As pointed out in yesterdays post, “The [hosts] seemed to express agreement with each objection given, so if I am right to say they are blunders, then they are blunders that were endorsed on Dogma Debate and blunders that now 15,000+ atheist listeners have been equipped with.” I also posted the premises and term-meanings in yesterday's post, so you are expected to know them because I am jumping right in. (This will be a little more advanced than my normal posts.)
The caller suggested that perhaps an equation explains the Big Conjunctive Contingent Fact:
“[Blake] said that 'The necessary fact has to be God', but it simple could be an equation. In fact, we have mathematicians and physicists looking for the equation of life, and the equation of the Universe, and that could be the necessary fact he is looking for.”
Now, normally, I would like to spend time figuring out what the call means by an equation. The only thing in comtemporary thought which would even remotely be up for the job is the wave-function universe. Problems abound:
• If the wave-function is metaphysically necessary, then the derivative laws are also metaphysically necessary. That is to say, affirming that the wave-function is necessary would force him into what is called "necessitism," which needless to say is extremely counterintuitive.
• Moreover, the initial conditions would remain unexplained--they are not going to be a part of any would-be fundamental equation. If he wants to say that the initial conditions also happen to be necessary (getting closer to some kind of fatalism), then his theory would become even more ad hoc and counter intuitive.
• Trying to explain all contingent facts on the basis of this hypothetical wave-function presupposes that the macroscopic states at any given time supervene on the microscopic states. This is also highly controversial, however, and there good reasons to reject it.
• Perhaps most problematic is how vague his suggestion was (perhaps due to lack of time). To push his explanation, the caller is going to have to come down on some interpretation of the nature of the wave-function. (Is he a wave-function realist?) Abstract objects like numbers simply do not stand in causal relations, so in what sense would an equation explain? More plausible is the view that equations are descriptive.
The caller then suggested that a fact featuring God could not properly explain the Big Conjunctive Contingent Fact:
“Besides that, God is not necessary because we can see the Universe acting without God and God doesn't have to be there...”
By way of response, however:
• On theism, God sustains the very Universe in existence, as well as its law-governed behavior. How can one observe that this is not true? Presumably, one cannot, and therefore one cannot "see the Universe acting without God." Perhaps the caller is taking it for granted that God does not exist, but then a much quicker argument was nearby:
“God does not exist, therefore the Leibnizian Cosmological Argument for God's existence must be unsound!”
• The argument seems to (oddly) assume that a necessary being is just a being which contingent beings are depending on, such that the necessary being would “have to be there” for the contingent beings to be there. This is just a misunderstanding on the caller's part, I'm afraid. A necessary being is rather and simply a being which could not fail to exist; there is no problem with it existing in a world devoid of contingent beings. That is to say, even if no other beings depended on x's existence, x could still be a necessary being.
Again, I respond to these arguments in particular not just because they were directed to me, but because over 15,000 atheists heard them and the Dogma Debate team seemed to either be convinced or endorse them. Mind you, I don't want to be unfair to the caller (Darren). He only had a short time to express his viewpoint, and could probably tighten things up if he wanted. Still, based on what we have, I think these objections are misses, and I hope that atheist listeners will not use them (and I hope that Christian readers will now be prepared for atheists who do).