In the third chapter of The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins meets all the most famous arguments that theologians through time have put forth to validate their belief in God. On the first few pages Dawkins goes through Thomas Aquinas (see picture) five proofs of God. The first three are essentially the same and all says that something cannot be created from nothing, ergo God. The response here is simply that God is also something and therefore, according to the logics, cannot come from nothing so this is not really a solution. Dawkins also finds space to cite what I think was a funny little paradox that Karen Owens once posted.
Can omniscient God, who Knows the future, find The omnipotence to Change His future mind?
An omniscient God must know what will happen in the future, including what he will, himself, do. If the entire future is already spelled out, then it should be pretty hard to change your mind right? Aquinas also gave the argument from degree which is not really an argument and then he posed an argument from design which I have already dealt with in a previous post.
A little sidetrack… In the most recent number of my favorite magazine "The Skeptic", there was an article about ID in which an aspect that I have not previously thought about was brought up. Christian proponents of the ID theory in are in a sense shooting themselves in the foot. Since they have not and of course cannot name their own God as the designer God, there is an opening for all religions to claim their place in the classroom, and they have. There is nothing the Christians can do to hinder this. If they say that, no it can only be Yahweh, then ID is no longer a "scientific theory" (as if it ever was), and as long as there is just a anonymous designer it might as well be Zeus or Odin…
'Bet you I can prove God exists.'
'Bet you can't.'
'Right then, imagine the most perfect perfect perfect thing possible.'
'Okay, now what?'
'Now, is that perfect perfect perfect thing real? Does it exist?'
'No, it's only in my mind.'
'But if it was real it would be even more perfect, because a really really perfect thing would have to be better than a silly old imaginary thing. So I've proved that God exists. Nur Nurny Nur Nur. All atheists are fools.'
I will admit that I did not myself find the fallacy in this argument. I thought it sounded wrong from the beginning, but it is hard to point out the exact fallacy (Bertrand Russell thought so too). The fallacy of this argument lies in the fact that something is not "better" because it exists. Imagine your dream house. Now is that house a better house if it exists? What a meaningless question right? "Betterness" is not a dimension that can be applied to this distinction between mental and real things.
Personal experience is often used as a proof of God. This reminds me of once when I got a tape from a religious woman who was probably trying to save my soul. On the tape there was a number of interview with people who had "found God". Most of them could recall a particular episode in their life when God first spoke to them and I think there was no doubt in their mind about God's existence. Such "I spoke to God" arguments I don't find very convincing. Maybe they are making it up, maybe they are hallucinating or maybe they are just interpreting inner speech which we all have as the voice of God. It also seems strange that people from different religions always have revelations about their own God. If there was only one true God, one would that people from different cultures would experience the same God…
Perhaps more convincing are the so called miracles where many people have seen something seemingly supernatural. For example, the miracle of the sun in which the sun reportedly fell towards the earth, was observed by fifty to a hundred thousand people in Portugal and was also covered in the newspapers. It is admittedly hard to explain how such a mass delusion could possibly occur. One person may be crazy and perhaps two persons can by chance get a similar illusion simultaneously, but thousands? Just doesn't seem so likely… However, it seems even more unlikely that the rest of the world would fail to notice that the sun was heading towards earth. Furthermore, I would suppose that if the sun would suddenly start to move in an unexpected way it should have some noticeable astronomical consequences, none were observed.
Many more arguments are discussed and eventually dismissed in chapter to of the God delusion, but I will limit myself to the ones I have presented here because I fear that people will get bored. If someone feels I have excluded an argument that proves that God exists then feel free to post that argument as a comment…