L’ipotesi di Dio

Sul mercato delle idee contemporanee la teologia naturale di Richard Swinburne merita un posto di primo piano. Qui ne parlo seguendo come bussola il suo libro divulgativo “Is There a God?”, un testo di base che si limita ai concetti generali.

In sintesi, RS sostiene che l’ipotesi teista prevale come spiegazione migliore della realtà, almeno se utilizziamo i comuni criteri con cui selezioniamo le ipotesi scientifiche. Una tesi ardita, specie se calata in un mondo accademico che tollera la fede purché non abbia pretese razionali.

Per procedere con ordine, nel suo libro RS dapprima definisce cosa intende per “Dio”, poi cosa intende per “spiegazione”. Poi riassume i tre motivi fondamentali per cui la spiegazione teistica si fa preferire: 1) perché è la spiegazione più semplice 2) perché è l’unica spiegazione che dà conto di un ordine del mondo senza postulare coincidenze inverosimili 3) perché è l’unica spiegazione che dà conto dell’uomo, ovvero della sua coscienza e della sua libertà. Infine, viene proposta una teodicea e una giustificazione dei miracoli.

1 

Secondo Edoardo Lombardi Vallauri Dio non si potrebbe nemmeno definire. Certo, non lo si puo’ definire in modo completo, ma questa lacuna interessa tutte le realtà concrete. Se vogliamo definizioni esaustive, allora dobbiamo ripiegare sulla matematica, ovvero su una scienza priva di contenuti. Non mi sembra un bell’affare. Per quanto riguarda Dio, la definizione di cui disponiamo è più che sufficiente per condurre ragionamenti sensati.

Innanzitutto, il Dio dei credenti è una persona che possiede poteri infiniti:

… Theism claims that God is a personal being—that is, in some sense a person. By a person I mean an individual with basic powers (to act intentionally), purposes, and beliefs… God’s basic powers are supposed to be infinite

Come si vede una definizione semplice che anche un bambino puo’ afferrare.

Ma vediamoli questi poteri: dio è onnipotente:

… God is not limited by the laws of nature; he makes them and he can change or suspend them—if he chooses. To use the technical term, God is omnipotent: he can do anything

E’ onnisciente:

… God is supposed to be omniscient—that is, he knows everything. In other words, whatever is true, God knows that it is true…

Dio è perfettamente libero (non condizionato da alcunché nelle sue scelte):

… Human persons are influenced in forming their purposes by their desires, their in-built inclinations… We are, it seems to us (I believe, correctly), free to some extent to fight against our desires and do some action other than one which we are naturally inclined to do, but it requires effort. Human beings have limited free will. But God is supposed to be not thus limited. He is perfectly free

Anche questa descrizione è facilmente afferrabile da un bambino, basta che pensi ad un Supereroe e il più è fatto.

Certo, andrebbe fatta qualche precisazione sull’onnipotenza divina: dio puo’ fare “tutto quello che si puo’ fare” e, quindi, non puo’ fare “quel che non si puo’ fare”, In questo senso anche l’onnipotenza divina è limitata dalla logica:

… An omnipotent being can do anything. But does that mean that he can make the universe exist and not exist at the same time, make 2 + 2 to equal 5, make a shape square and round at the same time, or change the past? The majority religious tradition has claimed that God cannot do these things; not because God is weak, but because the words—for example, ‘make a shape square and round at the same time’—do not describe anything which makes sense… God cannot do what is logically impossible (what involves a self-contradiction)…

Lo stesso deve dirsi della sua onniscienza:

… God cannot be required to do what is logically impossible to do, so God cannot be required to know what is logically impossible to know. It seems to me that it is logically impossible to know (without the possibility of mistake) what someone will do freely tomorrow… So no one (not even God) can know today (without the possibility of mistake) what I will choose to do tomorrow. So I suggest that we understand God being omniscient as God knowing at any time all that is logically possible to know at that time…

Dio è anche eterno, nel senso che il suo essere non ha nè un inizio nè una fine:

… God—the omnipotent, omniscient, and perfectly free person—is, according to theism, eternal. But there are two different ways of understanding ‘eternal’. We can understand it, as clearly the biblical writers did, as everlasting

Ma c’è un altro modo di intendere “eterno”:

… Alternatively, we can understand ‘eternal’ as ‘timeless’: God is eternal in the sense that he exists outside time. This latter is how all the great philosophical theologians from the fourth to the fourteenth century AD (Augustine, Boethius, and St Thomas Aquinas, for example) understood God’s eternity….

Anche se molti insigni teologi hanno abbracciato questo secondo significato, Swinburne preferisce accantonarlo, proprio perché difficile se non impossibile da comprendere per la mente umana. E non solo quella dei bambini! Come immaginare, infatti, un’azione fuori dal tempo? Impossibile. Un Dio fuori dal tempo è necessariamente impossibile, come un triangolo.

… For myself I cannot make much sense of this suggestion—for many reasons. For example, I cannot see that anything can be meant by saying that God knows (as they happen) the events of AD 1995 unless it means that he exists in 1995 and knows in 1995 what is happening then… Hence I prefer the understanding of God being eternal as his being everlasting rather than as his being timeless. He exists at each moment of unending time…

Dio, poi, non ha un corpo:

… Thus God is supposed to be bodiless…  he does not depend on matter to affect and learn about the world…

Il concetto, facile per un adulto, non è poi così difficile nemmeno per un bambino che comunque possiede un’idea di spirito. Del resto, l’esperienza di svegliarsi in una stanza buia senza sentire il proprio corpo (se non la si è fatta la si puo’ immaginare) ci fa comprendere molto bene cosa significa “solo spirito”.

Dio è onnipresente. Un concetto in sè difficile se la presenza è intesa come estensione spaziale. Tuttavia, tutto diviene più semplice se riconduciamo l’onnipresenza all’onnipotenza: dio puo’ fare tutto, ovunque e in ogni momento:

…  It follows too from his omnipotence that God is omnipresent (i.e. present everywhere), in the sense that he can make a difference to things everywhere… But, although he is everywhere present, he is not spatially extended; he does not take up a volume of space—for he has no body

L’esistenza di una simile persona ha delle conseguenze logiche:

… God being omnipotent could have prevented the universe from existing, if he had so chosen. So it exists only because he allows it to exist… In this sense, therefore, he is the creator of the universe, and, being—by the same argument—equally responsible for its continued existence, he is the sustainer of the universe…

Il fatto che dio oltre a creare l’universo lo sostenga (lo renda esistente in ogni momento) rende superflua la teoria del Big Bang come prova di un inizio e quindi come indizio di presenza divina:

… That may be a finite time—the universe may have begun to exist a certain number of years ago; current scientific evidence suggests that the universe began to exist with the ‘Big Bang’ some 15,000 million years ago. Or the universe may have existed forever. The theist as such is not committed to one or other of these positions…

Anche di fronte ad un universo eterno noi dovremmo comunque rispondere alla domanda: “perché qualcosa anziché il nulla?”.

Altre conseguenze: le leggi di natura.

… God is supposed to be responsible, not merely for the existence of all other objects, but for their having the powers and liabilities they do…

Dio è anche il creatore dell’uomo:

… And God is also responsible for the existence of humans. He could cause us to act of physical necessity. But, given that we have limited free will, God does not cause us to form the purposes we do…

Dio interviene nella sua creazione attraverso dei miracoli. Ma perché lo fa? Rinvio la risposta all’ultima sezione, ora interezza dare solo un resoconto dell’azione divina:

… He occasionally intervenes in the natural world to produce effects directly—for example, curing someone of cancer

Dio è perfettamente buono. Ma perché? Un Dio perfettamente libero e che puo’ tutto fa sempre la cosa giusta, e essere buoni è giusto.

… God is supposed to be perfectly good. His being perfectly good follows from his being perfectly free and omniscient. A perfectly free person will inevitably do what he believes to be (overall) the best action

Dio e le leggi morali:

… Now, if there are moral truths—truths about what is morally good and bad—an omniscient person will know what they are…

Tuttavia, le leggi morali fondamentali possano essere colte dalla ragione umana indipendentemente dalle indicazioni divine. Cio’ non toglie che Dio ponga alcuni doveri strettamente legati alla Rivelazione:

…God, being omniscient, will have true beliefs about what is morally good, and, being perfectly free, he will do what he believes is (overall) the best… Some moral truths are clearly moral truths, whether or not there is a God: it is surely wrong to torture children for fun whether or not there is a God…  God is a generous benefactor. One of the most fundamental human obligations (i.e. duties) is (within limits) to please our major benefactors—to do in return for them some small favour which they request in return for the great things they have given…

Ma perché a volte Dio ci chiede questo surplus di obbedienza? Un’analogia lo spiega bene:

… God tells us to do certain things, it becomes our duty to do them. Just as (within narrow limits) it becomes our duty to do certain things if our parents (when we are children) tell us to do… it would not be a duty to worship God especially on Sundays if God did not tell us to do so…

Anche in tema di doveri morali l’onnipotenza di Dio soffre alcuni limiti:

… God is thus a source of moral obligation—his commands create moral obligations. But God clearly cannot make things which are our duty no longer our duty: he cannot make it right to torture children for fun… it is wrong to command what is wrong… It may surprise some modern readers to suppose that a theist can allow that some moral truths are moral truths quite independent of the will of God. This is, however, an issue on which the Christian philosophical tradition has been split right down the middle; and I side with two of its greatest representatives—St Thomas Aquinas and the fourteenth-century Scottish philosopher Duns Scotus… But, if there are moral truths such as ‘it is wrong to torture children for fun’ which hold independently of the will of God, they will be like ‘no shape can be both round and square at the same time’…

Ci sono poi alcune azioni particolarmente meritevoli che meritano l’elogio, anche se chi si astiene non merita condanna:

… There are obligations (i.e. duties), and there are good actions beyond obligation—called supererogatory good actions… no blame attaches to us if we fail to do some supererogatory good act, but we are praiseworthy if we do it… I have no obligation to throw myself on a grenade which is about to explode in order to save the life of a friend who is standing close. But if I do the action, I deserve the highest praise… I have no obligation to marry and have children; but, if I do have children, I have an obligation to feed and educate them. This suggests that God before he creates any other persons has no obligations, though it is a supererogatory good act for him to create many other persons including humans… So what does God’s perfect goodness amount to? Not that he does all possible good acts—that is not logically possible. Presumably that he fulfils his obligations, does no bad acts, and performs very many good acts…

E’ appena il caso di aggiungere che Dio è unico, ma una conseguenza del genere, dopo la descrizione data, è palesemente necessaria.

Queste, dunque, sono le caratteristiche di Dio, non basta sapere che esistano, bisogna pensarle come proprietà necessarie.

2.

Ora che abbiamo visto cos’è “Dio” (anzi, “chi è”), vediamo ora cosa deve intendersi col termine “spiegazione”.

Una teoria del tutto deve spiegare la realtà nella sua totalità. La realtà è fatta da “oggetti” sostenuti da “sostanze” e interconnessi da “relazioni”. Gli eventi da spiegare sono quelle specifiche relazioni tra oggetti che osserviamo.

… The world consists of objects… Desks and trees, stars and galaxies, atoms and electrons, animals and human beings are all substances… Substances have properties: they are square or have such and such a mass or electric charge; and they have relations to other substances… Events are caused by substances. The dynamite caused the explosion, one billiard ball caused another to move away, and the marksman caused the motion of the gun trigger… Human beings have always sought the true explanations of all the events…

Le spiegazioni disponibili sono di due tipi:

… We find two different kinds of explanations of events, two different ways in which objects cause events. There is inanimate causation, and there is intentional causation… Here we have two kinds of explanation. The first, in terms of powers and liabilities, is inanimate explanation. The second, in terms of powers, beliefs, and purposes, is intentional…

Eventi diversi hanno spiegazioni di natura diversa anche se alcuni filosofi ritengono che le spiegazioni del primo tipo siano sufficienti alla bisogna:

… Some thinkers have claimed that persons and their purposes really make no difference to what happens; brain events cause and are caused by other nerve events and bring about bodily movements without persons and purposes making any difference. But no one can think consistently in that way. To form a purpose (in the sense which I have described) to move one’s hand or whatever involves trying to move the hand… These generalizations about when things exercise their powers are called laws of nature, or natural laws, or scientific laws… I shall find it more convenient for much of the rest of this chapter to summarize inanimate explanation simply as initial conditions plus law of nature causing event… Laws of nature may be universal ones (e.g. ‘all particles of light travel with a velocity of 300,000 km/sec.’) or statistical ones (‘all atoms of radium have a probability of ½ of decaying within 1,620 years’)…

Per valutare la bontà di una spiegazione si fanno quattro considerazioni:

… A claim that some proposed law is really a law of nature, is justified (i.e. likely to be true, rendered probable) to the extent to which: (1) it leads us to expect (with accuracy) many and varied events which we observe (and we do not observe any events whose non-occurrence it leads us to expect), (2) what is proposed is simple, (3) it fits well with our background knowledge, (4)  there is no rival law which leads us to expect these events which satisfies criteria (1–3) as well as does our proposed law…

Esempio:

… Newton’s three laws of motion and his law of gravitational attraction are simple (criterion 2)—in comparison with wild alternatives which could be constructed… The ‘simplicity’ of a scientific theory is a matter of it having few component laws, each of which relates few variables by mathematically simple formulae…

Il criterio della semplicità merita di essere approfondito:

… If a theory postulates objects or properties beyond those which we can observe (such as atoms and electrons, quarks or quasars), the criterion of simplicity tells us to postulate few new objects, few new kinds of objects, few new properties, and few new kinds of property—and the fewer the better… The rule that you should postulate no more new objects than you need to explain your observations is often called ‘Ockham’s razor’. But how you apply it depends on what you understand by ‘need’… The simplest theory for some area which satisfies criterion 1 may not be very simple, but it may still be far simpler than an infinite number of possible theories which satisfy criterion 1 equally well…

E’ appena il caso di precisare che non tutte le ipotesi sono sempre falsificabili, e – qualora non esistano alternative – il fatto di non esserlo non le priva della necessaria scientificità:

… someone says that theories can always be constructed to fit observations, whereas theories do not always predict accurately… An example to illustrate the irrelevance to theory-support of when the observations are made is provided by Newton’s theory of motion. This was judged by many (surely correctly) to be highly probable on the evidence available to scientists of the early eighteenth century, even though it made no predictions… it is often claimed that theism and fuller theological theories do not make ‘predictions’ which can readily be tested. (They may make predictions about life after death, for example, but those cannot readily be tested now.)

I quattro criteri con cui giudichiamo un’ipotesi valgono anche per le spiegazioni personali.

… The same four criteria are at work in judging the worth of personal explanations. In explaining some phenomena as caused by persons, we seek a hypothesis which leads us to expect the phenomena which we would not otherwise expect to find, as simple a hypothesis as possible, and one which fits in with background knowledge… The four criteria are at work to determine which of all our many claims about the world beyond observation are most likely to be true. In all fields we seek the simplest hypothesis which leads us to expect the phenomena we find (and which, if there is background knowledge, fits best with it)…

3.

Ora vediamo perché l’ipotesi teista è più ragionevole delle concorrenti quando si tratta di fornire una spiegazione ultimativa delle cose.

A volte spiegazioni inanimate e personali si intrecciano:

… Physical science explains why a ball dropped from a tower 64 feet above the ground takes two seconds to reach the ground. But we may require a personal explanation of why the ball was dropped at all…

La spiegazione ultima è quella che conta nel nostro caso:

… The human quest for explanation inevitably and rightly seeks for the ultimate explanation of everything observable—that object or objects on which everything else depends for its existence and properties…

Le spiegazioni in concorrenza sono tre:

… We will have to acknowledge something as ultimate—the great metaphysical issue is what that is. There seem to be three possible ultimate explanations available. One is materialism… a full inanimate explanation… One alternative to materialism is a mixed theory—that the existence and operation of the factors involved in personal explanation cannot be explained fully in inanimate terms; and, conversely, that the existence and operation of the factors involved in inanimate explanation cannot be explained fully in personal terms. Let us call this theory humanism… The third possibility is that the existence and operation of the factors involved in inanimate explanation are themselves to be explained in personal terms, where persons include, not just human persons, but a personal being of a quite different kind, God… These three rivals for providing the ultimate explanation of all observable phenomena must be assessed by the four criteria for assessing proposed…

Una delle tesi del libro:

… The thesis of this book is that theism provides by far the simplest explanation of all phenomena. Materialism is not, I shall argue, a simple hypothesis, and there is a range of phenomena which it is most unlikely ever to be able to explain. Humanism is an even less simple hypothesis than materialism…

La spiegazione materialista è estremamente complessa, vediamo perché:

… the great complexity of materialism arises from this, that it postulates that the ultimate explanation of things behaving as they do now is provided by the powers and liabilities of an immense (possibly infinite) number of material objects… All bits of copper, as we have noted, have exactly the same powers to expand or melt or convey electricity, and the liabilities to exercise these powers under the same circumstances. For each event, the ultimate explanation of why it happened is to be found in the powers and liabilities of the particular objects involved in it… The ultimate explanation of this stone falling to the ground in two seconds lies in the powers and liabilities of the stone and the earth… And the ultimate explanation of this piece of copper expanding when heated lies in the powers and liabilities of this bit of copper… According to materialism, ultimate explanation stops at innumerable different stopping points, many of them—according to materialism, coincidentally—having exactly the same powers and liabilities as each other…

Ecco, il materialismo non puo’ generalizzare (e quindi semplificare): se un pezzo di rame ha le stesse proprietà di un altro pezzo di rame questa è una coincidenza da registrare come tale. La coincidenza di certe proprietà è un “fatto bruto” che la teoria deve postulare e poiché le proprietà coincidenti sono innumerevoli, sono tali anche i postulati necessari. Le cause ultime si moltiplicano in una spiegazione del genere:

… Whatever happened in the beginning, it is only because electrons and bits of copper and all other material objects have the same powers in the twentieth century as they did in the nineteenth century that things are as they are now. The present powers of objects may have been brought about by a past cause, but their present continuing in existence is—on the materialist hypothesis—an ultimate brute fact…

Facciamo un’analogia:

My parents may have caused my coming into existence, but my continuing existence has nothing to do with their past act; it is in virtue of myself, my own powers, that I continue to exist… So the complexity of materialism cannot be explained away by the universe coming into being from a ‘singularity’ in the past. It remains a very complicated hypothesis—in postulating that the complete causes of things now are innumerable separate objects…

Nell’ambito dell’ipotesi materialista ogni proprietà richiede una spiegazione ad hoc: perché infatti il rame fondeva ad una certa temperatura 2000 anni fa e fonde alla stessa temperatura anche oggi? Non c’è risposta, va postulato che sia così: ogni proprietà è specifica e va postulata. Ma così facendo gli assunti si moltiplicano e la complessità esplode.

E’ appena il caso di ricordare che una spiegazione è tanto più complessa quanto più numerosi e complicati sono gli assunti che richiede.

Il teismo non ha questa necessità poiché basta assumere la presenza di Dio per spiegare tutto.

Detto con altre parole: perché un certo atomo ha certe caratteristiche oggi che permangono anche domani? Il materialista risponde “boh, è così punto e basta”, che tradotto significa che “postula” che sia così: questa operazione richiede DUE postulati: uno per le caratteristiche dell’atomo oggi, un altro per le caratteristiche dell’atomo di domani. E il discorso che abbiamo fatto nel tempo possiamo ripeterlo nello spazio: perché questo atomo ha le stesse caratteristiche di quello? Anche qui segue il “boh” materialista e il doppio postulato. Al teista, in un caso del genere, basta invece un unico postulato: Dio. Con quello spiega tutto. Puo’ fare a meno del postulato 1, del postulato 2 e di tutti gli altri. Ora, poiché il numero di premesse incide sulla complessità di una teoria, questa considerazione depone decisamente a favore del teismo:

… Theism, I shall be arguing, can do a lot better. In this chapter I shall argue that theism is a very simple hypothesis… Theism claims that every other object which exists is caused to exist and kept in existence by just one substance, God… It is a hallmark of a simple explanation to postulate few causes… There could in this respect be no simpler explanation than one which postulated only one cause. Theism is simpler than polytheism…

Certo, il teista, rispetto al materialista, deve postulare l’esistenza di Dio. Ma Dio è un “oggetto” semplicissimo poiché le sue proprietà – come abbiamo visto nella definizione – sono presenti senza limiti (infinito):

… The hypothesis that there is an infinitely powerful, knowledgeable and free person is the hypothesis that there is a person with zero limits (apart from those of logic) to his power, knowledge, and freedom. Scientists have always seen postulating infinite degrees of some quantity as simpler than postulating some very large finite degree of that quantity, and have always done the former when it predicted observations equally well…

Un esempio concreto illustra bene perché il concetto di “infinito” è più semplice rispetto a quello di “limite”:

Newton’s theory of gravity postulated that the gravitational force travelled with infinite velocity, rather than with some very large finite velocity… Likewise in the Middle Ages people believed that light travelled with an infinite velocity rather than with some large finite velocity equally compatible with observations. Only when observations were made by Römer in the seventeenth century incompatible with the infinite-velocity theory was it accepted that light had a finite velocity…  It is a simpler hypothesis to postulate that his power is infinite rather than just very large… Hence, theism provides the simplest kind of personal explanation of the universe there could be…

Del limite vanno descritti i confini, un operazione complessa. Nel caso di quantificazione infinità questa necessità viene a cadere.

4.

E’ abbastanza sorprendente che il nostro mondo sia tanto ordinato. Ma la sorpresa riguarda il materialista più che il teista.

Diamo un’occhiata all’universo e alle straordinarie coincidenze che propone:

… There is a physical universe consisting of innumerable differently sized chunks of matter… It is extraordinary that there should exist anything at all. Surely the most natural state of affairs is simply nothing: no universe, no God, nothing. But there is something. And so many things… the whole progress of science and all other intellectual enquiry demands that we postulate the smallest number of brute facts. If we can explain the many bits of the universe by one simple being which keeps them in existence, we should do so… every object, however distant in time and space from ourselves, has the same powers and the same liabilities… If there is no cause of this, it would be a most extraordinary coincidence

Quella che cerchiamo è una Teoria del Tutto:

… Suppose we stop with Grand Unified Theory. Then every atom and every electron in the universe has just the same powers and liabilities—those described by Grand Unified Theory. And that, if you allow yourself only scientific explanations, is where you stop. That, says the materialist, is just how things are. But that sort of stopping place is just where no rational enquirer will stop. If all the coins found on an archaeological site have the same markings, or all the documents in a room are written with the same characteristic handwriting, we look for an explanation in terms of a common source. The apparently coincidental cries out for explanation… each other electron in repelling every other electron with the same electrical force… Oak trees behave like other oak trees, and tigers like other tigers…

Perché tanta inattesa regolarità?

… if material objects behaved totally erratically, we would never be able to choose to control the world or our own lives in any way. So, in seeking an explanation of why all material objects have the same simple powers and liabilities as each other, we should seek one which explains why they are such that the approximate powers and liabilities of medium-sized material objects (including those of importance for human life) which follow therefrom are readily detectable by humans…

L’ipotesi teista ha delle risposte lineari:

… The simple hypothesis of theism leads us to expect all the phenomena which I have been describing with some reasonable degree of probability. God being omnipotent is able to produce a world orderly in these respects. And he has good reason to choose to do so: a world containing human persons is a good thing. Persons have experiences, and thoughts, and can make choices, and their choices can make big differences to themselves, to others, and to the inanimate world. God, being perfectly good, is generous. He wants to share. And there is a particular kind of goodness in human persons with bodies in a law-governed universe… we can choose to learn how the world works and so learn which bodily actions will have more remote effects. We can learn quickly when rocks are likely to fall, predators to pounce, and plants to grow… Like a good parent, a generous God has reason for not foisting on us a certain fixed measure of knowledge and control, but rather for giving us a choice of whether to grow in knowledge and control… The suitability of the world as a theatre for humans is not the only reason for God to make an orderly world. The higher animals too are conscious, learn, and plan—and the predictability of things in their most easily detectable aspects enables them to do so… But beyond that an orderly world is a beautiful world. Beauty consists in patterns of order. Total chaos is ugly… God has reason to make an orderly world, because beauty is a good thing—in my view whether or not anyone ever observes it, but certainly if only one person ever observes it… Humans see the comprehensibility of the world as evidence of a comprehending creator…

Già Tommaso vedeva nell’ordine del mondo l’innesco delle sua quinta via:

… The orderly behaviour of material bodies, which he describes as their tendency to move towards a goal (e.g. the falling body tending towards the ground, the air bubbling up through water), was the basis of the fifth of St Thomas Aquinas’s ‘five ways’ to prove the existence of God…

Riassumendo:

… The argument from the existence and regular behaviour of material objects to a God who keeps them in existence with the same powers and liabilities as each other is an argument which satisfies very well the criteria set out in Chapter 2. The hypothesis of theism is a simple hypothesis which leads us to expect these observable phenomena, when no other hypothesis will do so. On the materialist hypothesis it is a mere coincidence that material objects have the same powers as each other, and not a simple stopping point for explanation…

C’è anche un ordine nei nostri corpi:

… There is also the marvellous order of human and animal bodies. They are like very very complicated machines… Very many eighteenth-century writers argued that there was no reason to suppose that chance would throw up such beautiful organization, whereas God was able to do so… God is able to bring about the existence of such bodies. That he does so… is a simple hypothesis. Hence there is good reason to believe that God is the creator of human and animal bodies… The best-known presentation of this argument was by William Paley in his Natural Theology… The argument does not, however, give any reason to suppose that God made humans and animals as a basic act on one particular day in history… Darwin’s Origin of Species (1859) taught us the outlines of the story, and biologists have been filling in the details ever since. The clear simple modern presentation in Richard Dawkins’s The Blind Watchmaker (1986) is deservedly popular… This explanation of the existence of complex organisms is surely a correct explanation, but it is not an ultimate explanation of that fact. For an ultimate explanation we need an explanation at the highest level…

Ma la spiegazione materialista non sembra in grado di fornire una spiegazione ultima di come stanno le cose:

… So, even given that there are laws of nature (i.e. that material objects have the same powers and liabilities as each other), why just those laws? The materialist says that there is no explanation. The theist claims that God has a reason for bringing about those laws because those laws have the consequence that eventually animals and humans evolve… Some soups different in chemical constitution from that from which the earth actually began would also, given the actual laws of physics, have given rise to animals. But most soups of chemical elements made from differently arranged fundamental particles would not have given rise to animals… The primitive soup existed because the earth was formed in the way it was; and the earth was formed in the way it was because the galaxy was formed in the way it was, and so on … until we come right back to the Big Bang, the explosion 15,000 million years ago with which apparently the universe began. Recent scientific work has drawn attention to the fact that the universe is ‘fine tuned’… Of course, the universe may not have had a beginning with a Big Bang, but may have lasted forever. Even so, its matter must have had certain general features if at any time there was to be a state of the universe suited to produce animals and humans… Again the materialist will have to leave it as an ultimate brute fact that an everlasting universe and its laws had those characteristics, whereas the theist has a simple ultimate explanation… Darwin showed that the universe is a machine for making animals and humans. But it is misleading to gloss that correct point in the way that Richard Dawkins does: ‘our own existence once presented the greatest of all mysteries, but … it is a mystery no longer … Darwin and Wallace solved it… It is misleading because it ignores the interesting question of whether the existence and operation of that machine, the factors which Darwin (and Wallace) cited to explain ‘our own existence’, themselves have a further explanation

Il principio antropico afferma che se noi esistiamo e siamo qui questa sorprendente vicenda andrebbe spiegata. E’ chiaro come le implicazioni del principio antropico siano favorevoli all’ipotesi teista. Ma qualcuno dice che “tutti coloro che vincono la lotteria sono oggetto di una sorprendente coincidenza che non va spiegata affatto”. Senonché, una simile obiezione equivoca l’argomento:

… An objector may invoke a form of what is known as the anthropic principle to urge that, unless the universe exhibited order of the kinds which I have described (simple laws operating on matter in such a way as to lead to the evolution of animals and humans), there would not be any humans alive to comment on the fact. (If there were no natural laws, there would be no regularly functioning organisms, and so no humans.) Hence there is nothing surprising in the fact that we find order—we could not possibly find anything else… Suppose that a madman kidnaps a victim and shuts him in a room with a card-shuffling machine. The machine shuffles ten packs of cards simultaneously and then draws a card from each pack and exhibits simultaneously the ten cards. The kidnapper tells the victim that he will shortly set the machine to work and it will exhibit its first draw, but that, unless the draw consists of an ace of hearts from each pack, the machine will simultaneously set off an explosion which will kill the victim, in consequence of which he will not see which cards the machine drew. The machine is then set to work, and to the amazement and relief of the victim the machine exhibits an ace of hearts drawn from each pack. The victim thinks that this extraordinary fact needs an explanation in terms of the machine having been rigged in some way. But the kidnapper, who now reappears, casts doubt on this suggestion. ‘It is hardly surprising’, he says, ‘that the machine draws only aces of hearts. You could not possibly see anything else. For you would not be here to see anything at all, if any other cards had been drawn.’ But, of course, the victim is right and the kidnapper is wrong. There is indeed something extraordinary in need of explanation in ten aces of hearts being drawn… The theist’s starting-point is not that we perceive order rather than disorder, but that order rather than disorder is there. Maybe only if order is there can we know what is there, but that makes what is there no less extraordinary and in need of explanation…

Alla luce del principio antropico, la vera ipotesi rivale del teismo è quella dei mondi infiniti:

… Another objector may advocate what is called the many-worlds theory. He may say that, if there are trillions and trillions of universes, exhibiting between them all the possible kinds of order and disorder there can be, it is inevitable that there will be one governed by simple comprehensible laws which give rise to animals and humans. True. But there is no reason to suppose that there are any universes other than our own…

Si noti che il Dio del teismo non ha niente a che vedere col “dio tappabuchi” di certe teologie:

… Note that I am not postulating a ‘God of the gaps’, a god merely to explain the things which science has not yet explained. I am postulating a God to explain what science explains; I do not deny that science explains, but I postulate God to explain why science explains…

5.

L’ipotesi teista spiega bene il libero arbitrio dell’uomo e la sua coscienza, evidenze che il materialismo, senza alcuna dimostrazione, non puo’ che definire illusorie.

I corpi non sono l’unica chiara evidenza che ci sta davanti in questo mondo:

… there is more to humans than their bodies. Humans (and the higher animals) are conscious beings. They have thoughts and feelings; atoms do not have thoughts and feelings. But consciousness, I shall be arguing, cannot be the property of a mere body, a material object. It must be a property of something else connected to a body; and to that something else I shall give the traditional name of soul… something utterly beyond the power of science to explain. But theism can explain this…

Il dualismo (esistenza di anima e corpo) sembra la necessaria posizione di partenza per un approccio ragionevole e fedele alle evidenze:

… I need to describe the phenomena, and to bring out that humans (and the higher animals) consist of two parts—a body which is a material substance, and a soul which is an immaterial substance… as well as material substances, substances which occupy volumes of space, there may be immaterial ones as well, which do not occupy space… I am going to argue in this chapter that the essential part of each one of us is a soul which is an immaterial substance… Physical events are public; there is no privileged access to them…  Mental events, by contrast, are ones which just one person has a special way of finding out about… Evidently—more evidently than anything else—there really are mental events, as we know from our own experience…

Mente e cervello ci appaiono come entità ben distinte anche se senz’altro collegate: 

… I could study my brain—via a system of mirrors and microscopes—just as well as anyone else could. But, of course, I have a way of knowing about pains, thoughts, and suchlike other than those available to the best other student of my behaviour or brain: I actually experience them. Consequently, they must be distinct from brain events, or any other bodily events. A neurophysiologist cannot observe the quality of the colour in my visual field… I emphasize my definition of the mental as that to which the subject has privileged access. There are many properties which we attribute to people, which we might sometimes call ‘mental’ but which are not mental in my sense but are merely properties of public behaviour. When we say that someone is generous or irritable… That mental life itself, I now argue, is the state of an immaterial substance, a soul, which is connected to the body. That humans consist of two connected substances—body and soul—is the view known as substance dualism… The alternative is to say that humans are just bodies (I am the same thing as what we loosely call my body). In that case, my mental properties, such as being in pain or having an after-image, would be properties of my body. Let us call this view about humans substance monism… If monism were correct, then there would be nothing more to the history of the world than the succession of those events which involve material substances, their coming into existence or ceasing to exist and having properties and relations (physical or mental)…

Il monismo puo’ essere confutato con l’esperimento mentale dei trapianti di cervello:

… Let me illustrate this with the example of brain transplants. The brain consists of two hemispheres and a brain-stem. There is good evidence that humans can survive and behave as conscious beings if much of one hemisphere is destroyed… imagine my brain (hemispheres plus brain-stem) divided into two, and each half-brain taken out of my skull and transplanted into the empty skull of a body from which a brain has just been removed; and there to be added to each half-brain from some other brain (e.g. the brain of my identical twin)…  —if this operation were done and we then had two living persons, both with lives of conscious experiences, which would be me? Probably both would to some extent behave like me and claim to be me and to remember having done what I did… But both persons would not be me… we cannot be certain which holds. It follows that that mere knowledge of what happens to brains or bodies or anything else material does not tell you what happens to persons… if we imagine that I have been captured by a mad surgeon who is about to perform the split-brain operation on me. He tells me (and I have every reason to believe him) that the person to be formed from my left half-brain is to have an enjoyable life and the person to be formed from my right half-brain is to be subjected to a life of torture. Whether my future life will be happy or very painful, or whether I shall survive an operation at all, are clearly factual questions… I am in no position to know the answer…

E’ chiaro che l’imprescindibile concetto di identità richieda di andare oltre la materia dei corpi:

… Reflection on this thought experiment shows that, however much we know about what has happened to my brain—we may know exactly what has happened to every atom in it—and to every other material part of me, we do not necessarily know what has happened to me. From that it follows that there must be more to me than the matter of which my body and brain are made… I give the traditional name of ‘soul’…

Conclusione:

… Dualism is not a popular philosophical position today, but I find these arguments (of an entirely non-theological kind) in its favour inescapable

Quel che si è detto per l’uomo vale in parte anche per gli animali superiori:

… These arguments which show that humans have two parts—body and soul—will show that any creature which has a mental life will also have two parts. The same issues will arise for a chimpanzee or a cat as for a human… So we must postulate a cat-soul which is the essential part of the cat, and whose continuation makes for the continuation of the cat. Only when we come to animals without thought or feeling does such a question not arise, and then there is no need to postulate an immaterial part of the animal…

Il chiaro collegamento tra corpo e anima rende accettabile anche una posizione immanentista:

… I do not necessarily wish to deny that events in the brain play a role in causing the existence of souls. At some stage of animal evolution, an animal brain became so complex that that caused the existence of a soul… It is events in this particular brain which cause events in this particular soul, and events in this particular soul which cause events in this particular brain…

Ma quale combinazione materiale fa emergere un’anima? Difficile stabilirlo con esattezza.

… My view is that all the vertebrates have a mental life, because they all have a brain similar to the human brain, which, we know, causes a mental life in us, and their behaviour, too, is best explained in terms of their having feelings and beliefs… But there is no reason at all to attribute a mental life to viruses and bacteria, nor in my view to ants and beetles…

L’irrazionalità del filosofo materialista sta nel negare l’esistenza reale di una cosa che sta davanti a lui nella speranza un domani di poterlo fare in modo argomentato. Ma questa allergia all’evidenza segnala solo una mentalità anti-scientifica.

… The reluctance of so many philosophers and scientists to admit that at a particular moment of evolutionary history there came into existence, connected to animal bodies, souls with mental properties seems to me to be due in part to the fact that, if such a thing happened, they are utterly lost for an explanation of how it came to happen. But it is highly irrational to say that something is not there, just because you cannot explain how it came to be there…We should accept the evident fact… the theist does have an explanation…

I tentativi di studiare il cervello per capire il fenomeno della coscienza hanno ben poche speranze di risolvere il problema: si puo’ al limite scoprire una grammatica ma non una traduzione, si puo’ scoprire una correlazione ma non un nesso casuale certo. le diversità qualitative tra fenomeno fisico e fenomeno mentale sembrano irriducibili tra loro.

… The list would state that brain events of a certain kind cause blue images, and brain events of a different kind cause red images; brain events of one kind cause a belief that 36 × 2 = 72, and brain events of another kind cause a strong desire to drink tea… Also, just possibly, scientists could list which primitive brains give rise to consciousness… But let us waive difficulties about how we could establish such things, and suppose that we have lists of causal connections between brain events and mental events… The problem is to explain them. Why does the formation of a brain of a complexity as great as or greater than that of a certain animal (perhaps an early vertebrate) give rise to consciousness—that is, to a soul with mental states? And why do brain events give rise to the particular mental events they do? Why does a brain event of this kind cause a blue image, and one of that kind cause a red image, and not vice versa? Why does eating chocolate cause the brain events which cause the taste we call chocolatey… A mere list of correlations would be like a list of sentences of a foreign language which translate sentences of English, without any grammar or word dictionary to explain why those sentences are correct translations. And, in the absence of a grammar and dictionary, you are in no position to translate any new sentence… To provide an inanimate explanation of these phenomena we would need a scientific soul… The theory would then enable us to predict which brain events of a new kind would give rise to which mental events of a new kind… Now what makes a theory of mechanics able to explain a diverse set of mechanical phenomena is that the laws of mechanics all deal with the same sort of thing—material objects, their mass, shape, size, and position… mass and velocity, and electrical and other physical properties, of material objects are utterly different from the mental (private) properties of thought and feeling which pertain to souls… thoughts do not differ from each other along measurable scales. One thought does not have twice as much of some sort of meaning as another one… A desire for roast beef is not distinguished from a desire for chocolate by having twice as much of something… Having a soul is all-or-nothing…

Ma la scienza non potrebbe sorprenderci? Già in passato abbiamo avuto riduzioni inattese.

… es: Thermodynamics dealing with heat was reduced to statistical mechanics dealing with velocities of large groups of particles of matter and collisions between them… Optics was reduced to electromagnetism… but… There is a crucial difference… There is a crucial difference between these cases. Every earlier integration into a super-science, of sciences dealing with entities and properties apparently qualitatively very distinct, was achieved by saying that really some of these entities and properties were not as they appeared to be… The felt hotness of a hot body is indeed qualitatively distinct from particle velocities and collisions. The reduction to statistical mechanics was achieved by distinguishing between the underlying cause of the hotness (the motion of molecules) and the sensations which the motion of molecules cause in observers, and saying that really the former was what temperature was, the latter was just the effect of temperature on observers such as us… molecules are particles; the entities and properties are not now of distinct kinds… the reduction was achieved at the price of separating off the felt hotness from its causes, and only explaining the latter… when you come to face the problem of the mental events themselves, you cannot do this…success of science in producing an integrated physico-chemistry has been achieved at the expense of separating off from the physical world colours, smells, and tastes…history of science shows is that the way to achieve integration of sciences is to ignore the mental…

Con queste premesse è normale che la spiegazione darwiniana della coscienza sia fallimentare:

… Darwinian explanation would explain equally well the evolution of inanimate robots. Could not Darwinism also tell us something about how the bodies came to be connected with consciousness… It may well be that certain primitive brain states cause the existence of souls—as the foetal brain reaches a certain state of development it gives rise to a soul connected with it. But what it could not cause is—which soul is connected with it…

Al contrario, il teismo è a suo agio nello spiegare simili fenomeni:

… God, being omnipotent, is able to join souls to bodies… He has good reason to cause the existence of souls… have enjoyable sensations, satisfy their desires, have their beliefs about what the world is like, and form their own purposes in the light of these beliefs which make a difference to the world… He may also have a reason to join this soul to this particular body… he has a special reason for producing human beings. Human beings differ from the higher animals in the kinds of beliefs and purposes they have. For instance, we have moral beliefs, beliefs about the origin of our existence or fundamental theories of mathematics. We can reason from this to that, and our beliefs are consciously… Humans also, I believe, and I suggested in Chapter 1, have free will—that is, our purposes are not fully determined by our brain states or anything else…

La libertà è cosa buona e certamente l’uomo ne puo’ godere, almeno in parte:

… Is not the brain an ordinary material object in which normal scientific laws operate? How, then, can a human freely choose to move his arm or not, or perform any piece of public behaviour, without violating scientific laws?… if humans have free will, would they not then be able to prevent normal scientific laws operating in the brain?… One answer to this is that quite obviously the brain is not an ordinary material object, since—unlike ordinary material objects—it gives rise to souls and their mental lives. Hence we would not necessarily expect it to be governed totally by the normal laws of physics… second answer… Quantum Theory, shows that the physical world on the small scale is not fully deterministic… This unpredictability is not just a limit to human ability to predict effects, but, if Quantum Theory is true, a limit to the extent to which material objects have precise effects, a limit to the extent to which the physical world is deterministic… These two answers suggest that there is no reason from physics for supposing that things are not as they seem to be with respect to free human choice… In so many different ways we can choose between good and evil, and our choices make a big difference. A generous God has reason to create such beings…

Su questo fronte l’ipotesi teista sembra distaccare le sue rivali:

… The existence of God, a simple hypothesis which leads us with some probability to expect the phenomena discussed … also leads us to expect these phenomena… Hence they constitute further evidence for his existence… God’s action also provides the ultimate explanation of there being a soul…

6.

Molti non riescono a credere per la presenza del male nel mondo: come puo’ un Dio buono aver creato un mondo con tanto male?

… An omnipotent God could have prevented this evil, and surely a perfectly good and omnipotent God would have done so. So why is there this evil?… what good things would a generous and everlasting God give to human beings in the course of a short earthly life…

Evidentemente Dio ha barattato la libertà dell’uomo con la presenza del male:

… He will seek to give us great responsibility for ourselves, each other, and the world, and thus a share in his own creative activity of determining what sort of world it is to be… The problem is that God cannot give us these goods in full measure without allowing much evil on the way…

Qui bisogna distinguere tra male etico e male naturale:

… there are plenty of evils, positive bad states, which God could if he chose remove. I divide these into moral evils and natural evils… I understand by ‘natural evil’ all evil which is not deliberately produced by human beings and which is not allowed by human beings to occur as a result of their negligence…

Nel primo caso il baratto male/libertà è evidente: Dio concede libertà di scelta all’uomo limitando la sua onnipotenza.

… The free-will defence claims that it is a great good that humans have a certain sort of free will which I shall call free and responsible choice, but that, if they do, then necessarily there will be the natural possibility of moral evil… A God who gives humans such free will necessarily brings about the possibility, and puts outside his own control whether or not that evil occurs. It is not logically possible—that is, it would be self-contradictory to suppose—that God could give us such free will and yet ensure that we always use it in the right way…

La libertà che Dio ci concede è qualcosa di serio, non uno scherzetto:

… God would have reserved for himself the all-important choice of the kind of world it was to be, while simply allowing humans the minor choice of filling in the details. He would be like a father asking his elder son to look after the younger son, and adding that he would be watching the elder son’s every move and would intervene the moment the elder son did a thing wrong. The elder son might justly retort that, while he would be happy to share his father’s work, he could really do so only if he were left to make his own judgements…A good God, like a good father, will delegate responsibility. In order to allow creatures a share in creation, he will allow them the choice of hurting and maiming, of frustrating the divine plan…

Teniamo presente il fatto che il male non è mai una perdita pura: dal male viene il bene e dal bene viene il male:

… Note further and crucially that, if I suffer in consequence of your freely chosen bad action, that is not by any means pure loss for me. In a certain respect it is a good for me. My suffering would be pure loss for me if the only good thing in life was sensory pleasure, and the only bad thing sensory pain; and it is because the modern world tends to think in those terms that the problem of evil seems so acute… Recall the words of Christ, ‘it is more blessed to give than to receive’…

Il sacrificio ci nobilita, difficile far passare questo concetto in una società ossessionata dal male fisico:

…  Being allowed to suffer to make possible a great good is a privilege, even if the privilege is forced upon you. Those who are allowed to die for their country and thereby save their country from foreign oppression are privileged. Cultures less obsessed than our own by the evil of purely physical pain have always recognized that…

La mia sofferenza nobilita anche il mio persecutore:

… I am fortunate if the natural possibility of my suffering if you choose to hurt me is the vehicle which makes your choice really matter. My vulnerability, my openness to suffering (which necessarily involves my actually suffering if you make the wrong choice), means that you are not just like a pilot in a simulator, where it does not matter if mistakes are made…

Chiediamoci quale sia il mondo migliore: quello piacevole ma senza responsabilità o quello pieno di inconvenienti ma con la responsabilità umana?

… So then God, without asking humans, has to choose for them between the kinds of world in which they can live—basically either a world in which there is very little opportunity for humans to benefit or harm each other, or a world in which there is considerable opportunity… There are clearly reasons for both choices. But it seems to me (just, on balance) that his choosing to create the world in which we have considerable opportunity to benefit or harm each other is to bring about a good at least as great as the evil which he thereby allows to occur…

Veniamo al male naturale: qual è il suo ruolo? E’ un banco di prova che saggia l’uso che l’uomo fa della sua libertà:

… Its main role rather, I suggest, is to make it possible for humans to have the kind of choice which the freewill defence extols, and to make available to humans specially worthwhile kinds of choice…  natural evil operates to give humans their freedom is that it makes possible certain kinds of action towards it between which agents can choose. It increases the range of significant choice… A particular natural evil, such as physical pain, gives to the sufferer a choice—whether to endure it with patience, or to bemoan his lot… I have then the opportunity to show gratitude for the sympathy; or to be so self-involved that I ignore it. If you are callous, I can choose whether to ignore this or to resent it for life…

Ma non basta il male morale come banco di prova?

… It may, however, be suggested that adequate opportunity for these great good actions would be provided by the occurrence of moral evil without any need for suffering to be caused by natural processes. You can show courage when threatened by a gunman…

Niente male naturale, niente eroi, niente coraggio.

… But just imagine all the suffering of mind and body caused by disease, earthquake, and accident unpreventable by humans removed at a stroke from our society… Many of us would then have such an easy life that we simply would not have much opportunity to show courage… God has the right to allow natural evils to occur (for the same reason as he has the right to allow moral evils to occur)—up to a limit…

Cerchiamo di immaginare due mondi possibili:

… You can have either a few minutes of very considerable pleasure, of the kind produced by some drug such as heroin, which you will experience by yourself and which will have no effects at all in the world (for example, no one else will know about it); or you can have a few minutes of considerable pain, such as the pain of childbirth, which will have (unknown to you at the time of pain) considerable good effects on others over a few years. You are told that, if you do not make the second choice, those others will never exist—and so you are under no moral obligation to make the second choice. But you seek to make the choice which will make your own life the best life for you to have led. How will you choose? The choice is, I hope, obvious. You should choose the second alternative…

Dio, di regola, non sospende le leggi naturali per evitare un male, questo per facilitare la conoscenza umana dell’universo.

Ma perché non renderci edotti a minor prezzo? Imparare non è un pic nic:

But could not God give us the requisite knowledge (of how to bring about good or evil) which we need in order to have free and responsible choice by a less costly means?… That knowledge would greatly inhibit his freedom of choice, would make it very difficult for him to choose to do evil… Natural processes alone give humans knowledge of the effects of their actions without inhibiting their freedom…

Riassunto:

… Natural evils give to us the knowledge to make a range of choices between good and evil, and the opportunity to perform actions of especially valuable kinds…

E la sofferenza animale? Esiste una teodicea anche per loro? Secondo RS sì: per l’animale vale tutto quanto detto per l’uomo anche se in misura minore:

… while the higher animals, at any rate the vertebrates, suffer, it is most unlikely that they suffer nearly as much as humans do. Given that suffering depends directly on brain events (in turn caused by events in other parts of the body), then, since the lower animals do not suffer at all and humans suffer a lot, animals of intermediate complexity (it is reasonable to suppose) suffer only a moderate amount… one does not need as powerful a theodicy as one does in respect of humans… That said, there is, I believe, available for animals parts of the theodicy which I have outlined above for humans. The good of animals, like that of humans, does not consist solely in thrills of pleasure. For animals, too, there are more worthwhile things, and in particular intentional actions, and among them serious significant intentional actions… Animals do not choose freely to do such actions, but the actions are nevertheless worthwhile. It is great that animals feed their young, not just themselves…

Non dimentichiamo poi che esiste il Paradiso:

… While believing that God does provide at any rate for many humans such life after death, I have expounded a theodicy without relying on this assumption. But I can understand someone thinking that the assumption is needed, especially when we are considering the worst evils…

7.

Come giustificare la presenza in questo mondo dei miracoli e di esperienze religiose quali le apparizioni?

Un Dio che ama la sua creatura dovrebbe interagire con lei senza occultarsi:

… if there is a God, who, being perfectly good, will love his creatures, one would expect him to interact with us occasionally more directly on a personal basis, rather than merely through the natural order…

Senonché, un intervento divino nel mondo troppo frequente rischierebbe – attraverso la sospensione delle leggi naturali – di minare la formazione della conoscenza umana:

…. He will not, however, intervene in the natural order at all often, for, if he did, we would not be able to predict the consequences of our actions…

Il miracolo – magari in risposta ad una preghiera –  è infatti una sospensione delle leggi della fisica. 

Qualora ci trovassimo di fronte ad un evento apparentemente miracoloso, la conoscenza pregressa razionale si farebbe sentire in due forme: 1) la nostra conoscenza scientifica del mondo che afferma l’esistenza di talune leggi naturali 2) l’ipotesi teista la quale afferma che esistono ragioni per cui Dio potrebbe intervenire nella storia con un miracolo.

Da buoni investigatori si tratterebbe di raccogliere elementi e di soppesarli alla luce della conoscenza pregressa.

… what we are doing is to seek the simplest theory of what happened in the past which leads us to account for the data (what I have here called the detailed historical evidence), and which fits in best with our background knowledge… I am inclined to think that we do have enough historical evidence of events occurring contrary to natural laws of a kind which God would have reason to bring out to show that probably some of them (we do not know which) are genuine miracles… Or, rather, we have enough detailed historical evidence in some such cases given that we have a certain amount of background evidence to support the claim that there is a God, able and willing to intervene in history…

L’osservatore razionale deve dare un peso alla conoscenza di fondo, l’approccio di molti storici, in questo senso, sembra scorretto nell’assegnare le probabilità ad un evento miracolistico.

… It is so often said in such cases that we ‘may be mistaken’. New scientific evidence may show that the event as reported was not contrary to natural laws… Maybe. But the rational enquirer in these matters, as in all matters, must go on the evidence available… Historians often affirm that, when they are investigating particular claims about past events important to religious traditions—for example, about what Jesus did and what happened to him—they do so without making any religious or anti-religious assumptions. In practice most of them do not live up to such affirmations. Either they heavily discount such biblical claims as that Jesus cured the blind on the grounds that such things do not happen… But what needs to be appreciated is that background evidence ought to influence the investigator—as it does in all other areas of enquiry. Not to allow it to do so is irrational… The existence of detailed historical evidence for the occurrence of violations of natural laws of a kind which God, if there is a God, would have had reason to bring about is itself evidence for the existence of God…

Alcuni pensano che presupporre l’esistenza di Dio per capire se l’evento storico della Resurrezione si areale e poi utilizzare questa conclusione per supportare l’esistenza di Dio sia un argomento circolare. Sbagliato. Un’analogia mette in luce la natura erronea dell’obiezione:

… Consider, by analogy, a detective investigating a crime and considering the hypothesis that Jones committed the crime. Some of his clues will be evidence for the occurrence of some event, an event which, if it occurred, would provide evidence in its turn for the hypothesis that Jones committed the crime. The former might, for example, be the evidence of witnesses who claim to have seen Jones near the scene of the crime. Even if Jones was near the scene of the crime, that is in its turn on its own fairly weak evidence that he committed the crime. Much more evidence is needed. But because the testimony of witnesses is evidence for Jones having been near the scene of the crime, and Jones having been near the scene is some evidence that he committed it, the testimony of the witnesses is nevertheless some (indirect) evidence for his having committed the crime. Likewise, evidence of witnesses who claim to observe a violation of natural laws is indirect evidence for the existence of God, because the occurrence of such violations would be itself more direct evidence for the existence of God. If the total evidence becomes strong enough, then it will justify asserting that God exists…

Ma perché i miracoli? Una prima ragione:

… One reason which God may have for intervening in history is to inform us of things, to reveal truths to us…

Il caso della Rivelazione rientra in questa categoria.

Noi siamo creature limitate, soggette a bias, cosicché un aiutino è comprensibile. Anche il buon genitore che insegna al figlio ogni tanto interviene con alcune facilitazioni.

Tutti i grandi monoteismi, del resto, reclamano un intervento divino informativo. Come possiamo discernere tra le diverse Rivelazioni? Palusibilità dei contenuti e firma autentica (miracolo) sono la guida.

… How are we to judge between these competing claims? In two ways. First, by the plausibility on other grounds of what they claim to be the central revealed doctrines… The point of revelation is to tell things too deep for our unaided reason to discover. What we need also is some guarantee of a different kind that what is claimed to be revealed really comes from God. To take an analogy, non-scientists cannot test for themselves what physicists tell them about the constitution of the atom… In the case of a purported revelation from God, that guarantee must take the form of a violation of natural laws which culminates and forwards the proclamation of the purported revelation..

Perché la Rivelazione cristiana è da preferire?

… in my view only one of the world’s major religions can make any serious claim, on the grounds of detailed historical evidence, to be founded on a miracle, and that is the Christian religion… Eastern religions (e.g. Hinduism) sometimes claim divine interventions, but not ones in historical periods for which they can produce many witnesses or writers who have talked to the witnesses… Judaism claims divine interventions connected especially with Moses and the Exodus from Egypt, our information about them was written down long after the events… natural causes may easily account for the East wind which caused the parting of the Red Sea… The Christian religion, by contrast, was founded on the purported miracle of the Resurrection of Jesus. If this event happened in anything like the way the New Testament books record it as the coming to life of a man dead by crucifixion thirty-six hours earlier, it clearly involved the suspension of natural laws, and so, if there is a God, was brought about by him, and so was a miracle… Here we have a serious historical claim of a great miracle for which there is a substantial evidence…

A volte sfugge che le probabilità del miracolo sono influenzate anche dalla plausibilità del messaggio veicolato. In altri termini, se l’ipotesi teistica è la più razionale nello spiegare il nostro mondo, dobbiamo chiederci se il messaggio cristiano si conforma a tale ipotesi. Esempio: un Dio che ama la sua creatura (il Dio dell’ipotesi teistica) cerca di stargli vicino, specie nella sofferenza: ecco che la dottrina cristiana dell’Incarnazione ci appare come estremamente plausibile. Così come quella del Paradiso.

… The first point is that it is a mark of rationality to take background knowledge—other evidence about whether there is a God able and willing to intervene in history—into account… The second is that, given that God does have reason to intervene in history, partly in order to reveal truths about himself, evidence for the truth of the Resurrection must include the plausibility… the sort of reason I have in mind may be illustrated very briefly in the case of the Incarnation… A good parent who has to make his child endure hardship for the sake of some greater good will often choose voluntarily to endure such hardship along with the child in order to express solidarity with him and to show him how to live in difficult circumstances. For example, if the child needs to have a plain diet for the sake of his health, the parent may voluntarily share such a diet… One item of purported revelation common to Western religions (though not taught by all branches of Judaism) is the doctrine of life after death… We humans will live again, and the kind of life we have will depend on how we live in this world… This doctrine seems to me intrinsically plausible—a perfectly good God might be expected in the end to respect our choice as to the sort of person we choose to be and the sort of life we choose to lead…

Il giudizio deve essere sempre comparato:

… the claims of the Christian revelation must be compared with those of other religions. If there is reason (of intrinsic plausibility, or historical evidence for a foundation miracle) to suppose that God has revealed contrary things in the context of another religion, that again is reason to suppose that the Christian revelation is not true, and so that its founding event did not occur… My own view—to repeat—is that none of the great religions can make any serious claim on the basis of particular historical evidence for the truth of their purported revelations, apart from the Christian religion…

Alcune persone necessitano di un’ esperienza personale per fortificare la propria fede. In casi del genere, difficile pensare ad un Dio impassibile.

… An omnipotent and perfectly good creator will seek to interact with his creatures… He has reason, as we have seen, to interact in the public world—occasionally making a difference to it in response to our prayers for particular needs…

Un’apparizione puo’ essere descritta sia in termini fattuali che in termini fenomenici:

We may describe our experiences (perceptions) of things either in terms of what they are of; or—being careful in case we may be mistaken—in terms of what they seem or appear (general words)… Note two very different uses of such verbs as ‘seems’, ‘appears’, and ‘looks’. When I look at a round coin from an angle I may say that ‘it looks round’ or I may say that ‘it looks elliptical’, but I mean very different things by the ‘looks’ in the two cases. By ‘it looks round’ in this context I mean that—on the basis of the way it looks—I am inclined to believe that it is round. By ‘it looks elliptical’ in this context I mean that it looks the way elliptical things normally (that is, when viewed from above) look. The former sense in philosophical terminology is the epistemic sense; the latter sense the comparative sense

Per assolvere alla sua funzione basta l’aspetto fenomenico dell’esperienza religiosa. Del resto, in mancanza di prova contraria fenomeno e fatto coincidono (principio di credulità):

An apparent experience (apparent in the epistemic sense) is a real experience… My apparent perception of the desk is a real perception if the desk causes (by reflecting them) light rays to land on my eyes… Now it is evident that, rightly or wrongly, it has seemed (in the epistemic sense) to millions and millions of humans that at any rate once or twice in their lives they have been aware of God and his guidance… They may be mistaken, but that is the way it has seemed to them. Now it is a basic principle of rationality, which I call the principle of credulity, that we ought to believe that things are as they seem to be… Just as you must trust your five ordinary senses, so it is equally rational to trust your religious sense… An opponent may say that you trust your ordinary senses (e.g. your sense of sight) because they agree with the senses of other people…  However, it is important to realize that the rational person applies the principle of credulity before he knows what other people experience… Anyway, religious experiences often do coincide with those of so many others… If some people do not have these experiences, that suggests that they are blind to religious realities—just as someone’s inability to see colours

Onere della prova:

… So in summary in the case of religious experiences, as in the case of all other experiences, the onus is on the sceptic to give reason for not believing what seems to be the case. The only way to defeat the claims of religious experience will be to show that the strong balance of evidence is that there is no God…

Un’obiezione comune:

… It might be said that only the religious have religious experiences. That is not always so… Only someone who knew what a telephone was could seem to see a telephone… a famous story of someone who could not recognize an experience of God for what it was until he was told something about God, see the story of the child Samuel in the Temple…

Tesi:

… I suggest that the overwhelming testimony of so many millions of people to occasional experiences of God must, in the absence of counter-evidence of the kind analysed, be taken as tipping the balance of evidence decisively in favour of the existence of God…

COMMENTO PERSONALE

La teologia generale proposta da Richard Swinburne mi sembra la più valida sul mercato delle idee. Certo, richiede di rinunciare alla scolastica accantonando l’ipotesi di un Dio fuori dal tempo in quanto figura incompatibile con l’interazione uomo/Dio nella storia. Avrei però due integrazioni da fare. La prima riguarda la teodicea, che lascia irrisolta una questione importante: se il male naturale costituisce un banco di prova, perché persone diverse hanno “banchi di prova” diversi? Perché alcuni sono vittime del terremoto e altri no? Risposta possibile: la causa è la nostra diversità è radicale che richiede prove su misura per emettere un giudizio. Da questa osservazione nasce anche il “non giudicare” cristiano: come posso giudicare dall’esito se i punti di partenza sono diversi per ciascuno di noi? Poi, trattando dei miracoli, c’è il problema non affrontato delle risposte di Dio alle nostre preghiere: perché un Dio onnipotente e onnisciente dovrebbe intervenire (miracolosamente) per rispondere alle nostre preghiere? Non poteva prevedere in anticipo la soluzione migliore anziché modificare a “lavori in corso”? Risposta plausibile: no, non poteva prevedere poiché la previsione perfetta dei comportamenti umani è difficilmente compatibile con la libertà dell’uomo: una preghiera particolarmente sentita puo’ sorprendere anche Dio che valuta certi desideri espressi con una tale intensità da meritare soddisfazione. In conclusione vorrei dissipare un equivoco: vivere la fede non significa aderire all’ipotesi più razionale sul mercato delle idee. Tale ipotesi è infatti di tipo probabilistico mentre la fede vissuta ha natura esistenziale. La fede è una scelta che potremmo definire pragmatica: una volta calcolata l’ipotesi più probabile cercare di crederci fino e farne una scelta di vita, salvo dedicarsi ad una verifica di tanto in tanto.

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8 pensieri riguardo “L’ipotesi di Dio”

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