Dr. Andrew Corbett is a Christian pastor and author from Australia operating from his personal website. As a writer, he specializes in Christian issues, biblical study, and prophecy. What caught my eye though was his page containing his Five Proofs for the Existence of God. While it appears as though this page is, roughly, a decade old, I’m sure he still stands behind these as evidence for the existence of God. As such, I would like to take a stab at his claims, particularly since he invites those like myself to consider his arguments.
He writes, “This evidence, or proofs, for the existence of God invites those atheists to consider it–especially for those who claim that there is none. At the very least it should be reasonably concluded that atheism (the absolute claim that there is no God after considering all possible knowledge) is a highly irrational position.”
Even though he is completely wrong regarding the atheist position, I will tackle his arguments anyway. Before continuing any further, I want to make a brief statement. Dr. Corbett never truly defines “God.” It could mean literally whatever he wishes it to mean. With that, it may be hard to work my way through these arguments from time to time because you cannot rationally answer something with ambiguity and be reasonably satisfied; just food for thought for the reader.
So, let’s take a look at his proofs, shall we?
He opens with, “It is illogical to suggest that something had no cause. This is where the theory of evolution becomes inadequate. It cannot explain how anything began, let alone life. When we consider the evidence (that there are things which exist) it logically demands that either something or someone caused it.”
Dr. Corbett is right; the theory of evolution doesn’t explain how anything began. Why he bothered to even mention that is beyond me. He should understand that abiogenesis and evolution are two separate subjects, the emergence of life and the subsequent diversity of it.
Anyway, he continues with, “We can then rule out ‘something’ as the solution since we would be returning to the original problem (what made the something?). This demands that there must be someone who has always existed (eternal) and is in themselves therefore uncreated. We don't have to understand this in order for it to be so.”
He fails to present an argument that supports the possible existence for an uncreated creator. He defends that by stating it can be true whether or not we understand it. The same could be said for his misunderstanding of physics and the theoretical models showing many different possible explanations for the creation of the universe. Just because Dr. Corbett may not understand the science doesn’t mean he can posit anything that he wants by appealing to the fallacy of ignorance. He should’ve written, “Because science cannot answer A, God must be the answer to A.”
It’s completely reasonable to say, “I don’t know.” It’s completely unreasonable to accept an answer without a reasonable conclusion.
Dr. Corbett begins his argument by writing, “The unraveling of the Human Genome Code was announced to the world as the discovery of the language of the Creator by then President Bill Clinton. What scientists discovered was an extremely sophisticated genetic language necessary for even the simplest life forms to exist. To believe that this level of apparent design happened either randomly or by chance is a mathematical equation of probability with more zeros than I care to type (plus I don't know what the word is for numbers which are thousands of trillions!).”
First, it’s unconfirmed how life came about on earth. There a number of possibilities which may prove to provide the answer to that question soon. Until then, we can say we don’t know. Now again, Dr. Corbett maintains his misunderstanding. He says the genome we possess is too complex to have come about by random chance; he’s right but I think he believes he’s making a strong case when he, in fact, isn’t. The DNA we possess is comprised of proteins and as we evolve the strand changes. Not sure how this paragraph adds to his case.
He continues by writing, “The universe displays an amazingly complex level of interdependency which logically leads to the conclusion that it was designed that way.”
As we began to learn about the universe, we found simple logic fails to help us achieve simple answers. That is because what we believe to be logical may not apply to the universe and the way in which it works. The universe does weird stuff sometimes.
It’s simply ignorant to say, “Look how complex the universe is! God must’ve had something to do with it!” I would love to hear what Dr. Corbett’s definition of complexity is. That’d get the conversation started.
He finishes the paragraph with, “The earth is ‘just the right’ distance from the sun; it contains ‘just the right’ mixture of chemicals and gases to sustain life; humans have ‘just the right’ ability to breath these gases; the human body has ‘just the right’ synergy of internal organs in order to function, and so on.”
Could it be because we evolved to live on a planet with these gases? Or, that we developed the proper organs to sustain life through evolutionary processes? Dr. Corbett seems to fail to acknowledge instances of inept “design.” For instance, why is it that only less than 1% of Earth’s water is drinkable? Or, why is it that most gases actually kill us rather than aid us?
Again, Dr. Corbett has no evidence for a designer, only providing his subjective take on the facts regarding the universe; a subjective take that requires the God he just so happens to believe in. We can objectively look at these facts but to Dr. Corbett’s dismay, he may not get the answer he wishe
This portion is relatively short. He writes, “How do we know what ‘evil’ is? How do we know what ‘good’ is? These concepts demand either the existence of a standard to make such evaluations, or an understanding what these concepts mean.”
Words such as “evil” and “good” tend to muddy the waters since, when debating this subject, two opponents could have very different definitions for each of those words. Since Dr. Corbett doesn’t define what he means, I can’t respond to it.
He then writes, “Each of us are born with an innate sense of morality. We each fundamentally know what is right and wrong. It is incredible to consider that no matter time, culture, geographic location, or people, the Moral Law has been universally acknowledged.”
We do possess the ability to develop moral laws and understandings, based on the fact we are a social species that depend on the integrity of the group. If the group is threatened, we respond. How far would our species get if we constantly killed everyone around us?
He says the “Moral Law” has been universally understood? Our sense of right and wrong has changed as our species has become more civilized. Think of our ancient cultures. Some believed human sacrifices were necessary. Reason tells us spilling blood won’t yield a good crop, so we’ve abandoned that idea.
He finishes by writing, “This tends to confirm that all of creation bears the fingerprints of a Creator who is fundamentally good and right. That is, we each share a knowledge of what is right and wrong not just because we are taught or conditioned to accept these values, but because we are born with them.”
This only confirms one thing: Social animal species are born with the ability to, while not always peacefully, coexist; evolution answers that question.
And to say we share knowledge of right and wrong is a bit dishonest. Surely he must understand that human morality is always progressing and changing; so much so that it’s impossible to answer it as simply as he states it.
Again, this portion is fairly short. He writes, “Skeptics may dispute this historical claim that Jesus Christ rose again from the dead but they do so perilously.”
Jesus rose twice? What? Anyway, he continues, “This is because there is enough evidence to validate it and it is the point at which all of the history of Christ and Christianity rests.”
Again, he fails to immediately provide historical evidence to support his claims. What I find really intriguing is what he states next.
He writes, “This means that if anything of Christ and Christianity is true then the Physical Resurrection of Christ is also true. The opposite is also true. If Christ did not literally rise from the dead then none of his history or teachings have any credence.”
Huh. Why couldn’t Jesus exist without the resurrection being true? Could that be because his faith depends on the truth of the resurrection? Funny how those things work out.
He finishes with, “But if the resurrection of Christ can be seen as a reasonable historic fact (based on over 500 eyewitnesses, the preparedness of all of those witnesses to defend their testimonies even at the point of losing their lives, the resultant baptism in the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues–still available today) then this is perhaps the most overwhelming piece of proof for the existence of God.”
This is the most overwhelming piece of proof? I addressed these very claims in a previous Atheist Republic blog post.
5. Personal Experience
He, like most apologists, begin with simple religious platitudes. He finishes with his personal conversion, writing, “I was 15 years of age when I accepted Christ. Never have I ever regretted it. It has been a journey for me that has seen me grow and change. I have felt the Lord guiding me. I can honestly say that I have heard Him speak to me (even though it hasn't been audibly). He has answered my prayers so often that I now almost take it for granted that my prayers will be answered. He has given my life direction and purpose that I otherwise would never have had.”
Sounds as though he developed a bit of a bias, wouldn’t you say? He gives no indication he evaluated all claims prior to accepting Christ. Should we trust arguments coming from someone who, seemingly, irrationally came to conclusions? Should we trust others who claim to have witnessed God or Jesus?
No. Reasonable answers are never reached unreasonably.
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How would you respond to these claims? How would you defend these claims? Discuss below!
All quotes were taken from: http://www.andrewcorbett.net/articles/5-proofs.html