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Arguments for the Existence of God II

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1 Arguments for the Existence of God II
Design and Ontological Arguments

2 Ontological Arguments
An Ontological Argument argues from some fact about the concept of God to the reality of God, or the necessary existence of God. The most famous version of the Ontological Argument is due to Anselm.

3 Teleological Arguments
A Teleological Argument argues from the fact that the universe appears to be well ordered or seems to have a purpose, to the conclusion that the universe must either have a designer or a purpose. These are sometimes called arguments from design, or ‘Design Arguments’ We will start with these….

4 Design Arguments A model design argument:
The clock has many different parts that must be well ordered if it keeps time. The clock does keep time. The clock’s order cannot be accidental. Therefore the clock must be designed If there is a design, then there is a designer So, the clock designer must exist.

5 Comments on the Clock-maker argument
Is there any meaningful difference between making a clock and making a universe? More that one clock maker is possible, so are teams of clockmakers. Not all clocks are good clocks. Are these worries for the design argument for God?

6 A Theistic Design Argument [TDA]
The universe contains many parts that are complex yet well ordered and suggest that they have a special purpose. It is impossible for this sort of order to appear accidentally. If the universe shows evidence of complex design which could not be accidental, then there must be a designer. Thus, there is a designer. If there is a designer, then that designer must comprehend the universe, God is such a being Therefore God exists and designed the universe.

7 Comments on TDA Premise 2 is a very strong claim. It maintains the IMPOSSIBILITY that order could exist without a designer. Is this true? Even if the argument to the existence of a designer goes through, does that argument support the further conclusion that God is the designer?

8 Revised-TDA The universe contains many parts that are complex yet well ordered and suggest that they have a special purpose. There is a low probability that this sort of order would appear accidentally. If the universe shows evidence of complex design which could not be accidental, then there must be a designer. Thus, there is a high probability that there is a designer. If there is a designer, then that designer must comprehend the universe, God is such a being Therefore, there is a high probability that God exists and designed the universe.

9 Comments on R-TDA The Revised argument softens the key premise of the argument. The argument is still deductive, but the truth of premise 2 is now an empirical matter. How can we determine the probability that the universe would be otherwise???

10 Probability worries… Probability is a function of frequency relative to a total class of events. If there is one universe, then the probability of the universe being THIS way is 1.00 If there are many universes, then we need to know what they are like in order to determine probability If there are an infinite number of universes, then all possible universes could come to be. Does it make sense to say that X is improbable if you don’t know the probability of the alternatives?

11 A Prima Facie Reply to R-TDA
Suppose that you play powerball. The Odds of winning the jackpot are: 1 in 146,107,962.00 A jackpot is an improbable event. It requires that a random process yield a special and well ordered set of numbers. If MY TICKET WINS, then a special event has occurred – a jackpot.

12 The Jackpot reply The POWERBALL drawing result contains many parts that are complex yet well ordered. There is a low probability that this sort of order would appear accidentally. If there is a JACKPOT, this cannot be accidental. Only a fixed lottery would produce a JACKPOT.(Or JACKPOTS are far more likely if the lottery is fixed.) Thus, there is a high probability that the POWERBALL is fixed. If the POWERBALL is fixed, the fixer must control POWERBALL, Charles Strutt (head of the MSLA) controls POWERBALL Therefore, there is a high probability that Charles Strutt fixed the POWERBALL drawing

13 Lottery II Obviously lotteries don’t work THAT way.
No matter how hard it gets to win a lottery, you never NEED to fix the lottery in order for a Jackpot to be possible.

present. Executive Director Multi-State Lottery Association 4400 NW Urbandale Drive, Urbandale, Iowa Phone ; Fax ; Other Facts: “wrote the prospectus and handled SEC filings for a movie to be called "Flesh Twister”. ” “got an autograph from Larry (of the Three Stooges). ” “did a little legal work for a rock band called Luxury. One of their biggest hits was "The Stupidist Thing." ” ROCK ON CHARLIE STRUTTS <

15 Hume’s Worries about TDA
Hume also thought about a version of the Design Argument and had several worries: Can we know that there is only one designer and not many? Any designer would be a complex and well ordered entity, who designed the designer? Is our world a ‘rough draft’? Are there other copies of THIS design. Is our universe a school project? …etc…

16 Final Remarks on TDA According to TDA undesigned order is impossible and any order necessitates a designer but this is too strong. According to R-TDA undesigned order is improbable and the presence of order makes a designer probable. But the lottery example suggests that order can randomly emerge. A fixed lottery would also be orderly, but why assume that the more complex theory is correct? Remember Ockham’s Razor!!!

17 Ontological Argument The original aim of the ontological argument was to convince non-christians that the Christian God was real. Someone would explain God to a person and then once they understood the idea of God…. WHAM! The ontological Argument

18 Anselm’s Ontological Argument
We can think of a Being greater than any other being. (Greatest Possible Being –GPB) We all know that existence in reality is superior to existence in the mind alone. If a being exists only in the mind, then there is a greater being. Therefore the GPB must exist in reality, not just in the mind. The concept of God, is the concept of the greatest possible being Thus, God is the GPB and exists in reality.

19 Comments on the Ontological Argument
Is it Valid? Gaunillo’s Reply – The Perfect Island Anselm’s Response - Assumes God exists - Uses Grammar to decide a substantive issue???

20 Comments on the Ontological Argument II
Is it Sound? Premise (2) – Greater to exist in reality? -- Assumes Degrees of Being? -- Is existence A property of things?

21 Ontological Argument: Another Version
God is the most perfect being It is more perfect to exist than to not exist If God lacked existence then God would not be God (by 1) Thus, To understand ‘God’ is to understand that God must exist. To deny that God Exists is a contradiction. Therefore, God Exists (Necessarily)

22 Kant’s Reply What is the difference between saying: I have $100, and
I have$100 that exist? -- Nothing. Therefore you say nothing about God if you say ‘God Exists’ and you take nothing away if you say ‘God’ without ‘exists’. The proper conclusion to the Ontological Argument: If God exists, then God Exists necessarily (not… God exists (necessarily)).

23 Recap of Proofs of God… 1) The Experiential Argument – assumes that causes are determined by their effects. 2) The Cosmological Argument – cannot block a brute-fact account

24 Recap continued… 3) The Design Argument – depends on premises about probability that need more support 4) The Ontological Argument – the conclusion is really conditional, not necessary.

25 Other Options If we cannot provide a definitive argument that God exists, then what arguments might decide the issue of Theism? Argument for the Rationality of Theism (Pascal’s Wager) Argument for the Irrationality of Theism (The Problem of Evil)

26 The Rationality of Theism
Pascal’s Wager and The Problem of Evil

27 Rational Choice Arguments
A ‘Rational Choice’ Argument claims that its conclusion is preferable, maximizing, or optimizing relative to some goal AND according to the principles of human rationality. Examples include: Economic rationality arguments (pricing, purchasing, interest rates, etc.), Some Moral Arguments, Game theory applications.

28 A Simple Rational Choice Argument
You want to fill your gas tank within one hour and for the lowest possible cost. You can go to gas station A, which will cost $45 and take 63 minutes. Or, you can go to gas station B which will cost $50 and take 55 minutes. Which should you do?

29 Absolute Restrictions…
What if the time limit were absolute? Suppose you needed the gas so that you could go catch a flight, and if you leave more than 60 minutes from now you will miss the flight? In that case this goal sets an absolute restriction upon your choice.

30 Relative Value issues Which is more important?
Saving $5 at the cost of 3 lost minutes Saving 5 minutes at the cost of $5 If you value money then you will sacrifice time for money. If you value time, then you will sacrifice money for time.

31 Expected Utility In general rational choice arguments seek to present one possible choice (out of many) as maximizing expected utility (the amount of net gain) from the choice. Often we lack information, but we need to make choices anyway– this is called ‘decision under uncertainty’ FYI: You know how this works if you have ever seen Deal or no Deal.

32 PASCAL’s WAGER Rational Choice Arguments need to be thought of relative to the choices we are considering. Blaise Pascal (a famous mathematician and philosopher) saw the issue of Theism vs. Atheism as a rational choice problem, along the lines of a bet or wager.

33 A simple wager… Which is the best bet?
Risk $1 with 1 chance in 10 of winning $10 Risk $1 with 1 chance in 100 of winning $500 Risk $5 with 1 chance in 10 of winning $100

34 What is the expected utility?
Figure out the payoffs for all possible outcomes then sum the outcomes to determine expected utility (EU). For Bet A: Risk $1 with 1 chance in 10 of winning $10 EU (A) = (1/10 x $9) + (9/10 x -$1) = $0

35 The Best Bet… IF I don’t bet I keep my ‘risk’ amount, if I bet my expected return could be lower or higher than that amount. A) Risk $1 with 1 chance in 10 of winning $10 EU(A) = $0 [Return = -$1] There is no way that (A) is the best bet!

36 Is B the Best bet? B) Risk $1 with 1 chance in 100 of winning $500
EU(B) = (1/100 x $499) + (99/100 x -1)=$4 [Return = +3 over not playing]

37 Is C the Best Bet C) Risk $5 with 1 chance in 10 of winning $100
EU (C) = (1/10 x $95) + (9/10 x -$5) = $5 [Return = +$0 over not playing]

38 The best bet is B B) Risk $1 with 1 chance in 100 of winning $500
EU(B) = (1/100 x $499) + (99/100 x -1)=$4 [Return = +3 over not playing] (B) is the only bet worth taking, even though you have the lowest chance of winning!!!

39 Pascal’s Wager I Pascal Assumes that we want to maximize the value of our choices about what to do and what to believe. He thinks the issue is a simple binary choice: Believe in God or Deny God

GOD EXISTS True Belief and infinite reward in afterlife False belief and infinite torment in afterlife GOD DOESN’T EXIST False belief but you waste time/money and restrict conduct during life True belief. You save time/money during life and you pursue all desires alike.

41 How to decide? Pascal accepts that you control your choice but not the facts. If you don’t know which fact obtains then you should choose the CHOICE with the best overall outcome… For Pascal, the best Choice is theism.

42 How to Decide II The reasoning is simple:
If God Exists, the belief yields infinite benefit and finite loss (time/money) while non-belief yields infinite loss and finite gain. If God doesn’t exist, then belief yields only finite loss while non-belief yields only finite gain Believe = (infinite gain-finite loss) [Positive return] Don’t Believe = (finite gain-infinite loss) [Negative return]

43 Criticisms of Pascal’s Wager
No way to assess the relative probability of ‘the facts’. Knowing them would change outcomes. Is the key assumption (infinite reward/loss) correct? How could we know? Revised Wager? What if God forgives non-belief? Does non-belief become the rational choice?

44 A deeper problem? Voluntarism about belief…
Pascal assumes that we can decide what to believe and what not to believe. -Is this true? (Can you believe that you are a rabbit?) -Perhaps we can choose to expose ourselves to reasons, and reason controls belief? …except many have read Pascal and rejected theism.

45 Theism and Morality Many theists argue that objective morality requires God. [No God, no source of morality for all] Some argue that life only has a purpose if God is real. Others still argue that God must exist otherwise there is no justice. The MAIN POINT is that theists tend to see God as contributing to the moral order of the universe.

46 But what about EVIL? Where does evil come from?
Why is there suffering in the world? Why do people die, get sick, and feel pain? …and more importantly, if God enhances the moral order, why doesn’t he do something about EVIL??

47 Try to stop EVIL!

48 The Problem of Evil (1) Classical Theists assume: God is omnipotent
God is omnibenevolent God is omniscient …Given A - C, God has the power and knowledge required to eliminate Evil in the universe. BUT, we still seem to find evil in the universe!

49 Problem of Evil (2): The Logical Problem of Evil
The Logical Problem of Evil (LPoE) is this: If God is omnipotent, all good and all knowing then God can and must prevent unnecessary suffering and harm Suffering and harm occur Therefore, God either chooses to allow evil or cannot prevent evil If the former, then God is not all good If the later, God is not all powerful Thus, God does not exist (as conceived)

50 Logical Problem of Evil (cont.)
The consequence is that either (a) our conception of God is wrong or (b) we cannot recognize suffering, harm, and evil, or (c) God cannot exist If (a) then God might not be the sort of being worth believing in. If (b) then we cannot tell if God is good or evil, which means that our conception of God is wrong (thus (a)) If (c) then we should deny theism.

51 A Prima Facie Reply to the LPoE
American Philosopher Alvin Plantinga has suggested that free-will explains why there is evil. Human morality assumes free-will. If God created us with free-will then God cannot prevent human evil that results from free actions. Thus, we create evil, not God.

52 A quick reply (or three) to the Free-will defense
Assumes free-will. There are good reasons to think free-will is an illusion. Free-will is incompatible with divine omniscience (if God knows what you will do before you do it, are you free?) If God made us free, isn’t God still responsible for what we do?

53 The Evidential Problem of Evil…
This is a rational choice version of the PoE The fact is that evil and suffering exist We face a choice: should we be theists or not? LOOK OUT! BIG EVIL TORNADO!!!

54 Evidential Problem of Evil (2)
If we allow that there are ways to make God’s existence logically compatible with the presence of suffering, then we face a rational choice problem (A) Accept Theism; and a complex background story (B) Reject Theism; with no further assumptions. If there is no God, then evil does not need a special explanation. This, many argue, seems far more plausible on its face.

55 Evidential Problem of Evil (3)
Theists traditionally supplement their thesis with a THEODICY that helps to explain why people suffer even though God could have prevented it…

56 Theodicy Continued Examples (after Rauhut):
Its all part of a big plan that is good (Leibniz) We are being Punished Suffering builds character Limits of human knowledge (we can’t see it, but…) Contrast (need evil to see good) The active devil Test of faith

READ RAUHUT CH. 8 READ MILL Reading from Syllabus Also Plato Euthyphro <

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