We have a new and mighty argument for atheism from celebrity scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson. He finally gets to it at about 1:07
Here it is:
Key quote: I can say that if God is benevolent, and I look at the universe and see asteroids rendering life extinct, there is an absence of benevolence in the actual universe that I see.
Atheist activist Hemant Mehta was excited by the “argument”: “I love how simple an argument that is: If God is benevolent, the universe sure doesn’t show it when you consider all the ways we could be wiped out.”
This, of course, is just another of the myriad of versions of the argument from evil. As I have noted in the past, modern day atheism is built on two things: a) God of the Gaps reasoning that demands gaps (the “evidence”) and b) the argument from evil. So it’s not surprising that Tyson (and Mehta) would think they have some meaty argument here.
First, we need to deal with the way the whole thing is presented. We have a celebrity scientist speaking for Tech Insider about his area of expertise. This creates the illusion (intentional or unintentional) that he is speaking and reasoning as a scientist. But that is not the case. Science has no way to detect or measure benevolence. It’s not as if Tyson is speaking after spending decades of scanning the skies with his Benevolence-o-Detector. If he was, he might ask him what % of the universe is benevolent. And then get to the truly thorny question – If God did exist, what % of the universe should be benevolent?
Since science cannot detect and measure benevolence, Tyson is simply expressing his own subjective opinions rooted in subjective impressions. In other words, he is not speaking as an authority here. He is not representing “the scientific viewpoint.”
So what then is his argument? That God cannot exist because an Evil Asteroid killed off the dinosaurs?
Doesn’t Tyson know that had that asteroid not killed off the dinosaurs, we would not have come into existence?
And what’s Mehta’s argument? That the universe is filled with Evil Asteroids out to get us? Let’s strip away the sciencey veneer and put the argument into our everyday lives – Considering all the possible ways we can die, God cannot exist. So just how many ways of dying are allowed to co-exist with the existence of God?