Sunday, December 29, 2013
Arguments For Not God
Imagine that I were to argue that outside of your home has been repainted, currently without your knowledge. For whatever reason, we cannot leave the home to check for ourselves, but I've come up with several arguments for this being the case. I point out how the color of the grass is slightly off, indicating that a different color light is bouncing off the house, giving it a different hue. I point out that people feel a little different when near the windows, a clear sign that either the smell of the paint is moving through them. Some of you find these arguments unconvincing, some of you think that I'm using faulty science and numerous fallacies along with cheap rhetoric in order to get my point across, but others think I'm on to something, and therefore declare that I have indeed proven that a highly trained ninja repainted the house with a specific express purpose relating to the inhabitants of the house. This leap in logic is similar to what I see in many of the theistic arguments for the existence of God.
Even if we were to ignore what many find to be convincing rebuttals to these arguments, many of them don't actually do what they claim to do, meaning that even if the arguments are valid, they don't actually prove a god exists at all.
Take the Cosmological argument for example. This "prime mover" argument essentially states that something other than the universe must have been responsible for its creation. Some force must have caused the universe, and some go as far to say that this cause must be a mind. There's so many reasons to consider especially the last one false, but putting that aside for the moment, how exactly have we shown that this entity which created the universe is something we would consider a god?
Imagine if whenever we split an atom, an entire universe is born, lives out its cycle, and dies in a heat death. For what is for us a blink of an eye could be thousands, millions, or billions of years. Would we then be considered gods? We're not omnipotent, nor are we omniscient, we have no way of actually affecting this universe let alone know what's going on within it. For all we know, we do have a creator, but one that is entirely unaware of our existence, one who has yet to even know it created us. Or perhaps the opposite is true, perhaps we have a creator but our universe moves so slowly compare to its existence that it long since died out before the earth cooled enough for life to exist upon it. Nothing in the Cosmological argument gives us any reason to consider these less valid explanations than the theistic conclusion of some amorphous disembodied mind.
The same goes for the Teleological argument. Even if we conclude that the universe was designed with a purpose, that the creator had life in mind, that this wasn't the 20,000th universe it has created for some bland purpose, or that the creator is anything more special than you or me does not follow from anything within the argument, nor do I see any way of getting to these conclusions through mere argument.
I don't want to give the impression that every argument has this problem. The moral argument, as much as I disagree with it, doesn't have this problem. Neither does the Ontological argument. However, any argument that trys to show that there exists a mind outside of our universe only shows just that: a mind. Unless care is taken, and it rarely ever is, then the argument is unjustified in saying it has anything to do with proving God.