Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Multiverse compared to theology of evil

A UK Telegraph op-ed suggests that atheists are mentally ill:
In the last few years scientists have revealed that believers, compared to non-believers, have better outcomes from breast cancer, coronary disease, mental illness, Aids, and rheumatoid arthritis. Believers even get better results from IVF. Likewise, believers also report greater levels of happiness, are less likely to commit suicide, and cope with stressful events much better. Believers also have more kids.

What’s more, these benefits are visible even if you adjust for the fact that believers are less likely to smoke, drink or take drugs. And let’s not forget that religious people are nicer.
Leftist-atheist-evolutionist Jerry Coyne responds:
That’s still an admission of ignorance, and doesn’t tell us why God lets little kids gets cancer, or sweeps them away in tsunamis. ...

And if there are benefits in God’s plan to natural evils, let the believers tell us what they are. If they say they don’t know, well, then, they’ll have to allow us scientists to say that we don’t yet know whether there are multiverses, or why the laws of physics are as they are. The difference is that at least science has a chance of finding answers. ...

I tend to avoid calling believers mentally ill, partly because branding so much of society as suffering from illness tends to arouse ire, but mainly because I consider religious belief to be not a full-blown illness, but a situational neurosis or delusion.
Coyne attacks religious believers on a daily basis, but somehow thinks that it is scientific to believe in the multiverse.

I don't mind scientists attacking religion, but I wish they would be scientific about it. It is no argument to say "if God exists he must be evil because he allows tsunamis to kill kids." Just what does he think that a good God would do about it? Create a world in which tsunamis kill adults but not kids? Create a world with no tsunamis or other natural hazards?

I fail to see why a benevolent God would prefer a world without tsunamis. If I had infinite power, getting rid of tsunamis is one of the last things I would do. Coyne gives no explanation.

Coyne is an example of a bad scientist who does not understand counterfactuals. He has a weird faith in materialist determinism and a lack of free will. The multiverse is no more scientific than various theologies.

Psychiatrists define mental illness as behavior that is outside social norms. I like to think that prominent scientists and atheists are free from delusions, compared to religious preachers, but it is hard to find examples.

Update: Coyne has now banned a user for saying "without Christianity, there’ll be no modern science", and giving Wikipedia links to Christian and atheist scientists. Coyne hates the counterfactual, I guess.


  1. Why on earth would a universe where no one suffered, no one could suffer, no one had to try, struggle, or strive, or overcome hardship, no one had to lift a god damn finger to survive be somehow moral? Sounds quite the opposite to me. A universe full of useless beings who never had to even try at anything in order to prosper...sounds more like cancer cells with an unlimited food supply, or super evolved couch potatoes without a reason to have evolved at all.

    Years ago there was a TV show on HBO called Six Feet Under. One of the main characters was consoling a grieving widow. She asked him "Why do we have to die?" The man pondered a moment, then said "Because its what makes life worth living". If life were effortless and endless, what value could it possibly have without any kind of scarcity? It would be neither rare nor limited, it would be taken for granted, and there would be no expectation of any kind of accomplishment, thought, or deed, as doing or thinking anything would be pointless, it would have no cause or effect on life continuing. What man could possibly be good in a world where no harm could happen to him no matter what he did? Why would anyone even consider good or evil if neither one had relevance to their existence? By and large I find this whole 'suffering is evil, or proof of no God' meme perpetuated by atheists to be very silly. I'm not saying atheism is silly, I'm just saying this particular argument as anything that justifies it is ridiculous. I'm amazed that full grown adults haven't thought out the ramifications of their 'perfect world' scenario by now, as it would be entirely without consequence of any kind, which is in logical fact meaningless. If everything is made of gold, it isn't very valuable.

    Anyone interested in what is good, or worthwhile, must also understand what is evil and worthless. To the Yin, there must always be a Yang, both logically, philosophically, and morally. Just as if there is a positive charge, there must also exist somewhere a negative charge, as the existence of one also indicates and defines the existence of the other.

  2. You said it better than I did. I agree. There are good arguments for atheism, but this is not one of them. It is just sloppy thinking. I expect better from scientists.

  3. >> Just what does he think that a good God would do about it? Create a world in which tsunamis kill adults but not kids? Create a world with no tsunamis or other natural hazards?

    HaHaHaHa. Good one, Roger.

  4. Well, I do think the problem of evil IS a real problem for believers.I do have a problem reconciling an omnipotent, benevolent deity with people dying in agony from natural disasters (I think natural disasters are a better example than evil done by people, because that way you avoid arguments about free will).