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Old 06-14-2008, 03:43 PM   #77
Achilles
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Hello, alexrdias. I hope you'll forgive that I did not watch the entire video, as only the first 4.5 minute or so seemed to be related to this "theological proof". Of course my time is valuable to me, so I will only be critiquing what I presume to be the relevant parts. If there is some other part of the video that you feel that I should address, feel free to point it out and I will be happy to do so.

Below is a summary of the argument(s) that the speaker presents in the first half:
Quote:
3 steps in establishing the existence of god:

1) God as a first cause.
2) Argument from design.
3) God as a source of morality.

4 Fundamental questions:
Origin
Meaning
Morality
Destiny

Combine the 3 steps and the 4 questions and, "Only god is big enough to explain this universe".
First, let's point out that none of these are argument for god. At best they are arguments for something supernatural, but no part of this is anywhere close to be an actual argument for the judeo-christian god. I will be returning to this point as tick through each part of this, so I wanted to lay the groundwork first. Okay:
Quote:
1) God as a first cause.
The problem with first causes is that they lead to infinite regression. If Y created Z, then what created Y? Must have been X. Well what created X then? W?

Unfortunately for the purposes of my analogy we can eventually determine that A was the first cause, but for the purposes of the actual logic, there is no end. Hence the "infinite" in "infinite regression".

However, our brain, being what it is has a very difficult time accepting this. Conflicting logic says, "well the whole thing had to have started somewhere!!!". And that's fine. Let's accept that yes, it did indeed all have to start somewhere.

But why is that answer "god"? Why isn't it "satan"? Or the titans, or the flying spaghetti monster, or magic fairiers with magic fairy dust? What evidence do any of us have for one of these fantastic ideas over any of the others? How could we possibly verify them?

Most importantly, how can we rule out a perfectly logic explanation that can be verified by science and requires no superstitious supernatualism at all? Decades of research into quantum physics brings us closer and closer to such an explanation. At some point in the future we'll be smart enough to be able to build the equipment necessary to test our predictions. At that point, there will be a few less gaps for god to hide in.

So the argument that there must have been a first cause is no more an argument for god than it is an argument for anything else. The speaker's first point fails as proof of god's existence.


Quote:
2) Argument from design.
My counterarguments here are going to sound very familiar because the same logic applies.

The appearance of design is not evidence of design. Furthermore, even if it were considered evidence of design, it tells us nothing about the designer.

The designer could be god, satan, the flying spaghetti monster, zeus, apollo, thor, invisible pink unicorns or anything else we care to dream up.

So not only do we not have any supportable argument for design, we have no supportable argument for the identity of the alleged designer. Unfortunately for the speaker, we have more than 150 years of scientific research that shows that not only is a designer not necessary, a designer is highly improbable at worst and highly incompitent at best.

The speaker's second point fails as proof of god's existence.

Quote:
3) God as a source of morality.
At this point I feel confident that I do not need to repeat that even if we were to accept that morality required an external source, that we would not be able to determine what that source is.

Also similar to the examples above is that scientific research continues to offer up natural explanations that make supernatural hypothesis unnecessary (recent research with mirror neurons, etc). Even if that were not the case, we have centuries of moral philosophy that are capable of showing that we can discover morality on our own, if it took the science a long time to be able to figure out how we do it.

So, the speaker's third point fails as proof of god's existence.

I will try to keep my summary of the last part as brief as possible:
Quote:
4 Fundamental questions:
1) Origin
2) Meaning
3) Morality
4) Destiny

Combine the 3 steps and the 4 questions and, "Only god is big enough to explain this universe".
1) Origins can be explained with abiogenesis and evolution.
2) There is no inherent meaning. The question is a non sequitur.
3) Morality can be explained with sociology and neuroscience.
4) There is no such thing as destiny. The question is a non sequitur.

So combine the three steps with the four questions and we're left with, "Supernatural explanations do not tell us anything usefull about the universe whereas science tell us quite a bit". Perhaps this is why most scientists tend to be atheists and many atheists have a passion for the sciences.

I hope that helps. Thanks again for your post.
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