If existence is a Creation,
CAN'T be a "Creation," by definition. Created by what--non-Existence? Any proposed Creators would have to exist
before they could think about creating anything, so they would be part
who or what (in the right mind) created it?
Since the Cosmos is self-evidently not
anthropocentric in form and function (i.e., it's not All About Us), I think it is safe to rule out any of the humanly-imagined-and-worshiped deities.
If Existence is eternal, how did this happen?
That Existence is eternal is a self-evident and inescapable axiom. Even theists and Deists must inevitably agree. They simply posit that the fundamental element of Existence is their deity or deities of choice. Non-existence does not exist.
The question that arises about nature is: is it a creation, eternal to nature, or an accident within nature. The Deist will maintain that it is a creation, but Deists will differ as to degree of involvement on the part of the Creator in the process. The atheist will counter that it is either eternal, or accidental. The final resolution of this problem will eventually be up to science to settle.
Science has revealed a Cosmos that, if it is a designed artifact, serves a function that is presently unfathomable to us and unrelated to us. Earth is not even a rounding error on the Cosmic scale.
To begin, let us look at nature as an ever changing and shifting painting.
Um...what? No, I've got a better idea! Let's look at it as an always-dancing building, or an incorporeal bowling ball! Hmm...if nature is an ever-changing and shifting painting, then the Multiverse is clearly Hogwarts.
Science attempts to understand what the paint and canvass is composed of, the relationship of the individual paints, and the brushstrokes that are involved in the final product.
This is a narrow view of science. Science also seeks to understand what the "picture" as a whole looks like.
But, what about the painter?
What "painter?" This is a double-dose of question-begging. First, to assume that there is a "painter" (and that the "ever-shifting colors" are not more comparable to the colors of an oil slick on water, i.e., not the product of deliberate creative effort), and then to assume that there's only one
, privileging anthropomorphic monotheism over polytheism, pantheism, etc..
If one admits that nature is similar to a painting,
This is a devious slight-of-mind trick. The analogy was originally given in the context of suggesting that science studies the Cosmos in a particular way (analyzing the brush strokes, etc., i.e. reductionism). Now the context is being switched to emphasize that a painting is a designed artifact. This is, again, question-begging, as it seeks to use the claim that the Cosmos is a designed artifact as a starting premise, when that is the question up for debate. In other words, atheists would not agree to treat the Cosmos as "similar to a painting" if "created artifact of a single intelligence" is part of the analogy, otherwise they wouldn't be atheists. The claim that the Cosmos is the product of any particular "God" (or "Gods") is what the believer needs to establish before they can persuade an atheist to join their ranks.
than it is not too far a leap to conclude that a painter exists, or at least existed at one time.
The atheist continually resorts to the logical fallacy known as argumentum ad verecundiam (appeal to modesty) when dealing with Deists or even theists. The appeal here is to science as an authority which cannot be challenged.
Bollocks. Find me a scientist or an atheist who claims that science is an authority that cannot be challenged. And how would such a claim be an "appeal to modesty?"
Unfortunately, this appeal is plagued by its own problems.
Starting with the fact that it's a fiction?
First of all, science makes no claims about God one way or another,
First of all, whence cometh this automatic assumption of a big-G "God?" How do we know there are not dozens or millions of "gods" (whatever those are)? How do we know our Cosmos could not have been created by some other sort of entity, such as incredibly advanced aliens, or computer programmers (welcome to the Matrix)?
Second, science can limit the range of possible deities, i.e. ruling out ones like Zeus or Yahweh (assuming that their mythological narratives are the statements of what we would expect Universe to be like if they existed). Science can tell us a great deal about the extent, age, and nature of the Cosmos and how it operates, which can rule out claims that anthropomorphic deities created it "for us" in any meaningful sense.
so it is not the scientists who are for the most part claiming God does not exist on the grounds that there is a lack of evidence, but the scientific layman asserting it.
What is this "God" thing of which you speak? So long as it is a cognitive blank, like "blark" or "unie," scientists have no reason to consider the question of it's "existence" at all.
Second, science for all its great accomplishments is still in the infant stage, there is much about nature it simply does not know, even on this planet. So to conclude that a discipline, which has limitations here and now, somehow can conclude that something beyond its immediate ability to study is the final word, is logically speaking, a fallacy.
So? This applies even more to "theology" than to science. Science can at least demonstrate that it has learned something
about the Cosmos. What discoveries has theology made?
Science itself is somewhat bias as well. It suffers from nearsightedness; what it cannot observe directly or indirectly, it ignores. Things like memory may have a basis in biology, but is it safe to conclude that only biology is at work here?
What else have you got in mind? What is your evidence? We can conclude that "biology" (Alzheimer's disease, brain damage, etc.) can affect memory. In the absence of evidence for whatever undefined not-biology you're implicitly talking about, there's nothing to discuss, and the most parsimonious provisional conclusion
is that "only biology is at work here." The phrase "at work" presupposes that something definite is being done. We have no evidence that any non-biological forces are involved in the process of memory.
No one has ever seen an emotion, or a memory; yet they exist.
*sigh* And an equilateral triangle is independent of material substance (it can be drawn in pencil, or made of wood, steel, aluminum, marshmallows, whatever), yet it exists. Therefore, genies! Right?
So it is not far-fetched to conclude that there is more to nature than what we observe in our own limited corner of it. Science has only touched the tip of the scientific iceberg -- as such, science cannot be used to dismiss the idea that a God may exist.
Therefore, leprechauns and demons and channeled Atlantean sages and Lord Voldemort may exist. Right?
If one cannot truly understand a grain of sand, then one cannot understand the beach.
And this makes the claim that mermaids exist more reasonable, how?
So where does the Deist stand? The Deist recognizes the limitations of belief; but still possesses the courage to believe.
Ahahaha. So...believing in unfounded claims is "courageous" somehow? Do you get more courage-points for believing in something patently ridiculous, or is it only "courageous" to believe in something vague and undefined for which there is no evidence? Since Deists agree with atheists on the non-existence of all gods but one, they're basically cowards too. Are polytheists more ballsy, based on the number of deities believed in?
The belief in God in no more illogical than the belief in Extraterrestrial life forms.
Yes it is. We have an existence proof
of at least one planet inhabited by a technological civilization. We also have observations of other planets. We do not have any observations, or even a non-contradictory working definition, of a "god."
Nevertheless, despite the present lack of evidence for E.T. life forms, few scientists would outright dismiss them. If one accepts that E.T. life forms may exist, then one must conclude that such life forms could be far superior to us in knowledge and power -- if so, then God is in a sense, could be regarded as an E.T. life form as well.
More dishonest slight-of-mind trickery. Here, the author is taking something we have good reason to consider probable, and which is fully compatible with our inventory of scientific knowledge (life forms on other planets) and trying to treat it as equivalent to something for which there is zero evidence, which is not defined well enough that the question "Is there evidence for it?" can even be addressed.
Or more accurately an Extradimensional life form.
"Accurately?" Based on what? What is your evidence that "God" is an "extradimensional" (whatever that means) life form, rather than a "dark matter" life form, or a "quantum non-local" life form, or an "extradimensional robot?"
Such a being, or beings, cannot be dismissed as impossibilities.
Such undefined chunks of bafflegab do not even rise to the level of being dismissed. There's nothing, as yet, to even consider
until the Deist can explain what it is they're talking about. Deism is not even wrong.
The atheist demands that the Deist, or theist, provide evidence for the existence of God. They continually resort to logical fallacies of their own, for example, a common one is the Petitio principii (begging the question) fallacy; it goes something like this: there is no God because we find no evidence of God in nature.
Straw man fallacy. There is no reason to believe in gods
because we find no evidence of gods in nature. This is the same basis on which a Deist is entitled to disbelieve in Krishna and leprechauns and faeries and Santa Claus.
But is this true? No. We presently do not know enough about nature to make such a conclusion, eventually, the possibility that there is a God could be proven.
What's a "god?" What sort of evidence would validate or falsify the claim of its existence?
The atheist has no evidence that the universe is eternal or accidental;
The word "universe" etymologically refers to the totality of all that exists, the whole shebang. However, due to sloppy use of language, it's commonly used to refer to "that which emerged from the Big Bang," excluding anything that didn't, like "branes," other "universes," etc.. So now the term "multiverse" is used to refer to the whole shebang in hypotheses that propose a greater spacetime manifold of which our Big Bang Cosmos is only a part. For purposes of clarity, I will use the term "Universe," capital-U, no "the," to refer to the sum total of all that exists.
Defined thusly, "Universe" would be eternal as a metaphysical necessity, whether it contained one or more "gods" or not. Universe would include any gods, extradimensional/spiritual/whatever realms they might live in, any lesser "demigods" ("angels" "demons" "faeries" "sprites" "orbs" "djinn" "leprechauns" "[insert favorite Invisible Magic Person type here]") and so on. Even if our Cosmos (that which emerged from our Big Bang) is not eternal, sooner or later if we keep asking "So what created that?" we'll get to something
eternal, whether it's "gods," "the spacetime manifold," or something else.
However, we have no reason to assume that the "foundation" of Existence is a "god" rather than something else. To the contrary, Richard Dawkins' "Ultimate Boeing 747 Argument" (that simple things are ontologically prior to complex things and come first in temporal sequence) provides good reason to reject anthropomorphic personal deities as candidates for the ultimate "Ground of Being."
they are assuming that scientific speculation somehow equals scientific fact.
At least there's such a thing
as "scientific fact." Theologians assume their
speculation somehow equals fact, when they have yet to demonstrate the validity of even one "theological fact."
Obviously there is a great gap between speculation and fact to the rational mind.
Well, sure. That's why we atheists think theology is a load of old cobblers.
We have the painting,
No, we don't have a "painting." We have something that some people (theists and Deists) think is a painting, but which shows many signs of being a purely natural phenomenon. The issue of whether the Cosmos is a designed artifact or not is the question at issue.
but to dismiss that there is a painter is illogical, unless there is evidence that it is either an eternal painting or an accident.
False dichotomy. It could be something else, like "the inevitable manifestation of the generalized operational principle described by the Grand Unification Equation."
So far all science has offered is speculation based on drawing inferences from the available data [which is far from complete]; nevertheless, since the evidence is not complete, nor fully understood, sweeping generalizations by atheist on what exists and does not exist are groundless.
May we assume correctly that Deists believe in faeries, djinn, ghosts, Chupacabras, honest politicians and Jedi because they can't prove such things don't
Atheists like to shift the burden of proof from themselves to their debating opponents; in short, the believer in God must prove God, but the atheist will not defend his position that the universe is either eternal or accidental.
The eternal existence of Universe (as I use the term) is axiomatic. Deists cannot escape it. Rather, they just claim that a particular entity in Universe (their anthropomorphic "God") created all the rest. The believer in "God"/gods does have the burden of proof, because they're the one claiming to have knowledge of an entity they want added to our inventory of knowledge about reality. The exact same principle applies to demonologists and believers in Loch Ness Monsters, Bigfoots, Yetis, Chupacabras, anal-probing space aliens, and so on.
Often this tactic works, the believer will then try to make an argument for God, only to have the atheist demand that the believer first define God in some clear manner. Once the believer makes this mistake, he loses the debate.
So it's a mistake
for the believer to specify what they're talking about? Well, OK. Honesty and clarity are only bad debate tactics when your claims are invalid.
We are still in the process of understanding the painting, so trying to define the painter is doomed to failure;
Actually, we know there isn't a "painter" because of quasion particles. What's a quasion particle, you ask? Oh, no no no! It's not up to me
to define what a quasion is! It's up to you
to prove they don't exist! Which (much to my convenience) is rather difficult when you don't know what they're supposed to be, and hence, what sort of evidence would support or contradict the proposition that they exist.
Until believers can define what "god" means, it's as meaningless and referent-free as "quasion," and no more worthy of consideration. Not. Even. Wrong.
the believer must recognize this tactic and avoid it.
So believers have to play their cards close to the vest and pretend they have no idea what "god" is supposed to mean...
Deists should feel free to openly state that there is absolutely no evidence against a Creator being, or a Creation,
...until it serves them to cash in on the cultural privileging of Abrahamic monotheism to smuggle in the assumption of monotheism...
and that all skeptics have to offer is scientific speculation on very limited data.
Quite a lot
of data, actually. We can accurately model the behavior of the Cosmos going back to 10-34
seconds after the start of the Big Bang. That's a rather tiny gap to hide a "God of the gaps" in. And this, in comparison to theologians, offering theological speculation on zero
Deists believe there is something more;
On what basis? Do Deists think that anyone can just arbitrarily assert the existence of whatever "something more" they like and it's "logical" to believe in it because scientists are not omniscient?
that is not unreasonable, it is very much human and rational. That "more" is God.
Which of the following statements would a Deist disagree with, and on what basis:
"That 'more' is Anubis."
"That 'more' is faeries."
"That 'more' is wizards."
"That 'more' is Yahweh, who looks forward to throwing Deists in Hell when they die."
"That 'more' is the Force."
Deists are willing to wait for the answer and are keeping an open mind on the matter;
No they're not. They're claiming they already have the answer--that "God" (of which there is only one, and who is probably male, but can also shape-change into an undefinable fog when it's convenient for the Deist) exists and created the Cosmos.
it is the atheists, who fear waiting.
Awww, geez, Scoob! I'm sc-c-c-c-caaaared! I don't want
to wait until we find out that "God" is the creepy old groundskeeper! *eyeroll*
Simply put there is no evidence against God,
No evidence against what? Sorry, I couldn't catch the meaning of that last word. Also, there's no evidence that all Deists aren't future child molesters. Should we lock them up?
nor is there evidence against a Creation [design].
Oh, really? Form follows function. The more capable the design team, the more elegantly and efficiently their product serves its purpose and thus, the more apparent their purpose becomes. It's not hard to deduce what an F-22 is "for," especially if you see it in action. Looking at the Cosmos in action, what is of "for?" What are neutrinos "for?" Pi mesons? Anti-protons? Red supergiant stars? Black holes?
The burden of proof does not lie on the open mind, but on the closed dogmatic mind which assumes that we already know all there is to know.
Find just one popular defender of atheism who claims that we already know all there is to know.