The answer to what? Deism is given as an answer to how the universe was created. Of course, this supposes that the universe needed to be created, or more properly needed a cause. I claim that the universe need not have been created, or that the universe need not have had a cause. In addition, if the deist god did create/design the universe, this god did not do a very good job of it. And finally, deism is supposed to get rid of the problem of evil. I do not think this god can be let off the hook for the suffering we see in our world.
The first claim that the universe needed to have a creation event does not hold water, either it does not follow logically or it is not in conflict with present science.
Logically, the world could be infinite – it has been around forever, never needing a creation event. Of course, some people do not accept an actual infinity outside of mathematics, and some people do not even accept this. These people do not have any actual proof that it is impossible for the universe to be infinite, both in time and space, though I am not talking about space here. As for the mathematical infinite it had been initially worked out by Georg Cantor. Infinity is accepted by practically all mathematicians, except the intuitionist/constructivist schools.
It is not in conflict with present science because while the big bang might have been the initial event to begin the expansion of the universe, it need not have been a first event in need of a creator. The mathematics, which is how science describes the big bang, breaks down under its infinities. So, the initial event is unknown. There is also the possibility that there could have been a cycle of big bang to big crunch to big bang, and so on. This is similar to an infinite universe, but not exactly so. Also, some cosmologists posit an infinity of universes to make our existence seem less improbable; although, there is no empirical evidence for this, and it seems likely to me that none will be forth coming, the multiverse is not needed to explain our existence.
Moving on to the supposed need for a cause for the existence of the universe, you will see that it is unnecessary to have a cause for the universe as a whole. To explain why, I need to say something about cause or its lack in the quantum world. The quantum world is the atomic sphere. This is the realm of the atom and below – the subatomic level.
In the area of quantum effects events occur without a cause – they are noncausal events. Because of this and the mathematics of quantum mechanics, these events are said to be random because the equations used are probabilistic. But, I think it is more correct that they are statistical ranges for which quantum events will occur or will be found. An exact quantum outcome such as position or momentum is only determined when a measurement is made. What this means I will not go into, and quantum physicists do not agree in the interpretation of the measurement phenomenon. It is also impossible theoretically, not just practically to determine both position and momentum at the same time, as well as time and energy, and other sets of phenomena. However, this is immaterial to my point. Because of the mathematics a cause of a quantum event is not determined, hence one is not needed in quantum mechanics.
Now, in cosmology at one point in time the expansion began (also called the big bang). In this initial expansion event the universe had to be in a quantum state because of its size, either one that is infinitely small or at the Planck length, which is the smallest unit of length possible in the universe. Since, the universe was once of quantum size it need not have had a cause. One wrench in this is if physicists ever figure out quantum gravity (the marriage between quantum physics and general relativity – the two most successful scientific theories yet to be devised) this may change. But, as it stands now with the best science has to offer the universe needs no cause for its existence.
Now this explanation is far better than some philosophical argument for a need for a creator god which had cause the universe to exist, and is thought to have design everything in it. The minute design need not be part of an argument for the deist god’s existence. All that is necessary is that there was enough design in the laws and materials of universe to get the ball rolling.
Now if a creator/designer deist god (for now on I will referred to this god as just deist) did the job it is argued for, this god did not do a very good job of it. Whether the universe was minutely designed or generally designed (laws and materials), you cannot say that this universe was the best there could have been. This is if the goal of this deist god was to design the best possible universe this god did a bad job of it.
The main consideration is in the biological world. Biological organisms, whether animals, plants, fungus, bacteria, or viruses appear to be just good enough to get the job done. One big mistake, as was pointed out long ago by my zoology professor, is that humans can choke on their food, which can lead to death in some cases. Another thing to consider, not necessarily a mistake, is the fact that eyes function in multiple ways for animals here on earth – the only planet with life we are aware of. If this world was so well designed, why would there need to be all these eyes operating on different principles. I have heard, but am not sure if it is true, that there are forty different ways that eyes work. I could go on with more examples, but I think you should get the point that the our world at least is not as well designed as it could be. So much for a deist god.
One possibility is that there was not just one god doing the job, but that there were a community of gods – polydeism (not that I believe this either). If this were the case they must not have gotten together to see if everything that they would do worked well together.
One reason people posit a deist god is the fine-tuning of the universe. It appears that the forces and constants of the universe are so finely tuned that any change in either of them would result in a universe that would not get off the ground floor, or at least contain the necessary laws and materials for atoms to adhere, stars to ignite, galaxies to form, planets to exist – some of which, at least one, has biological organisms and intricate environments (ecosystems).
My main objection for this need of a deist god is that we have no idea what other schemes of laws and materials may be able to produce all of these things. Certainly, if you adjust just one parameter and leave the rest unchanged, it does spell disaster, but in another universe of different “design” we do not need just one adjustment, or even the same set of laws and materials at all. I feel that not knowing any other way for an universe to be, we lack the imagination to come up with something completely different that would do the job.
A big question in my mind is why is there so much death and suffering in the world? With a deist god we are not talking about theodicy because there is no personal god involved. But, I feel we still have a problem of evil.
To me there are at least two possibilities. A deist god might be incompetent, in which case this god would be guilty of neglect. Or, this god is uncaring of what should occur to the beings in this god’s creation. Either way, a deist god cannot circumvent responsibility for the death and suffering in this universe.
Some might try to respond that it is not possible to design a universe that has physical life in it where there is no suffering or death. This may be so, especially with death, but the amount of suffering here on earth, both physical and emotional, is certainly way more than necessary. So, I still stand by my verdict – the deist god has failed the creatures of its own creation.
Given these objections to the existence of a deist god responsible for the design and creation of the universe, I see no reason to believe in such a god. When you add in a theistic god the problems become even more pronounced, but that is not the concern I have with this current blog.
My conclusion is there does not exist any god or gods. And, and this is my belief*, which I have shown is justify by refuting a deist god, the last refuge of a believer in any god/gods.