"25. The metaphysical argument from the existence of beings whose essence does not contain existence, and which therefore need a cause for their existence, to the existence of a being whose essence is existence, and which therefore has no cause (Aquinas in De Ente et Essentia)."
course, the next question is: believe in what? Suppose I pick the wrong
God(s) to believe in? Wouldn't that really anger the true God(s)? And,
of course, Pascal's Wager is really a trap! (see Book II, Section E.)
In any case, this is not a valid argument for the truth of the proposition that God exists. This is only an argument for the sort of blind faith which characterizes Spengler's "Second Religiousness." It is a very good argument for any undecided individuals among the weak minded, who tend to be the followers in such sects.
This is yet another word game. The hidden meaning is the fact that the "real object" may well be a fantasy of the mind. (i.e., I have an innate desire to live in the world of Star Trek, but that only proves that the Star Trek fantasy exists, not the actual world of Star Trek. So, the innate desire for God would only prove that the fantasy of the existence of God actually exists, not the actual existence of the actual God, which is the question to be addressed by the debate.)
I noted for number 14, above, I basically accept this argument to the
extent which it is based upon the various laws of Thermodynamics.
However, this is a somewhat more complex argument than I care to treat
here, in this summary, so I will defer the full exposition of my views
on this argument to Book II, Section F.
The one thing to remember, however, is that merely because we can show some creative force (i.e., a watchmaker) exists, it doesn't imply that any religions created by mankind necessarily have any essential elements of truth within them (i. e. just because there is a watchmaker, there is nothing which we can say about the nature of the watchmaker other than the fact that the watchmaker can make a watch). In other words, it does not flow that "God exists, therefore Christianity is the one true religion for mankind." I said that I was an Agnostic, and for the full explanation of what that really means, you should read Book II, Section G.
David Hume, with respect to his "Dialogs Concerning Natural Religion" (1776), is given credit for the best use of the "Problem of Evil" against this argument. The difficulty with this is the supposed requirement that the "designer" be perfect in order to show that no such designer could exist because the "design" is not perfect. Just who said the designer had to be perfect, anyway? Not me . . . .
Ditto (see number 18, above).
However, like number 14, above, this is a special case argument which also yields some special objections. Cogito ergo sum, for one. All of formal Philosophy, outside of the arena of Religion, is a multi-thousand year test of the circuits of the human brains which have studied the subject. If there is a built-in malfunction which yields an erroneous result that cannot be detected as error by any human so far, then we devolve to a realm of pure Solipsism.
Also, the premise of this argument assumes that there are only two possible sources for the "programming" of the human brain: pure chance and God. In fact, the human brain is known to consist of physiological layers added one at a time by the process of evolution through reptiles and so forth. The programming of the human brain thus occurred over a process of billions of years in parallel with the physical evolution of mankind. That is hardly a process of pure chance. It is "survival of the fittest." Those who possessed brains which tended to cause them to do dangerous or unhealthy things would tend to not exist for long enough to reproduce. Those mutations of the brain which proved to be beneficial from a standpoint of survival would tend to last longer and make more offspring of a like character. So, even though we have found the remains of humans who are millions of years old, other scientists have proven that all people alive today have some common genetic ancestors who lived no more than 150-250,000 years ago. It must then be true that was about when the last great mutation in the human physiology occurred; the mutation which cause all of us to be part of those who survived, while the descendants of any of the others either bred with our ancestors, and thereby acquired our traits for their offspring, or else they died out totally.
In sum, I will accept 18, to the extent which I note therein (and in the associated Section which I devote to the detailed exposition of that argument), but I will not go so far as to accept the special case of that argument, herein.
will accept this argument only to the extent which it is identical to
number 18, above, and the argument based on the laws of Thermodynamics,
which I discuss therein.
To the extent which this argument also requires acceptance of an unproved (or even unprovable) premise, that the "Unmoved Mover" (or "first cause," see below) must be a "being," which we conceive of as our God, I must reject this argument. Exactly why must the Unmoved Mover (or "first cause") be some "being?" The only answer is: because we are looking for God, and our need to find God demands that the Unmoved Mover (or "first cause") be God. I rejected this argument with number 11, above.
Ditto. See number 20, above.
To the extent which this is the same as 20, above, see that discussion.
To the extent which we now understand our Universe, we do believe that all things eventually do perish. Our Universe has a finite beginning, roughly so many billions of years ago. We cannot currently conceive of exactly what the end state of our Universe will truly be,26 or when it will occur, if ever, but we do understand enough about the matter and energy which we find in our Universe to know that all of it eventually will perish, at least in the form in which it now exists. Thus, our own Sun will die in about five billion years, taking our planet and everything of ours which remains on this planet with it. What happens after that destruction is a matter of some conjecture, but whatever the answer is, it will add nothing to the debate over the existence or non-existence of God.
This is subject to all of the objections which I state for 20-22, above, plus all of the additional objections which I state for 8 and 9, above.
This is a really silly argument to appear in a philosophical debate during the Late Western Civilization period! If you read Spengler, you will understand that the "medieval Muslim philosophers," who are the alleged source of this silliness (upon which silliness Dr. Moreland actually relies during the debate), had no concept of the Calculus invented by Sir Isaac Newton, which is the ideal tool to demystify this problem and show that, in spite of an infinite amount of previous instants, we still get to where we are.
Excuse me, but isn't this just a more complex way of stating arguments 20 and/or 21, above? The source for all of these is Aquinas, so I must assume that the essence of each of these is the same, and therefore the counter-arguments are identical, also.
As Peter Kreeft points out, Dr. Moreland "focuses especially on . . . arguments 5, 7, 12, 15, 18, and 24."
Of these, I reject 5 and 7 out of hand, because they require me to accept a premise which is not demonstrable. I also reject 24 out of hand, as this argument is made silly with any knowledge of the Calculus developed by Sir Isaac Newton.
I reject 12 on the ground of history proving that all things are permissible. To the extent which some of us find many of the permissible things to be morally reprehensible, we are only expressing the prejudices and biases with which we were raised. At base, I reject the notion that Ethics depend upon God, but that is a subject for another Section of this Book.
I reject 15 for at least two reasons: 1) the mere fact of my belief that I need God does not cause God to spring into existence; and 2) history seems to show that it is mankind which puts meaning to our own lives.
So, the net result of all of this is that I accept 18, at least to a limited extent, based upon my own belief in the truth of the various laws of Thermodynamics. However, as I will show in my detailed discussion of that argument in Book II, Section F, there is clearly a limit to how far that argument may be pushed. Basically, I believe in a creative force, but I express no opinion as to whether that creative force in which I believe is an uncaused cause, or is itself caused in some way.27
I also believe that mankind will never discover the true nature of the creative force which seemingly drives our Universe. That is the particular belief which makes me an Agnostic. As I noted above, I expound upon my Agnostic beliefs in Book II, Section G.
26 There are basically three popular ideas as to the end state of our Universe: 1) it expands forever to an eventual state of evenness (the "heat death"); 2) it slows, and then collapses back onto itself (the cyclical Universe theory); or 3) continuous creation, the newest theory, which is based upon our findings that matter is being created in the depths of interstellar space, and that stars and galaxies are being continuously born out of collections of this newly created matter. As a follower of this most recent of scientific fads, I am led to the reasoning I stated for accepting argument number 18, above.
27 For example, we know that, more likely than not, our Universe sprang into existence about fifteen billion years ago with a singular event which we have come to call the "big bang." But we know nothing of what actually caused this event! Considering the required matter and energy to be the "cause," it would be far easier to view the "cause" as a group effort (i.e., instead of our National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the beings which are the "cause" of our own "big bang" event may well have something which we might call the Universe Creation Directorate, in other words, we could easily have been created as a result of various actions taken by some bureaucratic part of some government of beings, the nature of which we cannot conceive. One way in which we could test this theory would be for us to develop our own equivalent organization and try to create a sub-universe of our own in some way, shape, or form.
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