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Friend believes in a higher power that created all this…
Posted: 18 October 2013 07:52 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Hi all,

I have a friend that continually uses the argument that there must have been a high power to have created something as complex as the universe, life, stars, and everything. Every time I try to use science to explain how he’s wrong, he continually says, “Well what created that?”- then I’ll respond, but he will just come back and say “And what created that?”. He will continue that sequence of reasoning, hinting that there must have been some higher power that created all of this. I’m pretty sure this is an argument for intelligent design, although he’s masking it as a “higher power”.

I’ve had trouble finding good arguments against his case. Can anyone help?

Thanks!

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Posted: 18 October 2013 09:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Yes, this is probably the most common argument that theists have.  The only answer I can think of is to turn the tables on him and say, “Well, if everything had to be created, what created your creator?” At which point he will respond by saying his creator always existed.  You can respond, “well if your creator always existed, how do you know the universe itself didn’t always exist, in one form or another?”

But it’s probably not really worth getting into.  Ultimately you’ll just have to accept one another and agree to disagree.

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Posted: 18 October 2013 10:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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The funny thing about these types is that they don’t realize they’re accomplishing nothing with that line of reasoning. Ok, I’ll grant you a “higher power” created the universe. Now prove to me that that higher power isn’t the one the Hindus refer to. Or the Native Americans. And don’t point to the bible, the Hindus and Native Ams can do that with their respective books too.

It really justs shows them to be what they really are…Christians trying to convert everybody…something I’m pretty sure their god would not like: “Wait, you condemn my child whom I love just because they don’t believe what?”

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Posted: 18 October 2013 10:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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You can challenge him to prove the existence of this entity he claims to have done this.  You can also point out that the difference between science and theology is that science recognizes that a great deal is as yet unknown, and only believes that which has been tested and shown to be reality.  Theology believes by faith even though nothing of it has been proved, and ancient books of mythology are not proof.

Occam

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Posted: 18 October 2013 03:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Sorry to hear you’re having trouble. (I’ve been making a lot of help desk calls lately, they all say that). I like the idea of conceding a point, especially with friends. I think it is scientifically honest to say that we don’t know how the universe was created. But your friend sounds like they have a particular idea of “higher power” in mind. Something I’ll ask of my friends is that they don’t ask me a lot of questions, which I answer, and then in the end dismiss what I’ve said and say something about there still being questions. That’s not very friend like. If they want my respect for what they believe, then they should give me that same respect.

Even though I don’t like the word believe, and I really base my worldview on a premise that is justified from observation, etc. etc. they will likely see it as I “believe” that there is only the natural world. Another line I draw is if they suggest I should be “open minded”. Usually this is an unintentional insult and a suggestion that I accept their point of view, just because. You can point out that by suggesting that, you now must be open to any point of view, no matter how ridiculous. Hopefully this gets them to see that they do use reasoning skills when considering anything and you can get back on track to a rational discussion.

One other thing, your friend’s entire premise is wrong. It is looking at a complex system, like the earth with an atmosphere, which has a huge power source pouring energy into it. In that system, complex entities make things. In a vast cold universe, complex entities arise out of simpler ones. For millions of years, there was just hydrogen, then some other stuff happened (I’m not a cosmologist), then some of that stuff condensed into stars which cooked up some new elements, then they exploded, and a relatively simple force like gravity formed planets, then simple life forms evolved into more complex ones, then it got really interesting. So, the idea that complex consciousness are the only things that can make things is untrue.

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Posted: 18 October 2013 07:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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eaglez7711 - 18 October 2013 07:52 AM

Hi all,

I have a friend that continually uses the argument that there must have been a high power to have created something as complex as the universe, life, stars, and everything. Every time I try to use science to explain how he’s wrong, he continually says, “Well what created that?”- then I’ll respond, but he will just come back and say “And what created that?”. He will continue that sequence of reasoning, hinting that there must have been some higher power that created all of this. I’m pretty sure this is an argument for intelligent design, although he’s masking it as a “higher power”.

I’ve had trouble finding good arguments against his case. Can anyone help?

Thanks!

The problem with someone who claims a “higher power” is that they are not talking about some unidentified “power.” They are most likely talking about a particular power and itprobably looks and acts just like the god of the bible.  You might begin by asking him who or what he sees as the higher power, what are its characteristics and how did this H.P. create the universe? In seven days, perhaps? Also, how the H.P. created man. Anything to do with evolution? I’ll bet you’ll get some interesting answers—or none at all.

Lois

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Posted: 19 October 2013 05:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Lois - 18 October 2013 07:56 PM

  You might begin by asking him who or what he sees as the higher power, what are its characteristics and how did this H.P. create the universe? In seven days, perhaps? Also, how the H.P. created man. Anything to do with evolution? I’ll bet you’ll get some interesting answers—or none at all.

Lois

Any time I’ve tried that approach I get something along the lines of “once you accept that there must be a higher power, then it is just a few steps to <insert their deity>”. But I never hear those steps. WL Craig uses the morality argument, which is lame. With one person, in a very long discussion on his blog, I granted that his theory of the necessity of a higher power was true and asked him to proceed, but he demanded absolute belief, not just a conditional agreement. I could see that after that point, anything he wanted to claim could be based on the one fact that his creator had absolute power, and he could see that any refutation I might come up would point out the limitations or unlikelihood of his creator, so we were at an impasse from the beginning.

You and I may have past the point of accepting that we don’t know where the universe came from, so we aren’t stuck with the requirement of a creator, but some people aren’t there yet. And keep in mind Lois, this is a friend, the goal of intellectually destroying the guy’s argument is not an option.

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Posted: 19 October 2013 07:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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You can also point to the fatal flaw in their logic. The next time they ask you “What created that?” ask the this. If they are so sure that such a complex universe could only be created by a higher power that higher power must be even more complex than the universe it created so what created that higher power?? You will most likely get a non-answer to the effect that the higher power has always existed. But how could something so complex have always existed. What created it? Their reasoning is entirely inconsistent. They are unwilling to accept that a complex universe could have formed without a higher power but are entirely willing with no evidence at ll to accept that the far more complex being that created it could have been formed without the efforts of an even higher power.

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Posted: 19 October 2013 08:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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There is another obvious reason for a Creator. 

It is a very simple one!

For obvious reasons, people can learn from nature that everything comes from its like kind, just like the bible says about “seed in itself”. 

Science can bicker all they want about there not being a Creator, but scripture blatantly and outright informs us otherwise, that there is only ONE Creator and that this Creator created everything in existence. 

So how can we counteract that?

Simple, WE CAN’T!

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Posted: 19 October 2013 08:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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You’re correct. If someone is going to accept an old book written by a conglomeration of people as indisputable fact rather than the evidence of the world around them and the conclusions that logic brings us to there may be little we can do. On the other hand I do not believe there is a believer out there who doesn’t have at least s small uncomfortable seed of doubt. The key if you are so inclined is to foster more doubt and encourage that seed to grow by helping that person see the logical flaws in their beliefs.

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Posted: 19 October 2013 10:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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macgyver - 19 October 2013 08:47 AM

You’re correct. If someone is going to accept an old book written by a conglomeration of people as indisputable fact rather than the evidence of the world around them and the conclusions that logic brings us to there may be little we can do. On the other hand I do not believe there is a believer out there who doesn’t have at least s small uncomfortable seed of doubt. The key if you are so inclined is to foster more doubt and encourage that seed to grow by helping that person see the logical flaws in their beliefs.

Yes, BUT, you miss the whole point Mac.  The bible was written some 3,000 years ago and is STILL valid today!

What it tells us is exactly what we observe in nature today - seed in itself. 

HOWEVER, the good book attributes this “knowledge” to a Creator that is behind everything in existence. 

The bible cannot be falsified!

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Posted: 19 October 2013 10:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Lausten - 19 October 2013 05:58 AM
Lois - 18 October 2013 07:56 PM

  You might begin by asking him who or what he sees as the higher power, what are its characteristics and how did this H.P. create the universe? In seven days, perhaps? Also, how the H.P. created man. Anything to do with evolution? I’ll bet you’ll get some interesting answers—or none at all.

Lois

Any time I’ve tried that approach I get something along the lines of “once you accept that there must be a higher power, then it is just a few steps to <insert their deity>”. But I never hear those steps. WL Craig uses the morality argument, which is lame. With one person, in a very long discussion on his blog, I granted that his theory of the necessity of a higher power was true and asked him to proceed, but he demanded absolute belief, not just a conditional agreement. I could see that after that point, anything he wanted to claim could be based on the one fact that his creator had absolute power, and he could see that any refutation I might come up would point out the limitations or unlikelihood of his creator, so we were at an impasse from the beginning.

You and I may have past the point of accepting that we don’t know where the universe came from, so we aren’t stuck with the requirement of a creator, but some people aren’t there yet. And keep in mind Lois, this is a friend, the goal of intellectually destroying the guy’s argument is not an option.

Yes, I know it’s always harder, maybe impossible, with someone you know and are speaking to directly.  I almost never get into such discussions with people I know.  There are many ways to deflect the topic if it comes up.  The only place I argue religion or politics us on discussion groups. That way a seed could be planted in someone else’s mind who is reading it. I never expect reasonable answers or reasonable discussions from true believers.

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Posted: 19 October 2013 11:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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No Jacko, YOU miss the point.  The bible is a book of mythology that’s of no value other than for power-hungry ministers to use as a vehicle to subjugate their congregations.  It was written by men, not by any god, it’s self-contradictory all the way through, it recommends the kinds of immorality that we wouldn’t stand for today, and over the last 350 years one after another of the silly claims made in it have been shown to be false. 

Using the bible as a basis for argument is about as useless as if one used Mad magazine or Playboy for scientific proof.  It’s not a book of fact; it’s a book of fairytales.

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Posted: 19 October 2013 09:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Occam. - 19 October 2013 11:07 AM

Using the bible as a basis for argument is about as useless as if one used Mad magazine or Playboy for scientific proof.  It’s not a book of fact; it’s a book of fairytales.

Occam

Way back in the early seventies, before the “energy crisis”, Mad magazine did a thing on ads of the future. One was the power company telling people to use less power. So, Mad magazine is obviously a book of prophecy.

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Posted: 19 October 2013 11:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Jacko1 - 19 October 2013 10:37 AM

Yes, BUT, you miss the whole point Mac.  The bible was written some 3,000 years ago and is STILL valid today!

What it tells us is exactly what we observe in nature today - seed in itself. 

Where does the Bible tell us the spectral series of atomic hydrogen?

Unless you can actually find this as “exactly what we observe in nature today”, you need to be a bit more discriminatory about your claims of what the Bible says.

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Posted: 20 October 2013 12:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Jacko1 - 19 October 2013 08:39 AM

There is another obvious reason for a Creator. 

It is a very simple one!

For obvious reasons, people can learn from nature that everything comes from its like kind, just like the bible says about “seed in itself”. 

Science can bicker all they want about there not being a Creator, but scripture blatantly and outright informs us otherwise, that there is only ONE Creator and that this Creator created everything in existence. 

So how can we counteract that?

Simple, WE CAN’T!

Of course we can. You have shown no evidence that scripture is anything more than the ravings, wishes and fantasies of primitive men who didn’t know something as basic as that the sun didn’t revolve around the earth. You have accepted myths about scripture as if they were true with nothing to support them and then you challenge us to counteract what they claim! Science and common sense itself counteracts everything scripture claims.

Lois

[ Edited: 20 October 2013 12:09 AM by Lois ]
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