The Argument Clinic

If you find your comments moved here, it’s because I didn’t have time to do anything better with them. I may have already asked that you take action to self-moderate, and so avoid imposing on moderator’s time.

So anyway, here we are.

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I’m sorry; this is Abuse.

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Yes, I agree. Still, my point is that evidence has to relate to a particular proposition, and if there are competing propositions, evidence has to weigh more in favour of one than the other for it to be meaningful. That is why I asked what the differences might be between a universe without God and a universe with God but one that hides himself. If we can’t tell, how do we know what sort of evidence might decide between them?


Perhaps if I give an example? Until about the mid-20th century, many (if not most) astronomers and cosmologists believed in a steady state model of the universe. However, it was then discovered that all observed galaxies show a red shift, indicating they are all moving away from us. This would not be predicted by a steady state model, and instead indicated an expanding universe consistent with the Big Bang model. Subsequently, other highly specific and empirically measurable predictions of the Big Bang were confirmed, and now pretty well every scientist rejects the Steady State model in favour of the Big Bang.

That is not the case for God. Even though there are scientists who are personally convinced one god or another exists, they will not usually claim that this has been established as a scientific fact.

Why is that? It seems to me that, by far, the most plausible explanation is that scientific evidence does not point conclusively to the existence of a god. Do you disagree?


Yes, that prompted my comment.

I know. Is that person a Dawkins fan?

Those are my questions for you.

That didn’t come across very well.


Are there different types of evidence? How about starting with a definition for that word.

Thanks, but no thanks. How about a definition?

Isn’t that conflating fact with evidence? I’m don’t think I’ve heard of a theist claim that they can prove that God exists. But I have heard them claim that their is evidence that God exists.

So why are you using that word evidence without defining it?

Have I got this right, you’d be surprised there are Dawkins fans here?

I don’t know. He hasn’t said one way or the other. Maybe it is not important to him.

But they weren’t. They were however clearly my questions for you. Why decline them?

Maybe not. He hasn’t complained.

The first definition that came up when I googled it is “the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid.”

Sounds fine to me. Now, do we stay in the weeds or shall we have an actual discussion? What would the world look like if there was no God? Would it be different than if there was a God but he choses to remain hidden? Care to comment on this?

@Mercer has said that two different ways already…

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Seem rather question-begging.
If God exists and created the world it seems likely that the world wouldn’t exist if he didn’t exist. It would look like nothing looks like. It (in the case that God is necessary for the world to exist) would look like nothing because it would be nothing.

On the other hand, if God does not exist, the world would look like it does now.

Seem similar if a person through undetected fraud won the Powerball lottery 10 times consecutively. The case of winning by means of fraud would look exactly like if someone did it without fraud. Even in the absence of fraud, it would seem that one would be justified to be suspicious that fraud had been involved.

I’m not sure I understand the question. Can I assume that you believe that if a God exists now, he is hidden? Some people believe that he does exist now and is not hidden. But even those people don’t think that they are able to literally see him. Rather they think they see evidence of him.
So if I’m kind of close to understanding the question, I don’t think there would be a difference in the way the world looks.

According to you and according to the definition of evidence you’ve provided, does the fine-tuning of the universe for life count as evidence for God?

Earlier you raised the point of question-begging. I suggest that what you write here is very much question begging itself. You make a claim without presenting anything to back it up. “God exists because without God nothing would exist”. Your evidence for this is, what, exactly? This only works for people who already believe in God, and they don’t need this claim. However, if I don’t believe in God, why would I find your argument here even remotely convincing?

Not necessarly, I am just presenting a position that many believers hold: God prefers to remain hidden so as to preserve Free Will (although, granted, they don’t explain why Jesus, who is God, went round doing miracles in full view of lots of people).

No. It might do if there are no alternative explanations on the table. There is of course the multiverse idea: there are an infinite number of universes, all different, and we happen to live in one where fine-tuning exists. So, the evidence is equally strong for multiverses as for one universe with God. In other words, the finetuning isn’t evidence for the one or the other situation at all.

For clarity, I’m not advocating this one or any other explanations (and yes there might be others). In reality we simply don’t know, so it isn’t really justified to make categorical statements about the nature of the evidence. We don’t know what we don’t know and there is nothing wrong with admitting that (unless you favour Pascal’s wager, but that comes with other problems).


Not necessarily. He could be pretending to believe on his own time.


It is, however, the expected behavior of an Ironic Designer.

Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit.

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According to you (not anyone else), is there good evidence for fine-tuning? Again, please cite evidence. Citing rhetoric instead is a tacit admission that you don’t have evidence.


You’ve polled everyone?

Does one “cite” rhetoric? Or does one use rhetoric? Have I cited rhetoric? Where was that?


“A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics … and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.”

  • Fred Hoyle
    “Wherever physicists look, they see examples of fine tuning.”
  • Sir Martin Rees
    “The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life.”
  • Stephen Hawking
    “If anyone claims not to be surprised by the special features the universe has, he is hiding his head in the sand. These special features are surprising and unlikely.”
  • David Deutsch
    “There is for me powerful evidence that there is something going on behind it all …it seems as though somebody has fine-tuned nature’s numbers to make the universe. The impression of design is overwhelming.”
  • Paul Davies
    “Astronomy leads us to a unique event, a universe which was created out of nothing, one with the very delicate balance needed to provide exactly the right conditions required to permit life, and one which has an underlying (one might say ‘supernatural’) plan.”
  • Arno Penzias

source of above,

So a bunch of quotes is evidence for a fine-tuned universe? You need try harder.


The universe is not fine-tuned for life.


No. Why? You were stating it as a simple fact. What evidence did you use to come to that conclusion?

That’s all you’ve cited. Not a speck of evidence. That’s what I meant by asking you and no one else. Is that not clear?

You’re not reading what you’re citing. “Seem” is not synonymous with “is.”

None of those things suggest that any entity has tuned them.

So you’ve only witnessed rhetoric, yet you stated fine-tuning as a fact. Isn’t that bearing false witness?