More Plausible than God?
[This responds to remarks by Autumnal Harvest that appear in the Comments section below my posting entitled “Is God an Explanation?”.]
In your comment you said: ‘[I]f my car breaks down, does saying that it broke down because "God did it" meet your criteria for being an explanation? Does it make the breakdown of your car "more comprehensible"? Does it "offer reasons for" the breakdown of your car? For me, it does not, and I don't see what criteria you've given that distinguishes this case from the origin of the universe case. I understand, of course, that you think that the breakdown of your car is not due to a "First Cause," but what I'm asking is what criteria you have for an "explanation" that makes "God did it" an explanation for the origin of the universe, but (presumably?) not for the breakdown of your car.’
Natural Limitations: Transcend Them
Saying “God did it” for the breakdown of your car would be an explanation but a bad one, because there are better explanations for that occurrence – blocked carburetor, faulty fuel pump, dead battery. For the origin of the universe (where did the singularity come from?) there is no better explanation than “an infinite mind and will created it.” In fact, there is none as good.
I never insist on a supernatural explanation when a natural explanation is will do. Even New Atheist Victor Stenger said this in his book “God: The Failed Hypothesis”: “If no plausible natural explanation can be found for an observation, then a supernatural cause may be considered.” (p. 262). That’s simple logic.
In reflecting on the Big Bang singularity in an earlier posting “The Greatest Scientific Mind” I said:
“A magic particle, smaller than an atom, that contained the whole universe. Did it simply spring into being, charged with potentiality so stupendous that all space and time, all matter and energy – all of natural and human history – were compressed in this invisible unmeasurable inexplicable seed? Is there a work of science fiction that rivals the imaginative genius of that plot premise? Are we to believe it had no Author?”
“First” Means Uncaused
And, yes, the Author had to be eternal, uncreated, uncaused, in order to be the First Cause. But that’s not natural, you say. No, it’s not. It’s supernatural. Without an uncaused supernatural starting point, you have an endless chain of secondary causes – an infinite regress -- and common sense regurgitates an infinite regress. Ergo… God.
You may, like Stenger, prefer to think that the singularity popped out of nothing, that nothing caused something; that ultimately nothing caused everything. Would you call that a natural explanation – or a supernatural explanation? Or an unnatural explanation? Whichever, can you seriously argue that nothing is more plausible than God? Maybe we can agree on this statement, though we inflect it to have opposite meanings:
Nothing is more plausible than God.
Shane P.S. Nothing!