At this point he brings in what he takes to be the ultimate “brute fact” of God's existence as a negation of a complete explanation. In order to pull this off he establishes synchronic and diachronic both as requirements of a “complete” explanation. The former refers to causes immediately temporal effecting the given outcome, while the latter entails causes perpetuated through time before the event. In other words, synchronic, the match burst into flame due to friction caused by the striking board. Diachronic, the match burst into flame due to the factory used to make chemicals, applied these chemicals to the match at a given time, and the store that sold the matches and every other aspect of buying the matches, up though the motion of my hand of running the match along the striking board. So he's saying that because we don't have that sort of knowledge about God then God can't be a full explanation. Then he's going to spend a lot of time picking apart the motivations of God, such as the motivation to create humanity.Because we can't understand God's exact motivations, nor is there a set of diachronic explanations for God's being, then the explanation can't be full.
There are two problems with this argument. Philipse has defined “full explanation” and “ultimate” explanations in ways that favor scientific kinds of information. The philosophical understanding does not necessarily require the same kinds of explanation. Why do we need to know, for example, what exactly God's motivation to make man felt like or even what it was? We can understand the motivation of love, all of God's motivations can be summed up in love. The demand for scientific exactitude is a smokescreen. We might qualify “full” and “complete” and limit it to matters we can understand. God as the final explanation can be based upon both the final cause and the bestowing of meaning via reasons for our own existence; these have to be in general terms such as “love” because we can understand love (at least on an instinctive level). The second problem has to do with the idea of God as brute fact (BF).
The concept of brute fact turns upon the notion of their being no reason for the BF. A BF is a fact for which there is no reason at all. That's not to say no cause but no reason other than the naturalistic causal nexus of the physical world. The BF is a slippery concept because many philosophers mean different things by the term. John Hospers understands BF simply as something that can't be explained. Does this mean we don't even know a scientific cause? For Some Philosophers it does and for some it does not. Eric Barnes lists several philosophers who use the term to mean no known explanation, not even a scientific one (Freidman, Kitcher, Lipton). Barnes himself says “it is my view that brute facts need not be thought to represent any gap whatsoever in scientific understanding.”We can side step the problem because we can't get a scientific explanation of God. God is not given in sense data, thus it is an a priori truth that we can't have a scientific explanation of God. To say that without a scientific explanation we have not a full or complete explanation is merely to exchange one set of metaphysical assumptions for another. Privileging science as the only valid form of knowledge is just as much a metaphysical assumption as is belief in God.
Moreover, these are two fundamentally different kinds of explanations, scientific and purposive. There is no purpose in naturalistic processes and forces of nature. If that is all there is then all reality is a brute fact. For me brute fact means no higher reason than just bare existential facts. There is no higher purposive reason for God than God. That is not the same as saying the world just happens to be here for no reason other than the natural causal connections involved in its coming to be. Naturalistic processes are all cause and effect, they are all contingent. That puts God on a different level than anything else. God is the only truly non contingent reality. With all temporal natural things necessities are themselves contingent upon higher necessities. That is until we come to God. We should expect that the process of necessity and contingency would keep on going, although that leads to questions about infinite causal regress (ICR). If there is ICR it's not there for a reason. But God gives us not only a stopping point for causes but also a higher purpose in life.
That explanation is more full in terms of purpose and more complete in terms of causation. This reasoning could be circular if one is not careful. It begs the question to assert that there must be a “higher level” reason. But the opposite is also true; the assumption that there isn't a higher reason also begs the question. One way around this is to embrace the final cause argument. Another way would be to take it as axiomatic based upon proper basicality or some intuitive sense or experience that there is higher purpose.
At this point Philipse turns to Bayes theorem as a means od proving God is not probable. So he moves from denuding the empitus for belief by calling it "unscientific" to a reason not to beliebe. I have shown that Bayes can't be applied to God.
My Answer to Lowder's attack on my Bayes article
24 Ibid., 91
25-27 Ibid. 192
28 Ibid. 195
31 John Hospers, An Introduction to Philosophical Analysis (1997) p. 211
32 Eric Barnes, “Explaining Brute Facts,” PSA: Proceedings of the biennial Meeting of The Philosophy of Science Association.. Vol 1994, Volume one: Contributed Papers, (1994), 64-68, 64.