January 30, 2017
● The Lost Island
○ 1. The Lost Island is an island than which none greater can
○ 2. We can conceive of the Lost Island.
○ 3. Something that exists is greater than something that does
○ 4. Therefore, if we conceive of the Lost Island as not
existing, we could conceive of an island greater than the Lost Island. ○ 5. We cannot conceive of any island greater than the Lost
○ 6. Therefore, we must conceive of the Lost Island as
○ 7. Therefore, the Lost Island must exist.
● Response 1: The argument works for God but not the island. Some argue that you cannot conceive of the island because the qualities of an island have no upper bounds of greatness. We also discuss several other topics like Where is tartarus located?
● Response 2: God is supposed to be a necessary being (if he exists, then he could not have failed to exist); seems ad hoc (nothing in the premises or principles imply any such restriction)
● The universe is finetuned for life: certain fundamental features of the universe (e.g. the force of gravity, the amount of energy in the universe at its creation) were only very slightly different, then life would have never developed
● A teleological argument for the existence of God purports to show that God must exist because the universe (or some feature of it) could only have been brought about by the hand of a conscious thing
● Inference to the best explanation:
○ 1. X is an observed phenomena.
○ 2. If Y were the case, then it would best explain why X is the
○ 3. Y is the case.
○ Things like power, elegance, simplicity, consistency, etc
make explanations better.
February 1, 2017
● Finetuning of the universe
○ Constants (like Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation) have
been finetuned for life
○ If the force of gravity had been even slightly more, we would We also discuss several other topics like What motor proteins are associated with microtubules?
We also discuss several other topics like What are some examples of culture bound syndromes?
have a rapidrecollapse of all matter in the universe back into singularity
○ If the force of gravity had been weaker, we would have unchecked cosmic expansion (heat death of the universe)
● God of the Gaps reasoning:
○ 1. There is some gap in our naturalistic/scientific
understanding of the world. We also discuss several other topics like What is sublimation and deposition?
○ 2. Therefore, the correct explanation of this phenomena must be supernatural (e.g. God)
● Problems with god of the gaps reasoning:
○ Science has been good at filling the gaps.
○ The current lack of a scientific explanation of some physical phenomena does not suggest that one will not be given at a later date. ○ Even if current naturalistic theories cannot explain a feature of the universe, the default view should not be the design hypothesis. ○ Current gaps in understanding should encourage us to find answers to our questions.
● Design arguments are fallacious arguments from ignorance. ○ 1. I don’t know how X came about.
○ 2. Therefore X must have been designed (by a perfect creator).
● White’s FineTuning Argument (FTA)
○ 1. If a fact E that we observe stands in need of explanation, and hypothesis H provides a satisfactory explanation of E that is better than any alternative explanation available, then E provides significant evidential support for H. We also discuss several other topics like What is the definition of a controlled variable in science?
○ 2. That our universe is hospitable to life stands in need of explanation. We also discuss several other topics like What is the main difference between mass and weight?
○ 3. That God adjusted the constants in order to allow for life to develop provides a satisfactory explanation for why our universe is life permitting.
○ 4. There is no comparably satisfying explanation of this fact available.
○ 5. Therefore, that our universe is life permitting provides significant evidential support for theism.