Explanatory Power Can’t Be the Only Factor

This post is basically a long Twitter response to my friend @sillymuddle. Silly, as I call him in my mind (or her – I don’t know for sure) is a Christian on the basis (in part) that the natural world and the universe is best explained by a god poofing it into existence. I’ve been sitting on this draft for almost a year, so the conversation is way over, but the results are the same.

During the course of our weeks long talk on Twitter, he touched on the Kalam Cosmological Argument, some TAG and of course, the bible itself. We’ve talked about Bayesian probability and even ran some numbers. After all that, he wants me to accept that “Explanatory power is a useful way to know that something is true”.

No. I don’t accept that. Explanatory power is a hypothesis. We don’t make an hypothesis and call that the truth. The thing that bothers me is that Silly knows this. He works in academia on quantum computing, from what I understand, anyway. When we were doing our Bayesian analysis, Silly was plugging in numbers that have no basis in reality. Therein lies the fault with a bayesian analysis. Since you have no other universes to investigate, you can’t estimate a value for god or gravity.

When we look at Einstein’s field equation, we don’t find any values for god.

Screen Shot 2015-12-20 at 2.41.30 PM


When we look at the geometry and evolution of universes with differing amounts of matter and vacuum energy, we still see no god here. We see matter and some stuff we don’t understand yet. In fact, in the 25 or 26 fundamental constants, none are a placeholder for god.

Explanatory power doesn’t point to truth. Magic or pixies or aliens could explain the formation of the universe. We have no reason to believe that god is any better an explanation. So why does anyone believe they have a foundation for god as the causal agent in universe creation? The answer of course: The bible.

IN THE BEGINNING… some stuff, that science AND language both totally refute, happened.

If the evidence for your views on god are totally, unequivocally destroyed by an earnest effort to explain the only possible scenarios for the formation of our universe, you are not justified in believing that god had anything to do with it.

Look, I don’t reject god because I want to, if it’s true, I want to know and I want to accept it. My mind is open to that possibility. No matter if your assertion is that I reject it because I love my sin or I suppress the truth in unrighteousness, try to absorb this: I don’t. Not willingly, not willfully. I want to believe things that are true, even things I won’t like. I’m just not willing to delude or wish myself into it. Faith is not a path to truth. Faith is, by definition, a hope. I don’t just hope god is real, I hope to believe things that are true.




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