I’m thinking of starting a new series of posts, classed as BRIGGS YOU FOOL!, in which I cover emails of a certain genre I get.
Email from Anon, in which I add paragraphifications for easier screen reading, but otherwise change nothing:
I was surprised to see in your book, Everything you believe is wrong, that you erred in logic about the existence of a god.
You don’t seem to recognize that morality can have evolved, and any argument from logic (evil implies god, or otherwise) is not an argument from evidence. You state: “If there is no God, whatever argument advance along moral lines necessarily fails, because any such argument is just opinion. But, that would also be true if there were a God.”
After all, any argument about the existence of a God has no information about the characteristics of that God. In fact, we have no evidence to suggest that a God must be moral, or the base of morality.
However, if morality evolved (and some good evidence suggests that it did), then your arguments are also incorrect – morality isn’t “just” opinion (although it can be relative to the cultural situation in which it develops).
You also state: “don’t forget your existence is eternal” and that also has no evidence to back it up. Indeed, the evidence suggests that eternity is a faulty concept, and time, as we know it, began with the big bang. There may be some other kind of time we know nothing about, but the time that we know follows Einstein’s theory of relativity, and so in black holes, essentially stops relative to outside the black hole. And, as far as evidence goes, we die and rot, and therefore are not eternal.
I note that ALL of your arguments for the existence or non-existence of God fail your own rules about discovering which arguments are meaningful. I find it ironic, and interesting, that your entire book is refuting those things we believe while clarifying that the logic of those beliefs and where the evidence must be brought to support anything to determine whether it might be true. Yet, you ignore those same rules when talking about God.
Top note: do not buy the book, unless you really need a copy, for I am, even now, yea this very moment, working on a second edition.
Thanks, Anon, for reminding me of how wonderful my arguments in Believe are. But you forgot that I took pains to say that I would not undertake any argument in the book to prove the existence of God. I sufficed myself to say that if there is no God, there is no evil, and no good. Thus there is no morality. There is only opinion. Your only hope is that your will, and your muscles or your wiles, are stronger than the next guy’s.
Man can “evolve”, which is to say change, but the existence of change does not imply the “evolution” of morality. Your biology, your needs and desires, don’t mean squat in whatever stage of “evolution” they exist. However your biology may make you feel, or fool you into thinking this is right, that wrong, your suffering means nothing. The universe, if God does not exist, does not even not care. Nature does not, and cannot, reach the level of indifference. Because to be indifferent implies an intellect willing to judge, which implies a universal morality, which doesn’t exist if God doesn’t. Morality is just opinion, and opinion meaningless.
Not only that, but if God does not exist, then nothing of any kind matters. How could it? There would have to be something there, and something everlasting, and not just for the moment, that cares about how things turn out, and, in particular, how you turn out. If there is nothing but “blind” forces, then there is nothing that can see you, or see anything.
Of course, nothing cannot explain how there came to be something, and why the something is the way it is and why it is not some other way. So there has to be something.
If God exists, which I say he does, then we can indeed infer certain qualities about him. I don’t do this in the book, because I was not tackling questions about God and his existence and what follows from that, but many have done us this service. May I recommend Ed Feser’s The Last Superstition?
I agree with Anon that time began with change, and the big change seems to be the Big Bang, but I’m open to other theories and evidence about how the Way Things Are began.
Anon is also right that I did not give “evidence” that our existence is eternal. I took it as a premise and saw what followed from it. I did not mean Believe to be a book of theology in any grand sense, and said so within. But obviously I did not say so with sufficient assiduity. I will correct this in the second edition.
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