A dishonest (but typical) theist once said:
If the universe is too big, the atheist will say it proves God couldn't possibly be interested in our tiny planet. If it's too small, he'll say that just shows there's no God because He should have created something bigger.Oh but he is playing a game. He's playing the same game that theists always play. It's called projection. This is something I have discussed before.
If we're the only intelligent life out there, the atheist will say that shows there's no God, else why all that wasted space. And if the universe is crammed full of intelligent life, then once again, we're claimed to be beneath any self respecting deity's interest.
I could continue, but you get the drift. I have no interest in playing. - Prokop
You see, for the theist, it doesn't matter what he sees, it doesn't matter what kind of thinking process is used, or indeed, whether thinking is involved at all. Everything points to God. Big universe or small, that's evidence for god. A world specially created for mankind, or a world where man finds a tiny niche in which to live, that's evidence for God. Universe or multiverse, it's all evidence for God, or so they say. When it comes down to explaining why they believe in God, the evidence really makes no difference whatsoever. It's always evidence for God, and the conclusion is always the same.
But this theist grossly mischaracterizes the appeal of evidence to the atheist. We aren't like him. We actually draw conclusions that are dependent on on the evidence we see. This is what is known as a scientific approach to understanding our world. And it's the single biggest difference between the way we see the world and the way he sees it. A little historical perspective is in order.
There was a time when mankind had very little scientific understanding of the world. Much of what we encountered was mysterious and unexplained. So we needed gods to fill that explanatory gap. A bolt of lightening was the spear of an angry god. A volcanic eruption was the fire and brimstone that gods used to punish us for our failures. The breath of life was the spirit imparted to us by the gods, that would eventually leave the body behind and return to the realm of the unseen. Eventually, one god was elevated to become the chief among the gods, and then the only god worthy of worship, and finally the one and only God. It was this God who was responsible for all creation and everything that happens in our world.
In those early times of superstitious human understanding, mankind was regarded as the crown of creation, made specially in the very image of God, and all the world was made specially as a home for man, and everything in the world was given to man as part of his dominion. What did this specially-made world look like? It was a flat earth at the center of everything, covered by a firmament, to which the stars were affixed. It was made with the precise features needed to provide mankind with a home and the means to survive and thrive. Its age was a few thousand years, traceable back through the mythical tales of the ancestors. The sun made daily journeys across the sky to give us light and warmth. All the animals and other forms of life were designed by God to fulfill the needs of mankind, and in some cases, to provide us with challenges in our journey through life, so that we could prove our worthiness to abide with God in the afterlife, when the spirit finally departs our body. Because the idea of life ending was unthinkable.
And so we have a hubristic, self-centered, theistic view of what the world should be, as designed and created by God, specially for us. And this was said to be the best of all possible worlds, because God could certainly do no less for his special creation. And it was all made for our benefit. Made by God, because God was the answer to every question about how things came to be and why they are the way they are.
But then came science. We began to see things that violated this self-centered theistic understanding of what the world is and how it came to be. The firmament wasn't really a firmament, and the earth wasn't really at the center of everything. And animals weren't really designed, but they were constantly changing over time as they adapted to the conditions in which they lived and survived. And they must have been doing that for a very long time. And man, too, seems to be just one of those adaptations of animals, having evolved from a family of ape-like creatures. Does that mean that we weren't specially created? That would explain a lot. Maybe we are just another animal that happens to have a more developed brain. And the world turns out to be much bigger than we ever thought, with millions, even trillions of stars and other planets. Was all this made just for us? If the world was made for us, why does it seem that the vast majority of it is without purpose? Maybe our little piece of it is equally without purpose. That would explain so much about why things aren't they way they should be if the world was all about us. Maybe we aren't the center of everything after all.
And we understand so much more these days, about so many things that were mysterious before we learned to examine our world scientifically. We know how planets develop naturally, and there's nothing special about how ours came to be. We know how animal species develop in response to changing environmental conditions, and that there's nothing different that led the development of the human species. We know how lightening is produced and how volcanoes erupt, and it's not because God is angry. In fact, God is no longer needed to answer any of those questions. God as an explanation doesn't fit with the facts as wee see them. God only gets in the way of understanding reality. If we want to understand, we need to go where the evidence leads us, and that means no longer relying on God as the default explanation for all things that we don't yet understand. The evidence tells us a different story. And it is precisely because of the evidence that we no longer hold to the ancient superstitions about the realities of our world. Were it not for this evidence, we would probably still be clinging to those superstitious beliefs.
But there are those who continue to deny what the evidence tells us. There are theists who still see God as the reason and the explanation for everything. Don't bother showing them evidence, because no matter what they see, it is always regarded as the work of God. The beauty of creation? That's God. The ugliness and suffering? That's God. The earth that seems to fit our needs like a glove? That's God. The vast universe that is mostly hostile to life and mostly unseen by us? That's God. It doesn't matter what evidence they see. It never leads to any conclusion other than what they have always believed.
Don't try to tell me that theists base their belief on evidence. They are blind to evidence. Evidence has absolutely no impact on their understanding of reality. Understanding reality is a game that they have no interest in playing.