Archive for October 17th, 2010

October 17, 2010

The evidence for God

by Neil Rickert

Jerry Coyne takes PZ to task (“On P.Z. Myers on evidence for a god“) because PZ asserts that he won’t be persuaded of a god’s existence.  Presumably, Coyne thinks that PZ is being just a tad too dogmatic.  After all, PZ can only go on the absence of any evidence of God, and that no evidence has been seen does not prove that there is no God.

I want to suggest that is all wrong.  In fact there is an enormous amount of evidence of God, and both PZ and Coyne are well aware of that evidence.  That PZ firmly rejects religion, and that Coyne rejects it not quite as firmly, is because they are well aware of the evidence.  For what is clear to anybody who has looked carefully enough at the wealth of evidence, is that God is a cultural construct.  I am suggesting that PZ is not going by the weak “I haven’t seen any evidence of God”, but instead is going by the quite strong evidence of God as a cultural construct.

We should be clear, that there is nothing inherently wrong with cultural constructs.  As I write this, it is a fall Sunday.  And many people will spend time today watching football.  The game of football is a cultural construct, and evidently one that many people value.  For sure, there is a physical component to football.  But if we were to watch football purely as physical activity, then we would be watching inane (and perhaps insane) behavior.  It is the culturally constructed game that makes those physical activities meaningful.

Come to think of it, I am writing this post for the blogosphere, which is another cultural construct.

If there is nothing inherently wrong with cultural constructs, why do atheists reject God?  It seems to me that their rejection is because they find the associated culture to be abhorrent.  They see the culture of theism as promoting ignorance, intolerance and hate, and they want to have nothing to do with such a culture.