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.
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.
Thank you, Gallup's Mirror, for your comment. I'm certain you are not a "crackpot," as you have characterized me, but I will not take offense. :)
You make insightful reference to Hatcher's work, which was the inspiration for our proof. We made several changes, as explained on our Technical Papers page, thegproof. org/technical-papers under the last subheading, "Origin of G Theory from Hatcher and Its Divergence from Hatcher."
It appears from the way you write that you might not be familiar with First Order Predicate Logic. With all due respect, your characterization of Hatcher's axioms is both incomplete and imprecisely stated. In particular the "straw that breaks the camel's back" is merely an argument related to his axiom p.2, it is not a statement of the axiom.
As I explain right at the beginning of Video 1, no rational discussion of the existence or non-existence of God can take place unless "God" is defined, and that must be done with care. You list several examples of religious dogma, and I agree with you (in substantial part) that the dogmas you list are nonsense, at best, and in some cases downright evil. However, you then demand that these dogmas somehow be incorporated into the definition "God." This is like requiring any valid theory of orbital mechanics that accurately describes the motion of the planets to ALSO explain and justify astrology. We must separate the wheat from the chaff. You can do what you like with the chaff, but I'm only eating the wheat.
Whether "The Virgin Mary levitating up to heaven" actually happened or not has NOTHING to do with whether or not God, in it simple essence, actually exists. Hatcher's result, and ours, shows that a unique, self-causing, OMNIPOTENT phenomenon DOES exist. That phenomenon can only be what is commonly known as "God," notwithstanding that our theory does not (as of yet) reach any additional qualities of God, such as goodness or love (much less account for purported legendary stories claimed by various religions). Moreover, our proven phenomenon is Absolute (not relative), which means is is NOT the big bang (the big bang is clearly relative because it is always changing as observed by science).
What we are doing here, is to FINALLY *start* putting some of this stuff on solid mathematical ground, and providing on our website thegproof. org/ the education needed to understand that mathematics. Expanding on Hatcher's work, we have taken a big first step. We shall see what the future holds.
Thank you again, Gallup's Mirror, for your comment. I shall respond to your points one by one.
>It's not my characterization. You'll have to take that up with Wikipedia.
You quoted wikipedia, but I'm sure you realize ANYBODY can write in Wikipedia, even if they don't fully understand the material they write about. In contrast, we have studied Hatcher's source materials in depth.
>Go ahead then. Define God. (Someone remind me later: I asked for it!)
God = THE unique phenomenon that is self-creating and omnipotent.
Please see my discussion in Video 1 about uniqueness and use of the word "THE" in First Order Predicate Logic. thegproof. org/
>>and that must be done with care.
Because whether or not something EXISTS depends on PRECISELY how it's defined. A nuance of change in the definition can flip the thing from existence to non-existence, or the other way. For example, how would you define "number"? Depending on the definition, the square root of 2 either exists as a number or it doesn't.
>>However, you then demand that these dogmas somehow be incorporated into the definition "God."
>Easy, tiger. I pointed out that Hatcher's work leads to a big bang-like conclusion, then I asked where are the crackpot parts you would care about.
Easy, kitten. First, neither Hatcher's work nor ours "leads to a big bang-like conclusion" in part because the big bang is NOT an absolute phenomenon (it changes), and in part because our theory makes NO MENTION of astronomy. Second, you are falsely assuming I "care about" all the nonsense you recite, like talking snakes and a whole-world flood. I don't, and in fact I find portions of it as repugnant as you do. However, I'm more tolerant of people that you appear to be.
>The dogmas I cited are the standard concepts of God in mainstream Christianity and Islam and the major religions of the world: a personal God who hears prayers, rules in heaven, demands torture and death for sins, punishes the sinners in hell, blah blah. You know?
True, for the way SOME people conceive of "God". However, there are millions of people on this planet who believe in God but REJECT all that nonsense. Many call themselves "spiritual but not religious," because they wish to DISTANCE themselves from it. You appear to be "forcing" anyone who professes belief in God into ALSO believing in a pile of nonsensical fabrications that have been conconcted by hypocritic religious leaders for the purposes of amassing tyrannical power.
>If God must be defined "with care" is that a just euphemistic declaration that you are defining God in a way that excludes all of these standard things?
No. You are completely missing the point, perhaps because you seem to be blinded by all the religious nonsense. As I just explained above, "with care" is required simply because existence vs. non-existence depends critically on the definition.
>And if this is NOT that kind of bloodthirsty, personal God, but an indifferent, deistic God, then why would you or anyone else care if he exists or not? You see what I'm getting at?
Yes, I see what you're getting at. You have an agenda to denounce all the garbage, and I support you on that, albeit with a far greater measure of tolerance. If you are able to get beyond your emotional connection of the word "God" to all that garbage, there are HUGE reasons to "care" whether God, as I have defined it, exists. One such reason is that the Universe is NOT random... that there is a vast order in things that comes from a unseen source that is NOT merely the laws of physics... that there is an absolute, unseen source behind things like biological evolution and DNA. And this has NOTHING to do with a purportedly "virgin" woman purportedly levitating 2000 years ago.
>But let's cut to the chase. You DO believe in that stuff don't you, Mark? This as opposed to a kind of pantheistic God, or a God which is merely the universe itself. You're not here to pitch deism. You actually think the God at the end of your videos and equations is Jesus. But you're keeping that hush-hush, right?
NO. I DON'T. In fact, I was raised as a atheist and know well all the stuff you talk about. I do NOT view the Bible as any kind of "authority"... it has some wisdom in it, but it is also contains a lot of nonsense and contradictions. So DON'T LABEL ME a "fundamentalist Christian" which I am certainly not. I do NOT believe Jesus is the "only" son of God. If God has "sons" (which has yet to be defined, much less proven), then you too are a "son" of God (or perhaps a "daugher" if you are female, but your wording sounds male). These are traps many Christians get stuck in that limit their understanding of what God actually is. Indeed, in first two words of the Lords' Prayer, Jesus says, "OUR Father"... he doesn't say "MY Father"! So the reported words of Jesus himself contradict the standard Christian dogma that he was the "only" son of God!!
>>Whether "The Virgin Mary levitating up to heaven" actually happened or not has NOTHING to do with whether or not God, in it simple essence, actually exists.
>Wait. I get it. You're another one of those tiresome, evasive, "stealth Jesus" crackpots who isn't going to admit what you believe. Too embarrassing, huh?
No. See above.
>>What we are doing here, is to FINALLY *start* putting some of this stuff on solid mathematical ground, and providing on our website thegproof. org/ the education needed to understand that mathematics.
>Mathematical ground. So you have no empirical scientific evidence then. Why didn't you say so?
Because emperical evidence is not needed in mathematics, which is entiely absract. You fail to understand the distinction between science and mathematics. As for our five axioms, there is plenty of emperical evidence that they are true. I gave an example in my original post of Axiom 2, where the empirical evidence is seen in a chain of dominoes. If the axioms are true, then the proof stands.
>Claims made without evidence may be dismissed without evidence.
Now you have generalized "empirical scientific evidence" into simply "evidence". A mathematical theory is "evidence" of truth, without being scientific or emperical.
Now, YOU SHOW ME the empirical scientific evidence that the square root of two actually exists. Go ahead. Run it out on your calculator or computer to as many decimal places as you like, and hand over the number, WITHOUT resorting to the God-like radical sign, which simply means "the square root of". Whatever number you send me, when I square it, it will NOT equal 2. You can get it as close to 2 as you like (e.g. 1.999999 or 2.000001) , but it will NEVER precisely equal 2. That is because there is ZERO scientific evidence that the irrational numbers exist... they are entirely abstract, like God. ALL scientific measurements are done in rational numbers.
And yet, if I'm not mistaken, you DO BELIEVE the square root of 2 exists, right?
YOU SHOW ME how to arrange three dominoes so that the first causes the second to fall and the second causes the third to fall, and yet, the fall of the first does NOT cause the fall of the third. If you can so arrange the dominoes, then my proof fails.
>Thanks for stopping by, Mark!
You're welcome. Thanks for chatting.
>>Expanding on Hatcher's work, we have taken a big first step. We shall see what the future holds.
>It's a bit early to tell but 90% of the time (from Christians) it's obscenities followed by a final exit: classic rage quit.
Dunno the stats on Christians freaking out in the light of hard reasoning, but those stats don't apply to me, as discussed above. I enjoyed our discussion. However, the weekend is over, and I've got some work to do today (to make money), so if you have a reply, it may take me a few days to get back to you!! Good luck in your endeavors. I invite you to have compassion for people who are less intelligent than you. I also invite you to have a more open mind, not to dogmatic nonsense, but to profound new ideas that might alter your point of view.