Is there design in the universe? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
Mills in this chapter is going to take on intelligent design. Since I’m not an advocate of the movement, it really doesn’t matter to me, but I do want to point out bad arguments he makes along the way. Let’s get started.
The most charitable comment available is that the “First Cause” argument begs the question (i.e., If God created the universe, then who created God? If God always existed, then why couldn’t the mass-energy of the universe have always existed?). A less charitable comment might be that the “First Cause” argument reflects ignorance of the scientific method, in that theological philosophizing is offered as a substitute for independent, empirical verification of one’s scientific conclusions.
Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (p. 83). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.
Yes. It has already been dealt with. I just wanted to point out he says it again.
Unaware of biological evolution, medieval man considered the complexity of his own anatomy to be evidence of Divine Creation. The wider the gaps in scientific understanding, the greater the historical need for a miracle-working “God of the Gaps.” Why does it rain? God makes it rain. Why does the wind blow? God makes the wind blow. Why is the sky blue? God made the sky blue. Why does the sun shine? God makes the sun shine.
Mills, David. Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (p. 85). Ulysses Press. Kindle Edition.
I challenge Mills to show me where these medieval men said this. On the contrary, they were constantly trying to find explanations for why the universe worked how it did. They knew ultimately, God was behind it, but they wanted to discover His methodologies as a way to bring glory to Him. This wasn’t God of the Gaps! They were trying to fill in the gaps!
Naturally, Mills will point to the way that nature is destructive as well as beautiful, but medieval men knew this. Modern Christians also know this. Constant theodicies have been written. Even if hypothetically, they all failed, thus far in my reading, Mills has not bothered to interact with a single one of them.
The reality is Mills and the Christian both have something to explain. The problem is Mills puts the onus on the Christian when the Christian has a ready reason available. Either the world fell when Adam and Eve fell, or God created it not perfect knowing that Adam and Eve would fall anyway.
What Mills has to explain is what Chesterton called the problem of pleasure. if the universe is at its root just random chaos, then why do we find such beauty and order in so many places? Wouldn’t we expect to find more chaos instead? Christianity has to explain how evil entered the world, which is part and parcel of the Christian story. Atheism has to explain how beauty, goodness, and order came from the exact opposite via pure accident. (Even assuming those things being objectively real can somehow be explained on atheism.)
Mercifully, this is a short chapter. We won’t be as lucky with the others.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)