Counter Arguments for the Arguments 'Proving' God

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For each argument suggesting that God is real, there are at least two or three suggesting otherwise - this hub attempts to tackle the most famous arguments arguing for God's existence that are all found here: Summary of the Arguments for God.

I accept that there will be many more arguments against God but the following are specifically countering the ones mentioned in the afore mentioned hub.

Feel free to leave your input at the bottom of the hub and cast your vote on your favourite counterargument.

1. Pascal's Wager

Pascal's wager states that you should believe in God because then you have a chance to go to heaven and avoid hell.

  1. This is primarily fallacious because religions require people to truly believe in their God in order to claim these benefits - believing in religions for selfish purposes is seen as unacceptable and gambling is seen as wrong by many of them.
  2. Lastly, as David Mitchell explains, there is no more evidence for the idea of heaven and hell as an after life than there is for an afterlife reserved specifically for atheists. Therefore, making an active decision to believe in afterlife would deny yourself of just that and those that never believed, would ironically receive it.

David Mitchell Explains His Argument for Pascal's Wager

3. The Anthropic Principle

As deGrasse Tyson explains below, the Universe has been (and still is) so uninhabitable and so dangerous to humankind (and all life) that it is simply ludicrous to suggest that the universe must have been created for us because the conditions in our world are just so 'divinely perfect'.

In fact, it seems that our universe's conditions are so bad at accommodating life that Earth is the only place we've ever found life on (and believe me, we've looked around for our extra terrestrial friends!)

Even then, 99.9% of all species that have ever lived here on Earth are now extinct and it took a bewildering 3.5 billion years for the multi-cellular life that we know formed the foundation of life on Earth to come about - hardly a warm welcome!

2. The Design Argument

  1. Evolution gives an obvious solution to why everything seems to be adapted for its purpose - the main crux of this argument.
  2. Even without the idea of evolution looming about, the design argument fails simply because there is no consistency in it. If the universe and everything in it was designed with a purpose in mind by some great creator, then many things shouldn't exist at all.
  3. Taking the human as an example, why would a great God create man so that he must breathe and eat out of one orifice - leaving him the chance for choking on food to his death or less extreme: burping. As well as that: male nipples, vulnerability to disease, DNA malfunction, sleeping, and degenerating with age all have no clear advantages to our lives.
  4. Even the human eye, used most commonly as evidence for how perfectly we are 'designed,' has flaws of its own: worsening function as we age, cataracts and blindness. In fact, the eye contains a 'blind spot' which means that our view of the world is forever incomplete - what almighty creator would design such a flawed organ?

Neil deGrasse Tyson Explains the Weaknesses of the Design Argument

The Lottery Objection

Another popular argument, the lottery objection states that even if an event has a very small chance of happening it still does have a chance of happening and therefore if it does happen there is no need to suggest it was the will of a divine being. When someone wins the lottery he never had a large chance of doing so, but nevertheless he did.

Likewise, if the conditions of the universe are very unlikely it still does not arise that it is impossible for them to be without some god or creator.

4. The Ontological Argument

The 'Ontological Argument' defines God into existence and states that since he is defined as being perfect and since part of being perfect is actually existing then it naturally follows that God is in fact real.

There are two big problems with this argument:

  1. A definition either describes something that we know is not real: like a unicorn or santa claus, or, it describes something that we know does exist, like a chair or a rock. It does not serve, therefore, to define a unicorn as something that exists and then claim that it does simply because it is defined to which is the basis of this argument. When we define God, if we are defining something that exists we must be sure that that is what he really is - we cannot simply state that he is perfect without actually knowing that this is true. If we accept that God is fictional however, then we can define him however we like, since there will not be a real God that will become apparent and prove our definition incorrect, since by definition, that would not be the God that we created.
  2. Even forgetting the above dismantling point, It is important to question the idea that being "perfect" necessitates existence at all - especially since 'perfect' is a very subjective term. Could the perfect holocaust be no holocaust at all? To summarise, It is an unjustified leap to assume that perfection includes existence.

5. The First Cause/Cosmological Argument

  1. To say that everything must have a cause and then to state that there was something with no cause is complete contradiction - if you take the idea that things can exist without a cause, then why not simply state that the universe came into existence without a cause - there is no need for a god middle man.
  2. Infinity could exist and therefore there is no need at all for a 'first cause', merely an infinite regress.
  3. Forgetting the above, there is absolutely no reason to assume that the 'being' that was the first cause was: a god, just one God and not a team of gods, still alive or present today and more importantly the god that is mentioned in monotheism (Christianity, Judaism, Islam).
  4. Science has given plenty of alternative solutions to how the universe came to be, with Stephen Hawking claiming that he knows for sure that the universe was not created by a god through his scientific knowledge.
  5. Science has found particles that seem to come into existence without a cause and then disappear just as purposelessly - giving rise to the idea that not everything has a cause. Perhaps then, the universe came about via such circumstances.
  6. The Big Bang was the start of time and therefore it logically follows that nothing could cause the Big Bang, since there was no time before it to be created.

6. Saintliness

  • It is sadistic to cause huge amounts of suffering in the world just so a few of them could become 'saintly' or 'heroic', a truly loving god would not have caused billions pain for the pleasure of some few individuals.
  • You might argue that the pain helps individuals on a personal level, but in many cases the pain merely crushes them and they commit suicide or acquire depression - there is no godly justification for this.
  • God could have created the conditions of the universe so that there was no pain for humans at all but still retain the option for good deeds to be done - a man that helps his neighbour paint a fence is not preventing any pain (just his time) but is still doing a good deed. Pain is not necessary for goodness to be in existence because the absence of goodness is not pain but neutrality.

7. The Artistic Analogy

- When thought of practically, the argument fails - it is difficult to see how a young child dying of cancer helps the world be 'beautiful' and 'in harmony' and then would this pain and suffering even be worth the end 'beauty' and harmony that it would create? The way we define beauty often excludes human suffering (but part of the problem is that 'beauty' is for the most part completely subjective).

- If we take this 'harmony' and 'beauty' to be what 'good' really is, then it makes it impossible for us humans to ever judge what actually is good or evil, because we would need to be an omnipresent god to see the overall effects of an action on this 'harmony'.

- The analogy itself also seems to fail: a painting uses dark and light pigments and music uses contrasting notes to please our senses. Without this contrast the painting or music would be less pleasing to us. But that does not mean everything that contrasts is better with that contrast. To extend that argument and state that without suffering the pleasure we feel would be somehow less valuable to us, is simply unjustified.

8. The Argument from Miracles

- [David Hume]: Miracles are by definition very unlikely to happen (because if they were likely to happen then they would not be miracles) and therefore we should be reluctant to believe them. Since the proposed 'miracles' by other people are very unlikely and always without proof or scientific or logical explanation, we shouldn't accept them as evidence for god's existence.

- The miracles in the Bible are not worthy of considering in arguments because the validity of the information in the Bible is not high: a book written by over 40 people thousands of years ago with the intention of converting people to christianity is not likely to include a great deal of scientific understanding and rigorous testing when faced with 'miracles'.

Vote!

Which Counter-Argument Is Your Favourite?

  • Against Pascal's Wager
  • Against the Ontological Argument
  • Against the Design Argument
  • Against the Anthropic Principle
  • Against Saintliness
  • Against the Art Analogy
  • Against the Argument from Miracles
  • Against the First Cause/Cosmological Argument
See results without voting

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4.7 out of 5 stars from 3 ratings of counter-arguments against god!

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Comments 24 comments

f_hruz profile image

f_hruz 4 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Ahahaha - the lottery objection works both ways though!

If all you nasty atheists had just a bit more faith in the almighty ... after all, human kind has to be seen as some thing more than just another form of infectious outgrows, or sexually transmitted disease to make planet earth decay a bit faster towards extinction ...

It's the job of religion to cover that fact up and make you happy so you can experience gods blessings being a sexually perverted man size mega virus!


Philanthropy2012 profile image

Philanthropy2012 4 years ago from London Author

Ah but the Lottery Objection does not justify the impossible. As far as we are concerned, a personal god is completely impossible - not just very improbable!

And I'm fine with being a virus and all, but I just wish the other, small viruses would stop picking on my immune system - us V-bombs gotta' stick together!


f_hruz profile image

f_hruz 4 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Ahahah - good comment, thanks!

I am clear on the fact, to belief in miracles, you have to be irrational enough to think, anything is possible, there are no limitations to reality because god is almighty and can do anything any time he wishes ... :)

Yeh, and the main point is, when you pray to god to win the lottery, and even if you only get $10, in the mind of the believer it's clearly a sign that god responded ... ahahahaha


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 4 years ago from Michigan, USA

Just a technical note -- you have two paragraphs numbered "1" in the section on Pascal's Wager. You should probably change that second one to "2."

Please feel free to delete this comment after making the correction.


Philanthropy2012 profile image

Philanthropy2012 4 years ago from London Author

Ahh, thank you very much Paladin! And no, I want people to see what kind hubbers should be doing - correcting each other!


eHealer profile image

eHealer 4 years ago from Las Vegas

Hello Philanthropy, great job here. Very interesting and thorough, your points are well defined. Whenever I need a chuckle, I must admit, I read through the design debate, MyBad. I understand the need for deities, after all, we are only human. Good job and thanks for a great read!! Pinned it, FB'ed it, Nailed it, and shared it!!


Philanthropy2012 profile image

Philanthropy2012 4 years ago from London Author

Ahah thank you very much for your support eHealer!


SLibrera profile image

SLibrera 4 years ago from Clearwater, FL

Love it. I tend to just ignore the argument but it's nice to have some knowledge in case someone pushes the subject.


John King IV 4 years ago

Very entertaining... yet also somehow a serious issue.

Here are some comments left for consideration:

Their is the physical reality. (Things in the universe)

Then their is the stuff of language, meanings, ideas, etc; (things that originate from the human mind)

Their is God, as a word with meanings, and as a set of ideas.

Then, their is God, (for believers), as a reality.

Problem #1: People are different, and so are their ideas about God. Therefore, under this logic, their seems to be many gods.

Problem #2: The very notion of being able to prove or not prove God is so absurd. (As if this is a scientific experiment on a physical object)

Problem #3: How can faith be subject to scientific methods? Science by its nature is not based on blind faith, but on provable and observable facts.

Problem #4: Being anti God, or being for the promotion of God, is so futile. It is like fighting for the wind or for the void of space. What on earth do people accomplish by getting all stirred up about the void of space?

Just some things to consider, I thought I would share...


f_hruz profile image

f_hruz 4 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Believers of things don't actually make anything real!

Reality requires an objective understanding of what ever it is we are talking about ... and that critically objective observation and examination is a fundamental part of scientific thought which requires some education ... but believers don't want to follow a formal structure of thought to make sure their mind didn't just go over the deep end into the irrational, and that's fine if they just like to relate to their dreams, wishes, imagination or fantasy as something that originated in their own head, but has no place in the real world even if they manage to make it into a work of fiction, a painting, film or any work of art ...

Micky Mouse doesn't exist any more than Donald Duck or St. Nick and his flying rein deer along with all the mystical gods ... no matter how hard Walt Disney worked on creating them or how real all the special effects in any of the Hollywood movies try to make them look ... art is only a reflection of what some people may have come up with in their own mind ... these are the limits imposed by nature and the forces of the real world, no matter how many times they say 'god bless America' ahahaha ... :)


Philanthropy2012 profile image

Philanthropy2012 3 years ago from London Author

Ahah, thank you all very much for your input - it was really interesting and I agree for the most part with all of it!

Philanthropy,


dakis profile image

dakis 3 years ago from Athens

Quite good and interesting hub! It summarises and give answers to many things.


Philanthropy2012 profile image

Philanthropy2012 3 years ago from London Author

Thank you very much Dakis!


nicomp profile image

nicomp 3 years ago from Ohio, USA

"If the universe and everything in it was designed with a purpose in mind by some great creator, then many things shouldn't exist at all."

Argument from incredulity.


Philanthropy2012 profile image

Philanthropy2012 3 years ago from London Author

@Nicomp

Argument from incredulity take the form:

"P is too incredible (or: I cannot imagine how P could possibly be true); therefore P must be false.

I cannot imagine how P could possibly be false; therefore P must be true."

The argument listed in this hub: ""If the universe and everything in it was designed with a purpose in mind by some great creator, then many things shouldn't exist at all."

What you are witnessing is a logical conclusion - an a priori argument. Nothing to do with incredulity at all.

It is the same type of logical conclusion as the following:

This is an apple.

Therefore, this is not a particle accelerator.

Thanks and have a good day,

Philanthropy


nicomp profile image

nicomp 3 years ago from Ohio, USA

Your conclusion is based on your assumption that 'many things' have no useful purpose. Your conclusion implies that there is no such useful purpose because if there was then you'd know about it.

The basis for your argument becomes your assertion of this lack of useful purpose, which is specious.

Argument from incredulity..

It's a rather closed-minded argument from a scientific perspective. Science is obligated to consider the unknown: you dismiss it because you can't think up a reason for it.

To extend your analogy, a person seeing an apple for the first time would be justified in asserting that the thing does not exist because he knows of no useful purpose for it. Argument from incredulity.


Philanthropy2012 profile image

Philanthropy2012 3 years ago from London Author

Except that the design argument specifies that every aspect of a human is designed to increase his survival - the argument itself argues that since humans (and all other organisms) are perfectly adapted for their environment (trying to fill the hole that evolution does) it must have been a creator that caused made them.

However, look at any species and it is 100% fact that at least one of their features make it less likely for them to survive and breed.

Your argument might work if we were working with the subjective term "purpose" but in the design argument we are dealing with the objective goal 'survival' as the purpose of an organism's features - and therefore anything at all that has been proven to cause less survival chances in any organism makes the intelligent design argument collapse.

Thanks,

Philanthropy,


nicomp profile image

nicomp 3 years ago from Ohio, USA

"Except that the design argument specifies that every aspect of a human is designed to increase his survival "

Completely incorrect. The prevailing position among creationists in now way asserts that humans are currently without defect.

You're actually arguing against particles-to-people. Be careful. The evolutionist position has always been that traits will persist if they confer a survival advantage. When you assert that "many things" have no useful purpose, you are poking holes in your own position.


Philanthropy2012 profile image

Philanthropy2012 3 years ago from London Author

["Completely incorrect. The prevailing position among creationists in now way asserts that humans are currently without defect"]

I apologise, I think you are slightly mistaken:

'Intelligent Design' or the 'Design Argument' or the 'teleological argument', the argument that I am describing, states exactly that humans are currently and have never been without defect. In fact, it is the argument that every single thing has a telos (a purpose). The most famous piece of evidence for this argument is the argument that the human eye is so intricate that nothing, not even evolution, could not have lead to its existence, other than an intelligent designer. Therefore it is so me absurd to pretend the argument is about 'particles to people'.

The definition of the argument cares not for what 'creationists' in particular think and is instead a set definition of an argument that does not change.

To then change the Intelligent Design argument and state that it is about abiogenesis (entirely different) is not only just using an entirely different argument, but is also self defeating by nature.

Forgive me if I'm wrong,

Philanthropy


Philanthropy2012 profile image

Philanthropy2012 3 years ago from London Author

This site provides great info on the different 'types' of the teleological argument but they all are founded on the core principle that everything in the universe has a telos and works perfectly.

http://www.iep.utm.edu/design/

The closest definition to what you are describing is 1 d. Guided Evolution but that is different in that it states that although evolution is real (microevolution) it is guided by a creator - this fails to the same points I made in that if evolution was guided by an omnipotent and omniscient God then many flaws in organisms should not exist today.


f_hruz 3 years ago

Most arguments of creationists are ultimately silly because they first point to some god who can only be as limited in his ability to reason, as the best of these creationists collectively ... so their misconceptions are built right into their arguments, while the real nature of things is obviously, that the constant change in all forms of life on earth, and all forms of energy and matter here and else where in the universe has it's own relative and constantly changing purpose totally independent of our human interpretation of reality, no matter how well developed our level of science is today. It is only further limited by the introduction of such silly ideas of gods cooked up by some creationists who don't want to learn how to face reality first in which there is no evidence of any gods being ever required by nature, before trying to apply any kind of science in their misguided way!

If nature clearly has no use for any irrational gods, and humans are of natural origin, why would any rational human require a god for their physical, emotional and intellectual development?

All forms of religion are stagnant ideas, outdated and a major obstacle for the global socialization process of humanity.

We have greatly outlived any usefulness for such mental retardation!

Franto Hruz


Philanthropy2012 profile image

Philanthropy2012 3 years ago from London Author

Here here Franto Hruz!


John King IV 3 years ago

Franto:

Creationism for me is what the ancients used to call idol worshippers. Only today's Asherah or Baal is the bible and all the images it inspires. The bible is just a book created by humans by my perspective, but for miilions of others, it is a god and a word of a god.

As for Santa clause, even this idol or legend is based on some reality. Surely you can not deny the existence of a historical Saint called Nicolaus?

Even the fictional disney characters, I know have some social basis of reality.

It is shocking to note, that the ancient founders of many religions where in fact actually originally, more like philosophers who produced many original thoughts. It is their followers throughout the ages, who continued with the old traditions, that are into the whole religion thing.


John King IV 3 years ago

Umm wait a second Philanthropy, that was for you. I thought it was franto because of the previous sign off....you where just saluting.....oh never mind... the previous letter was for you philanthropy2012

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