After some discussion about the merits of Joe Hinman's use of empirical data to make claims that belief in God has scientific justification, Joe presented a succinct version of his argument for God belief based on empirical observation. I'll review and critique his argument here. This argument is a distillation of the material he presents in his book The Trace of God: a Rational Warrant for Belief. I will not discuss the book, which I have yet to read. I will limit my discussion to the argument as presented by Joe in this post.
Joe starts out from a very reasonable position, which is basically that if God interacts with the physical world in some way, then we should be able to observe the effects of that interaction. If we can know that some observed evidence is the result of divine interaction with the world, then we can infer the existence of a divine being. The pertinent question is:
How do we know this is the effect, or the accompanying sign of the divine?All this is quite reasonable, and Joe's argument purports to answer that question. But of course, the devil is in the details, as we shall see.