Arguments for the Existence of God
A.Principle of cumulative case.
E.Arguments Demonstrating God's Conscious Nature.
XXXVI. The cumulative case.
A. The Principle of A Cumulative Case.
The principle of a cummulative case was discussed by Basil Mitchel in The Justification of Religious Belief. The Danger of such a case is that it might be seen as the 10 leaky bucketts fallacy; All the arguments put together prove God even if no one of them dose individually. In other words, all of the bucketts hold water when taken together even if none of them do alone. But the difference is that I'm not saying that taken all together all of these fallacious arguments stack up to a good one. First, I dont' think any of them are fallacious, I think any one of the arguments presented above proves the case, at least to the extent of offering a rational warrant for belief. The notion of the cumulative case here is that taken together each argument's strengths plug up a hole in the over all case, thus the cumulative case is stronger than mere rational warrant, but actually demonstrates a certain kind of porbability for the God hypothesis.At the very least they show that the atheist is unjustified in saying that "there is no good reason to beleive in God."
1)Loigc as rational warrant.
The logic of the God arguments presented indicates that there is ample room to consider the rational warrant proven. If any one of these arguments proves to be valid and sound that it must be excepted as rational. If the premises are valid and sound than the conclusion is valid and sound. But it must also be observed that even though skeptics demand empirical proof, this is not a reasonable burden for a rational warrant. After all, rational warrant means "a good sound rational reason to beleive something" not "total aboslute demonstrable proof." The atheist usually advances an irrational standard that he/she cannot met himself/herself by insisting "I cannot beleive anything that is not totally proven," since so many propositions from which we navigate in the world are not proven through empirical evidence but must be understood as assumed (see the Thomas Reid Argument). Thus the God arguments meet the same standard upon which we base most of our navigation in the world. If we can't trust logic than we have abandoned our primary foundation for objective understanding of "rationality."
2) Ontological and Cosmological taken together.
All the ontological arguments demonstrate that God is valid as a concept in the formally logical sense. They also provide an important defition for understanding the nature of the term "God."
The Ontologcial argument in conjunction with the Cosmological arguement works to prove that arbitrary necessities are impossible, the infinite regress is impossible, therefore, the etenral cause of the universe is also necessary cause. when atheists argue that God must have a cause, this argument helps to show why that is not the case. Becasue God is not contingent. God is not dependent upon anything else, everthing in nature, in the natural chain of cause and effect is contingent. God is necessary and thus doesn't need a cause.
3) Cosmological argument.
Shows that the cause of the universe must be external to the universe, external to space/time, and must be eternal.
4) Trancendental Signifyer and Being has to be.
Demonstrates that being itself has certain qualities we associate with God and that there has to be an organizing principle which gives meaning to the universe.
The experince arguments offer a "properly basic" reason to beleive.If one has a certain consciousness of reality or consistant and regular experinces of reality, if those experinces are shared by others and are thus "inter-subjective" than one has a rational reason to take them seriously, to regaurd them as a valid reason to beleive. Again, in lue of absolute demonstrable proof, one has more than enough reason to assume that consistancy and regularity are good reasons,since our major navigation in life comes not from abbsolute demonstration but from the consistaency and regularity of our expeirnces. Thus these points together, logic and experince, constitue a good subsitute for direct demonstrable proof, and consititute a rational warrant for belief.
D. Empirical Justification.
A good deal of the evidence for these arguments is derived from empirical scientific data. Now this is not empiricial data on direct observations of God, but it is data which indicates the affects of God in the Universe. In a sense this data supports a "finger print" of God. It's the same logic as that of the neutrino; for decades science assumed the existence of the neutrino without being able to test or validate it, or to confirm it directly. They beleived this merely because the notion of the neutrino fit the theory and explained certain phenomena. So it was not an observation of the neutrino that proved it existed, but the behavior of other things around the neutrino that indicated it was there. So it is with this "empirical God data." The data presented in the arguments above comes from empiricial scientific observation:
1) Big Bang cosmology.
The universe has a begining, it is not eternal. If BB cosmology prove nothing else it at least proves this much. It also proves that the origin, whatever it may be cannot be just some natrualistic contingency, and this is empricially derived at least to the extint of understanding the empirically that that there was no string of eternally expandiding and contracting univeres.
2) Anthropic Evidence.
3)Hick's argument that entrpy proves that the origin must be personal is derived empricially.
4) Singularity beyond space/time.
The evidence that the singularity is beyond space/time manifold is empirical, which means that there are other realms beyond what we call "the natural realm," at least there is one realm.
5) Unified Field.
Without the Unified field the universe would not come together to produce life, but that had to either be pre-existent or form up out of a random explosion, no one can say how this works, but it is totally impobable.
6) Positive Long term effects of Religious Experince.
The evidence on positive long term effects of religious experince is imperical, as is the evidence proving that religious experince is not mental illness. This means that the origin of those experinces is probably external to the human mind.
7) Nature of Consciousness.
The nature of consciousness is not reduceable to brian function, there is a host of empirical evidence for this and much of it indicates that consciousness is a basic property of nature. Quntum data is derived empirically and some of it suggests that consciousness is quntum.
8) God Pod.
There just happens to be a part of the brain that is wired to transmitt feelings about God and to evoke religious experience, which is a wild concidence to say the least. Taken with the other data it is a dead give away, almost a designer label.
9) Near Death Experince (or after death)
Evidence form NDE is empirical, about as empirical as you can get. many of the cases involved flat lining which means the brains weren't even working and yet the people gained infromation they could not have known unless they were consciouss or unless their consciousness was somehow attendent upon the situation.
10) Empirical evidence of miracles, part of religious experince argument.
To this point there is ample room for understanding an etenral organizing principle as the origin of the universe. It is given to us in a priori logic, in empirical observation, and in personal experince.
11) Callapsing the Wave function.
The possibility that we need a universal mind to collapse the wave function of the universe is empirically derived.
E. Arguments that demonstrate God's Consciousness.
This organizing principle, this necessary being is proven to be conscious by the following arguments.
1) Consciousness Argument (duh).
2) The Anthropic argument.
The God of the Anthropic Argument would have to have a concept of creation, it would have to be able to set the values of all the constants at exactly the right levels. I heistate to speak of "planing" or of "design" but certainly an awareness of what it is doing.
3) The argument form the Sublime.
Demonstrates a God of good aesthetic tastes, a God who kows good art works and has a good sense of color schemes. Seriously demonstrates a God who has a senseibility.
4) Moral argument, value arguments.
Indicates that God has a will and holds values, which requries a mind.
5) Hick's argument that entropy proves that the origin must be persoal.
6) Callapsing the Wave function requries a mind.
7) the Logical necessity argument proves from a logical standpoint that the ultimate origin of the universe must come from a creator who can freely choose to create.
All demonstrate that God is possessed of consciouseness. Since consciouess is probably a basic force of nature the basic structure of it is in the universe and thus there is a transcendnet will and mind. That indicates given all that has been said already that God is conscious, personal.
5) Values and Existential arguments.
These demonstrate that God holds values, that God's nature is that of justice and love, but the existential argument Also shows this as well as Marcell argues from relationships with other other minds. Now we are basically in the ball park of the "Christian God" becasue we have a conscious being with a moral agenda for the universe.
F. Defeasable Reasoning and Justification.
The theory of Premia Facie requires that the one making the proposition present a Premia Facie case,that is to say, on face value the case for accepting a proposition meets the burden of a rational warrant for accepting the proposition. Once this burden has been met, it becomes the duty of the one oppossing the proposition to show that additional evidence is requried. This is means that while it is initially the burden of the believer to prove any claims about the existence of God, it ceases to the burden of the believer to prove this once a rational warrant for belief has been offered. It is, therefore, the burden of the skeptic to demonstrate that the case made is inadquate and that there is no rational warrant. Thus is is the skeptic's burden of proof to demonstate that there is no rational reason to beleive in God. But all the beleiver need do is to demonstrate a poperly basic reason to beleive.
Any one of these arguments offers that standard. Anyone of these arguments prsents a prima facie case for belief in God. Taken together, however, they offer a compelling indication that God exists. In other words, through the standard of a PF case a cumulative case offers above and beyond the standard and thus it is the sketpics burden to show that each and every argument is dvoid of rational warrent and that the overall effect is not a cumulative case. The cumulative case, therefore, approximates actual proof pretty closely.Defesable reasons presented include:
1) The Argument from Parsimony; Eligance of the God hypothesis.
This offers defeasable reason to beleive. The God concept is the most eligant solution to many basic problems, not only origins but also our lives themselves.
2) Experince arguments.
3) Logical and a priori reasons.
4) Empricially derived reasons.
5) The surender of the ground upon which God was excluded from Science.
It seems that we do have need of "That hypothesis" after all.
G. Conclusion: God is proven QED.
Any one of these arguments demonstates a rational warrant for belief. With the cumulative case, however, we have more than just a rational warrant but positive probabalistic proof. Thus it is established that it is more probabale and thus more rational to beleive in God than not. I dont' know how one would establish a matheamtical measurement of that probability, but in history at least we don't establish a mathematical percentage, but we do deal in probability. Historical probability is more or less an "on" or "off" assumption. Since disputes about the origin of the universe invovle aspects of the history of the universe we could say that it is histoircally probable that the universe was created by God, and that people have been experiencing God throughout human history.
Thus the atheist is demonstrably unjustified everytime they say "there is no reason to beleive in God" or "there is not one rational reason to beleive in God. There are 35 rational reasons, and there is one whopping great big reason to feel very confident in that assumption.