| Contradictive Theistic Arguments
| Thursday, May 11, 2006
|Bellow I have listed some arguments by creationists that I have always had problems with, even when I wasn’t an atheist.
The first problem:
1. Everything has a beginning.
2. Therefore the world also has a beginning.
3. The cause of that beginning is god.
Let’s say the first premise is true. The second premise would be a derivation of the first premise. Let’s also assume that god is the cause of the universe. Now, from the first premise, god also needs to have had a beginning. So who created god? And who created the one who created god? And who created the one who created the one who created god? This goes on forever and ever.
The second problem:
The world is so perfect that it needs to have been created by some perfect being.
If perfection is an indication of creation, then god as a perfect entity, needs also to have been created by a perfect being, who also needs to have being created by another perfect being who….
Gosh, this sounds so much like the Plato’s forms.
If god does not need a beginning, then why does the universe needs one? And if god as a perfect being didn’t need to be created then why the universe does?
There is so much double standard in religious believes. The bases of many religions are in themselves a contradiction to the religious believes that are derived from them.
Labels: Morality, Philosophy, Religion
|posted by Roya @ 6:14 AM
You left off the standardard theist answer for any conflicts "God works in mysterious ways"
You should check out Raving Atheists and join up there.
Here is a thread that might interest you.
I get a lot of posting ideas from what is posted on the Raving Atheist forums.
The problem is AJ, that theist don't have an answer. And "God works in mysterious ways" is not an answer.
In the two arguments I have discussed, the first premises have came about using inductive reasoning. Inductive reasoning is based on what can be observed. God works in mysterious ways can not be worked out be induction.
Either the theists should use supernaturally based premises or give in to the fact that they cannot use induction from naturalistic bases to prove their points.
I was reading somewhere recently (it might have been the BBC) that a group of Cosmologists have shown that the Universe is constantly recycled from previous Universes... so maybe it didn't have a 'beginning' as such...
"Either the theists should use supernaturally based premises or give in to the fact that they cannot use induction from naturalistic bases to prove their points."
I think you hit the nail on the head right there... the idea of God is not falsifiable, and I reject any argument that tries to "prove" the existence of any type of God (or a derivative thereof)...
But as a matter of fact, on the basis that God is not falsifiable, you can't disprove God using "naturalistic bases" either.
I definitely don't think the universe had a beginning.
The universe is composed of mass-energy. Mass-energy cannot be created or destroyed. Therefore, the universe's mass-energy must always have existed, in one form or another.
Alex, I was not disproving god and I never said I could.
Sounds like string theory.
The burden of proof is on the one making the affirmative claim. I get tired of hearing "You can't prove that God DOESN'T exist." That's a bunch of bull...
If I claim that there is a purple elephant talking to a green ape in my living room, you would ask for proof. If I said "you can't disprove it, so it must be true", you'd think I was a lunatic. Yet this is exactly what many theists do.
i dont think that the analogy you give is valid in this case. in order for you to prove to me that "that there is a purple elephant talking to a green ape in [your] living room", all that needs to happen is for me to walk into your living room and make an observation.
Thus, your statement is falsifiable -- it can be proven false (or true) given some set of observations or experiments.
This is not so with the idea of God. By the idea's very nature, there are no real or thought experiments that we can devise in order to prove/disprove God's existence. It's simply a matter of faith.
(I also don't follow why the burden of proof is on the side making the affirmitive claim -- that is, why are you giving preference to one of two symmetrical statements? (i.e. god exists vs. god does not exist)).
So yeah, I stick to my point: you can't prove that God does/doesn't exist.
Oh, and Roya, thanks for all this btw, your posts make me think about this stuff. keep em coming.
"I also don't follow why the burden of proof is on the side making the affirmitive claim -- that is, why are you giving preference to one of two symmetrical statements? (i.e. god exists vs. god does not exist)."
Firstly I should mention this: We are not discussing epistemology here, on whether we can know or not.
The claim that god exists or god does not exist, as we are discussing, is not an epistemological claim (that we can know) as much as a practical argument. I can’t even prove that this blog and the people that comment on it are not just a delusion. A homicide doctor can never claim that the knife that was used to kill a man (say x) was not used by a cat to kill him (x) if it was a philosophical claim/statement.
Now in every day life, we expect that a homicide doctor to be able to claim that the knife that was used to kill a man (say x) was not used by a cat to kill him (x) with 100% confidence when he is in a courthouse.
You cannot prove that a cat did not do it or the fact that sun will rise tomorrow if we don’t accept scientific methods as our bases for getting knowledge.
Now, I can easily say that god does not exist as I can say that ether does not exist. Neither of them is detected. Ether was thought to exist because it was believed that light needs a media to travel through space. However, in an experiment that was used to detect ether, they found no affect of ether on the speed of light so it was concluded that there is no ether. That is no affect amounts to non existence.
God exists: I have good logical reasons/evidence for believing god exists, therefore I believe god exists.
God does not exist: I don’t have logical reasons/evidence for believing god exists, therefore I don’t believe god exists.
We have not detected any trace or affect of god on this world so he does not exist. Prove me wrong and I’ll change my mind.
If anything that is believed is accepted because one can’t prove them to be wrong, we would have tons of nonsense as having the same respect as a scientific claim. Astrology would have been equivalent to astronomy.
A few words...
"You cannot prove that a cat did not do it or the fact that sun will rise tomorrow if we don’t accept scientific methods as our bases for getting knowledge."
I couldn't agree more. Science, as a system for gathering, categorizing, and synthesizing knowledge is pretty stable when used correctly.
You bring up the example of aether. Again, the idea of aether was falsifiable. Aether was hypothesized to exist, and when the tools (michelson interferometer) were around to create an experiment to test the claim, it was found to be false and rejected. But the reason aether was ever accepted as a hypthesis by scientists is that they knew it was falisifiable. It was only a matter of time before an experiment would come along to prove or disprove its existence. This is precisely why intelligent design will never be accepted in science. The ID people want to include it under the guise of "a hypothesis", but the whole idea is not falsifiable, and thus can never be scientific.
God is the same way. It is outside the realm of science and logic. Science, as advanced as it is, only gives us answers to one question: How? Science NEVER answers Why?. The Why? is for philosophers to argue about. No one has ever solved the Schrodinger Equations and realized that God exists or that the universe functions based on an absolute code of morals (although I bet some people began to believe in God after seeing the beauty of everything around them through mathematics and science). Interpretations of science are dangerous -- think about Darwin's work and "Social Darwinism"... science doesn't preach, people do.
It is wrong to say "Since you can't prove this wrong, it must be true", but it is just as wrong to say "since you can't prove it right, it must be false". Fermat's Last Theorem couldn't be proved true for 400 years, but that didn't make it false. There is that same distinction, though, between Fermat, and the idea of God. In the former case, the idea of proof makes sense, whereas in the latter case, the idea of proof is equivalent to asking a nonesensical question ("what does the color blue smell like?)
So yeah, I agree that many theists do buy into the whole "you can't prove me wrong, so its true" fallacy, but when talking about an idea outside the scientific realm, "Prove me wrong and I’ll change my mind" is the same fallacy restated.
Alex, my point is this: In order for you to believe my elephant claim, you would want proof. To the extent that I cannot provide that proof, you would not believe me. How, then, when one claims the existence of God without proof, am I to believe that?
If I then said that I still believe my elephant claim and you cannot disprove my elephant claim, therefore it musy be true, you'd again think I'm nuts.
Many Christians justify the existence of God based on the fact that it cannot be disproven. My elephant can also not be disproven. Does that mean it's true?
By the way, this is the basis of the whole Flying Spaghetti Monster thing.
It is wrong to say "Since you can't prove this wrong, it must be true", but it is just as wrong to say "since you can't prove it right, it must be false".
No Alex. Even if god exists, theists are not right in believing that as they don't have evidence to support their claim. It would have been a coincidence.
God exists is not a true statement untill it has been proven true (or you have evidence for it). This holds even if god exists.
Lol, I love the Flying Spaghetti Monster thing. Many times I get tempted to say I believe in it when my audience are theists.
I did once and the reaction I got was hilarious. Lol
In reverse order,
I think you're missing my point. If proposition P cannot be proven in the realm of science (i.e. it is not falsifiable), the statement "P can be proven to be true" and the statement "P can be proven to be false" are both equally meaningless.
As a matter of fact, in regards to P, one can believe whatever the hell one wants to. Thus, you can't say theists are wrong in believing in God just because they can't prove that he exists. They can believe anything they want, since the statement itself cannot be proven true or false.
"God exists is not a true statement untill it has been proven true (or you have evidence for it)."
This is your belief. It is not based on any scientific principle. It may be based on your interpretation of science, but an interpretation of science is a subjective arena. You are starting out with the axiom "God does not exist", you assume that this axiom is true, and you build a worldview based on that axiom. A lot of theists do the same, except their fundamental axiom is "God exists". We may disagree with what they believe, with their fundamental argument, but we have no higher scientific authority on our side.
You seem to think that there is proof (in a scientific sense) that God doesn't exist. This is not the case. I reiterate -- the idea of God does not lend itself to scientific proof, it is a matter of belief. Thus, you can't elevate your position above anyone elses. There is simply no basis in it.
while in essense I agree that many theists make the mistake you accuse them of making, I think its very very important to distinguish the anology you gave to the idea of God. The analogy you give can still be proven true or false (even if you don't grant me entrance into your living room). If you don't provide me with proof, its simply a case of incomplete information (which is not the same as that information simply not existing). As an example...
Just because Joe Blow from Idaho doesn't know anything about quantum mechanics doesn't mean he doesnt have a finite chance of quantum tunneling to China. The secular world imposes its rules regardless of what he believes.
The non-falsifiable idea of God is very different. In such a case, there actually ISN'T any meaningful (read: logical, scientific) way to prove anything. That's the distinction I'm trying to draw attention to: the fact that we are NOT operating in the realm of science or logic or cold, hard, facts.
Sorry for rambling. And can you give a link to your Flying Spaghetti Monster entry?
“They can believe anything they want, since the statement itself cannot be proven true or false”.
Lol. But it does not make it rational, does it? That’s the point I wanted to make.
“"God exists is not a true statement until it has been proven true (or you have evidence for it)." This is your belief. It is not based on any scientific principle.”
Actually you need evidence (e.g.: mathematical, physical) for your claim to be taken as scientific and if one does not have one, then that claim is thrown out. It is not accepted.
Anything that is not accepted as scientific, I don't accept either.
"You seem to think that there is proof (in a scientific sense) that God doesn't exist."
Hah!? When did I say that? However scientific discoveries and findings are in opposition to the idea that there was a creation. If there is no need for creation then there is no need for a god as well. If god existed he wouldn’t matter.
I need to finish my essay now.
I understand your point Alex. I'm just saying that without proof, you can claim anything that is not falsifiable. What makes my claim any more falsifiable than "God is all around us"? Neither can be proven false or true if it is based only on belief and not facts. I don't claim that I'm sure God doesn't exist because there is no proof, only that without proof the claim of God exists is rather lame (as is my elephant claim).
And as Roya said: The more things we find out about our world through science, the less likely the existence of God.
I think we are arguing the same point from different angles, Alex.
Alex, I'll try to answer you in details in a post, next month. I have essays to do and then I have exams. I'll finish in 5-6 weeeks.
Thanks for your thought provoking comments. :)
I just changed my comment setting to allow anonymous comments and I got this!?
Shouldn't I delete him? Or do what the gifs do and change the comment?
I think Justinother is right: we are all arguing the same point, from different angles...
I guess that when I was younger (and I'm still young, so still naiive) I had a more atheistic view. I thought science could explain our origin, nature, etc. And while science does a pretty good job (I agree that science has turned the "creation in 7 days" into a fable), it never gives any real answers -- that is, the answers that we are all looking for (why are we here? is there even a reason? is there a higher being? etc etc etc)..
while science has, in essense, contradicted a lot of Christian dogma, this is simply because a lot of Christian dogma has stuck its nose into places it doesn't belong (i.e. the secular world).
i definitely don't believe that science points to a Godless universe. If it did, most world renowned physicists would be atheists, which is definitely not the case. As a matter of fact, I'm always pleasantly surprised when I meet or hear about some string theorist, mathematical physicist, or astrophysicist who has a strong faith. Faith is harder to come by than knowledge.
And to annonymous, I do have a lot of time on my hands, thanks for noticing.
And Roya, I look forward to your post... I'll be sure to chime in on that one :-) Good luck on your paper.