(1) decision making paradigm embraces the simplest and most elegant idea
(2) God is the simple solution--God = being itself, the nature of being is to be.
(3) Solves all other problems--morality, meaning
Stop right here. If simple is your thing then this is it. But there's more for those of you who want substance.
A. Elegant Solution
(1) Elegant is more important than simplicity
As I have pointed out all kinds of true things are complex. Anything can be made simple or complex based upon how deeply we go into it. But the concept of an elegant solution includes simplicity but more than that it deals with 'bang for the buck." What the concept of God lacks in exhaustive understanding (God is beyond our understanding) it makes up for in Bang for the buck in terms of applicability.
(2) Definition of Elegance.
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The word elegant, in general, is an adjective meaning of fine quality. Refinement and simplicity are implied, rather than fussiness, or ostentation. An elegant solution, often referred to in relation to problems in disciplines such as mathematics, engineering, and programming, is one in which the maximum desired effect is achieved with the smallest, or simplest effort. Engineers, for example, seek the elegant solution as a means of solving a problem with the least possible waste of materials and effort. The elegant solution is also likely to be accomplished with appropriate methods and materials - according to the Elegant Solution Organization, duct tape is not likely to be part of an elegant solution, unless, of course, the problem involves taping ducts.
(3) Simplicity is not logically mandated
This scientific principle is derived from Occam's Razor, but it is not Occam's Razor.The Razor is always misquoted. The popular notion is that it says "take the simplest solution." Actually it doesn't. Occam never said that. He said do not multiply entities beyond necessity. But it is, nevertheless understood that the simplest and most elegant solution is to be preferred.
God is not a scientific concept, and thus cannot be Parsimonious, and doesn't' need to be. But elegant solutions exist at all levels of problem solving. While Gdo is not a scientific concept, God is an elegant solution to all our creatoinal needs. Alvin Plantinga (Lecture Notes--26 Theistic arguments)
Quote: Alvin Plantinga
"According to Swinburne, simplicity is a prime determinant of intrinsic probability. That seems to me doubtful, mainly because there is probably no such thing in general as intrinsic (logical) probability. Still we certainly do favor simplicity; and we are inclined to think that simple explanations and hypotheses are more likely to be true than complicated epicyclic ones. So suppose you think that simplicity is a mark of truth (for hypotheses). If theism is true, then some reason to think the more simple has a better chance of being true than the less simple; for God has created both us and our theoretical preferences and the world; and it is reasonable to think that he would adapt the one to the other. (If he himself favored anti-simplicity, then no doubt he would have created us in such a way that we would too.) If theism is not true, however, there would seem to be no reason to think that the simple is more likely to be true than the complex." (I no longer have the source for this quote but i know it was a lecture by Pleantiga entitled "50 or theistic arguments").
In other words, the idea that the simple idea is true is not logically necessary. It's an aesthetic preference we make in our thinking.
B. God is the simplest Solution.
(1) nature of simplicity
Atheists often think that God is the more complicated solution. On discussion boards they will often argue that the Big Bang is much simpler than God becasue it comes from a singularity. So they are confusing size with simplicity. Apparently they think that an infinitesimally small thing is siple and an infinite thing is complex. But this is not at all true, which one can see with proper reflection. God is actually much simpler. The singularity has to be explained itself, it offers no real explanation but invented a cause for itself. And if it did contain matter and energy, which many skeptics seem to think but the real scientific theory doesn't say that, it would be even more complex because that would require an explanation as to how infinitely dense matter got in there in the first place.
2) Theism simpler hypothesis- in terms of origin.
That is when we think about the origin of he universe we problems which spawn complex scientific theories that still yield no answers, God is the simpler solution in this sense. As Duns Scotus put it, there is an infinite distance between being and non-being, and theism posits the origin of being by being, whereas atheism posits the origin of being from non-being.
Edmund Whitaker, a British physicist, wrote a book entitled The Beginning and End of the World, in which he said, "There is no ground for supposing that matter and energy existed before and was suddenly galvanized into action. For what could distinguish that moment from all other moments in eternity?" Whitaker concluded, "It is simpler to postulate creation ex nihilo--Divine will constituting Nature from nothingness." [cited in Jastrow, R. 1978. God and the Astronomers. New York, W.W. Norton, p. 111-12.]
Physicist Barry Parker agrees: "We do, of course, have an alternative. We could say that there was no creation, and that the universe has always been here. But this is even more difficult to accept than creation."[Barry Parker, Creation--The Story of the Origin and Evolution of the Universe (New York & London: Plenum Press, 1988) p. 202.]
(3) Problems with Naturalistic solutions
The problems we encounter when we try to account for our being by forgetting God require totally inelegant solutions. This is seen clearly where one of the most fundamental contradictions in atheism emerges from the failure of naturalism to account for being.
Dictionary of Philosophy Anthony Flew, article on "Materialism"
"...the belief that everything that exists is ether matter or entirely dependent upon matter for its existence." Center For Theology and the Natural Sciences Contributed by:
Dr. Christopher Southgate: God, Humanity and the Cosmos (T&T Clark, 1999) http://www.ctns.org/Information/information.html Is the Big Bang a Moment of Creation?(this source is already linked above)
"...Beyond the Christian community there was even greater unease. One of the fundamental assumptions of modern science is that every physical event can be sufficiently explained solely in terms of preceding physical causes. Quite apart from its possible status as the moment of creation, the Big Bang singularity is an offense to this basic assumption. Thus some philosophers of science have opposed the very idea of the Big Bang as irrational and untestable."
Science and The Modern World, Alfred North Whitehead.
NY: free Press, 1925, (1953) p.76
"We are content with superficial orderings form diverse arbitrary starting points. ... science which is employed in their development [modern thought] is based upon a philosophy which asserts that physical causation is supreme, and which disjoints the physical cause from the final end. It is not popular to dwell upon the absolute contradiction here involved."[Whitehead was an atheist]
It was La Plase's famous line "I have no need of that Hypothesis" [meaning God] Which turned the scientific world form believing (along with Newton and assuming that order in nature proved design) to unbelief on the principle that we don't' need God to explain the universe because we have independent naturalistic cause and effet. [Numbers, God and Nature]
We still have a huge justification for assuming causes inductively, since nothing in our experience is ever uncaused. The mere fact that we can't see or find a cause isn't a proof that there isn't one.
Thus, the basis upon which God was dismissed from scientific thought has been abandoned;the door to consideration of God is open again. The reliance upon naturalistic cause and effect in consideration of ultimate origins is shattered, but this does not make it rational to just assume that the universe popped into existence with no cause. Since we have vast precedent for assuming cause and effect, we should continue to do so. But since naturalistic cause and effect seems unnecessary at the cosmic level, we should consider the probability of an ultimate necessary final cause.
........b. Problem of Temporal Beginning
The problem of temporal beginning is a problem for both atheists and theists. Essentially the laws of physics as we know them make time's coming to be an impossibility. There is no naturalistic solution to this problem because it is a fundamental contradiction in terms. The only possible solution apart form God is that reality turns out to be other than we know. Consider the following analysis:
Now the atheist may take the position, "someday we will know." they have a phony name for the idea that a gap in their ability to supply answers is a problem for their view. I've seen the try to turn that around into a fallacy on the theists part. But to say "someday science will tell us the answer without God" is just a statement of faith. They will say it's God of the gaps, but it's not because God of the Gaps means a gap in knowledge only, not a case where the knowledge already have blocks the solution (a logical contradiction). Here are some quotations by physicists proving the argument that our current understanding means time should not exist:
No time "before" BB.
No time "before" BB.
In the quantum world...the world that the universe inhabited when it was less than a second old...many things work very differently. One of these is that time itself does not mean quite the same thing as it does to us in the world- at-large. Although we have no complete theory of the relevant physics, there are many indications from the mathematics that yield sound experimental results, that time itself may have ceased to have much meaning near the Big Bang event. This means that there was no 'time' as we know this concept 'before' the Big Bang. That being the case, the question of what happened before the Big Bang is now a question without any possible physical answer. The evolution of the universe has always been a process of transformation from one state to the next as the universe has expanded. At some point in this process, looking back at the Big Bang, we enter a state so removed from any that we now know, than even the laws that govern it become totally obscure to science itself. In the quantum world, we see things 'appearing' out of nothing all the time. The universe may have done the same thing. What this means to us may never be fully understood.
Was there really no time at all "before" the Big Bang?
As I have mentioned in a previous question, we do not know what the state of the universe was like at the Big Bang and beyond.
Our best guess at this time suggest that time and space as we know these concepts will become rather meaningless as the universe enters a purely quantum mechanical state of indeterminacy. Cosmologists such as Stephen Hawking suggest that the dimension of time is transformed via quantum fluctuations in the so-called "signature of the space time metric", into a space-like coordinate so that instead of 3-space and 1-time dimension, space-time becomes a 4-dimensional space devoid of any time-like features. What this state is imagined to be is anyone's guess because as humans trained to think in terms of processes evolving in time, our next question would then be, What came before the Hawking space-like state? There is no possible answer to this question because there is no time in which the concept of 'before' can be said to have a meaning. The question itself becomes the wrong question to ask.
"As we shall see, the concept of time has no meaning before the beginning of the universe. This was first pointed out by St. Augustine. When asked: What did God do before he created the universe? Augustine didn't reply: He was preparing Hell for people who asked such questions. Instead, he said that time was a property of the universe that God created, and that time did not exist before the beginning of the universe. [Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time (New York: Bantam, 1988), p. 8]
Physical law operates in time
http://www.damtp.cam.ac.uk/user/gr/public/qg_qc.html Cambridge Relativity and Quantum Gravity. 1996, University of Cambridge
The physical laws that govern the universe prescribe how an initial state evolves with time. In classical physics, if the initial state of a system is specified exactly then the subsequent motion will be completely predictable.
Nothing can happen in a timeless state
Sten OdenwaldBeyond the Big Bang.
Copyright (C) 1987, Kalmbach Publishing
"Theories like those of SUSY GUTS (Supersymetry Grand Unified Theory) and Superstrings seem to suggest that just a few moments after Creation, the laws of physics and the content of the world were in a highly symmetric state; one superforce and perhaps one kind of superparticle. The only thing breaking the perfect symmetry of this era was the definite direction and character of the dimension called Time. Before Creation, the primordial symmetry may have been so perfect that, as Vilenkin proposed, the dimensionality of space was itself undefined. To describe this state is a daunting challenge in semantics and mathematics because the mathematical act of specifying its dimensionality would have implied the selection of one possibility from all others and thereby breaking the perfect symmetry of this state. There were, presumably, no particles of matter or even photons of light then, because these particles were born from the vacuum fluctuations in the fabric of space/time that attended the creation of the universe. In such a world, nothing happens because all 'happenings' take place within the reference frame of time and space. The presence of a single particle in this nothingness would have instantaneously broken the perfect symmetry of this era because there would then have been a favored point in space different from all others; the point occupied by the particle. This nothingness didn't evolve either, because evolution is a time-ordered process. The introduction of time as a favored coordinate would have broken the symmetry too. It would seem that the 'Trans-Creation' state is beyond conventional description because any words we may choose to describe it are inherently laced with the conceptual baggage of time and space. Heinz Pagels reflects on this 'earliest' stage by saying, "The nothingness 'before' the creation of the universe is the most complete void we can imagine. No space, time or matter existed. It is a world without place, without duration or eternity..."
In other words, time should not exist and thus nothing should exist because nothing could come to be in a timeless state (another reason why spontaneous existence of the universe is a logical contradiction) and thus naturalistic solutions are out. There had to be something over and above the rules which could decide when to employ them, or perhaps something that wrote the rules.
I am just going to link to this next two:
(4) God is simpler and more elegant
a) ground of being
God is simpler by far, especially Tillich's notion of God as the ground of being or the Thomistic concept of a God whose existence is his essence. This is the most elegant solution in the world. God is on a par with Being itself and his essence is to be. That is elegant becasue it means just this: Being has to be, and what being does is merely exist, thus if God's existence (the fact that he is) is his essence (the thing that he is) than it means that Being itself is merely doing what it is supposed to do, merely being and through its own being allowing the beings to come into existence.
God is the mind that thinks the universe. That's the most elegant approach. The basis of reality is not energy or matter but mind. Consciousness as we know it is energy, patters of charges firing over synapse, and matter is energy, so everything reduces to energy. Mind would be the best explanation for the all the above processes that require some principle of organizing. Mind is patterns of energy and organizing is making patterns. The atheists will argue that you can't have a mind without a brain, but we don't know that. We know that organic life requires brain to produce mind, that is not to say that this is the only form of consciousness that could exist.
c) solves all other problems
Problems and meaning and morality are also solved by this approach to belief, but not by naturalism which has to leave life meaningless and morality relative.
Now we come full circle because it's moral solutions that most atheists trying to get away from.