Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron will be debating the existence of God on ABC, May 9th. This all began with Ray Comfort’s claim that he could prove the existence of God, so ABC is going to let him try – and invited a few atheists to challenge those claims. I’m not really expecting much. The most likely scenario is that Comfort will make some laughable argument that will leave most people shaking their heads and rolling their eyes. Afterall, these are the two that claimed that bananas are “the atheist’s nightmare” because they were just so well designed for humans (e.g. shaped for the human hand, etc). Here’s a video of Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron making their argument:
And all the fruit that isn’t well designed for the human hand is god being lazy? Not only that, but bananas don’t look like that in the wild. They are normally small, rounded, and full of seeds. The bananas that we eat are actually the result of an uncommon genetic accident (they are triploid). Picture of a wild banana:
Similarly, many of the wild fruit and vegetables look nothing like our supermarket versions of them. Almonds, for example, are poisonous in their natural, wild form (they actually contain cyanide). Potatoes become poisonous if left too long. A large number of fruits and vegetables were created through lots of human breeding – to make them large, full of flavor and nutrients, and eliminate the poisons present in their wild varieties.
My guess is that Comfort will argue that the universe didn’t “just happen”, that it’s finely tuned, and that the genes of organisms cannot be produced by non-intelligent means. The last one is clearly false (it’s explained perfectly well by evolutionary mechanisms – though many people seem to have trouble wrapping their minds around this fact). As for the existence of the universe, I don’t think that’s a bad argument for the existence of God (or gods) – although it only argues for the existence of “creator god(s)”. I’m a little hesitant to use the word “god(s)” to describe the creator only because there is so much attached to the word. The phrase “Creator god(s)” means nothing more than entities who created the universe. Yet, there is so much more attached to the term “God” in modern society that is simply excess baggage compared to what I mean by “Creator god(s)”. Creators may not care about mankind, may not care if humans act morally, may not care if humans worship “him”, may not care if humans get an afterlife or not, and may think of the human mind as we think of an ant’s brain (small and insignificant). The creator(s) might have created the universe, became bored with it, and wandered off to do something else. In short “creator god” is simply defined as an intelligence that created the universe, which is contrasted with a non-intelligent force that created the universe. Also, the existence of the universe is not *proof* of creators either, since you have to assume there are no other possible ways the universe could come into existence. If this argument happened a few hundred years ago, a theist might say, “You can’t explain the existence of lightning. I say it can only be created by God”. Well, we now know that we don’t need a divine entity to produce lightning – it can be explained perfectly well by natural forces. There might be something similar going on with the universe – it might exist due to some blind, non-teleological forces that we simply don’t know about yet, just as lightning was inexplicable centuries ago.
In the end, the existence of the universe is not really *proof* of god(s)’ existence, though I suppose one could count it as evidence in that direction. And, personally, I think the existence of the universe is among the better evidences of god(s)’ existence. But getting from “creator god(s)” to “a god interested and involved in humankind”, is quite a chore.
(Speaking of which, I remember hearing one person say that he’s not an atheist even though he argues against theistic ideas. He says he believes in the irrelevancy of god. Perhaps god exists, perhaps he doesn’t, but it doesn’t make much of a difference because he doesn’t think there’s anything beyond a creator god. Which, really, isn’t that different from the way I describe it: either God doesn’t exist, or God doesn’t care; and an indifferent God is not that different from a non-existent God from the standpoint of humankind’s experience of God.)