The Purpose of Life?

G. K. Chesterton once said,  “Do not be so open-minded that your brains fall out.” Variations of this quote has been used by many. For example Richard Dawkins has been heard saying, “By all means let’s be open-minded, but not so open-minded that our brains drop out.” It reflects a slight amount of frustration prevalent among the atheist community to which I also belong. We must be inclusive to other ideas that may or may not contradict with our own but we shouldn’t be too inclusive that it amounts to frustration.

The Uninvited Argument

Recently an interesting incident took place at my workplace. As an atheist I often have uninvited guests who find entertainment in taking up meaningless debates with me. What annoys me is that the people who come to argue with me already make an assumption that I do not know the answers to their questions. Further, they don’t have the patience to listen to the answers I give. And when they find that I do have the answers, they get uncomfortable and impatient and often threatened.

I was talking about a recent Malayalam movie “Prabhuvinte Makkal” to my co-worker. It was an openly atheistic movie targeted against the so called “living Gods”, the frauds who prey on the money of desperate naïve masses. Another co-worker of mine objected to it and I told him that it took me several years to convince myself to become an atheist and that it was not a one day process. He joked saying that it is better for me to find an atheist girl because otherwise there would be conflict everyday. As we were laughing, another colleague of mine arrived at our bay and asked what was being discussed. So my co-worker told, “The subject is atheism“. Immediately he made a statement, “There is definitely a force behind everything in the universe.” Being a fan of Carl Sagan, I knew that if we had to pursue the question of existence courageously, we must ask the next question, “Where did the creator come from?” I did exactly that. An argument ensued thereafter. The following is a rough transcript of it (from my memory):

Colleague: “If you don’t answer with another question, shall I ask you something?”

Me: Sure. But if your answer requires me to counter with a question, I would certainly do that.

Colleague: Okay. Which came first? Chicken or egg?

Me: That’s not a question because egg laying reproduction evolved over time much before birds even came into existence. So I would say it is neither chicken nor the egg that came first.

Colleague: Just because Darwin said something doesn’t mean we have to accept it.

Me: Come on! In the past 150 years since Darwin’s work, every possible experiment has been conducted on evolution and it has passed every time. In fact the theory is so powerful that it has been applied in so many different fields. Next time you take an antibiotic, think about Darwin.

Colleague: I won’t do that!

Me: See, this double standard is what makes me irritated. You want all the benefits of science but still want to speak against it.

Colleague: I am not speaking against science. Tell me this – Is there a diameter to the universe?

Me: The observable universe has a diameter of a few billion light years. Why?

Colleague: Has science been able to find out what is beyond that?

Me: No. But does that mean that you should fill in that gap with a God? Shouldn’t we wait for more scientific data to explain things?

Colleague: Where did atoms come from?

Me: Through the process of nucleosynthesis. Initial atoms were formed during a transition from radiation dominated phase to matter dominated phase. Heavier atoms were cooked inside stars.

Colleague: What is the purpose of life?

Me: To propagate our DNA. That’s the prime directive. Everything else is optional.

Colleague: It’s a big question as to whether everything God or everything is science.

My Interpretations

The last statement of his is meaningless and you would have already guessed that the conversation didn’t go well. He didn’t allow me to complete most of the sentences that I have mentioned here. Most of the time he would cut me off and ask the next question. This is a tactic employed by many creationists. The idea is to frustrate the opponent in order to “win” the argument. Finally he said that he will wait for the return of another colleague from long leave so that he will have back up to argue. And after every answer I gave, he was simply smiling and shaking his head like a fool.

The chicken or egg argument is a very funny one. Anyone who cares to look up the evolutionary history will know that egg laying has been there long before birds walked the earth. From fishes to amphibians to reptiles to birds, there is so much convincing evidence for the transition. I have repeatedly written in my previous blog posts about evolution and its applications. Darwin is not the only scientist who worked on evolution. There have been thousands since him but creationists are still stuck with Darwin. Every experiment that one can imagine has been conducted with evolution and every time the theory and its predictions have been proven to be right. If that is not evidence for its correctness I don’t know what is.

By definition universe means all that there is. When we take that definition into consideration, “beyond the diameter of the universe” doesn’t make any sense. Of course, being able to observe is limited by the technology of our time. There may be a multiverse but that is a concept in cosmology that is not agreed upon by many. And my great debater didn’t mention multiverse in his argument because if he had I would have sat with him and discussed some more. According to him, being unable to know what is beyond the observable universe due to lack of advanced technology is somehow evidence for God. He is unwilling to concede to the fact that science is progressive in nature. He can’t accept that what was not known in the past is now known and therefore science will definitely figure out more things in future. How hard is it to grasp?

I am not surprised that many people do not know where atoms came from. Few months ago when I was talking about stellar nucleosynthesis to a friend, he was surprised to know that heavy elements are cooked inside stars. My issue is the reluctance of people to look up and figure things out in this information age. I am not saying that we should run to Google on each and every thing or be in front of the computer reading Wikipedia all the time. But it is definitely advisable to read at least once in a while about subjects like oceanography, astronomy, geology etc. It doesn’t hurt to know how the world we live in works.

Coming to the main topic of this article, what is really the purpose of life? I have been asked many times this question. Being an atheist doesn’t mean we lack any “purpose” in life or any moral values. Just because we exist does not mean that it has to “mean” something or there is some kind of “divine purpose” behind it. We exist because our parents gave birth to us. Since we live in a society, we do have certain obligations to set goals in life and try achieving it but again that is not mandatory. Nobody is forbidding us from going and living in a jungle if we so choose. So do atheists live with ethics and morals? Yes we do. And frankly our morals are in fact found to be far superior to religious people.

What would convince me?

Having said all of this, suppose I agree that there could be a God, what should be the nature of the evidence to convince me? Evidence as I wrote before can be direct or indirect. For example, the CMB (Cosmic Microwave Background) may contain tell tale signs of a pre-big bang event. Scientists believe that events prior to the big bang event may have produced certain signatures in the CMB that can be detected and interpreted. I am not saying you should go and check CMB for the evidence for God. I am trying to show you the nature of evidence that you should bring to the table. The idea that a God wants to create the universe and maintain it without any shred of his/her/its existence doesn’t digest well in the mind of a person with scientific curiosity.

Now, if you bring a cosmologically significant evidence doesn’t mean I would convert immediately. I will ask for peer-reviewed evaluation of your evidence. It should be scrutinized by other scientists and its validity checked. Further, the experiment you suggest should be repeatable and produce the exact same results. If the scientific community rejects your “evidence”, I wouldn’t accept it either.

Still I will ask the question “Where did the creator come from?” and that my dear readers is a question that creationists keep evading every time. What’s wrong in admitting if we do not know the answer? It’s not an offense to not know an answer. The offense is not accepting that fact and continuing to take up circular arguments that never get anywhere.

So in conclusion, my creationist friends should stop feeling threatened by atheists. We are not evil people with evil agenda just because we don’t agree to your prehistoric beliefs. In fact we are much less evil than you are. And we really don’t need a God to be moral. If you require a God to distinguish from right and wrong then you probably need psychiatric help in my opinion.

  • ardenjm

    Actually, it’s the great Catholic writer from the early decades of the 20th century, G.K. Chesterton who said, “By all means let’s be open-minded, but not so open-minded that our brains drop out.”

    I agree with the first half of your last paragraph.

    However, just as you throw back into believers’ faces the evil done by other believers of their religions so to, I’m afraid, you’ve got to accept the evil done by atheists in the name of their non-belief. And, believe me, in that sense, atheists have no moral lessons to give religious believers.

    “Where did the creator come from?”

    You’ve misunderstood what theism teaches about the nature of the Being they call Creator.
    Basically, theism is saying something about the universe: that it is caused. It is also saying something about the nature of the cause of the universe: that it is a kind of being that is unlike the things it causes. Why? Because of two main reasons: 1. The universe is full of causes. Appealing, as Bertrand Russell and Dawkins do to the brute fact of its existence “it just is” – is intellectually unsatisfactory. Sure, the fallacy of composition might apply here and to look for an ultimate cause of a universe full of causation, might be a category error. But it doesn’t seem like an unreasonable question to ask. And nor does it seem unreasonable to speculate that the kind of being that might be at the origin of a contingent universe would need to be of a different KIND to the universe and all that it contains. If it were not of a different KIND then your empirical requirements would be very reasonable: a) where do I see the material traces of this Being within the universe? b) what caused THAT being you claim to have caused the universe?
    However, to answer a): whenever we humans make something it’s pretty rare already that you can find material traces of our beings within the things we make so it need not be TOO much of an obstacle to the argument that we can’t see a DIRECT material trace of that First Creative Cause within the universe. And to answer b): ultimately, in this chain of causality you need to get back to the kind of being that is not caused – that is necessary, that has always existed and is a fully actualised being. That kind of being is what religions call God. Or at least the God of classical theism.
    Secondly, the universe is intelligible. It’s intelligible content is “out there” – within it, a part of it. More than that, it seems to be “more than” the matter found in the universe. The matter obeys physical laws, the physical laws are expressed mathematically. The mathematics most certainly are NOT material, however. But the mathematics are most certainly REAL. We don’t invent the maths. We discover the maths. The maths is “out there”. But it isn’t material. Russell believed this. In the light of what you’ve written are you not intrigued by the existence of non-material mathematical realities? If you accept that mathematics is supra-empirical and non-material and exists pan-en-theistically almost in, through and beyond material reality then the burden of proof is on you: “How” do these non-material mathematical realities exist. “Where” do they exist?
    The question of God is in good company. Dawkins is not a mathematician.
    It shows.
    Unfortunately, the theists you’ve spoken with haven’t done much philosophy. So you find them intellectually naive. Go read some theists who aren’t then. Edward Feser has a good blog. Take a look.

    Mind how you go.

    • Okay I will look up Edward Feser. And also make the correction on Chesterton quote. Now, coming back to a couple of things you mentioned:

      1. By evil done by atheists do you mean Stalin, Mao and Polpot? As far as I know they were influenced by ideologies that similar to religion. They were influenced by Marxism and if I remember correctly Stalin even believed in some sort of paradisaical future. Even the current North Korean leader can be included in that category. I haven’t yet seen any atheist going around persecuting religious people or punishing them for not converting. I am ready to correct myself if there are any. And far as morality is concerned, atheists are more likely to have acceptance of things like women’s rights or lifestyle choices such a homosexuality etc. There are moderate religious people who do accept these things but the point I am trying to make is that atheists who are ideologically indoctrinated are likely to behave more or less like a religious person. It’s the ideology (Marxism or Fascism or whatever) which is similar to religion that is the problem.

      2. Yes, Dawkins is not a mathematician. But there are plenty of expert mathematicians and physicists who reject the notion of a supreme being or in your words a fully actualized ever lasting intelligible being. I am not sure whether the words invention or discovery can be applied to mathematics. Anyway, as you said there are laws that the physical universe follows. But as Lee Smolin said, “Why these laws and why not some other laws?” More than whether a creator exists, I am concerned about how and why he/she/it create and develop this universe. The actual mechanism that was used to create the laws that govern the universe. May be there is a creator and his/her/its existence will always remain a mystery. But the Big Bang and all that followed are solvable by human mind and until those solutions produced I think it is safe to reject the notion of a creator.

      • ardenjm

        Thanks for your reply.
        To answer:
        1. Yes. I do mean them. And you can’t wash your hands of them that easily, I’m afraid. It’s a neat trick to say that “those” kinds of atheists were really more like religious fundamentalists than the kind you are. Does it feel nice and pure there on your moral high ground? Those atheists are part of your atheist family and you have to have the intellectual integrity to acknowledge them as such.
        Moreover, you might want to “religify” them and thus disown them. But that’s an easy rhetorical tactic that we can both make use of. Here you go:
        The religious crazies are, in fact, ideologists. And ideologists come in every stripe: religious, non-religious, nationalist, economic, and so on. See what I did there? I re-interpreted inconvenient truths about those who claimed to share my religion in a way which allows me to say they weren’t REAL believers. Just as so many Muslims say that those who kill in the name of Allah aren’t REAL Muslims.
        So let’s see what we can do about this impasse.
        How about this:
        I, as a believer, am not a fideist. I don’t believe God requires me to turn off my intelligence and “just believe”. I believe He expects me to use my intelligence as much as I possibly can. The corollary of this is the idea that my intelligence can discover TRUTH – of all different kinds.
        If you as an atheist can reaffirm in a non-reductionist way the rational capacity of the intelligence to discover truth, then that’s all I, as a believer, need from you. That’s all.
        Relativism, scepticism and their extremist version, nihilism, are not great friends of rationality and certainly not of truth. The danger is a positivistic reduction of truth to purely empirical science but 5 minutes study of the philosophy of science will show to you that modern science’s inductive method is dealing in high probabilities, not truth. The falsification principle demonstrates this. That leaves logical laws and mathematics as true statements. Nevertheless, if they ARE true (and they are) this means the question “What is truth?” still has life in it. Truth is still “out there”. And that’s important. Because that means that truth is objective and real, not subjective and relative.

        2. I said that these laws are INTELLIGIBLE and it’s the intelligibility, objective, real, human-independent intelligibility that should intrigue us. If they are independent of matter, and they ARE, then they do not come from matter. Maths does not depend on matter and does not come from matter. So where does that intelligibility come from? You have three choices: 1. it just does. 2. we don’t know so I keep an open mind 3. it comes from some intelligent source

        As Dawkins himself admitted: even if he think it very, very unlikely, to be true to the scientific method he is required to maintain 2.
        Personally, I respect 2 as the intellectual position of those who haven’t done enough philosophy and metaphysics.
        I also don’t want to say that 3 is “proof” of Intelligent Design: it isn’t.
        What I mean by 3 needs to take into account of what Classical Theism means by Secondary Causality with its autonomous ontological effects, as well as mediate, not immediate arguments for the existence of an uncaused first cause that is not first in the sense of being first in a temporal chain, but first in the sense of being immanently causal to all being.
        Most philosophers and theologians haven’t spent much time looking at these questions, let alone mathematicians!
        But the Catholic Church has a venerable tradition of thinkers who have looked at these questions with great intellectual finesse and accuracy and as such the Church listens to them and approves of what they say.
        And quite right too! The intelligence is made to be used, not switched off.
        But there’s more to the human intelligence than neurones firing.
        Because we do mathematics.
        And maths isn’t material.

        Mind how you go.

        • I pointed out atheists who were ideologically indoctrinated who
          committed grave crimes against humanity. You took it up and did the same
          with religious extremists. But don’t you see something? In both cases
          the people whom both you and I despise are influenced by religion and
          quasi-religious ideologies. So that pretty much settles it. Doesn’t it? A religious extremist or any other form of extremist will have an ideal to look up to when they commit an atrocity. For example recently when Gaddafi was killed in public one of the extremists was screaming Allahu Akbar loudly and hysterically. As an atheist I don’t have such idols or ideals to look up to. I am not going to commit somebody and scream “Richard Dawkins” or “Heil Science” etc.

          appreciate your effort in educating me with the philosophical aspect of
          theism. I agree that intelligence shouldn’t be turned off. You are an
          intelligent person. That’s why you are able to articulate your ideas.
          And I am pretty sure we can sit across a table and discuss for hours
          until we find a common ground. But look at the guy I have described in
          the article. He can’t even distinguish between astronomy and astrology.
          Such people take it too personally when they see an atheist. In fact
          several people I have met had this problem.

          My atheistic point
          of view comes among other things from looking at scientific method in a
          more historical perspective. I am sure you have heard of “God of the
          gaps” argument. The retrograde motion of Mars was a big enigma. Ptolemy
          thought that Mars moves in epicycles to account for that. Copernicus was
          able to solve it with a much simpler model by simply taking Sun from
          the orbit and putting it in the center. Germ theory killed the idea that
          diseases are caused by evil spirits. Atomic theory put an end to the
          notion of matter being continuous. Nobody knew what causes mass until
          the Higgs mechanism was proposed. Worshiping the planets and the Sun has
          ceased in most parts of the world when new theories were put forward
          that were experimentally verified.

          So where am I getting at with this? Historically what was not known yesterday, we know today. So it is highly likely that what we do not know today will be known tomorrow. It’s not just about science. Any subject is like that. If faith is a good word to use then yes I do have faith in the scientific method. And that’s more than enough for me.

          • ardenjm

            Thanks for your reply.

            Just a couple of points.

            You write: “But don’t you see something? In both cases the people whom both you and I despise are influenced by religion and
            quasi-religious ideologies.”

            No. You have failed to understand the point I was making, I’m afraid.
            I was saying that it is not right for you to describe the nasty kinds of atheists as quasi-religious. That’s intellectually dishonest.
            An atheist might not have idols but an atheist is very often an iconoclast: tearing down what he thinks are other peoples’ idols. And some of those atheist iconoclasts have killed many millions of believers in the name of their non-belief.
            You want to make THOSE kinds of atheists as somehow quasi religious believers! That’s both intellectually wrong of you and morally suspect of you.
            DEAL with the fact that atheists have done bad things in the name of atheism!
            Or else you’re exhibiting either cognitive dissonance or false consciousness: a refusal to look at reality as it is.

            I appreciate that you NEED to feel that, as an atheist, what you believe makes you somehow better than religious crazies.
            But it doesn’t. You have to deal with that. Atheists have done just as much evil as religious believers. You want to make THOSE kinds of atheists “religious believers” and I think that’s dishonest of you.

            Secondly, again, you have failed to understand Classical Theism – because, of course, Richard Dawkins does not deal with Classical Theism.
            Classical Theism makes NO appeal to a God-of-the-Gaps precisely because Classical Theism believes that Secondary Causes have their own causal effects. God is never required to “fill in” what we don’t understand about the natural world. That’s not the kind of God that the Catholic Church that I belong to believes in. And when the ‘scientific method’ you place your faith in, is, itself, based on non-material mathematics I’m afraid you have an intellectual problem you don’t even seem to be aware of, let alone have addressed: Mathematics is not matter. Science can’t investigate mathematics in a lab and look for the empirical data. Mathematics is “real and formal”. Not “real and material” like the things modern science investigates. Science can’t define what Truth is, nor can it define what Being is, nor does it have anything very much to say about Goodness, either. All of these are part of human experience and we have rational things to say about them. Science can contribute to the discussion within its vast domains but you want to reduce rationality to modern scientific method and I’m afraid that’s too limited.

            You don’t seem to realise that. And your, “I do have faith in the scientific method. And that’s more than enough for me” is just your scientific variant of what Muslims say when they feel they are losing an argument: “You have your beliefs. I have my beliefs. And Allah knows best.”
            It closes debate.
            And soon after minds close, too.
            And then hearts.
            And thus ideology hardens into something dangerous and violent.
            Your science is in danger of becoming “scientism” – an ideology.

            Religions do NOT have the monopoly on intolerance and impatience.
            And, ps. I do hope you get around to changing your attribution of the Chesterton quote to Richard Dawkins! That would be intellectually honest of you. And if modern scientific method doesn’t teach you that, then, I’m afraid, it’s done you no good whatsoever. Here is what Chesterton wrote – many decades before Dawkins: “Do not be so open-minded that your brains fall out.”

          • Before saying that I have faith in scientific method I did say that I am not sure whether faith is a good word there and that I am using it anyway. Why should I deal with the deeds of deeply evil men who did those deeds because of quasi-religions as somehow deeds done in the name of atheism? Calling me intellectually dishonest won’t make me intellectually dishonest. That is simply your point of view.

            Comparing me with Islamic extremists is also not correct because of a very good reason. Scientific method is dynamic. It changes when new empirical evidence comes in. Theories don’t stay the same. They change. Therefore scientific method is not an end product but a process. And I can certainly have faith in a process that has given us so much progress including this web interface that we use to talk to each other. Religious faith on the other hand is dogmatic and you know that. My acceptance of the scientific method as the right point of view is not dogmatic. If new evidence comes, I will abandon what I hold and embrace a new theory. Look at what Einstein did to Newton’s gravity. We need nothing more than Newton’s equations and their applications to do most calculations in space travel such as the Apollo missions. However, Einstein saw a problem when dealing with very massive objects and taking the speed of light into consideration. He realized that Newton’s gravity breaks down cases. Now we have a much more rich theory of gravity.

            As you rightly said mathematics isn’t a thing. It is a method to understand and express something. Just like language. Nature’s laws are written in the language of mathematics. As I said in one of my previous comments, we have to find out why our universe speaks in this language. You may accept the God concept held by the Catholic church. But then it raises more questions than it answers as I described in my article. I will give a few examples:

            – What is this God? Is it some form of energy?
            – If yes what are its properties?
            – What are the mathematical equations governing those properties?
            – Why isn’t this energy not empirically measurable?
            – Is there an experiment that can be proposed to make this measurement?
            – Are there indirect clues to the already existing evidence such as the CMB regarding this God?

            I heard the quote first in a talk by Richard Dawkins. May be he was quoting Chesterton. However, I did find that even Feynman and Russel have used variations of the quote.

          • ardenjm

            Happy Christmas and every blessing for 2015.
            Thank you for correcting your piece: I’m glad to see the great G K Chesterton’s name on your blog!
            You should read him: he’s very wise. And very intelligent.
            Just a few thoughts dealing with the end of your piece:

            “As you rightly said mathematics isn’t a thing. It is a method to understand and express something. Just like language.”
            You’ve misunderstood me entirely if you think this is what I said. Mathematics is most CERTAINLY real. It’s not a human invention. It’s a human discovery.
            That we formalise what we’ve discovered in the language we do so does not mean that we created the realities that mathematics expresses.
            Mathematical values are real but they are NOT material.
            If you admit that (and there are very good reasons for doing so) then you can NOT be a strict Dawkins-like materialist.
            You just can’t.

            This doesn’t ‘prove’ that God exists, of course.
            But it DOES establish that there is more to reality than matter.

            If there is more to reality than matter then things can exist non-materially.
            If there are some things that exist, have being, are real, in a non material way then, really, you can’t object if God doesn’t exist materially either.
            If some intelligible realities like mathematics can be known by us, despite not existing materially, then this raises two questions:

            1. Our brains are only part of the story: there must be something to us that is capable of accessing non-material intelligibility. Our intelligence maybe! An intelligence that uses the material structures of the brain but that is not identical to it.

            2. if intelligibility does not absolutely need material realities to exist (and mathematics suggest that it doesn’t) then intelligibility and truth are questions that can’t be answered entirely by the analysis of matter. Modern science tells us many true things. But there will never be a lab experiment conducted on the number 2 or on pi or on a prime number. Science uses mathematics but it can’t experiment on mathematics. The very idea is absurd. There is, in short, more to truth and understanding than science. A good scientist recognises this. If there are non-scientific truths that we can discover and establish we need an adequate tool to understand them: logic, philosophy and, for the question of ‘existence’ – the metaphysical part of philosophy.

            If I say to you a. ‘prime numbers EXIST’. b. My love for mathematics EXISTS. c. I also EXIST. d. My thoughts EXIST.

            you can easily grasp that all these different things all have existence but clearly NOT in the same way. I exist, for example, by being alive. A prime number exists, but it is not a living being. My thoughts exist, too, but not independently of me. My love for mathematics exists, also, within me. Yet your love for mathematics exists, too: but it isn’t the same love as my love. It has a different existence. We can both think the same thought about a prime number when we call it to mind: 2,3,5,7,11 etc. the intelligible content will be the same in our thinking of prime numbers, yet the existing thoughts in our two minds, will, clearly be different.

            In the light of those “empirical” observations based on our experience, Philosophy, very reasonably asks the question: What, then is existence? What is being?

            If some things exist non-materially, like Mathematics, rules of logic etc what can modern science say about them – other than: “Go ask a philosopher.”? Nothing. Dawkins is a biologist. He should speak to more physicists. Generally physicists are more intelligent on these questions than neo-Darwinians.

            I appreciate that in India you are surrounded by mythologies, fundamentalisms, charlatans, religious eccentrics and the abuse of power for religious reasons. Nevertheless, your commitment to modern scientific method as the explanation for ALL existence is closing your mind to certain aspects of the questions. Here is why I say this.

            You write:

            -” What is this God? Is it some form of energy?”

            No, God isn’t material. And is therefore not a material energy.
            Mathematical realities aren’t energies either. Some things exist in a non-material way. Classical Theism has always denied that God is material. This is why the pantheism of Hinduism has never really been respected in Classical Theism.

            -‘ If yes what are its properties?’

            Only realities that you can measure, weigh and experiment on are properly described as ‘properties’.

            – ‘What are the mathematical equations governing those properties?’
            – ‘Why isn’t this energy not empirically measurable?’

            I turn these two questions against you in relation to the mathematics you raise here! Are the mathematical values EMPIRICALLY measurable? How much does Pi weigh? What odour does a ratio emit? What about the prime numbers that have yet to be discovered? You say that mathematics governs the empirical properties. And yet the mathematics is non-material! So the non-material governs the material. Mathematics is on a higher level of intelligibility than matter and scientific method. It is a light that comes from a higher source that enlightens what science does. I suggest to you that Philosophy and Metaphysics does the same thing: After all, the science, the mathematics and the thoughts all exist. What, then, is BEING?

            -‘ Is there an experiment that can be proposed to make this measurement?
            – Are there indirect clues to the already existing evidence such as the CMB regarding this God?’

            God can’t be measured since God is not a material object. I hope, by now, you can acknowledge that you use non-material mathematics all of the time and other non-material concepts (the rules of logic, for example) that suggest to you that truth includes but is not exhausted by scientific method.

            If scientific experiment can’t provide us with material evidence for a non-material reality might there by other “indirect clues”? Well, more than clues for things like Mathematics and Logic but, ultimately, your question is very reasonable: Are there indirect clues for the existence of this being you call God?
            Yes, there are several. Aquinas gives a good summary of them. They are called the 5 Ways – and they are “indirect clues” or arguments, not direct, demonstrative, empirical proofs, of the existence of God. They “make the case” for God and why it is reasonable to believe in God. Anthony Flew, the famous atheist Philosopher, finally got around to engaging with them and taking them seriously and came to believe, not in religion or any revelation, but in the existence of that kind of being that religions call ‘God.’
            If you ARE serious about engaging with theological claims then you need to read authors other than Richard Dawkins. Please read this blog post and see where it takes you, intellectually. Take care.

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