Dr. Vince Vitale’s third argument for the existence of God comes from the regularity of the universe. (Starting at 26:03.)

Vince reiterates Hume’s problem of induction: he asks on what basis do we believe that the universe will continue operating with regularity? He says that we simply assume several things about the world around us, including that gravity will remain constant in the future, atoms and molecules will continue to interact as they always have, the sun will come up tomorrow, and language will continue to operate as it does. Vince argues:

we might say, “Well, that’s how the universe has always operated in the past.” But that’s not an answer, that’s precisely the question! Why has it always done so? And why should we think it will continue to do so tomorrow?

We just take for granted that the universe will, of course, operate with regularity. The truth is, that’s a great mystery. But, if God exists, then we have a perfectly reasonable explanation for why the future is likely to resemble the past… because the universe is regulated by someone who cares for us, and therefore wants us to live orderly, and coherent, and meaningful lives…. Theists and atheists… both go around life in a manner that only makes sense if we’re committed to believing that God is in control of the universe.

Vince’s proposed solution to Hume’s problem of induction only pushes the assumption (and mystery) back a step.

The problem that needs to be explained is why there is uniformity and regularity. Vince’s solution merely assumes that God is intrinsically uniform and regular, and causes the universe to also be that way. But this doesn’t explain why God is that way! If Vince can merely assert that God just is uniform and regular, as a brute fact, then it seems the atheist or naturalist can just as well assert that the universe just is, as a brute fact, uniform and regular. And in doing so, they’d save a step. Thus, we can use the principle of Occam’s razor and shave off Vince’s unnecessary additional assumption.

Vince is criticizing the atheist for making a foundational assumption, yet his solution still involves the same foundational assumption, only with an added theological layer. Saying that God wants us to live orderly, coherent, and meaningful lives does not answer the question of why God has the intrinsic qualities of being uniform and regular. In other words, what God does with his uniformity and regularity does not answer the question of why God is that way in the first place.

Moreover, Vince is making an implicit assumption when he claims that the universe “only makes sense” if God is in control. He’s assuming that if the universe was left to itself, or existed naturally on its own, it would be non-uniform, irregular, and chaotic. But why think that uniformity and regularity require an outside force? Vince hasn’t given an argument for thinking that this is the case. Until then, we have no reason to think that the universe can’t exist uniformly on its own, naturally.

Vince’s theological assumption doesn’t provide a solution to Hume’s problem of induction, and it doesn’t give us a philosophical reason to believe in God. He’s only inviting us to further compound our assumptions.

You can’t solve a mystery by appealing to a bigger mystery. And that’s all Vince’s argument does.

 

 

 

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