Bertuzzi

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DEBATE TOPIC: Theism and Naturalism: How do they explain the world we see?

This is a debate between LukeB and shadowlink26. I will be moderating this debate.

Opening Statement: LukeB - 2000 words max
Opening Statement/Response: shadowlink26 - within 7 days - 2000 words max
LukeB's 1st Rebuttal: within 7 days - 1750 words max
shadowlink26's 1st Rebuttal: within 7 days - 1750 words max
LukeB's 2nd Rebuttal: within 7 days - 1500 words max
shadowlink26's 2nd Rebuttal: within 7 days - 1500 words max
LukeB's Final Statement: within 7 days - 1250 words max
shadowlink26's Final Statement: within 7 days - 1250 words max

** Unless you are LukeB or shadowlink26, do not post in this thread **
« Last Edit: December 14, 2016, 10:36:09 pm by Bertuzzi »
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LukeB

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Re: DEBATE: Theism and Naturalism: How do they explain the world we see?
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2016, 04:35:18 pm »
I take theism to be the claim that there exists a perfectly good, maximally powerful being that exists necessarily (the reason for its existence is found in its own nature, not an external source).

What does the world look like through a theist's eyes? I'm a theoretical physicist, so my job is to build models of (parts of) physical reality and explore them. We're usually looking for a way to test them: if my idea were true, what observations would we expect?

Fundamental Theories

When physicists propose a fundamental theory of nature (that is, a theory which is not trying to build on or approximate a deeper theory), they all have the same basic structure. They consist of (and least one of) these three components.

1. A list of the basic "elements" of the universe, and their properties.
2. A law that describes how these properties change/move/interact. (Fundamental constants appear here.)
3. A description of the actual state of the universe.

In short, 1. The Stuff, 2. The Equation and 3. The Initial Conditions.

For example (skippable):
_________________________________________________ ___________

Newtonian Mechanics
1. Point particles, each with a position and velocity.
2. A force law, to be plugged into F = ma, to determine how the particles move in time.
3. The position and velocity of each particle at some initial time.

Quantum mechanics
1. A wavefunction, describing the state of the system at any given time.
2. A potential function, to be put into the Schrödinger equation.
3. The wavefunction at some initial time.

General Relativity
1. A manifold representing spacetime, and a tensor field on that manifold representing the matter and energy in spacetime.
2. The Einstein Field Equation: geometry = energy.
3. The geometry of spacetime and the contents of space at some initial time. (Actually, it's more technical than that, but I'll spare you the details.)
_________________________________________________ ___________

Einstein 2.0

Suppose physics gets everything it ever wanted, somehow. Alberta Einstein reaches the climax of her keynote address to the Meeting of Really Important Physicists. She walks slowly to the chalkboard, scribbles a few equations, and fundamental physics comes to an end. We have possession of the ultimate fundamental principles of nature, 1, 2 and 3 (as much as nature allows). You can ask deeper questions if you like, but physics will give no answer. Like chess pieces who've worked out the rules of chess, no deeper or further rules exist.

[There would still be physics to do, of course. Like studying the strategy of chess, we study how the fundamental physical laws play out.]

Stare at that chalkboard for a while. Let it sink in. Like a completed jigsaw puzzle, we're done.

Well ... now what?

Have your questions about ultimate reality been answered? Even in principle? I think a few very obvious questions remain.

A. Breathing Fire

Stephen Hawking famously said:

Quote
What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe? The usual approach of science of constructing a mathematical model cannot answer the questions of why there should be a universe for the model to describe. Why does the universe go to all the bother of existing?

John Wheeler expressed his amazement at the ...

Quote
preposterous miracle of existence! To whom has the world of opening day never come as an unbelievable sight? And to whom have the stars overhead and the hand and voice of nearby never appeared as unutterably wonderful, totally beyond understanding? I know no great thinker of any land or era who does not regard existence as the mystery of all mysteries.

If one of the foundational postulates of every fundamental scientific theory is a list of the basic stuff that exists, then it cannot tell us why that stuff exists. Or, indeed, why anything at all exists. If, like Wheeler, the sunrise makes you wonder why existence, then you will get exactly the same sensation from staring at the fundamental laws. Nothing on that chalkboard will help. The existence of nature has no natural explanation.

We'll need something else. Something different.

Here's an analogy. The things around you, if you lifted and released them, would fall to the floor. And yet most things around you are not falling. Why is everything not falling? Here are three options:

A. Earth all the way down, each layer supporting the one above and supported by the one below. But this is no explanation at all, since all the layers could be falling together. So we still don't know why everything isn't falling.

B. A brute fact supporter, a magical floating layer. It is simply the case that one of the layers, which is made of the kind of stuff which would ordinarily fall, doesn't. For no reason at all. The question "why is the magic layer not falling?" has no answer.

C. A self-supporter. There is something down there that, somehow, supports itself. The answer to the question "why is this layer not falling?" is "because of the kind of thing that layer is."

In the case of Earth, C is correct. In order to make sense of why all the things that could be falling are not falling, we posit a different kind of thing, an unsupported supporter - the core of the Earth.

Analogously, to make sense of why all the things that could have failed to exist ("contingent" things) do in fact exist, we posit the existence of a different kind of thing, an uncaused cause, a necessary being. This is an attempt to tie off the loose ends of explanations.

As David Bentley Hart shows in "The Experience of God",

Quote
To speak of “God” properly, then — to use the word in a sense consonant with the teachings of orthodox Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, Hinduism, Bahá’í, a great deal of antique paganism, and so forth — is to speak of the one infinite source of all that is.

Thinkers in various traditions have tried to explain this idea in different ways. God is not something familiar - nothing familiar could explain existence - and so they must strain and hint and allude, stretching their philosophical vocabulary. Aristotelians speak of pure actuality, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan of the “self-existent Brahman” who is “independent of time, space, and cause.” Analytic philosophers speak of metaphysically necessary being, the kind of being that must exist, whose existence is self-explained. Anything less - Santa Claus, a sky-fairy, a god - is just another thing whose existence needs to be explained.

B. Why this Stuff?

One of the things that makes my job as a theoretical physicist difficult is that possibilities are cheap. Inventing a physical model is easy - we have every self-consistent mathematical entity from which to choose. Every function, every field, every equation, every constant. Whatever is on that chalkboard, we could fill untold infinities of chalkboards with mathematical laws that don't describe anything that actually exists.

Of all the ways the world could be, why this way? Why physical stuff at all? Why stuff that obeys laws? Why stuff that makes stars and planets and people?

Keep staring at the chalkboard, if you like. But no answer will come. No mathematical equation says "pick me! pick me! I'm the one that describes reality!"

On theism, we can glimpse a reason for our universe. The key is God's goodness: we can understand God's actions in terms of the moral goods that they achieve. Why this stuff? Because it does something good.

Theologians have (for a few millennia) argued that love is by its nature self-giving, other-person centric. So, creating an object of love is a good thing. It's a good reason for a couple to have a baby, for example.

But why physical stuff? I'll try to summarize the detailed argument made by Richard Swinburne in "The Existence of God". For finite beings to interact with each other, as is necessary for any morally meaningful actions including love, there must be a distinction between me, and you, and everything else. There must be a part of reality that I control, a part that you control, and a public part that we share, by which we can influence each other. To quote Swinburne,

Quote
they must discover which of their basic actions will have which more remote effects in which circumstances - for example, which sequence of basic actions done in which circumstances will lead to a house being built, and which sequence will lead to a bomb being built. Only with this knowledge will they have a choice of whether to build houses or bombs.

The part of reality I control we call my body, your part is your body, and the public bit we can call the physical world. Why does it obey laws? Because love is good, and loving actions between finite beings requires interaction between them.

Some objections

This doesn't explain why this particular way of making moral agents. For example, why stars? There are other ways of powering life.

Correct, but this is only relevant if there is a rival view that explains more details than theism. Have at it.

How can you believe that this entire massive universe exists for the sole purpose of us tiny creatures here on Earth? This is just human self-importance projected onto a cosmic scale. The Universe doesn’t care about us.

Firstly, it is no part of the argument moral creatures are the *sole* purpose of the universe. I can understand the purpose of the CD player in my car without assuming that the car exists *solely*, or even primarily, for the purpose of playing music.

Secondly, we are finite creatures, and on theism it is good for us to be reminded of that truth. C.S. Lewis writes,

Quote
[Without our imaginations], the merely arithmetical greatness of the galaxy would be no more impressive than the figures in a telephone directory. ... The silence of the eternal spaces terrified Pascal, but it was the greatness of Pascal that enabled them to do so. ... If the world in which we found ourselves were not vast and strange enough to give us Pascal's terror, what poor creatures we should be! Being what we are, rational but also animate ... I do not see how we could have come to know the greatness of God without that hint furnished by the greatness of the material universe. Once again, what sort of universe do we demand? If it were small enough to be cozy, it would not be big enough to be sublime.

How can we know what God would think is good?

On theism, we have moral knowledge. It isn’t perfect – like our knowledge of the physical reality, it is piecemeal and noisy. But, the person who believes that love is better than hate and that human beings have dignity and value believes something true, and believes it with some justification.

The principle I have relied on is "love is good". A universe capable of producing and sustaining creatures that can love and be loved is a universe with moral worth, one that God might create.

What about the parts of the universe that aren't good?

The basic theistic reply comes from Augustine: "God judged it better to bring good out of evil than not to permit any evil to exist." Is that at all plausible? We can discuss that in future posts.

Conclusion

To the theist, the laws of physics are part of a bigger story, one that explains why there is anything for them to explain, why there are laws at all, and a glimpse of why these particular laws. The discovery of these laws through patient observation and experimentation is what we call science.

I submit that where an answer to a question is available, however difficult or unfamiliar, this should be preferred to no answer at all. Note well that this is not an argument from ignorance. It is what we *know* about the universe that raises these questions, and it is what we know about physics that tells us that science will not answer these questions. This is an argument from unanswered but answerable questions.

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shadowlink26

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Re: DEBATE: Theism and Naturalism: How do they explain the world we see?
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2016, 10:35:22 am »
Opening Statement

I want to start off by thanking Dr. Barnes for agreeing to participate in this discussion.  I look forward to an engaging exchange of ideas.  In what follows, I will argue that theism is very probably false, all things considered.  I will be defending the hypothesis that a physical reality exists and that any mental reality is ultimately explained by this physical reality.  Let’s call this hypothesis naturalism.  If naturalism is true, then there are no purely mental beings which can exist apart from a physical body, so there is no God or any being much like God.  I contrast naturalism with supernaturalism; the hypothesis that a mental reality exists and that any physical reality is ultimately explained by this mental reality.  By theism I mean the hypothesis that the mental reality which explains physical reality is a person who is, among other things, maximally powerful and perfectly good.  I am using the term hypothesis merely to refer to propositions for which we do not know to be true or false via rational intuition alone.

The Master Argument

(1) With respect to the total evidence, naturalism is a much better explanatory hypothesis than theism.
(2) With respect to the total evidence, any overall explanatory advantage that theism has over naturalism is relatively small.
(3) Any other epistemic advantage that theism has over naturalism is relatively small.

Therefore,

(4) Theism is very probably false, all things considered.

The aim of my opening statement is to give a reasonable defense of premise (1) by outlining five lines of evidence which are, I believe, better explained by naturalism than by theism.  In other words, I will argue that we have much more reason to expect these facts to obtain if we assume that naturalism is true than if we assume that theism is true, and that these facts tip the evidential scale in favor of naturalism over theism.

Naturalism is the Best Explanation for the Success of Science.

In our quest to understand the Universe, the physical sciences (i.e. physics, chemistry, geology, and biology) have been extremely successful without making any reference to supernatural causes.  The history of science contains numerous examples of naturalistic explanations replacing supernatural explanations and no examples of supernatural explanations replacing naturalistic explanations.

Naturalism entails that any true explanations must be naturalistic rather than supernatural.  Consequently, we should expect scientific accounts to never have to appeal to supernatural causes.  Thus, the success of science without invoking the supernatural does not seem surprising if naturalism is true.

By contrast,

If theism is true, then God plays an active role in the Universe, so we have antecedent reason to think God would have to act as a causal agent in the history of the Universe.  Consequently, we would expect scientific accounts of that history to have to take God’s actions into account.  If theism is true, then we would expect that at least some successful scientific explanations were supernatural ones.  Thus, the success of science without invoking the supernatural does seem surprising if theism is true.


Naturalism is the Best Explanation for the Hostility of the Universe.

Discoveries in astronomy have revealed an unfathomably large Universe, and the vast majority of it is completely hostile to most forms of life as we know it.  Astronomer Phil Plaitt explains,

Quote
“Of the extremely few places that aren't hard vacuum, most are too hot for chemical reactions to do very well—molecules get blasted apart before they can even properly form.  Of the places that aren't too hot, most are too cold—reactions happen too slowly to get interesting things to occur in the first place."

If naturalism is true, then there is no God, and the Universe is indifferent to the existence of life, because naturalism entails that the conditions for complex life are not the result of benevolent or malevolent actions performed by disembodied person(s).  There are also many more ways for the Universe to be mostly hostile to life than for the Universe to be mostly or wholly permitting of life.  Thus, the fact that the Universe is mostly hostile to life does not seem surprising if naturalism is true.

By contrast,

Theism gives us antecedent reason to expect that the Universe was created, at least in part, with life in mind, specifically, intelligent life.  If intelligent life was created in part for experiencing creation, then why is it constituted in such a way as to make experiencing the vast majority of it impossible?  If theism is true, then God has both the means and the motives to create a Universe so it is not, in its majority, hostile to life.  Thus, the fact that the Universe is mostly hostile to life as we know it does seem surprising if theism is true.


Naturalism is the Best Explanation for Biological Evolution.

All known complex life, including conscious life, is the gradually modified descendants of relatively simple life.  All known evolutionary change in populations of complex organisms either is or is the result of trans-generational genetic change.  Additionally, our experiences of pain and pleasure are systematically connected to the biological goals of survival and reproduction.  Consequently, the process of biological evolution is an extremely inefficient and inevitably cruel means for producing complex life.  More than 99% of all species that have ever lived are now extinct, and all living organisms are in savage competition with one another for limited resources.  While alive, only a fraction of living organisms manage to flourish, an even smaller fraction manage to flourish for most of their lives, and almost none manage to flourish for all of their lives.  From a moral point of view, the distribution of suffering and sentient languishing as a result of biological evolution appears random and largely without any morally fruitful functions.

If naturalism is true, and complex life exists, then biological evolution pretty much has to be true.   If naturalism is true, then it's seems physically impossible for complex life to have evolved so that it only experienced pain and pleasure when it would aid survival, reproduction, or some morally appropriate function, because naturalism entails that neither the nature nor the condition of complex life on earth is the result of benevolent or malevolent actions performed by disembodied persons.  Thus, the fact that all known complex life has biologically evolved does not seem surprising if naturalism is true.

By contrast,

Theism gives us no antecedent reason to expect that God would use the inefficient and inevitably cruel process of biological evolution as a means to create complex life.  God had more efficient and less cruel means available to Him that would be physically impossible if naturalism were true e.g. special creation.  God’s maximal power and perfect goodness are antecedent reasons to expect that we would not observe so much seemingly gratuitous suffering throughout the course of sentient history.  Additionally, if theism is true, then the physical world was created by a mind, so theism would lead us to expect that minds are fundamentally non-physical entities and that conscious life is fundamentally different from nonconscious life.  Consequently, this would lead us to expect that conscious life was created independently of nonconscious life i.e. that biological evolution is false and special creation is true.  Thus, the fact that all known complex life has biologically evolved does seem very surprising if theism is true.


Naturalism is the Best Explanation for the Physical Dependency of Minds.

All healthy persons have minds with rich, conscious experiences and personalities.  Neuroscientific evidences strongly suggest that such mental states are strictly dependent on physical events in embodied brains.  The philosopher Michael Tooley notes the following observations:


  • When an individual's brain is directly stimulated and put into a certain physical state, this causes the person to have a corresponding experience.
  • Some brain injuries make it impossible for a person to have any mental states at all.
  • Other injuries to the brain destroy various mental capacities, and which capacity is destroyed is tied directly to the particular region of the brain that was damaged.
  • When we examine the mental capacities of nonhuman animals, they become more complex as their brains become more complex.
  • Within any given species, the development of mental capacities is correlated with the development of neurons in the brain.

All known mental activity having a physical basis in embodied brains strongly implies that minds cannot exist independent of physical arrangements of matter.  In other words, physical events are causally necessary for mental states.  Naturalism entails that minds are physically dependent and that disembodied minds do not exist.  Thus, the physical dependence of minds does not seem surprising if naturalism is true.

By contrast,

Theism does not entail physically dependent minds.  However, theism does give us antecedent reason to expect disembodied minds or souls, because theism entails the existence of at least one disembodied mind, namely, God.  Disembodied minds are not merely a speculative postulate on theism.  Additionally, our mental states, presumably, can survive a physical death as a disembodied, immaterial mind if theism is true.  Thus, the physical dependency of minds does seem surprising if theism is true.


Naturalism is the Best Explanation for Nonresistant Nonbelievers.

A belief that God exists is a necessary condition for human persons to have a meaningful relationship with God.  However, some people do not believe that God exists.  In at least some of these people, the absence of a theistic belief is not in any way the result of their own emotional or behavioral opposition towards God, relationship with God, or any of the apparent implications of such a relationship.  Let’s call these people nonresistant nonbelievers.  Nonresistant nonbelievers are open to having a relationship with God, and some may even desire it, however,  they are unable to have such a relationship, because they do not believe that God exists.  For example:  Former believers were already on the right religious path, in a relationship with God, and a loss of belief has terminated that relationship.  Lifelong seekers try to find out where they belong and are open to finding, or being found by, a divine parent without ever achieving that goal.  Isolated nontheists (e.g. Amazonian tribesmen) have never been in a position to resist belief, because they’ve never had the idea of God.  Consequently, isolated nontheists unavoidably live their entire lives within the influence of a fundamentally misleading system of religious meaning.

If naturalism is true, then there is no God, and the Universe is indifferent to a belief in God, because naturalism entails that the content of human beliefs are not the result of benevolent or malevolent actions performed by disembodied persons.  If naturalism is true, then there simply is no divine parent to have a meaningful relationship with.  Thus, the existence of nonresistant nonbelievers does not seem surprising if naturalism true.

By contrast,

If theism is true, then God’s maximal power and perfect love give us antecedent reasons to think that God has both the means and the motives to prevent nonresistant nonbelief.  God’s perfect love is an antecedent reason to expect that God would ensure that a meaningful relationship was always available to any person(s) open to one.  As the philosopher J.L. Schellenberg puts it,


Quote
“The presence of God will be for [nonresistant nonbelievers] like a light that – however much the degree of its brightness may fluctuate – remains on unless they close their eyes.”

Additionally, God’s maximal power gives us antecedent reason to think that God is capable of giving every human person a clear, unmistakable inner awareness of His existence so as to make a meaningful relationship possible.  Thus, the existence of nonresistant nonbelievers does seem very surprising if theism is true.

Conclusion

In the course of my opening statement, I have outlined five lines of evidence that give us strong reasons to believe that naturalism is a much better explanatory hypothesis than theism.  I will defend premises (2) and (3) of The Master Argument in my First Rebuttal by critiquing Dr. Barnes positive case for theism.

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LukeB

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Re: DEBATE: Theism and Naturalism: How do they explain the world we see?
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2017, 04:04:51 am »
We have a case for naturalism, so let's get cracking.

Is Naturalism the Best Explanation for ... the Success of Science?

We distinguish between primary and secondary causation. When God acts directly on the world, that is primary causation. The obvious examples are creation itself, and some miracles. When God acts on the world through natural causes, that is secondary causation. C.S. Lewis again:

Quote
God creates the vine and teaches it to draw up water by its roots and, with the aid of the sun, to turn that water into a juice which will ferment and take on certain qualities. Thus every year, from Noah's time till ours, God turns water into wine.

The accusation is: "If theism is true, then we would expect that at least some successful scientific explanations were supernatural ones." On the contrary, on theism, scientific explanations and the actions of God do not exclude each other. A scientific theory describes God's secondary causation, where God has chosen to act through to the natural, orderly causes so that "the dignity of causality is imparted even to creatures." (Aquinas)

Would we expect more frequent primary causation on theism, that is, more events that are not the effect of natural causes? I contend not. On theism, the laws of nature serve a greater purpose - to create a shared environment in which moral agents interact. This environment must act predictably. Recall Swinburne's point: only if nature acts consistently can we choose to build houses or bombs. So the success of science (i.e. the rarity of primary causation) is not unlikely on theism. God established the natural order; a good, overriding reason would be needed to temporarily suspend that order. A God who had to constantly poke His creation would be a thoughtless bumbler.

On the other hand, why would there be scientific laws on naturalism at all? Just as there are many more random strings of letters than meaningful sentences, there are many more ways for natural events to have no discernable pattern than to have a world describable by elegant mathematical laws.

The makers of the scientific revolution almost all believed that that nature acts in an understandable, consistent, rational way because it is the creation of a rational God. By the usual rules of reasoning, their theism is supported by the success of science, not undermined.

... The Hostility of the Universe?

Unless you have an 8 kilometer vertical leap, you're stuck down here. If that nasty universe is trying to get you, it isn't having much success. We live our lives utterly oblivious to this hostility, which tells us that it is completely irrelevant to the universe as an environment for moral agents.

What has been the net effect of the emptiness of space on humanity? A habitable solar system and a clear view of the night sky. If the solar system was filled with breathable air, you wouldn't be able to see the Moon. Beauty is good, experiencing the sublime is good, and the "greatness of the material universe" continues to declare the "greatness of God" (Lewis). That's what empty space has actually done.

Moreover, BW's case collides with the fine-tuning of the universe for life. BW says:

A. "There are also many more ways for the Universe to be mostly hostile to life than for the Universe to be mostly or wholly permitting of life."
B. "Thus, the fact that the Universe is mostly hostile to life does not seem surprising if naturalism is true."

But it follows that:

C. There are many more ways for the Universe to be completely hostile to life than for the Universe to be mostly hostile to life.
D. Thus, the fact that the Universe is not completely hostile to life is very surprising if naturalism is true.

In support of C is the fine-tuning of the universe for life (cambridge.org/fortunate). We explore possible universes by considering the laws of nature as we know them, and varying the constants. In our theories, the cosmological constant can vary over the Planck scale. Within this range, the set that is not completely hostile to life is at best one part in 1090. Universes outside this range either do not form any structure at all, or recollapse in a fraction of a second. Similarly, the fundamental particles of nature could have masses from zero to the Planck scale. Within this range, the set that permits these particles to bind into any complex structures at all is at best one part in 1017.

Naturalism doesn't predict a hostile universe; it predicts a dead one. And those vastly outweigh merely hostile ones.

... Biological Evolution?

The Claim: "If naturalism is true, and complex life exists, then biological evolution pretty much has to be true".

Here's a physicist's view. The 2nd law of thermodynamics states that the entropy of the universe never decreases. Statistical mechanics says that this is because the universe is evolving from a less probable state to a more probable state. Why does the ice in your glass of water melt? Because there are more ways to arrange the water molecules so that they are all at the same temperature than there are ways to arrange them into warm drink + cold ice.

Does this explain the 2nd law? Not completely, because the fundamental laws of nature are time symmetric. The argument about about the water in the cup also works backwards in time. Given an glass of water and half-melted ice cubes, statistical mechanics correctly predicts that the most likely state in 15 minutes time is completely melted ice. But it incorrectly "predicts" that the most likely state 15 minutes ago was also completely melted ice that, by an extraordinarily unlikely rearrangement of molecules, become ice and water. Your memories of complete ice cubes don't make any difference - the most likely way that they came about is via a fluctuation too, making your memories illusory.

How do we fix this? We need an extra postulate, called the "past hypothesis": the universe began in a state of very low entropy. With this postulate, our memories are accurate, and the most likely way to get half-melted ice is not via a second-law-breaking fluctuation.

This is an important point. Imagine a piano, floating freely in a sealed room in empty space for eternity. (arxiv.org/abs/1108.0417) Over the eons, the piano will break down as molecular jostling loosens chemical bonds, snaps strings, and causes parts to break off and float away. The room approaches thermal and chemical equilibrium. Now hit rewind. Given a room in equilibrium (disorder), the most probable way for a piano to form is the break-down in reverse. Chemicals will slowly form, the parts will drift together, and sound waves will converge and fuse the strings in place under tension.

That is how a piano happens starting from a high entropy state. The way that we're familiar with - people, blueprints, tools - is the most likely way a piano happens starting from a lower entropy state.

So, The Claim is false. Biological evolution is the most likely way to get life given a naturalistic universe that started in an extraordinarily orderly state. The order displayed in the living world is astonishing, and evolution does precisely nothing to explain that order. It explains complexity, but only via a process that starts with (and thus must simply assume) a highly ordered state. The order in our universe does not evolve. It is there from the beginning.

But why would the universe start in a low entropy state on naturalism? If we use the same understanding of probability that gives us the successful predictions of statistical mechanics, and we assume naturalism, then the initial state of our universe is extraordinarily unlikely (1 part in 10^10^123 unlikely). Naturalism only expects evolution if it helps itself to monumental amounts of pre-existing order.

... The Physical Dependency of Minds?

I'm an astronomer. But if you'd like some half-baked speculation, read on!

I don't think we are in any place to know that all mental activity has a physical basis in embodied brains. We can expose the gap in our knowledge by asking: precisely what physical arrangements of matter create a conscious mind? No one has the slightest idea.

Again, there is a huge "given" here. Given that there are minds, naturalism predicts that they are physically dependent. But why would there be minds on naturalism at all? Why subjective, first-person conscious experience at all? (For that matter, what is a subjective experience on naturalism?)

... Nonresistant Nonbelievers?

Again, astronomer.

1. We are not in a position to know the inner thoughts of others, so that someone else is "non-resistent" is untestable. In particular, one can have subconscious reasons for wanting to escape the obligations of conscience. 2. Belief is necessary for relationship, but not in itself good. The question is: would more widespread belief in God result in more widespread love for God? Not necessarily amongst free creatures. 3. We don't know what the future holds for unbelievers. For those who actively seek God, belief may not even come in this life.

On the other hand, why would there be believers at all on naturalism? It seems quite the coincidence that belief in a good creator is found in just about every culture at every time in history, while atheism is almost exclusively found in the modern, decadent west. Humans are naturally disposed towards theism, and must be trained out of it (e.g. www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2008/nov/25/religion-children-god-belief)

Conclusion:

There's a theme ...
  • Given that anything exists, given that it obeys orderly laws, given that those laws are discoverable, naturalism expects that we won't see exceptions.
  • Given that the universe makes life at all, naturalism expects some the empty space between the life forms.
  • Given an extraordinarily special low-entropy beginning, given that the laws permit life at all, naturalism expects life to form via biological evolution.
  • Given that lifeforms exist, given that they have conscious experiences, naturalism expects a natural correlate of those experiences.
  • Given that the vast majority of humans believe in God, naturalism expects that some won't.

Even if these claims were true, an awful lot has been taken for granted.