A rebuttal to the design argument for God by Elliott Sober (see https://appearedtoblogly.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/sober-elliot-22the-design-argument22.pdf) is that we simply cannot know what God would or would not do. If O = an observation, and H = the hypothesis that God exists, then the point made is that P (O|H) is unknown. As such, he argues, we can never say that chance, or really any other process, explains an observation worse than God, since we don’t know what God would do. He does say we can do this if we had independent reasons for justifying certain actions over others, but we have none for God.
But isn’t this whole matter subjective? How does this not apply to other agents? And how independent must the assumptions be? For example, can’t we say that the Christian God is more likely to make an atheist suffer than a Christian given that He likes Christians? Note that I’m asking what we should reasonably expect God to do, not what actually happens in reality. So a response along the lines of showing that Christians don’t actually suffer less than atheists is irrelevant. Sober seems to say we’re not justified in saying this when he responds to the argument from evil, since perhaps God has some hidden plan that eventually puts a suffering Christian in heaven, or some other way of defining what “good” really is.
But why is this a valid argument? And can’t we make a similar counter argument in cases of observations where it seems obvious that a designer is what caused it. For example, suppose we came across a gadget in the beach that looked different from every other tool that we’d ever come across.
Despite this, most of us would assume it was designed by some human. No one would accept a counter along the lines of “well maybe a human is not capable enough to create this, or maybe he wouldn’t want to create this gadget.” How is this counter any more valid than the counter of “maybe God would want a Christian to unimaginably suffer even though He likes Christians”
If the response is that we’ve atleast seen humans design SOMETHING and we haven’t verified that God could design ANYTHING, then I could make the counter of “we haven’t seen humans design THIS object. We’ve only seen humans design other objects. So in all practicality, we have no reason to say humans designed this.”
Is this valid?