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Counter Arguments for the Arguments 'Proving' God
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.
- 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.
- 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
- Evolution gives an obvious solution to why everything seems to be adapted for its purpose - the main crux of this argument.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- Infinity could exist and therefore there is no need at all for a 'first cause', merely an infinite regress.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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'.