Friday, December 21, 2012

The Heavens Declare (Part 2, The Numbers Game)

You can't win the numbers game when discussing things with an atheist. All the parameters that have to be amazingly fine-tuned in our universe, our galaxy, our solar system, and our planet, to make them compatible with life, will not persuade him.

The first thing he may say is that even though the chances were unimaginably small that our particular universe would come into being, the chances were exactly the same for any other particular universe to have appeared. If you have a deck of a hundred cards, well-shuffled, and you have a blindfolded person pick one out of a large jar, each and every card has the same chance (1 in a hundred) of being chosen. It is no more remarkable that one should have been drawn than that any other should have been.

There's a flaw in this argument, useless but fun to point out. If you have a hundred different cards in that jar and 99 of them are white while one is red, the chance the blindfolded person will draw the red card is still 1 in a hundred. But it's no longer even odds, for the chance he will draw a white card is 99 in a hundred. The chance of a universe appearing that would be incompatible with life was so many orders of magnitude higher than the chance of a life-supporting one that we can't even comprehend numbers that high.

Never mind. In the end, the atheist will shrug his shoulders and say no matter how far beyond the virtually impossible the odds may have been, nevertheless this particular, life-supporting Universe did come into being, as proven by the fact that we're here. You ask him, "And you believe this could have happened by chance?" and he will say that's still more credible than to believe God did it. You lean back with a smirk, contented that he has made himself look like an idiot, and he leans back with a smirk, thinking you look more like one.

You can't win the numbers game.

A better approach would be to ask how matter could arise from itself.

But Christian theology isn't a matter of science, nor yet of secular philosophy. Christian proclamation begins with and culminates in, "Christ is risen!"