The existence of God

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  • THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
    • Arguments for existence
      • A posteriori based upon experience and empirical evidence
      • A priori based upon logic, something that is true by definition.
    • Teleological argument
      • Also called the design argument, the word telos comes from the Greek work for end or purpose
      • The argument focuses on end results then using empirical evidence to drawn conclusions
      • The argument argues that things cannot just arrive by chance, therefore there must be a transcendent being acting as designer.
      • Thomas Aquinas
        • created the five ways, five ways of demonstrating the existence of God through an inductive argument based upon observation and evidence.
        • Aristotelian thought can be compatible with christian though, he set out to show how faith and reason can work alongside eachother
        • Knowledge could be reached through revelation and through human reason
        • In his book the Summa Theologica Aquinas presented five ways of showing God exists.
          • 1. Everything in it follows natural laws
          • 2. things following a   natural law         have a            purpose.
          • 3. If something can not think for itself its purpose will be determined by a logical being
          • 4. Everything that is unintelligent is directed by an intelligent being
          • 5. That intelligent being is God
      • William Paley
        • developed the most famous version of the argument in his book Natural Theology 1802
        • To demonstrate his ideas he uses the watch analogy.The idea that a watch works too well to have happened by chance, everything is too precise, there must have been a designer. Just like the universe is too perfect.
          • The Natural Theology proposes that the universe had to be created by a divine intelligence and designed for a purpose.
        • Paley concluded that this was not only evidence of Gods existence but also of his care, compared to the intricate design (devoted attention to the universe)
      • Other thinkers
        • Charles Darwin
          • Studied Paleys writings in university and was greatly impressed
        • Isaac Newton
          • The human thumb is so detailed and intricately designed, there must be a designer
          • "The thumb alone would convince me of Gods existence"
      • Criticisms
        • JS Mill
          • Nature is guilty of serious crimes yet goes unpunished, if such actions were a result of a human they would be punished.
          • Suggests that crimes of humanity are everyday acts for nature
          • There is no intelligent design and if there is they are cruel and incompetent
          • "Either there is no god or there exists an incompetent  immoral god"
        • Richard Dawkins
          • Intelligent design can provide no explanation for biology, raises the question of the power of such a designer
          • An intelligent designer must be far more complex and difficult to explain than anything capable of designing
          • The Ultimate Boeing 747- the argument of improbability
      • FR Tennent- Anthropic Principle
        • The way in which the world was developed it was inevitable life would develop
        • Coincidences inherent the fundamental laws of nature, God tuned the universe this way deliberately
        • predestination, the world acts according to Gods plan
      • Ockhams razor
        • Suppose there exist two explanations for an occurrence. In this case the one that requires the least speculation is usually better. Another way of saying it is that the more assumptions you have to make, the more unlikely an explanation.
    • Cosmological argument
      • Come from natural theology, drawing conclusions from the world around us
      • The universe can not take account for its own existence, rejects the big bang theory
      • Plato in Timaus, argued that everything must have a cause, followed by Aristotle with the unmoved mover and the Kalam argument
      • Aquinas
        • Developed the five ways based on two assumptions. the universe exists there must be a reason why.
        • Russel and Dawkins are happy to accept that the universe just is without concluding that there is a reason, Aquinas disagrees
        • 1st way. Unmoved mover- follows Aristotles argument, everything in motion has to be put into motion or changed by something else. Pre Newtonian viewpoint.
        • 2nd way- Uncased cause- every effect has a cause. infinite regress is impossible therefore there must be a first cause, God
          • Borrowing 'efficient cause' directly from Aristotle, Aquinas focuses on why things exist
          • Things do not cause themselves, they can not be their own agents
        • 3rd way- Contingency- The world consists of contingent beings, things that rely on others for existence.
          • Things are contingent in two ways- they depend on something to have bought them into the world and they rely on outside factors for the condition of their existence
          • Eco systems and food chains
      • Leibniz
        • Raised the question of why is there something rather than nothing
        • If something exists there must be a reason why, if a statement is true there must be a reason why
        • Everything must have a reason even if it is unknown, it makes no difference if the being is eternal
        • The principle of sufficient reason- everything has a reason or cause
      • Criticisms
        • You can not logically move from the idea that everything in the universe has a reason to say the universe as a whole has a reason
        • Bertrand Russell- Just because every human has a mother does not mean the human species as a whole has a mother.
        • Overstepping the rule of logic to jump from singular beings to singular beings as a collective species
        • Russell vs Copleston BBC Radio debate
        • Hume- argued against the idea that we have to look at God as the cause of the universe- why cant we accept that the universe is eternal and created the things within it
        • GEM Anscombe- just because you can imagine something existing without a cause does not suggest this is the case
        • GK Chesterson- It is absurd for the evolutionist to complain that it is unthinkable for an admittedly unthinkable God to make everything out of nothing and then pretend that it is more thinkable that nothing should turn itself into something

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