I have been an atheist for a while and have always been looking for an argument that will prove the existence of A GOD. A GOD is in all caps to show that I am not looking for you to prove the christian god or the greek gods, all i want is proof of the existence of a higher power that created all things. He does not have to be a moral being, nor does he have to give to craps about his creation. I just want someone to prove that he is there (I use he because in the English language we assume masculine when no gender is put forth). So anyone of any background of any knowledge level go for it.
Oh and as a side note, yes you do have to prove that god is there, i don't have to prove he is not. It is like asking someone to prove that a dragon exists when the dragon will become undetectable the minute a person looks at is. The same is true for god. He does not exist in our plane of being as I have been told oh so many times and therefore cannot be detected in any way. So don't come in here and say that I have to prove that there is no god. That is for another debate.
"The entirety of God, yes. But we can still understand him in all that we need to, and what he wants of us."
Within a some interpretations of the idea of god. Not all of them.
You know, Saint Thomas Aquinas totally did this hundreds of years ago.
Basically, if an object not in motion will remain not in motion until an outside force acts upon it, what was the primary mover that caused that first force to move something? If there is a cause for everything, what was the first cause that all effects stemmed from? God. He wrote some other stuff, too, but that's basically what the first two proofs boil down to.
His first argument defeats his second. You cannot deposit that all things have a cause and then deposit that there can be a thing that is not caused. However if i were to grant you that there is a one cause that caused all others that one cause does not have to be god. It can be jelly doughnuts. That jelly doughnuts put the entire world into existence. Is is probable, no, is it as probable as god, yes. The proof aquinece put forth just says the universe started and there is a reason. He cannot prove that reason is god he can just prove that a reason exists or once existed. I concede that point, the universe does have a cause, that cause however is just as probable a jelly doughnut as it is god.
You cannot deposit that all things have a cause and then deposit that there can be a thing that is not caused
Yes, you can. You simply qualify it. All things in this world have a cause. This world itself must have a cause. The cause, not being of this world, is not required to have a cause.
However if i were to grant you that there is a one cause that caused all others that one cause does not have to be god.
No, but it would fit many definitions of God that we have. It would be omnipresent, having created this world, and indeed everything about it including time and space themselves, it is by definition beyond those things. It is also omniscient for the same reason. It is also immortal, since it created mortality again etc.
It can be jelly doughnuts.
No, it can't. Jelly doughnuts have a cause.
is it as probable as god, yes.
No, it's not. Because Jelly Doughnuts have a cause.
He cannot prove that reason is god he can just prove that a reason exists or once existed.
On the contrary, he can prove that the reason fits all the charateristics of God, so I'd say he's succeeded.
I concede that point, the universe does have a cause, that cause however is just as probable a jelly doughnut as it is god.
It really really isn't. Jelly doughnuts have causes. Seriously, there's being facetious and there's being stupid.
I'm going to have a field day with this after I work on my Aquinas post above. :D
Its been several months. Your field day is a long time comming...
It’s always fun to see someone bring up Thomas Aquinas as back when I was a Catholic, I was a Thomist having studied under a Ph.D. in Philosophy out of the Thomist school.
You know, Saint Thomas Aquinas totally did this hundreds of years ago.
Actually, Aquinas did not prove the existence of a god, and I’ll go through his Five Ways to show that he did not. Truthfully the guy does deserve some slack as he was writing his Summa Theologiae back in the High Middle Ages. However, I will not cut slack for individuals that quote Aquinas as evidence in this day and age as they willfully ignore centuries of learning, especially the incredible recent learnings we have made.
So let’s get started.
The First Way: The Prime Mover.
The argument is structured like this:
Premise 1: Nothing can move itself.
Premise 2: There is no infinite chain of motion.
Conclusion: At the start of the chain, something moved itself.
This argument is problematic because the conclusion is denied by the first premise. Or you could say that the premise is shown to be false based on the conclusion. The problem here is that with a false premise, many false things can be reasoned.
There is also more debate to the matter today than Aquinas could have known about. I’ll talk about another one when we come to causation, but consider vacuum energy. We’ve learned that even in a vacuum, where there’s no matter at all, energy still permeates and is able to cause what are known as spontaneous emissions.
Is this evidence that our universe caused itself? No, but it is something that can open the door to more interesting physics.
The final problem with this is suffered by all of Aquinas’s ways, that is, there is no reason why an unmoved mover is a god, within physics we talk about the singularity and there is actually no reason to differentiate between the two in way of Aquinas’s reasoning.
The Second Way: the Uncaused Cause.
The argument is structured like this:
Premise 1: Nothing can cause itself.
Premise 2: There is no infinite chain of causation.
Conclusion: At the start of the chain, something caused itself.
If this argument looks familiar, it’s because it is. This is simply a reiteration of Aquinas’s first way though looking at causation instead of motion.
Once again the first premise is shown to be false through the conclusion.
Furthermore with the rise of string theory as well as the findings of temperature patterns in the universe, there is the possibility for the existence of a Multiverse, a potentially eternal system that creates and destroys entire universes.
And once again, Aquinas’s reasoning is unable to differentiate a natural multiverse from the existence of god.
(for more information about the possibility of a multiverse, I suggest watching this talk by Dr. Brian Green: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bf7BXwVeyWw ).
The Third Way: Of Possibilty and Necessity.
This argument is actually the same as the Second Way, though it is structured slightly differently. What’s more interesting about this argument is that speaks to the way that we used to think about our existence as opposed to the way that we have to think about it now.
The argument states that everything that we’ve seen to exist exists only through possibility and not necessity. But for something to exist, it must exist through necessity.
My professor would talk about this in a way of contingency. In order for something to exist in the possible (like a triangle with 5 m long sides), something must exist through definition (a triangle having three sides).
However, this is problematic because we are no longer bound to asking about the necessity of something happening in the existence of world following the rise of the quantum mechanic model of physics.
The question that Aquinas is asking is like the question that Kepler asked when he was trying to figure out why the Sun was 93 million miles away from the Earth. Of course Kepler wasn’t able to find an answer because his question was wrong. Instead, the distance of the Earth from the Sun wasn’t derived from a mathematical necessity, but instead a mathematical probability. As we’ve learned that our universe is more probabilistic in nature, this question loses its validity as trying to ask the wrong question.
The Fourth Way: The Gradation of Goodness
This argument is actually rarely cited from Aquinas and most people who know some Aquinas would probably not know what Fourth Way was.
This is actually a retelling of the Ontological argument.
However, this one focuses solely on the gradation of goodness, that is that Aquinas sees some things as more good than other things so there must be a source of goodness.
The problem is that there is not universal measure of goodness. We also cannot know if goodness actually exists, or if it is a measure of something that we have created in our societies.
In so as these critiques exist this is no proof or demonstration, but is a starting point of an argument, not the ending point. This usually will bleed into the argument of whether an objective morality exists or whether morality is a social construct. As based on the work of Skinner, I am much more willing to side on the social construct camp.
The Fifth Way: The Governance of Natural Bodies
This is a really strange argument and in the form that Aquinas has it, you will never see it cited. Instead you will see the similar, yet also problematic argument for the fine tuning of the universe.
Just to demonstrate how strange the actual idea is here, I’ll just cite the translation of the Summa Theologiae I have here:
The fifth way is taken from the governance of the world. We see that things which lack intelligence, such as natural bodies, act for an end, and this is evident from their acting always, or nearly always, in the same way, so as to obtain the best result. Hence it is plain that not fortuitously, but designedly, do they achieve their end. Now whatever lacks intelligence cannot move towards an end, unless it be directed by some being endowed with knowledge and intelligence; as the arrow is shot to its mark by the archer. Therefore some intelligent being exists by whom all natural things are directed to their end; and this being we call God.
So the question is, does everything observed really, really have a end to which is acting, like Pluto or Ceres or the rogue planets in space.
The question of whether or not something has a purpose is once again a call to critique of whether or not something has an actual purpose, or whether or not Aquinas is seeing meaning where there is none.
I heard on speaker say, sometimes I wander into nature and I see a beautiful vista and for a moment I think of how beautiful all of nature is. So I then turn over a rock to look at the creeping things beneath to remind me that not all nature is as beautiful as I thought just a moment ago.
This is certainly a longer post, but I hope you’ve found some of it interesting. But I wanted to demonstrate that Aquinas, indeed, has not demonstrated that god exists, and that if you would like to make such a demonstration yourself, you are better off learning about how we understand the universe at our cutting edge and then work your way from there, not from nearly 1000 years ago.
You've messed with ways 1 and 2 a bit. The premise is that all things that come into being, need a cause and to be moved, and therefore God, who never came into being but always existed, needs neither cause nor to be moved.
I can't prove to you that God exist, BUT you can't prove to me that he doesn't exist.
Howdie sorry to jump into the debate 16 pages in but can i ask....with no sense of antagonisom...If god created the Universe, which is one of the things he is expected to have done...how did he do it?"
Also in defense of Joseph...I dont see why it should be seen as offensive to ask people to prove the premise their presenting especially if they're claiming absolute knowledge of it. In fact its justified to say to the guy who claims to know something we dont "ok prove it"
Yes, but it's kind of irritating that when you present people with evidence, they then say words to the effect of "that doesn't count".