Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Quick Thought on Infinity for the Day

(From Richard Swinburne's talk at Oxford last June:)

One of the primary reasons scientific atheists are just that (atheists) is that they believe that God is an extra, needless layer on complexity overlaid on the natural order. But in some ways they need to brush up on their philosophy, because they're combining categories. Instead of allowing a God with infinite power, they postulate infinite universes in the form of the multiverse (or something else like that). The problem with this is that infinite power is simple, but infinite universes are complex. Power is filling to a maximum of ability or possibility, but universes are additive in their complexity. This kind of philosophy is why you can say things like God is the simplest kind of "person" there could be. In some ways, infinity is simplicity, if the infinite being is very much "other." If you're reaching infinity by just multiplying the current universe by infinity, that is the truly needlessly complex thing!

Let me quote the question Swinburne started his lecture with:
Q: What do we have that God does not?

Give up yet? It's a related topic ...

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