Mark Mittleberg On Five Science and Logic Arrows That Point to the Christian Faith, Part 17

In chapter 10
Mittleberg argues there are five science and logic arrows that point to the Christian faith. See the arrows on the cover? In his book he discusses 20 of these arrows in three chapters. I'm going to briefly write about the first five and link to a few responses. I invite commenters to share important resources as well. After that I will discuss Mittelbergs thoughts on the question "Who designed the designer?" I find what he said to be both unique and interesting, although unsatisfying.

Arrow 1: Design in the universe points to an intelligent designer. A great book on this is by Dr. Abby Hafer, The Not-So-Intelligent Designer: Why Evolution Explains the Human Body and Intelligent Design Does Not. She also wrote one chapter for each of my anthologies The Case against Miracles and Christianity in the Light of Science. Consider also David Hume's criticisms of the design argument.

Arrow 2: Fine-Tuning in the universe points to an intentional fine-tuner. A great book on this is by the late Victor Stenger, The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning: Why the Universe Is Not Designed for Us. Richard Carrier wrote on this issue in The End of Christianity.

Arrow 3: Information encoded into DNA points to a divine encoder. On this see the book by John C. Avise, Inside the Human Genome: A Case for Non-Intelligent Design, 2010.

Arrow 4: The beginning of the universe points to a divine originator. This is about the Kalam Cosmological argument. I like mathematician James Lindsay's book on this, Dot, Dot, Dot: Infinity Plus God Equals Folly. I did a write-up of it right here.

Arrow 5: The sense of morality throughout the human race points to a moral lawgiver. It's interesting Mittelberg limits morality to the human race rather than all sentient creatures or all intelligent creatures. We get our morality from animal predecessors. See the book by Mark Rowlands, Can Animals Be Moral? I also like the main thesis in Michael Shermer's book The Moral Arc: How Science Makes Us Better People, where he argues the scientific way of thinking has made people, and society as a whole, more moral.

In fairness, for a different take, there's another view of morality which denudes the moral argument of any teeth at all, cultural relativism. David Eller argues for that in an excellent chapter for The Christian Delusion. Such a view probably follows from the overwhelming evidence of evolution, if it doesn't follow inextricably from merely observing different cultures and different eras in human history on this globe. If evolution is true then bite the bullet. One cannot deny this evidence by saying you don't like the conclusion when it comes to morality.

For even more about the moral argument, if we need more, the god of the Bible is one god in two testaments according to Christian theology, both Yahweh and Jesus. And that god is barbaric in both of them. Just see Dan Barker's book, God: The Most Unpleasant Character in All Fiction, and Hector Avalos's book, The Bad Jesus: The Ethics of New Testament Ethics.

Now let's get to how Mittelberg answers the question "Who designed the designer?" There are actually lots of questions about a supposed designer that follows from the design argument, such as whether the designer is good, or whether there were a committee of designers, or even an intelligent designer! Here is how he reasons:

What can be made of this? It's only a hypothetical scenario, as I understand it. It's constructed merely to answer the question asked by atheists. But let's take it seriously, since it must be taken seriously if it's to be an answer. One designer designs a being who designs a second being who in turn designs a third one times, say a thousand, until we have a being worthy of being called a God!

I have some questions.

Designing something is one thing. Creating something from nothing is another thing entirely, at least if we accept the Christian creeds. So then, are these successive beings created out of nothing by successive designers, or are these successive beings designed out of the elements of the very being doing the designing? How does a designer do that? Furthermore, how does a designer design something better in every way than s/he himself is?

Must all previous designed beings die? If not, they are all still alive. Welcome to polytheism, not theism. If they all eventually die then what of the possibility that some being in this process dies before having designed his/her successor?

At what point in this process would a designed being develop the quality of being eternal? I see no process where that leap can be made. Does than mean this process continues on forever without end?

Then there is Ockham's Razor. The principle gives precedence to simplicity. Given two competing theories, the simpler explanation of an entity is to be preferred. Which is preferable, accepting what science tells us about planet, star, and galaxy formation, even tracing back to a few seconds after the initial singularity, or Mittelberg's alternative? What we know shows that design is merely the appearance of design, since we see design in complexities after the facts. Mittelberg's alternative pales by comparison. It's an ad hoc explanation being suggested merely to answer a problem for his faith that he himself doesn't think is probable, clearly not an honest attempt to answer the question being asked.


John W. Loftus is a philosopher and counter-apologist credited with 12 critically acclaimed books, including The Case against Miracles, God and Horrendous Suffering, and Varieties of Jesus Mythicism. Please support DC by sharing our posts, or by subscribing, donating, or buying our books at Amazon. As an Amazon Associate John earns a small amount of money from purchases made from Amazon. Buying anything through them helps fund my work here, and is greatly appreciated!