Book Review: Letter to a Christian Nation

As promised, I began my book study in my “Cross Examination” series, with the book, “Letter to a Christian Nation” by the famed atheist author, Sam Harris.  It was a short read (less than a hundred pages), and it adequately (though unpersuasively) lays out the case against Christianity.

Sam Harris

I say “unpersuasively” because, for much of the book, Harris offers little or no evidence to support his attacks.  He does persuasively lay out two objections to Christianity, which are objections that must rank in the top five in any atheist argument:

  • The problem of evil – there is much evil in the world, and there cannot be a personal, compassionate, all-powerful God while such evil exists
  • The scientific irrelevancy of God – Christians (and the Bible) ignore scientific facts in order to believe what they believe.

The problem of evil is one objection that has been batted around for centuries, with some theologians coming up with explanations, and those who would follow atheism rejecting them.  I plan to look into the problem of evil more as I continue this series, but for now I would say that there are two possibilities for resolution to the problem of evil for a theist:

  • One can deny that evil exists (which is rather foolhardy).
  • One can try to make sense of the divine permission of evil—either that God allows free will, and all evil is derived from that, or that there is some greater good that comes from evil.

Harris has a fascinating section in his book on science vs. religion.  He believes that religion—Christianity in particular—is at odds with science, and this tension is a reason why Christianity should be dismissed.  This I will admit: there are Christians for whom, if they are presented with scientific proof that goes against what they believe, they will say that science is wrong.  This is where those Christians would be wrong.  However, here’s where I would differ from his conclusion: if science offers overwhelming proof of something, then the Christian should then go to the Bible (where their beliefs are supposedly formed from), and see if their beliefs are well-founded.  If the Bible doesn’t say what they think it says, then they ought to change what they believe.

In his section called “The Facts of Life,” Harris attacks what Christians believe, instead of attacking what the Bible says.  In the entire section of science vs. religion, I did not find one biblical reference, whereas he liberally cited scripture in other sections of the book.  I’m sure that, if the Bible had sections that supported his theory that Christians are scientific crackpots, he would have cited it. 

If Christians believe something about the natural world that’s wrong, and isn’t supported by the Bible, why should they continue to hold on to that belief?  On the other hand, if the evidence to support a scientific theory is incomplete or inadequate, why should the Christian change their belief because Sam Harris says “this is a fact that no longer admits of intelligent dispute”?

Here are the arguments in his book that I find less than persuasive:

  • Morality cannot come from the Bible (or Christians would have a much different morality than what he thinks is moral).  I’m reading a book right now, on the theistic side of the argument, that deals with some of the moral “issues” in the Bible, and so far, I’ve found them more convincing than Harris’ arguments.
  • Christians divorce themselves from the reality of human suffering – Christians don’t spend as much time railing against genocide as they do abortion; Christians would rather have people die from AIDS than give them condoms; Christians would rather kill people than develop cures through embryonic stem cell research; etc.  He says, “If you are worried about human suffering, abortion should rank very low on your list of concerns.”
  • Demographics that are more influenced by Christian doctrine are more likely to be plagued by violence, homicide, teen pregnancy, abortion, STDs, and infant mortality.  He minimizes the societal influence of atheistic leaders like Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, and Kim Il Sung by saying, “They were never especially rational,” and then proceeds to blame all of the ills in American society on Christian influence.  Not exactly a convincing cause-effect argument.

My biggest disappointment in the book is that he doesn’t address the existence of God.  I suppose this issue is somewhat outside the scope of the book (because he’s talking to Christians), but it seems to me that it’s a foundational topic for the book.  He rails against the Christian God specifically, but doesn’t address any philosophical or scientific evidence that supports the existence of a god, whether Christian or not.  He seems to make the assumption that there is no god, and then from that assumption, builds his argument against Christianity.

As an aside, let me offer say this (because I know that questions will arise from the last paragraph).  What evidence is there that there is a god?  In his 2007 book There Is a God, former first-string atheist Antony Flew explains his reasoning for recanting atheism and affirming the reality of God.  He writes, “My discovery of the Divine has proceeded on a purely natural level, without any reference to supernatural phenomena.  It has been an exercise in what is traditionally called natural theology.”  He goes on to outline three main things that drove him to believe that there is a God: the laws of nature, the existence of the cosmos, and the presence of life.

  • The laws of nature: that nature obeys laws (and has regularities) is evidence that there is a God.
  • The existence of the cosmos: that there exists any universe at all, and that it is fine-tuned for the existence of life, is evidence that there is a God.
  • The presence of life: that there is life at all is evidence that there is a God.  Scientists Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe calculated in the early 1980s the probability of life forming, and placed the odds at one in 1040,000.

Harris glosses over this entirely natural argument for God when he says,

“Atheism is not a philosophy; it is not even a view of the world; it is simply an admission of the obvious.  In fact, ‘atheism’ is a term that should not even exist.  No on ever needs to identify himself as a ‘non-astrologer’ or a non-alchemist.’  We do not have words for people who doubt that Elvis is still alive or that aliens have traversed the galaxy only to molest ranchers and their cattle.  Atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make in the presence of unjustified religious beliefs.”

If it seems like I’m playing the “burden of proof” game, I am (a little bit).  I think that, in this case, there is room for a mutual burden of proof.  There are questions that the theist must answer, and there are things that the atheist must answer.  Non-belief is not, as Harris asserts, “simply an admission of the obvious.” How does the atheist explain the impossible odds for life forming?  Or that the universe had a beginning?

The bottom line: Harris’ book raises a lot of questions.  Some are good questions, and some are less than good, bordering on irrational.  The book is heavy on questions, and light on evidence.

Question: If you’ve read “Letter to a Christian Nation,” what did you think were the most convincing arguments?  You can leave your comments by clicking here.

This post is in my series called “Cross Examination: Is Debunking Christianity Possible?” I’m looking at a myriad of topics in the rational examination of my faith, and will write at least one post per week for the next year. If you would like to read some of the previous posts in this series, click on the links below:

  • Anonymous

    If you are going to invoke the name of Anthony Flew re. belief in the existence of “God”, I would suggest you do a bit more research into the subject.  Anthony Flew most certainly did not proclaim a belief in the existence of the God of the Bible that you choose to worship.  Flew adamantly rejected the notion of divine revelation and an afterlife etc.  Here is a direct quote from Anthony Flew (link to source attached below):

    “I’m thinking of a God very different from the God of the Christian and far and away from the God of Islam, because both are depicted as omnipotent Oriental despots, cosmic Saddam Husseins,” he said. “It could be a person in the sense of a being that has intelligence and a purpose, I suppose.”

    http://www.simpletoremember.com/articles/a/atheist-believes-in-god/

    http://www.albertmohler.com/2010/04/29/the-death-of-a-former-atheist-anthony-flew-1923-2010/

    Aside from that, many people believe Roy Abraham Varghese actually wrote the 2007 book, ‘There is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind’, as Flew would have been 84 years old in 2007 (and widely believed to be in an advanced state of mental decline).

    • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

      I only used Antony Flew’s quote to support an assertion that a god exists,
      not to support my view of the God of the Bible, given that Flew only
      confirmed deism.

      And, your assertion that Varghese wrote his 2007 book is irrelevant, given
      that it has no bearing on his conversion to deism (it wasn’t the only time
      that he asserted his deism). It’s not as if the book was the only time that
      he confirmed that there was a god, and therefore we shoudn’t believe that he
      actually converted.

      • Anonymous

        This is what you said in your article:

        <<>>

        Flew never accepted your version of “God”.  Your article could have misled someone to believe Anthony Flew believed in the same God as you believe in.  In fact, Flew did not.  I clarified that point and I shared two links to reference material.

        I personally did not assert that Varghese wrote the book.  I clearly stated that many people do believe that Varghese wrote the book.  It is not irrelevant re. your article since you claim Flew wrote that book.  In fact, Flew and Varghese both later acknowledged that Varghese wrote the book.  As far as what Flew believed, he clearly did not believe in the Christian God that you believe in.

        • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

          Here’s what I said: “What evidence is there that there is a god?  In his 2007 book There Is a God, former first-string atheist Antony Flew explains his reasoning for recanting atheism and affirming the reality of God.”  In using the term “a god,” I am clearly stating that what follows is evidence for “a god,” not necessarily my god.  But thanks for further clarifying.

          How do you deal with the questions that Flew raised (from a purely naturalistic viewpoint)?  I assume that you’re an atheist; correct me if I’m wrong.

          • Anonymous

            I am not convinced that the God of the Bible is real.  If there is a “creator”, I would like to see more “evidence” of it than those three (3) points you cited that reportedly convinced Flew that there was some intelligent entity responsible for our existence. 

          • Anonymous

            @ Sid,

            Throughout this supposed “Cross Examination”, one where Bob will be reading various books by Atheists, he can, at any time, simply find and use Theist’s work to counter what’s being said. For every Atheist book, there’s Theist counter-book. If you shout down Flew(and rightfully so), Bob will simply find another apologist angle to use. This is why this is an utter facade. He is spinning his wheels. 

          • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

            If there are good answers to atheistic arguments, then it would be foolish
            to put more logical currency in the inadequate arguments.

            Some people may be content to be willfully ignorant by only reading those
            books which confirm what they already believe; I will not.

            By the way, if you think that Antony Flew should rightly be shouted down,
            I’d love to hear some evidence.

          • Anonymous

            I’m merely saying that Christians use Flew as an example of a “theist”, when he was a deist. If you recognize him as the latter, then fine. In any case, what Flew believed about a “God” doesn’t constitute evidence for a “God”. I couldn’t care less if he believed the universe was “fine tuned”. See “fine tuning” refuted, below.

          • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

            I didn’t use him as an example of a theist; I used him as an example of someone who was an atheist, and then came to believe in the existence of [a] God, because of naturalistic arguments.

          • Anonymous

            The “God” that Flew reportedly believed in is nothing like the God that you believe in.

          • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

            I had no idea! Does that negate his arguments about the existence of a
            god? I’m a little unclear about that.

          • Anonymous

            What it means, Robert, is that Antony Flew was never a member of YOUR team, although you sure appear to wish that he was.  I attached a link to an article by Albert Mohler in my first post on this thread.  I believe you know who Albert Mohler is.  I have personally met Al Mohler and spoken with him at length re. various issues within the realm of Christendom.  Mohler’s opinion re. Antony Flew is crystal clear.  Flew’s belief that there may be a “God” in no way lends support to your Christian apologetics.

            Robert, I wish you would share with us a copy of your PowerPoint slides that outline your true objective re. this series of articles.  It appears that your real objective is to strike down every argument that does not support your belief system.  I have not yet observed true objectivity from you.  Perhaps I need to be more patient and look a little closer?

          • Anonymous

             “It appears that your real objective is to strike down every argument that does not support your belief system.” 

            Bingo.

          • Anonymous

            “I didn’t use him as an example of a theist[SNIP]”

            And I didn’t necessarily say that you did. Here’s what I said….

            I’m merely saying that Christians use Flew as an example of a “theist”.

            Now, didn’t you cite some reasons for why he came to believe in a god? Yes, I believe so, and those reasons do not constitute “evidence” for “God”, whether deistic, or theistic.

  • Anonymous

    “[…..] for now I would say that there are two possibilities for resolution to the problem of evil for a theist:
     
    One can deny that evil exists (which is rather foolhardy).”
    ~ R. Ewoldt

    The word “evil” is a religious construct. Notwithstanding, I agree it would be ridiculous to deny that bad things occur…..or, for sake of discussion, that “evil” exists. 

    “One can try to make sense of the divine permission of evil—”

    That’s an interesting way to frame it…i.e  “divine permission”. The undertone of the phrase seems to suggest that as long as what is being permitted is of a “Divine” origin, it should be “okee-dokee”, “good”,  “moral”, “righteous”, etc. And please notice, I have NOT accused you of saying that;  I am merely making an observation that there is subliminal bias in the wording, when you claim to be “objective”.

     continues…“either that God allows free will, and all evil is derived from that, or that there is some greater good that comes from evil.”

    The “free will” argument is a crock-of-an-apologetic, hence, why it only convinces those who are already convinced. It is easily refuted, and has been, over, and over, and over again. If “free will” and NO “evil” can co-exist in location “A”(heaven), then “free will” and NO “evil” can co-exist in location “B”(earth). It really is, that simple. 

    “This I will admit: there are Christians for whom, if they are presented with scientific proof that goes against what they believe, they will say that science is wrong”

    Yes, and I am left with no choice but to believe that you are one of them. For instance, you believe that “science is wrong” in its theory that we evolved from lower organisms, but you accept that “science” is correct in its gravitational theory and atomic theory. Is that an accurate assessment?

    “He rails against the Christian God specifically, but doesn’t address any philosophical or scientific evidence that supports the existence of a god[…]”

    Maybe that’s because you cannot philosophize “God” into existence. Philosophical arguments do not constitute empirical, objective evidence, the type that science deals with. And that should clue you in as to why Harris doesn’t talk about “scientific evidence that supports the existence of a god”: There is none. If I am wrong(which, I suspect you believe that I am), then kindly offer some. Perhaps you can refer me to where scientists are currently conducting tests on “creation” or raising the dead.

    • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

      You say, “If ‘free will’ and NO ‘evil’ can co-exist in location ‘A'(heaven), then ‘free will’ and NO ‘evil’ can co-exist in location ‘B'(earth). It really is, that simple.”  This argument makes no sense.  First, in order for it to work, you have concede that there’s a heaven, which you don’t.  So, we’re dealing only with earth.  Second, the contention in the theodicy is that human free will (i.e. the actions of humans) are what causes evil.  You’re saying that free will can’t cause evil, because it doesn’t cause evil in heaven, which doesn’t take into account any theology of heaven.  Third, who’s to say that free will exists in heaven?

      • Anonymous

        “You say, ‘If ‘free will’ and NO ‘evil’ can co-exist in location ‘A'(heaven), then ‘free will’ and NO ‘evil’ can co-exist in location ‘B'(earth). It really is, that simple.’  This argument makes no sense. ”  First, in order for it to work, you have concede that there’s a heaven, which you don’t.” ~ R. Ewoldt

        Unless I concede that Christianity and all its tenets are true for sake of discussion – including the existence of “heaven” – then all discussion is utterly pointless. Thus, it is you who is now making “no sense”.

         To clarify, I, yes, concede that “heaven” exists to make a rhetorical point. Thus, my argument is effective in illustrating that the “freewill” apologetic fails miserably, while I maintain my nonbelief in the belief-system that relies on such flimsy apologetics. 

        “Second, the contention in the theodicy is that human free will (i.e. the actions of humans) are what causes evil.  You’re saying that free will can’t cause evil, because it doesn’t cause evil in heaven, which doesn’t take into account any theology of heaven.”

        Until you clarify what you mean by, “theology of heaven”, I see it as equivocal nonsense. In heaven, there is either freewill, or there isn’t. It’s binary. 

        “Third, who’s to say that free will exists in heaven?”

        Well, well, now. If there’s no freewill in heaven, then I retract my argument and wish the automatons who will (supposedly) occupy heaven, the best of luck with that. Being a robot sounds like fun for a day, but not for all of eternity. No, thanks.

        • Anonymous

          Judeo-Christian tradition holds that Lucifer led a rebellion in Heaven, and Lucifer and some complement of angelic beings (some scholars believe it was one third of the angelic beings) were cast out.  I don’t know if this means that Lucifer and the fallen angels had “free will” or not, but it seems that Heaven was as susceptible to rebellion as was Earth.  It must all be part of the Great Mystery… 

          • Anonymous

             “It must all be part of the Great Mystery…”
            It’s all part of being trapped inside a contradictory belief-system…i.e…having to patch up one hole, while you simultaneously create another.  Yes, “freewill” exists in heaven when it supports the Christian’s argument, but when it doesn’t support it, it doesn’t exist. 

        • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

          If you’re going to concede that there’s a heaven (even to make a rhetorical point), then you have to concede that heaven exists as the Christians believe it, which then totally goes against your argument.  You’re arguing that heaven is exactly as you want it to be… ruled by natural law, and no supernatural being.  A theology of heaven also takes into account that humans will have new (re-made) bodies, that will be as God originally intended them, and thus won’t WANT to participate in sin/evil.

          Your argument is totally based on your own view of heaven, which is why it doesn’t work.

          • Anonymous

            <<>>

            Wow.  This is really something.  I suppose Lucifer and the angelic beings that were cast out of Heaven were also not as God originally intended them to be (since they were in the presence of God but they rebelled nonetheless).  Then again, perhaps God created Lucifer for the specific purpose of leading a rebellion in Heaven and also deceiving all of humanity… so God could demonstrate His great love for us all by having his Son tacked to a cross.  I suppose Lucifer will then perform his/her/its duty of spending eternity in the Lake of Fire.  What a story!

          • Anonymous

            “If you’re going to concede that there’s a heaven (even to make a rhetorical point), then you have to concede that heaven exists as the Christians believe it, which then totally goes against your argument.” ~ R. Ewoldt

            Oh, yeah? Okay, WHICH “Christians” and WHICH day of the week? I say “which day of the week”, because the “Christians” I encounter, you being one of them,  change their minds about what they believe about “heaven”, depending on whether it’s a believer or nonbeliever doing the inquiring. 

            “You’re arguing that heaven is exactly as you want it to be… “

            No, I most certainly am not arguing that heaven is exactly as I “want it to be”. I am using the bible, in conjunction with, what the bible’s proponents say about it. 

            Observe…..

            YOU say….“A theology of heaven also takes into account that humans will have new (re-made) bodies, that will be as God originally intended them, and thus won’t WANT to participate in sin/evil.”

            And there we have it. That is your rendering, and you demonstrate, using your words, that you patently believe that the occupants of “heaven” don’t have free will, that is, they will never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, under ANY circumstance, “WANT to participate in sin/evil.” 

            ‘Sorry, friend, but that is no different than a robot that has been programmed to NEVER do “X”. If you remove from heaven, ALL temptation, and/or, ALL desire to “sin”, then you have compromised free agency.

            As for how “God originally intended” his crowning jewel, “man”—-if “God” INTENDED man to “never participate in sin/evil”, but yet, “God” thought that man’s will is more important than his getting his own “Will” met, then that is a problem that falls flatly in the lap of “God”. If the Ford motor company has the ability to design and build a car that NEVER breaks down, but yet, they design it and build it to break down @ around 100K miles, we would laugh if the Ford motor company tried to blame the people driving the cars when they break down.

    • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

      You say, “If I am wrong (which, I suspect you believe that I am), then kindly offer some.”  I borrowed three pieces of scientific evidence in the latter part of my post, to which I hope that you’ll respond.

      • Anonymous

        “The laws of nature: that nature obeys laws (and has regularities) is evidence that there is a God.”

        See occam’s razor. You are special pleading. If the “laws of nature” required guidance by super-nature, or perhaps, super-duper-nature, scientists would call them precisely that…i.e.. “The laws of super-nature”, or, “The laws of super-duper-nature”.

        “The existence of the cosmos: that there exists any universe at all, and that it is fine-tuned for the existence of life, is evidence that there is a God.”

        Special pleading, the sequel. There are around 125 BILLION known galaxies. If the entire universe is “tuned” for anything at all, it is tuned for dark energy and black holes. And besides, to “tune” something is to suggest that it wasn’t perfect the first time. So much for “perfection”. 

        “The presence of life: that there is life at all is evidence that there is a God.  Scientists Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe calculated in the early 1980s the probability of life forming, and placed the odds at one in 1040,000.”

        Fallacy of low odds. Look at it like a lotto. A person might not play the lotto, simply because of the very low odds of them winning. Yet, when the same person hears that someone else won the next day, they don’t think anything of it! Why? Because they know that SOMEONE has to win! And I notice that when you reference the scientists, above, you say “life forming”. Make up your mind—-did life “form”?…or was it “created”, as is?

        • Anonymous

          <<>>

          I get a kick out of this.  Much of the observable universe is believed to be hostile to carbon-based life as we know it.  Life that does exist on Earth also struggles to survive.  It is also amazing how many species of plants and animals have become extinct on Earth, whilst new species of plants and animals are discovered every year on Earth.  Strange plan that God had when designing the universe.  I guess things would have been different on Earth if Adam and Eve hadn’t eaten that forbidden fruit…

          http://www.theaunicornist.com/2011/07/what-should-designed-universe-look-like.html

        • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

          You say, “See occam’s razor. You are special pleading. If the ‘laws of nature’ required guidance by super-nature, or perhaps, by super-duper-nature, scientists would call them precisely that…i.e.. ‘The laws of super-nature’, or, ‘The laws of super-duper-nature’.”

          Response: Occam’s Razor… i.e. “the simplest explanation is most likely the correct one.”  So, you’re saying that the laws of nature are guided by the laws of super-duper nature, which are guided by the laws of super-duper-duper-nature, which are guided by the laws of super-duper-duper-duper nature, and so on, and so forth, forever and ever, amen.  That sounds like a very simple explanation.

          Second, you say, “Special pleading, the sequel. There are around 125 BILLION known galaxies. If the entire universe is ‘tuned’ for anything at all, it is tuned for dark energy and black holes. And besides, to ‘tune’ something is to suggest that it wasn’t perfect the first time. So much for God’s ‘perfect’ creative abilities.”

          Response: You say that to “tune” something is to suggest that it wasn’t perfect the first time, which is to misinterpret the word “tune” (or evade answering the question).  Even if you’re creating something for the first time, you tune it in the process of creating.  A piano manufacturer tunes its instruments for the first time, and that doesn’t imply that there was something wrong with the creation of the piano that it needed tuning.  The idea of “fine-tuning” the universe was something that was part of the original creation, not something that God did afterward.  So your quip, “So much for God’s ‘perfect’ creative abilities” is unnecessarily atheistic.  If the best answer you can give to the fine-tuning of the universe is “I don’t like the word ‘tune,'” I would say you’re on pretty shaky ground.

          Third, you say, “Fallacy of low odds. Look at it like a lotto. A person might not play the lotto, simply because of the very low odds of them winning. Yet, when that same person hears that someone else won the next day, they don’t think anything of it! Why? Because they know that SOMEONE has to win!”

          Response: You don’t distinguish between “low odds” and “impossible odds.”  Mathematically speaking, anything with odds below 1080 is impossible.  State lotteries have odds of one in 106.  Multi-state lotteries have odds of one in 107.  You cannot compare the odds of winning the lottery to the odds of the creation of life.  It’s like comparing the odds of finding a penny on the ground to finding $100 trillion on the ground.  The lottery has low odds; the creation of life has impossible odds.

          • Anonymous

            <<>>

            Really bad argument there.  Yes, the piano does have something wrong with it before it is tuned.  Until the piano is tuned, it will not produce sounds that are consistent with established musical standards.  Therefore, it is “defective” as a piano in its original (i.e. untuned) state unless you choose to disregard its intended purpose to produce sounds in accordance with established musical standards.  Same sort of thing with a car engine whose mechanical timing is out of whack.  Until it is tuned, it will not perform in accordance with established standards for engines.  

            <<>>

            This is your opinion.  You have not a shred of evidence for it.  The generally accepted observation among scientists is that the vast majority of the observable universe is hostile to carbon-based life as we know it.  However, considering how vast the observable universe appears to be, the odds of life (in some form) appearing would appear to be highly likely. 

            <<>>

            If you are going to argue that the universe required a creator, then you MUST be prepared to admit that God required a creator.  You do not get a free pass.  Simply claiming that God always existed is a complete intellectual cop-out.   

          • Anonymous

            “Occam’s Razor… i.e. ‘the simplest explanation is most likely the correct one.’  So, you’re saying that the laws of nature are guided by the laws of super-duper nature, which are guided by the laws of super-duper-duper-nature, which are guided by the laws of super-duper-duper-duper nature, and so on, and so forth, forever and ever, amen.  That sounds like a very simple explanation.”

            I suspect that you are reading comprehension-challenged, or maybe you didn’t get your morning coffee, yet.

            Here is what you previously cited as “evidence for God”….

            “The laws of nature: that nature obeys laws (and has regularities) is evidence that there is a God.”

            Here, again,  is what I said in response…

            See occam’s razor. You are special pleading. IF the “laws of nature” required guidance by super-nature, or perhaps, by super-duper-nature, scientists would call them precisely that…i.e.. “The laws of super-nature”, or, “The laws of super-duper-nature”.[bold and caps added]

            The simplest explanation is that the laws of nature are guided BY NATURE. It is you theists who insist that nature is guided by supernature, namely, a supernatural being. You then turn around and use that hypothesis as  “evidence that there is a God”. Do you see the word “if” up there? Assuming so, I’m saying that  >IF< the assessment of the theist's hypothesis I just laid out is an accurate one, then the theist is special pleading. You are adding unnecessary(and unproven) “woo” onto the most simple explanation, which is why I said, “see occam’s razor”.

            You continue….“You say that to ‘tune’ something is to suggest that it wasn’t perfect the first time, which is to misinterpret the word ‘tune’ (or evade answering the question).  Even if you’re creating something for the first time, you tune it in the process of creating.  A piano manufacturer tunes its instruments for the first time, and that doesn’t imply that there was something wrong with the creation of the piano that it needed tuning.”

            You are comparing apples and lawn mowers. Pianos don’t occur in nature, and piano manufacturers don’t claim to be omnipotent. I’ll wager that a piano manufacturer would love to be able to create a tune-less piano. If they could, then they could just eliminate the word “tune” from their vocabulary. But alas, they cannot. Now, shouldn’t we expect that a “God” can create a tune-less universe if it wanted to? Moreover, should we believe that entire galaxies slamming into one another is part of the “fine-tuning”? If so, then I suppose if we let “God” create a piano, everything would sound like it was in the key of D-molished.

            ” If the best answer you can give to the fine-tuning of the universe is “I don’t like the word ‘tune,’ I would say you’re on pretty shaky ground.”

            Funny you should mention it, because in fact, no, it’s not my only counter-answer to the “fine-tuning”. An omnipotent designer/creator could create life in an UN-tuned universe. So all of this fuss over the constants being “perfect” for life is a smoke-screen. The constants don’t need to be perfect for a creator who has unlimited powers.

            “You don’t distinguish between ‘low odds’ and ‘impossible odds.’  Mathematically speaking, anything with odds below 1080 is impossible.”

            And yet, looky!….we are here! So, it’s obviously not “impossible” that some form of life can win the cosmic lotto.

    • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

      You say, “you believe that ‘science is wrong’ in its theory that we evolved from lower organisms, but you accept that “science” is correct in its gravitational theory and atomic theory. Is that an accurate assessment?”

      Let me redirect you to my statement that followed… I said, “On the other hand, if the evidence to support a scientific theory is incomplete or inadequate, why should the Christian change their belief because Sam Harris says ‘this is a fact that no longer admits of intelligent dispute’?”

      • Anonymous

        Okay, I read it.  So? Can you answer the question, now? What?…are you saying that evolutionary theory is “incomplete”, but atomic theory and gravitational theory are complete enough to your liking?

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