Swinburne’s Cosmological and Teleological Arguments – Part 4

Richard Swinburne presents his inductive cosmological argument in Chapter 7 of his book The Existence of God (second edition, hereafter: EOG). I plan to start at the beginning of the chapter and go paragraph by paragraph, stopping to comment on each paragraph that includes either support for, or defense of, some part of the cosmological argument (hereafter: TCA). Paragraph 1 (EOG, p.133) This paragraph neither supports nor defends a part of TCA. Paragraph 2 (EOG, p.133-134) This … [Read more...]

Swinburne’s Cosmological and Teleological Arguments – Part 3

I am exploring a concern about, or potential objection to, Swinburne's inductive cosmological and teleological arguments for the existence of God. The objection I have in mind is something like this, for the cosmological argument: Although the one factual premise of Swinburne's cosmological argument is supposed to be the ONLY contingent factual claim or assumption upon which the conclusion of the argument rests, the argument actually rests on a considerable number and variety of contingent … [Read more...]

Swinburne’s Cosmological and Teleological Arguments – Part 2

Like many other liberals, I'm delighted and mesmerized by Bridgegate and various other Chris Christie scandals from the fine state of New Jersey. I cannot wait for my daily dose of Rachel Maddow dishing the latest dirt on Christie and his idiotic crowd of corrupt New Jersey hooligans. What does this have to do with Swinburne's arguments for God? Well, one neat trick that a couple of Christie's friends have pulled is to plead the 5th amendment as a legal justification for refusing to turn … [Read more...]

Swinburne’s Cosmological & Teleological Arguments

I'm not going to try to fully explain and evaluate Swinburne's Cosmological and Teleological arguments for God here. That would be way too much to tackle in one or two blog posts. There are just a couple of doubts or concerns about these arguments that I would like to express and explore. Swinburne's inductive cosmological argument for God has just one premise: e. A complex physical universe exists (over a period of time). Therefore: g. God exists. Swinburne argues that e is more … [Read more...]

Do Christian Apologists Spend Too Much Time Focusing on their Weaker Opponents?

Refuting the "New Atheists" is all the rage among Christian apologists these days. Among professional philosophers of religion, however, it's well-known that the new atheists are not the best representatives for atheism. So why do Christian apologists continue to harp on the new atheists and ignore what atheist professional philosophers of religion have to say? For example, you'd think, after the 1,000th refutation of Richard Dawkins, that they would move onto something else.  You'd be wrong. … [Read more...]

Playing The Mystery Card (incl. McGrath vs Dawkins) from my book Believing Bullshit

  PLAYING THE MYSTERY CARD   Suppose critics point out that not only do you have little in the way of argument to support your particular belief system, there also seems to be powerful evidence against it. If you want, nevertheless, to convince both yourself and others that your beliefs are not nearly as ridiculous as your critics suggest, what might you do?   Perhaps Play The Mystery Card. As we will see, this sort of strategy is particularly popular when it comes to defending … [Read more...]

Best of All Possible Persons – Part 2

What do you get if you cross 'the best of all possible worlds' (from Leibniz) with 'the being than which none greater can be conceived' (from Anselm)? You get: the best of all possible persons, which is another way to conceive of God. Here are two proofs of the non-existence of God, based on this way of understanding the concpet of God: DISPROOF OF GOD #1 1. Person P is the best of all possible persons only if P creates the best of all possible worlds. 2. No person ever has or ever … [Read more...]

Slicing Up the Metaphysical Pie

16 types of gods

One basic question in metaphysics is this: How many gods exist? Atheism can be defined as the view that there are 0 gods. Monotheism is the view that there is just 1 god. Polytheism is the view that there are 2 or more gods. Thus all of the various answers to the metaphysical question above are included in these three categories. The term polytheism, however, is a very broad category that includes many different and conflicting answers to the question above. Manichaeism - the … [Read more...]

Best of All Possible Persons

Now this supreme wisdom, united to a goodness that is no less infinite, cannot but have chosen the best... If there were not the best among all possible worlds, God would not have produced any. (Gottfried Leibniz, Theodicy, translated by E.M. Huggard, 1951, p.128) According to Anselm, God is the being than which none greater can be conceived. In other words, God is the best of all possible persons. According to Leibniz, the best of all possible persons would have to create the best of all … [Read more...]

Did Jesus Exit? – Part 22

I have argued that the agreement that exists between the seven gospel sources concerning the Minimal Jesus Hypothesis, could be explained on the basis of the common cultural idea of a 'Messiah'. I conceded, however, that the crucifixion of the Messiah was not a part of the expectation of first century Palestinian Jews, but pointed out that the crucifixion of Jesus and surrounding events are described only in Mark and the Gospel of Peter, and not in the other gospel sources that Ehrman points us … [Read more...]