that would be significant evidence against (DGT).  Second, the problem of evil raises questions about our ability to infer the purposes and intentions of God based on facts about how things actually are in this universe.  Third, since God is by definition all-powerful and all-knowing, God has many options and alternatives for HOW to acheive any given purpose or goal, so this makes it even more difficult to predict HOW God will achieve any particular purpose, including the purpose of bringing about a planet that is filled with plants, animals and humans that live on the planet for an extended period of time.
In conclusion, (NIT) is clearly false, so Adamson has failed to show that (SJR) and (RDS) constitute evidence for the existence of God.  Furthermore, Adamson’s other unstated premise (DGT) is dubious, so this is a second reason why Adamson has failed to show that (SJR) and (RDS) constitute evidence for the existence of God.

bookmark_borderMy Posts for 2015

My Blog Posts for 2015

FAITH (17 posts)

Jesus on Faith (6 posts)
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/01/06/jesus-on-faith/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/01/07/jesus-on-faith-part-2/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/01/08/jesus-on-faith-part-3/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/01/12/jesus-on-faith-part-4/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/01/22/jesus-on-faith-part-5/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/02/15/jesus-on-faith-part-6/
Leap of Faith & Lessing’s Ditch (2 posts)
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/01/31/a-leap-of-faith/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/02/16/lessings-broad-ditch-and-brads-lesser-ditch/
What is Faith? (9 posts)
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/04/05/what-is-faith-part-1/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/04/08/what-is-faith-part-2/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/04/09/what-is-faith-part-3/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/04/15/what-is-faith-part-4/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/04/17/what-is-faith-part-5/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/04/20/what-is-faith-part-6/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/04/28/what-is-faith-part-7/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/05/20/what-is-faith-part-8/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/05/25/what-is-faith-part-9/

THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS (31 posts) – see also: WILLIAM LANE CRAIG

The Logic of the Resurrection (7 posts)
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/05/03/the-logic-of-the-resurrection-part-1/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/05/08/the-logic-of-the-resurrection-part-2/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/05/13/the-logic-of-the-resurrection-part-3/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/05/17/the-logic-of-the-resurrection-part-4/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/05/24/the-logic-of-the-resurrection-part-5/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/05/24/the-logic-of-the-resurrection-index/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/05/29/the-logic-of-the-resurrection-part-6/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/06/07/the-logic-of-the-resurrection-part-7/
Jesus: True Prophet or False Prophet? (5 posts)
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/06/11/jesus-true-prophet-or-false-prophet-part-1/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/06/23/jesus-true-prophet-or-false-prophet-part-2/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/06/27/jesus-true-prophet-or-false-prophet-part-3/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/07/13/jesus-true-prophet-or-false-prophet-response-to-eugene/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/07/30/jesus-true-prophet-or-false-prophet-response-to-eugene-part-2/
The Slaughter of the Canaanites – related to whether Jesus is a true prophet (15 posts)
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/08/06/the-slaughter-of-the-canaanites-part-1/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/08/07/the-slaughter-of-the-canaanites-part-2/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/08/09/the-slaughter-of-the-canaanites-part-3/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/08/11/the-slaughter-of-the-canaanites-part-4/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/08/12/the-slaughter-of-the-canaanites-part-5/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/08/15/the-slaughter-of-the-canaanites-part-6/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/08/24/the-slaughter-of-the-canaanites-part-7/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/08/26/the-slaughter-of-the-canaanites-part-8/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/08/27/the-slaughter-of-the-canaanites-summary-of-objections/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/08/29/the-slaughter-of-the-canaanites-part-9/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/09/02/the-slaughter-of-the-canaanites-part-10/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/09/29/the-slaughter-of-the-canaanites-principles-of-justice/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/10/03/the-slaughter-of-the-canaanites-the-grand-inquisitor-jones/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/10/18/the-slaughter-of-the-canaanites-the-grand-inquisitor-jones-part-2/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/10/28/the-slaughter-of-the-canaanites-the-grand-inquisitor-jones-part-3/
In Defense of Dwindling Probability (4 posts)
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/11/26/in-defense-of-dwindling-probability/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/11/28/in-defense-of-dwindling-probability-part-2/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/12/07/in-defense-of-dwindling-probability-part-3/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/12/19/in-defense-of-dwindling-probability-part-4/

WILLIAM LANE CRAIG (23 posts in 2015 + 1 from 2016)

Happy Easter Dr. Craig (1 post)
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/04/03/happy-easter-dr-craig/
William Lane Craig: 36 Years of Equivocation – the Kalam Cosmological Argument (4 posts)
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/09/16/william-lane-craig-36-years-of-equivocation/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/09/17/william-lane-craig-36-years-of-equivocation-part-2/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/09/18/william-lane-craig-36-years-of-equivocation-part-3/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/09/20/william-lane-craig-36-years-of-equivocation-part-4/
What is the Conclusion of the Kalam Cosmological Argument? (5 posts)
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/09/22/what-is-the-conclusion-of-the-kalam-cosmological-argument/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/09/23/what-is-the-conclusion-of-the-kalam-cosmological-argument-part-2/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/09/26/what-is-the-conclusion-of-the-kalam-cosmological-argument-part-3/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/09/28/what-is-the-conclusion-of-the-kalam-cosmological-argument-part4/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/10/23/what-is-the-conclusion-of-the-kalam-cosmological-argument-part5/
William Craig’s Response to My Objections on the Resurrection (13 posts in 2015 + 1 in 2016)
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/10/29/william-craigs-response-to-my-objections-on-the-resurrection/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/10/30/response-to-dr-william-lane-craig-part-1/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/11/04/response-to-dr-william-lane-craig-part-2/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/11/04/note-to-dr-william-lane-craig/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/11/12/response-to-william-lane-craig-part-3/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/11/14/response-to-william-lane-craig-part-4/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/11/14/response-to-william-lane-craig-part-4/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/11/19/response-to-william-lane-craig-part-5/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/11/20/response-to-william-lane-craig-index/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/11/21/response-to-william-lane-craig-part-6/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/11/25/response-to-william-lane-craig-part-7/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/12/12/response-to-william-lane-craig-part-8/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/12/22/response-to-william-lane-craig-part-9/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2016/01/03/response-to-william-lane-craig-part-10/

RICHARD SWINBURNE (7 posts in 2015 + 1 in 2014)

The Argument from Providence
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/02/18/evolution-vs-the-argument-from-providence/
The Argument from Religious Experience
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2014/10/20/swinburnes-argument-from-religious-experience-part-1/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/02/28/swinburnes-argument-from-religious-experience-part-2/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/03/08/swinburnes-argument-from-religious-experience-part-3/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/03/15/swinburnes-argument-from-religious-experience-part-4/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/03/20/swinburnes-argument-from-religious-experience-part-5/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/03/29/religious-experience-recognizing-god/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/04/02/swinburnes-argument-from-religious-experience-part-6/

OTHER TOPICS (14 posts in 2015 + 1 from 2016)

The Boy Who Did Not Come Back from Heaven
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/01/17/the-boy-who-did-not-come-back-from-heaven/
100 Key Psychological Studies Repeated
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/08/28/100-key-psychology-studies-repeated/
Farewell to Dr. Richard Paul
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/09/08/farewell-to-dr-richard-paul/
What is Atheism?
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/10/02/what-is-atheism/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/10/16/what-is-atheism-part-2/
What is Philosophy?
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/10/05/what-is-philosophy-part-1/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/10/26/what-is-philosophy-part-2/
How Many Ways to Analyze the Word ‘God’? (over 2 billion ways)
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/10/24/how-many-ways-to-analyze-the-word-god-part-7/
Ben Carson: Nutcase
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/10/28/religious-nut-case-elected-president-of-the-usa/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/11/05/religious-nutcase-elected-president-of-the-usa-part-2/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2016/01/06/ben-carson-is-also-a-political-nutcase-part-1/
Republican Candidates Kiss the Ring of Kevin Swanson at Kill-the-Gays Conference
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/11/15/huckabee-cruz-and-jindal-kiss-the-ring-of-religious-nutcase-kevin-swanson/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/11/19/silence-from-the-three-nazi-i-mean-gop-presidential-candidates/
Trump: Make America Hate Again
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/12/09/trump-make-america-hate-again/
https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2015/12/10/trump-his-bigotry-hate-is-not-welcome-in-the-u-k/