Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Defeating the anti-theistic argument from extinction

One of the arguments in the 'God would never have done that!' pile concerns extinction. After all, natural history is replete with a variety of now extinct species. After all, what kind of God would create various species - with or without an evolutionary process - only to let them die out?

I think this argument is pretty terrible, but for the moment grant that it makes a point. All I ask is the following.

Would this damage the aforementioned argument? Or even raise the prospect of that argument dying altogether in the future?


Anonymous said...

The best I can say about that is that it was a very well written article. It didn't make blanket statements and carefully laid out the possibilities, difficulties, controversies, and applications of the new technology. Color me impressed.

Crude said...

It's a neat article. The issue for me is, I think the limitations of the technology are temporary. Even if we can never recover past DNA from far and away most extinct creatures, we well be able to reconstruct it on our own, etc.

So I think this is an interesting case where one semi-common argument against theism suffers from a technological counter.

Lothar Lorraine said...

Hello Crude, why do you think this argument is so terrible?

After all, as a good and even perfect being, God is concerned about suffering and won't allow this to happen without a sufficient reason.

But we clearly don't know this reason so that the atheist has a point, tough she must beware of an "atheism of the gap".

By the way, you've a great blog!

I already knew your existence from the blog of Randal Rauser.

Maybe you might also be interested to take a look at my blog dealing with philosophy and theology from an Agnostic Christian perspective.

I've the feeling we could have fruitful exchanges in the future.

Lovely greetings from continental Europe.

Lothars Sohn – Lothar’s son

Crude said...


Hello there - I've seen you around recently, and I'll be sure to check out your blog. "Agnostic Christian" sounds interesting.

I'm actually not taking aim at any kind of 'suffering' argument on the part of the atheist here. Instead, I'm specifically zeroing in on complaints that the extinctions of the past are 'wasteful' or poor design, on the grounds that it makes no sense for God to create a variety of creatures and then for them to die out.

However, if these creatures can conceivably be re-introduced - whether by man or God - then it looks as if that argument is damaged. And if man's reintroduction of an extinct species puts a ding in this argument, then the atheist is in the unusual position of having an argument that weakens as human technology increases in power.