Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> Brent Meeker writes:
>> Tom Caylor wrote:
>>> Brent Meeker wrote:
>>>> An excellent essay.  I agree with almost everything you wrote; and you put 
>>>> it very well.  Would you mind if I cross posted it to Vic Stenger's 
>>>> AVOID-L mailing list.  You can check out the list here: 
>>> Although Victor Stenger doesn't use the word "anti-natural", the
>>> following equation is what he is assuming in his atheistic arguments:
>>> supernatural = anti-natural.
>>> Therefore he thinks that a proof of theism would amount to finding a
>>> violation of natural law.  Since he finds no such violation (which I
>>> would argue is a circular argument based on the definition of natural)
>>> he claim this proves atheism beyond a reasonable doubt (what is the
>>> measure of certainty/uncertainty?).
>>> In terms of Bruno's provability, this is akin to saying that a proof of
>>> the existence of a non-trivial G*/G can be obtained by finding an
>>> inconsistency in G.  This does not make sense.  This is like saying the
>>> only god that can exist is an inconsistent god.
>> A theist God (as opposed to a deist God) is one who intervenes in the 
>> natural order, i.e. does miracles.  Stenger will readily admit that his 
>> argument does not apply to a deist God.
> It's also possible that God intervenes all the time in a perfectly consistent 
> manner to sustain natural laws, such that if he stopped doing so the whole 
> universe would instantly disintegrate. 

That's possible, but then he's a deist God.  He doesn't do miracles in response 
to prayer.  It seems to me there's a contradiction between "intervenes" and 
"prefectly consistent".  There's no more reason to believe that the universe 
needs "sustaining" than to believe there's a teapot orbiting Jupiter.

>This would make it seem as if God either 
> does not exist or, if he does, he is a deist, whereas in fact he is a theist. 
> The 
> problem with this idea, and for that matter with deism, is that it is empty 
> of 
> explanatory value. Ironically perhaps, it is God-as-miracle-worker which 
> comes 
> closest to a legitimate scientific theory, albeit one without any supporting 
> evidence 
> in its favour.

If it's lawlike it ain't a miracle.  Deism was a common position that come out 
of the Enlightenment.  It comported perfectly with a Newtonian, clockwork 
universe.  It avoided the problem of evil.  Franklin, Paine, and Jefferson were 
deists.  But it fits well with scientific models because it does nothing.

Brent Meeker
"Some books against Deism fell into my hands. . . . It happened
that they wrought  an effect on me quite contrary to what was
intended by them; for the arguments of the Deists, which were
quoted to be refuted, appeared to me much stronger than the
refutations, in short, I soon became a thorough Deist."
      --- Benjamin Franklin

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