There are no good arguments for the existence of God (complete)

So I’m doing this project where I’m writing a book, and when I finish a draft of a chapter, I post it for anyone to read for free using Google Docs. I’ve just finished putting together the chapter titled “There are no good arguments for the existence of God.” (I had previously posted an incomplete version of the chapter.) Read it here.

The contents of this chapter include (but aren’t limited to):

  • Bill O’Reilly’s argument for the existence of God
  • How so many arguments for the existence of God commit a fallacy known as “privileging the hypothesis”
  • Aquinas’ five ways
  • Problems with currently-popular Bayesian arguments for the existence of God
My debate with Randal Rauser is out!
Why I’ve decided to start deleting jerky comments more often
Slavery abolition and animal rights: the biggest problem
How selfish are voters?
  • dukeofomnium

    As a compulsive proofreader, I’ve found the following typo:
    “publishing int during his lifetime” where “int” should be “it”. Just thought you’d like to know.

  • cag

    and instead focusing all their attention on Christianity (as expounded by their beloved pastor Mike), atheism (as expounded by Professor McInfidel) and Islam (as expounded by their beloved pastor Mike).

    Is this what you wanted to write?

    I find it amazing that a god who wants me to worship it and is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent cannot be bothered to convince me that it is worthy of worship. Should it not be a priority for a worship craving deity to convince the billions who do not believe?

    • Chris Hallquist

      Yes. It’s a joke.

  • Robert

    Typo, “… almost all informed non-Christians, and may more liberal Christian Biblical scholars, the Bible…”

  • Daniel Schealler

    Note sure if you’d like or value these. But they’re there for the taking if you want them.

    I put these together as a rebuttal to Rabbi Moshe a while back.

    I don’t *really* know what I’m doing with logical notation. This is just a best effort based on what I half-remember from my first year philosophy papers at Uni many years ago.

    On Inferring Complexity and Design

    Concluding Design from Specified Complexity is Fallacious

  • corey

    If you want a slam dunk, you owe it to yourself to take note of William Lane Craig’s arguments for the existence of God(s) (I also recommend using the plural when talking about hypothetical dieties, because that just gives your opponent one more BS claim to have to substantiate– eg., monotheism versus just plain ole theism). Then, check out the YouTube series by this British Philosophy student who absolutely destroys Craigs arguments as well as I have seen:

    • corey

      And also take a peak at Richard Carrier’s online article “Why I Am Not a Christian.” Some points are made in those two sources that I wish more people would be aware of and pass around. Cheers, and good luck!

    • Chris Hallquist

      That’s all in the next chapter! Haven’t seen the videos by the British philosophy student you mention, though, will try to take a look at them!

    • Brian

      The first video didn’t refute Craig’s cosmological argument. Much as I detest Craig, the guy in the video didn’t argue against Craig.
      Craig said somewhere “Anything that has a begining has a cause” and later “The universe began and so it must have as a cause something that is uncaused”. There’s no contradiction there.
      The guy making the video didn’t understand that Craig posits that God is uncaused and thus has no beginning. It’s the standard bit of special pleading of Cosmological arguments in that “everything has cause, except the thing I want to prove”.

  • computerguy

    The discussion on the reliability of the New Testament rang a few bells for me. Christians love to say that there is heaps of evidence for the New Testament where there very little. We have Josephus in the first century which has to have at least been modified later. In the second century we have some scraps of the Gospels and some Roman references.
    While we cant deny that there was some kind of movement from the second century onward. Most of what we know of the New Testament and the early Church comes from Eusibus in the fourth century. Now he could have honestly reported on mainstream Christianity and its history. He could have pushed his particular branch of Christianity. He could have made up a version of Christianity that has nothing to do with the movement up to that date.

  • Masks of Eris

    Typo. “I think the problem of evil is devestating to theism”.

    Or, if it means devastating and defenestrating, I could live with that.

    Also, “Swinburne’s response to the problem of eveil”.

    • Hairy Chris, blah blah blah etc

      The problem of evil is only devastating to types of theism where the god is defined to be benevolent. It may be problematic to most types of Christianity, but not theism as a whole.

      • mnb0

        No. Pastafarians and worshippers of the Olympic gods don’t have any trouble with the problem of evil.

  • mnb0

    This is an excellent chapter. You made me realize that the fine tuning argument is just another variation of the god of the gaps.
    I still like The Flying Spaghetti Monster more than Richard Carrier’s exploding god, because it’s both more “real” and “fake”, but never mind.
    And I still see nothing wrong with Van Inwagen’s description of Enlightenment. It may not apply to all enlightened thinkers of the past. My point is that Van Inwagen first has to show what’s incorrect with those statements.
    The important remark though is that your chapter is so crystal clear I could pick these points without any effort. In short, you produced the antithesis of almost all theology. You clarify and don’t obscure.

  • Tony Hoffman

    Loved the chapter. It’s surprising to me how few arguments even seem to be out there — having you discuss all of the ones I know fairly well makes me even more comfortable with the fact that there is an appalling paucity of good arguments for what so many people still believe is true; I really expected to hear something I hadn’t hear before.

    I found myself in a comment thread with Tim McGrew once discussing his historical argument, and discovered that he appears to have committed himself to the notion that misplaced credulity is less probable than an event that has no prior or real world confirmation. He wanted to discuss Catholic legends, free of historical criticism. Not much can be said for that approach.

  • Daniel Schealler

    Minor typo:

    Dennett finally says that “Perhaps some claims should just be laughed out of court,” butI have a different solution to this problem.

    Should be a space between ‘but’ and ‘I’.

  • Daniel Schealler

    Heh. Reading through this chapter for the first time while researching this very topic.

    I’m gonna leave comments detaling minor typos as I go. Not because I think they undermine the argument or anything like that. I’m loving the chapter so far. I’m just shouting them out as I see them in the hope that it might still be useful information to have them highlighted.


    When I first saw these interviews, I thought O’Reilly might have been joking, but he laterdefended his remarks.

    Space between ‘later’ and ‘defended’.

    There are many reasons why the centuries following the fall of the Roman empiredeserve the name “Dark Ages,” but the loss of virtually all Greek philosophy to the west should be an especially easy one for fans of philosophy to understand.

    Space between ‘empire’ and ‘deserve’.

    I touched on this a bit in chapter 4, when I talked aboutthings like the Mormon claim that Joseph Smith was too uneducated to have made up the Book of Mormon.

    Space between ‘about’ and ‘things’.

    Philosopher of religion Ted Drange has an article titled “The Argument from the Bible”that goes into some detail about what’s wrong with these arguments

    Space between ‘Bible”‘ and ‘that’.

    Swinburne’s response to the problem of eveil includes the the unconvincing and frankly offensive approach of trying to suggest compensating goods that might have come out of particular evils

    ‘eveil’ should be ‘evil’

    ‘includes the the’ should be ‘includes the’. Note that in the original sample there are two spaces between the two ‘the’s. This extra space will be parsed out by HTML browsers when you read this comment, but it’s there in the original if you need to search for it using a find tool.

    All done. ^_^

    Good chapter.

    • Daniel Schealler

      Re-reading my own comment just now: ‘Heh. Reading through this chapter for the first time while researching this very topic.’

      Not exactly true.

      I bookmarked this blog post for future reading. At the time I skimmed through it and liked it, and left a comment.

      Never got around to reading it properly until now because I was researching the topic of good arguments for gods, and the bookmark for this post was in my folder for that topic.