I don’t blame people for concluding that “the universe is so complex/big/amazing that there must have been a supernatural cause for it.” Personally, I think that only gets you to Deism (or Pan-theism), but I don’t see how that could get you to theism in any rational, reasonable, logically honest way.
The problem with that claim that the universe must have supernatural origins is this: how do you know? What reliable, natural evidence can you put forward to support that claim? It creates an infinite regression problem if you say “God caused the universe,” because it raises the question “who caused God?”
I’ve always thought it was a cop-out to respond “God is supernatural, and therefore doesn’t need a cause.” The name of that logical fallacy is a special pleading. – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special_pleading
But I think there’s something worse than logic errors with this position, and this is highlighted in the case of Deism. The problem with Deism is that it relies on wishful thinking, and is very inconsistent with other Deistic positions. Deists know they can’t prove God. They’ve taken this to be true, because they’re right – there’s no way to prove God. So, why make the leap to the supernatural, when there’s no evidence for that, either?
The claim for supernatural intervention comes from ignorance. People, as far as I can tell, have never witnessed supernatural behavior, and there doesn’t seem to be any reasonable scientists who have put forward evidence that supernatural behavior is a real thing, or is observable in any way. So why on Earth would we imagine it exists, especially if we’re trying to demonstrate it within a logically consistent framework?
But even if we could demonstrate that supernatural phenomena occurs, why must it have caused the Universe? Even if you take for granted that supernatural stuff happens, what logic can you put forward that supernatural phenomena caused the universe? Maybe what caused the universe is something that happens very rarely, but is completely natural…and maybe it’s something we’ve never even considered or observed.
Point is: we don’t know. But saying “God did it” is worse than saying “we don’t know”, because the claim that it was supernatural allows us to stop investigating. There was a time when we hardly knew anything. The method we used to end that condition was rigorous, honest investigation. “God did it” is the opposite of that, and it doesn’t get you anywhere, or lead you to anything other than satisfaction in your own ignorance.Follow @TimSteppingOut