Arguments for the Existence of God
by Metacrock - edited by JMT
Used with Permission
A. Principle of cumulative case.
D. Empirical Justification.
E. Arguments Demonstrating God's Conscious Nature.
F. Defeasible Reasoning.
XXXVI. The cumulative case.
A. The Principle of A Cumulative Case.
The principle of a cumulative case was discussed by Basil Mitchell in The Justification of Religious Belief. The Danger of such a case is that it might be seen as the 10 leaky buckets fallacy; All the arguments put together prove God even if no one of them does individually. In other words, all of the buckets hold water when taken together even if none of them do alone. But the difference is that I'm not saying that taken all together all of these fallacious arguments stack up to a good one. First, I don't' think any of them are fallacious, I think any one of the arguments presented above proves the case, at least to the extent of offering a rational warrant for belief. The notion of the cumulative case here is that taken together each argument's strengths plug up a hole in the over all case, thus the cumulative case is stronger than mere rational warrant, but actually demonstrates a certain kind of probability for the God hypothesis.At the very least they show that the atheist is unjustified in saying that "there is no good reason to believe in God."
1) Logic as rational warrant.
The logic of the God arguments presented indicates that there is ample room to consider the rational warrant proven. If any one of these arguments proves to be valid and sound that it must be excepted as rational. If the premises are valid and sound than the conclusion is valid and sound. But it must also be observed that even though skeptics demand empirical proof, this is not a reasonable burden for a rational warrant. After all, rational warrant means "a good sound rational reason to believe something" not "total absolute demonstrable proof." The atheist usually advances an irrational standard that he/she cannot met himself/herself by insisting "I cannot believe anything that is not totally proven," since so many propositions from which we navigate in the world are not proven through empirical evidence but must be understood as assumed (see the Thomas Reid Argument). Thus the God arguments meet the same standard upon which we base most of our navigation in the world. If we can't trust logic than we have abandoned our primary foundation for objective understanding of "rationality."
2) Ontological and Cosmological taken together.
All the ontological arguments demonstrate that God is valid as a concept in the formally logical sense. They also provide an important definition for understanding the nature of the term "God."
The Ontological argument in conjunction with the Cosmological argument works to prove that arbitrary necessities are impossible, the infinite regress is impossible, therefore, the eternal cause of the universe is also necessary cause. when atheists argue that God must have a cause, this argument helps to show why that is not the case. Because God is not contingent. God is not dependent upon anything else, everything in nature, in the natural chain of cause and effect is contingent. God is necessary and thus doesn't need a cause.
3) Cosmological argument.
Shows that the cause of the universe must be external to the universe, external to space/time, and must be eternal.
4) Transcendental Signifier and Being has to be.
Demonstrates that being itself has certain qualities we associate with God and that there has to be an organizing principle which gives meaning to the universe.
The experience arguments offer a "properly basic" reason to believe. If one has a certain consciousness of reality or consistent and regular experiences of reality, if those experiences are shared by others and are thus "inter-subjective" than one has a rational reason to take them seriously, to regard them as a valid reason to believe. Again, in lieu of absolute demonstrable proof, one has more than enough reason to assume that consistency and regularity are good reasons, since our major navigation in life comes not from absolute demonstration but from the consistency and regularity of our experiences. Thus these points together, logic and experience, constitute a good substitute for direct demonstrable proof, and constitute a rational warrant for belief.
D. Empirical Justification.
A good deal of the evidence for these arguments is derived from empirical scientific data. Now this is not empirical data on direct observations of God, but it is data which indicates the affects of God in the Universe. In a sense this data supports a "finger print" of God. It's the same logic as that of the neutrino; for decades science assumed the existence of the neutrino without being able to test or validate it, or to confirm it directly. They believed this merely because the notion of the neutrino fit the theory and explained certain phenomena. So it was not an observation of the neutrino that proved it existed, but the behavior of other things around the neutrino that indicated it was there. So it is with this "empirical God data." The data presented in the arguments above comes from empirical scientific observation:
1) Big Bang cosmology.
The universe has a beginning, it is not eternal. If BB cosmology prove nothing else it at least proves this much. It also proves that the origin, whatever it may be cannot be just some naturalistic contingency, and this is empirically derived at least to the extent of understanding the empirically that that there was no string of eternally expanding and contracting universes.
2) Anthropic Evidence.
3)Hick's argument that entropy proves that the origin must be personal is derived empirically.
4) Singularity beyond space/time.
The evidence that the singularity is beyond space/time manifold is empirical, which means that there are other realms beyond what we call "the natural realm," at least there is one realm.
5) Unified Field.
Without the Unified field the universe would not come together to produce life, but that had to either be pre-existent or form up out of a random explosion, no one can say how this works, but it is totally improbable.
6) Positive Long term effects of Religious Experience.
The evidence on positive long term effects of religious experience is empirical, as is the evidence proving that religious experience is not mental illness. This means that the origin of those experiences is probably external to the human mind.
7) Nature of Consciousness.
The nature of consciousness is not reducible to brain function, there is a host of empirical evidence for this and much of it indicates that consciousness is a basic property of nature. Quantum data is derived empirically and some of it suggests that consciousness is quantum.
8) God Pod.
There just happens to be a part of the brain that is wired to transmit feelings about God and to evoke religious experience, which is a wild coincidence to say the least. Taken with the other data it is a dead give away, almost a designer label.
9) Near Death Experience (or after death)
Evidence form NDE is empirical, about as empirical as you can get. many of the cases involved flat lining which means the brains weren't even working and yet the people gained information they could not have known unless they were conscious or unless their consciousness was somehow attendant upon the situation.
10) Empirical evidence of miracles, part of religious experience argument.
To this point there is ample room for understanding an eternal organizing principle as the origin of the universe. It is given to us in a priori logic, in empirical observation, and in personal experience.
11) Collapsing the Wave function.
The possibility that we need a universal mind to collapse the wave function of the universe is empirically derived.
E. Arguments that demonstrate God's Consciousness.
This organizing principle, this necessary being is proven to be conscious by the following arguments.
1) Consciousness Argument (duh).
2) The Anthropic argument.
The God of the Anthropic Argument would have to have a concept of creation, it would have to be able to set the values of all the constants at exactly the right levels. I hesitate to speak of "planning" or of "design" but certainly an awareness of what it is doing.
3) The argument form the Sublime.
Demonstrates a God of good aesthetic tastes, a God who knows good art works and has a good sense of color schemes. Seriously demonstrates a God who has a sensibility.
4) Moral argument, value arguments.
Indicates that God has a will and holds values, which requires a mind.
5) Hick's argument that entropy proves that the origin must be personal.
6) Collapsing the Wave function requires a mind.
7) the Logical necessity argument proves from a logical standpoint that the ultimate origin of the universe must come from a creator who can freely choose to create.
All demonstrate that God is possessed of consciousness. Since consciousness is probably a basic force of nature the basic structure of it is in the universe and thus there is a transcendent will and mind. That indicates given all that has been said already that God is conscious, personal.
8) Values and Existential arguments.
These demonstrate that God holds values, that God's nature is that of justice and love, but the existential argument Also shows this as well as Marcell argues from relationships with other minds. Now we are basically in the ball park of the "Christian God" because we have a conscious being with a moral agenda for the universe.
F. Defeasible Reasoning and Justification.
The theory of Prima Facie requires that the one making the proposition present a Prima Facie case,that is to say, on face value the case for accepting a proposition meets the burden of a rational warrant for accepting the proposition. Once this burden has been met, it becomes the duty of the one opposing the proposition to show that additional evidence is required. This is means that while it is initially the burden of the believer to prove any claims about the existence of God, it ceases to the burden of the believer to prove this once a rational warrant for belief has been offered. It is, therefore, the burden of the skeptic to demonstrate that the case made is inadequate and that there is no rational warrant. Thus is the skeptic's burden of proof to demonstrate that there is no rational reason to believe in God. But all the believer need do is to demonstrate a properly basic reason to believe.
Any one of these arguments offers that standard. Anyone of these arguments presents a prima facie case for belief in God. Taken together, however, they offer a compelling indication that God exists. In other words, through the standard of a PF case a cumulative case offers above and beyond the standard and thus it is the skeptics burden to show that each and every argument is devoid of rational warrant and that the overall effect is not a cumulative case. The cumulative case, therefore, approximates actual proof pretty closely. Defeasible reasons presented include:
1) The Argument from Parsimony; Elegance of the God hypothesis.
This offers defeasible reason to believe. The God concept is the most elegant solution to many basic problems, not only origins but also our lives themselves.
2) Experience arguments.
3) Logical and a priori reasons.
4) Empirically derived reasons.
5) The surrender of the ground upon which God was excluded from Science.
It seems that we do have need of "That hypothesis" after all.
G. Conclusion: God is proven QED.
Any one of these arguments demonstrates a rational warrant for belief. With the cumulative case, however, we have more than just a rational warrant but positive probabilistic proof. Thus it is established that it is more probable and thus more rational to believe in God than not.
I don't know how one would establish a mathematical measurement of that probability, but in history at least we don't establish a mathematical percentage, but we do deal in probability. Historical probability is more or less an "on" or "off" assumption. Since disputes about the origin of the universe involve aspects of the history of the universe we could say that it is historically probable that the universe was created by God, and that people have been experiencing God throughout human history.
Thus the atheist is demonstrably unjustified every time he (or she) says "there is no reason to believe in God" or "there is not one rational reason to believe in God".
Rather, as discussed in this series of articles, there are 38 rational reasons to feel very confident in the inference that God does indeed Exist.
By Metacrock. Used with Permission.
For more articles by the same author, see Doxa.