The Religious A priori
Elegance of The God Hypothesis
(1) decision making paradigm embraces the simpelist and most elegant idea
(2) God is the simple solution
(3) Solves all other problems
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The word elegant, in general, is an adjective meaning of fine quality. Refinement and simplicity are implied, rather than fussiness, or ostentation. An elegant solution, often referred to in relation to problems in disciplines such as mathematics, engineering, and programming, is one in which the maximum desired effect is achieved with the smallest, or simplest effort. Engineers, for example, seek the elegant solution as a means of solving a problem with the least possible waste of materials and effort. The elegant solution is also likely to be accomplished with appropriate methods and materials - according to the Elegant Solution Organization, duct tape is not likely to be part of an elegant solution, unless, of course, the problem involves taping ducts.
This scientific principle is derived from Occam's Razor, but it is not Occam's Razor.The Razor is always misquoted. The popular notion is that it says "take the simpelist solution." Actually it doesn't. Occam never said that. He said do not multiply entities beyond necessity. But it is, nevertheless understood that the simplest and most eleigant solution is to be prefurrred.
God is not a scientific concpet, and thus cannot be Parsimonious, and doesnt' need to be. But elegant solutions exist at all levels of problem solving. While Gdo is not a scinetific concpet, God is an elegant solution to all our crational needs.
Alvin Plantinga (Lecture Notes--26 Theistic arguments)
"According to Swinburne, simplicity is a prime determinant of intrinsic probability. That seems to me doubtful, mainly because there is probably no such thing in general as intrinsic (logical) probability. Still we certainly do favor simplicity; and we are inclined to think that simple explanations and hypotheses are more likely to be true than complicated epicyclic ones. So suppose you think that simplicity is a mark of truth (for hypotheses). If theism is true, then some reason to think the more simple has a better chance of being true than the less simple; for God has created both us and our theoretical preferences and the world; and it is reasonable to think that he would adapt the one to the other. (If he himself favored anti-simplicity, then no doubt he would have created us in such a way that we would too.) If theism is not true, however, there would seem to be no reason to think that the simple is more likely to be true than the complex."
B. God is the simpelist Solution.
(1) nature of simplicity
Atheists often think that God is the more complicated solution. On discusson boards they will often argue that the Big Bang is much simpler than God becasue it comes from a singularity. So they are confussing size with simplicity. Apparently they think that an infintessimally small thing is siple and an infinte thing is complex. But this is not at all true, which one can see with proper reflection. God is actually much simpler. The singulaity has to be expalined itself, it offers no real expalination but ivintes a cause for itself. And if it did contan matter and energy, which many sketpics seem to think but the real scientific theory doesn't say that, it would be even more complex becase that would require an explanation as to how infinitely dense matter got in there in the first place.
2) Theism simpler hypothesis- in terms of origin.
As Duns Scotus put it, there is an infinite distance between being and non-being, and theism posits the origin of being by being, whereas atheism posits the origin of being from non-being.
Edmund Whitaker, a British physicist, wrote a book entitled The Beginning and End of the World, in which he said, "There is no ground for supposing that matter and energy existed before and was suddenly galvanized into action. For what could distinguish that moment from all other moments in eternity?" Whitaker concluded, "It is simpler to postulate creation ex nihilo--Divine will constituting Nature from nothingness." [cited in Jastrow, R. 1978. God and the Astronomers. New York, W.W. Norton, p. 111-12.]
Physicist Barry Parker agrees: "We do, of course, have an alternative. We could say that there was no creation, and that the universe has always been here. But this is even more difficult to accept than creation."[Barry Parker, Creation--The Story of the Origin and Evolution of the Universe (New York & London: Plenum Press, 1988) p. 202.]
II. Through this one simple notion all problems are solved.
(1) The God Hypothesis forms basis for modern science
Appeal to God as metaphysical construct helped build modern sicence.
christepher C. Warren
"Can Science Exist Without Faiht?"
(Oxford educated biochemist)
Einstein said: "Belief in an external world, independent of the perceiving subject, is the basis of all natural science. Without the belief that it is possible to grasp reality without theoretical constructions, without the belief in the inner harmony of our world, there could be no science. This belief is and always will remain the fundamental motive for all scientific creation."
Oppenheimer said: "We cannot make much progress without a faith that in the bewildering field of human experience there is a unique and necessary order."
Whitehead said: "The belief in a personal Creator is implanted in the European mind -- the inexpungeable belief that every detailed occurrence can be correlated with its antecedents in a perfectly definable manner, exemplifying general principles. Without this belief the incredible labours of scientists would be without hope. It is this instinctive conviction, vividly poised before the imagination, which is the motive power of research: that there is a secret, a secret which can be unveiled. This faith in the possibility of science, generated antecedently to the development of modern scientific theory, is an unconscious derivative from medieval theology."
Reductionism, Clockwork Universe
The Physical world
Newton's three laws of motion and his principle of universal gravitation sufficed to regulate the new cosmos, but only, Newton believed, with the help of God. Gravity, he more than once hinted, was direct divine action, as were all forces for order and vitality. Absolute space, for Newton, was essential, because space was the "sensorium of God," and the divine abode must necessarily be the ultimate coordinate system.
(2) The Elegant Solution.
God is sipmler by far, espeicially Tllich's notion of God as the ground of being or the Thomistic concept of a God whose existence is his essence. This is the most eleigant solution in the world. God is on a par with Being itself and his essence is to be. That is elegant becasue it means just this: Being has to be, and what being does is merely eixst, thus if God's existence (the fact that he is) is his essence (the thing that he is) than it means that Being itself is merely doing what it is supposse to do, merely being and through its own being allowing the beings to come into existence.
1) The problem of existence.
In terms of the ultimate question of origin this is solved in the God hypothesis in the logic of the final cause. The assumption of an infinite regress of causes is ultimately illogical and the chain of cause and effect must stop some place.
2) The human problematic.
All world religions seek to define a human problematic, the human condition, the centeral dilemma at the core of being human. They all define it in different terms but they all do recognize that there is one. Some think of it as sin, some as imbalance, some as being alienated from nature and the universe, but all have some notion of a problematic.
Athesits approach the notion of God and what God wants as though merely dealing witht a big bully in the sky. God is just another guy and he has his opinion and we have ours. It doesn't matter that he' s more powerful, most bullies usually are, but that doesn't make him right. This view is so silly, shallow, and short sighted and yet it will be the basis of most responses given. They often say things like "how does having a first principle help you? " or "so what if God thinks this?" IT is not merely a matter of God' s "opinion" if God exists God is a priori the dterminate of all truth and justice and all meaning and judgement simpley by virtue of the fact that God not only created all that is, but that even potential existence must originate in the will of God. That means God makes things true! That being the case, all the problems involved in the human probelmatic are bound up in God.
a) Problem of meaning.
Without God all meaning is merely relative and subjective. Any meaning that can be had on those terms is pretend meaning. With the concept of God meaning is wirtten into the fabric of the universe because it stemms form being itself. Meaning is just a matter of interpriation, but God interprits from the ultimate univresal persective. He knows all and sees from every vantage point. Since God is eternal, true meaning is that which registers on the eternal scale of values. God's scale of values is absolute, so if God assigns meaning it is universally true and valid for all eternity. Thus, the deaths of unknown martyrs are always already more meaningfull and better known where it counts than the most famous events in history, even if no one on earth knows about them. This is far more "meaningful" than what you or I can think or pretned about our lives.
b) The moral problem.
Consult the moral problem, argument no. 8 two pages back. The explainitory value of the argument shows why we have moral motions and why we are not able to live up to them. With God this problem is exaplained as well but with materialism it must either be ignored or reduced to something else.Now atheists have this habit of reducing God's will to mere whim. Thus they argue that God's will in terms of ethical mandates is nothing more than argbitrary. But that is foolish. If God exists than his will is paramount, it is the defining factor, not in an arbitrary way, but because God is synonimous with the good. The good is based upon God's character. This is a logical necessity based upon the fact that God is the ground of being. Thus, it is not a mere whim that creates the good, but the openess of being which creates the essence of all rational ethical choices, the will for the good of the other, giving opening up to, in short, love. This forms the essence of all valuations and makes moral that which is merely factual, or immoral that which is merely factual.
4) Epistemologial problems.
God gives us epistemologicaly assumptions which cover a wide range of topics and offers certainty as to the ultimate form of knowledge.
5) Ultiamte Concerns.
Hunaties ultiamte concerns which are meaning and death are wrapped up in the nature of God's existence. God gives meaning and satisfies ultimate concerns thorugh transformation.
D.The Atheist Hypothesis is comparitvely contradictory.
Yes, there is no "atheist hypothesis" per se, other than that God doesn't exist. But that is juts the point. To simpley posit no God and life as the result of dead matter and random chance alone leaves on in a confussed state of disaray, with no central over arching theme that ties together all the provblems of humanity. Themeism solves them all, espeicially does Christianity solve them all in one fell swoop. With atheism or materialism most of these probelms are disconnected and require seperate solutions. With God they are all resolved in the one simple answer of God's existence. This makes belief in God the simplest and most eligant solution because it resolves all of our most imporant questions at once. That offers a strong indication in a probablistic assumption that God is the nature of the case.
The Religious A priori