Tuesday, March 22, 2011

(A Critique Of) Arguments for God and the Universe

There are some seemingly well constructed arguments for the existence of god utilized by apologists in their quest to rationalize their religious beliefs. The three classic apologist arguments are the:

1) Teleological Argument (Argument from Design)

-Basically, there exists order and complexity within nature, and order and complexity, ie, design, is contingent upon a mind. This mind is god.

2) Cosmological Argument

-Basically, finite entities must have a cause. You cannot have an infinite causal loop/chain, in which something created something created something ad infinitum. There must be a first cause. This first cause, by definition, is not contingent and is not an effect.

3) Ontological Argument

-Basically, and laughably, it asserts, a priori, that if you can conceive of the greatest possible entity, then said entity must exist, since existence is superior to nonexistence.

I find none of the three arguments to be compelling. The Ontological Argument is just silly, and I don't even want to waste any time on it. The Teleological Argument is one I have tocued on, briefly, in a roundabout sort of way, when discussing the merits of the Anthropic principle. The Cosmological argument is the one that I would ascribe the most weight to, in terms of being compelling, although this is a gradient sort of assessment, which staill falls in the realm of ERGH, SORRY.

There have been various versions of these arguments proposed since their various inceptions. One that has achieved a lot of 'fame' as of late is the Kalam Cosmological Argument. The Kalam variant of the Cosmological Argument goes thusly:

1.Whatever begins to exist has a cause.

2.The Universe began to exist.

3.Therefore, the Universe had a cause

I'd like to just throw down some basic thoughts that pertain to these sorts of arguments, in a generalized sort of way. This is not a well constructed, directed critique of each specific argument (although I will be doing such a blog in the near future) but rather just me blahing on paper for a few minutes.

Let's begin.

I feel that, despite all of the logistical arguments to the positive, the billions of believers, and all the "faith" in the world, there are no gods in existence. I of course can't claim true knowledge, but I reject the theistic position for a multitude of reasons, the largest simply being a lack of evidence. I also feel that the arguments for said existence have all been lacking, and they are all either invalid, unsound, or both. Each one I have encountered has contained one or more logical fallacies.

The arguments for the existence of a god are flawed for a few reasons. They are almost always used to confirm the existence of a specific god, when there is no reason to belive the do, because.....well, they DON'T. If say, an ontological argument proved a god existed, a Christian would say it proved that Yahweh existed, a Muslim would say it proved Allah existed, a Hindu would assert that it proved the existence of say Brahma or Vishnu, etc. Several thousand years ago, some would have said it proved that Zeus existed. None of them are right.

The arguments themselves, if correct, do NOT prove the existence of a certain god, and in fact, they wouldn't even prove that a god existed. Must a mind or a first cause necessarily be a god? I should think not. Nor do these arguments rule out polytheism (multiple gods). The major monotheistic religions not only want to state that these arguments prove that a god exists, which happens to be THEIR god, AND ONLY their god. Sorry, but you cannot ascertain that via these arguments. The conclusions are too unclear. Apart from establishing a cause, or a mind (which they don't), they do not

If someone tries to assert that the universe MUST have been created, and god is the answer to who is the creator, don't accept it. There is NO reason to belive the answer must be a who, despite the protestations of theists. There is much about the universe we don't yet know, and people far smarter than I are working very dilgently on these answers. However, they do know much thus far, and they are working to uncover new things all the time. There are a multitude of possibilities, many of which we cannot even conceive of yet. There are experiments in many areas that are working to solve some riddles and also work out the nature of the universe, since so much of it is unknown.

For all we know, the 'first cause', if there is one, could be a simple particle. There's no reason to think that it must be a sentient, intelligent lifeform, and in fact, it's more plausible to think otherwise. Scientists have observed that systems get simpler, not more complex, as you trace back to their origins. Then you factor in the absolute lack of any evidence of anything supernatural, and our ignorance when it comes to the origins/state of the universe pre-big bang, and suddenly the idea of a supernatural, sentient, all powerful, omniscient, transcendent superbeing named god that broke the very rule which convinced theists of its existence in the first place (all things needing a cause....what caused it? Oh wait, it doesn't require a cause! Special pleading fallacy, anyone?) by poofing itself into existence seems a little.....well, silly. Certainly, at the very least, unsupported, at least at this time.

It's certainly presumptuous to definitely state that the answer to the big questions is a who. I guess that's the main point of this rambling blog post.


Btw, if you're interested in the scientific progress on the origin of life question, look into abiogenesis, if you're unfamiliar with it. It's incredibly fascinating what they have accomplished thus far.


  1. You seemed somewhat unfocused when writing this, but otherwise a good blog (by unfocused, I mean that the blog doesn't have the typical flow that you usually write in). Definitely feels like a blog leading to other blogs. Don't keep me waiting to long!

  2. Having read it myself, yes, it's definitely not very focused. The problem is, I often write when I am in pain, and sometimes this leads to errors of ommision, structure, etc.

  3. Aaaahhh I gotcha. Well, I hope you are not in pain anymore soon.

    On another note.. I want to write, but cannot find the motivation!! :(

  4. I've been doing well as of late.

    A lot of what I post here was written some time ago. I have like 60 posts in draft form waiting to be posted XD.

    Motivation is definitely hard to come by these days so I can relate.

  5. .... 60 posts in draft.... and you're saying you can relate to a lack of motivation? I don't believe you!!! >.>;;... :P

  6. Motivation is definitely hard to come by these days so I can relate.


  7. Ooooh, I see what you are saying... bah!

  8. Humbug!

    Ah, look, we're finishing one another's sentences now. How....quaint ;)

  9. Well, that just means that we are either brothers... or lovers... pick one.

  10. I say we follow our hearts.....and be both!

  11. Of course you do. You atheists have no morals!!


Tell magx01 and the rest of The Thoughtful Gamers what's on your mind!