Biology and God as "useful fiction"

Reading authors from different centuries can lead to very timely reflections. I once read words of one christian author written between year 1200 and 1300. He posed a question: does idea of God unnecessary concept? He argument was that since Sum, rivers, animals, etc. on the one hand and human life on the other can be understand as resultants of natural causes or human actions, there is no need to postulate existence of God. He was probably guided by principle know to us as Occam’s razor, even if William of Ockham was not born yet. Don’t postulate existence of beings, if you don’t need them, because you can postulate the most wild and unreal things. He concluded that concept of God is in fact needed, since as many authors before him postulate, you can prove His existence just guided by human reason. He then add, this is the reason that Saint Paul can write in one of his letters, that gentiles of Roman Empire know about God everything that man can know without Revelation.

Proofs of God existence, that go out of philosophical fashion around XVI century, even if they never faded away totally, to note only time around 1870. But, this is another topic. What is important here is what author of this words probably understand, that putting question of God existence just as the matter of faith, make it open to strong criticism and even mockery, like in Bertrand Russell’s celestial teapot or closer to our time by flying spaghetti monster.

This problem was bring to me again, in different version by discusion (?) was started by David Wilson’s book Darwin’s Cathedral. I don’t have access to the book, but I can refer to things from this discussion that make me troubled. From what I understand, they postulate that God is “useful fiction”, no God or gods exists, but believe in them is by so reason evolutionary preferable. In this way they explained why concept of God or gods exists. Not because such beings exists, but because groups of peoples with religions are better adapted, for some reason, to natural environments. These is particular worrisome, while many Christians that I know are basing their faith on they faith alone. “You can’t prove existence of God, you can only believe in it.”

I’m not biologist, so I don’t know if this solid science with good arguments on it sides or elaborated hypothesis without solid grounding in arguments, at least at this moment. In the first cases, we will most probably faces problems that worried christian even before our current epoch of science begins, in the second case, whole problem can at least wait a while.

I will be glad if someone can direct me in this topic.

I glossed over my own opinion about what are the foundations of belief in God, since I don’t think they are important in this problem.

Same can be said for his non existance ,dont you think?

Explain that to me further because it does sound a little …well i cant say the word

Fear not Kamil. Old Thom was a remarkable man of his time, but 750 years has seen the Scientific Revolution, the Enlightenment, a meteor trail of philosophers (Hume), singers, thinkers, artists, writers, scientists (Darwin), poets, up to this day. The fact that that has resulted in an already sufficient evolutionary explanation of our sense of the holy, which is a survival characteristic, totally eclipsing Al-Ghazali, Aquinas and their greatly reduced heir William Lane Craig, is irrelevant. We have Jesus. If we made Him up, then evolution is even more awesome than it is without Him!

Greetings. Just my $0.02 on part of your post.

If God exists and used evolution it would make sense that “religion” is better adapted to the environment" (whatever that means) than not. Why would he design the system otherwise?

You also mention we can’t prove God exists, only believe it. That is absolutely fine. We can’t prove the validity of cause and effect or that the external world is real. You can only believe it. There is no logical necessity suggesting the sun must rise tomorrow because it did today or that the law of nature must remain constant and uniform. Logical proof is not necessary for anything and science itself does not prove anything in a strict sense. The real question you want to ask is what is the evidence for belief?. Why do people believe in God? Why have so many people believed in God throughout history? Because we are all duped by evolution or we are all appealing to a Higher Being whose laws are built into the universe and written on our hearts?

Occam’s razor is a very general principal. Sometimes more complicated explanations are also in order. It does not do what you are implying. Do we have any plausible explanation of why there is something rather than nothing? Why the universe bothers to exist? How it came to be, if it came to be? Occam’s razor doesn’t apply to God when discussing existence or cosmological issues. We have no real answers, only arguments and opinions. Some would say a first cause is necessary. Some would say this only extends the same problem back a step. Regardless, in no way is God superfluous or extraneous to some explanation in favor of existence. We don’t have a valid God-less explanation of this. Why was there a big bang? Did the universe “create” itself? Occam’s razor is irrelevant here. But yes, even though everything is not fully mapped out, I would say for most there is or probably ultimately will be no need to postulate “God did it” for how life evolved on earth. Many think God used evolution to create life and it was somehow wired into the universe. You still have to end up with earth though, a little glob of stardust and figure out where that came from, the stars before us that our solar system is made from and ultimately explaining the big bang and the nonsensical phrase “a time before time.”


All thought is useful fiction as you imply Vinnie. There may not be, i.e. is not, proof of anything (including rationality), but the greatest, neutral, rational fact (deduction, inference, conclusion, corollary) is eternity. In that universes come and go. With or without God. Who is therefore rationally superfluous with no gap whatsoever. But the intrusion of Jesus.

Your faith in rationality is great, but I wouldn’t trust it to determine all of reality. It is almost useless in matters of the heart or the humanities. I think an exclusively rational worldview would feel much like a sterile room in a hospital, safe and lifeless. A very useful space when needed, but I wouldn’t want to live there.

I’m only Hum[e]an. Rationality is essential in matters of the heart or the humanities. In their servitude but also relentlessly pushing back. Rationality says that they are evolved and that eternity needs be faced. How then are we to live?

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But this mean that Jesus is a fiction, so don’t this bother you at all?

This was a point of Bertrand Russell’s teapot and flying spaghetti monster. We can’t prove that don’t exists, but believing in them is just ridiculous to all people that I know. So, this is badly flawed and inconsistent argument.

I can’t describe it better, than just quoting descriptions of David Wilson’ book.

I have little time today, so I can only pointing out one thing in your post. Occam’s razor is not about complication, but about unnecessary additions to described system (I can’t find better words). Chemical process in plant cell are very complicated, but there are good reasons to acknowledge there existent, mainly plans existent as such. There is totally unnecessary to postulate that are just computer simulation run by some very old intelligent specie in different universe. Even if such computer simulation will be probably simpler on computational level, that real plant’s cell.

Of course it bothers me, it’s supposed to! If Jesus, God incarnate, were a fact, a demonstrable, repeatable fact, we wouldn’t need to believe. I have to carry on as if He were a fact.

Voltaire reportedly said, “If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent Him.”

He probably meant, Since God does not exist it was necessary to invent Him.

The thrust of the statement is that God is necessary, because God gives meaning and purpose to humanity and the universe. The alternative is “nature,” but “Nature,” if not a stand in for God is dead. God is not a useful fiction, God is, as the unbeliever Voltaire said, the necessary Being.

Christians do not need Myths, useful fictions, to make sense of the universe. We have Jesus, the Logos, God’s Rational Word…


Did The spaghetti monster existed in history?Or are you one of Jesus deniers?

What does it have to do with “adapting” to the enviroment?Does religion makes one best hunter ,best moral holder and so on?No

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