April 21st, 2013
Interestingly, there is an argument used by atheists to demonstrate that God is impossible, which picks up on the ontological argument. This argument is traditionally called the reverse ontological argument. Instead of demonstrating that God a maximally great being that exists necessarily, the reverse form is used to demonstrate that God is impossible. To give a context for the atheistic argument here are the two most popular versions of the theistic ontological argument:
The Anselmian Ontological Argument (Theistic)
- God exists in the understanding
- God is a possible being
- If X exists only in the understanding and is a possible being, then X might have been greater
- Suppose God exists only in the understanding
- God might have been greater (2, 4, 3)
- God is a being than which a greater is not possible
- So, a being than which nothing greater is not possible is a being which is greater is possible
- Since 4 led to a contradiction 4 must be false
- God exists not only in the understanding alone—God exists in reality as well
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April 8th, 2013
Originally at Apologetics315.com
Today’s interview is with Max Andrews. Max is a graduate student from Liberty University, whose research is in philosophy of science and religion. He talks about his background and education, his interest and research in multiverse theory, the fine-tuning argument, Liberty University, advice for Christians studying apologetics, his Sententias blog, the development of the Christian mind, and applying apologetics.
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April 6th, 2013
The fine-tuning argument argues that when physics and the laws of nature are expressed mathematically their values are ever so balanced in a way that permits the existence of life. I’m merely arguing that the universe is finely tuned for the essential building blocks and environments that life requires.
- Given the fine-tuning evidence, a life permitting universe (LPU) is very, very unlikely under the non-existence of a fine-tuner (~FT): that is, P(LPU|~FT & k) ≪ 1.
- Given the fine-tuning evidence, LPU is not unlikely under FT (Fine-Tuner): that is, ~P(LPU|FT & k) ≪ 1.
- Therefore, LPU strongly supports FT over ~FT.
Defense of 1: Given the fine-tuning evidence, a life-permitting universe is very, very unlikely under the non-existence of a fine-tuner.
So what are some of the evidences for fine-tuning?
- Roger Penrose calculates that the odds of the special low entropy condition having come about by chance in the absence of any constraining principles is at least as small as about one in 1010^123.
- Strong Nuclear Force (Strong nuclear force coupling constant, gs = 15)
- +, No hydrogen, an essential element of life
- -, Only hydrogen
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April 5th, 2013
The following argument is an abductive Thomistic cosmological argument from contingency, which I presented at my recent Ratio Christi debate.
- There are contingent constituents to the universe.
- Given the contingent constituents of the universe, the existence of the universe (U) is very, very unlikely under the hypothesis that these constituents are themselves uncaused or self-caused (~Cu): that is, P(U|~Cu & k) ≪ 1.
- Given the contingent constituents of the universe, the existence of the universe is not unlikely under the hypothesis of a first uncaused cause (Cu): that is, ~P(U|Cu & k) ≪ 1.
- Therefore, U strongly supports Cu over ~Cu.
The constituents of the universe include galaxies, planets, stars, cars, humans, leptons, bosons, and other particles. For the constituents of the universe to be uncaused that would mean it is metaphysically necessary. For something to be metaphysically necessary that means that it could not have failed to exist—it exists in every possible world.
For something to be self-caused it must be simultaneously antecedent to itself to produce itself as its own effect. But this contradictory. This would be akin to the ultimate bootstrapping trick.
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March 30th, 2013
The following is a guest blog post by Shaun Smith. Shaun is completing his MA in Philosophy and attended the debate.
Thursday night at Liberty University there was a debate over the existence of God. This debate was meant to liberate all thinkers from every walk of life. Theist, Atheist, and Agnostics alike were going to usher forth the new age, with perfected reasons, a scope towards utopia, and a… said no one ever. Max Andrews of Liberty University brought forth compelling arguments, including the infamous ontological argument. Dan Linford, of Virginia Tech, came with a few scattered thoughts, and a selected amount of tactics to try and move the conversation into, well, nothing really. Though, Linford I think had a few great points that he really could have sponged out for the audience. Listen, it isn’t about a winner or loser, its about reasoning together and furthering the discussion. However, I found that there were a few issues that did not bring out that initial goal.
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March 29th, 2013
I have much to say about last night’s debate I participated in concerning the existence of God but those comments will come later. We asked those in attendance (at least 400) to use the #LUGODdebate hashtag if they decided to live-tweet the debate. I’ve taken screen shots of the hashtag’s feed from the beginning of the debate until now (lunchtime Friday). Most of those tweeting were Liberty students but you’ll be able to gauge the atmosphere of the debate and the performances. My Twitter handle is @maxeoa (just an FYI if you spot it in the feed). The feed is in order from the most recent uses to to the earliest uses.
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February 18th, 2013
I can now announce that on Thursday, March 28 from 7.30-9p I will be engaging in a debate with Dan Linford from Virginia Tech on the debate topic, “Does God Exist?” Dan is in the philosophy PhD program at VT. He and I debated each other last year (in partnership with Josh Nixon and Beau Bradley). Last year we debated at VT, and this year we will be debate on the campus of Liberty University.
The precise location has yet to be determined but it’s currently scheduled to be in DeMoss 1113. That room holds about 300 but from initial surveys I suspect we may need to find a larger room. We currently plan on having the debate filmed so we should have it available online sometime afterwards. I’m hoping to find a way to stream the debate online. If anyone knows how we can do that please let me know. I’ll be using #LUGODdebate as the Twitter hashtag (@maxeoa). This will help gather interactive thoughts from attendees after the debate. More information will be shared as time gets closer.
- Moderator Introductions
- 17 minutes opening (Max—affirmative)
- 17 minutes opening (Dan—negative)
- 7 minutes rebuttal (Max)
- 7 minutes rebuttal (Dan)
- 10 minutes cross-examination (Max asks Dan questions)
- 10 minutes cross-examination (Dan asks Max questions)
- 5 minutes closing statement (Max)
- 5 minutes closing statement (Dan)
- 20 minutes of Q&A
- Total of 78 minutes of debate and 20 minutes of Q&A
You can view our debate from last spring here.