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Common arguments for the existence of a god

Old 07-04-2006, 01:06 AM
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Common arguments for the existence of a god

The most common arguments given for the existence of god:

Modal arguments (using the modalities of possibility and necessity):

(1) If God possibly exists, then God necessarily exists
(2) God possibly exists
(3) Therefore, God necessarily exists.

Cosmological argument:

(1) Whatever exists, and is contingent, has been caused to exist by something other than and not part of itself.
(2) The world exists and is contingent
(3) Therefore, something not of the world has caused the world to exist.

Teleological argument (argument from design):

(1) The world as a whole is well-ordered
(2) Good order obtains only by the design of something intelligent
(3) Therefore, there is an intelligent designer of the world as a whole.

Moral argument:

(1) Moral laws tell us how, in general, we really should behave, not merely how we or others want to regulate our behavior
(2) Such laws can only be thought of as promulgated by a supreme and benevolent legislator
(3) Therefore, there is a supreme and benevolent legislator.

Abridged from a blog by Michael Liccione, PhD (philosophy).
http://provetomethatgodexists.blogsp...s-and-ill.html
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Old 07-04-2006, 01:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Don S
The most common arguments given for the existence of god:

Modal arguments (using the modalities of possibility and necessity):

(1) If God possibly exists, then God necessarily exists
(2) God possibly exists
(3) Therefore, God necessarily exists.

Okie doke I don't understand this.
What are the modalities of possibility and necessity?

Ta
J
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Old 07-04-2006, 01:29 AM
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I thought David Hume had pretty much holed all of Aquinas' five ways? You have to admit though, Aquinas was an elegant thinker.

I prefer Pascal's Wager.
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Old 07-04-2006, 02:42 AM
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Originally Posted by paulmh
I thought David Hume had pretty much holed all of Aquinas' five ways? You have to admit though, Aquinas was an elegant thinker.

I prefer Pascal's Wager.
Thank you, thank you!!!I have been going nuts trying to remember the name of that!
"Pascal -- French philosopher, scientist, mathematician and probability theorist (1623-1662) -- argues that if we don't know whether God exists then we should play it safe rather than risk being sorry."
http://www.iep.utm.edu/p/pasc-wag.htm gives a long outline of the logic of Pascal's Wager and a number of rebuttals. The funny part to me is that anyone could take such a notion seriously.
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Old 07-04-2006, 03:07 AM
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Bahookie;
Noun: modality - mow'dalitee
A classification of propositions on the basis of whether they claim necessity or possibility or impossibility
- mode - how something is done or how it happens
In a nutshell, this arguement is saying that if it's *possible* that G*D exists, then G*D *must* exist.
Since it is clearly *possible* that G*D *could* exist,
G*D therefore *must* exist.

The arguement is based upon the premise that if it's possible, it must be.
If one rejects that premise, then the arguement looses its force.

Paul;
I just did a quick check on Aquinas' five ways. Just as I remembered, these arguements are taken from Aristotle. He changed Aristotle's word "good" to "G*D" along with a few minor changes. There was no such thing as plagerism back then, lol! But, it's ironic how the leading Christian philosopher's arguement for the necessity of G*D rests on a pagan's work about the natural world.

Don:
These are interesting arguements. I've heard of Pascal's arguement before too. I've also read a refutation of the logic undermining it, but, cannot remember it off the top of my head. I'll try to find it.
Thanks for putting these forth for discussion!

Shalom!

Last edited by historyteach; 07-04-2006 at 07:41 AM.
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Old 07-04-2006, 03:44 AM
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Ockums Razor; When two posibilities exist, it is the simpler one that will prove. ie There is no God
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Old 07-04-2006, 03:46 AM
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But, Clancy,
It is logically impossible to prove a negative.

And why is "no G*D" simpler than "G*D?" Just curious to your reasoning there, ok?

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Old 07-04-2006, 03:49 AM
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with Pascal's wager I would challenge the first premise, if God possibly exists, then God necessarily exists...how did you get from possibly to necessarily?
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Old 07-04-2006, 03:57 AM
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It is obvious why 'no God' is simpler than God! God is an enormously complex construct! no god is simple....

I think i may be doing a diservice to ockum....maybe i arranged his razor wrongly it just when you have two possiblities it is always more likely the simpler of the two is the truth....tis true you cannot prove a negative

the Whole God question is infact 'unfalsifible' ie cant be proved false; and by the same token cant be proved true either...
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Old 07-04-2006, 04:01 AM
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Illogical syllogism?
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Old 07-04-2006, 04:01 AM
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There's a bit of confusion.
Pascal's Wager is the following:
To Pascal, God was the Christian God of the Bible. The Bible provides information about the Christian God but not proof for God. Should you believe in this God? In his Wager, Pascal provides an analytical process for a person to evaluate his options in regard to belief in the Christian God. The person who has no more information than that which he finds in the Bible would find himself facing the following possibilities:

You may believe in God, and if God exists, you go to heaven: your gain is infinite.
You may believe in God, and if God doesn't exist, your loss is finite and therefore negligible.
You may not believe in God, and if God doesn't exist, your gain is finite and therefore negligible.
You may not believe in God, and if God exists, you will go to hell: your loss is infinite.

From these possibilities, and the principles of statistics, Pascal deduced that it would be better to believe in God unconditionally. It is an application of game theory to itemize options and payoffs and is valid within its assumptions. After starting with only that information found in the Bible, the person can then be given additional information to encompass all the knowledge that man has assessed and on re-evaluating his position, he will reach the same conclusion; it would be better to believe in the God of the Bible unconditionally.

The following table shows the values that Pascal assigned to each possible outcome:

God exists (G) God does not exist (~G)
Belief in God (B) +∞ (heaven) 0
Non-belief in God (~B) −∞ (hell) 0

Given the values that Pascal proposes, the option of believing in God (B) dominates the option of not believing in God (~B). In other words, the value gained by choosing B is always greater than or equal to that of choosing ~B.
The modalities of possible and necessity are a common arguement for the existence of G*D.

Note, Pascal's Wager is not an arguement for the existence of G*D at all. It's simply a mathamatical reasoning as to why we *should* believe in G*D, given the outcome.

Personally, I would challange the premise of the modality arguement too. If it is possible, that doesn't make it necessary.
I think they make this arguement for G*D only. And that would make sense, if you believed in G*D to begin with! LOL!

Correct me if I'm wrong, but, any logical arguement must be able to be used in other circumstances than just the one it's being used in. It must be able to be generalized, if I remember correctly.
Is that correct? If so, this arguement falls. This arguement would only work for G*D.

Shalom!
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Old 07-04-2006, 04:04 AM
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See, I understand the LACK of an existence of G*D to be much more complex than the existence of G*D.
Science underscovering the origens of the universe with the Big Bang Theory still cannot give reason for the existence of matter which CREATED the bang.
And evolution has never found that missing link...

I am NOT disagreeing with these scientific answers. I just find them ultimately more complex than the belief in G*D for the answer to the question "why" or "how."

Shalom!
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Old 07-05-2006, 05:00 AM
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Aquinas may very well have "taken" the Five Ways from Aristotlean or Platonic thinking, but I'd like to rebut this on two fronts - first of all, propositions maintain the same truth-values regardless of whether they've been plagiarised or not. Secondly, and more prosaic, Aquinas represents one of the great intellectual traditions of the first millennium, which had as its two sets of abstract tools the Greek and Jewish/Christian traditions. It's over-simplistic to say he "stole" these ideas from Aristotle, since he was invovled in a 1000 year work of fusion, a tradition which stretched back through Anselm and Augustine to people like Philo of Alexandria, who were attempting such a fusion at the time of Christ, as a social response to a problem of increasing cosmopolitanism. What is Christianity if not Hellenized Judaism?

The Five Ways as you touched on are rebutted, as you rightly said because the apparent logic which powers them only works for normal languages, not for meta-languages. Logic is a waste of time for discussing metaphysics. If we assign a truth value 1 to the proposition "existence is an attribute of perfection" then yes, the conclusion of the modal logic argument is also 1 - God necessarily exists. But the fact that I can conceive of the label "perfect being" doesn't mean that I can conceive of a perfect being, let alone what attributes combine to make "perfection". It becomes a convoluted process of assertion, a sort of sleight of hand. The magic takes place in the design of the propositions - I can conceive of God, the world is well-ordered, all effects have a cause. Once the logic begins to unfold all is lost.

"That which we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence".
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Old 07-05-2006, 05:28 AM
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What is Christianity if not Hellenized Judaism?
This one would take an entire thread all of its own to debate, lol!

...propositions maintain the same truth-values regardless of whether they've been plagiarised or not.
No disagreement.
It was still taken from Aristotle. That fact is all I stated.

And I completely agree with you that the fusion of ideas occured. And it continued to occure up through the Renaissance. It seems the invention of the nation/state ended the open sharing of ideas. (Could be wrong there; just a brief observation.)

Shalom!
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Old 07-05-2006, 06:11 AM
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It seems the invention of the nation/state ended the open sharing of ideas
Until the invention of the internet....

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Old 07-06-2006, 10:22 AM
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Originally Posted by historyteach
Science underscovering the origens of the universe with the Big Bang Theory still cannot give reason for the existence of matter which CREATED the bang.
The question of the origins of matter and energy is a stumbling block, yet the question about the origins of highly ordered energy/matter (God must be one, the other, or both) is not a stumbling block?

I can accept that matter and energy have always existed.
Creationists have no problem believing God always existed.

Which one seems more plausable? I can and do observe matter and energy everyday, so I know it exists. I am yet to see any direct evidence of God existing. So if I have to pick which one has always existed, I am going to choose the one I know currently exists, and has for all known history.
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Old 07-06-2006, 10:34 AM
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If you use the uncaused cause theory to try to prove the existence of god, you get stuck in a logical loop like slacker is talking about.....if everything has to have been caused or created by something else then it is a never ending chain....if something created the matter present at the big bang, then something would had to have created that something and something created that something to infinity.

If you accept that something could have just allways existed, then why not the matter itself? What if the uncaused cause (or god) is the matter, itself? Wouldn't that make everything god?
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Old 07-06-2006, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by historyteach
Bahookie;

In a nutshell, this arguement is saying that if it's *possible* that G*D exists, then G*D *must* exist.
Since it is clearly *possible* that G*D *could* exist,
G*D therefore *must* exist.
Holy Cow!

So
if it's *possible* that flying pigs exists, then flying pigs *must* exist.
Since it is clearly *possible* that flying pigs *could* exist,
flying pigs therefore *must* exist.

Am I following this right?

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Old 07-06-2006, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by PaperDolls
Holy Cow!

So
if it's *possible* that flying pigs exists, then flying pigs *must* exist.
Since it is clearly *possible* that flying pigs *could* exist,
flying pigs therefore *must* exist.

Am I following this right?

yeah it doesn't make sense to me either...

That argument contains a couple of logical fallacies called argumentum ad ignorantiam (or argument from ignorance) and an appeal to probability. Proving that a statement is possible and unable to be proven false is not enough to be able to affirm its validity. It is not a logically valid statement.
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Old 07-06-2006, 10:54 AM
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Something is REALLY huge. But imho it ain't no mean angry gray bearded schizo white man!
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