By Ken Gilmore
(Ken is a Christadelphian Theist, NOT an Ex-Christadelphian Atheist. He does NOT support or condone the Atheist position of this website.)
Cosmologist and non-theist Sean Carroll has recently featured a guest post from Don Page, a leading expert in cosmology and theoretical gravitational physics who is also an evangelical Christian.
Page's post, framed as an open letter to both Carroll and philosopher William Lane Craig offering comments on their recent debate. Page, though a theist, offers an informed critique of apologetic staples such as fine tuning and the Kalam cosmological argument, critiques which really need to be kept in mind given (1) that they come from a world expert in cosmology (WLC, we need to remember, is a philosopher and theologian rather than a scientist) and (2) are coming from an overtly theistic viewpoint:
In summary, I think the evidence from fine tuning is ambiguous, since the probabilities depend on the models. Whether or not the universe had a beginning also is ambiguous, and furthermore I don’t see that it has any relevance to the question of whether or not God exists, since the first premise of the Kalam cosmological argument is highly dubious metaphysically, depending on contingent intuitions we have developed from living in a universe with relatively simple laws of physics and with a strong thermodynamic arrow of time.
Nevertheless, in view of all the evidence, including both the elegance of the laws of physics, the existence of orderly sentient experiences, and the historical evidence, I do believe that God exists and think the world is actually simpler if it contains God than it would have been without God. So I do not agree with you, Sean, that naturalism is simpler than theism, though I can appreciate how you might view it that way
It is critical for us to be scrupulously honest with the evidence, and acknowledge what arguments are good, what arguments are useful but not compelling in isolation, and what ones should be abandoned. Page's impeccable scientific credentials as well as his theism mean that his criticism of some of Craig's positions come from an informed, friendly source and should therefore not be dismissed lightly.
The rest of Ken's article can be read here.
He has previously stated that the foundation for his faith depends on three things:
1. The fine tuning of the universe.
2. The evidence for the resurrection of Christ.
3. The preservation of the Jewish people throughout history.
But if you read his article in full he appears to have abandoned, or forgotten, two of the three pillars of support for his faith. He writes:
"I have long stated that my faith is based on the resurrection of Jesus, something that I regard as the best explanation for the evidence surrounding the formation of Christianity."
We appear to be witnessing the raising of a white flag of surrender by Ken, at least so far as the fine tuning of the Universe is concerned. In his own mind he has either abandoned it as credible evidence for Theism, or at the very least he has downgraded it's value.
Why he does not mention the preservation of the Jewish people as a support for his faith is not explained. To my way of thinking their preservation has no more relevance than the preservation of the Chinese in their diaspora, which was on a substantially greater scale.
As for "the resurrection of Jesus, the best explanation for the evidence surrounding the formation of Christianity" - I venture to suggest that the fact that Roman emperors from Constantine onwards made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire is a better explanation for the success of Christianity rather than the concocted and contradictory resurrection narratives written by Christ's supporters decades after the supposed event.
Those writers were writing in the infancy of civilisation at a time when superstition and stories of miracles and resurrections were commonplace. Their audience were naïve, credulous, superstitious, unlearned and often illiterate. Just as it was simple to deceive Catholic peasants in the Middle Ages with bones and relics of saints, so in the First Century AD it was easy to get people to believe in a resurrected Jesus.
All credit to Ken for being intellectually honest and being open about these new doubts in his mind concerning the fine tuning of the Universe being evidence for Theism. If all Christadelphians thought like Ken, the religion would disintegrate within twenty four hours.
Ken is continuing to experience what Mancott calls "faith fade" and it is a wonderful thing to observe. I hope that he takes many intelligent Christadelphians with him as he gradually works out in his own mind that his theistic beliefs have no empirical grounding. If the myth of the resurrection of Jesus is the only remaining pillar of support for Ken's faith, then his theism is hanging by the most fragile of threads.