Stupid arguments Christians should avoid: Time's up!
Christians, do us and Christendom a favor and avoid these arguments. This time it's "You must explain all remaining scientific questions now. And if science can't, Christianity can!"
Does science have questions? Christianity has answers!
This is Stupid Argument #44: “Time’s up! Now answer all the fundamental questions of science.” (Don’t blame me—I’d stop listing stupid arguments if Christians would stop making them.)
The discussion of these arguments begins here—go to the appendix at that post for a list of all these arguments to date.
To illustrate this stupid argument, here are comments by Christian apologist Jim Wallace (audio interview @ 20:30). When an atheist, he says he wondered if he was justified in believing “that everything in the universe could be accounted for with nothing more than just space, time, matter, and the laws of physics and chemistry—because that’s all I would have to work with if atheism was true.” I guess he was an inquisitive guy because he had a lot on his mind:
Does that explain the universe the way we see it? Can it explain the beginning of the universe, the fine tuning of the universe, can it explain the origin of life or the appearance of design in biology, can it explain consciousness or free agency or objective transcendent moral truths? Everyone has to explain evil, whether you’re a theist or a nontheist. These are the things that everyone has a burden to explain.
Let’s first clear away the smoke to see what is actually being argued here. The Big Bang is a rough explanation of the beginning of the universe. Fine tuning of constants in the universe is curious, though not much of an argument for God. The origin of life (abiogenesis) is indeed a puzzle, though too much is made of the appearance of design, which is neatly explained by evolution. Science still has questions about consciousness, though there’s no evidence of objective morality. And the Problem of Evil asks why a good god allows bad things to happen. Atheists don’t propose a god, so this is solely a problem for theists.
So what’s left? The cause of the Big Bang (if that’s a valid concept) and abiogenesis are important research areas, with consciousness and perhaps free will as additional challenges. After dismissing the tangential issues, we’re left with the observation that science has questions to answer. That’s true. And obvious. Why then the long list of questions? Because it sounds stupid to plainly state his argument, “There will always be questions within science, but ‘God did it’ explains them all; therefore, God.”
Wallace demands, “These are the things that everyone has a burden to explain,” but his sense of urgency is groundless. Yes, there are unanswered questions, but so what?
[Then I examined] the universe from the perspective of my philosophical naturalism to see if my atheism had any explanatory power.
Sure it does, just not in the field of science. While the Christian claim “God did it” has no evidence backing it and is unfalsifiable (and therefore useless as an explanation), the hypothesis “there is no god” does follow from the evidence and neatly untangles the tough problems that tie Christians in knots.
[I already accepted] several extra-natural explanations as an atheist, because if nature is just space, time, matter, and physics, well, there’s lots of things that those things won’t account for, and so I’ve got to step out of my naturalism just to explain those things and so what am I doing here?
In other words, Time’s up—I need the answers now! No, I’m sorry, “Science is working on it” will not be accepted as an answer. You must completely explain all remaining scientific questions right now.
Or at least that’s how apologists like Wallace imagine things. For some reason, we shouldn’t look for further progress from the only discipline that has taught us anything about nature and which has given us our modern technology-intensive world. No, we should rely on the discipline that weaves contradictory stories about the supernatural, that has no use for evidence, and that has never taught us anything accurate about reality.
See also: Christianity’s Bogus Claims to Answer Life’s Big Questions
Continue to Stupid Argument #45
Of the two great, evil, criminal gangs to emerge out of Italy,
why is the Mafia the one that gets most of the bad press?
— commenter RichardSRussell