While the recent smack down between Bill Nye and Ken Ham grabbed all the headlines, the scientific community was far more captivated by a debate featuring physicist Sean Carroll and theologian William Lane Craig that explored the existence of God in light of contemporary cosmology.
Carroll is a physicist at CalTech and the author of From Eternity to Here: The Search for the Ultimate Theory of Time. Craig is a Christian theologian and philosopher, and regarded as one of the most formidable debaters in the country.
Craig's main arguments rested upon the premises that: (1) the universe must be caused, and the cause is God and (2) the parameters of the universe appear designed for the existence of life. Carroll responded that the notion of a "cause" isn't part of an appropriate vocabulary to use for discussing fundamental physics. Rather, modern physical models take the form of unbreakable patterns — laws of Nature — that persist without any external causes.
A focal point of Carroll's concluding argument was, "Which worldview predicts best?" He went on to contrast the predictive success of theism vs. naturalism:
- Theism predicts that God's existence would be obvious (in fact, the evidence is poor, and faith is not only required but celebrated)
- Theism predicts that religious belief should be universal; there should be just a single, correct religion (in fact, we have thousands of denominations within just Christianity, plus many thousand more other religions)
- Theism predicts that religious doctrines would be permanent (in fact, they evolve and adapt to social conditions)
- Theism predicts that moral teachings would be transcendent and progressive (in fact, Western society rejected slavery and embraced civil rights in spite of Christianity, not because of it)
- Theism predicts that sacred texts would provide practical advice like how to stay healthy
- Theism predicts that life is designed (in fact, evolution explains life's Rube Goldberg features)
- Theism predicts a mind independent of the body (in fact, "mind" changes as the brain grows or is damaged, or even if one is tired or hungry)
- Theism predicts a fundamentally just world without gratuitous evil (in fact, the Problem of Evil is often cited as Christianity's toughest challenge)
What are your thoughts on the matter? And, more to the point, does any of this help explain why my socks keep disappearing from the dryer?