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Arguments Concerning the Existence of God (Gods?)

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Title: Arguments Concerning the Existence of God (Gods?)


1
Arguments Concerning the Existence of God (Gods?)
Clark Wolf Director of Bioethics Iowa State
University jwcwolf_at_iastate.edu
2
Argument for Analysis
  • Either God wants to abolish evil, and cannot
    or he can, but does not want to. If he wants to,
    but cannot, he is impotent. If he can, but does
    not want to, he is wicked. If God can abolish
    evil, and God really wants to do it, why is there
    evil in the world? Epicurus

3
  • Either God wants to abolish evil, and cannot
    or he can, but does not want to. If he wants to,
    but cannot, he is impotent. If he can, but does
    not want to, he is wicked. If God can abolish
    evil, and God really wants to do it, why is there
    evil in the world? Epicurus
  • 1) If there is a God, there is a being who is
    omnipotent and all loving (omnibenevolent).
  • 2) If God is all loving, then God wants to
    eliminate evil.
  • 3) If God is omnipotent, then God is able to
    eliminate evil.
  • 4) If God wants to do something, then God does
    it.
  • 5) there is evil in the world.
  • 6) Either God is not omnipotent, or God is not
    all loving.

4
The Problem of Evil
  • "God's power we allow is infinite Whatever
    he wills is executed But neither man nor any
    other animal are happy Therefore he does not
    will their happiness. His wisdom is infinite He
    is never mistaken in choosing the means to any
    end But the course of nature tends not to human
    or animal felicity Therefore it is not
    established for that purpose. Through the whole
    compass of human knowledge, there are no
    inferences more certain and infallible than
    these. In what respect, then, do his benevolence
    and mercy resemble the benevolence and mercy of
    men? -David Hume

5
The Problem of Evil
  1. God is Omnipotent, omniscient, and
    omnibenevolent, who wants only what is right and
    who does what He wants.
  2. If omniscient, He knows about evil.
  3. If omnipotent, He can eliminate evil.
  4. If omnibenevolent, He wants to eliminate evil.
  5. There is evil in the world.
  6. Therefore, there is no God.

6
The Problem of Evil
  • The problem of reconciling human suffering with
    the existence of a God who loves, is only
    insoluble so long as we attach a trivial meaning
    to the word "love", and look on things as if man
    were the centre of them. Man is not the centre.
    God does not exist for the sake of man. Man does
    not exist for his own sake. "Thou hast created
    all things, and for thy pleasure they are and
    were created." We were made not primarily that we
    may love God (though we were made for that too)
    but that God may love us, that we may become
    objects in which the divine love may rest "well
    pleased". ? C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

7
The Problem of Evil
  • Somewhere in the world, a man has abducted a
    little girl. Soon he will rape, torture, and
    kill her. If an atrocity of this kind is not
    occurring at precisely this moment, it will
    happen in a few hours or days at most. Such is
    the confidence we can draw from the statistical
    laws that govern the lives of six billion human
    beings. The same statistics also suggest that
    this girls parents believe as you believe that
    an all-powerful and all-loving God is watching
    over them and their family. Are they right to
    believe this? Is it good that they believe this?
  • No. The entirety of atheism is contained in
    this response.
  • -Sam Harris, Letter to a Christian Nation, p.
    50-51

8
Problem of Evil Solutions?
  • Free will?
  • Evil not from God but from a different source?
  • Perfect God might create imperfect worlds?
  • Evil doesnt actually exist just the appearance
    of evil. (Mystery- God works in mysterious
    ways.)
  • Evil is Gods way to test us.
  • Problems
  • Natural evils
  • Guilty bystander problem
  • Is it possible that horrors we seem to see are
    mere apparent horrors?
  • Does it make sense to test infants and children
    with pain and horror?

9
Dostoievski The Grand Inquisitor
  • What is Ivans point with the stories of horrors
    of human cruelty?
  • Why is the suffering of children especially
    significant?
  • What is the point of The Grand Inquisitor?
  • If God created humanity knowing that many people
    are weak and unable to pass the test, should
    God instead have avoided the whole mess? Or made
    people (most people) stronger and better?

10
Problem of Evil
  • 1) If God exists, then there exists a being who
    is all powerful, all knowing, all good. (All-PKG
    being)
  • 2) If an All PKG being existed, there would not
    be evil.
  • 3) There is evil.
  • 4) Therefore God does not exist.
  • Note The argument is valid.

11
Problem of Evil
  • Defense of Premises
  • Premise 1 Sometimes said to be a definition of
    God.
  • Premise 2 An all PKG being would know how, want
    to, and be able to eliminate evil.
  • Premise 3 Categories of wrongs to be considered
  • Human wrongs (does this still leave the
    bystander problem, and perhaps Ivans problem
    of unforgivable wrongs?)
  • Natural wrongs.

12
Problem of Evil
  • Premise 1
  • One might take the argument to show that if there
    is a God, then god is not all-PKG.
  • That this is not meaningless may be sufficient to
    show that premise 1 is not true by definition.
    (E. Sober p. 101)

13
Problem of Evil
  • Premise 2 Theodicy A reconciliation of God as
    all-PKG with the existence of evil.
  • Strategies
  • Soul-building evils evils make us better people.
  • Free will
  • Mystery

14
Is mystery a solution?
15
The Problem of Evil
  • Premise 3 Is there evil?
  • Strategies
  • 1) Evil is an illusion?
  • 2) Evil is balanced out by the greater goods?
  • 3)

16
Argument for Analysis
  • Peoples religious beliefs entirely depend on
    where they were born. People born in Hindu
    families are likely to be Hindu people born in
    Christian families are likely to be Christian
    people born in Muslim Families are likely to be
    Muslim. So your religious beliefs are not the
    result of evidence, they are entirely contingent
    on the circumstances of your upbringing. Two
    things follow from this First, it should raise
    doubt about whether your cherished beliefs are as
    important as you believe they are, regardless of
    the importance they may seem to have for you. If
    they depend entirely on an arbitrary fact about
    you, and would have been different otherwise,
    then there is a sense in which your cherished
    beliefs are themselves arbitrary. Second, it
    cant be that God, if there is a God who is good
    and just, would condemn or save people because of
    arbitrary facts about themselves, over which they
    have no control. We dont chose our parents no
    more do we chose our religious beliefs.

17
Argument for Analysis
  • Peoples religious beliefs entirely depend on
    where they were born. People born in Hindu
    families are likely to be Hindu people born in
    Christian families are likely to be Christian
    people born in Muslim Families are likely to be
    Muslim. So your religious beliefs are not the
    result of evidence, they are entirely contingent
    on the circumstances of your upbringing. Two
    things follow from this First, it should raise
    doubt about whether your cherished beliefs are as
    important as you believe they are, regardless of
    the importance they may seem to have for you. If
    they depend entirely on an arbitrary fact about
    you, and would have been different otherwise,
    then there is a sense in which your cherished
    beliefs are themselves arbitrary. Second, it
    cant be that God, if there is a God who is good
    and just, would condemn or save people because of
    arbitrary facts about themselves, over which they
    have no control. We dont chose our parents no
    more do we chose our religious beliefs.
  • 1) Peoples religious beliefs depend on
    arbitrary facts about themselves.
  • 2) If a persons beliefs depend on something
    that is arbitrary, then those beliefs are
    unjustified.
  • 3) Peoples religious beliefs are unjustified.
  • 1) Peoples religious beliefs depend on
    arbitrary facts about themselves.
  • 2) A just God would not punish or reward people
    for what is arbitrary.
  • 3) A just God would not punish or reward people
    depending on their beliefs.

18
Al-Ghazali
  • 1058-1111
  • Tus, Persia
  • Undertook to defend religious belief against
    philosophical errors.
  • Works show familiarity and affinity with
    skeptical tradition, but Al-Ghazali was not, in
    the end, a skeptic.

19
Argument for Analysis
  • Youd better believe in God. Atheists take a
    horrible chance, since their disbelief involves a
    serious risk if they are wrong, they will burn
    forever in Hell! And what benefit do they get
    even if theyre right? When they die theyd
    never even get confirmation that their beliefs
    were true, since theyd just be gone nothing,
    as Epicurus says. And as for believers, if
    theyre wrong they wont suffer any bad
    consequences from being wrong once again,
    theyll just be gone. But if theyre right,
    their reward will be eternal life and bliss.
    Obviously, belief in God is a better alternative
    than either atheism or agnosticism.

20
Argument for Analysis
  • Youd better believe in God. Atheists take a
    horrible chance, since their disbelief involves a
    serious risk if they are wrong, they will burn
    forever in Hell! And what benefit do they get
    even if theyre right? When they die theyd
    never even get confirmation that their beliefs
    were true, since theyd just be gone Nothing, as
    Epicurus says. And as for believers, if theyre
    wrong they wont suffer any bad consequences from
    being wrong once again, theyll just be gone.
    But if theyre right, their reward will be
    eternal life and bliss. Obviously, belief in God
    is a better alternative than either atheism or
    agnosticism.
  • 1) If you believe in God and youre right, your
    reward will be eternal bliss.
  • 2) If you believe in God and youre wrong, your
    disadvantage will be insignificant.
  • 3) If you dont believe in God and youre right,
    your advantage will be insignificant.
  • 4) If you dont believe in God and youre wrong,
    your disadvantage will be eternal torment.
  • 5) Therefore, its better (more rational) to
    believe in God than not to believe in God.

21
Argument for Analysis
  • Expected value for believing G versus G
  • Let p be the probability that God exists.
  • So (1-p) is the probability that God does not
    exist.
  • EV(Believe G) p8 (1-p)-a 8
  • EV(Believe G) p-8 (1-p)b -8
  • 8 ? -8 so EV(Believe G) gt EV(Believe G)
  • no matter what the values of p, a, and b.
  • Conclusion You should Believe G.

22
Pascal's Wager
  • "Either God is, or He is not. But to which view
    shall we be inclined? Reason cannot decide this
    question. Infinite chaos separates us. At the far
    end of this infinite distance a coin is being
    spun which will come down heads or tails. How
    will you wager?
  • Pascal, Penses.

Blaise Pascal, 1623-1662
23
Pascals Wager
Belief state ? State of the World? Believe in God Dont Believe in God
God Exists .
God Doesnt Exist
24
Pascals Wager
Belief state ? State of the World? Believe in God Dont Believe in God
God Exists Eternal Bliss (Infinite Gain) Eternal Punishment (Infinite Loss)
God Doesnt Exist A false belief. So what? (Finite Loss) True Belief. Well good for you! (Finite gain)
25
Pascals Wager
Belief state ? State of the World? Believe in God Dont Believe in God
God Exists Eternal Bliss (Infinite Gain) Eternal Punishment (Infinite Loss)
God Doesnt Exist A false belief. So what? (Finite Loss) True Belief. Well good for you! (Finite gain)
26
Pascals Wager Problems
  • Many Gods Problem Which God should I believe in?
  • Non-Epistemic Reasons Problem The reasons for
    belief offered by Pascal are reasons for
    belief, but provide no evidence that the belief
    is true.
  • Causing Belief Can we cause ourselves to believe
    what we dont?
  • Gods perspective Would a good God reward such
    self-delusion?

27
Argument for Analysis
  • If you found a beautiful gold watch on the
    beach, you wouldnt assume that it had simply
    arisen as the result of random natural processes.
    Because it is a complex coherent object with
    integrated working parts, it makes much more
    sense to think that it was intentionally created
    by someone. But the universe, the world and the
    things in it are also beautiful and complex, made
    up of integral interworking parts, governed by
    well ordered natural laws. Objects that are the
    result of random, unintentional processes dont
    have these properties they are un-ordered and
    more chaotic than coherent. When we find a
    complex ordered system, it makes more sense to
    assume that it was intentionally created than to
    assume that it arose without conscious
    intentions. So it makes more sense to assume
    that the world and the universe were created by
    someone, whose conscious intentions define its
    structure. The only being capable of such
    creation is God. Therefore, there must be a God
    God exists.

28
  • If you found a beautiful gold watch on the beach,
    you wouldnt assume that it had simply arisen as
    the result of random natural processes. Because
    it is a complex coherent object with integrated
    working parts, it makes much more sense to think
    that it was intentionally created by someone.
    But the universe, the world and the things in it
    are also beautiful and complex, made up of
    integral interworking parts, governed by well
    ordered natural laws. Objects that are the result
    of random, unintentional processes dont have
    these properties they are un-ordered and more
    chaotic than coherent. When we find a complex
    ordered system, it makes more sense to assume
    that it was intentionally created than to assume
    that it arose without conscious intentions. So
    it makes more sense to assume that the world and
    the universe were created by someone, whose
    conscious intentions define its structure. The
    only being capable of such creation is God.
    Therefore, there must be a God God exists.
  • Teleological Argument for the Existence of God
    (Argument from Design)
  • ltIntentionally created objectsgt have the
    following properties ltbeauty, order, complex
    interworking parts, gt
  • Objects that are not intentionally created do not
    have these properties
  • ltThe universe and objects we find in itgt have lt
    beauty, order, complex interworking partsgt
  • So ltthe universe and objects in itgt must have
    been intentionally created.
  • If the universe was intentionally created, then
    there must be a creator.
  • The only creator capable of creating a universe
    would be God.
  • Therefore, there must be a God. (God exists)
  • Q What kind of argument is this? Is it valid
    or invalid? Rationally persuasive or not?

29
  • Teleological Argument for the Existence of God
    (Argument from Design)
  • ltIntentionally created objectsgt have the
    following properties ltbeauty, order, complex
    interworking parts, gt
  • Objects that are not intentionally created do not
    have these properties
  • ltThe universe and objects we find in itgt have lt
    beauty, order, complex interworking partsgt
  • So ltthe universe and objects in itgt must have
    been intentionally created.
  • If the universe was intentionally created, then
    there must be a creator.
  • The only creator capable of creating a universe
    would be God.
  • Therefore, there must be a God. (God exists)
  • What kind of argument?
  • Analogical argument
  • Inference to the best explanation

30
Analogical Argument
  • 1) Object A has properties (a,b,c,d, and e)
  • 2) Object B has properties (a,b,c, and d.)
  • 3) Therefore, (probably) object B has property e.
  • Ex
  • Mice are mammals, and they get cancer when
    exposed to our product.
  • People are also mammals.
  • Therefore (probably) people will get cancer if
    they are exposed to our product.

31
Argument from Design as an Analogical Argument
  • 1) A watch has (beauty, complex interworking
    parts, and was intentionally created by a
    maker.)
  • 2) The universe/world has (beauty, complex
    interworking parts.)
  • 3) Therefore (probably) the universe/world has a
    maker.

32
Abductive argument
  • 1) The world/universe has (beauty, integrity,
    complex interworking parts).
  • 2) The best explanation for this is that the
    world/universe was intentionally created by a
    maker.
  • 3) Therefore, there must be a maker (God) who
    intentionally created the world/universe.

33
Argument from Analysis
  • To believe something in the absence of any
    evidence that it is true is just foolish. Where
    we have no evidence, we should suspend belief
    neither believe nor disbelieve. In fact, to
    believe in the absence of evidence is immoral
    people rely on others beliefs, but a person who
    believes without evidence cant be relied on.
    But to believe on faith just is to believe in
    the absence of any evidence. Since there is no
    evidence that God exists, belief in God is a
    matter of faith, not a matter of reason and
    evidence. Therefore, it is immoral to believe in
    God.

34
Argument from Analysis
  • To believe something in the absence of any
    evidence that it is true is just foolish. Where
    we have no evidence, we should suspend belief
    neither believe nor disbelieve. In fact, to
    believe in the absence of evidence is immoral
    people rely on others beliefs, but a person who
    believes without evidence cant be relied on.
    But to believe on faith just is to believe in
    the absence of any evidence. Since there is no
    evidence that God exists, belief in God is a
    matter of faith, not a matter of reason and
    evidence. Therefore, it is immoral to believe in
    God.
  • 1) It is foolish and immoral to believe
    something in the absence of evidence that it is
    true.
  • 2) There is no evidence that God exists.
  • 3) Therefore, to believe in God is foolish and
    immoral.
  • Problems
  • Premise 1 Is the argument for premise 1
    convincing? James will argue that there are
    sometimes excellent reasons to believe things
    even when evidence is incomplete.
  • Premise 2 Many believe that there is evidence
    that God exists. Some even regard the evidence
    to be conclusive. So the argument would at best
    apply to people whose belief is based on no
    evidence at all.

35
Argument for Analysis
  • If you found a beautiful gold watch on the
    beach, you wouldnt assume that it had simply
    arisen as the result of random natural processes.
    Because it is a complex coherent object with
    integrated working parts, it makes much more
    sense to think that it was intentionally created
    by someone. But the universe, the world and the
    things in it are also beautiful and complex, made
    up of integral interworking parts, governed by
    well ordered natural laws. Objects that are the
    result of random, unintentional processes dont
    have these properties they are un-ordered and
    more chaotic than coherent. When we find a
    complex ordered system, it makes more sense to
    assume that it was intentionally created than to
    assume that it arose without conscious
    intentions. So it makes more sense to assume
    that the world and the universe were created by
    someone, whose conscious intentions define its
    structure. The only being capable of such
    creation is God. Therefore, there must be a God
    God exists.

36
  • If you found a beautiful gold watch on the beach,
    you wouldnt assume that it had simply arisen as
    the result of random natural processes. Because
    it is a complex coherent object with integrated
    working parts, it makes much more sense to think
    that it was intentionally created by someone.
    But the universe, the world and the things in it
    are also beautiful and complex, made up of
    integral interworking parts, governed by well
    ordered natural laws. Objects that are the result
    of random, unintentional processes dont have
    these properties they are un-ordered and more
    chaotic than coherent. When we find a complex
    ordered system, it makes more sense to assume
    that it was intentionally created than to assume
    that it arose without conscious intentions. So
    it makes more sense to assume that the world and
    the universe were created by someone, whose
    conscious intentions define its structure. The
    only being capable of such creation is God.
    Therefore, there must be a God God exists.
  • Teleological Argument for the Existence of God
    (Argument from Design)
  • ltIntentionally created objectsgt have the
    following properties ltbeauty, order, complex
    interworking parts, gt
  • Objects that are not intentionally created do not
    have these properties
  • ltThe universe and objects we find in itgt have lt
    beauty, order, complex interworking partsgt
  • So ltthe universe and objects in itgt must have
    been intentionally created.
  • If the universe was intentionally created, then
    there must be a creator.
  • The only creator capable of creating a universe
    would be God.
  • Therefore, there must be a God. (God exists)
  • Q What kind of argument is this? Is it valid
    or invalid? Rationally persuasive or not?

37
  • Teleological Argument for the Existence of God
    (Argument from Design)
  • ltIntentionally created objectsgt have the
    following properties ltbeauty, order, complex
    interworking parts, gt
  • Objects that are not intentionally created do not
    have these properties
  • ltThe universe and objects we find in itgt have lt
    beauty, order, complex interworking partsgt
  • So ltthe universe and objects in itgt must have
    been intentionally created.
  • If the universe was intentionally created, then
    there must be a creator.
  • The only creator capable of creating a universe
    would be God.
  • Therefore, there must be a God. (God exists)
  • What kind of argument?
  • Analogical argument
  • Inference to the best explanation

38
Analogical Argument
  • 1) Object A has properties (a,b,c,d, and e)
  • 2) Object B has properties (a,b,c,d.)
  • 3) Therefore, (probably) object B has property e.
  • Ex
  • Mice are mammals, and they get cancer when
    exposed to our product.
  • People are also mammals.
  • Therefore (probably) people will get cancer if
    they are exposed to our product.

39
Argument from Design as an Analogical Argument
  • 1) A watch has (beauty, complex interworking
    parts, and was intentionally created by a
    maker.)
  • 2) The universe/world has (beauty, complex
    interworking parts.)
  • 3) Therefore (probably) the universe/world has a
    maker.

40
Abductive argument
  • 1) The world/universe has (beauty, integrity,
    complex interworking parts).
  • 2) The best explanation for this is that the
    world/universe was intentionally created by a
    maker.
  • 3) Therefore, there must be a maker (God) who
    intentionally created the world/universe.

41
MATERIALS FROM THE READINGS ON ARGUMENTS
CONCERNING THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
  • Descartes
  • Aquinas
  • James
  • Dostoievski

42
Descartes Methodological Doubt to God
  • Descartes Project Set knowledge on a firm
    foundation.
  • Problem We seem to be uncertain about most
    things we think we know.

43
DESCARTES Meditations on First Philosophy
  • "Cogito Ergo Sum." (I think therefore I am.)
  • How far will this get us? Descartes has argued
    that the proposition "I exist." is self evident.
    But is it powerful enough that it can support my
    knowledge of the external world? Can this help me
    out of the vat?

44
DESCARTES Meditations on First Philosophy
  • Descartes and Skepticism if we can find a
    foundation for our belief system which is both
  • 1) self evidently true, and2) sufficiently
    powerful to enable us to deduce that our
    perceptual beliefs are true, THEN we could escape
    the skeptical argument. Is there such a
    foundation?

45
DESCARTES Meditations on First Philosophy
  • "Cogito Ergo Sum." (I think therefore I am.)
  • Question What is this thing (ME) whom we know to
    exist? Am I my body? Not in the demon world,
    where I still exist...
  • I am a thing that thinks. That's all I know for
    sure. I am something that doubts, affirms,
    understands, denies, wills, refuses, imagines and
    senses.
  • In fact, what I know is that I am a thing that
    has ideas.

46
DESCARTES Meditations on First Philosophy
  • MEDITATION THREE Concerning the Existence of God
  • Method Descartes has established that he exists
    as a thinking thing. In the third meditation he
    undertakes to examine the ideas that he finds in
    his mind, and to consider their origin. "But
    here I must inquire particularly into those ideas
    that I believe to be derived from things existing
    outside of me." If he can deduce that these ideas
    do nor originate in him, then he may conclude
    that there is something external that is the
    origin of these ideas.

47
Descartes on God
  • Thus there remains the idea of God. I must
    consider whether there is anything in this idea
    which could not have originated from me. I
    understand by the name God a certain substance
    that is infinite, independent, supremely
    intelligent, supremely powerful, and that created
    me along with everything else that exists if
    anything else exists. Indeed, all these are such
    that, the m ore carefully I focus my attention on
    them, the less possible it seems they could have
    arisen from myself alone. Thus, from what has
    been said, I must conclude that God necessarily
    exists.
  • -Meditation 3, p. 500.

48
Descartes on God
  • Argument from the Perfect Idea of an Infinite
    Being
  • 1) I have an idea of God which is the idea of a
    substance that is infinite, independent,
    supremely intelligent, and supremely powerful.
    III.p. 5002) As a finite and imperfect being,
    I cannot be the cause of a perfect idea of an
    infinite substance. 3) Only an infinite and
    perfect being could be the cause of such an
    idea.4) Therefore, there exists an infinite and
    perfect being who is the cause of my idea.

49
  • Since in all other matters I have become
    accustomed to distinguish existence from essence,
    I easily convince myself that it can even be
    separated from Gods essence, and hence that God
    can be thought of as not-existing. But
    nevertheless, it is obvious to anyone who pays
    close attention that existence can no more be
    separated from Gods essence than having three
    sides can be separated from the essence of a
    triangle, or that the idea of a valley can be
    separated from the idea of a mountain. Thus it
    is no less contradictory to think of God (that
    is, a supremely perfect being) as lacking
    existence (that is, lacking some perfection) than
    it is to think of a mountain without a valley.
  • Meditation 5, pp. 507-8

50
DESCARTES Meditations on First Philosophy
  • Ontological Argument (Meditation Five) 1) I
    have an idea of God. 2) The idea of God is the
    idea of a being that has all perfections. 3)
    'Existence' is a perfection. That is, what
    exists in reality is more perfect than what
    exists only in the imagination. 4) Therefore a
    being that has all perfections must have
    'existence.' 5) God exists.

51
DESCARTES Meditations on First Philosophy
  • Anselm's Version of the Ontological Argument 1)
    I have an idea of God. 2) The idea of God is the
    idea of the greatest conceivable being. 3) A
    being that exists in reality as well as in the
    mind (in imagination) is greater than a being
    that exists only in the mind. 4) Suppose that
    the Greatest Conceivable Being exists only in the
    mind but not in reality. 5) Then we can conceive
    of a being that is even greater one who exists
    in reality as well as in the mind. 6) Then we
    can conceive of a being greater than the greatest
    conceivable being-- but that would be a
    contradiction! 7) Therefore it is not the case
    that the greatest conceivable being exists only
    in the mind but not in reality. 8) Therefore the
    greatest conceivable being exists in reality as
    well as in the mind. 9) Therefore God exists.

52
DESCARTES Meditations on First Philosophy
  • Some Further Steps 1) If there is a perfect
    being, then the evil demon hypothesis is
    false. 2) Therefore my senses give me true
    information about the world.  3) Therefore
    skepticism is false.

53
DESCARTES Meditations on First Philosophy
  • Final Issues in Cartesian Epistemology
  • Does Descartes have a satisfactory response to
    the skeptic? Unless one is satisfied with the
    proof of the existence of God, one may conclude
    that Descartes has escaped the skeptical
    conclusion only because he accepted a bad
    argument. Few believe that any of the
    philosophical arguments for God's existence is
    conclusive indeed James assumes that his
    listeners and readers will already have
    recognized that the evidence for the existence of
    God is inconclusive.

54
Next Aquinas, James, and Others on God
  • Aquinas Five Ways to Prove the Existence of God
  • James The Will To Believe
  • Other arguments and issues.

55
Aquinas Five Ways to Prove the Existence of God
  • 1225-1274
  • Summa Theologica
  • Summa Contra Gentiles

56
The First Three Ways Cosmological Argument
  • Number One From Motion
  • Things are in motion.
  • Nothing can move itself.
  • Every object in motion had a mover.
  • There cannot be an infinite regress of movers.
  • So the first object in motion needed a mover.
  • This first mover is the Unmoved Mover, called
    God.

57
The First Three Ways Cosmological Argument
  • Number Two From Efficient Causes
  • 1) There exist things that are caused by other
    things.
  • 2) Nothing can be the cause of itself.
  • 3) There cannot be an endless string of objects
    causing other objects to exist.
  • 4) Therefore there must be an uncaused first
    cause called God.

58
First Three Ways Cosmological Argument
  • Contingent Being A being that could possibly
    not-exist.
  • Example All non-existent things (unicorns,
    manticores, Santa Clause) are contingent. Some
    existent things (probably all of us?) are
    contingent as well)

59
First Three Ways Cosmological Argument
  • Necessary Being A being that cant possibly
    not-exist.
  • Example? Aquinas takes himself to have shown
    that there must be a necessary being, but he
    thinks God is the only one. Anselm and
    Descartes also argue that existence is part of
    the essence of God, which is a way to say that
    Gods existence is necessary.

60
First Three Ways Cosmological Argument
  • Third Way from Contingent and Necessary Being
  • 1) Every being that exists is either explained
    by another (contingent) or  explained by
    itself (necessary).
  • 2) Not every being can be explained by another
    (contingent).
  • 3) Therefore, there exists a necessary being
    that accounts for (explains) its own existence.

61
  • Third Way From the Contingent and the Necessary
    (An alternative interpretation)
  • 1) A contingent being exists.
  • 2) This contingent being has a cause of its
    existence.
  • 3) The cause of its existence is something other
    than itself.
  • 4) What causes this contingent being must be a
    set that contains either only contingent beings
    or at least one necessary being.
  • 5) A set that contains only contingent beings
    cannot cause this contingent being to exist.
  • 6) Therefore, what causes this contingent being
    to exist must be a set that contains at least one
    necessary being.
  • 7)    Therefore, at least one necessary being
    exists.
  • Credit to http//agencyandresponsibility.typepad
    .com/phil_101/2012/07/aquinas-and-the-five-ways.ht
    ml

62
New Life for the Cosmological Argument?
  • William Lane Craig
  • Craig, William Lane. 1994. Reasonable Faith.
    Wheaton Moody Press

63
William Lane Craig Kalam Cosmological Argument
  • Argument based on the impossibility of an actual
    infinite
  • 1) An actual infinite cannot exist.
  • 2) An infinite temporal regress of events is an
    actual infinite.
  • 3) Therefore, an infinite temporal regress of
    events cannot exist.
  • Argument based on the impossibility of the
    formation of an actual infinite by successive
    addition
  • 1) A collection formed by successive addition
    cannot be an actual infinite.
  • 2) The temporal series of past events is a
    collection formed by successive addition.
  • 3) Therefore, the temporal series of past events
    cannot be actually infinite.
  • Craig, William Lane (1994). Reasonable
    Faith. Wheaton Moody Press.

64
William Lane Craig Kalam Cosmological Argument
  • The cosmological argument is usually criticized
    for ascribing to God a property that is earlier
    asserted as an impossibility. Can Craig respond
    to the objection that his argument is
    self-refuting?

65
Fourth Way From Gradations
  • Compare Descartes Mountain/Valley example?
  • Perfections come in degree, just as other
    properties come in degrees.

66
Fourth Way From Gradations
  • 1) Being and other good qualities come in
    degrees.
  • 2) For each such quality, there must be a
    maximum the thing that possesses more of that
    quality than any other thing.
  • 2) The maximum of any genus (kind of thing) is
    the cause of all other members in that genus.
  • 3) There must be a thing which is to all beings
    the cause of their ltbeing,goodness, other good
    and perfectible qualitiesgt.
  • 4) This would be a Being perfect in respect to
    all of these qualities.
  • 5) Such a being would be God.
  • 6) God exist.

67
Fourth Way From Gradations
  • 1) Being and other good qualities come in
    degrees.
  • 2) For each such quality, there must be a
    maximum the thing that possesses more of that
    quality than any other thing.
  • 2) The maximum of any genus (kind of thing) is
    the cause of all other members in that genus.
  • (Do we know that there is a perfect exemplar of
    each perfection? In what sense is the maximal
    exemplar the cause?)
  • 3) There must be a thing which is to all beings
    the cause of their ltbeing,goodness, other good
    and perfectible qualitiesgt.
  • (A single being? Why not many?)
  • 4) This would be a Being perfect in respect to
    all of these qualities.
  • 5) Such a being would be God.
  • 6) God exist.

68
Fifth Way Argument from DesignTeleological
Argument
  • 1) Things in the world move toward their end,
    or telos. (It is evident that we see things in
    the world acting always, or nearly always, in the
    same way so as to obtain the same result.
  • 2) They must do this designedly.
  • 3) There must be a designer (endowed with
    knowledge and intelligence) who directs them
    toward their telos.

69
Fifth Way Argument from DesignTeleological
Argument
  • Problems?
  • 1) This is an argument for the best explanation,
    and there are other available explanations. (Are
    any of them more likely?
  • 2) Are things truly directed teleologically, or
    does it just seem so? (Contemporary sciences
    avoid teleological explanations skyhooks.

70
William James
  • 1842-1910
  • American Philosopher Psychologist

71
James The Will to Believe
  • James addresses a different problem The problem
    of rational belief.
  • Jamess question is whether it is every
    rationally permissible to believe something when
    there is a dearth of evidence for it.
  • James takes it for granted that evidence for the
    existence of God is insufficient to make belief a
    requirement of rationality, but argues for the
    weaker claim that belief is permissible that is,
    that disbelief is not a requirement of
    rationality.
  • The kind of argument offered is similar to
    Pascals Wager

72
William JamessWill to Believe
  • Some Jamesian Terms
  • hypothesis,
  • Live hypothesis,
  • Dead hypothesis,
  • Option,
  • Forced option
  • Avoidable option,
  • Momentus option
  • Trivial option.
  • Genuine Option Living, forced, and momentus.

73
William JamessWill to Believe
  • Doxastic Voluntarism The theory that belief can
    be commanded by the will we can aquire a belief
    that P (for example, a belief that God exists)
    simply by willing to believe that P.
  • Question Is James committed to doxastic
    voluntarism? Is Pascal? The answer is no but you
    need to be able to explain why not!

74
William JamessWill to Believe
  • Principles of DisBelief
  • 1) If there is inadequate evidence that P is
    true, then it is irrational to believe P.
    Clifford, Huxley
  • 2) James Under certain circumstances, we may be
    justified in believing P even if there is
    inadequate evidence that P is true.

75
William JamessWill to Believe
  • What circumstances? When are we justified in
    believing P even if there is inadequate evidence?
  • P is a live hypothesis,
  • Choice between P and P is a forced option
  • The choice between P and P is momentus, not
    trivial.

76
William JamessWill to Believe
  • "Our passional nature not only lawfully may, but
    must, decide an option between propositions,
    whenever it is a genuine option that cannot by
    its nature be decided on intellectual grounds
    for to say, under such circumstances, "Don't
    decide, but leave the question open," is itself a
    passional decision, -- just like deciding yes or
    no, -- and is attended with the same risk of
    losing the truth."
  • James

77
William JamessWill to Believe
  • James View
  • Sometimes we must believe even where the
    evidence is inadequate.
  • We have two epistemic goals (i) Gain truth, and
    (ii) Avoid falsehood. It is only because we have
    both aims that our epistemic situation is
    interesting If we simply wanted to gain truth,
    we could believe everything. If we only wanted to
    avoid falsehood, we could believe nothing.
  • But given that we have both aims, James
    concludes that "a rule which would absolutely
    prevent me from acknowledging certain kinds of
    truth if those kinds of truth were really there,
    would be an irrational rule.

78
William JamessWill to Believe
  • The "Religious Hypothesis Is the option to
    believe in God live? Forced? Momentus?
  • We stand on a mountain pass in the midst of
    whirling snow and blinding mist, through which we
    get glimpses now and then of paths which may be
    deceptive. If we stand still we shall be frozen
    to death. If we take the wrong road we shall be
    dashed to pieces. We do not certainly know
    whether there is any right one. What must we do?
    Be strong and of a good courage. Act for the
    best, hope for the best, and take what comes. . .
    . If death ends all, we cannot meet death
    better. --James

79
William JamessWill to Believe
  • Upshot
  • 1) Jamess argument does not show that God
    exists, but (if it works) it shows that belief in
    God is not irrational, even if it requires a
    leap of faith.
  • 2) Do the objections that we raised to Pascals
    Wager apply to Jamess argument?

80
Argument for Analysis
  • Either God wants to abolish evil, and cannot
    or he can, but does not want to. If he wants to,
    but cannot, he is impotent. If he can, but does
    not want to, he is wicked. If God can abolish
    evil, and God really wants to do it, why is there
    evil in the world? Epicurus

81
  • Either God wants to abolish evil, and cannot
    or he can, but does not want to. If he wants to,
    but cannot, he is impotent. If he can, but does
    not want to, he is wicked. If God can abolish
    evil, and God really wants to do it, why is there
    evil in the world? Epicurus
  • 1) If there is a God, there is a being who is
    omnipotent and all loving (omnibenevolent).
  • 2) If God is all loving, then God wants to
    eliminate evil.
  • 3) If God is omnipotent, then God is able to
    eliminate evil.
  • 4) If God wants to do something, then God does
    it.
  • 5) there is evil in the world.
  • 6) Either God is not omnipotent, or God is not
    all loving.

82
The Problem of Evil
  • "God's power we allow is infinite Whatever
    he wills is executed But neither man nor any
    other animal are happy Therefore he does not
    will their happiness. His wisdom is infinite He
    is never mistaken in choosing the means to any
    end But the course of nature tends not to human
    or animal felicity Therefore it is not
    established for that purpose. Through the whole
    compass of human knowledge, there are no
    inferences more certain and infallible than
    these. In what respect, then, do his benevolence
    and mercy resemble the benevolence and mercy of
    men? -David Hume

83
The Problem of Evil
  1. God is Omnipotent, omniscient, and
    omnibenevolent, who wants only what is right and
    who does what He wants.
  2. If omniscient, He knows about evil.
  3. If omnipotent, He can eliminate evil.
  4. If omnibenevolent, He wants to eliminate evil.
  5. There is evil in the world.
  6. Therefore, there is no God.

84
The Problem of Evil
  • The problem of reconciling human suffering with
    the existence of a God who loves, is only
    insoluble so long as we attach a trivial meaning
    to the word "love", and look on things as if man
    were the centre of them. Man is not the centre.
    God does not exist for the sake of man. Man does
    not exist for his own sake. "Thou hast created
    all things, and for thy pleasure they are and
    were created." We were made not primarily that we
    may love God (though we were made for that too)
    but that God may love us, that we may become
    objects in which the divine love may rest "well
    pleased". ? C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

85
The Problem of Evil
  • Somewhere in the world, a man has abducted a
    little girl. Soon he will rape, torture, and
    kill her. If an atrocity of this kind is not
    occurring at precisely this moment, it will
    happen in a few hours or days at most. Such is
    the confidence we can draw from the statistical
    laws that govern the lives of six billion human
    beings. The same statistics also suggest that
    this girls parents believe as you believe that
    an all-powerful and all-loving God is watching
    over them and their family. Are they right to
    believe this? Is it good that they believe this?
  • No. The entirety of atheism is contained in
    this response.
  • -Sam Harris, Letter to a Christian Nation, p.
    50-51

86
Problem of Evil Solutions?
  • Free will?
  • Evil not from God but from a different source?
  • Perfect God might create imperfect worlds?
  • Evil doesnt actually exist just the appearance
    of evil. (Mystery- God works in mysterious
    ways.)
  • Evil is Gods way to test us.
  • Problems
  • Natural evils
  • Guilty bystander problem
  • Is it possible that horrors we seem to see are
    mere apparent horrors?
  • Does it make sense to test infants and children
    with pain and horror?

87
Dostoievski The Grand Inquisitor
  • What is Ivans point with the stories of horrors
    of human cruelty?
  • Why is the suffering of children especially
    significant?
  • What is the point of The Grand Inquisitor?
  • If God created humanity knowing that many people
    are weak and unable to pass the test, should
    God instead have avoided the whole mess? Or made
    people (most people) stronger and better?

88
Problem of Evil
  • 1) If God exists, then there exists a being who
    is all powerful, all knowing, all good. (All-PKG
    being)
  • 2) If an All PKG being existed, there would not
    be evil.
  • 3) There is evil.
  • 4) Therefore God does not exist.
  • Note The argument is valid.

89
Problem of Evil
  • Defense of Premises
  • Premise 1 Sometimes said to be a definition of
    God.
  • Premise 2 An all PKG being would know how, want
    to, and be able to eliminate evil.
  • Premise 3 Categories of wrongs to be considered
  • Human wrongs (does this still leave the
    bystander problem, and perhaps Ivans problem
    of unforgivable wrongs?)
  • Natural wrongs.

90
Problem of Evil
  • Premise 1
  • One might take the argument to show that if there
    is a God, then god is not all-PKG.
  • That this is not meaningless may be sufficient to
    show that premise 1 is not true by definition.
    (E. Sober p. 101)

91
Problem of Evil
  • Premise 2 Theodicy A reconciliation of God as
    all-PKG with the existence of evil.
  • Strategies
  • Soul-building evils evils make us better people.
  • Free will
  • Mystery

92
Is mystery a solution?
93
The Problem of Evil
  • Premise 3 Is there evil?
  • Strategies
  • 1) Evil is an illusion?
  • 2) Evil is balanced out by the greater goods?
  • 3)
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