For a moment, let’s assume that Egnor is correct and there is an intelligent designer behind the universe. It’s no different from saying that the universe was birthed from the nothingness with an immense release of energy that came from we know not where. All he’s said is “Once upon a time…”, and it is nothing more than a launching point for further inquiry. It’s what that intelligence does in it’s interactions with us that tells us whether it is a god worth devoting one’s life to or not. On this intelligence’s interactions with humanity there is major disagreement between faiths, and sometimes even within faiths. Egnor is telling one version of a fairy tale that exists in a multitude of competing ones whose veracity is a matter of opinion rather than evidence.
Of course we need an intelligent authority to explain the universe. The universe is shot through with intelligibility. Nature is governed by astonishingly complex and elegant physical laws, and the laws themselves are written in the language of abstract mathematics. In fact, theoretical physicists must often explore utterly new mathematical theories in order to explain the behavior of inanimate matter.
Egon supplies no answers as to what the connect is between an intelligent authority and the “astonishingly complex and elegant physical laws”. Did this intelligence set the universe in motion and leave it running? Or does it take an active part in moving the molecules around in defiance of the aforementioned laws? The answers to either of these questions would have major implications for not only our understanding of this intelligence, but also its worthiness as a deity. But nothing is explored here. That’s because Egnor has no idea. And even if he did, if we were to ask another person who held the same belief in an intelligent authority, we’re likely to get a completely different opinion.
Atheism, in fact, has a dismal record in science. For much of the 20th century, a third of humanity lived under the boot of atheist ideology.
Ah, that old chestnut. What is this “atheist ideology” that humanity lives under the boot of? Atheism says, “there is no supernatural or gods”. That’s it. If some nutty dictator takes that and says churches are to be closed and everyone has to believe in evolution, that has nothing to do with atheism. My best analogy is if a vegetarian were to start bombing the shops of a well-known hamburger fast food chain, with the demand that people stop eating meat. You wouldn’t think that vegetarianism is an evil. What you would say is that that person is a lunatic. The same with atheism and dictators. Atheism didn’t tell them to do those evil things. They can up with that all by themselves. Unlike in theism, where there’s the ample examples of evil directives. What was it God commanded be done to the Canaanites?
Compare the scientific output of East Germany (atheist) to that of West Germany (Lutheran and Catholic). Compare the scientific output of North Korea (atheist) to that of South Korea (Christian and Buddhist).
With Egnor’s parade of theist scientists against an astonishing zero atheist scientists, is he really claiming that theism gives some special insight into the “how to” of science? As there’s a grab bag of theists – Catholic, Lutheran, Buddhist – there’s no particular advantage in holding one belief over another when it comes to science, so Egnor implies the intelligent authority doesn’t play favorites when handing out observational insights. But with the world having been, and still being, predominately theistic, it really isn’t that strange that most science has been done by theists. It’s just that the numbers are on their side.
The truth is all around us, more obvious than man’s hand in front of his face. The universe has Mind stamped all over it like a signature.
Sadly, the signature that Egnor sees is a bit of a scrawl that can be used as validation for a variety of arguments for how the universe began. It’s curious how the intelligent authority Egnor believes in leaves us only this or sadly mortal prophets who lived in bygone days. If the intelligent authority existed every day in the here and now, I dare say a lot more people would believe in it, and believe in the one true and correct version of it.