The philosophic problems of God
There's a couple of new theists on the boards. Some are mostly just trolling, and some are a little more sincere, though no less arrogant. During debates with these new theists, though, I've noticed a common theme: an appeal to God as the ultimate generic answer to all unanswered questions. In fact, in one thread, God was essentially defined as the ultimate answer to every unanswered question.
So, I would like to address why an infinite, omniscient, omnipotent God is a philosophically bankrupt concept.
It's simple, really, and can be summed up in a single sentence: This God presents an unworkable epistemology.
First, let me state that I think philosophy has served its purpose, by creating (or discovering) the single effective epistemology: science. Science obsoleted all other epistemologies, as it is the only one that demonstrably and provably produces correct results. There is no other known epistemology that is effective at all, let alone as effective as science.
Now, this isn't to say that science is perfect. Science doesn't really prove things, per se. It's very good at disproving things, though. Once an hypothesis or theory has been disproven, that concept is no longer valid nor accepted. This is important when many ideas compete to explain a set of data. If you can disprove all but one, you have a good candidate for the correct idea.
It's also good at increasing confidence in hypotheses and theories that appear to be correct. Even though our confidence in a concept may never quite reach 100%, we can converge on absolute certainty to within acceptable bounds, to where our confidence and absolute certainty are indistinguishable. (Take, for example, the theory of evolution through natural selection.) The ontology derived from application of the scientific method has many theories that are so close to certain that they are indistinguishable from certain; there are many more theories that are accepted, but not necessarily unassailable; and there are quite a few that are still heavily debated (I'm looking at you, string theory). Further, there are huge areas of ignorance or near-ignorance, such as we have with the origins of the universe.
The demonstrable success of science as an epistemology gives me hope that we will be able to illuminate these dark swaths of ignorance. As I try to base my beliefs on evidence, I point to the historical success of science to not only fill in our ignorance, but to point to hitherto unknown areas of ignorance.
The metaphysics derived from the scientific method is naturalism, a universe which is comprised solely of matter, energy, and the relationships between them. As this metaphysics is derived from the epistemology of science, it is the only metaphysics with a solid foundation.
Now that you know my bias, I will present the exact opposite epistemology:
The problem with an infinite, omniscient, omnipotent God as creator of the universe is simple. Once you assume the universe was created by an omnipotent, omniscient God, you can no longer assume anything about reality. And by that, I mean anything. You can't even assume that reality itself exists.
Reality could be nothing more than a figment of God's imagination. Or, perhaps God created the universe ten seconds ago, with the appearance of antiquity (fossil light from distant galaxies lensed by gravity, for instance). Or perhaps God hasn't created the universe yet, but intends to Any Time Now, and all this that you think is happening at the moment is really just a memory of the "you" created in an hour, simply because God wanted you to have a history.
All of these options are equally valid. The metaphysics based on the epistemology of God is completely undefined, as all potential options of an infinite, omniscient, omnipotent God are limitless.
One might say that science works, and what we observe about the universe is true, including its great antiquity; but that God merely set things in motion. From an epistemological standpoint, that option is no more valid an any other potential option. Choosing any option is completely arbitrary.
If you choose to believe that God created this universe at the Big Bang, and that naturalism has essentially prevailed (with only minor meddling), you do so by corrupting the essence of the one epistemology which is known to work. You introduce the ultimate wild card: "God did it."
And by introducing "God did it," you throw out any claim to a known reality. The epistemology of God doesn't support a knowable, coherent metaphysics.
"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers