zarbi (zarbi) wrote,
zarbi
zarbi

The God Razor

The principle of Occam's Razor is a useful one in rational discussion. Given several explanations, go for the simplest one. This doesn't always give you the right answer, but is a sensible approach. However, this does give rise to some problems when discussing religious matters.

Gods used to be pretty simple creatures. Ruling over a limited Earth-centred cosmos, they would sit at the top of mountains or some smallish domain and watch over mankind. Even the God of the Old Testament wasn't that big, and was only one of many. However, things get a lot more complex with the New Testament and the work of theologists. God got infinite, eternal and all-knowing. And, in the process, pretty hard to use as an explanation for just about anything, I believe. Such a God is a pretty complex entity. He can do anything, anywhere, at any time, so has infinite potentiality. He can contemplate all those possibilities. In fact, the level of complexity is probably infinite.

Some kinds of infinity are simple, indeed putting a constraint on range can be in itself a form of complexity. An example of this is the set of natural numbers. However, God isn't simple, and adding extra "God" extent in time or space just makes things worse in terms of complexity, because of the additional potentiality and the mind required to contemplate it.

So, any other explanation for any phenomenon is simpler, and that does mean any other explanation. Suppose someone experienced a "miraculous" cure that really could not be explained by current medicine. Use of Occam's Razor means considering many alternatives before proceeding to God, from someone with more knowledge of medicine that is generally available, to aliens with the ability to manipulate time and space. We even need to progress through different grades of God that aren't infinite and aren't quite so powerful.

I am afraid I have to disagree with many who say they would believe in God given evidence. I can't see what kind of evidence could demonstrate the existence of an infinite, eternal and all-powerful God, as almost any alternative explanation is simpler.
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