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The God Delusion Session 1: War of the World Views ADULT FAITH EDUCATION SERIES 7:30 pm on Feb 5th,


7:30 pm on Feb 5th, 2009. St. Augustine's Parish, 1060 Baseline Road. Ottawa, ... Peter Medawar, Immunologist and Nobel Prize Laureate. Scientism is not science ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The God Delusion Session 1: War of the World Views ADULT FAITH EDUCATION SERIES 7:30 pm on Feb 5th,

The God DelusionSession 1 War of the World
Feb 5th, 2009.St. Augustines Parish, 1060
Baseline RoadOttawa, Ontario
  • Timothy Lau,
  • MD, FRCPC, MSc
  • Assistant Professor, Faculty of Medicine,
    Department of Psychiatry, Geriatrics, ROMHC

3 Sessions
  • Session 1
  • Reasonable arguments for Gods existence
  • Session 2
  • Atheism as irrational and dehumanizing
  • Session 3
  • Faith and God, a family affair. A God different
    than any other.

The New Atheists and their Faith
  • There is no transcendent reality beyond the
    natural world that is to say there is no
    immaterial soul and no life after death.
    (Session 12)
  • The natural universe is self-originating, not the
    creation of a divine being. (Session 1)
  • Humans, like the universe have no ultimate
    purpose or meaning beyond that which they create
    themselves (Session 2).
  • Science does a better job of explaining nature,
    including human nature, than religion. Belief in
    God is the source of much of the worlds violence
    and disorder, and mankind would be better off
    dispensing with religion (Session 2 and 3).

A Mission to Convert Dawkins's The God Delusion
stands out for two reasons. First, Dawkins is
on a mission to convert. Second, Dawkins has
succeeded in grabbing the public's attention.
Faith as a mental illness
  • "Faith is one of the world's great evils,
    comparable to the smallpox virus but harder to
    eradicate," writes Richard Dawkins.
  • "Religion is capable of driving people to such
    dangerous folly that faith seems to me to qualify
    as a kind of mental illness
  • many inhabitants of lunatic asylums have an
    unshakeable inner faith that they are
    Napoleon...but this is no reason for the rest of
    us to believe them.

When one person suffers from a delusion, it is
called insanity.
  • When many people suffer from a delusion it is
    called religion.
  • Robert Pirsig (author of Zen and the Art of
    Motorcycle Maintenance) (quoted on page 5 of the
    God Delusion)

What is a delusion?
Can we know that God exists?
  • Whatever knowledge is attainable, must be
    attained by scientific methods and what science
    cannot discover mankind cannot know
  • Bertrand Russell
  • Faith is a process of non-thinking, which is
    evil precisely because it requires no
    justification, and brooks no argumentDyed-in-the-
    wool faith-heads are immune to argumentFather
    Christmas and the Tooth Fairy are part of the
    charm of childhood. So is God. Some of us grow
    out of all three.
  • Richard Dawkins.

Let us follow the evidence
  • "We shall first try to manifest the truth that
    faith professes and reason investigates, setting
    forth demonstrative and probable arguments, so
    that the truth may be confirmed and the adversary
  • Thomas Aquinas, SCG
  • Follow the evidence wherever it leads.
  • Platos Socrates

  • I have absolutely no knowledge of atheism as an
    outcome of reasoning, still less as an event
    with me it is obvious by instinct.
  • Friedrich Nietzsche, Ecce Homo

What is Faith?
  • Faith is a belief in the trustworthiness of an
    idea or person.
  • From a Catholic point of view, Faith is our
    response to divine revelation.
  • The existence of God can be known by the light of
    natural human reason alone. You do not
    necessarily need faith to know this.
  • This is the topic of the first session
  • Use of logic and not divine revelation

  • When someone tells you something do you
    automatically experience
  • Belief or doubt?
  • Trust or suspicion?
  • Beliefs can be reasonable or unreasonable
  • We will return to this in the third session on
    psychological reasons for belief and un-belief or

Dawkins Belief Scales Does God exist? Do you
believe in God?
  • 1 Strong theist. 100 per cent probability of God.
    In the words of C. G. Jung, 'I do not believe, I
  • 2 De facto theist. Very high probability but
    short of 100 per cent. 'I cannot know for
    certain, but I strongly believe in God and live
    my life on the assumption that he is there.'
  • 3 Higher than 50 per cent but not very high.
    Technically agnostic but leaning towards theism.
    'I am very uncertain, but I am inclined to
    believe in God.'
  • 4 Exactly 50 per cent. Completely impartial
    agnostic. 'God's existence and non-existence are
    exactly equiprobable. AGNOSTIC TAP vs PAP
  • 5 Lower than 50 per cent but not very low.
    Technically agnostic but leaning towards atheism.
    'I don't know whether God exists but I'm inclined
    to be sceptical.'
  • 6 Very low probability, but short of zero. De
    facto atheist. 'I cannot know for certain but I
    think God is very improbable, and I live my life
    on the assumption that he is not there.'
  • 7 Strong atheist. 'I know there is no God, with
    the same conviction as Jung "knows" there is

(No Transcript)
Belief Scales. Do you believe your father when
he says he is your father?
  • 1 Strong believer 'I do not believe, I know.'
  • 2 Very high probability but short of 100 per
    cent. De facto son (or daughter). 'I cannot know
    for certain, but I strongly believe he is my
    father and live my life on the assumption that he
    is there.'
  • 3 Higher than 50 per cent but not very high.
    Technically unsure but leaning towards being his
    son (or daughter). 'I am very uncertain, but I am
    inclined to believe my parents.'
  • 4 Exactly 50 per cent. Completely impartial. My
    belonging to my family or not are exactly
  • 5 Lower than 50 per cent but not very low.
    Technically unsure but leaning towards the mail
    man being the father. 'I don't know whether Dad
    is who he says he is but I'm inclined to be
  • 6 Very low probability, but short of zero. De
    facto bastard. 'I cannot know for certain but I
    think it very improbable, and I live my life on
    the assumption that he is not my father.'
  • 7 Strong bastard. 'I know I have no father, with
    the same conviction as a son "knows he is a son.

Session 1. Outline
  • 3 First Principles of Epistemology
  • The Forgotten Roots of Science
  • Myths of Conflict Faith and Reason
  • Naturalism vs. Theism
  • The Scope and Limits of Science
  • Reductionism
  • The Five Ways
  • The problem of evil
  • The prayer experiment
  • Rumours of angels

WHAT IS REALITY?3 Principles of Knowledge
  • All knowledge of reality begins in the sense
  • Summa Theologica I, 84,6 and Aristotles
    Metaphysics Bk 11
  • What is real is different than what is unreal
  • Summa Contra Gentiles II, 83
  • There is a sufficient cause for all things that
    exist in nature
  • Summa Theologica I, 3,4

FIRST PRINCIPLE All knowledge begins in the
sense experience
  • Human knowledge of reality begins with sense
  • It does not end there. This chair is more than my
    sense bundle of data.
  • Therein lies the universal idea of a chair that
    when stripped of its individual properties
    (accidents) or sense data still is a knowledge
    about something.

FIRST PRINCIPLE All knowledge begins in the
sense experience
  • However
  • David Hume (1711-1776) maintains that human
    knowledge begins and ends on the level of sense
  • Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) proposed that the so
    called real world is an amorphous, unstructured
    reality upon which the human mind, in knowing it,
    imposes form and structure.
  • Truth, goodness and beauty, like reason, freedom
    and consciousness are knowable

All knowledge begins in the sense experience
  • Consider mathematics, formulas that describe the
    material universe (fma, emc2) or the knowledge
    of other people, ideas etc., conveyed to you.
  • Knowledge begins in the sense experience but we
    know from our own experience that it does not end
    there. Otherwise knowledge is purely subjective.
  • Regardless of what other people sense, experience
    or believe, natural science is based on the
    principle that the universe is orderly,
    reasonable, knowable and predictable. Reality is
    ultimately independent of our sense experience.

  • "When a tree falls in a lonely forest, and no
    animal is near by to hear it, does it make a
    sound? Why?
  • Those who think that knowledge only comes from
    the senses would answer no.
  • But this answer is an example of circular
  • The question includes the assumption that the
    tree exists if it exists, it will make a sound.
    In other words knowledge of something doesnt
    depend only on sense experience

Observation and reality
  • Heisenberg uncertainty principle
  • Just because an observer interacts and changes
    reality doesnt mean that reality depends on
    observation. An electron has position and
    momentum independent of measurement. The
    limitation is our current capacity in science to
    determine position or momentum without
    interaction in the system
  • Schrödingers cat (dead alive)
  • The state of every particle can be described as a
    wave function which is a mathematical description
    of probabilities. When measured this description
    collapses. In this thought experiment, which may
    or may not kill a cat, is observation necessary
    to collapse the wavefunction?
  • Schrödinger did not wish to promote the idea of
    dead-and-alive cats as a serious possibility
    quite the reverse the thought experiment serves
    to illustrate the bizarreness of quantum
    mechanics and the mathematics involved in
    describing quantum states.
  • Alvin Plantinga
  • The problem with subjectivity alone. It is
    notoriously impossible to "prove" against a
    determined skeptic the existence of other minds

PRINCIPLE 2What is real is different than what
is unreal
  • As the mind develops it begins to distinguish
    what is real from what is unreal.
  • The tooth fairy may cease to exist once we stop
    believing in her but my mothers existence does
    not depend on my belief in her. In reality I
    would not here if she did not exist.
  • Imaginary things stop existing once we stop
    believing in them. Likewise Peter Pan, Santa
    Claus, Milnes Binker or even flying spaghetti
  • Likewise potential human beings as opposed to
    real human beings with potential

PRINCIPLE 2What is real is different than what
is unreal
  • Alternatively Bertrand Russells hypothetical
    tiny teapot that circulates the earth in orbit,
    is a product of Bertrands imagination (and
    Dawkins fascination).
  • There is no logical reason to think it exists
    outside of Russell (or Dawkins mind).
  • To argue that God is the same as figments of your
    imagination is to assume that God is imaginary.
  • Circular reasoning.
  • Believing in microscopic teapots is not the same
    as belief in God. There are proofs as we shall
  • Burden of Proof lies on the person who proposes
    something to exist

PRINCIPLE 3 There is a sufficient cause for all
things that exist in nature
  • It is a natural function of the intellect to link
    effects which it observes in nature to their
    causes. The mind begins with the fact that
    everything has a sufficient reason or a cause for
    being what it is.
  • In other words, all things happen for a reason.
    Sometimes we know the reason, other times we do
    not. We always assume though that ultimately the
    reasons could be known.
  • It is the basis for science to assume that we can
    know the reasons for natural phenomena and be
    able to predict things as a result

One reality
  • Hugh Everett III
  • proposed a celebrated theory of multiple
    universes met scientific scorn and abandoned the
    world of academic physics.
  • One reality
  • Wave forms and particle theory ultimately form
    only one reality
  • (only the one we can observe scientifically)
  • Even if reality is effected by observation,
    reality either has an observer or it does not.
  • Quantum vacuums and imaginary time are imaginary
  • Science fiction is not science

What follows from these 3 principles
  • Once we accept these assumptions we can make
    definite statements about reality.
  • Science is possible but limited
  • God is provable by reason alone

What is Science?
  • Science (from the Latin scientia, meaning
    "knowledge" or "knowing") is the effort to
    discover, and increase human understanding of how
    the physical world works.
  • Using controlled methods, scientists collect data
    in the form of observations, records of
    observable physical evidence of natural
    phenomena, and analyze this information to
    construct theoretical explanations of how things
    work that can be tested and modified. Knowledge
    in science is gained through research.
  • The outcome or product of this empirical
    scientific process is the formulation of theory
    that describes human understanding of physical
    processes and facilitates prediction.

God of the gaps
  • "God of the gaps" is sometimes used to describe
    the retreat of religious explanations of physical
    phenomena in the face of increasingly
    comprehensive scientific explanations.
  • The error in logic is an appeal to ignorance.
  • The God we are referring to today is a
    transcendent one, one that is above nature and
  • The God everyone understands to be God, is not a
    product of nature. Science is the study of
    nature. Therefore it is illogical to prove God
    exists by recognizing our gaps in the knowledge
    of nature. From a scientific point of view all
    we can say is that science does not explain this.

God of the gaps
  • Evolution of the gaps
  • In the second session we will be discussing how
    Dawkins uses the anthropic principle to say that
    the process of natural selection by gradual steps
    must be the mechanism of evolution because we are
    here to observe it. Gaps in logic are acceptable
    when faith in an ideology is involved.
  • God is not an alternative to science as an
  • God is postulated to be the reason science

Forgotten Roots of Science
  • At the heart of science is the conviction that
    the universe is orderly, intelligible and that
    things happen for a reason.
  • If you assume a priori that this is TRUE,
    science, which includes experimentation, is
  • We need to assume that things happen for a
    reason, a knowable, discoverable reason.

Assumption of order
  • You find it strange that I consider the
    comprehensibility of the world (to the extent
    that we are authorized to speak of such a
    comprehensibility) as a miracle or as an external
    mystery. Well, a priori, one should expect a
    chaotic world, which cannot be grasped by the
    mind in any waythe kind or order created by
    Newtons theory of gravitation for example is
    totally different.
  • Even if man proposes axioms of the theory, the
    success of such a project presupposes a high
    degree of ordering of the objective world, and
    this could not be expected a priori. That is the
    miracle which is being constantly reinforced as
    our knowledge expands.
  • Albert Einstein letters to Solovine

The forgotten faith in order
  • Why do electrons obey laws? Why does matter obey
    the laws of gravity?
  • Science does not explain the mathematical
    intelligibility of the physical world, for it is
    part of sciences founding faith that this is
  • John Polkinghorne. Particle Physicist
  • Both the real world and mathematics are
    traceable to the Mind of God who created both the
    universe and the human mind. It is, therefore
    not surprising when the mathematical theories
    spun by human minds created in the image of Gods
    Mind, find ready application in a universe whose
    architect was that same creative Mind.
  • John Lennox, Mathematician, Oxford

The Domain of Science
  • Whatever knowledge is attainable, must be
    attained by scientific methods and what science
    cannot discover mankind cannot know
  • Bertrand Russell
  • 2 questions
  • Is this a self refuting statement?
  • Is this true?

The New Faith ScientismPhilosophical claims
that cannot be proved by the scientific method
  • The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever
    will be.
  • The late Carl Sagan

Does only matter matter?
  • Theres no need to invoke anything supernatural
    in the origins of the universe or of life. I
    have never liked the idea of divine tinkering
    for me it is more inspiring to believe that a set
    of mathematical laws can be so clever as to bring
    all these things into being.
  • Paul Davies, Physicist
  • The logic of accepting something on the basis of
    a like or dislike
  • Mathematical laws do not bring or cause anything.
    They only describe how something happens or

Models and theories explain but they cannot cause
  • The usual approach of science of constructing a
    mathematical model cannot answer the questions of
    why there should be a universe for the model to
  • Why does the universe go to all the bother of
    existing? Is the unified theory so compelling
    that it brings about its own existence? Or does
    it need a Creator, and, if so, does he have any
    other effects on the universe?
  • Stephen Hawking

The Scope and Limit of Science
  • Science is incomparably the most successful
    enterprise human beings have ever engaged upon,
    he distinguishes between what he calls
    transcendent questions, which have to be
    answered by religion and metaphysics, and
    questions about the organization and structure of
    the material universe.
  • That there is indeed a limit upon science is
    made very likely by the existence of questions
    that science cannot answer, and that no
    conceivable advance of science would empower it
    to answer.... I have in mind such questions as
  • How did everything begin? What are we all here
    for? What is the point of living?
  • Peter Medawar, Immunologist and Nobel Prize

Scientism is not science
  • The term scientism is used to describe the view
    that natural science has authority over all other
    interpretations of life.
  • This includes philosophical, religious, mythical,
    spiritual, or humanistic explanations, and over
    other fields of inquiry, such as the social
  • Scientists dislike and rarely use the term,
    thinking it implies dogmatism or ideology rather
    than experimentation.

Can only science deliver truth?
  • The evaluation of philosophy, literature, art,
    music lies outside the scope of science.
  • How could science tell us if a poem is a bad poem
    or a work of genius? Scarcely by measuring the
    lengths of the words or the frequencies of
    letters within them.
  • How could science possibly tell us whether a
    painting is a masterpiece or a confused smudge of
    colours. Certainly not by making a chemical
    analysis of the paint and canvas.
  • How can you tell if the song you hear is
    beautiful or garbage. By analyzing the sound
    frequencies, movement of air molecules?
  • The teaching of morality likewise lies outside of
    the realm of science. Science may tell you how
    to kill or how someone was killed. It will not
    tell you whether it was wrong to do it. Humes
    guillotine trying to derive an OUGHT out of an

  • All tangible phenomena, from the birth of the
    stars to the workings of social institutions, are
    based on material processes that are ultimately
    reducible, however long and torturous the
    sequences, to the laws of physics.
  • Harvard biologist E. O. Wilson
  • My task is to explain elephants, and the world
    of complex things, in terms of the simple things
    that physicists either understand or are working
  • Richard Dawkins

Consciousness Raising
  • What is the mind?
  • What is consciousness?
  • What does it mean to be rational?
  • What does truth mean?
  • How do we have freedom?
  • True freedom cannot come from chemical reactions
    (neurochemical or otherwise)
  • (and what comes from it love, hatred, mercy,
    courage etc.)

  • Metaphysics
  • The study of reality beyond the physical
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • The study of how the physical world works
  • Biology
  • The study of how things live
  • Psychology
  • The study of how people think and behave but also

  • Metaphysics
  • The study of reality beyond the physical
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • The study of how the physical world works
  • Biology
  • The study of how things live
  • Psychology
  • The study of how people think and behave but also

Fairies in the garden
  • Isn't it enough to see that a garden is
    beautiful without having to believe there are
    fairies at the bottom of it too? Douglas Adams
  • The better question is to ask about the gardener
    or an owner? The more proximate causes of a
    garden. They are at least in the chain of

Aunt Matildas Cake
  • Recall the Quote
  • Whatever knowledge is attainable, must be
    attained by scientific methods and what science
    cannot discover mankind cannot know
  • Bertrand Russell
  • Scientific analysis
  • Biologists
  • Chemists
  • Physicists

Science cannot tell you why she made the cake but
that doesnt mean it is not knowable
  • Words on a page
  • Reduction to smaller parts and scientific
  • The meaning is lost

  • Boiling water
  • The reason from a scientific perspective
    chemistry change of state, physics
    transformation of kinetic energy etc.
  • Polkinghorne
  • The reason was to make tea.

Science explains the how something behaves but
not its purpose
Dawkins beliefs (?a delusion)A False A PRIORI
  • The universe is nothing but a collection of atoms
    in motion, human beings simply machines for
    propagating DNA, and the propagation of DNA is a
    self-sustaining process. It is every living
    objects sole reason for living
  • Nothing but, sole or simply. HOW DOES HE KNOW
    THIS? It is an ideological assumption.

Nothing objectionable. A true statement of
  • The universe is a collection of atoms in motion,
    human beings machines for propagating DNA, and
    the propagation of DNA is a self-sustaining
    process. It is every living objects reason for
  • Now by removing nothing but, sole or simply
  • This is reasonable and scientific
  • The problem with ontological reduction is that it
    is a philosophical assumption rather than
    anything based in reason

The forgotten5 ways of St. Thomas Aquinas for
proving Gods existence
  • Unmoved mover
  • Efficient Causality
  • Contingency
  • AKA Cosmological
  • Perfection
  • Finality
  • AKA Argument from Design

1st Way. Unmoved mover
  • We observe that things in the world move. Now
    whatever moves, is moved by another, for nothing
    can move itself. An infinite series of movers is
  • We must arrive at the first mover which is itself
    unmoved. And everyone understands this to be God.

2nd Way. The Uncaused cause AKA Efficient
  • Efficient causes produce effects.
  • Nothing is caused by itself. Every effect has a
    prior cause, and again we have a chain of
  • This argument also invokes the impossibility of
    an infinite series of causes and effects and
    concludes with the existence of a first uncaused
  • This everyone understands to be God (the uncaused

3rd Way. Contingency
  • Definitions
  • First a contingent being is a being which begins
    to exist at some point in time or which ceases to
    exist at some subsequent point in time. It
    receives its existence from something else.
  • A necessary being, on the other hand, is a being
    that always exists, a being which never begins to
    be nor passes out of existence.
  • Another way to present this distinction between a
    contingent and a necessary being is to say that
  • a contingent being may exist or it may not exist,
  • while a necessary being must exist, cannot not

3rd Way. Contingency
  • We observe continually in nature, beings coming
    into existence and passing out of existence, ie.
    Contingent beings. Therefore, a necessary being
    must exist who brings these contingent beings
    into existence.
  • If there was a time when no such necessary being
    a time, in other words, when nothing at all
    existed then nothing would exist now. Nothing
    cannot create something.
  • This necessary being we all understand to be God

  • Whatever begins to exist has a cause for its
    coming into being.
  • The universe began to exist.
  • Therefore, the universe has a cause for its
    coming into being.
  • And the cause of everything is what we
    understand to be God

Science and Singularities
  • Space, gravity and time are connected
  • When stretched to their limits the physical laws
    and their relations break down
  • Physical laws and time itself have a beginning
    13.7 B years ago. Nature and the laws governing
    it have a beginning as they did not exist prior
    to the big bang.
  • What is the cause of nature? As the creator of
    nature he must be outside of nature. He must also
    be non material.

Commentary on the first 3 ways
  • The first 3 ways are really the same and are
    based on causality and contingency.
  • The uniqueness of the Judeo-Christian God lies in
    absolute separation of Creator and creation.
    Something rather than nothing. Something out of

What follows from the first 3 ways
  • Since God creates something out of nothing (an
    infinite leap), and he is the source of all
    power therefore, God must be infinitely powerful
  • Consider the analogy of an author
  • Since God creates time he must be outside of time
  • He would know everything as the cause of
    everything. Again consider the author analogy.
    Being outside of time probably doesnt hurt

Dawkins amazing answer Cutlets
  • To return to the infinite regress and the
    futility of invoking God to terminate it, it is
    more parsimonious to conjure up, say, a 'big bang
    singularity', or some other physical concept as
    yet unknown.
  • Illogic 1 we beings who are caused conjure up
    or cause the cause of everything.
  • Illogic 2 faith in physical concepts when all
    physical laws including the relationships between
    space, time, energy and gravity break down.
    Dawkins faith in physical concepts when there
    isnt any.

Dawkins amazing answer Cutlets
  • Calling it God is at best unhelpful and at worst
    perniciously misleading.
  • Unhelpful to an atheist
  • Perniciously misleading if 1) you believe
    religion to be man made AND 2) it is neither
    consoling, explanatory nor inspirational
  • Whether or not it is helpful or hurtful doesnt
    change whether or not it is real.
  • A point he makes in regards to Religion later in
    his book.
  • Rhetoric
  • Edward Lear's Nonsense Recipe for Crumboblious
    Cutlets invites us to 'Procure some strips of
    beef, and having cut them into the smallest
    possible pieces, proceed to cut them still
    smaller, eight or perhaps nine times.' Some
    regresses do reach a natural terminator.
  • He suggests the atom. A natural terminator.

  • omniscience and omnipotence are mutually
    incompatible. If God is omniscient, he must
    already know how he is going to intervene to
    change the course of history using his
    omnipotence. But that means he can't change his
    mind about his intervention, which means he is
    not omnipotent.
  • Error in Logic
  • Changing the course of history does not mean
    changing Gods mind. Being outside of time, an
    all-powerful, eternal, and all-knowing God, may
    appear, to those in time, as having changed his
    mind (communication by Gods condescension)
  • God, who is infinite, is not subject to change.
    His essence is the same as his existence. God
    IS. I AM. From our human experience, the
    closest explanation is that God eternally in the

4th Way
  • Objects in the world have differing degrees of
    qualities such as goodness. But speaking of more
    or less goodness makes sense only by comparison
    with what is the maximum goodness, which is God.
  • Effects cannot be bigger than their cause. The
    ultimate cause of truth, goodness and beauty is
    greater than any finite measure of it here

4th way. Perfection(by natural reason man can
know God)
  • The perfection and origin of truth, beauty,
  • Question the beauty of the earth, question the
    beauty of the sea, question the beauty of the air
    distending and diffusing itself, question the
    beauty of the sky. . . question all these
    realities. All respond "See, we are beautiful."
    Their beauty is a profession confessio. These
    beauties are subject to change. Who made them if
    not the Beautiful One Pulcher who is not
    subject to change? St. Augustine
  • clearly perceived in the things that have been
    made. Rom 119-20 cf. Acts 1415,17 1727-28
    Wis 131-9.

Dawkins smelly reasoning
  • You might as well say, people vary in
    smelliness but we can make the comparison only by
    reference to a perfect maximum of conceivable
    smelliness. Therefore there must exist a
    pre-eminently peerless stinker, and we call him
  • Or substitute any dimension of comparison you
    like, and derive an equivalently fatuous

Perfection of material qualities
  • We experience two types of perfections in the
  • Contingent (may or may not exist)
  • There are those perfections which are possessed
    only by contingent or finite beings such as
    weight or height or animal sensation. By their
    very nature these perfections are limited or
  • Consequently we cannot say that God is infinitely
    heavy, or that He feels things as we do with our
    senses. God is immaterial. God is the cause of
  • This also tells us something about God
  • Contingent and Necessary
  • The second type of perfections we experience in
    the world are those possessed by both contingent
    and a necessary being. Some examples of such
    perfections are goodness, truth, knowledge,
    wisdom, justice, mercy, and so forth.

4th way and persons
  • What is a (human) person?
  • an individual substance of a rational nature.
    A being with a MIND. Rational, free and
    self-conscious being.
  • Cause and Effect
  • In terms of efficient causality the cause of
    human personhood would suggest a more greater
    personhood as a cause. God must at least be
    free, rational and self conscious but in an
    all-powerful all knowing eternal way. God is not
    the mindless universe.
  • Divine and human persons
  • A divine person is eminently more than a human
    person. The former is infinite, the latter
    finite. Yet nowhere in nature, as yet, do we
    find anything that so resembles what is thought
    of as the Creator of nature, than does the human

5th Way. Finality or design.
  • The teleological argument
  • (argument from design).
  • Things in the world move toward goals, just as
    the arrow does not move toward its goal except by
    the archer's directing it. Thus, there must be an
    intelligent designer who directs all things to
    their goals, and this is God.
  • This implies an intelligent God
  • Our end, our purpose

5th Way Design
  • 6 numbers
  • Origin of life
  • Human life (including consciousness)
  • Explored more in the next session.

What follows from the five ways?
  • The uncaused cause, the one necessary being is
    all powerful, all knowing, eternal, has
    personhood, a rational mind, and is not only the
    only origin of existence, but also the end to
    which all things are directed.
  • The only way to deny the five ways is to deny
    causality and reason itself

Critiques of the 5 ways
  • Aside from Dawkins truly vacuous argument of
    cutlets and perfect stinkers
  • In Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, Hume
    once asked why the ultimate source of the
    universe could not be the entire universe itself,
    eternal and uncaused, without God.
  • Astrophysics and cosmology suggests a beginning
    to the Universe where nature, all physical laws,
    and time itself breaks down.
  • In other words the science suggests that Universe
    is not eternal (steady state theories, cycling
    big bang / big crunch theories, multiverse
    theories have no empirical basis and are better
    suited to the realm of science fiction). There is
    no empirical evidence to suggest that the source
    of the universe is the material universe itself
  • Even if this were true, this line of reason gives
    the attributes of God uncaused cause, eternal,
    infinite to the finite universe and is also
    known as pantheism it would not be without God,
    AKA the uncaused cause.

Critiques of the 5 ways
  • Hume questioned
  • 1. How we can be sure that the world was not
    created by a team
  • God is one. There can only be one infinite
    being. If there were more than one necessary
    being , each would have to possess something that
    the others lacked. Otherwise there would be
    nothing to distinguish them from one another.
    This would mean that each of them is a limited
    being , lacking some perfection of the other.
    And therefore none of them would be infinite but
    rather contingent beings.
  • 2. That this is not one of many attempts at
    creations, the first few having been botched or,
  • Arguments without reason
  • 3. On the other hand, that our world is not a
    poor first attempt "of an infant deity who
    afterwards abandoned it, ashamed of his lame
  • Variation on the problem of evil

Other arguments for the existence of God
  • Newmans argument from conscience
  • There is a law written in our hearts that we are
    obliged to follow even if we are ignorant. This
    law is absolute. No one respects an individual
    who goes against his or her conscience. The
    source of this absolute law is an absolute
    lawgiver. That lawgiver is God.
  • See Twenty Arguments For The Existence Of God,
  • http//

Summary of Dawkins arguments against the
existence of God
  • Lots of scientists do not believe in God
  • This doesnt prove anything
  • Ultimate Boeing 747
  • Begs the question and doesnt prove anything

His central argument
  • DAWKINS GOD HYPOTHESIS 2 proposed options
  • there exists a superhuman, supernatural
    intelligence who deliberately designed and
    created the universe and everything in it,
    including us.
  • any creative intelligence, of sufficient
    complexity to design anything, comes into
    existence only as the end product of an extended
    process of gradual evolution. Creative
    intelligences, being evolved, necessarily arrive
    late in the universe, and therefore cannot be
    responsible for designing it. God, in the sense
    defined, is a delusion

The Ultimate Boeing 747
  • The logical fallacy of DAWKINS central thesis
  • any creative intelligence, of sufficient
    complexity to design anything, comes into
    existence only as the end product of an extended
    process of gradual evolution. Creative
    intelligences, being evolved, necessarily arrive
    late in the universe, and therefore cannot be
    responsible for designing it. God, in the sense
    defined, is a delusion
  • Who is silly enough to propose that the God that
    created the universe is a product of the
    universe? This is an example of vacuous

Begging the question Petitio Principii
  • Also called Circulus in Probando--arguing in a
    circle, or assuming the answer.
  • Demonstrates a conclusion by means of premises
    that assume that conclusion. It proves nothing
    because it proves everything. In other words
    you just raise more questionsFor example
  • Premise 1. There is no transcendent reality
    beyond the universe. This would include a
    transcendental God who cannot be outside the
  • Premise 2. God or any creative being must arise
    from the universe but that being would be
    incredibly complex and improbable.
  • Conclusion. Therefore a transcendental God or a
    God that comes from the universe does not exist.

Other arguments against the existence of God
  • Inconsistent Revelations
  • The argument from inconsistent revelations
    contests the existence of the deity called God as
    described in scriptures -- such as the Jewish
    Tanakh, the Christian Bible, or the Muslim Qur'an
    -- by identifying apparent contradictions between
    different scriptures, within a single scripture,
    or between scripture and known facts.
  • ANSWER This is an argument against scriptures
    not God
  • The argument from parsimony
  • contends that since natural (non-supernatural)
    theories adequately explain the development of
    religion and belief in gods, the actual existence
    of such supernatural agents is superfluous and
    may be dismissed unless otherwise proven to be
    required to explain the phenomenon.
  • ANSWER 1 This is an argument against religion
    not God

Other arguments against the existence of God
  • Argument from poor design
  • The argument from poor design contests the idea
    that God created life on the basis that lifeforms
    exist which seem to exhibit poor design. For
    example, many runners get a painful "stitch" in
    their side due to poor placement of the liver.
  • The argument from nonbelief contests the
    existence of an omnipotent God who wants humans
    to believe in him by arguing that such a god
    would do a better job of designing believers.
  • ANSWER if the purpose of existing were running
    then this would be reasonable. If our purpose
    for existing is love the real question is why are
    we so selfish? Belief is more than an
    intellectual acceptance. It is trust, it is

Problem of Evil or the problem of a good and all
powerful God
  • More people have abandoned their faith because of
    the problem of evil than for any other reason.
  • If you are doubting Gods existence do not read
    the Brothers Karamazov
  • Premise 1
  • God is all good and all powerful
  • Premise 2
  • If God is good he would want his creatures to be
  • Premise 3.
  • His creatures are not happy
  • Conclusion
  • Therefore God lacks either goodness or power or

Answer to the problem of evil
  • More people have abandoned their faith because of
    the problem of evil than for any other reason.
  • If you are doubting Gods existence do not read
    the Brothers Karamazov
  • Evil is not a thing but a choice.
  • If it were and God created everything God would
    have created evil. God created creatures with
    the freedom to chose. Evil, then, is not a thing
    but a wrong choice or the damage from a wrong
  • Sometimes the reason for things are hidden
  • The obvious point of the Book of Job, the world's
    greatest exploration of the problem of evil, is
    that we just don't know what God is up to.
  • We assume everything happens for a reason.
    Sometimes we know the reason, at other times we
    do not. But we can either trust like a child or
    run away in despair

Answer to the problem of evil
  • Taken with the other five ways, which prove an
    all-powerful, eternal, all- knowing God which is
    the cause and designer of all things, if there is
    no adequate or good reason, then you what you are
    left with is the devil. Not just the devil who
    was cast out of Heaven but an all powerful bad
  • The solution to the problem that CS Lewis
    describes is that although God allows evil some
    greater good must ultimately come from it.
  • From a Christian perspective, consider the
    crucifixion of God. Deicide has got to be a
    seriously grave evil. But from it comes the
    unification of God to his creation for all

Prayer experiments
  • Can we prove God doesnt exist by seeing if
    prayer doesnt work?
  • Can you prove whether or not a research granting
    agency exists by finding out if you get a grant
    by applying?
  • Do we know what we really need or what is good
    for us?
  • By analogy
  • Imagine judging the goodness of parents by how
    often they give kids what they ask for
  • Imagine then the children testing their parents
    goodness by how they give them what they want,
    with the parents knowing full well they are
    being tested this way.

  • Mother to child do not be afraid, even in the
    face of disaster, the trust the mother instills
    that everything will be alright.
  • A statement about reality, that is ordered and
    makes sense

Hope beyond death
  • Lying on a grenade to save a friend

Absolute revulsion
  • Crimes that cry out to heaven (or hell)
  • Disproportionality. Pure evil. No good chosen
    by agents.

Laughter Our laughter at the incongruities and
absurdities of life points beyond the tragic to a
liberated, even redeemed future. Imprisonment of
the human spirit in the world
Session 1 Summary points
  • Logic can demonstrate that there is an all
    powerful, eternal, and all-knowing God
  • Arguments against the existence of God are really
    attempts to refute the arguments for the
    existence of God
  • Science (from the Latin scientia, meaning
    "knowledge" or "knowing") is the effort to
    discover, and increase human understanding of how
    the physical world works.
  • The foundation of science is based on the
    assumption of order, rationality, predictability
    and causality.
  • Faith in materialism is the foundation of the
    modern atheists philosophy or reductionism
  • Our humanity is based on a transcendental

  • The belief that there was nothing, and nothing
    happened to nothing, and then nothing magically
    exploded for no reason, forming the universe in
    just the right way, and then a bunch of stuff
    magically rearranged itself for no reason what so
    ever into complex self-replicating machines, that
    for no reason at all magically turned into
    rational, mindful, conscientious and free beings
    which unfortunately is actually all an illusion.
    I assume it magically all happened the way I
    imagine it to be because I am here to observe it.
  • Wow. Makes perfect sense.

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  • Dismantling Dawkins
  • Scott Hahn and Benjamin Wiker
  • Gods Undertaker. Has Science Buried God?
  • John Lennox
  • Chance or Purpose.
  • Cardinal Christoph Schonborn
  • The Truth of Catholicism
  • George Weigel
  • Hooked on Philosophy
  • Robert ODonnell
  • How the Catholic Church Built Western
  • Thomas Woods