Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Saint Anselm's Proof

I thought this was great. But you already know what I think about philosophy, right? :)

Recently, I was having an online discussion - in my local newspaper -  with a guy who claimed to have "plenty of evidence" for the existence of God. But when I pressed him for the details, it turned out to be something he called "logical evidence," which was pretty much entirely an argument from ignorance (and its close corollary, the argument from personal incredulity).

So he wasn't just calling logic 'evidence,' he was calling known logical fallacies 'evidence.' But he continued to insist that he'd provided "plenty" of evidence that his god exists.

Well, these kinds of arguments are very common. (I've mentioned some of them in my Non-Belief series.) With professional religious apologists, it can be difficult for us laymen to point out the logical fallacies in their practiced, polished arguments. But using that same argument in a different context, as this cartoon demonstrates, can often show its complete absurdity.

And give us something to laugh about, too. :)

PS. If you really want a more boring argument, maybe we could look at the "best possible" human being.

Now, how you define "best" is hard to say, since we all have many good qualities. Intelligence is certainly better than stupidity. Health is better than illness. Strength is better than weakness, etc.

But it's hard to imagine that the strongest person in the world is also the smartest - and the fastest, the kindest, the most generous, etc.  Even if that person is the strongest human being who could possibly live, he wouldn't be the best in everything. So you could imagine a person who was just as strong, but perhaps slightly more intelligent or slightly faster.

That would be a "better" human being, by our definitions, but he still wouldn't exist. So it seems pretty clear that the "best possible" human being does not exist. Does the "best possible being"? Not if humans are the only beings, certainly.

Show me evidence that a god exists and we'll talk again.

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