Someone named Greta Christina has put together a list of the top ten reasons why she doesn't believe in God. They are bad reasons, and have been repeatedly refuted, but responding to a recent regurgitation of them will give me the chance to clarify some misconceptions and consolidate my own current thinking about these issues.
Before I examine each individual reason, I should point out a severe flaw at the heart of Christina's discussion: her definition of God is so all-encompassing (at one point she says that by 'God' she includes "the soul, or metaphysical energy, or any sort of supernatural being or substance") that her arguments, far from relentlessly picking apart one well-defined hypothesis, at best strike glancing blows at a dozen different and sometimes incompatible views. An argument against substance dualism when it comes to explaining human consciousness, for example, has no implications for the existence of God as conceived by the monotheistic religions. The ancient Hebrews arguably held to a quite materialistic view of the person, even as they worshipped an immaterial personal deity. Alternatively, one could hold to substance dualism on philosophical grounds even if the evidence for parapsychological phenomena is inconclusive or negative.
In this series of responses I will respond to Christina's reasons both on their own terms and with regard to their relevance to whether the personal, immaterial, omnipotent, omniscient and benevolent God of Christian theism exists. There will be one post on each reason.
The first reason Christina gives for not believing in God is the alleged consistent pattern of natural explanations replacing supernatural ones in explaining what goes on in the world:
When you look at the history of what we know about the world, you see a noticeable pattern. Natural explanations of things have been replacing supernatural explanations of them. Like a steamroller. Why the Sun rises and sets. Where thunder and lightning come from. Why people get sick. Why people look like their parents. How the complexity of life came into being. I could go on and on...All these things were once explained by religion. But as we understood the world better, and learned to observe it more carefully, the explanations based on religion were replaced by ones based on physical cause and effect. Consistently. Thoroughly. Like a steamroller. The number of times that a supernatural explanation of a phenomenon has been replaced by a natural explanation? Thousands upon thousands upon thousands.