Challenges to the existence of God COPY Flashcards Preview

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1

Outline the fundamentals of the cosmological argument

-Every effects has a cause. -Universe=effect, has a cause=God. -A posteriori inductive-based on evidence in nature, accepting premises leads to a probable but not necessary conclusion.

2

Outline the classical cosmological argument

-We can observe that things move/change. -From observation-easy to see things come in to existence/cease to exist. -Cosmology seeks to prove that everything in the universe has a cause-universe in itself has a cause=God.

3

Outline Aquinas's 5 ways-summa theologica

Cosmological argument

1. Change- things reach potential through external influence- fire makes wood hot, wood has potential to be hot, external influence=fire makes wood hot-wood reaches its potential=hot.

2. Cause & effect- Aquinas observed C&A in the universe-nothing can cause itself-would have had to exist before it existed=illogical-rejected infinite regress-must be a first uncaused cause (God). rejection of infinite regress later supported by Leibniz in principle of sufficient reason-must be sufficient reason that explains the cause of the universe.

3. Contingency- if there was a time when nothing existed-nothing would still exist as nothing can bring itself into existence-cause of universe must be external to it-must be a necessary being to have always existed.

4

Outline Aristotle and the prime mover

Cosmological argument

-All movement depends on a mover existing-behind every movement is a chain of events that brought about the movement-must be a common source of all substance that exists necessarily. -Movement is about change- therefore must be an 'unmoved mover'(prime mover)-because without one-no chain at all.

5

Outline strengths and weaknesses of Aquinas' and Craig's cosmological argument

Strengths: -Value for religious faith: argument based on natural theology-knowledge of god is by using reason alone means no need for special revelation experiences seems convincing.

-May not be in itself sufficient proof for gods existence but along with other arguments (teleological, bible) it is.

-Based on observable evidence-motion/change, cause/effect-more persuasive- Modern versions-Craig-uses science as evidence.

-Big bang supports Craig's 2nd premise-universe began to exist- logical to accept universe has a logical starting point.

Weaknesses:

-We don't have to reject infinite regress.

-Idea of God being an uncaused causer can be criticised-doesn't follow logic of argument- but Aquinas said in response God is unique-doesn't need anything else for existence.

-Just because things in universe appear contingent doesn't mean the universe is also contingent.

-Hume states maybe the universe didn't have a cause since we have no experience of universes being caused so never able to say with certainty- Black Swan arg.

-Quantum physics weakens CA-shows that some movement does not require a set of causes-particles of gas.

6

Outline the premises of the teleological argument

-A posteriori inductive- based on external evidence, accepting premises leads to a probable not necessary conclusion. -Teleos-greak for end/purpose. P1. all complex/intricate objects require intelligent designer. P2. world/universe=intricate object. P3. Must require an intricate designer. C: intelligent designer of universe is god.

7

Outline Thomas Aquinas' design argument

-In book 'summa theologica' to strengthen Christian faith. -Believed we can know God through revelation-apparent in the Bible & faith in God. -5th way: Nothing inanimate is purposeful without the aid of a 'guiding hand (bow/arrow no purpose without guiding hand to fulfil purpose). -2 elements of natural world that show its been designed by an intelligent designer. 1. Order in the universe. 2.order is beneficial.

8

Outline F.R Tennant's Anthropic principle as a development of the teleological argument

-Developed in book 'Philosophical theology'. 3 types of natural evidence in the world in favour of a designer. -1. the world can be analysed in a rational manner. -2. the way inorganic world provided basic necessities required to sustain life. -3. evolution leading to intelligent human life. Claims it would be possible to imagine a chaotic universe where no rules applied but universe isn't chaotic-designed in which intelligent human life could exist-human life is therefore a culmination in current stage of Gods plan.

9

Outline the Aesthetic argument as a development of the teleological argument

-Humans posses ability to appreciate beauty of surroundings e.g. art, music but isn't necessary for survival/development of life. -cannot be a result of natural selection alone.

10

Outline Paley's teleological argument

Argued for intelligent designer with two arguments:

1. design qua (in relation to) purpose: uses watch argument-Two features of watch reliably indicate its result of intelligent designer, not chance-performs function valuable to intelligent agent-couldn't perform function if parts sized/arranged differently so some intelligent designer must have designed it-these characteristics endow watch with functional complexity -relate this to the eye-like many things in universe is too complex to not have an intelligent designer.

2. design qua regularity: Evidence from astronomy-rotation of planets in solar system & how they obey same universal laws-gravity- couldn't have come about by chance=external agent must have imposed order=God.

11

Evaluate Aquinas' teleological argument

Strengths: -Appears logical universe had to come from somewhere. -Argument open to all, not just religious people. Weaknesses: -Evolution an explanation for design, Charles Darwin wrote in 1859-long after Aquinas-why does the designer have to be God-who designed the designer.

12

Outline the foundations and premises of the ontological argument 

-A priori deductive-works from principles and definitions to pove existence of God, if premises accepted leads to a necessary conclusion.

P1 God is that which nothing greater cane be conceived or the mot supremely perfect being

P2 a real existent being would be greater than an imaginary being

P3 therefore the concept of God is surpassed by an actual being

C God must exist in reality to be the greatest being possible

13

Outline the 1st part of Anselm's formulation of the ontological argument

-Formulated argument from perspective of 'faith seeking understanding' rather than to convert people to faith.

-Set in book Proslogion.

1st part (proslogion 2):

Defines god- that to which nothing greater can be conceived.

-Refers to Psalm 14:1,53:1 "there is no God"-seeing absurdity of the fools position as there is a contradiction as if athiests understand the defintion of God, they must accept his existence.

-Makes distnction between 'in ones understanding' and 'to understand' that object exists.

-Anselm said if God exists in intellectu (the mind) then a greater being can be conceived which would exist in reality=G therefore exists.

 

14

Define reductio ad adsurbum as part of Anselms ontological argument

The contradiction of the definition of God as to say a 'greater God is possible' would be absurd, therefore the opposite must be true=God must exist.

15

Outline the 2nd part of Anselms formulation of the ontological argument

Says Gods existence is necessary

-P1 ‘God’ = greatest being we can possibly imagine

-P2 greater to be a necessary being than a contingent being

-P3 God only existing as a contingent being , would be possible to imagine a greater necessary being

C1 god has to exist necessarily, thus it is impossible to imagine god not always existing

16

Outline objections to the Ontological argument

-Just because we can conceive things doesn't mean they exist.

-Descartes responds and says the same is not true when referred to God as is the only supremely perfect being whom we are entitled to infer existence.

-Gaunilo not trying to prove that God did not exist but rather Anselm's proof for the existence of God was faulty.

-Maintained Anselm was almost trying to 'imagine God into existence'.

-Said Anselm was wrong to suppose that we can conceive God or understand him since God is beyond our understanding.

17

Outline part 1 of Descartes development of the ontological argument

Formulated O argument in work 'Meditations'.

-Claims knowledge of God being TTWNGCBC is not through the definition but through an inbuilt knowledge of God.

-There are certain innate ideas imprinted on our minds from birth, universally shared by all humanity.

-This innate idea proved existence of God-the essence of God's existence was the same as knowing in our minds that al angles in a triangle add up to 180 degrees.

-Or 'I cannot conceive a mountain without a valley' + cannot conceive God as not existing-therefore God must exist, existence=inseparable from him.

18

Outline part 2 of Descartes development of the ontological argument

-Existence is a predicate of God (idea or statement that makes up part of the subject).

-God being a supremely perfect being must have existence as a predicate-trying to imagine a God without existence is illogical-like trying to imagine a triangle without three sides.

19

Outline Bertand Russell's fallacy of composition as a challlenge to inductive arguments

-Can’t infer something is true from an isolated part – arises when one infers that something is true of the whole from the fact it is true from part of the whole. (Used to challenge CA as well as TA).

-Cannot look at the universe to see that complex objects have a designer and conclude the universe is complex and its designer must be God.

Peter Vardy adds – “one cannot move from an individual causes to a claim that is the totality of all has a cause”

20

Outline Hume's problem of induction as a challenge to iductive arguments

-Generalizing about the properties of a class of objects based on a number of observations of particular instances.

Inductive arguments cannot yield certainty – challenges the idea that inductive reasoning can lead to secure conclusions as our experience is too limited

In terms of the TA – we cannot be certain that all intricate objects require a designer

In terms of the CA – we cannot observe all effects to imply that they all have causes.

21

Outline scientific challenges to the teleologcial argument 

Darwin: Natural selection- genetic mutations led to natural selections and survival of fittest only happened by chance-infers we were not designed by God, placed in universe but we survived due to adaptation/natural selection-removes need for designer God.

Dawkins: Everything can be explained by evolution-natural selection gives appearance of design and led to mistaken assumption- there is no God masterminding the process-he is redundant. 

22

Outline the Kalam Cosmological argument

Developed by William Lane Craig.

P1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause.

P2. The universe began to exist.

-Supported by an actual infinite being unable to exist. Therefore the universe couldn't have existed infinitely.

-Craig therefore concludes the universe has a beginning and a cause- God.

C1. Therefore a universe has a cause for its existence.

C2. The cause of the universe is God.

Rejection of potential infinite: it is impossible that the universe is potentially infinite as it is finite and has a beginning but to say it is infinite implies it is unlimited and doesn't have a beginning-logical contradiction-cannot be both finite and infinte. 

Actual infinite: a series of events without a beginning.

23

Outline Gaunilo's two criticisms of the ontological argument

1. Concept of God being TTWNGCBC is meaningless for us as we cannot understand, in a meaningful way, what exactly is meant-reality behind term is completely transcendent to the human knower. 

2. Even if we grant that God is TTWNGCBC exists in unerstanding, there is no reason to believe that the concepts necessesitates the extra mental reality of God (perfect Island).

24

Outline Kant's objection to the ontological argument

-Existence is not a predicate of God because it doesn't tell us anything about the concept of God.

e.g. 100 thalers- nothing changes in our minds by adding the phrase 'existence' therefore existence is not a real predicate as 'round' and 'gold' are.

-Thus argues that descartes and anselm by association fail to a priori prove God exists.

Responses:

-God is different, therefore existence is also different.

-God is necessary whereas other things exist contingently-therefore existence can be seen as a predicate but only for God.