When I debate with Alex on God... just about anything and everything I say is an ad hoc "mechansim" for God to influence our lives.
You see... I don't truly know whether I believe in God or not. My stance is that I'm not sure if it truly is possible for a "God" to exist... but I can't rule him out just because math & science appear to assert otherwise. The truth is, I just don't know; it's my own personal internal debate.
However when it comes to Alex... I have to do battle with him on his territory (natural laws). I'm not trying to convince him that a God exists; that I couldn't even say for myself. All I'm trying to show him is that our theories of nature are not yet complete enough to rule out possibility of God soley on the basis of laws of physics. I don't think it fair to say that one knows the answer to whether or not God exists when their reason for asserting such is not even fully understood. So since Alex does not have a complete theory of nature, I think that makes his "laws of physics" based argument invalid... or at least questionable. When I look for ways to point out to him that perhaps God can operate without violating laws of physics... every mecahnism would then be "ad hoc" and situational. I have to admit... without being able to decide if God exists, I find it even more difficult to debate Alex on how he can exist (or influence our lives without breaking conservation laws or mathematical logic). As Alex keeps poking holes in my arguement with logical reasons why God cannot "control the universe", so too do I have to come up with "ad hoc patches" for those holes just to show him that perhaps there is more out there than what science has/can explain(ed).
Does God exist? I couldn't tell you... and more over I couldn't tell you how he could interfere with natural course of events in universe. However, I also do not like to hear that "laws of physics" invalidate possibility of God, especialy when "truth about natuer" is not yet fully known or understood. I must continue to look for methods of intervention that will satisfy Alex as "not violating any rules", even if they appear clumsy and "ad hoc".