Going through the 5 apologetics on CARM.org, my comments are in italics.
- Things exist. Ok.
- It is possible for those things to not exist. No, I do not agree with this. This is a nonsense statement. It is very likely it is NOT possible for something to not exist. Energy and matter can not be created or destroyed. After the first Planck second, all the was and every will be came into existence.
- Whatever has the possibility of non-existence, yet exists, has been caused to exist. There is no such thing as possible non-existence. The sum total of the universe never changes, just changes form.
- Something cannot bring itself into existence since it must exist to bring itself into existence, which is illogical.
- There cannot be an infinite number of causes to bring something into existence.
- An infinite regression of causes ultimately has no initial cause, which means there is no cause of existence. Yes, you can have an infinite series of causes.
- Since the universe exists, it must have a cause. This is an assertion. The universe does not need a cause.
- Therefore, there must be an uncaused cause of all things. The very concept of an uncaused cause is contradictory.
- The uncaused cause must be God. Why? Why can’t the uncaused cause be a quantum fluctuation? Or the intersection of two or more universes? There are almost an infinite number of causes that are simpler than a god.
- Everything that has a beginning needs a cause. How do you know that? This universe started and all matter and energy started at once.
- The universe had a beginning. Really? How do you know that? The most commonly accepted hypothesis is the universe most likely did not have a beginning, just a point of minimal entropy. We will never know what came before.
- The universe needs a cause. If the universe never began, it does not need a cause.
- There cannot be an infinite regress of caused causes. Yes, there can be.
- There must be a cause for all else which has no beginning and needs no cause for its own existence. This is contradictory and makes no sense. To postulate an uncaused cause is nonsense.
Paley’s argument is as follows:
- Human artifacts are products of intelligent design. We only know this because we are familiar with intelligent designers, us.
- The universe resembles human artifacts. No, it doesn’t, at all.
- Therefore the universe is a product of intelligent design. Since 2 is not true, this is a non sequitur.
- But the universe is complex and gigantic in comparison to human artifacts. Since 2 is not true, this is a non sequitur, and childish to boot.
- Therefore, there probably is a powerful and vastly intelligent designer who created the universe. Really? Not even probably, and the very concept lacks any parsimony.
The Moral Argument for God’s Existence
The argument is a very simple one, and can be structured something like this:
- For an objective moral standard to exist, God must exist Objective morals do not exist. Morals are the product of thinking agents.
- An objective moral standard does exist. If all multicellular life went extinct, would there be morals? Of course not. Objective morals, like objective colors, do not exist.
- Therefore, God exists. Therefore gods don’t exist. Even if there were a objective moral standard, those morals, by definition, would have to be subjective to whatever creates those morals. If the creature is bound by objective morals, it is not a god.
Some Christians have found it helpful to structure the argument in the negative form1:
- If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist. Correct, they do not exist.
- Objective moral values and duties do exist. No, they do not. Can you even name what those objective morals are?
- Therefore God exists. Therefore, gods do not exist.
The Ontological Argument
This argument was first attempted by Anselm of Canterbury in the 11th century. He approached it this way:
- God is by definition the greatest conceivable being.
- This is obvious, because if one can conceive of a being greater than God, then that being would be God
- If God exists only in the mind, something greater than God can be conceived: A God who exists in the actual world
- But God is the greatest conceivable being, so definitionally we cannot conceive of anything greater than God
- God must, then, be a being that exists not only in the mind but also in reality
- Therefore God exists
Anselm explained this another way, saying:
- A being whose non-existence is inconceivable is greater than a being whose non-existence is conceivable.
- God is the greatest conceivable being
- God, then, is a being whose non-existence is inconceivable
- Therefore, God exists
Many Christian thinkers still believe in and use various forms of this kind of argument. The most popular modern expression was published by Alvin Plantinga and popularized by William Lane Craig. It follows the approach of Anselm in using the concept of God’s definitional greatness and frames the argument this way:1
- It is possible that a maximally great being exits.
- If a maximally great being exists, then it exists in some possible world.
- If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world
- If a maximally great being exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world
- If a maximally great being exists in the actual world, then a maximally great being exists
- Therefore, a maximally great being exists
All of the ontological arguments can be broken down into “I can imagine a god exists, so it has to exist in reality.” Plug in daemon instead of god and the logic holds just as well. Let me reword it:
- It is possible that a maximally evil being exits.
- If a maximally evil being exists, then it exists in some possible world.
- If a maximally evil being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world
- If a maximally evil being exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world
- If a maximally evil being exists in the actual world, then a maximally evil being exists
- Therefore, a maximally evil being exists
I just proved the Devil exists. Stop using this apologetic. It didn’t work 900 years ago, it does not work now.