Thursday, September 26, 2002

Just for fun

I got (okay--"dove deliberately") into a dispute over a rational belief in the existence of God at the "No Watermelons Allowed" blog. I think the guy I was arguing with really basically has an antipathy to the idea of God, for a lot of reasons, and really does not in fact want to hear rational arguments. (You can find the dispute in the comments section here.) One of the things I did however was grab my copy of Peter Kreeft (ordered from "clones-r-us!" Thanks, Em!) and list the 20 arguments for the existence of God.

In the interest of fun and--hopefully--getting out of controversial issues like kneeling versus bowing, and thermometers versus barriers and such, I'm going to spend a few days considering these arguments. I list now the first few, and will try to gloss them later on.

1. The argument from change. Things are not yet in the state they will be, and cannot cause that change of their own accord. A tree cannot will itself to be larger.

2. The argument from efficient causality. Music comes from a man playing a piano. If he stops, so does the music. If there is no uncaused being, there can be no thing.

3. The argument from time and contingency. This one can't be summarized in under 250 words.

4. The argument from degrees of perfection. An inch is not a ruler. We measure good and bad, perfection and imperfection, against a standard that cannot be part of the system.

5.The design argument. This argument attempts to vindicate the idea of a design to the universe, to which people appear to respond.

6. The Kalam argument:
a. Whatever begins to exist must have a cause.
b. the universe began to exist.
c. therefore, the universe has a cause for coming into being. (The big bang is a mechanism, not a cause, just as the solenoid is the mechanism for starting the car, not the cause of its starting.)

7. The argument from contingency. What it takes for the universe to exist must itself exist. What it takes for the universe to exist cannot exist within the universe or be bounded by space and time. Therefore, what it takes for the universe to exist must transcend space and time.

8. The argument from the world as interacting whole. The physical laws you refered to suppose the existence of one another, and depend on one another for their intelligibility and ability to act. Therefore, no component can be self-sufficent or self-explanatory. The system as a whole cannot explain its own existence, since it is made up of component parts that are not self-sufficient.


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