A little more on Swinburne, just for drill.

Why do all particles behave in exactly the same way as each other, so as together ultimately to produce human life? This enormous coincidence in particle behaviour requires explaining. I’ve got a good theory which explains it; you haven’t. And if you are really telling me that the production of humans is not, objectively, a good thing, I find myself wondering if you really mean something so implausible.

He’s got a good theory to explain it. His good theory to explain it is a big person (where? where is this big person? outside the universe? on one side of it? or all sides, going all the way around? a big round person with the universe at the middle of it?) who is perfectly this that and the other, that no one can see or smell or talk to, that doesn’t take phone calls or answer letters, but does answer prayers, sometimes, maybe. That’s a good theory? It’s not just a tiny bit, erm, implausible, on the face of it? I have to be honest: it seems very implausible to me. Not just mildly implausible, but very implausible. A big person, wot made the universe, in order to make yooman beings. Nope – don’t buy it.

Okay, next bit. (And what’s that we’re always being told about how uncertain and modest religious believers are? Not if Swinburne is anything to go on they’re not.) It’s implausible to say that the production of humans is not objectively a good thing. But why are they a good thing to anyone but themselves? Well, maybe not quite only themselves. I can see why rats would be pleased, and pigeons, and flies, and various types of virus and bacteria. And of course wheat and soybeans and potatoes are delighted – it’s worked out terrifically well for them. I do quite see that. But that’s not objectively – that’s just to a few species (and who knows how many naysayers there are even there, eh? maybe lots of pigeons and rats would really have preferred to go it on their own and let things fall out as they would), it’s not objectively. How can the production of humans be objectively a good thing? What ultimate, general, non-personal, non-local good does our existence do? How is Jupiter, or Alpha Centauri, or the next galaxy over, better off for the existence of humans?

Is this the best theists can do? I suppose it must be. Since I don’t think they have any good arguments, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that the arguments they do give seem awfully thin. But – then why do they get to be Topp, and publish books, and so on? It seems a little strange.

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