Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Dr. William Hatcher, Platonist, puts forth a new argument for the existence of God. Here are his premises, listed without the steps taken to get to them:

1. Something exists. Even an illusion is something, so this is clearly true.

2. Everything that exists has a cause (this is not the same as a purpose).

Intermission: In order to be God, an entity must exist, must be unique, must be self-caused, and must be the ultimate cause of everything else. Please note that no particular attributes beyond this are given.

3. All somethings (with the possible exception of sub-atomic particles) are made up of other somethings.

4. Something cannot be the cause of its own parts. i.e. If A is a part of B, then B cannot have caused A because B is not B without A.

Conclusion: The universe, being a composite, cannot be the cause of its own parts, and cannot be self-caused. Therefore there must be something outside of the universe that caused it.

Fucking Platonists. They really need to read more physics. First of all, if sub-atomic particles are not composites, then the whole thing falls apart, since they may, in fact, be self-causing. Secondly, what's the deal with premise 4? My blood is a part of my body, but it is also caused by my body, and if I lose some of it (which happens whenever I work with tools, it seems), I may be diminished, but I am still me. In fact, I'm constantly shedding pieces and taking up new ones, as is everything other composite in our Heraclitean universe. And even if his argument held together, he's still only proven that the universe depends on a logical cause that stands outside of it. This is not news to anybody with even a moderate familiarity with cosmological physics.

Still, a nice try and a fun diversion for a few minutes.

In a similar vein, here are 38 dirty debate tricks and how to argue against them. (Thank Rebecca for the links.)

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