I wanted to expand on my previous post, “It’s a trap!”. It is important to explain, in a little more depth, what assumptions are being made to attempt to reach a logical reasonable conclusion about a god. Epistemology under normal circumstances is complex. It becomes even more complex when discussing theological “knowledge”. Apologists have tried very hard to use epistemology omy to invoke the idea that god is necessary to even begin knowing anything. They have attempted, from the beginning, to make an argument for a god sound more conclusive than it is. Here are some common steps for the transcendental path.
The First Cause: “Every thing that exists has a cause.” This is the original argument that leads to stating that since everything that exists has a cause, you must have a first cause. Ergo, god. Yet, the statement is self defeating. If God exists, then it too must have a cause. The solution was to change the statement slightly. It now states that “everything that has come into existence, has a cause.” Since the claim is that god did not come into existence, then it removes the contradiction, and Presto change-O, you have a seemly sound argument. Here’s the problem. If a god can exist without “coming into” existence, the why can’t this logic be applied to something far less complex? Some type of quantum mechanics that has simply always existed, for example. This becomes a far more plausible assumption if we make the first cause something simplistic. This position gets no real consideration by theological apologist. It’s not in their interest to honestly consider it.
The next move is to say that design requires a designer. This is tougher still. Design is a human concept. It “appears designed”. What does that even mean? Can it have meaning without perception? Is there a contrast to compare it to? Do we have something that doesn’t appear designed? The human mind likes patterns. We see something that works in conjunction with something else and we see a pattern. The Rorschach test could be a perfect example. We can easily claim that the blotches are not designed, yet individuals find patterns in them. They are just spilled ink.
Now for the coup de grace, the Ontological argument. They are very pleased with themselves about this one. I eluded to it in my last post. It goes, “god is that which nothing greater than can be conceived.” And then, because it can be conceived, then it must therefore exist. There are a few more nuances that have been added to it. However, that’s really it I a nut shell. Now, I mentioned that Hume dismissed the premise as unimpresseive because “anything that can be conceived to exist can be conceived to also not exist, without contradiction.” I obviously agree that the argument is unimpressive. It is an interesting thought experiment at best. For me, it’s further proof that man has created god, and not the other way around.
There are a few more arguments that apologists make. Yet, if you tear them down to their core elements, you can fit them into one of the arguments presented above. I find them no more impressive or persuasive than if I was arguing that perfectly supreme giant leprechauns live in another dimension and grant wishes. I can use every argument for god, listed above, to argue for the leprechauns.