God and the Origin of the Universe

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God and the Origin of the Universe:

God and the Origin of the Universe Rationality & Religious Belief

Reason & Belief:

Reason & Belief Independent of belief, what reasons are there to believe that God, or some sort of supreme being exists? Many philosopher’s were extremely religious people They still struggled to understand their belief in terms of reason Remember, philosophy is about having good arguments for your position Many philosopher’s sought good arguments to align with their faith

Types of Arguments:

Types of Arguments A posteriori arguments: arguments from experience A priori arguments: arguments that are independent of experience This chapter presents two a posteriori arguments – the teleological argument, and a cosmological argument; And one a priori argument – the ontological argument

The Teleological Argument for God’s Existence:

The Teleological Argument for God’s Existence Also known as The Argument from Design Most famously argued by William Paley, a British clergyman and professor. Main idea: The intricacy and order of things in the universe only make sense if a purposive, ordering mind is their cause Two arguments are presented: The best-explanation argument, and the same-evidence argument

Best-Explanation Argument:

Best-Explanation Argument Our textbook summarizes the best-explanation argument as follows: (1) Either the wonders of nature occurred randomly, by chance, or they are the products of intelligent design. (2) Intelligent design explains the existence of these things much better than blind chance does. (3) Therefore, the wonders of nature are best explained as the products of intelligent design.

Same-Evidence Argument:

Same-Evidence Argument Our textbook summarizes the same-evidence argument as follows: (1) We conclude that watches were made by intelligent designers because they have parts that work together to serve a purpose. (2) We have the same evidence that the universe, and some of the natural objects in it, were made by an intelligent designer; they are also composed of parts that work together to serve a purpose. (3) Therefore, we are entitled to conclude that the universe was made by an intelligent designer .

PowerPoint Presentation:

Take a minute and examine the two arguments: Take some notes on what you think is good and bad about these arguments We will use these on the discussion board this week

Criticisms of the Teleological Argument:

Criticisms of the Teleological Argument David Hume The claim that the universe exhibits order is doubtful; it is human imposition We cannot use analogy in drawing inferences about the universe because we don’t experience the universe – we only experience a part of it Regardless of the arguments given, chance has not been ruled out as the source of order in the universe Even if we did argue analogously, we cannot conclude anything more about the creator of the universe: we cannot conclude the creator is one, wise, good, or still existing.

Criticisms of the Teleological Argument, cont.:

Criticisms of the Teleological Argument, cont. Charles Darwin Our observations support the claim that the universe exhibits some sort of order, but this is not the result of the universe having a design or purpose Natural Selection better explains the appearance that the universe has a design: Things appear orderly because random variations produce adaptive individuals Random variations are adapted in ways that subsequently become advantageous In other words, due to survival of the fittest, the universe appears to have a purpose.

Summary of Teleological Argument:

Summary of Teleological Argument The Teleological Argument is a well-known argument for the existence of God. It is not an argument without flaws. Hume and Darwin’s objections were to the argument itself, and not claims that God does not exist.

A Cosmological Argument for the Existence of God:

A Cosmological Argument for the Existence of God The First Cause Argument is most often associated with St. Thomas Aquinas, and is based on the experience that everything is contingent on something else for it’s existence. From our textbook: (1) Everything that exists must have a cause. (2) The chain of causes cannot reach back indefinitely. At some point, we must come to a First Cause. (3) The First Cause we may call God.

Critiques of this Cosmological Argument:

Critiques of this Cosmological Argument More from David Hume Why must we think that everything has a cause or reason? Even if we took the argument at face value, the conclusion is incorrect – we can only conclude that there would be a first cause, not that the first cause is God.

A Ontological Argument for the Existence of God:

A Ontological Argument for the Existence of God As we have seen, the a posteriori arguments for God’s existence are debatable. A priori arguments take experience out of the equation, and may be better for this kind of task. The Ontological Argument claims to prove that God is a necessary being. The textbook outlines Peter van Inwagen’s argument for the necessity of God. Another famous one is from St. Anslem of Canterbury

A Ontological Argument, cont.:

A Ontological Argument, cont. St. Anslem’s ontological argument is based on definition, or concept of God: God = that which nothing greater can be conceived.

A Ontological Argument, cont.:

A Ontological Argument, cont. The argument: (1) We understand the concept of God: that than which nothing greater can be thought . (2) Therefore , that than which nothing greater can be thought exists as a concept . (3) If something exists merely as a concept, then it is not as great as were it to exist in reality . (4) If (a) that than which nothing greater can be thought does not exist in reality, then (b) something greater than it can be thought. (5) (b) is false because otherwise it would contradict (1). (6) Therefore, (a) is false [due to Modus Tollens]. (7) Consequently, that than which nothing greater can be though does exist in reality (God exists in reality).

A Ontological Argument, cont.:

A Ontological Argument, cont. Review the ontological argument and make notes about what is compelling or unsatisfactory about it.

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