Can’t Be Coincidence

One set of arguments for the existence of God that has always sat strangely with me are those that could be called Can’t-Be-Coincidence (CBC). These are very common in apologist circles these days since they seem to have a quantitative heft. They’re modern versions of Aquinas’ Argument from Design and Paley’s “Watchmaker” argument.

Generally, they run like this: The distance of the sun from earth is precisely what is needed to support life, therefore it can’t just be chance — there must be a divine designer. Other examples I’ve seen include the special properties of water and certain subatomic constants.

But I don’t like these arguments. They are marinated in dubious assumptions. Take the earth-sun argument. Indeed, if the earth were any other distance from the sun — closer or farther away — human life would not exist. We wouldn’t be here. In fact, there are probably trillions of planets in the universe whose suns are closer or farther away and that have no human life. So what?

Does that mean God does not exist on those planets but It does on ours?

An apologist might argue: Yes, because Mankind is special to God. But that’s like being the only person at a party and saying, “I’m special.” You are special, in the sense that you are alone. Maybe there’s a much better party in another galaxy. There probably is. Does that mean you’re no longer special and God does not exist?

Or take the subatomic arguments — that Planck’s constant (or whatever) is precisely what it needs to be to sustain matter. That kind of precision proves there must be an intelligent creator.

I think people who believe these arguments must have limited imagination. Of course all the subatomic, atomic, atmospheric and other conditions must be met to support human life but it’s humans who are having this argument. We’re here. To say our being here proves God’s existence is like wandering lost through a forest for days, stopping, and saying “because I am here, that proves there is a map.”

Two things:

(1) Just because we’re here doesn’t mean Humans are the apex of creation: We aren’t very impressive, frankly, and it’s possible a much better form of life might exist given different conditions. To paraphrase David Hume, we might actually be a lab experiment by a demented God gone horribly wrong.

(2) Long odds don’t mean no odds: Every lottery has a winner and the odds of that particular person winning are very slim (in the case of PowerBall very very slim) … but somebody has to win. On a universal scale, there are a lot of very unlikely things that can happen by chance. Like you and me, brother?


One response to “Can’t Be Coincidence

  1. Pingback: Russellin’ with an Atheist | The God Project . Net

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