As my regular readers will know, I don’t believe in the supernatural. I don’t think there is a god, or gods, or supernatural forces out there. As an atheist, I have heard the arguments for religion many times. There is one argument I find particularly annoying, because it is so completely nonsensical that I can’t believe it’s even used. I heard it articulated like this the other day:
A Christian man whom we’ll call Peter had an atheist friend named Dave who was very interested in astronomy and outer space. So the Peter created a detailed globe of the heavens, showing each star and galaxy. When Dave came to visit, he wanted to know where Peter had gotten the globe. Peter told him it had just appeared there, like that, and had no maker. Dave told Peter he must be joking, and Peter pointed out to Dave that, as an atheist, Dave himself believes all of the heavens and stars and galaxies came into existence on their own, with no creator, which is far more improbable. Dave went home with much to think about, and soon converted to Christianity.
If I’m walking along a beach and I find a watch, yes, I assume that a person made it. I know that there are watch factories. I can look up pictures, or even go visit one. The same is true for globes, or books, or lamps, and so forth. I have not, however, ever seen a supernatural entity create a universe.
Let me put it like this. If you’re walking through a field and you look down and see a clump of dirt, would you assume a person made it? No, you would assume that it formed naturally. What if you came upon a small clay pot, with handles and swirling designs on its sides? You would assume that a person made it and left it there, or lost it. You would assume that because you know that people make pots, but you have never seen a person make a dirt clod.
In other words, if you point to a globe and claim that the fact that I know a person made that globe is some sort of “gotcha” that proves that there is a supernatural entity that created our universe, you’re going to lose me, because that makes no sense at all.
Look, if you want to argue that the universe looks like it was designed, be my guest! That argument actually has some sense to it. I am, however, going to have to disagree, because I don’t actually think the universe looks like it was designed. In fact, I think it very much looks like it wasn’t designed.
If you want to argue that nothing just “is,” and that everything has an origin or cause, and that therefore there must be an uncaused entity (i.e. god) that created all matter, you are more than welcome! I am going to have to note, though, that it seems much more likely to me that matter is the thing that just is than that there is a supernatural entity out there that just is.
Make all of the arguments against atheism you like! Seriously, I have no problem with that whatsoever. Just please, please, please don’t point to a globe, or a watch, or a lamp, and tell me that because I know a person created that, it is of necessity just as obvious that a divine being created the universe. Not only is this not convincing, it makes you look ridiculous.