bookmark_borderWhen Are Appeals to Human Ignorance a Legitimate Defeater of an Evidential Argument?

(A1) Evidential arguments from ‘evil’ say: known facts about the types, quantity, and distribution of good and evil are much more probable on naturalism than on theism.
(O1) Critics of evidential arguments from evil say: we don’t know that. We have far too limited an understanding of the interconnectedness of things to make such a judgment with confidence. On the assumption that theism is true (and there exists a morally perfect and omniscient being), there could easily be reasons, way beyond our understanding, why such a being would allow the facts about good and evil to obtain.
(A2) Evidential arguments from cosmic ‘fine-tuning’ say: the life permitting conditions of our universe are much more probable on theism than on naturalism.
(O2) Critics of such arguments say: we don’t know that. We have far too limited an understanding of the early universe, the total mass-energy of the universe, quantum gravity, etc. to make such judgments with confidence. (Cosmology is a very young discipline and there is much we still don’t know. For example, 95.1% of the total mass-energy of the universe is mysterious, composed of either ‘dark energy’ (68.3%) or ‘dark matter’ (26.8%).) On the assumption that naturalism, a/k/a source physicalism, is true (and there was no one around at the earliest stages of the universe’s history to make physical observations), there could easily be mechanistic explanations, way beyond our understanding, why our universe is life-permitting.
I’ve never understood why most proponents of (A2) seem to think (O1) is a good defeater of (A1) while not simultaneously thinking (O2) is a good defeater of (A2).

bookmark_borderProblems With TASO: Part 1

INTRO TO TASO
For several years, I have been working on an article about Richard Swinburne’s case for God. I’m currently revising the section of that article dealing with the third argument in Swinburne’s case: TASO (the Teleological Argument from Spatial Order).
In working on that section of the article, I noticed that my favorite objection to TASO was missing from that section. I have spelled out this objection a few times in posts and comments here at The Secular Outpost, but it never made it into my article, for some reason.
So, I began to work that objection into my article, and to do so, I needed to identify exactly which premise of Swinburne’s argument my objection was targeting. In identifying the specific premise that my objection was challenging, I discovered that the premise was fundamental to Swinburne’s entire case. Every one of Swinburne’s arguments for God in his book The Existence of God, 2nd edition (hereafter: EOG) relies on this same premise.  So, my favorite objection against TASO turns out to be an objection that applies to every argument that Swinburne presents in his case for God.
I will now lay out TASO, Swinburne’s critical argument about TASO, and my objections to Swinburne’s critical argument.  I will also explain why my favorite objection to TASO applies to every argument that Swinburne makes in support of the correctness of his various inductive arguments for the existence of God.  This will take two or three posts to accomplish.
TASO can be stated succinctly:
Teleological Argument from Spatial Order

(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.

THEREFORE:

(g) God exists.

This is not a deductively valid argument for the existence of God.  But it is not supposed to be.  Swinburne argues that there are NO sound deductive arguments for the existence of God, and that the question of the existence of God must be determined on the basis of inductive arguments, on the basis of factual evidences that either tend to confirm or disconfirm the hypothesis that “God exists”.  According to Swinburne, the above argument is a good inductive argument for the existence of God; it does not prove that God exists, but it does provide some confirmation of the existence of God.
More specifically, this argument adds to, or increases the probability of the hypothesis that “God exists” relative to the factual evidence presented in the first two inductive arguments in Swinburne’s case for God.  Swinburne’s method is to add one piece of factual evidence at a time, and slowly increase the probability of the hypothesis that “God exists” until he reaches the tipping point, until he can conclude that the existence of God is more probable than not,  until he shows that the claim “God exists” has a probability that is greater than .50.
Although Swinburne rejects the traditional approach of using deductive arguments to try to PROVE the existence of God, his reasoning ABOUT various inductive arguments for God consists almost exclusively of deductive reasoning.  That is, the arguments that Swinburne presents at length in EOG are critical arguments,  arguments that are about other arguments.  Swinburne’s critical arguments, which are about various inductive arguments for God, are themselves deductive arguments, and this is definitely the case with his critical argument concerning TASO.  Swinburne’s critical argument in support of the correctness of TASO is more complex than TASO, and it is a deductive argument:
Critical Argument for the Correctness of TASO

1. An argument X is a correct C-inductive argument IF AND ONLY IF: (a) the premises of X are known to be true by those who dispute about the conclusion of X,  AND (b) the premises of X make the conclusion of X more likely or more probable than it would otherwise be.

2. The premises of the argument TASO are known to be true by those who dispute about the conclusion of TASO.

3. The premises of the argument TASO make the conclusion of TASO more likely or more probable than it would otherwise be.

THEREFORE:

4. The argument TASO is a correct C-inductive argument.

Swinburne lays out his analysis of what constitutes a “correct C-inductive argument” in the very first chapter of The Existence of God, called “Inductive Arguments” (see EOG, p.6 & 7).  Although Swinburne does not generally spell out a critical argument like this for all of his inductive arguments for God, reasoning of this form is implied whenever Swinburne asserts that one of his inductive arguments for God is a correct inductive argument.
Each of the three premises of the above critical argument is questionable.  I have at least one objection against each premise.
 
OBJECTION TO PREMISE (2)
TASO is the third argument in Swinburne’s case for God.  The first argument in his case is an inductive cosmological argument that is based on this premise:
(e1) There is a complex physical universe.
Although the term “complex” is a bit vague, this premise seems undeniably true, so it makes sense to say of (e1) that it is “known to be true by those who dispute about” the existence of God.  This is a solid factual claim to use in an argument for God.
The second argument in Swinburne’s case is also based on a premise that seems to be clearly and obviously true:
(e2) There is a complex physical universe which is governed by simple natural laws.
Again, the word “simple” is a bit vague, but this is a solid factual claim to use in an argument for God, so it makes sense to say that (e2) is “known to be true by those who dispute about” the existence of God.
But when we come to the third argument, TASO, 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.
First of all, it is not obviously true that human bodies evolved in our universe.  I firmly believe that human bodies evolved in this universe, and there is a great deal of evidence that supports the this hypothesis, leaving little room for doubt, but one needs to be exposed to a fair amount of scientific data and information and knowledge to be in a position to come to KNOW that human bodies evolved in this universe.  One needs to learn about sexual reproduction, and genetics, geology and fossils, and about different kinds of plant and animal life (bacteria, plants, fish, reptiles, amphibians, mammals, primates, etc.).
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.
The inference from “X actually occurred” to the conclusion that “the universe was structured in such a way that made it probable that X would occur” would only make sense if one assumed the truth of determinism, only if one assumes that given the initial conditions of our universe and given the specific laws of nature in our universe, that every event in the history of the universe from the point of the Big Bang onward, was completely determined or fated to happen exactly the way it does happen.  On that view, every event (after the Big Bang) that occurs MUST have occurred, and that the initial conditions and laws of the universe made it CERTAIN that every event (after the Big Bang) would happen exactly the way they do in fact happen.  But this sort of rigid and extreme determinism is no longer in vogue.  Few scientists (if any) hold this sort of view these days.
The fact that human bodies have evolved in this universe is clearly NOT sufficient evidence to conclude that the structure of this universe made this event probable.  Furthermore, there does not appear to be any other easy and obvious way to arrive at this conclusion; there is no easy and obvious way to come to KNOW that (e3) is true.
Perhaps (e3) is true, but coming to know that (e3) is true would require not only learning most of the relevant scientific information and concepts that support the claim that human bodies evolved in this universe, but also a good deal of additional information and reasoning that would be needed to show that the initial conditions and laws of this universe were such as to make it probable that human bodies would evolve.
The Fine Tuning argument illustrates the complex sort of evidence and reasoning required here, but the argument from Fine Tuning aims only to show that the universe is structured in such a way as to make evolution of living creatures PHYSICALLY POSSIBLE.  It is a much taller order to argue that the structure of the universe is such that it made the evolution of human bodies PROBABLE.
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.
 
OBJECTION TO PREMISE (3)
Swinburne’s primary emphasis is on presenting a line of reasoning in support of premise (3).  One key premise in his argument supporting (3) is the following premise (see EOG, p.189):
8. It is quite probable that (e3) is the case given that there is a God and a complex physical universe governed by simple natural laws.
If premise (8) is false or questionable, then Swinburne has failed to show (3) to be true, thus leaving the truth of (3) in doubt.
Premise (8) seems to me to be FALSE.  From my point of view, it is 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 instant 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.  So, it seems to me that premise (8) has it completely backwards.  It is highly IMPROBABLE that (e3) would be the case, if God existed.  Premise (8) is FALSE, and so Swinburne has failed to provide us with a good reason to believe (3) to be true.  Therefore, premise (3) remains doubtful.
 
OBJECTION TO PREMISE (1)
I have recently learned that my favorite objection to TASO is an objection to premise (1).  I will present my favorite objection to TASO in Part 2 of this series of posts on TASO.

bookmark_border2017 in the Rearview Mirror

I had hoped to answer the question “Does God exist?” in 2017, at least to my own satisfaction.  No such luck.  That was a bit too aggressive of a goal.   However, I did make some good progress.  I learned that Norman Geisler’s case for God (in When Skeptics Ask) is a steaming pile of dog crap, and I learned that at least half of Peter Kreeft’s case for God (in Handbook of Christian Apologetics) is of a similar quality.
I also began to examine a third case for God by a third Thomist philosopher of religion:  Edward Feser (in Five Proofs of the Existence of God).  Feser’s case is much more extensive than either Geisler’s case or Kreeft’s case.  However, much of Feser’s case depends on the success of the first of his five arguments for God, and I am learning that Feser’s first argument suffers from serious problems of unclarity,  which was my main objection to every one of Geisler’s arguments and to most of the arguments of Kreeft (in the half of his case I have evaluated).  You would think that after more than seven centuries of intellectual effort somebody would be able to state a Thomistic argument for the existence of God with significant clarity and force, but Feser appears to have failed at this task, just as Geisler and Kreeft failed, even though Feser makes a much better effort at this than they have.
In 2017, my project of analyzing and evaluating Swinburne’s case for God has also moved forward significantly.  I am about 2/3 of the way through a revision of my initial draft article about Swinburne’s case for God.  Currently,  I’m revising a section on his Teleological Argument from Spacial Order (TASO), which is Swinburne’s modern inductive version of the classical argument from design.  The dozen pages or so that I have written on this particular argument are some of the best stuff I’ve ever written on the question of the existence of God (although I am mostly presenting Swinburne’s views and only add a couple of critical points of my own).
I plan to continue to work on analysis and evaluation of Kreeft’s case for God this year, and on analysis and evaluation of Feser’s case for God, and I hope to finally complete my article on Swinburne’s case for God, and submit it for publication.   Ideally, I will also find time for analysis and evaluation of William Craig’s case for God, and one or two other cases for God.  If so, then there is a good chance that in December of this year,  I will be in a good position to answer the question “Does God exist?”

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_borderThe VICTIMs of Christian Apologetics

My latest video, “The VICTIMs of Christian Apologetics: The Things Apologists Falsely Say Depend on God, But, if God Exists, God Depends on Them,” is now available on YouTube. It is a narration of some of the many hundreds of PowerPoint slides I created in preparation for my recent debate with Frank Turek on naturalism vs. theism.

This video presentation is a (roughly) 2 hour 30 minute critique of Frank Turek’s latest book, Stealing from God: Why Atheists Need God to Make Their Case. Turek accuses atheists of stealing from God in order to argue against God. How do atheists steal from God when arguing against God’s existence? According to Turek, this is summed up by the acrostic CRIMES (Causality, Reason, Information and Intentionality, Morality, Evil, and Science). So his argument is that atheists must assume each of those things, but each of those things in turn presuppose God’s existence.
For each letter in CRIMES, atheism can steal these concepts from God if and only if: (a) atheism is logically incompatible with the concept represented by that letter; and (b) positing an all-powerful God explains that concept, not just assumes it. But as I will explain, each letter in CRIMES fails one or both conditions.
Now, since repeatedly accusing an innocent person of a crime harms the accused, I’m going to frame my response as an acrostic of my own: VICTIM (Value, Induction, Causality, Time, Information and Intentionality, and Morality). Instead of talking about crimes, what we instead need to talk about are the VICTIMs of Christian apologetics. The VICTIMs of Christian apologetics are things which Christian apologists falsely claim depend on God, but the truth is that God depends on them.
Since the video is quite long and detailed, the following serves as a handy index:
Counter Apologist went through the effort to list the topics covered and give time-stamps/links for each topic which you can find below:

HT: Counter-Apologist for creating the index

bookmark_borderAdamson’s Cru[de] Arguments for God – Part 7

There are more pathetic arguments given by Marilyn Adamson in the section of her web article that she characterizes as her first reason (out of six) for believing that God exists:

The complexity of our planet points to a deliberate Designer who not only created our universe, but sustains it today.

 After her crappy argument based on the size of the Earth and it’s distance from the Sun, she gives another crappy argument based on the properties of water:
Water…colorless, odorless and without taste, and yet no living thing can survive without it. Plants, animals and human beings consist mostly of water (about two-thirds of the human body is water). You’ll see why the characteristics of water are uniquely suited to life:
It has wide margin between its boiling point and freezing point. Water allows us to live in an environment of fluctuating temperature changes, while keeping our bodies a steady 98.6 degrees.
Water is a universal solvent. This property of water means that various chemicals, minerals and nutrients can be carried throughout our bodies and into the smallest blood vessels.
Water is also chemically neutral. Without affecting the makeup of the substances it carries, water enables food, medicines and minerals to be absorbed and used by the body.
Water has a unique surface tension. Water in plants can therefore flow upward against gravity, bringing life-giving water and nutrients to the top of even the tallest trees.
Water freezes from the top down and floats, so fish can live in the winter.
Adamson not only fails to explain how these properties of water are supposed to provide evidence for the existence of God, she also fails to give any clues as to why they might be considered evidence for God.
Given the absence of any explantion by Adamson, one might reasonably impose the logic of her first argument concerning the size and position of the Earth on this second argument about the life-sustaining properties of water.  To parallel Adamson’s reasoning about the Earth, we need a premise that asserts the Natural Improbability Thesis about Water:
(NIT-W) 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 material substances, it is IMPROBABLE that natural processes would lead to the formation of a substance that possesses all of the various life-sustaining properties of water.
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 substance that possesses all of the various life-sustaining properties of water. This second key unstated premise of Adamson’s argument I will call the  Divine Guidance Thesis about Water:
(DGT-W) 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 material substances, it is PROBABLE that at least one substance comes to exist with all of the various life-sustaining properties of water, 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 substance.
If (NIT-W) and (DGT-W) are both true, then the existence of water with it’s various life-sustaining properties would provide some evidence for the existence of God. But if (NIT-W) is false (or dubious), then Adamson has failed to show that the existence of water constitutes evidence for the existence of God. And if (DGT-W) is false (or dubious), then Adamson has failed to show that the existence of water constitutes evidence for the existence of God.
It is clear and obvious that (NIT-W) is false. 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 material substances, it is actually PROBABLE that natural processes would lead to the formation of a substance that possesses all of the various life-sustaining properties of water.  Water is H2O, and the various life-sustaining properties of water are the results of the laws of physics and chemistry.  If you have matter consisting of electrons and neutrons and protons, and if those components of matter interact in accordance with the laws of physics and chemistry that we know about, then they can form hydrogen and oxygen, and hydrogen and oxygen can combine to form H2O, and this substance, which we call “water” will necessarily have all of the life-sustaining properties that Adamson mentions.
In other words, given the laws of nature that we know about, and given the general configuration of matter and energy in the universe, there is nothing improbable about the existence of water and its various life-sustaining properties.  So, (NIT-W) is false.
One could try to rescue Adamson’s argument from water by shifting the argument away from one about divine intervention in natural processes to an argument from fine-tuning.  If we think of God as a supreme engineer, then we can argue that the existence of water and it’s life-sustaining properties are to be expected given the laws of nature and the general configuration of matter and energy in the universe, because God would have designed the laws of nature and the general configuration of matter and energy so that it was PROBABLE that water would be produced by the natural processes that bring about the existence of various material substances.  Nature produced water because God designed natural laws and matter in such a way that natural processes would be likely to produce water, among other material substances.
Such an argument would not be as obviously bad as one based on (NIT-W).  However, Adamson provides absolutely NO REASON whatsover to think that alternative laws of nature and alternative configurations of matter and energy in the universe would probably fail to produce a substance with the various life-sustaining properties of water.  So, if Adamson intends to be giving a fine-tuning type of argument here, she has utterly failed to provide any rational support for the key premise of this argument.
Furthermore, it is difficult to imagine how such an argument could be made.  How can we determine what are all of the various alternative systems of natural laws that could have existed?  This seems like it would be an infinite set of alternatives, and a subset of these alternatives would be an infinite number of alternative sets of highly complex systems of natural laws that would be too complex for any human being to comprehend in one lifetime (even if those laws were all clearly written out in English and mathematical formulas in a massive encyclopedia).   Also, how can we determine whether or not some hypothetical-imaginary-alternative set of natural laws would be likely to produce a substance with the life-sustaining properties of water?
Finally, even if we could somehow overcome these daunting intellectual challenges, what about the possibility that an alternative set of laws of nature and configuration of matter and energy could produce a substance with several life-sustaining properties, but a set of properties somewhat different from those of water?  In other words, even if an alternative system of laws and configuration of matter and energy failed to produce water, it might well produce a substance that was just as good, or even better than, water in terms of sustaining life.  But that would invalidate the results of the previously described investigation into alternative sets of laws of nature, and would add a whole new layer of complexity to the already daunting intellectual challenge.
If Adamson’s argument is based on the natural improbability of water, then a key premise of her argument is clearly false.  On the other hand, if Adamson’s argument was intended to be based on the natural probability of water (i.e. a fine-tuning argument), then she has a very serious intellectual challenge (i.e. a huge burden of proof) in order to show that alternative systems of laws of nature and alternative configurations of matter and energy would be unlikely to produce water (or some other substances with equally impressive life-sustaining properties), a very serious intellectual challenge that she has made ZERO intellectual effort to meet.  In short, either a key premise of her argument is false, or else a key premise of her argument is very dubious and without any rational support.

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_borderWilliam Lane Craig Admits that His Fine-Tuning Argument is Based Upon Speculation

In my last post, I reported that WLC has reached the same conclusion I have regarding the scale of the universe as evidence against theism. After re-reading his article, I realized I missed an even more important announcement. Although he would deny it, in the same article he also admits that his fine-tuning argument is based upon speculation. Here’s the money quote:

Indeed, once we launch into speculating about universes operating according to different laws of nature, then we have completely lost our tether and have no idea whether such worlds would be preferable to a world like ours, especially in realizing God’s redemptive purposes for creatures created in His image. (boldface mine)

Craig argues we have no idea whether God would prefer such speculative universes to our actual universe, but he misses the fact that precisely the same point about “speculating about universes” also defeats an implied premise of his cosmic fine-tuning argument. That argument crucially depends upon an implied premise about the ratio of the number of (hypothetical) life-permitting universes to the number of (hypothetical) life-prohibiting universes. But, for the very reason Craig just gave, any estimates of such ratios are based upon pure speculation.
Indeed, this is pretty much the same point made by physicist Sean Carroll in his debate with Craig:

First, I am by no means convinced that there is a fine-tuning problem and, again, Dr. Craig offered no evidence for it. It is certainly true that if you change the parameters of nature our local conditions that we observe around us would change by a lot. I grant that quickly. I do not grant therefore life could not exist. I will start granting that once someone tells me the conditions under which life can exist. What is the definition of life, for example? If it’s just information processing, thinking or something like that, there’s a huge panoply of possibilities. They sound very “science fiction-y” but then again you’re the one who is changing the parameters of the universe. The results are going to sound like they come from a science fiction novel. Sadly, we just don’t know whether life could exist if the conditions of our universe were very different because we only see the universe that we see.

So, once again, we are beginning to see smalls signs of progress in Craig’s positions. 🙂

bookmark_borderAdamson’s Cru[de] Arguments for God – Part 5

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 western 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.  In his Almanack of 1749, Benjamin Franklin wrote:
It is the opionion of all the modern philosophers and mathematicians, that the planets are all habitable worlds.  If so, what sort of constitutions must those people have who live on the planet Mercury? where, says Sir Isaac Newton, the heat of the sun is seven times as great as it is with us; and would make our water boil away.  (III, p.345)  
(quoted in The Extraterrestrial Life Debate, 1750-1900, by Michael Crowe, p.108)
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, at this point, 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.
It is true that Bruno was not a scientist; however, it is quite possible that he was influenced to adopt cosmic pluralism and the view that the universe was infinite by the English mathematician and astronomer Thomas Digges:
Bruno is often credited with recognizing that the Copernican system allowed an infinite Universe. In truth, the idea that a heliocentric description of the solar system allowed (or at least did not rule out) an infinite Universe was first proposed by Thomas Digges in 1576 in his A Perfit Description of the Caelestial Orbes, in which Digges both presents and extends the Copernican system, suggesting that the Universe was infinite. Nor is the idea of an infinite heavens original to Digges, as there are numerous historical antecedents, specifically Nicholas of Cusa in the 15th Century and atomist Lucretius in the 1st century BC (both of whom Bruno reference, if not always consistently). Bruno’s two works most fully expounding his views of the universe, The Ash Wednesday Supper and On the Infinite Universe and Worlds, were published in 1584, 8 years after Digges, and during the period of Bruno’s exile in England. While we have no record of Digges and Bruno having met, Digges’ work was widely discussed and Bruno would likely have come into contact with the ideas if not the man himself as he spent time within the intellectual circle of Elizabethan England.
(from: “The Folly of Giordano Bruno”, by Richard W. Pogge)
So, the idea of cosmic pluralism might well have come to Bruno from the reflections of the mathematician and astronomer Thomas Digges on Copernicus’s heliocentric theory.
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:
Galileo reported that he saw at least ten times more stars through the telescope than are visible to the naked eye, and he published star charts of the belt of Orion and the star cluster Pleiades showing some of the newly observed stars. With the naked eye observers could see only six stars in the Taurus constellation; through his telescope, however, Galileo was capable of seeing thirty-five – almost six times as many. When he turned his telescope on Orion, he was capable of seeing eighty stars, rather than the previously observed nine – almost nine times more. … Also, when he observed some of the “nebulous” stars in the Ptolemaic star catalogue, he saw that rather than being cloudy, they were made of many small stars. From this he deduced that the nebulae and the Milky Way were “congeries of innumerable stars grouped together in clusters” too small and distant to be resolved into individual stars by the naked eye.  
(from Wikipedia article “Sidereus Nuncius”)
Galileo’s observations did not prove that the universe was infinite or filled with billions of planets orbiting around billions of stars, but they did show that there were many more stars than what had previously been thought, and that there might well be “innumerable stars” in the nebulae and the Milky Way.  So, Galileo provided emprical evidence that was supportive of Bruno’s view of the universe.
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:
Wright is best known for his publication An original theory or new hypothesis of the Universe(1750), in which he explains the appearance of the Milky Way as “an optical effect due to our immersion in what locally approximates to a flat layer of stars.” This idea was taken up and elaborated by Immanuel Kant in his Universal Natural History and Theory of Heaven.  Another of Thomas Wright’s ideas, which is also often attributed to Kant, was that many faint nebulae are actually incredibly distant galaxies. (from Wikipedia article “Thomas Wright”)
Wright also suggested that the Milky Way galaxy “might be a rotating body of a huge number of stars held together by gravitational forces, akin to the Solar System but on a much larger scale.” (from Wikipedia article “Galaxy”).
As astronomy continued to advance, the population of the universe continued to grow:
Toward the end of the 18th century, Charles Messier compiled a catalog containing the 109 brightest celestial objects having nebulous appearance. Subsequently, William Herschel assembled a catalog of 5,000 nebulae.
(from Wikipedia article “Galaxy”).
I found a copy of an astronomy textbook published near the end of the 19th century, and it gives an estimate of the number of stars that were observable at that time with the telescopes that were then available:
Number of the Stars. –Besides twenty stars of the first magnitude, not only are there nearly six thousand of lesser magnitude visible to the naked eye, likewise many hundreds of thousands visible in telescopes of medium size, but also millions of stars revealed by the largest telescopes. …
… But in order to discern all the uncounted millions of yet fainter stars, we need the largest instruments, like the Lick and the Yerkes telescopes. Their approximate number has been ascertained not by actual count, but by estimates based on counts of typical areas scattered in different parts of the heavens. The number of stars within reach of our present telescopes perhaps exceeds 125 millions. … (A New Astronomy, p. 368-369, by David Todd, M.A., PH.D. Professor of Astronomy and Navigation and Director of the Observatory, Amherst College. Copyright, 1897 and 1906.)
So, at the beginning of the 20th century, astronomers were able to observe over 100 million stars by means of modern telescopes.  This did not show that the universe was infinite like Bruno had claimed, but scientific astronomy had established that there was an incredible number of stars in the universe, thus providing significant empirical support for cosmic pluralism.
In 1920, there was the “Great Debate” in astronomy over whether the universe includes far distant galaxies beyond out own galaxy (as Thomas Wright had proposed back in 1750):
In astronomy, the Great Debate, also called the Shapley–Curtis Debate, was an influential debate between the astronomers Harlow Shapley and Heber Curtis which concerned the nature of so-called spiral nebulae and the size of the universe. The basic issue under debate was whether distant nebulae were relatively small and lay within the outskirts of our home galaxy or whether they were in fact independent galaxies, implying that they were exceedingly large and distant. The debate took place on 26 April 1920, in the Baird auditorium of the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.  …
Shapley was arguing in favor of the Milky Way as the entirety of the universe. He believed that “spiral nebulae” such as Andromeda were simply part of the Milky Way. He could back up this claim by citing relative sizes—if Andromeda were not part of the Milky Way, then its distance must have been on the order of 10light years—a span most astronomers would not accept. …
Curtis on the other side contended that Andromeda and other such “nebulae” were separate galaxies, or “island universes” (a term invented by the 18th-century philosopher Immanuel Kant, who also believed that the “spiral nebulae” were extragalactic). He showed that there were more novae in Andromeda than in the Milky Way. From this he could ask why there were more novae in one small section of the galaxy than the other sections of the galaxy, if Andromeda was not a separate galaxy but simply a nebula within our galaxy. …
(from the Wikipedia article “Great Debate (astronomy)”)
In 1925, the astronomer Edwin Hubble presented a scientific paper that provided powerful evidence supporting Curtis’ view that the universe included far distant galaxies:
Due to the work of Edwin Hubble, it is now known that the Milky Way is only one of as many as an estimated 200 billion galaxies in the observable universe, proving Curtis the more accurate party in the debate.  
(from the Wikipedia article “Great Debate (astronomy)”)
Edwin Hubble’s arrival at Mount Wilson Observatory, California in 1919 coincided roughly with the completion of the 100-inch (2.5 m) Hooker Telescope, then the world’s largest. At that time, the prevailing view of the cosmos was that the universe consisted entirely of the Milky Way Galaxy. Using the Hooker Telescope at Mt. Wilson, Hubble identified Cepheid variables (a kind of star that is used as a means to determine the distance from the galaxy… in several spiral nebulae, including the Andromeda Nebula and Triangulum. His observations, made in 1922–1923, proved conclusively that these nebulae were much too distant to be part of the Milky Way and were, in fact, entire galaxies outside our own, suspected by researchers at least as early as 1755 when Immanuel Kant’s General History of Nature and Theory of the Heavens appeared. This idea had been opposed by many in the astronomy establishment of the time, in particular by the Harvard University-based Harlow Shapley. Despite the opposition, Hubble, then a thirty-five-year-old scientist, had his findings first published in The New York Times on November 23, 1924, and then more formally presented in the form of a paper at the January 1, 1925 meeting of the American Astronomical Society.
(from the Wikipedia article “Edwin Hubble”)
Thus, in the 1920s the astronomers Heber Curtis and Edwin Hubble showed us that the universe was much larger than most other astronomers supposed and that the universe contained a fantastically huge number of stars, well beyond the 125 million stars that were observable at the beginning of the 20th century.
To be continued…

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.