Thursday, February 8, 2018

Prager U’s ‘4 New Arguments’ for God: The Same Old Arguments from Ignorance

I like Dennis Prager and his Prager U. They have many informative and easy-to-understand videos. I find much convincing and easy to agree with. But this video, Does God Exist? 4 New Arguments, is puzzling. It purports to “prove” the existence of God—but forgets the rules of proof, which starts with providing actual evidence. It even mentions Aristotle—while forgetting Aristotle, the father of modern science.


Frank Pastore poses this question:


Science tells us that the universe came into being via The Big Bang. But how do you get from energy and matter to a self-aware human being? That takes three additional Big Bangs that science can't explain.




Pastore then presents four “Big Bang” arguments for God: the origin of the universe, the rise of life from inanimate matter, the diversity of life on Earth and the igniting of evolution, and the rise of intelligent life (the cosmological, the biological, the anthropological, and the psychological).


What this amounts to is nothing new: There is no evidence whatsoever for the existence of a supernatural God who created existence. Hence, many religionists trot out science’s inability (to date) to explain certain existential phenomena as proof that therefore the only logical explanation for such phenomena is that God did it.


The idea of proving the existence of God is the ultimate contradiction. The Christian God is believed to exist outside of nature; that is, in a supernatural realm. He is thought to be unknowable through mere reason. Man’s reason is “limited.” If that is so, then proof of God is logically impossible, for if God’s existence can be proved, it would by definition disprove the very existence of God, as conceived by Christianity. It would mean God is knowable and subject to the same laws of nature that everything existing in nature is subject to. He would not exist in a realm above nature—a supernatural realm. “Supernatural” implies beyond the laws of nature, and thus unprovable by definition.


The four “Big Bangs” may be arguments for God. Anybody can argue anything for any reason. But they don’t constitute proof. So, what’s the point? Pastore concludes, We must take God on faith—or, the only rational explanation for existence is faith in God!.


Religionists should give up trying to appeal to rationality in a vain attempt to prove the irrational—the existence of God. This video boils down to the argument from ignorance: we don’t know something yet, so God must have done it. But ignorance—we don’t know yet—does not prove God. It simply proves we don’t know everything yet (and probably never will). The four “Big Bangs” of “proof” in this video fail to prove anything but that there is more for science to discover and explain. Religionists could stick to faith if they want to. But forget proving God. The argument from ignorance is not an argument for God, new or otherwise.


Related Reading:


The Role of Religion in the Scientific Revolution—Frederick Seiler  for The Objective Standard



Dennis Prager’s False Alternative and Ayn Rand’s Philosophy of Life—Craig Biddle for The Objective Standard

3 comments:

Steve D said...

'for if God’s existence can be proved, it would by definition disprove the very existence of God,'

This is precisely the argument (or joke) made in the Hitchhiker's Guide the Galaxy series (I don't remember which particular book) but it went something like this:

Without faith I am nothing, God declares. The philosopher then explains that the Babble fish (a creature you can put to your ear to translate any language is so useful a property that the fish can't possibly have evolved by chance) proves the existence of God and therefore faith is no longer applicable.

Oh no! says God who then vanishes in a puff of logic.

Michael A. LaFerrara said...

Interesting.

Mike Kevitt said...

The existence of 'God' can't be proved. If it could, he wouldn't be 'God'. He'd be a mortal person and it would prove 'God' doesn't exist. But, since it can't be proved, 'God' still doesn't exist. All this is because the notion of 'God' is arbitrary, as it was from the beginning.

The notion of 'God', like all arbitrary notions, is neither true or false, just an incoherent noise or chicken scratching, with no possible content. The arbitrary can't be proved or disproved. Only ideas about content (things that exist), can be proved or disproved, can be true or false.

Being arbitrary, 'God' is not a mystery. Mysteries pertain only to the unknown about things that exist. Mysteries are to be solved so they are put to rest and replaced with new knowledge.

Since the Renaissance, there's no excuse for not recognizing the arbitrary when one encounters it, and no excuse for entertaining it. It must be summarily ignored. And faith pertains only to suppositions of peoples' moral character and abilities in the absence of certain knowledge of peoples' moral character and abilities, to be, like mysteries, replaced by knowledge of such when it is come by.