Best and worst arguments for the existence of God
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Author Topic: Best and worst arguments for the existence of God  (Read 3549 times)
Senator Spark
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« on: July 11, 2022, 09:52:55 AM »

I believe that the cosmological argument combined with the teleological argument is the best justification for the existence of a higher power.
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Tartarus Sauce
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« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2022, 02:01:02 PM »
« Edited: July 11, 2022, 02:18:47 PM by Tartarus Sauce »

They're all bad and possess a major logical fallacy buried somewhere in their syllogistic formula. I have yet to a see logical argumentation posited that I found convincing no matter how intelligent its proponent. This is one of those topics that's a debate because it suits people's psychological biases more so than there being any soundness in the arguments themselves.
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Actual Necromancer Joe Manchin
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« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2022, 04:49:41 PM »

The best argument for the existence of God is biting the bullet on the dogmatic-axiomatic horn of the Münchhausen trilemma as opposed to one of the other two horns. The worst is the ontological argument, but it's also the funniest.
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« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2022, 08:53:20 PM »

The best argument for the existence of God is biting the bullet on the dogmatic-axiomatic horn of the Münchhausen trilemma as opposed to one of the other two horns. The worst is the ontological argument, but it's also the funniest.
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Actual Necromancer Joe Manchin
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« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2022, 10:10:39 PM »

The best argument for the existence of God is biting the bullet on the dogmatic-axiomatic horn of the Münchhausen trilemma as opposed to one of the other two horns. The worst is the ontological argument, but it's also the funniest.
Ain’t nobody got time definition searching, do a Fannon man

Good point. Thanks, PSOL.

The best argument is deciding you'd rather have your worldview be based on unprovable premises than on circular thinking or infinite regress (the only three real options). The worst argument is "God is good, and it's better to exist than not to exist, therefore He must exist, otherwise He isn't God and whatever exists instead of Him is God," but it's also the funniest.
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Benjamin Frank
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« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2022, 11:22:34 PM »
« Edited: July 12, 2022, 06:22:03 AM by Benjamin Frank »

I believe that the cosmological argument combined with the teleological argument is the best justification for the existence of a higher power.


It depends on how you define 'God.' If you mean God as portrayed in the Bible, I don't believe there is any serious credible evidence to back that up, ultimately that's a matter of faith, which is fine to me as long as you don't tell me how to live my life based on this book that you believe to be true.

If you mean 'God' as in a creator of the universe, with the Bible being a fairly easy coincidence of stating the existence of this creator, then I think the evidence is very strong.

I don't agree with the teleological term, which apparently essentially means intelligent design. According to the standard counter argument, people see 'intelligent design' because they seek patterns even, or especially, when there are none.  That the earth and all major bodies in space are round is not due to some intelligent design, it's due to purely natural centrifugal force.

Even more so, the evidence is quite strong that there is no intelligent design. That many things are, in reality, very messy and not ordered, but that people don't notice because they want to see order, and that from observation it's evident that supposedly ordered things are a result of compromises based on natural selection.  

As far as I'm concerned, if there was intelligent design, why do I need to wear glasses? Wouldn't an intelligent designer God at least give humans eyes that don't ever need glasses?

However, in terms of a Universal Creator, the obvious argument is the numerical constants that need to be exact in order for the universe to exist. Apparently this is called the fine-tuning universe theory for God. For instance, in order for planets to exist. I'm not a physicist so I don't remember these constants because I really don't understand them but:

"And a third example of the universe’s being suited for us is its initial conditions, for example, that the universe began in a state with lots of usable energy.[3] Some philosophers and scientists estimate that some of these constants, forces, and conditions couldn’t have varied by more than one part in 1060 (i.e., a one with sixty zeros after it) and still permitted life."  (And that doesn't even mention the constants that need to exist for any universe to not simply implode upon coming into existence.)

https://1000wordphilosophy.com/2018/05/03/the-fine-tuning-argument-for-the-existence-of-god/#:~:text=This%20is%20the%20basic%20reasoning,the%20universe%20would%20permit%20life.

My view is ultimately that there has to be either an infinite number of universes for this universe with life to exist or a single creator of this universe, and I think it's far more logical to assume a single creator than an infinite number of anything.

This is seperate from the above argument about seeing patterns in chaos, because this is seeing patterns when previously there was nothing to see.  In this case, these patterns must exist for the universe (and the earth and life) to exist

On the scientist side, there seems to be a view of 'whatever you do, don't mention the God.' When Elon Musk (not that he originated the idea) popularized the notion of the simulated universe, all sorts of scientists jumped on it saying 'that explains so many things!' I don't see how a simulated universe differs in any way from a universe created by a 'God.'

The second strongest argument is all the life after death stories which are both too numerouos and too consistent to dismiss.  The term 'near death experience' is a very poor phrase because it's a misnomer.  A far more accurate phrase is 'post brain death experiences.'
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Laki
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« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2022, 11:31:27 PM »
« Edited: July 11, 2022, 11:38:39 PM by Laki »

The best argument for existence of God or artificial creation is the rate of black hole formation throughout the universe, which hints towards a universal consciousness or evolutionary mechanism aiming maximal fertile production of universes if one assumes black hole formation is basically the birth of a new universe.

That being said it is impossible to exclude or prove the existence of God itself, but it is hard to proof to why one religion is more valid than one other, even considering Abrahamic beliefs basically believe in the same God, just some other interpretations which is ironic since judaism, christianity and islam actually aren't that different from each other, and share the same foundation.

However it is also hard to prove why a cultist belief is a cult and a religion a religion, and considering religions might be cults that gathered millions & billions of followers throughout thousands of years, what makes a cult a cult and a religion and religion is an incredibly vague thin line, imo non-existent. But even if one considers a religion as a cult (or all), it still doesn't proof that God does not exist.

You can say anything and not be proven wrong because it is impossible to prove you were wrong on the subject.
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« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2022, 04:48:45 AM »

Reading Norbert Wiener's Cybernetics, or at least the parts that I could understand with my very limited knowledge of differential equations, in the midst of Quarantine Hell, did more to deepen my philosophy of the ontology of divinity than anything had in ages. Of course I first learned of Wiener from his great influence on Louis and Bebe Barron's pioneering electronic soundtrack for Forbidden Planet, but their music works just as well towards the same principle once understood in that context.
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NUPES Enjoyer
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« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2022, 08:04:38 AM »

With the caveat that any such "arguments" can only evaluated in terms of their emotional appeal rather than as rational proofs, personally I've always been the most drawn to metaethical arguments. There is really no foolproof way to bridge the is-ought gap, but God admittedly provides one of the most straightforward ones, and as someone who's been through times of serious moral confusion I have strongly felt its appeal. I can also relate to teleological arguments, not so much because the world needs a Purpose as such (unlike seemingly many people I've never felt a lack of meaning to my life) but simply because the awe-inspiring beauty of the world does make it seem natural that it was willed into existence somehow (conversely, the strongest argument against the existence of God is and remains the Problem of Evil).

The worst argument has to be Pascal's Wager, because it's not just specious but actively self-defeating. Basically no one can interact with it in good faith and come out better for it: the sincere believer would if anything be insulted to see their faith reduced to a self-interested gambit, and the sincere nonbeliever would just have to throw in their hands. Even if someone wants to avoid hell at all costs, few people can just will themselves to believe something they don't, and those who can are probably not the kinds of disciples you should hope for. If you base your religion's appeal on the desire of reward or the fear of punishment, all you're making is a power play rather than a sincere appeal. The ontological argument of course also deserves a mention for the hilariously bad logic, but Nathan has already said everything on that.

The cosmological argument, along with Nathan's similarly-structured epistemological argument, are sound for what they are, but of course they are arguments for the existence of any prime mover or unprovable axiom (something that most modern scientists do strongly believe in), rather than specifically of an omniscient, omnipotent and benevolent creator with person-like characteristics, which is what I assumed the OP to be about. Of course, arguing that such a being would then have the additional characteristics of the Christian God would be an even taller order, and at that point you really just have to bite the Kierkegaardian bullet and be done with it.
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afleitch
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« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2022, 11:36:11 AM »

The best argument (which might have been expressed here steady...I think) is 'because I just do.'

It's not as weak rhetorically as it sounds. It centres the belief on the person themselves which is better grounds for discussion than appeals to circular or drawn out philosophy.

The worst is trinitarian Christianity (see afleitch passim) which at it's core is half a step away from the same mythos as Zeus' paternal exploits (though to be fair, at least he made a physical appearance.)
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Person Man
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« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2022, 06:13:32 PM »

A lot of this can be condensed to “Why does 2+2=4?” or better yet, why does two come after one?
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Actual Necromancer Joe Manchin
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« Reply #11 on: July 12, 2022, 08:10:01 PM »

The best argument (which might have been expressed here steady...I think) is 'because I just do.'

It's not as weak rhetorically as it sounds. It centres the belief on the person themselves which is better grounds for discussion than appeals to circular or drawn out philosophy.

The worst is trinitarian Christianity (see afleitch passim) which at it's core is half a step away from the same mythos as Zeus' paternal exploits (though to be fair, at least he made a physical appearance.)

I wouldn't consider any of the various Trinitarian doctrines an "argument for the existence of God". You're right that they don't work very well as one, but I think that's because that just isn't what they are.
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afleitch
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« Reply #12 on: July 13, 2022, 02:58:33 AM »

The best argument (which might have been expressed here steady...I think) is 'because I just do.'

It's not as weak rhetorically as it sounds. It centres the belief on the person themselves which is better grounds for discussion than appeals to circular or drawn out philosophy.

The worst is trinitarian Christianity (see afleitch passim) which at it's core is half a step away from the same mythos as Zeus' paternal exploits (though to be fair, at least he made a physical appearance.)

I wouldn't consider any of the various Trinitarian doctrines an "argument for the existence of God". You're right that they don't work very well as one, but I think that's because that just isn't what they are.


I was referring to it being a 'gateway' into a Christian belief in God, particularly for those who have an 'accepting Jesus' (as...) heavy induction.
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Mopolis
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« Reply #13 on: July 13, 2022, 02:51:46 PM »

The strongest argument for a god is that the idea that the material universe would come into existence without an external cause violates every known law of said universe. The problem for most theists is that it’s a long way from this argument to belief in a specific revealed creed.
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Georg Ebner
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« Reply #14 on: July 14, 2022, 04:28:22 AM »

Firstly a wishy-washy terminus like "argument" should be replaced by "prove".
Secondly the ontological prove works - but it proves only, that GOD must exist, not, that HE actually exists.
Thirdly we could know since KANT: one of our "antiNomies" is, that, if we were able to prove HIS existence, our own nous would be DIVine - and as a result noBody could exist above us...
Fourthly another antiNomy of KANT is, that we can neither imagine the universe to be ending nor to be endless (the same applies naturally to the "aToms"). Thus it is idiotic to try to prove or to refute any thing from the kosmos. "In my life I have seen many facts - but never any 'natural law'." (HUME) We do not know, whether the sun will rise tomorrow; not even, whether la vida is real or just un sueno.
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Stranger in a strange land
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« Reply #15 on: July 14, 2022, 10:30:16 AM »

The worst arguments are Pascal's Wager and God of the Gaps, and while the former was arguably never intended to be taken seriously, and the latter was actually an opponent of it pushing back against a tendency he saw among his fellow Christians, both are taken completely seriously by many believers, including many who should know better.
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« Reply #16 on: July 14, 2022, 10:59:42 AM »
« Edited: July 14, 2022, 11:48:06 AM by Keystoned To The Bone »

Occam’s Razor dictates 90% of being a Philly sports fan is some malevolent cosmic entity tormenting me for my sins in a past life.
Since this post, galaxy brained Chuck Fletcher traded 3 mid rounders for a mid-pairing Dman from South Jersey who is a known white supremacist then GOT COLD FEET MOVING ONE FIRST ROUNDER SO WE COULDN’T SIGN THE SOUTH JERSEY NATIVE 40+ GOAL 100 POINT HART TROPHY CANDIDATE WHO OH YEAH, ISN’T A F___ING RACIST.

In short, Idk if God exists, but oh do I believe in the primordial chaos monster. Its name is Xfinity, and it’s hellbent on turning my local franchise, to me the manifestation of the sport, the activity I love playing almost as much life itself, into a nepotistic corporate alumni association.
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Person Man
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« Reply #17 on: July 14, 2022, 06:25:37 PM »

The worst arguments are Pascal's Wager and God of the Gaps, and while the former was arguably never intended to be taken seriously, and the latter was actually an opponent of it pushing back against a tendency he saw among his fellow Christians, both are taken completely seriously by many believers, including many who should know better.

God of the Gaps is at least comforting for now. However, the only way that it could be valid is if there are things that exist that are impossible to know because they cannot be learned from induction, but can by faith. You really shouldn't try to "prove" or "disprove" God and this argument, though it makes me feel better, just is really about eventually proving that God doesn't or does exist. If the existence of God could be proven, there would be no need for us to have religion, would there?
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Actual Necromancer Joe Manchin
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« Reply #18 on: July 15, 2022, 11:08:16 PM »

Secondly the ontological prove works - but it proves only, that GOD must exist, not, that HE actually exists.

Can you expound this distinction?
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« Reply #19 on: July 16, 2022, 05:49:28 AM »

The strongest argument for a god is that the idea that the material universe would come into existence without an external cause violates every known law of said universe. The problem for most theists is that it’s a long way from this argument to belief in a specific revealed creed.

I’ve never found this notably more convincing than any of the others. By the same logic, God ought to have had a creator, and his creator a creator, and that creator a creator, and so on and so on forever. If you’re going to refuse to accept this infinite regression, why can only God be the prime mover, and not, say, the Big Bang?
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Statilius the Epicurean
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« Reply #20 on: July 16, 2022, 10:24:07 AM »

Yeah the strongest is some form of the cosmological argument. I don't think any of them reach the level of proof, but they're to some extent reasonable deductions from ordinary assumptions most people have about how the universe works: the principle of sufficient reason, the impossibility of infinities etc..

There are many bad folk arguments for the existence of God that depend on bare assertion, but the worst of the classical arguments IMO is the argument from design. It seems obvious to me that the universe just isn't that intelligently designed as one would expect from a Creator. Plus we can explain too many of its features naturalistically now.
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Mopolis
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« Reply #21 on: July 16, 2022, 10:46:50 AM »

The strongest argument for a god is that the idea that the material universe would come into existence without an external cause violates every known law of said universe. The problem for most theists is that it’s a long way from this argument to belief in a specific revealed creed.

I’ve never found this notably more convincing than any of the others. By the same logic, God ought to have had a creator, and his creator a creator, and that creator a creator, and so on and so on forever. If you’re going to refuse to accept this infinite regression, why can only God be the prime mover, and not, say, the Big Bang?

The argument assumes that it’s in a god’s nature to not need a creator. Which may not be supported by any empirical observation, but it’s easier to wrap your head around than the idea that all the matter in the universe spontaneously came into existence, all at the same time, for no reason.
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« Reply #22 on: July 16, 2022, 01:12:01 PM »

Secondly the ontological prove works - but it proves only, that GOD must exist, not, that HE actually exists.

Can you expound this distinction?
What GAUNILO brought up against the ontological prove (the idea of a pure island, which can be imagined, but does nevertheless not exist) does not fit, because - as already ANSELM Himself replied - the idea of GOD as the summum
omnium is unique and can not be compared to any other idea.
Yet, that we subectively need for our daily life to believe, that the ontoLogy is in some way "rational" and mirroring verity, does not prove, that this is objectively true.
Compared to Europe's so-called "rationalists", who began - roughly with ANSELM - to mix empirical & rational sive us/world & GOD, the e.g. Jews were wiser, when being aware, that only HE can say "I am".
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NUPES Enjoyer
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« Reply #23 on: July 16, 2022, 03:04:15 PM »
« Edited: July 16, 2022, 03:27:06 PM by NUPES Enjoyer »

There are many bad folk arguments for the existence of God that depend on bare assertion, but the worst of the classical arguments IMO is the argument from design. It seems obvious to me that the universe just isn't that intelligently designed as one would expect from a Creator. Plus we can explain too many of its features naturalistically now.

I mean, these "naturalistic" explanations aren't really the end of the story though, are they? Even if you take them at face value, they ultimately boil down to certain properties of the universe being set just right for all of these natural processes to occur. Tweak even one of the fundamental constants by a trivial amount, and suddenly the universe becomes a lot more... boring, so to speak. Now, plenty of scientists have criticized the idea that the fundamental constants are "fine-tuned" (or even that such a claim has any meaning given that we can't observe any other universe). Personally, I think the anthropic principle is more than sufficient to explain any otherwise freakish coincidence that allows for the existence of life in our universe on a theoretical level. But again, any argument for or against the existence of God is emotional in nature, and all these rebuttals to the fine-turning argument are emotionally uncompelling to someone who is seriously swayed by it. So in that light, I think being swayed into faith by it makes plenty of sense.
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Statilius the Epicurean
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« Reply #24 on: July 16, 2022, 07:18:45 PM »

There are many bad folk arguments for the existence of God that depend on bare assertion, but the worst of the classical arguments IMO is the argument from design. It seems obvious to me that the universe just isn't that intelligently designed as one would expect from a Creator. Plus we can explain too many of its features naturalistically now.

I mean, these "naturalistic" explanations aren't really the end of the story though, are they? Even if you take them at face value, they ultimately boil down to certain properties of the universe being set just right for all of these natural processes to occur. Tweak even one of the fundamental constants by a trivial amount, and suddenly the universe becomes a lot more... boring, so to speak. Now, plenty of scientists have criticized the idea that the fundamental constants are "fine-tuned" (or even that such a claim has any meaning given that we can't observe any other universe). Personally, I think the anthropic principle is more than sufficient to explain any otherwise freakish coincidence that allows for the existence of life in our universe on a theoretical level. But again, any argument for or against the existence of God is emotional in nature, and all these rebuttals to the fine-turning argument are emotionally uncompelling to someone who is seriously swayed by it. So in that light, I think being swayed into faith by it makes plenty of sense.

That's just the anthropic principle though.
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