A Conversation about God, Evidence, and Teleology

This quote has been mentioned by someone else in the discussion as well.

I’d be interested to hear what you consider that evidence to be. I’m familiar with most of the common ones presented, and most are circular reasoning, in that they ‘smuggle in’ the existence of God in their premises.

If there is new and convincing evidence for the existence of God, I would be delighted to hear it.

An excess of certainty in either our current best scientific understanding or a particular interpretation of Scripture is (a) not consistent with a more sophisticated understanding of either and (b) a recipe for an inability to engage in good-faith dialogue with others.

My comment was intended as irony. Sorry I couldn’t communicate my tone of voice in my post. :slight_smile:


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Sorry, I meant “disagreements with Paul Price”! I understood the irony in your comment, that it was an attempt at a reductio ad absurdum. My point is that I think Paul is attacking a strawman - no Christian believes that nature does what it does “unaided”, as we all agree that God is ultimately the creator and sustainer of all that exists and happens, including the motion of planets and evolution.

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If it’s the latter, how could that be considered “sustaining”?

The analogy I have in mind is that the universe is like a computer simulation where God is both the programmer and the provider of electricity to the machine. God can program certain subroutines to automate tasks, but he also actively provides the electricity that makes it possible for the subroutines to execute in the first place.

In this analogy, what would the electricity correspond to? Why should the universe require some kind of external power supply. It seems as if a competent God could manage a self-sustaining universe, and that this scenario places odd limits on God’s power just for the purpose of making his presence necessary.

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Does this end up leading to a 'God of the gaps? In that, where we fully understand a mechanism in naturalistic terms we ascribe the process to nature, where we don’t we ascribe it to God? Such a God shrinks as scientific knowledge grows…

It seems to me that a ‘both-and’ set of explanations might be more powerful and less vulnerable than an ‘either-or’.

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Christians can disagree, but we may as well look at what the Bible says. I looked for some clearer passages about God and nature.

Colossians 1

He [the Son] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by[f] him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

Nehemiah 9:6

“You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you.

Psalm 145

The eyes of all look to you,
and you give them their food in due season.
16 You open your hand;
you satisfy the desire of every living thing.

Psalm 135

For I know that the Lord is great,
And our Lord is above all gods.
6 Whatever the Lord pleases He does,
In heaven and in earth,
In the seas and in all deep places.
7 He causes the [a]vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth;
He makes lightning for the rain;
He brings the wind out of His treasuries.

Don’t confuse God of the gaps with “God of the limits”. There certainly are gaps in our scientific knowledge yet to be filled. However, there also are limits beyond which science will never be able to venture an explanation.

Here is a simple one (from my other thread): Why do cells divide? I did not ask how cells divide. I asked why they divide. What gives them impetus to divide?

What gives apples the impetus to fall? Essentially the same question.

Since physics is what is causing cells to divide, the question then turns to physics. Why is physics the way it is? Nobody knows.


Presumably you aren’t asking what mechanism controls the timing or initiation of cell division. You’re asking why reproduction happens at all. That’s simple enough. Organisms that don’t reproduce don’t leave descendants, and thus we only see the descendants of organisms that did reproduce. There could have been a form of life without reproduction long in the past, but if so it was a unique, single individual, and once it ended, that’s all.


I already knew that you did not know.

Storytelling. And that makes my point. So forgetting a “God of the gaps” approach which you accuse creationists of using, it now sounds like we are all invoking Something or Someone beyond the limits of our scientific knowledge.

We call on a “God of the limits”, you also call on your “god of the limits”.

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That’s no different from God of the gaps. The only difference is you can rest content that the gap is impossible to fill, which raises the question of how the hell you justify putting God into it. If it’s beyond the limit of what can be known (say the why the laws of physics are the way they are is beyond this limit), what justifies the claim to know God that is the why? What method did you use to establish this?

You read it in an old book? Reading blind assertions in old books with no way to test or verify them is a way of knowing? No, it clearly is not.


The category error is anthropomorphism: the Moon does not need a motivation to orbit the Earth. It does so because the universe is as it is. Same with cell division.

If you wish to make claims about why the universe is as it is, that’s probably the place to start, rather than enumerating the literally near-infinite number of processes occuring within the universe-as-it-is.

Your challenge is “You can’t explain why”. I have just done so, but I’m not sure it’s an explanation you’ll find acceptable.


It is completely different, but now I am just repeating myself.

You are clearly conflating two completely unrelated processes. We know why the moon orbits the earth. “Motivation” does not enter into the argument.

However, I asked you why cells divided and you cannot answer except to use a totally unrelated analogy. You are crawfishing and trying to deflect the intractable problem posed by my question. Too, nowhere did I bring in the idea of “motivation”.

I simply asked the question: Why do cells divide. Now, why can’t I get an honest answer like, “We don’t know” without all the tossing of hay in the air?

My point was simple and my point still stands. Cell division describes not a “gap” in our science literacy, but rather, a “limit” beyond which you and science will never provide a sufficient answer.

Cells divide because the laws of physics and chemistry produce self-replication in the complex chemical reaction we call life.

Cells are constantly dividing in your body all the time. Let us take a skin cell. Are you suggesting that there is not a natural impetus to account for it dividing?

Or are you suggesting that each division is a tiny supernatural event, and some tiny angel or other such entity goes “pinggg” to get the mitosis rolling?

And in your mind, is it even worth researching for a natural explanation, given that the search for a natural explanation of course presumes that cell division is allowed under the domain of science?

You are welcome to spend your time looking, but we both already know you will not find a naturalistic answer. I personally will spend my time in more productive ways.

You still have not addressed what you believe to be the impetus for cell division.

More productive than cancer research, for which understanding the regulatory mechanisms of cell division is crucial?