OrthodoxChristianity.net
September 30, 2014, 08:40:17 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Reminder: No political discussions in the public fora.  If you do not have access to the private Politics Forum, please send a PM to Fr. George.
 
   Home   Help Calendar Contact Treasury Tags Login Register  
Pages: 1   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: 36 Arguments For The Existence of God  (Read 1498 times) Average Rating: 0
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
TryingtoConvert
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Disbelief in your belief
Jurisdiction: All in your mind
Posts: 384



« on: January 26, 2011, 01:40:42 AM »

All debunked with logic

http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/goldstein09/goldstein09_index.html
Logged
Justin Kissel
Formerly Asteriktos
Protospatharios
****************
Offline Offline

Posts: 29,960


black metal cat


« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2011, 02:03:20 AM »

I found #21 in particular to be interesting, as that is one of the reasons I sometimes lean towards theism/deism... though I would not have stated things quite like the author did. I appreciate concision, but I think she dismisses the idea a bit too quickly. Part of what is at issue, I think, is not just that the majority of people from every culture in every part of the world believe in some type of God, but also that they long and yearn for such a God, or leastwise for something other or deeper that is supranatural. Whether science can (or will) explain this, I don't know, but I wonder if such a religious experience doesn't point to something akin to deity.
Logged

"But science is an inferential exercise, not a catalog of facts. Numbers, by themselves, specify nothing. All depends upon what you do with them" - Stephen Jay Gould
theo philosopher
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America
Posts: 315



« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2011, 02:16:42 AM »

I barely got into this and already noticed the first problem, from the first proof offered:

Quote
1. Everything that exists must have a cause.

2. The universe must have a cause (from 1).

3. Nothing can be the cause of itself.

4. The universe cannot be the cause of itself (from 3).

5. Something outside the universe must have caused the universe (from 2 & 4).

6. God is the only thing that is outside of the universe.

7. God caused the universe (from 5 & 6).

8. God exists.

That's a straw man argument. The actual first premise of the syllogism is "everything that begins to exist has a cause." If you're going to attempt to say an argument is illogical, it is best to attack the argument as presented by the adherents. The second objection he has, which invokes Humean skepticism, has been debunked by both theists and atheists alike. I'll leave it to you to research that.

And just glancing through some of his arguments, while some of his critiques are accurate, others are based upon straw men arguments; he presents syllogisms that even adherents wouldn't hold to and actually argue against (for instance, his explanation of free will made me chuckle, because the type of free will he describes is a type that no one believes in).

Suffice it to say, his incredulity towards such arguments is unwarranted because he's targeting straw men and not the actual arguments.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2011, 02:17:54 AM by theo philosopher » Logged

“Wherefore, then, death approaches, gulps down the bait of the body, and is pierced by the hook of the divinity. Then, having tasted of the sinless and life-giving body, it is destroyed and gives up all those whom it had swallowed down of old." - St. John of Damascus
Cognomen
Site Supporter
OC.net guru
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Catholic
Jurisdiction: Phyletism Rules, OK
Posts: 1,968


Ungrateful Biped


« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2011, 03:17:09 AM »

I barely got into this...

Well, you made it further than I did.
Logged

North American Eastern Orthodox Parish Council Delegate for the Canonization of Saints Twin Towers and Pentagon, as well as the Propagation of the Doctrine of the Assumption of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 (NAEOPCDCSTTPPDAMAFM®).
Papist
Patriarch of Pontification
Toumarches
************
Offline Offline

Faith: Catholic
Jurisdiction: Byzantine
Posts: 12,192


Praying for the Christians in Iraq


« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2011, 02:36:36 PM »

I barely got into this and already noticed the first problem, from the first proof offered:

Quote
1. Everything that exists must have a cause.

2. The universe must have a cause (from 1).

3. Nothing can be the cause of itself.

4. The universe cannot be the cause of itself (from 3).

5. Something outside the universe must have caused the universe (from 2 & 4).

6. God is the only thing that is outside of the universe.

7. God caused the universe (from 5 & 6).

8. God exists.

That's a straw man argument. The actual first premise of the syllogism is "everything that begins to exist has a cause." If you're going to attempt to say an argument is illogical, it is best to attack the argument as presented by the adherents. The second objection he has, which invokes Humean skepticism, has been debunked by both theists and atheists alike. I'll leave it to you to research that.

And just glancing through some of his arguments, while some of his critiques are accurate, others are based upon straw men arguments; he presents syllogisms that even adherents wouldn't hold to and actually argue against (for instance, his explanation of free will made me chuckle, because the type of free will he describes is a type that no one believes in).

Suffice it to say, his incredulity towards such arguments is unwarranted because he's targeting straw men and not the actual arguments.
Agreed. She reminds me of Bertrand Russell, in Why I am not a Christian. He either completely misunderstands the theistic/Christian argument or provides asenine arguments of his own.

Here is an argument that I have alwasy liked. It's not certain in it's conclusions but it cetainly is interesting and tugs at my heart.
1. We all have a natural desire for God/the Divine/Transcendant
2. Whatever natural desire we have, has a corresponding fulfillment of that desire in reality.
3. Therefore, there is a real God/Divnine Nature/Transcendant being.

Premise one is pretty clear. The vast majority of humanity have a natural desire for a being that transcends our natural experience. We can see this in all of the religions and philosophies of the world. One might argue that there are a few that do not possess this desire, but those who say this is true could be lying, or those few may be suffering from disordered passions that lead them not to desire such. We migh compare them to people with anorexia who have no appetite for food but they should.
Premise two is definitely debateable but think about it. I have a natural desire for food, and there is such a thing as food. We have a natural desire for sex and there is such a things as sex. We have a natural desire for love and there is such a thing as love. We have a natural desire for sleep and there is such a thing as sleep. The desires that we have that are not natural do not necessarily have a corresponding reality. For example, I might desire the land of Oz but there is no such thing as "ozzlessnes" because the desire for it is not natural. However, there is such a thing as starvation, sleeplessness, etc. because these desires are narural.
Now the conclusion, because of the universal nature of the desire for the Divine, it appears to be a natural desire, and all therefore must have a real fulfillment.
Again, it's not an argument that is certain but it certianly tugs at the heart. And yes, I completely stole this argument from Dr. Peter Kreeft.
Logged

Note Papist's influence from the tyrannical monarchism of traditional papism .
theo philosopher
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America
Posts: 315



« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2011, 02:41:01 PM »

I barely got into this and already noticed the first problem, from the first proof offered:

Quote
1. Everything that exists must have a cause.

2. The universe must have a cause (from 1).

3. Nothing can be the cause of itself.

4. The universe cannot be the cause of itself (from 3).

5. Something outside the universe must have caused the universe (from 2 & 4).

6. God is the only thing that is outside of the universe.

7. God caused the universe (from 5 & 6).

8. God exists.

That's a straw man argument. The actual first premise of the syllogism is "everything that begins to exist has a cause." If you're going to attempt to say an argument is illogical, it is best to attack the argument as presented by the adherents. The second objection he has, which invokes Humean skepticism, has been debunked by both theists and atheists alike. I'll leave it to you to research that.

And just glancing through some of his arguments, while some of his critiques are accurate, others are based upon straw men arguments; he presents syllogisms that even adherents wouldn't hold to and actually argue against (for instance, his explanation of free will made me chuckle, because the type of free will he describes is a type that no one believes in).

Suffice it to say, his incredulity towards such arguments is unwarranted because he's targeting straw men and not the actual arguments.
Agreed. She reminds me of Bertrand Russell, in Why I am not a Christian. He either completely misunderstands the theistic/Christian argument or provides asenine arguments of his own.

Here is an argument that I have alwasy liked. It's not certain in it's conclusions but it cetainly is interesting and tugs at my heart.
1. We all have a natural desire for God/the Divine/Transcendant
2. Whatever natural desire we have, has a corresponding fulfillment of that desire in reality.
3. Therefore, there is a real God/Divnine Nature/Transcendant being.

Premise one is pretty clear. The vast majority of humanity have a natural desire for a being that transcends our natural experience. We can see this in all of the religions and philosophies of the world. One might argue that there are a few that do not possess this desire, but those who say this is true could be lying, or those few may be suffering from disordered passions that lead them not to desire such. We migh compare them to people with anorexia who have no appetite for food but they should.
Premise two is definitely debateable but think about it. I have a natural desire for food, and there is such a thing as food. We have a natural desire for sex and there is such a things as sex. We have a natural desire for love and there is such a thing as love. We have a natural desire for sleep and there is such a thing as sleep. The desires that we have that are not natural do not necessarily have a corresponding reality. For example, I might desire the land of Oz but there is no such thing as "ozzlessnes" because the desire for it is not natural. However, there is such a thing as starvation, sleeplessness, etc. because these desires are narural.
Now the conclusion, because of the universal nature of the desire for the Divine, it appears to be a natural desire, and all therefore must have a real fulfillment.
Again, it's not an argument that is certain but it certianly tugs at the heart. And yes, I completely stole this argument from Dr. Peter Kreeft.
Ha! I was going to call you out on that!

If you're familiar with his book "Christianity for Modern Pagans," then I'm assuming your'e getting this Pascalian argument from that book (or Kreeft's teachings). If you're not familiar with that book, I suggest you get it, because he goes in depth on what I would deem the "existential argument," or a type of existential argument.
Logged

“Wherefore, then, death approaches, gulps down the bait of the body, and is pierced by the hook of the divinity. Then, having tasted of the sinless and life-giving body, it is destroyed and gives up all those whom it had swallowed down of old." - St. John of Damascus
Papist
Patriarch of Pontification
Toumarches
************
Offline Offline

Faith: Catholic
Jurisdiction: Byzantine
Posts: 12,192


Praying for the Christians in Iraq


« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2011, 02:44:01 PM »

I barely got into this and already noticed the first problem, from the first proof offered:

Quote
1. Everything that exists must have a cause.

2. The universe must have a cause (from 1).

3. Nothing can be the cause of itself.

4. The universe cannot be the cause of itself (from 3).

5. Something outside the universe must have caused the universe (from 2 & 4).

6. God is the only thing that is outside of the universe.

7. God caused the universe (from 5 & 6).

8. God exists.

That's a straw man argument. The actual first premise of the syllogism is "everything that begins to exist has a cause." If you're going to attempt to say an argument is illogical, it is best to attack the argument as presented by the adherents. The second objection he has, which invokes Humean skepticism, has been debunked by both theists and atheists alike. I'll leave it to you to research that.

And just glancing through some of his arguments, while some of his critiques are accurate, others are based upon straw men arguments; he presents syllogisms that even adherents wouldn't hold to and actually argue against (for instance, his explanation of free will made me chuckle, because the type of free will he describes is a type that no one believes in).

Suffice it to say, his incredulity towards such arguments is unwarranted because he's targeting straw men and not the actual arguments.
Agreed. She reminds me of Bertrand Russell, in Why I am not a Christian. He either completely misunderstands the theistic/Christian argument or provides asenine arguments of his own.

Here is an argument that I have alwasy liked. It's not certain in it's conclusions but it cetainly is interesting and tugs at my heart.
1. We all have a natural desire for God/the Divine/Transcendant
2. Whatever natural desire we have, has a corresponding fulfillment of that desire in reality.
3. Therefore, there is a real God/Divnine Nature/Transcendant being.

Premise one is pretty clear. The vast majority of humanity have a natural desire for a being that transcends our natural experience. We can see this in all of the religions and philosophies of the world. One might argue that there are a few that do not possess this desire, but those who say this is true could be lying, or those few may be suffering from disordered passions that lead them not to desire such. We migh compare them to people with anorexia who have no appetite for food but they should.
Premise two is definitely debateable but think about it. I have a natural desire for food, and there is such a thing as food. We have a natural desire for sex and there is such a things as sex. We have a natural desire for love and there is such a thing as love. We have a natural desire for sleep and there is such a thing as sleep. The desires that we have that are not natural do not necessarily have a corresponding reality. For example, I might desire the land of Oz but there is no such thing as "ozzlessnes" because the desire for it is not natural. However, there is such a thing as starvation, sleeplessness, etc. because these desires are narural.
Now the conclusion, because of the universal nature of the desire for the Divine, it appears to be a natural desire, and all therefore must have a real fulfillment.
Again, it's not an argument that is certain but it certianly tugs at the heart. And yes, I completely stole this argument from Dr. Peter Kreeft.
Ha! I was going to call you out on that!

If you're familiar with his book "Christianity for Modern Pagans," then I'm assuming your'e getting this Pascalian argument from that book (or Kreeft's teachings). If you're not familiar with that book, I suggest you get it, because he goes in depth on what I would deem the "existential argument," or a type of existential argument.
It's one of those books that I have on my shelf but haven't read yet. I think I'm inspired to do so now.
But I first encountered his argument in "Christian Apologetics" and then in one of his audio lectures. I think a lot of his works are good introductions to philosophy.  
« Last Edit: January 26, 2011, 02:45:26 PM by Papist » Logged

Note Papist's influence from the tyrannical monarchism of traditional papism .
TryingtoConvert
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Disbelief in your belief
Jurisdiction: All in your mind
Posts: 384



« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2011, 03:07:18 PM »


That's a straw man argument. The actual first premise of the syllogism is "everything that begins to exist has a cause." If you're going to attempt to say an argument is illogical, it is best to attack the argument as presented by the adherents.
After looking it up in Wikipedia, you're right, although I'm not really sure how that affects the argument in any way.
Quote
The second objection she has, which invokes Humean skepticism, has been debunked by both theists and atheists alike. I'll leave it to you to research that.

Quote from: wikipedia
Secondly, the premise of causality has been arrived at via a posteriori (inductive) reasoning, which is dependent on experience. David Hume highlighted this problem of induction and argued that causal relations were not true a priori (deductively). However as to whether inductive or deductive reasoning is more valuable still remains a matter of debate, with the general conclusion being that neither is prominent.[13] Even though causality applies to the known world, it does not necessarily apply to the universe at large. In other words, it is unwise to draw conclusions from an extrapolation of causality beyond experience.
Can you at least give me a starting point for why this is wrong?

Quote
And just glancing through some of his arguments, while some of his critiques are accurate, others are based upon straw men arguments; he presents syllogisms that even adherents wouldn't hold to and actually argue against (for instance, his explanation of free will made me chuckle, because the type of free will he describes is a type that no one believes in).

Suffice it to say, his incredulity towards such arguments is unwarranted because he's targeting straw men and not the actual arguments.

I can't ask you to go through each of the ones you think are false one-by-one, so I won't, although that's what I'd prefer.
Logged
Shiny
Site Supporter
Moderated
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Groucho Marxist
Jurisdiction: Dahntahn Stoop Haus
Posts: 13,267


Paint It Red


« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2011, 03:37:27 PM »

I barely got into this and already noticed the first problem, from the first proof offered:

Quote
1. Everything that exists must have a cause.

2. The universe must have a cause (from 1).

3. Nothing can be the cause of itself.

4. The universe cannot be the cause of itself (from 3).

5. Something outside the universe must have caused the universe (from 2 & 4).

6. God is the only thing that is outside of the universe.

7. God caused the universe (from 5 & 6).

8. God exists.

That's a straw man argument. The actual first premise of the syllogism is "everything that begins to exist has a cause." If you're going to attempt to say an argument is illogical, it is best to attack the argument as presented by the adherents. The second objection he has, which invokes Humean skepticism, has been debunked by both theists and atheists alike. I'll leave it to you to research that.

And just glancing through some of his arguments, while some of his critiques are accurate, others are based upon straw men arguments; he presents syllogisms that even adherents wouldn't hold to and actually argue against (for instance, his explanation of free will made me chuckle, because the type of free will he describes is a type that no one believes in).

Suffice it to say, his incredulity towards such arguments is unwarranted because he's targeting straw men and not the actual arguments.
Agreed. She reminds me of Bertrand Russell, in Why I am not a Christian. He either completely misunderstands the theistic/Christian argument or provides asenine arguments of his own.

Here is an argument that I have alwasy liked. It's not certain in it's conclusions but it cetainly is interesting and tugs at my heart.
1. We all have a natural desire for God/the Divine/Transcendant
2. Whatever natural desire we have, has a corresponding fulfillment of that desire in reality.
3. Therefore, there is a real God/Divnine Nature/Transcendant being.

Premise one is pretty clear. The vast majority of humanity have a natural desire for a being that transcends our natural experience. We can see this in all of the religions and philosophies of the world. One might argue that there are a few that do not possess this desire, but those who say this is true could be lying, or those few may be suffering from disordered passions that lead them not to desire such. We migh compare them to people with anorexia who have no appetite for food but they should.
Premise two is definitely debateable but think about it. I have a natural desire for food, and there is such a thing as food. We have a natural desire for sex and there is such a things as sex. We have a natural desire for love and there is such a thing as love. We have a natural desire for sleep and there is such a thing as sleep. The desires that we have that are not natural do not necessarily have a corresponding reality. For example, I might desire the land of Oz but there is no such thing as "ozzlessnes" because the desire for it is not natural. However, there is such a thing as starvation, sleeplessness, etc. because these desires are narural.
Now the conclusion, because of the universal nature of the desire for the Divine, it appears to be a natural desire, and all therefore must have a real fulfillment.
Again, it's not an argument that is certain but it certianly tugs at the heart. And yes, I completely stole this argument from Dr. Peter Kreeft.
Ha! I was going to call you out on that!

If you're familiar with his book "Christianity for Modern Pagans," then I'm assuming your'e getting this Pascalian argument from that book (or Kreeft's teachings). If you're not familiar with that book, I suggest you get it, because he goes in depth on what I would deem the "existential argument," or a type of existential argument.
Don't mean to jump in the conversation, but that seems like an interesting book. I'm getting my toes wet with philosophy, you know any basic books that could get me started in understanding philosophy and putting it into practice?
Logged

“There is your brother, naked, crying, and you stand there confused over the choice of an attractive floor covering.”

– St. Ambrose of Milan
theo philosopher
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America
Posts: 315



« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2011, 03:41:58 PM »

I barely got into this and already noticed the first problem, from the first proof offered:

Quote
1. Everything that exists must have a cause.

2. The universe must have a cause (from 1).

3. Nothing can be the cause of itself.

4. The universe cannot be the cause of itself (from 3).

5. Something outside the universe must have caused the universe (from 2 & 4).

6. God is the only thing that is outside of the universe.

7. God caused the universe (from 5 & 6).

8. God exists.

That's a straw man argument. The actual first premise of the syllogism is "everything that begins to exist has a cause." If you're going to attempt to say an argument is illogical, it is best to attack the argument as presented by the adherents. The second objection he has, which invokes Humean skepticism, has been debunked by both theists and atheists alike. I'll leave it to you to research that.

And just glancing through some of his arguments, while some of his critiques are accurate, others are based upon straw men arguments; he presents syllogisms that even adherents wouldn't hold to and actually argue against (for instance, his explanation of free will made me chuckle, because the type of free will he describes is a type that no one believes in).

Suffice it to say, his incredulity towards such arguments is unwarranted because he's targeting straw men and not the actual arguments.
Agreed. She reminds me of Bertrand Russell, in Why I am not a Christian. He either completely misunderstands the theistic/Christian argument or provides asenine arguments of his own.

Here is an argument that I have alwasy liked. It's not certain in it's conclusions but it cetainly is interesting and tugs at my heart.
1. We all have a natural desire for God/the Divine/Transcendant
2. Whatever natural desire we have, has a corresponding fulfillment of that desire in reality.
3. Therefore, there is a real God/Divnine Nature/Transcendant being.

Premise one is pretty clear. The vast majority of humanity have a natural desire for a being that transcends our natural experience. We can see this in all of the religions and philosophies of the world. One might argue that there are a few that do not possess this desire, but those who say this is true could be lying, or those few may be suffering from disordered passions that lead them not to desire such. We migh compare them to people with anorexia who have no appetite for food but they should.
Premise two is definitely debateable but think about it. I have a natural desire for food, and there is such a thing as food. We have a natural desire for sex and there is such a things as sex. We have a natural desire for love and there is such a thing as love. We have a natural desire for sleep and there is such a thing as sleep. The desires that we have that are not natural do not necessarily have a corresponding reality. For example, I might desire the land of Oz but there is no such thing as "ozzlessnes" because the desire for it is not natural. However, there is such a thing as starvation, sleeplessness, etc. because these desires are narural.
Now the conclusion, because of the universal nature of the desire for the Divine, it appears to be a natural desire, and all therefore must have a real fulfillment.
Again, it's not an argument that is certain but it certianly tugs at the heart. And yes, I completely stole this argument from Dr. Peter Kreeft.
Ha! I was going to call you out on that!

If you're familiar with his book "Christianity for Modern Pagans," then I'm assuming your'e getting this Pascalian argument from that book (or Kreeft's teachings). If you're not familiar with that book, I suggest you get it, because he goes in depth on what I would deem the "existential argument," or a type of existential argument.
Don't mean to jump in the conversation, but that seems like an interesting book. I'm getting my toes wet with philosophy, you know any basic books that could get me started in understanding philosophy and putting it into practice?

Anything by Kreeft. Smiley

I would start with Christianity for Modern pagans, but also get his "Philosophy 101."

Those should cover most of the basic definitions. When you want to throw yourself into the deep end and sink or swim, I'd suggest getting "Fountain of Knowledge" by St. John of Damascus (available through CUA Press...and it's about $40-$50 and good luck finding a used edition, so save up for this one). The first book ("Fountain of Knowledge") is the BEST intermediate introduction to philosophy I've ever seen. Once I begin teaching courses in a few years, that will be the book I use to introduce students to Philosophy.

But once you have that, let me suggest you just dive in. Read Plato, then Aristotle, and then read through the great philosophical works. It's frustrating because some books may take you a month to get through, while others a day. However, I advocate reading primary sources over reading textbooks if you really want to get a grasp on philosophy.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2011, 03:43:11 PM by theo philosopher » Logged

“Wherefore, then, death approaches, gulps down the bait of the body, and is pierced by the hook of the divinity. Then, having tasted of the sinless and life-giving body, it is destroyed and gives up all those whom it had swallowed down of old." - St. John of Damascus
Papist
Patriarch of Pontification
Toumarches
************
Offline Offline

Faith: Catholic
Jurisdiction: Byzantine
Posts: 12,192


Praying for the Christians in Iraq


« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2011, 04:43:26 PM »


Anything by Kreeft. Smiley

I second this! I think that I can credit Dr. Kreeft with my interest in philosophy. He really brings it down to earth and makes it quite simple.
Here is his website: www.peterkreeft.com. I highly suggest listening to his audio lectures.
Logged

Note Papist's influence from the tyrannical monarchism of traditional papism .
Shiny
Site Supporter
Moderated
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Groucho Marxist
Jurisdiction: Dahntahn Stoop Haus
Posts: 13,267


Paint It Red


« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2011, 05:00:03 AM »

WLC on this article

"I must confess that I don’t have the patience to read books like this nor do I find them entertaining. As a philosopher I want premises and supporting arguments without having to sift the philosophical wheat from the chaff of a popular fictional narrative. Fortunately, the book carries an appendix of the 36 theistic arguments which clearly labels them and exhibits their premisses and supporting arguments. Thus I was able to cut to the chase and see what Rebecca Goldstein has to say about my favorite argument, the cosmological argument (#1 on her list). I was appalled.

You see, I had just written a popular level article on “The World’s Ten Worst Objections to the Kalam Cosmological Argument” collected off You Tube and the internet. I should have read Goldstein’s book first. I have never seen anywhere on the internet or You Tube a caricature of the cosmological argument so ridiculous as Goldstein’s. She makes the teenagers posting on the internet look like Gifford lecturers by comparison.

Now Goldstein has provided herself with some cover for her sophomoric arguments. For the appendix is alleged to be the 36 arguments formulated by the novel’s new atheist protagonist Cass Seltzer and featured in his best-seller. Goldstein could claim with some plausibility that the appendix’s arguments are a fair representation of the new atheist arguments out there today—“So don’t blame me!” Still, the dust jacket of her book declares, “On purely intellectual grounds the skeptics would seem to have everything on their side. Yet people refuse to accept their seemingly irrefutable arguments and continue to embrace faith in God as their source of meaning, purpose, and comfort.”

Just how laughable such posturing is becomes evident by a look at the arguments. Goldstein first misrepresents them and then presents lame refutations of them. For example, here’s her statement of the cosmological argument:

   1.

      Everything that exists must have a cause.
   2.

      The universe must have a cause (from 1).
   3.

      Nothing can be the cause of itself.
   4.

      The universe cannot be the cause of itself (from 3).
   5.

      Something outside the universe must have caused the universe (from 2 and 4).
   6.

      God is the only thing outside the universe.
   7.

      God caused the universe (from 5 and 6).
   8.

      God exists.

What’s funny is that Goldstein proceeds to point out two “flaws” in this conglomeration of statements masquerading as the cosmological argument. She doesn’t even pause to note that it’s not only logically invalid, but question-begging, since (Cool follows from (6) alone, so that all the remaining premisses are just window-dressing. This straw man argument has never been defended by any philosopher in the history of thought.

So what flaws does Goldstein espy in this argument? You guessed it, of course: “Who caused God?” The proponent of the cosmological argument, she says, must say either that God has no cause, which contradicts (1), or that God is self-caused, which contradicts (3).

The problem with this refutation is that no version of the cosmological argument found in the works of its chief proponents affirms Goldstein’s premiss (1). Rather the premiss featured in their arguments will be something like

1′. Everything that begins to exist has a cause.

or

1′′. Everything that exists has an explanation of its existence (either in the necessity of its own nature or in an external cause).

Versions of the cosmological argument featuring (1′) claim that anything that comes into being must have a cause (something doesn’t just come from nothing). But if something has existed from eternity, then it obviously never came into being and so there is no need for a cause. This version of the argument will then feature a premiss stating that the universe began to exist, a premiss conspicuously missing in Goldstein’s formulation.

Other versions of the cosmological argument featuring (1′′) instead claim that anything that exists, even an eternal universe, must have an explanation why it exists. This explanation can be one of two types: either the thing exists by the necessity of its own nature, so that it is a metaphysically necessary being, or else it has an external cause, in which case it is a contingent being. This version of the argument will then feature a premiss to the effect that the universe does not exist by necessity and so must have an external cause in a being which exists by a necessity of its own nature and is the cause of every contingent thing.

Goldstein comes up with her premiss (1) by confusing these two versions of the cosmological argument. By running together (1′) and (1′′) she comes up with a premiss that no proponent of the argument affirms, that “everything that exists”—taken from (1′′)—“has a cause”—taken from (1′).

Curiously, Goldstein doesn’t fault the cosmological argument for having a false premiss. Rather the problem she sees is “explaining why God must be the unique exception” rather than the universe itself. If she had faithfully reproduced the cosmological argument instead of this caricature, she’d know the answer to the question. Proponents of the first version go on to argue that the universe began to exist and so must have a cause, while proponents of the second version proceed to argue that the universe does not exist by a necessity of its own nature and so must be contingent. These are important and controversial claims; but they will not be discussed if the argument is so misrepresented that these premisses don’t even appear.

Now in argument #4 “The Argument from the Big Bang,” Goldstein does address briefly the evidence of physical cosmology for the universe’s beginning. The “flaw” she sees in this argument is: “Cosmologists themselves do not all agree that the Big Bang is a singularity. . . . The Big Bang may represent the lawful emergence of a new universe from a previously existing one.” This is a flaw? Since when is universal consensus required for physical evidence to confirm a hypothesis? Moreover, the mention of a singularity is a red herring, since models of the universe with a finite past, like that of Stephen Hawking and James Hartle, may feature a non-singular beginning. In 2003 Arvind Borde, Alan Guth, and Alexander Vilenkin proved that any universe which is on average in a state of cosmic expansion cannot be eternal in the past but must have an absolute beginning. The fact is, there is no mathematically and physically tenable model of the universe which is extrapolable to past infinity. If Goldstein thinks otherwise, let her tell us the model. The bottom line is: physics doesn’t deal in possibilities. Possibilities come cheap. What we want to know is where the evidence points.

The second flaw in the cosmological argument Goldstein spots is that our best definition of cause is “a relation that holds between events that are connected by physical laws.” “To apply this concept to the universe itself is to misuse the concept of cause, extending it into a realm in which we have no idea how to use it.” Here Goldstein is confused. The relevant question is not a definition of “cause;” to find that look up the word in the dictionary. (Certainly Goldstein’s definition won’t do: for example, simultaneity is “a relation that holds between events that are connected by physical laws;” but obviously “being simultaneous with” does not mean or imply “being caused by.”) Webster’s defines “cause” as “a person or thing acting voluntarily or involuntarily as the agent that brings about an effect or result.” No problem there!

The relevant question rather is whether we can provide a philosophical analysis of the causal relation in more primitive or basic terms, or whether causality is itself a bedrock idea. For example, some philosophers have thought to analyze the causal relation in the following way:

For any entities x and y, x is the cause of y if and only if
(i) If x were not to exist, y would not exist, and
(ii) If y were not to exist, x would still exist.

If we let x be God and y be the universe, then according to this analysis God meets the conditions for being the cause of the universe, since if God were not to exist, the universe would not exist; but if the universe were not to exist, God would still exist. So contrary to Goldstein, causality is extendible beyond the universe, and we do have a clear idea how to use it. Now I don’t pretend that this analysis of causality is adequate for every case. The correct analysis of causation is a matter of great controversy among philosophers, and many would say that it’s just a basic, irreducible concept. But notice that the adequacy of such analyses will be assessed by how well they mesh with our pre-philosophical, intuitive understanding of the cause-effect relation. You don’t need to have a philosophical analysis to recognize that things that begin to exist have causes. There’s a great deal more that could be said here of a technical nature (for example, why think, as she claims, that causation must be a relation only between events and why must the events be connected by physical laws?), but let that pass. It is no more objectionable to say that God is the cause of the universe than that Tolstoy is the cause of War and Peace.

Finally, Goldstein comments that the cosmological argument is an expression of our befuddlement at the question, why is there something rather than nothing?—to which she recommends the retort: “And if there were nothing? You’d still be complaining!” This is supposed to be cute, I guess, because if there were nothing, you wouldn’t be there to do any complaining. But isn’t that just the point? Nothingness neither needs nor can have an explanation (there isn’t anything to explain or be explained!); but the fact that something exists is a positive fact that does cry out for explanation. Thoughtful non-theists recognize the weightiness of this question. The naturalist philosopher Derek Parfit, for example, muses, “No question is more sublime than why there is a Universe: why there is anything rather than nothing.”

It is tragic that in a day and age in which a veritable renaissance of Christian philosophy is in full bloom, it is the sort of pablum found in Goldstein’s book that is fed to the waiting public."

http://www.reasonablefaith.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=8662
Logged

“There is your brother, naked, crying, and you stand there confused over the choice of an attractive floor covering.”

– St. Ambrose of Milan
theo philosopher
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America
Posts: 315



« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2011, 01:48:53 PM »

William Lane Craig for the win.
Logged

“Wherefore, then, death approaches, gulps down the bait of the body, and is pierced by the hook of the divinity. Then, having tasted of the sinless and life-giving body, it is destroyed and gives up all those whom it had swallowed down of old." - St. John of Damascus
Shiny
Site Supporter
Moderated
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Groucho Marxist
Jurisdiction: Dahntahn Stoop Haus
Posts: 13,267


Paint It Red


« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2011, 03:49:06 PM »

William Lane Craig for the win.

I'm surprised he spent the time on it, because Goldstein's "refutations" are terrible.
Logged

“There is your brother, naked, crying, and you stand there confused over the choice of an attractive floor covering.”

– St. Ambrose of Milan
Papist
Patriarch of Pontification
Toumarches
************
Offline Offline

Faith: Catholic
Jurisdiction: Byzantine
Posts: 12,192


Praying for the Christians in Iraq


« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2011, 05:39:33 PM »

William Lane Craig for the win.

I'm surprised he spent the time on it, because Goldstein's "refutations" are terrible.
Yes, they are terrible, but these "refutations" are the kind of nonsense that we see in modern atheistic arguments. It's not that they have any substance, it's just that the New Atheists have made atheism more trendy.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2011, 05:40:10 PM by Papist » Logged

Note Papist's influence from the tyrannical monarchism of traditional papism .
Shiny
Site Supporter
Moderated
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Groucho Marxist
Jurisdiction: Dahntahn Stoop Haus
Posts: 13,267


Paint It Red


« Reply #15 on: February 26, 2011, 07:05:12 PM »

William Lane Craig for the win.

I'm surprised he spent the time on it, because Goldstein's "refutations" are terrible.
Yes, they are terrible, but these "refutations" are the kind of nonsense that we see in modern atheistic arguments. It's not that they have any substance, it's just that the New Atheists have made atheism more trendy.

Agreed. I'd be an atheist if I found a really good argument to be one, but none of these New Atheists offer it, and if they bring up a good argument like the problem of evil they just throw it away as a cheap apologetic instead of delving deeper and exploring the problem. It's like the theists who offer the best arguments for atheism, not only do they see both sides but they have to deal with the burden on the existence of God with evil in the world.

I would like to say though, I've seen quite a few atheists dislike alot of the pop atheists that hit the #1 on bookseller lists. There was a convention last year where atheists came together to discuss on progressing ethics and such without God, but these people were willing to come to blows with one another! Only on the internet does atheism portend to hold any weight whatsoever.

My question is this, it's something WLC touched upon in his recent podcast, if for example you have this fatal disease like AIDS. But there is this experimental drug that could offer the cure, wouldn't you take that chance and take it? I mean would you be skeptical and say "Well you know there's just not enough proof, it's not really been studied, etc"? If this was the one chance you could live, because let's face it your going to die from it, I just find it perplexing one would not, unless your suicidal and don't want to live anymore I suppose. It's like the message of the Gospel, if this could be true that there is a God who loves me and who wants us to have eternal life with Him, wouldn't I take that chance even if its a 1 and a million chance it could be true? That I would allow the evidence for the Resurrection to really support my belief that life after death exists, because I want that to be true?
Logged

“There is your brother, naked, crying, and you stand there confused over the choice of an attractive floor covering.”

– St. Ambrose of Milan
Papist
Patriarch of Pontification
Toumarches
************
Offline Offline

Faith: Catholic
Jurisdiction: Byzantine
Posts: 12,192


Praying for the Christians in Iraq


« Reply #16 on: February 26, 2011, 08:48:46 PM »

William Lane Craig for the win.

I'm surprised he spent the time on it, because Goldstein's "refutations" are terrible.
Yes, they are terrible, but these "refutations" are the kind of nonsense that we see in modern atheistic arguments. It's not that they have any substance, it's just that the New Atheists have made atheism more trendy.

Agreed. I'd be an atheist if I found a really good argument to be one, but none of these New Atheists offer it, and if they bring up a good argument like the problem of evil they just throw it away as a cheap apologetic instead of delving deeper and exploring the problem. It's like the theists who offer the best arguments for atheism, not only do they see both sides but they have to deal with the burden on the existence of God with evil in the world.

I would like to say though, I've seen quite a few atheists dislike alot of the pop atheists that hit the #1 on bookseller lists. There was a convention last year where atheists came together to discuss on progressing ethics and such without God, but these people were willing to come to blows with one another! Only on the internet does atheism portend to hold any weight whatsoever.

My question is this, it's something WLC touched upon in his recent podcast, if for example you have this fatal disease like AIDS. But there is this experimental drug that could offer the cure, wouldn't you take that chance and take it? I mean would you be skeptical and say "Well you know there's just not enough proof, it's not really been studied, etc"? If this was the one chance you could live, because let's face it your going to die from it, I just find it perplexing one would not, unless your suicidal and don't want to live anymore I suppose. It's like the message of the Gospel, if this could be true that there is a God who loves me and who wants us to have eternal life with Him, wouldn't I take that chance even if its a 1 and a million chance it could be true? That I would allow the evidence for the Resurrection to really support my belief that life after death exists, because I want that to be true?
Pascal's Wager?
Logged

Note Papist's influence from the tyrannical monarchism of traditional papism .
Shiny
Site Supporter
Moderated
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Groucho Marxist
Jurisdiction: Dahntahn Stoop Haus
Posts: 13,267


Paint It Red


« Reply #17 on: February 26, 2011, 08:59:07 PM »

Kinda I guess. What I'm trying to rationalize here is why accept death? I will not accept death as natural nor will I accept evil as the natural condition of mankind. Why must this life be the only thing? How can one be virtuous if there is no immortality?

I know exactly why faith is so important for a belief in God now, because if one persists in the faith and that faith is revealed to be true, how much more joy will one experience rather than a lesser joy if they had some tangible proof. What a glorious day that will be in faith that there is indeed a life beyond death.

I would weep eternally with absolute joy if that came true.
Logged

“There is your brother, naked, crying, and you stand there confused over the choice of an attractive floor covering.”

– St. Ambrose of Milan
Justin Kissel
Formerly Asteriktos
Protospatharios
****************
Offline Offline

Posts: 29,960


black metal cat


« Reply #18 on: March 03, 2011, 04:03:03 PM »

Agreed. I'd be an atheist if I found a really good argument to be one, but none of these New Atheists offer it, and if they bring up a good argument like the problem of evil they just throw it away as a cheap apologetic instead of delving deeper and exploring the problem. It's like the theists who offer the best arguments for atheism, not only do they see both sides but they have to deal with the burden on the existence of God with evil in the world.

I would like to say though, I've seen quite a few atheists dislike alot of the pop atheists that hit the #1 on bookseller lists. There was a convention last year where atheists came together to discuss on progressing ethics and such without God, but these people were willing to come to blows with one another! Only on the internet does atheism portend to hold any weight whatsoever.

Wait, wat?
Logged

"But science is an inferential exercise, not a catalog of facts. Numbers, by themselves, specify nothing. All depends upon what you do with them" - Stephen Jay Gould
Tags:
Pages: 1   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.124 seconds with 47 queries.