I'm thinking about posting this to a few more religious forums, but I'd just like to hear what people have to say on here.
So, playing Devil's Advocate, and hopefully without a bunch of straw man replies, what is the best argument for God you've heard? And, if you really can't stand it, why is that argument not good enough?
My favorite is Descartes' Ontological argument- but since I don't have a clear and distinct perception of God, this one still isn't enough for me.
Excited to hear replies!
Argument of design with irreducible (unevolvable) complexity, is probably the most valid argument for a creator. The only problem is, we are yet to find anything which is irreducibly, unevolvably, complex... hence, I am an atheist.
Being very generous here but the fine-tuning of the physical constants is not a bad argument for god. It falls flat on its face of course when you think we are the observers. Just as the puddle looks at the hole and wonders how amazing it is that the hole fits it perfectly. If the constants were different then some other arrangement would have probably done the job just as well to give rise to some other life-form, saying the same thing as us, or maybe no life-form at all. Anyway, If the universe was fine-tuned for humans, 99.9% of the universe wouldn't be instantly fatal for humans.
If there are any good arguments I have yet to hear them so it's difficult to choose a best one. I feel like I've been asked to describe the best way to be lowered into boiling oil.
If I absolutely had to choose a best argument it would be the Cosmological Argument from Contingency. But even that concept is as sound as a house of cards in a hurricane. It goes like this.
Everything that exists has an explanation for its existence, either in the necessity of its own nature or in an external cause.
If the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is God.
The universe exists.
Therefore, the universe has an explanation of its existence (from 1, 3).
Therefore, the explanation of the universe’s existence is God (from 2, 4).
The problem? What created God? God needs a God. Then God's God needs a God. So you wind up with an infinite stack of increasingly greater Gods, all required to create the lessor.
Here, the theist protests: God doesn't need a creator! Thus he violates his own premise in #1 and the whole thing collapses in a puff of banality.
My favorite one, and it is a romantic notion, is that if you take the time to stop and observe the intricacies of nature and our planet one should make a natural progression to attributing god as the cause. If we don't currently understand something then gawd is the explanation or anything that works in such beautiful harmony must have divine origins. This is of course another fallacy.
Many believe that there simply has to be more to life than our short physical existence. Humans are innately greedy.
And why would a supernatural being responsible for everything that exists have to possess the traits and qualities of homo sapiens? Humans are also conceited.
I am currently reading The History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell and hope it provides some insight into western theistic thought.
I have been religious for 39 years of my life that has given me a lot of proof that god cannot exist. so no argument can change my perception.
My argument would probably begin with Einstein's quote, "god does not play dice."
Our universe runs on fixed principles of nature rather than on chance or probability. Paraphrasing Hawking, Even if we come up with a unified theory on the universe, it is still nothing but a set of rules and equations. What is that breathes fire into the equations and creates the universe around us, which we can describe and contemplate?
Although I don't buy the idea of "something cannot come from nothing", ergo having a grand designer who created everything around us, as it is a self-contradicting statement. But if I believed in god, this would be my argument.
In that vein, Alex, here are a couple of videos I think you might enjoy:
Aha, great dose of cosmology and humor. Loved it :D
Consider it an entrée and dessert, glad you enjoyed your dining experience, come again --
RIGOROUS MATHEMATICAL PROOF THAT GOD EXISTS (NOT the Ontological argument)
In her original post on this thread, Emily DW wrote, "My favorite is Descartes' Ontological argument- but since I don't have a clear and distinct perception of God, this one still isn't enough for me." I agree.
The Ontological argument dates back to Anselm of Canterbury (1033–1109), long before Decartes (1596–1650), and it dates forward to Kurt Godel (1906-1978), who formalized it using modal logic. (Godel is most famous for his Incompleteness Theorem that stunned the mathematical world in 1931, and also for his daily walks with Albert Einstein at Princeton). One of the problems with Godel's proof of God is that it rests on modal logic, which is inherently flimsy. As Godel well knew, First-Order Predicate Logic (FOPL) is vastly superior to modal logic, and indeed his Incompleteness Theorem is based on FOPL, which was developed between 1879 (begining with Frege) and 1910 (culminating with Russell and Whitehead's Principia Mathematica). FOPL is the foundation of modern mathematics and (with Set Theory) unifies mathematics.
However, there is now a vastly superior PROOF that God exists. It is based on FOPL and was recently published at the website:
It's entitled "The G Proof: Rigorous Mathematical Proof That God Exists, Using First-Order Predicate Logic And Five Axioms That No Scientist Can Reasonably Deny." There is NO religion whatsoever in the proof. The proof is presented in the form of nine FREE one-hour videos, plus two Technical Papers (also free if you submit a fee-waiver form).
Video 1 is an introducton and overview. Videos 2-5 teach all the math needed to understand the proof, starting with geometry proofs (Video 2), sentential logic proofs (Video 3), and predicate logic proofs (Videos 4 & 5).
The G Proof is done in the context of a formal mathematical Theory of Phenomena and Causation, dubbed "G Theory". Three undefined terms are used: (1) phenomenon, which is anything that exists or happens (the variables in the theory are all phenomena), (2) "is-a-part-of" which is a predicate indicating that a first phenomenon "is a part of" a second phenomenon (e.g. the odd numbers are a part of the integers), and (3) "causes" which is a predicate indicating that a first phenomenon "causes" a second phenomenon (e.g., loosely, gravity causes an apple to fall from a tree). Video 6 discusses the three undefined terms in depth, with numerous examples.
Five axioms are presented and justified in Videos 6 and 7. There is not room here to go through all five, but, by way of example, Axiom 2, the Transitivity Axiom, states, "For every x, y, and z (if x causes y and y causes z, then x causes z)". This means causation can happen in a chain. For example, if three dominos are set up in a row, so that the fall of the first causes the fall of the second, and the fall of the second causes the fall of the third, then (by Axiom 2), the fall of the first causes the fall of the third.
FOPL is then used in Video 8 to prove a theorem, which states there exists a phenomenon with the following 3 properties: (1) it causes itself (i.e. it is self creating), (2) it causes everything else (i.e. it is OMNIPOTENT), and (3) it is unique (i.e. it is the ONE AND ONLY such phenomenon). This can only be what is commonly known as "God". In Video 9, "God" is formally defined to be that phenomenon by way of a definite description from FOPL.
Although the theory does not reach other commonly believed qualities of God, such as goodness, love, answering prayer, etc., it is forward compatible, so if there is a "God" that has any of those additional qualities, then it is the same "God" as proven here.
Video 9 discusses the consequences of the proof in depth, including its impact on science (G Theory is a New Cosmology within which all of science fits), atheism (no longer rational), religion (the Problem of Evil is partially resolved), psychotherapy (patient reports about God should not be dismissed as "delusions" and "free will" is just an illusion), and on public education, law and government (God cannot be excluded on the basis of separation of church and state) -- As with the multiplication facts (e.g. 3x5=15), God belongs to Church AND State AND science (and everything else). Closing remarks are made on Wonder, Innocence and Upping Pascal’s Wager.
You don't need nine hours of video and fee-waiver forms to run through William S. Hatcher's a priori assumption that God exists. (It appears Hatcher himself or his apologists on Wikipedia have softened the embarrassment of making this assumption by substituting the word "something" for "God" in that one spot.)
Hatcher's three assumptions are:
1. All phenomena are either self-caused or other-caused but not both. (Everything happens for a reason.)
2. Total causality. (It is not the straw that breaks the camel's back but the 1000 straws before it, the camel, gravity, and so forth, that give rise to the camel breaking its back.)
3. Limitation. A system cannot be the cause of its own components. (A car (the system) cannot be the cause of its own steering wheel (a part), because the car does not even logically exist until the steering wheel exists. Thus the car's existence cannot precede the steering wheel's existence.)
A. Claims the three axioms together establish that God exists.
B. Defines "God" as "a unique, universal, and uncaused cause"
C. Argues that because his proof is formulated in first order logic one must invalidate one or more of his three assumptions to refute it.
D. Argues that doing so is difficult as it commits oneself to beliefs not commonly accepted in the scientific community such as the existence of non-causal systems (something not observed to date).
Hatcher's a priori "unique, universal, and uncaused cause" sounds rather like someone crossed out "big bang" and wrote "God" there instead. Like Homer Simpson stole a bowling trophy from Ned Flanders and wrote his own name on it with a crayon.
I don't get it, Mark. Why didn't Hatcher prove the God of any of the major religions, or the personal Gods, or any of the important stuff you crackpots actually care about? Jesus being tortured and killed for sins. The Virgin Mary levitating up to heaven. A talking snake in the garden of Eden. Lunatics blowing up school buses for Allah. God caring who you sleep with. The flood gates of heaven and that held up all that water that flooded the whole world. The abomination that is shell fish. Where is that stuff in Hatcher's work?