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!
I think ontological arguments are best because, unlike most arguments for God, they are completely and totally divorced from empirical examination. They are pure verbal logic.
It is widely accepted that the first ontological argument was proposed by Anselm of Canterbury in 1078 in his Proslogion. Anselm defined God as "that than which nothing greater can be conceived", and then argued that this being could exist in the mind. He suggested that, if the greatest possible being exists in the mind, it must also exist in reality. If it only exists in the mind, a greater being is possible—one which exists in the mind and in reality.
And there are lots and lots of ontological arguments, so Descartes is just one among legion. Ontological arguments are tough for non-logicians to deal with (and philosophers generally are logicians). As a result, one rarely finds anyone other than a schooled philosopher having much success dealing with them.
The main problem with ontological arguments, though, is that they are philosophical magic tricks. Pulling rabbits out of hats.
However, once one simply asks, "Can one derive existence from mere words alone with no actual observations of real states of affairs?" (the answer being a resounding "no"), their force tends to evaporate.
The First-Order Predicate Logic proof that God exists, as discussed in my comment above, is patently *NOT* an ontological argument, is WHOLLY UNRELATED to any ontological argument, and it has NONE of the vulnerabilities suffered by ontological arguments. See the title of my comment, "RIGOROUS MATHEMATICAL PROOF THAT GOD EXISTS (NOT the Ontological argument)."
Well, I wasn't talking about you. I was answering the question raised by the OP. But I'll tell you why your "proof" isn't very motivating.
Try to explain it right here in terms anyone can understand. If you can't do that, I'm not even interested in hearing it. That was Einstein's standard and it's good enough for me.
The idea that "the proof" consists of nine hours of videos only a mathematician can really understand is ridiculous. Can't you see that?
It's akin to the people here whose argument consists of "You have to read this book I read." No, explain it so I can understand it in a few phrases or go away and figure out how to do that.
On top of that, it's useless. A waste of time. A proof nobody is going to bother to examine. It's so typical. "If you can't follow the argument, just take it on faith." That's what it comes down to, doesn't it?
RE: "explain it so I can understand it in a few phrases" - I'm not sure that many one-syllable words exist.
BTW -Wallenda made it!
@UnOne - speaking of Wallenda, you would have enjoyed TMZ last night, the entire crew were making fun of Wallenda's multiple "Thank you, Jesus" comments. They also pointed out that despite Wallenda's faith, there was still an ambulance waiting at the bottom, just in case his wholiness was busy with something else that day.
An ambulance at the bottom? Talk about optimism. Wouldn't a hearse have made more sense than an ambulance?
Thank you, Unseen, for your comment on my proof. I'm certain you are well intended, and a nice guy. However, I strongly disagree with most of what you wrote. And so, in the spirit of open debate, I respond as follows:
You mentioned "Einstein's standard". Einstein's standard was, "Make everything as simple as possible, BUT NOT MORE SO." His seminal papers on Special Relativity, Brownian Motion, the Photoelectic Effect (for which he got the Nobel Prize), and General Relativity each contain mathematics that is MUCH more advanced than anything in my proof, and Einstein provides no math education in his papers. For physics students, each of Einstein's four papers can easily take a lot more than nine hours to understand (and General Relativity can take YEARS to understand). Would you find Einstein's papers "ridiculous" simply because you could not "understand it in a few phrases"? With all due respect, what you seem to be demanding is the violation Einstein's rule by making things "simpler" than they actually are, and thereby making them WRONG. What if your criticism of me were instead applied to Einstein? Would it be that "nobody is going to bother to examine" Einstein's seminal papers? Nonsense. They WERE read by qualified people who understood them, and the rest is history. If you are unwilling to invest the time to understand General Relativity, then it's not for you, and that is OKAY. You can have an amateurish "understanding" of General Relativity as in pop cultuire, and talk about "black holes" and "curve space," but I wouldn't recommend sitting for a final exam in a physics class!
I posted my comment and link because SOME people (not "nobody") will find my proof of great interest, as indeed many people already have. You have clearly indicated that YOU are uninterested in investing the time needed to understand my proof. That's fine. What if you enrolled in a college class and demanded that the professor explain the whole course on the first day "in a few phrases"? And if the professor refused, would you denounce his/her class? You have concluded that, because you (and perhaps others like you) require what amounts to instant gratification, that "nobody is going to bother to examine" my proof, and that is a false generalization. It is therefore wholly irrational (e.g. Jim and Harry don't like vegetables, therefore nobody likes vegetables). Nor does my proof require taking anything "on faith" as you state is "so typical." Nor does "the proof consist of nine hours of videos" as you say. The proof consists of just THREE PAGES, but you are unlikely to understand those three pages without watching the videos, whose primary purpose is education.
In any event, I thank you again for your comment, and I hope I was not too harsh in my response. I wish you all the best. Cheers, Mark
RE: "I'm certain you are well intended, and a nice guy" - clearly, Mark, you haven't been here long. As Grinches go, he's not too bad.
RE: "I hope I was not too harsh in my response." - actually, you have been far more polite and considerate than most who post here. However, I must ask, wouldn't your proofs be capable of proving that anything, including unicorns, exist?
His seminal papers on Special Relativity, Brownian Motion, the Photoelectic Effect (for which he got the Nobel Prize), and General Relativity each contain mathematics that is MUCH more advanced than anything in my proof, and Einstein provides no math education in his papers.
BUT, Einstein's point was...
This quote on simplicity appears somewhat, but not entirely, at odds with his quote condemning oversimplification.
I have already posted a simplified explanation, in response to the OP. See below.
If he said it, I'm sure he'd stand by it. If it seems at odds, you probably don't understand it well enough.
*Ahem* "Make everything as simple as possible, but not moreso."
In other words: do not oversimplify.
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."
In other words: everything we understand can be made simple.
My exact choice of words was, "somewhat, but not entirely, at odds". We have 2 opposite ends of the spectrum: complexity and simplicity. Does the idea of complexity somehow becoming simple not appear paradoxical?
If a "complex" concept just consists of simple ones, layered and woven together in simple ways, then where exactly does complexity arise in the system?
All I meant to say was that these are fascinating concepts, worthy of deep contemplation, rather than simply swallowing the "genius quotes" whole.