If Science Can Be Done, Then God Exists
In my book Inference To The One True God, and in my blog posts "The Kalam Cosmological Argument," "The Fine Tuning Argument For God's Existence (Updated Version)", and in "The Fine Tuning Of The Earth and Universe", I show how science points to God via the origin of the universe and the fine tuning of the universe. I provided syllogisms and defended the premises to establish the conclusion that a transcended Creator matching the biblical description of God brought our world into being and tuned it in a precise manner so that life can exist. In this way, science points towards God.
But did you know that science points to God in another way? Do you know what that way is? Science points to God by being possible to do in the first place! The famous scientist Albert Einstein once said: "The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is at all comprehensible."1 Why do we live in a rational universe? Why do we live in a universe that runs by laws and cause-and-effect? Why is it that we can expect nature to be uniform everywhere we go? Why is it that every time we throw an object up into the air, we can expect gravity to pull it back down? Why is the universe so consistent and orderly?
Why don't we live in a chaotic, irrational, inconsistent world where you never know what's going to happen from moment to moment, such as gravity doing a total 180 and everyone flies out into space? Why is it that a sudden reversal of the second law of thermodynamics doesn't occur, ending life as we know it? Why is it that an Acorn tree will produce acorns 100% of the time, and will never, ever, ever produce apples?
If the latter were the case, science couldn't possibly be done! All science depends on nature being uniform and consistent. If the law of inertia only worked at random times, if gravity only made two massive bodies attract one another part of the time, if Acorn Trees could produce any kind of fruit at any time, science would be impossible. Why? Because science relies on the ability to make predictions. Scientists first get an idea called a "hypothesis", then they make predictions "If Theory 1 is true, research should uncover evidences A, B, and C. If it is false, it will uncover D", and then scientists can do their digging to see if they can find A, B, or C. This is a simplified explanation of course, but that's basically how science gets done. Scientists have done this for centuries and have confirmed theories like heliocentrism, general relativity, and The Big Bang Theory. In the case of the latter, scientists predicted that if the universe began in an extremely hot, violent, rapid explosive expansion event (a Big Bang), then there should be some residual radiation left over from that event. In the 1960s, Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson discovered that radiation and were given Nobel Prizes.
Science makes the assumption that the universe is rational and that we can learn something about it. But why would anyone assume that that is the case if the atheistic worldview were true? Given atheism, there's no intelligent mind who created and organized the cosmos. In that case, why would you have an expectation of order? Why expect the universe to be orderly so that processes such as science would work and that we could interact and uncover things about it?
Apologist and Blogger Richard Bushey gave this illustration to help make the point. He wrote "Think for a moment about the difference between an object that has a mind behind it and a one that does not have a mind behind it. What would you expect of a conglomeration of letters with no mind behind it? Suppose a cat were to walk on the keyboard or hail stones were to fall on it. Given that there is no mind behind the conglomeration of letters formed, you would expect that it would be incoherent. But if a person who knows how to write and operate a keyboard were to type a sentence, you would expect that she would yield a coherent sentence (maybe). The universe is like a conglomeration of letters. If you start with the presupposition, 'There is no mind behind this conglomeration of letters,' then you will expect that the conglomeration of letters will be incoherent."2
Instead, what we find is that the universe is rational. The universe is a coherent sentence. We can learn about it through rigorous investigation, and it always yields accurate results, the only inaccuracies come about when the scientists goof up in interpreting the data. The very fact that science is possible presupposes the coherency of the universe, and the coherency of the universe is best explained by the fact that there is a Mind behind the universe. Now, it is true that a cat or hailstones could conceivably form a coherence sentence on a keyboard, and it is also possible that there is no Mind behind the universe. But which is more likely? Which is more reasonable and worthy of intellectual assent? I don't know about you, but I think that it is far, far more likely that the reason the universe is comprehensible is that there is a God who created it. The universe is rational because it is the product of a rational God.
Therefore, although we Christian Apologists will say things like "The Big Bang needs a Big Banger" or "The Cosmic Fine Tuning is best explained by Intelligent Design" or "The Local Fine Tuning Is best explained by intelligent design", in reality, every piece of accurate, scientific data will serve as evidence for the existence of God.
My fellow apologist Richard Bushey wrote an article making this same argument, and he pointed out a very interesting thing. He said that even if by inconceivable odds we managed to live in a rational universe for the past 14 billion years by accident, that's no guarantee that things will be different tomorrow. How do we know the universe won't go all wonky on us tomorrow or even in the next 5 seconds? The atheist may say "Repeated testing and observation", but as Bushey points out, that answer will not serve as all testing and observations were done in this universe occurred in the past. All that does is show that, by fantastic odds, we managed to live in a comprehensible universe for 14 billion years, but that doesn't prove that the universe will continue to be comprehensible. What good reasons are there, on atheism, to believe that if we've already defeated the statistical impossibilities, we will continue to do so tomorrow? How do you know that the next conglomeration of letters will be coherent?
This argument can be placed in the syllogistic form. Indeed. Bushey did that in his article. His syllogism went like this:
1: If science works and the universe is rational, then God probably exists.
2: Science works and the universe is rational.
3: Therefore, God probably exists.
I made the case for premise 1 in all of the preceding paragraphs above. Premise 2 needs no defense as it's self-evident. Obviously, science works otherwise you wouldn't be reading this blog post because science couldn't have gotten the internet invented. The universe is obviously rational. It seems to me that the only premise open for the skeptic to attack is premise 1. Not only can he not deny premise 2 because it's obviously true, but because also if he bit the bullet and said "No, science doesn't work and we live in an irrational universe", then he can no longer pride himself as being pro-science and look down on Christians for being anti-science. He could no longer make that (false) rhetoric.
Objection: How Do You Know God Would Want To Create A Rational Universe In The First Place?
The Atheist might object to premise 1 by saying that we don't know if God would create a comprehensible universe in the first place. God could have created an incomprehensible universe if He wanted to, and then the possibility of science would no longer point to His existence. As a Molinist, I do think a world where science is impossible was feasible for Him to actualize. He certainly had the freedom to actualize that kind of possible world if it so pleased Him.
However, this doesn't do anything to overturn the argument. "Oh, God could have created an irrational universe if He wanted to." So? So? So what? Which premise of the argument does this point undermine? The answer to that question is neither. It does not refute my argument that if atheism were true, it is far more likely that the universe would be inconsistent and incomprehensible. It certainly doesn't undermine the point that science works and the universe has been rational for the past 14 billion years.
Objection: "But How Do You Know The Universe Won't Cease To Be Rational Tomorrow, Even Given Theism?"
The atheist could reflect my own question back at me and ask me how I know that, even though the universe has been rational for the past 14 billion years, that it won't cease to be rational tomorrow? Even given theism, he can ask this question. How do I know that God won't choose to make the universe go all wonky tomorrow?
For one thing, I adhere to "perfect being theology" as entailed by The Ontological Argument For God's Existence. God is a maximally great being. This means that God has all great making properties to the greatest extent possible. One of these properties is the property of being rational and logical. It is greater to be logical than illogical. It is greater to be rational than irrational. If God were an irrational being, He would not be Maximally Great, but God is Maximally Great, therefore He is rational. If God is rational, then it follows that He would prefer a rational, consistent universe rather than an irrational, inconsistent one. God's logical nature would prevent Him from being pleased with an irrational, inconsistent universe.
However, I'd rather not hang The Argument From Science on The Ontological Argument. I think that even if you don't think of God as a Maximally Great Being, we still have reason to expect that the universe will always be rational. The theist is still in a better epistemological position than the atheist. If you believe a person (Evan Minton) is behind this blog post, you'd be in your rational rights to assume that the rest of the paragraphs in this blog post will continue to be intelligible. If you believe that that product of this blog post is the result of the blog owner's cat (Jellybean) walking across the keyboard, you would not. We expect coherence from start to finish from personal agents, we don't from impersonal ones. If the universe is the creation of a personal agent, then we should not only not be surprised as its consistency in the past and present, but we would expect this consistency to carry on into the future. The simple point is that coherence is naturally expected if one believes something has an intelligent, personal agent behind it, in spite of the fact that intelligent, personal agents are capable of making incoherence. For example, I could purposefully pound random keys for the rest of this blog post, but that's not something you would expect given your belief that a personal agent named Evan Minton is the cause behind this blog post. Even though I could type "fjdikfjfoedfkeofkw" for the rest of the article, you wouldn't have that expectation that I would. On the flip side, if my cat were the reason behind the formation of letters, you wouldn't expect continued coherence at all. In fact, it would be a statistical miracle if the coherence proceeded as long as it did by mere chance.
Objection: "But We're Talking Probabilities Here. There's Still A Chance The Universe Is Rational With No Mind Behind It."
True, there is a small chance that the universe could be rational and there could still be no mind behind it. However, the rational man will always vote for what is more probable. If we went up to a fence that had a locked gate, and the gate had one of those combination locks on it like you see on High School lockers, and I got the combination right on the first try, what would your conclusion be? That I got the combination right by chance or that I knew which numbers to turn the dial to? The latter is more probable than the former. Sure, the former is possible, but you'd be more reasonable if you concluded the latter. The latter is more probable.
Likewise, even though it's possible that, in an atheistic universe, the universe would be rational, it is not probable.
Given the truth of the two premises, the conclusion logically and necessarily follows. It is probable that God exists.
“The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass, God is waiting for you.” 3
― Werner Heisenberg
"Men became scientific because they expected Law in Nature, and they expected Law in Nature because they believed in a Law Giver." 4
- C.S Lewis
1: Albert Einstein. (n.d.). BrainyQuote.com. Retrieved July 21, 2017, from BrainyQuote.com Web site: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/alberteins125369.html
2: Richard Bushey, "If Science Works And The Universe Is Rational, Then God Probably Exists", November 13, 2016, https://thereforegodexists.com/science-works-god-probably-exists/
3: [“Der erste Trunk aus dem Becher der Naturwissenschaft macht atheistisch, aber auf dem Grund des Bechers wartet Gott.”] (Heisenberg, as cited in Hildebrand 1988, 10).
4: Lewis, C.S., Miracles: a preliminary study, Collins, London, p. 110, 1947.