Archive for ‘Arguments for the Existence of God’

December 15th, 2014

VIDEO: The Thomisitic Abductive Cosmological Argument (TACA)

by Max Andrews

November 19-21 was this year’s annual Evangelical Philosophical Society’s conference. I coauthored a paper with Dave Beck of Liberty University. This is the third year in a row I’ve had a paper accepted for presentation at EPS.

Title:  “A New and Abductive Thomistic Cosmological Argument”

Abstract:  Due to advances in cosmology and theoretical physics the origin of the universe is being relentlessly debated. Nevertheless, whether there is one universe or even an infinite plurality of universes, Thomas Aquinas’ argument for the existence of a first cause from contingency circumvents the debate of temporal beginnings to the universe; such as those that are embedded within the kalam cosmological argument. Tensed, tenseless, dynamic, static, endurantist, and perdurantist theories of time will be irrelevant or be peripheral at best. Physical science as a system will always require further explanation, not mere description, and that explanation will always have to appeal to something outside of itself. This is true for any philosophical and/or theological explanation of science. In this paper we will attempt a consilience of Thomas’ argument from contingency and modern cosmology to show that regardless of whether the universe had a temporal beginning, or what the nature of that beginning might have been, it would still be best explained by a first uncaused cause. We will defend Thomas’ notion of radical contingency and argue against a necessitation understanding of Thomas that is often misattributed to him. This metaphysic will be used as a plausible and defensible abductive cosmological argument, which will appeal to the radical contingency of constituents of the universe, and thus take the form of an argument to the best explanation.

September 3rd, 2014

The Podcast Archive

by Max Andrews

I’ve created an archive to store my Eavesdropping podcasts from SoundCloud and have made them available in the Archive Tab just below the site banner. Once I add a podcast I’ll be updating the archive as to not continuously flood the posts with the podcasts as the podcasts are coming out more frequently than the normal posts.

Eavesdropping is the podcast for Sententias. Eavesdropping is a conversational, informal podcast that is sometimes a monologue, or dialogue with guests, on various topics including philosophy, theology, science, contemporary events, and random meanderings of a philosopher. The primary focuses are, of course, philosophy of science, multiverse scenarios, and Molinism. I’m also an American living abroad in Edinburgh, Scotland so listeners will likewise get to hear about the European/British/Scottish experiences.

All content is copyrighted to Max Andrews with Sententias.org and the music for the podcasts have been used with permission by its composer and creator, Sam Andrews, who is studying music at Longwood University in Virginia, USA.

Please consider donating via my PayPal (also the yellow donate button on the right column) to help me continue my research and online presence. I’m always very grateful. Thank you.

For listening on the go, download the SoundCloud App:

Apple SoundCloud App

Google/Android SoundCloud App

Once you’ve downloaded the app from your respective store (free) then go to then open it up, find the search button and search for “Sententias”. Then you’ll find my podcast page and you can subscribe and listen from there an on the go!

photo 1 photo 2

photo 3 photo 4

Below is the episode archive:

Eavesdropping Ep 1: AUG 7 2014

Eavesdropping Ep 2: AUG 8 2014 Affirmations & Denials

Eavesdropping Ep 3: AUG 9 2015 Tyler McNabb on Catholicism

Eavesdropping Ep4: Ignorant People are Often Ignorant of Ignorance

Eavesdropping Ep5: Many Worlds and Modal Realism

Eavesdropping Ep6: Advice to Serious Students

Eavesdropping Ep7: What I Think About Police

Eavesdropping Ep8: Beginner Philosophers

Eavesdropping Ep9: Max Baker-Hytch on Culture and Religious Belief

Eavesdropping Ep10: Science and Pseudoscience

Eavesdropping Ep11: Top Ten Movies from a Philosophical Perspective (or Not)

Eavesdropping Ep12: The Quantum Scale

Eavesdropping Ep13: Scientific Theology and Thomas Torrance

Eavesdropping Ep14: The Relationship Between Philosophy And Science

Eavesdropping Ep15: Escaping the Beginning of the Universe

Eavesdropping Ep16: Constructive Empiricism

Eavesdropping Ep17: What’s A Scientific Theory?

Eavesdropping Ep18: My Position On Creation

Eavesdropping Ep19: Top Ten Podcasts for Your Brain

Eavesdropping Ep20: How To Argue For God’s Existence

Eavesdropping Ep21: The New Moral Argument

Eavesdropping Ep22: The Likelihood Principle

Eavesdropping Ep23: Fine Tuning Lecture

February 26th, 2014

The Atheist Argument from Fine-Tuning is too Coarse

by Max Andrews

Believe it or not an atheist friend of mine has presented an argument from fine-tuning to demonstrate that God doesn’t exist. I think there are several different problem with the argument but I’ll be as charitable as possible to my anonymous friend @SkepticismFirst (SF).

Fine-tuning is something I’ve invested quite a bit of research in. My MA (philosophy) thesis was on the Fine-Tuning of Nomic Behavior in Multiverse Scenarios and I’m continuing that research right now in my PhD (University of Edinburgh). So, I’ve written quite extensively on this issue. Here are a few links to get the fine-tuning argument presented by the proponents of fine-tuning:

February 14th, 2014

Watching The Sunset Limited

by Max Andrews

So, my pal JT told me about this film The Sunset Limited, which is free on YouTube. The whole film takes place in the dank apartment of a subway janitor (Samuel L. Jackson) and a professor (Tommy Lee Jones). The professor is an atheist who tried to jump in front of a train but the janitor stopped him.

The prose begins in the apartment and the rhetoric is fantastic. The whole movie debates morality, the Bible, angels, God, the problem of evil, sin, etc. It’s a conversation and not an academic debate. They each have good points to make, which is why both Christians and atheists should watch it. For instance, the professor says, “Why not give up? God gives up. As far as I know there’s no ministry in hell.” Now, that objection has answers but rhetorically, wow, that’s hot! Also, the story about how the janitor became a believer (spoiler: beats a man badly) and the professor questions if disfiguring a man was worth his belief in God. It’s amazing.

The janitor isn’t the most educated person, scholastically speaking, but he’s very intelligent. Just watch out for his semi-Pelagian switching around in his rhetoric when they discuss original sin and the Bible.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a98W-vW0sh4

October 3rd, 2013

Fine-Tuning of the Multiverse Lecture PowerPoint

by Max Andrews

Below is the attachment for my lecture on the Fine-Tuning argument and the multiverse lecture PowerPoint. I used this lecture [and updated material] for three years while I was a GA teaching a Philosophy 201 course to no less than 200 students (as well as four individual sections that were assigned specifically to me). It’s time to retire this lecture. If I were teaching it again anytime soon I’d update some of the material but it’s enough to get a good framework for the issues. Screen Shot 2013-10-03 at 2.43.16 PM

August 1st, 2013

Transcript and Thoughts on My Debate with Justin Schieber

by Max Andrews

Over the last month or two I’ve been working on a written/audio debate with Justin Schieber of Reasonable Doubts. The topic of the debate was “Does the Christian God Exist?” I imagine the debate may have been released earlier had it not been for my delayed responses due to health issues and moving out of our house and preparing to embark on our move to Scotland. I have apologized to Mr. Schieber concerning this and I extend apologies to the readers and listeners.

I was actually expecting much stronger arguments from Mr. Schieber. Two arguments were off topic and the other one was a far metaphysical and modal stretch. You’ll be able to read his arguments in full but here are my thoughts :

May 8th, 2013

Why Only One God? Why Not Many?

by Max Andrews

(I’d like to note that someone who is actually making this objection is quite removed from the field of the philosophy of religion.)

Today, we look back on the ancients and ridicule them for thinking that volcanic eruptions were the result of the will of the gods.  We now know the geological structure of the planet and how tectonic activity functions and tends to behave in certain areas and layers of the earth.  We can see the effect of the volcano’s eruption and extrapolate the causes to the movement of the iron core of the earth.  Our scientific knowledge in the field of geology and volcanology have progressed since the ancients.  So, has our scientific knowledge of the universe, of all that there is, progressed to the point that we can explain all that there is without having to invoke an uncaused causal agency?  First, before one proceeds with any scientific account for an explanation, one must notice the metaphysical aspect of the question.  This question is a philosophical question, not a scientific question.  Can we extrapolate all causes to have the first cause be self-caused?  Using something within the system of “all that there is” to explain the system itself (“all that there is”) is circular.  The whole notion is self-defeating.

April 21st, 2013

The Reverse Ontological Argument

by Max Andrews

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)

  1. God exists in the understanding
  2. God is a possible being
  3. If X exists only in the understanding and is a possible being, then X might have been greater
  4. Suppose God exists only in the understanding
  5. God might have been greater (2, 4, 3)
  6. God is a being than which a greater is not possible
  7. So, a being than which nothing greater is not possible is a being which is greater is possible
  8. Since 4 led to a contradiction 4 must be false
  9. God exists not only in the understanding alone—God exists in reality as well
    read more »

April 6th, 2013

An Abductive Fine-Tuning Argument

by Max Andrews

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.

  1. 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.
  2. Given the fine-tuning evidence, LPU is not unlikely under FT (Fine-Tuner): that is, ~P(LPU|FT & k) ≪ 1.
  3. Therefore, LPU strongly supports FT over ~FT.[1]

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?

  1. 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.[2]
  2. Strong Nuclear Force (Strong nuclear force coupling constant, gs = 15)
    1. +, No hydrogen, an essential element of life
    2. -, Only hydrogen
      read more »

April 5th, 2013

An Abductive Thomistic Cosmological Argument

by Max Andrews

The following argument is an abductive Thomistic cosmological argument from contingency, which I presented at my recent Ratio Christi debate.

  1. There are contingent constituents to the universe.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.