Sreeni: Prof. Kumar, I have been having a lot of debates in our book club meetings with many religious people. They claim that the universe is a special creation designed by a supreme creator. However, I can’t understand how a sane person can persuade himself that beneficent and omnipotent gods would have created such a vast number of animals in our planet with the specific purpose of spending their entire life tormenting and devouring other animals?
How could beneficent and omnipotent gods have designed ticks, lice, fleas, bedbugs and mosquitoes with the specific intention of feeding themselves from the living bodies of humans and animals? How can a sane person persuade himself that benevolent god(s) would have designed a cat with the specific purpose of wounding a mouse with its teeth and playing with the bleeding body until it slowly dies in pain and terror?
They claim that the universe makes sense only if God exists. They believe that only a god could have created the wonder of the planets orbiting the sun, but they fail to explain how an omnipotent and infinitely good creator can send meteors, asteroids and comets crashing into planets.
Me: I am with you in everything you said. Also they provide no explanation about how an omnipotent and infinitely good god can allow such harmful sickness as a five-pound tumour on a small girl. However her parents are so delusive that they believe God helped the surgeons' hands to remove it to save her life.
This is incontrovertible evidence that the brain of a religious person does not have the capacity to judge properly the facts of reality. They give God credit for the removal, but don’t blame him for the tumour. They even argue, in Abrahamic religions, that God had a fine and noble purpose in causing the suffering or in the case of Hinduism, they attribute it to 'Prarabdha Karma'.
Sreeni: I suppose such a type of rationalization is based on a distorted perception of reality. How can an omnipotent and infinitely good god allow the birth of conjoined twins and other freaks of nature, as well as myriad genetic birth defects, which are unworthy of benevolent design? A birth defect is an abnormal development of the fetus resulting in malformation, growth retardation, functional disorders and death. Birth defects are the leading cause of infant mortality.
The religious offer the argument from design as one of the proofs for the existence of God. This argument infers from the order and beauty that we perceive from the universe that there is an intelligent designer and creator of the universe. However, the perception of order and beauty is an inherent characteristic of the way that we perceive, and not a part of the external reality. The argument assumes that the universe was designed in order to prove that it is the work of a designer.
Me: You are right. This argument suppresses evidence. It does not explain why such a benevolent and almighty god allows many babies to be born without brains. It does not explain why so many good people are suffering monstrous tortures such as cancer. It does not explain why so many evil people are relaxing in the beach and enjoying power and reputation. It does not explain why earthquakes are shaking the planet. It does not explain why hurricanes and tornadoes kill thousands of lives and destroy everything on their way.
Sreeni: The one thing which makes me roll with laughter is when the defenders of the design delusion argue that these awful events seem abominable to us because we are ignorant of God’s plan and vision, and we can never know how beneficent these atrocious disasters really are.
Me: Phew! One can never win over these morons.