http://www.peterkreeft.com/topics-more/20_arguments-gods-existence....

Having found nothing in the way of evidence for gods, I am now turning to the philosophical arguments because some argue that only philosophy, not scientific evidence, can give us the correct answer.

I'm on argument 5, plan to read them all, and so far find none of them compelling...some are laughable.

Do you find any of these arguments compelling? Why or why not?

James

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"only philosophy, not scientific evidence, can give us the correct answer."

If you can dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit, in other words. That's why I don't find them compelling.
I concur.
I meant "can't" dazzle, whoops.
Philosophy ultimately boils down to opinion. I do not agree with their opinion that god exists for the reasons they gave. Opinions cannot empirically nor objectively prove the existence of gods. I do not find their subjective ramblings compelling for that reason.
I agree. This acquaintance of mine tells me that philosophical proofs are the same as mathematical proofs, but mathematics can give us predictions in the real, material world, unlike philosophy. There are many competing philosophies, but only one mathematics, so that's a major weakness in this argument.

It gets pretty lame when we have to ditch science for philosophy. Though philosophy can be important, it just doesn't trump science.

James
#3 Suppose that nothing has to be; that is, that nonbeing is a real possibility for everything.
#4 Then right now nothing would exist.


Show him this part.
#3 Suppose that nothing has to be; that is, that nonbeing is a real possibility for everything.
#4 Then right now nothing would exist.


This is dazzling in its stupidity. That's like saying "No one winning the lottery is a real possibility. Therefore, no one ever wins the lottery."

The argument from Degrees of Perfection is just silly. YOu could say "Some cars are better than others. Therefore, there has to be a perfect car. That perfect car we call 'God'." Just because there is a "best" doesn't mean the best is perfect. This argument also presumes that there is a perfectly imperfect being.
You can of course philosophically argue for or against the existence of god, but it seems that particularly those arguing for Christian gods cannot hold any true water when it matters. A quick example is Thomas Aquinas, who tried to philosophically justify the existence of god. Eventually it turns out that there are major holes in his ideas, such as there must be a mover. A completely valid philosophical argument, would at least for me, consider ALL alternatives, examine them and come to a conclusion.

I started to myself look into the existence of god in philosophy, arguing from the viewpoint of Cartesian dualism. It in fact turned out that the more I dug, the less plausible the idea of a god became, and the major issue lies in the Christian definition of a god, it just simply contradicts itself over and over.

Can god be justified with philosophy? Certainly. Can the Christian god? Certainly not.
A couple of years ago I was in an online discussion with a Christian who felt that he had to tell atheists what they believe, presumably because they do not themselves know what they believe. He was gettiing nowhere and frustrated, because all of the atheists denied believing the things that C.S. Lewis and G. K. Chesterton say atheists believe.

I asked him why he believed in god, and he pointed me to this site. I presented arguments against a few of the 20 "proofs," but he did not seem to want to really engage in debate. Eventually he admitted that none of the arguments was the reason that he believes in god! He, like a lot of Christians, thought that atheists never think through their position. He thought we would be amazed and overwhelmed by these "proofs."
In my experience in online forums and even in person, Christians tend to give philosophical or "scientific" arguments for the existence of their god, and when it is debunked, they fall back on the faith card.

James
In my personal experience, Christians don't generally think much at all of why they believe or why their faith would be better than any other faith. They generally tend to fall back on the godditit or thebiblesays.
Turning to the philosophic arguments is a good move because the question of god(s) is ultimately philosophical, not scientific, anyway. If one is properly skeptical he finds that while science provides nothing in the way of evidence for god(s), it also provides nothing in the way of evidence against them. Science, by design, has nothing to say one way or the other in this regard. Only philosophy provides a rational approach to the question(s) that gets beyond the usual religion vs. science debate. The statement "only philosophy, not scientific evidence, can give us the correct answer" is correct, except for the use of the word "correct".

Philosophy can provide answers - whether the answers are "correct" is itself a philosophical question to which entire careers have been devoted. However, the answers don't come cheap. Philosophy is often just as rigorous as anything done in science or theology. It is not mere opinion. The only people who claim that are ones who've never studied it and don't want to, or confused sophomore philosophy majors, and/or philosophy majors who never progressed beyond their sophomore year. You don't get to say just any ol' thing and have it pass as philosophy. Contrary to what many have apparently been told by bad philosophy teachers, passing the intro. to philosophy class does not make one a philosopher any more than passing physics 101 or college algebra make one a physicist or mathematician and not "everyone is a philosopher".

By all means finish plowing through the 20 arguments. But, understand that these arguments are only sophistical and theological, not philosophical (a lot of atheists are confused about this distinction). I haven't read or analyzed all these proofs but, at first glance, they appear to demonstrate the fact that a skilled debator can construct logically valid arguments that don't tell us anything about the world. On the other hand, a skilled opponent can construct perfectly logical, "scientific" refutations of these proofs that also tell us nothing about the actual world. At the risk of offending some members of this forum, The Big Bang doesn't give us any more "correct answer" than The Unmoved Mover ultimately. Except as they serve some human purposes, there is not much point in "believing in" either of them (take your pick).

If you're seeking compelling arguments on either side, you'll find them in philosophy (not theology or science). But it's a big bite to chew and, depending on how your thinking is already "locked in", it can be difficult or impossible. The best arguments against Aristotle's (not Aquinas) unmoved mover were presented by Aristotle. It all depends on what you want to do. If you just want to "win" arguments with the typical christian layman, dealing with these 20 "proofs" is probably sufficient. But if you want to hold your own against a well-trained theologian who is also thoroughly conversant in science, or a mathematical physicist who also believe in god you'll need philosophy (this also applies if you want to have a good conversation about the world with an advanced physicist who doesn't believe in god and doesn't believe in the big bang either). There is, however, another possibility which may not have anything to with winning a debate or holding your own.

If you are seriously turning to philosophical arguments it is because you have not found the absence of scientific evidence to be compelling. If this is the case, then you've turned in the right direction but don't limit your philosophic investigations to 20 theological, sophistical "proofs". At least study enough philosohpy to understand why the scientific evidence is absent and why religion is not a response.

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