Monday, June 9, 2008

Existence proof...well not really

Our friends at have gifted us with this choice morsel to digest:
(EDIT - it seems that apologetics has moved it's blog, burned this article, and salted the earth behind them. I'm guessing out of embarrassment. Or at least that's what it seems when I tried to find it again. I wrote this one awhile ago, so if anyone knows the whereabouts of the article, please drop me a line)

When it comes to the existence or non existence of God, well meaning people often talk past each other because they are not using terms the same way
And God has this annoying habit of never, ever showing up

(equivocation) or they do not share the same standard of what constitutes a good explanation or argument (burden of proof).
Which is a problem since God never, ever shows up. God showing up would really render this issue moot.

If we can get a bit more clarity on these issues,
By God ever once showing up

then I think people from different viewpoints will be better able to see just what the central issues are
The central issue being that God never shows up

–not red herrings, smoke strings interesting rabbit trails.
Which is all we have left since…well because of something that’s right on the tip of my tongue. It seems like I’ve mentioned it somewhere around here…

For example, the Theist is often told, “prove God exists.”
Which is pretty reasonable since that’s a pretty central tenet of what a theist claims.

And anything short of a 100% absolute mathematical certainty is assumed to be a failure.
I think there are lots of people who would be happy with God being simply more probable than not, actually. The problem is that God is so incredibly, mind meltingly, staggeringly improbable that complaining that you can’t give 100% proof is like trying to buy a house with pocket change. Not only are you not going to get to your 100% proof, you’re not even going to get to 1%

But the kind of “proof” sought here is totally unrealistic because there is precious little in life (if this were the standard) that anyone could know. You can only get this kind of proof in mathematics.
I get this kind of proof of my dad’s existence every day by calling him up on the phone.

So I think it is unhelpful to talk about proof. Rather, I think we would do better to talk about whether or not we have good reasons or good arguments for the existence or non existence of God.
A phone number would be better, but I’ll play along!

Well, what is a good argument? Generally speaking it is when the conclusion (and the premises therein) is more plausible than not. More specifically, a good argument contains 3 features:

  1. Logically Valid
  2. True Premises
  3. Premises must be more plausible than not

This would meet the preponderance of evidence standard, btw, and fail as a proof. Just saying.

So what would one of these arguments look like? The following is a formulation of the Kalam Cosmological Argument:

  1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause
  2. The Universe began to exist
  3. Therefore, the Universe has a cause

Now, this is a logically valid argument meaning that if the premises are true (1 & 2), then the conclusion necessarily follows (3). So the question is whether the premises are true or at least more probable than not. On the face of it (sometimes referred to as Prima Facie), these premises have good evidence behind them (scientific, personal experience, and philosophical).
*Lame list hair shaking*

Lame! Lame! Lame! Lame! Lame! Lame! Lame!

Really, is this grade school logic the best you can do?

My purpose here is not necessarily to support this argument today
Bummer. And here I thought you were casting yourself as the Salmon in the new Neil Simon play “Fish in a Barrel”.

(maybe in later blogs),
Please do! That would be fun!

the point was to show what a good argument would look like.
Feel free to show one sometime. We’re still waiting.

So if an atheist would want to deny “3″, then she will need to challenge either “1″ or “2.”
Or just laugh at you!

Now what makes something plausible can vary from person to person (e.g., background beliefs).
But you won’t get into that right now, right?

And we will talk about this a bit more later along with explanation.
Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Though, in an earlier Blog, Antony Flew is highlighting this when he poses questions to his former atheistic friends as to what it would take for them to believe.

BTW - if you just can’t wait to see some of the evidence of for the Kalam Cosmological Argument, you can check out this book by Dr. William Lane Craig. I will offer some more popular level resources later.
I can’t wait!

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