Flashcards in God's existence - a posteriori Deck (33)
a posteriori arguments
• Inductive arguments - they reach conclusions which are statements of probability rather than conclusive proofs.
• A posteriori - draw inferences from our experiences.
o Romans 1:19-20 - 'since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse'.
pattern of design argument/teleological argument
1. Whenever we see things made by people, which are ordered in a pattern, or beautiful, or particularly complex, which work well to achieve a goal, we can infer that an intelligent designer must have designed them that way.
2. Order, beauty (Augustine), complexity and/or purpose do not arise by blind chance.
3. We can see order, beauty, complexity and/or purpose in the natural world, and that things work well together to perform a function, the resemblance to human inventions is close.
4. Therefore an intelligent being must have created the natural world like with machines.
5. God is that intelligent being, and therefore God exists.
different versions of design/teleological argument
• Different versions of the argument stress different aspects of the design in the world:
o Regularity in the universe (Cicero)
o Movements of the planets and the seasons
o Evidence of purpose in the world (Aristotle - link to Natural Theology)
o Beauty in the natural world
aquinas design/teleolgical argument - context
o Aristotle's works recently discovered by Europeans, come to light due to Christianity's contact with Islam - immensely impressive due to its range and common-sense appeal to logic.
o Aquinas wanted faith and reason to work alongside each other (Natural Theology).
o Believed God could be reached through:
• Revealed Theology e.g. through the Bible
• Natural Theology, using our reason to reach valuable truths.
aquinas design/teleological argument - 5th way
1. Aquinas notes that nature seems to have order and purpose to it.
2. Nothing inanimate is purposeful without the aid of a guiding hand, no non-living thing can have its own purpose, metaphor of archer and arrow
3. Therefore, when we look at the world around us and the purposiveness of inanimate objects, we can conclude the guiding hand of God must be behind it, meaning everything in nature which is moving without intelligence must be directed to its goal by God.
• 'Everything operates as to a design. This design in from God.' (Linking both purpose and regularity, nature is ordered to fulfil a purpose).
teleological argument: analogy of archer and arrow
1. An arrow hits a target even though it doesn't have a mind of its own.
2. The archer, who has a mind of its own, shot the arrow.
3. Things in the natural world follow natural laws.
4. God caused the natural world to behave this way, just like the archer caused the arrow to behave in that way.
• This is an example of regularity of succession, the idea that everything in nature follows certain laws that lead to certain results.
positives of aquinas design/teleological argument
o Socrates would support: 'With such signs of forethoughts in the design of living creatures, can you doubt that they are the work of choice or design?'
o Written in Christian book, tailored towards those who already believe.
paley design argument/teleological - context
o 17th-18th century: Great strides in the fields of science, used scientific discoveries to prove existence of God, as these rules appeared to work uniformly in all kinds of circumstances, revealing an order in the way inanimate objects operated.
o Paley = Archbishop of Carlisle.
paley design argument/teleological - design qua purpose
• 1st part of argument: design qua purpose
o Used analogy of a heath:
1. Walking on a heath, find a watch on floor.
2. Person notices how well the watch is ordered in order to tell the time, and would conclude that someone had made the watch, rather than it just happening by chance (complex, intricate, all cogs are perfectly intertwined).
3. All parts are assembled purposefully, if any of the parts were shaped differently, then they wouldn't work.
4. Compare watch to nature
a. Human eye = extraordinary flexibility and ability to achieve purpose of sight
b. Wings of birds = engineered for flight
c. 'Every manifestation of design, which existed in the watch, exists in the works of nature'.
5. Could compare watch and eye to world, most intricate design of all, too intricate to have developed by chance, must have been ordered by divine intelligence.
6. The whole of nature needs the grandest of all designers = GOD.
7. 'The contrivances of nature surpass the contrivances of art, in the complexity, subtlety, and curiosity of the mechanism' ¬- Natural Theology, 1802.
positives of paley design qua purpose
• Can link with idea of evolution - anthropic principle that these constants seem fine-tuned specifically to allow intelligent life to evolve.
• Socrates argued that the adaptation of human parts to one another, such as eyelids protecting the eyeballs could not have been due to chance and was a sign of wise planning in the universe.
• Aristotle strong believer in telos.
• 4 Causes: formal cause (design) and final cause (purpose).
paley design argument - design qua regularity
• 2nd part of argument: design qua regularity
o There is regularity and order in the universe - objects follow natural laws.
• Looked at:
• Astronomy e.g. planets
• Newton's laws of motion e.g. acceleration
• = Design in universe
o The reason objects perform their job efficiently is because they were designed that way, could not be chance.
o Everything that is designed must have a designer; therefore due to the evidence of regularity in the universe, the universe must have a designer.
o 'The universe is far more complex than a watch and so if a watch needs a watchmaker, the universe needs a universe maker, and that could only be God...'
positives of paley design qua regularity
• Cicero uses astrology, would have supported: 'What could be more clear or obvious when we look up to the sky and contemplate the heavens, than that there is some divinity or superior intelligence?'
• Swinburne - there is beauty in the regularity of the universe, which we can observe. Given the regularity and the beauty, it is simpler to accept that there is a designer God, rather than assume this all happened by chance.
criticisms of teleological argument - hume
• David Hume (never directly criticised Paley, as was written 24 years before Paley's book, Paley tried to respond to the critics of the teleological argument)
o Just because humans perceive design in the world, doesn't mean there is design.
o We've got nothing to compare this universe to; can't say what a non-designed universe would like. 'You must acknowledge, that it is impossible for us to tell, from our limited views, whether this system contains any great faults, or deserves any considerable praise, if compared to other possible or even real systems'.
o The analogy between the 'designed thing - world' and 'human designer - God' is not a good one, 'whenever you depart from the similarity of cases, you diminish proportionally the evidence; and may at last bring it to a very weak analogy'.
o Can only observe effect of creation of world, not cause. Uses analogy of a 'body raised in a scale'.
o There's no unity of the deity suggested in the design argument. 'Why may not several Deities combine in contriving and framing a world?'
o There's no reason if there is a designer, that it is a Christian God.
criticisms of teleological argument - mill
o If the world is designed by God, it does not indicate a loving God - 'the order of nature, in so far as unmodified by man, is such as no being, whose attributes are justice and benevolence'.
o Seems simpler that it leads to no God than a bad God (link to Ockham's razor - simplest explanation).
criticisms of teleological argument - dawkins
o 'Natural selection has no purpose in mind. If it can be said to play the role of a watchmaker, it is the blind watchmaker...'
o Attempt to teach Intelligent Design is an 'under-hand attempt to undermine secular education'.
o 'Design can never be an ultimate explanation for anything. It can only be a proximate explanation. A plane or a car is explained by a designer but that's because the design himself, the engineer, is explained by natural selection'.
o Dawkins is strong supporter of God of Gaps - can't find explanation so simply place God in the missing evidence.
criticisms of teleological argument - darwin
o Goes against idea of design, as there is constant change, why would an omniscient God go through evolution if he knew how he wished to design the world?
o Why would a benevolent God allow such a brutal process as evolution?
criticisms of teleological argument - stephen fry
o 'The God who created this universe, if he created this universe, is quite clearly a maniac, an utter maniac, totally selfish'.
o Gives example of bone cancer in children: 'how dare you create a world in which there is such misery that is not our fault? It is not right. It is utterly, utterly evil'.
christian responses to criticisms of teleological argument
• Whilst the fact of evolution seems to discredit any analogical arguments, it is clear that aspects of the universe are simply too complex to be a product of chance:
o If gravity were weaker, no universe would have formed after the Big Bang.
o If the chemical conditions of atmosphere were minimally different, then life would not have been able to form.
o The odds of the universe are too remote for pure chance.
o Therefore God must be the designer and exist.
christian responses to criticisms of teleological argument - arthur brown
o Arthur Brown: We are the only planet with an ozone layer, which specifically filters the UV rays, in order to protect, could not be by chance.
christian responses to criticisms of teleological argument - f.r. tennant
• Anthropic Principle:
• World designed that so evolutionary process would create an environment in which intelligent life could exist (supports evolution and designer God).
• World seems to be structured so that evolution was inevitable, direction in complexity to allow life.
o Why would evolution be necessary if God is omniscient and omnipotent?
o Why would God allow such a cruel, unnecessary process like evolution to occur?
o Although the probability for life not developing was higher than that for life developing, still not possible.
• Humans possess the ability to appreciate the beauty of their surroundings - to enjoy art, music and literature.
• This is not necessary for survival e.g. not essential in evolution
• Therefore is evidence of a Divine Creator not natural selection
• However... just because we can't find a scientific discovery currently, doesn't mean one doesn't exist...
cosmological argument - aquinas' atemporal argument
• God is the efficient cause on which the universe is contingent on for its existence, allows there to be change and motion within universe.
• God is the necessary being upon which all the contingent beings of the universe depend.
• Infinite regress is impossible, so there must be an Uncaused Causer: 'ex nihilio, nihil fit'.
cosmological argument - sufficient reason arguments
• Infinite regress is possible.
• But, still need reason to explain the existence of the system as a whole, must come from outside system.
cosmological argument - aquinas 5 ways - unmoved mover
o 1) Universe exists (most people agree)
o 2) There must be a reason why (some such as Russell and Dawkins don't feel the need for the universe to have a reason).
1. Unmoved Mover
a. Everything in the world is in a process of motion
b. Everything in the world is changing from potential to actual
c. This state of motion is started and caused by something else (link to Plato, Demiurge created world out of pre-existing matter, explains natural disasters)
d. Infinite regress is impossible; therefore there must be a first cause in state of pure actuality. (Why is infinite regress impossible? Just because we can't imagine it doesn't mean it's not possible)
e. Conclusion: First mover = God the unmoved mover (influence of Aristotle's PM, 1st mover which doesn't mover, efficient cause)
criticisms of cosmological argument - hume
o Fallacy of Composition
• We have evidence of causes within our universe, cannot go from these specific examples and jump to the general example of the universe, and claim therefore that it must have a cause.
• Twenty Particles: if you find an explanation for each particle individually, it would be wrong to then seek an explanation for the whole collection aka. It is unnecessary to add up the explanations of specific aspects of our universe in order to find the ultimate explanation for the whole world.
• 'The WHOLE you say, wants a cause. I answer, that the uniting of these parts into a whole, like the uniting of several distinct counties into one kingdom, or several distinct members into one body, is performed merely by an arbitrary act of mind, and has no influence on the nature of things'.
o Fallacy of Affirmation of the Consequent
• We assume there is a relationship between cause and effect due us being in the habit of seeing effects and associating them with causes.
• As a 'matter of logic', not all effects have causes.
• We have not experienced the creation of the universe and therefore cannot empirically prove there is a necessary being.
• 'The true state of the question is, whether every object, which begins to exist, must owe its existence to a cause: and this I asset neither to be intuitively nor demonstratively certain...'
criticisms of cosmological argument - russell
o The fact that every man has a mother is not evidence for the universe having a mother.
o 'The universe is there, that's all' and this is a 'brute fact'.
o There are 2 types of propositions found in language:
• Analytical Statements
• Statements of reason, logic is within itself
• A priori, don't need proof.
• E.g. all bachelors are unmarried men,
• Synthetic Statements
• When using names or people
• Need proof, a posteriori
• E.g. Herbert is a bachelor. (Need to meet Herbert to confirm).
• Russell states only analytical statements are 'necessary' i.e. self-explanatory.
• You cannot have a necessary being e.g. God.
• A 'being' or 'God' is simply a name - we need proof of existence.
o Why can't the universe exist without the need for an explanation?
o Cause and effect will infinitely progress, why can't it infinitely regress?
o If God is the explanation of everything and everything requires an explanation, then what is the explanation for God?
criticisms of cosmological argument - mackie
o The qualities we apply to God could apply to matter.
o Could equally argue that there is 'a permanent stock of matter whose essence did not involve existence from anything else'.
criticisms of cosmological argument - general
• Other explanations for start of universe
o Big Bang (accepted after discovery of CBR)
• 15bn years ago, dense concentration of matter and energy.
• This 'mass' of energy and matter exploded, blasting particles and energy outwards.
• The matter then concentrated into hot lumps, which we call Stars. These stars are clustered into galaxies.
• Divine or natural?
o Steady State Theory (discredited after CBR discovery)
• Bondi, Gold and Fred Hoyle.
• Energy cannot be created, simply redistributed to cause the start of this universe.
• Universe always existed - red shift shows expansion
christian supporters of cosmological argument - leibniz
o German philosopher, raised the question 'why is there something rather nothing?'
o Principle of Sufficient Reason
• Everything that exists must have a reason or cause for its existence.
• If something exists, there must be a reason why that thing exists,
• If a statement is true, there must be a reason why that statement is true,
• If something happens, there must be a reason why that thing happens.
• He develops a version of the atemporal cosmological argument, claimed even if infinite regress is possible, why does the infinite chain exist in the first place?
• 'As there is, in God's ideas, an infinity of possible universes, yet only one can exist, there has to be a sufficient reason for God's choice, a reason which makes him one choice rather than a different one' - Leibniz in his Monadology
christian supporters of cosmological argument - copleston
o Argument from Contingency
• Everything in world is contingent (like Aquinas)
• Therefore explanation for existence of everything in universe must be external from the universe.
• There must be a self-explanatory being i.e. which contains within itself the reason for its own existence (Aristotle PM)
• The necessary being gives reason for the way things are = God (However... massive jump!)