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Date Created: 06/26/16
Evidentialism: arguments that appeal to evidence. It is only justifiable to believe in god if objectively verifiable evidence proves his existence. o Seek to demonstrate existence through appeal to evidence Information of the world is gained through observation. True upon reflection Many people who are skeptical of religious claims support this skeptism through appeals to evidence. Atheists claim that available evidence does not support God’s existence. Gathering objective evidence about god is believer’s way of meeting skeptics and atheists on their own turf. Evidentialist arguments take nonreligious claims as premises and religious claims as conclusions. o Kinds of objective evidence to support truth will never come from religious texts o Cannot assume a person or thing as evidence when origin is questionable. o Must appeal to god’s existence through appealing to nonreligious premise Aquinas: 13 century theologists. His philosophy was highly influential among those who crafted the official catholic doctrine. The church loved Aquinas because he attempted to prove god’s existence through appeal to evidence. The church saw this as a muchneeded way to reconcile faith and reason, especially after the enlightenment. The Cosmological Argument (Aquinas): Argument begins by asking why is there something rather than nothing. Concludes that god is the ultimate cause of all existence. Cosmology is the study of the universe/ origin. Artisotle started off this argument by saying that there must be a mover that set things into motion, this mover could not have been influenced by another mover (GOD) The five ways: o First Cause Argument: because everything seems to be effected or caused by something else, something had to have caused the first thing. There had to be a first. Noncontroversial bc laws of physics appeal to this evidence. Movement of every object can be traced to some event. Every living thing today is an evolution of something else. o Nature if the efficient cause: there is no way that something can cause the life of itself in the beginning. To take away cause is to take away effect as well. Everything that exists is either un caused or caused to exist by something else Controversial bc it is seemingly impossible to have something that is uncaused. Aquinas leaves room for possibility. o There cannot be an infinite regress of causes: cannot be an endless chain. There must be a first cause in order for us to exist today, time itself does not loop infinitely. o Uncaused first link: A finite link of causes means we can assume that the first link was not caused by something else. o Many thought ther could be a caused first cause because evidnce had not yet supported an unaused first cause bc of evolution example. But evidence shows today that there was an evolution before. o Definition of existence: an uncasued first is supreme to all causes and can be considered God, The argument from design: Derives God’s existence from two claims: o 1) we have a need to explain how the universe was designed o 2) “God” is a concept we have of a universedesigner Also known as the teleological argument The universe appear to have been designed 4 premisis: The unviserse appears to be designed: to fulfill some purpose and god is the architecht for this. o If you were to find a watch on the ground, it would be absurd to assume that it was always there because of the smaller parts of it. o Our existence is so improbable that the conclusion that we came trhough blind forces such as evolution is false. o Product of a design. Designed things have a designer or creator: the only thing we know for certain is that certain things have a designer. It is reasonable to conclude that the universe has a designer: universe must have a will, or a purpose. A designer or creator of the universe is god. Cristism for the cosmological argument: Infinite Regress: Law of the conservation of energy in physics states that the universe is a closed state and can neither be created or destroyed. To anthromopomorphize is to project human characterisitcs onto nonhuman beings. o Cartoons and how we analyze history is shown in this. o Each human being has a beginning and an end. Birth certificates, pictures ect and death certificate. o Bithdays are celebrated to shows that we have not always existed. The universe didn’t have parents and are not like us. Could lack a first cause because universe could be argued to not have come into being. Assertions about Causality: The thing that caused all things… does it have to be god? Who caused god? Word use and Proof: Aquinas asserts that the universe needs explaining. Doesn’t prove what god is God doesn’t have a definition, so why is he being assumed as applied to an uncaused first cause? Just because you assert something to be a cause bc by definition it is great, doesn’t mean it is. What reason do we have to believe that god is a better explanation than science? Critic for the argument of design: Comparison and Justifiability. Cannot simply assume that god is the designer or that the universe itself was designed. Cannot assume to end up with a solution/ explanation. David Hume says we may not be aware of a different kind of causation or being. We cannot compare the universe to things such as small as a house or a watch. The universe does not bear sufficient similarity to humandesigned things to warrant a meaningful comparison, at least not when it comes to statements about design. What kind of God? An analogy between designs also enforces an analogy between designers and god is supposedly nothing like humans. Cannot say god doesn’t make mistakes because many discrepancies in nature. Not interested in arguing in facor of a flawed god. The limits of Induction Inductive argument which can never prove god exists but includes factors that use deductive reasoning to construct its own truth using probability. Rejecting parleys argument will require us to reject our knowledge of the world as well. Atomic weights, state capitals and birthdays all proven through induction. Apparent design and natural explanations Apparent deisgn can be argue3d as an act of nature. Evolution can account for how we got here quite well, and can also account for the fact that our bodies appear to be designed by an intelligence even though they may not be; o we whose bodies function well just so happen to be the human beings who are around to ask questions about God’s existence. o Those whose bodies did not function well enough to sustain life have no living descendants able to participate in the conversation Evidentialism Review Questions 1. Define: evidentialism. What are the two kinds of evidence used in evidentialist arguments for God’s existence? arguments that appeal to evidence. Information of the world is gained through observation. True upon reflection 2. Do evidentialist arguments take religious propositions as premises or as conclusions, and why? 3. Why are atheists interested in evaluating evidentialist arguments for God’s existence? Why are theists interested in making and evaluating evidentialist arguments? 4. Although Aquinas had five ways of arguing for God’s existence, we covered only one way, called the Cosmological or First Cause Argument. Why is this argument for God’s existence called “the Cosmological Argument?” Why is it called “the First Cause Argument?” 5. Provide Aquinas’ Cosmological Argument for God’s existence in the form of a syllogism, with each premise and the conclusion on a separate line. First Cause Argument: because everything seems to be effected or caused by something else, something had to have caused the first thing. There had to be a first. o Noncontroversial bc laws of physics appeal to this evidence. Movement of every object can be traced to some event. Every living thing today is an evolution of something else. Nature if the efficient cause: there is no way that something can cause the life of itself in the beginning. To take away cause is to take away effect as well. Everything that exists is either un caused or caused to exist by something else o Controversial bc it is seemingly impossible to have something that is uncaused. Aquinas leaves room for possibility. There cannot be an infinite regress of causes: cannot be an endless chain. There must be a first cause in order for us to exist today, time itself does not loop infinitely. o Uncaused first link: A finite link of causes means we can assume that the first link was not caused by something else. Many thought ther could be a caused first cause because evidnce had not yet supported an unaused first cause bc of evolution example. But evidence shows today that there was an evolution before. 6. How can the premise that there cannot be an infinite regress of causes be challenged? What is anthropomorphization, and how does it figure into criticism of this premise? Law of the conservation of energy in physics states that the universe is a closed state and can neither be created or destroyed. To anthropomorphize is to project human characteristics onto nonhuman beings. 7. Explain how Aquinas makes conflicting assertions about causality in the First Cause Argument. 8. Aquinas points out that the word “God” is typically used to denote an uncaused first cause of the universe. Why doesn’t this prove that God is the uncaused first cause of the universe? The thing that caused all things… does it have to be god? Who caused god? 9. Briefly describe Paley’s watch analogy. 10. Provide Paley’s Argument from Design for God’s existence in the form of a syllogism, with each premise and the conclusion on a separate line. 11. Why is it problematic to say that the universe merely appears to be designed? 12. Why must the universe bear some resemblance to humandesigned things for Paley’s analogy to work? 13. On what basis does Hume argue that the analogy between humandesigned things and the universe at large is too weak to support the Argument from Design? 14. On what basis does Hume argue that, even if the analogy between the universe and humandesigned things is accepted, the Argument from Design cannot be used to argue for a perfect God? 15. How might the theory of evolution serve as an alternative to Paley’s Argument from Design? Nature could be so complex as to have created something so complex using evolution. 16. Paley points out that we use the word “God” to denote a designer of the universe. Why doesn’t this guarantee that God is the designer of the universe? It is assumed that god would be a designer, what if god made the designer.
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