Friday, August 21, 2015

Why I Became a Theist

Like many people at a young age, I wanted sound philosophical arguments to believe in God.  While reading Thomas Aquinas, it was his Fifth Way that persuaded me that there exists a Cosmic Designer, aka God:

1. Whatever lacks intelligence and exhibits regularity is the result of design. (Premise)

2. The laws of nature lack intelligence and exhibit regularity. (Premise)

3. Therefore, the laws of nature are the result of design. (From 1 and 2)

Premise (2) isn't controversial; otherwise they wouldn't be laws in the first place.  Premise (1) we can infer through induction.  The arrow lacks intelligence and exhibits regularity, or an end with the aim of the archer.  Winning the lottery a thousand times in a row meets the same criteria.  Hence, there exists a Cosmic Designer, which must transcend the universe and be timeless, changeless, immaterial, very powerful and intelligent.  This everyone understands to be God.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Leibnizian Cosmological Argument (LCA)

I haven't spent much time defending the LCA, but it's not because I think it's a weak argument.  As my readers know, the vast amount of time defending theism proper I spend vigorously defending St. Thomas Aquinas' Five Ways.  With that said, I consider the LCA, the conceptualist argument, and the argument from desire to be the next strongest.  Let's take a look at the LCA:

1. Everything that exists has an explanation of its existence, either in the necessity of its own nature or in an external cause. (Premise)

2. The universe exists. (Premise)

3. Hence, the universe has an explanation of its existence. (From 1 and 2)

4. If the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is a timeless, changeless, immaterial, powerful cause. (Premise)

5. Therefore, a timeless, changeless, immaterial, powerful cause exists. (From 3 and 4)

Premise (2) is hardly controversial.  Premise (1) is known through experience.  If there were an elephant standing in the middle of the street, and someone claimed that the elephant has no explanation whatsoever, then surely people would think he is either crazy or merely jesting!  Nobody would take such a claim seriously.

Since the remaining premises, except (4), are equally uncontroversial, let's focus on premise (4).  Would it really be reasonable to think the universe exists necessarily?  Does every quark exist necessarily?  Moreover, to exist necessarily is to have its existence and essence identical.  Yet, the universe has diverse essences, which makes a necessary universe impossible.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Benign "First Way"

St. Thomas Aquinas' "First Way" provides us with certainty regarding the existence of God. I only think it's unfortunate that Christians today are often treated as though being a Christian is so unusual. The First Way is a fairly benign argument, so much so that any rejection of the argument's premises (and its conclusion) is demonstrably false. Here's how the argument goes: 

1. Changing things exist. (Premise)

2. Whatever changes exhibits potentiality and actuality. (Premise)

3. No potentiality can actualize itself. (Premise)

4. Either an Unmoved Mover exists, there is a circularity of causes of change, or there is an infinite regress of sustaining causes of change. (Implied by 1 and 2)

5. There cannot be a circularity of causes of change or an infinite regress of sustaining causes of change. (Premise)

6. Therefore, an Unmoved Mover exists. (From 3 and 4)

Of course, the argument doesn't end there. We may deduce that the Unmoved Mover is eternal, immutable, immaterial, unique (there is only one Unmoved Mover), as well as enormously powerful and intelligent (if not omnipotent and omniscient). The Unmoved Mover's goodness may be inferred on the grounds of its Pure Actuality.

(I'd be happy to defend each of the argument's premises. This is just a summary.)