Are anti-theists sloppy debaters, or are they deliberately trying to bait people with loaded questions? Your "debate question" is based on a false dilemma in either case.Jagella wrote: Recently I've noticed that some apologists like William Lane Craig are using mathematics-based arguments to assure us that the Christian god exists. I would like to explain why those arguments use poor logic.

A very broad argument is that mathematics in general seems to explain the cosmos in a way that seems to work unreasonably well. An intelligent designer like Yahweh is then required to explain this apparent mathematical basis for the universe. He is "the great mathematician in the sky."

Not really. The reason math works so well to explain the world--in at least some cases--is because we humans created math to describe the cosmos. There is no mystery here. We are the mathematicians describing the universe.

Also, many apologists like to wow us with enormously improbable events that they say cannot be attributed to chance. Since chance is ruled out, "God musta done it."

Wrong again. The only probability that rules out an event happening by chance is an event with a probability of zero. Extremely improbable events--like the conception of any of us--happen all the time.

Also, to state how improbable a natural event might be doesn't say much if you don't know the probability of an alternate event. So if apologists wish to argue that an event like the apparent fine-tuning of the universe by chance is only one out a a gazillion, they must compare that probability to the probability that "God musta done it." If they cannot say that the probability of God fine-tuning the cosmos is greater than chance, then they haven't proved anything.

Finally, a really laughable argument is that the universe cannot be infinitely old because if it was infinitely we could never have reached the present! Such apologists must have slept through their high-school algebra. Consider the number line with numbers increasing infinitely with positive numbers to the right and negative numbers to the left. All you need to do is have any point on that line represent a moment in time with zero being the present, points on the positive direction are the future, and points on the negative direction are the past. See that? You're at 0 (the present), but the past is infinite. You can go back as far as you want to with no limit.

I can go on, but for now let me ask the...

Question for Debate: Are apologists sloppy mathematicians, or are they deliberately trying to deceive people with numbers?

Speaking of fallacies: the problem with your facile "number line" refutation of the Kalam argument there is that it begs the question of how we actually arrived at the present. Remember, apologists like Craig are not simply appealing to maths, but to the relationship between maths and external realities like time. Your being able to arbitrarily place a point on a number line, call it "the present," and then project leftward to a negative "past" infinity doesnâ€™t even begin to explain how an actual present could be instantiated given an actual temporally infinite past, because in the external reality, and by definition, the past has to take place

*before*the present can be instantiated. I'm not saying Craig's argument is a slam-dunk; only that your rebuttal failed to meaningfully address it.

Whatever its virtues may actually be, the argument from mathematics is not quite as easily refuted as asserting that humans "created math to describe the cosmos." First of all, mathematical relationships work independently of the cosmos, so they hold prior to the existence of any particular universe. The abstract, sometimes infinite implications of set theory, for example, clearly do not derive from observations of anything in particular. But what remains more puzzling, and seemingly still in need of explanation, is why the universe would so often behave in keeping with our maths. A naturalistic universe might be expected to be much more chaotic, much less held together by a large number of mathematically well-defined natural laws. Yet here we are.