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Two arguments for the existence of god from analytic philosophy

 
 
Reply Sun 9 Aug, 2009 12:18 am
I found two arguments for the existence of god, and i would like to share it. Let me just say that i am not a theist, so i am not out to justify my "faith". I do it mainly for the love of arguments. The first argument is from Swinburne, and the second is from Plantinga. Swinburne is basically using an argument from the "inference to the best of explanation" in the philosophy of science. God is taken as a hypothsis to best explain the existence of the world, and it is based very much on the design of the universe at large. He often point to the design in the laws of nature, and that god is the designer that best explain the existence of the laws of nature. Plantinga` s argument is based on standard epistemology of justification. In particular, his argument is based on the existence of basic non-justifying beliefs that must be accepted. If some beliefs are non-justifying basic, then why can`t "god" be such non-justifying belief? To be honest, i like the argument very much, and i don ` t mind defending it if i have some free time.

Quote:

Swinburne gladly accepts the evidentialist challenge. He agrees that belief in God is rational only if there is sufficient evidence, scientifically demonstrable, of God's existence. Appealing to confirmation theory and employing Bayes's Theorem of Probability Calculus, he has developed a cumulative-case argument for God's existence that he claims inductively justifies the existence of God as the best explanation for a wide variety of well-known data. Indeed, Swinburne treats the existence of God as an explanatory hypothesis superior to its competitors.

Quote:

Plantinga attempts to help us see why believing in God in such circumstances is not irrational. Stated simply, even evidentialists must concede that not all statements require evidence or proof. For if one is to provide evidence for some statements, then there must be a class of statements that provide evidence but for which no evidence is needed. Why can't statements that assert the existence of God be in that class, the class of properly basic beliefs? For example, I can't prove that the external world exists or that you have a mind. Nonetheless, surely it is rational for me to accept that there is an external world and that there are other minds. It is entailed by other statements I accept rationally but without additional proof; for example, "I am typing at a keyboard now." Moreover, the conviction that there is a world of objects independent of my perceiving or imagining seems to well up irresistibly within me" as I go about my life.
source: God Among the Philosophers
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jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Aug, 2009 05:21 am
@vectorcube,
Well I think they are both good arguments. However there will remain an issue for what you mean by 'God'. If you mean 'a Divine Intelligence' the argument is pretty solid. Einstein believed in a 'God' in the same kind of sense:

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knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, of the manifestations of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty - it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute the truly religious attitude; in this sense, and in this alone, I am a deeply religious man


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I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings

Source

Even the uber atheist Richard Dawkins endorses this kind of theism, or deism, in the God Delusion. The first chapter is called 'a very religious non-believer' and refers to statements of this kind by Einstein. (However in a biography of Einstein published subsequently by Walter Isaacson, it is made very clear that Einstein had an even greater disdain for atheists than he did for organised religion.)

(Actually Plantinga's argument is a proper rationalist-metaphysical argument rather similar to the First Cause argument. If every cause requires a cause, then there must be a first cause...and so on.)

Some questions about these proofs: What it the implication of believing in such a God? What difference does it make if it is true or not? How does it affect either the scientist or the ordinary person? Does it carry any sense of moral obligation or is it just conjecture? And if Swinburne's argument is correct, then will it yield enough results to empirically demonstrate the 'existence of God' to a non-believer? Could it form the basis for actual research, or is it more a question of interpretation of the what we already know. (The image that springs to mind is one of those cameras they set up in the forest to capture the elusive Greater Spotted Marmoset...:bigsmile:)

These are some of the thoughts that occur to me. However I am not much of an adversary because I favour theism over atheism. I will let some of the anti-theists have a go. No doubt they will cut them to shreds...
vectorcube
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Aug, 2009 05:51 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;82055 wrote:
Well I think they are both good arguments. However there will remain an issue for what you mean by 'God'. If you mean 'a Divine Intelligence' the argument is pretty solid.

I am not specific, but it works with any notion of god.







Quote:
(Actually Plantinga's argument is a proper rationalist-metaphysical argument rather similar to the First Cause argument. If every cause requires a cause, then there must be a first cause...and so on.)



I don` t know about it. Plantinga used notions in the fundational theory of justification, or specifically, basic justified belief to make his case. This is to my mind quite different from the notion of "cause".

Quote:

I will let some of the anti-theists have a go. No doubt they will cut them to shreds...



Very unlikely. The two arguments do not stand alone. They both uses concepts from different areas in philosophy that for the most part anticipates certain objections. For example, Swinburnes uses notions like the inference to the best explanation. This is very atypical of the usual arguments for the existence of god. Because of this connections with other parts of philosophy, any objections rised would have to take into considerations of other parts of philosophy. The more "connected" the concept is to the rest of philosophy, the least likely it would be refuted. The concept of " inference to best explanation" is very established, and plausible as a principle in other parts of philosophy.
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Krumple
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Aug, 2009 02:00 pm
@vectorcube,
This is silly. Let me ask you, would you hand someone 90% of all your time and money off something they claim to be an investment, but give you absolutely no credentials? I don't even think the bravest inverter would get involved with such a situation, yet there are people who willingly accept this argument that religion tries to sell. No one has ever seen the investment pay out, yet there are lots of people tossing in their effort and money without questioning. So how is it, the first investment is absurd but in the other situation it is perfectly acceptable? No one sees the insanity here?
vectorcube
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Aug, 2009 02:43 pm
@Krumple,
Krumple;82132 wrote:
This is silly.


If it is silly because there are theists in the world, then i can` t help you. It is your own personal issue. If it is silly because of something specific regarding the arguments, then we have a problem.


Krumple;82132 wrote:
No one has ever seen the investment pay out, yet there are lots of people tossing in their effort and money without questioning. So how is it, the first investment is absurd but in the other situation it is perfectly acceptable? No one sees the insanity here?


I am not sure i get the "first investment" analogy. Maybe you are thinking of god as some sort of promise of a continuation of life after dead. In such case, you objections have nothing at all do with arguments regarding the existence of god. The two arguments i have for the existence of god do not require a god that cares for humen life, or humen existence for that matter. It could be a evil god that promises eternal pain in the life after. All that such an argument attempt to show is that there is such a being that exist. It does not give us anything specific on what god is like.
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