On a web board I subscribe to, someone put forth a challenge to us, that we should use logic to prove the existence of some god. The rules were as follows:
- Make sure the argument is coherent (using No logical fallacies)
- Make sure the argument isn’t question begging/circular reasoning.
- Make sure it doesn’t use equivocation, category, ad hoc pro hoc, strawman, red herring, compositional, or ad populus fallacies.
- Define your terms, or when you use a word how you are using it.
- If you can or know how.. form the argument in a syllogism if you don’t thats okay as well.
- Don’t use “personal/emotional” “proofs” for the existence of god.. personal experience doesn’t work ..why? I have personal knowledge pink unicorns exist (if you don’t believe this statement then you will understand why it wont work.)
This is an impossible task for anyone who actually believes in a supernatural deity. Apologetics for millennia have not been able to construct a god that meets all of the criteria above; item 3 above is next to impossible, but part of the problem with the gods of all mythologies lies with item 4 above. If you are a believer — irrespective of the god or gods in which you believe — then item 4 will trip you up quite well. Take the Judeo-Christian god that is often defined (if at all) as being simultaneously all-merciful and all-just. These two traits are diametrically opposed to each other and can not possibly exist in the same entity.
So I thought about it and proved god’s existence as follows:
- I am a human being.
- A human being is made up of cells with the human genome, blood, bones, muscles, and organs which serve various functions.
- A human being has a consciousness which is capable of making decisions and choices related to matters of all degrees of complexity.
- Any choices made by a human being are driven by a combination of neurochemistry and available information.
- Because points 2 and 4 speak to physical properties, they may be said to be measurable with the proper tools and equipment.
- Something measurable with the proper tools and equipment can be declared to exist.
- Because a human being is made up of things that are measurable, a human being can be declared to exist.
- I am a human being (point 1), therefore I exist.
- As a human being, I am capable of making choices (point 3).
- I choose to define myself as “god”.
- Therefore, god exists.
You could argue that point 10 is a form of question begging, and therefore a violation of rule number 2 above. If that is the case (which it very well might be) then rule number 2 is in direct contradiction of rule number 4 because the need to define terms could be in and of itself a form of question begging.
Therein lies the real problem with this mental exercise: define god in a manner that undoubtedly exists, and you’ve got the proof that’s being requested, whether you define god as yourself, or Charlton Heston, or as the series of natural processes that resulted in the formation of the universe, and then it’s just a question of logically demonstrating the existence of that god. It does nothing whatsoever to resolve the chasm that exists between the faithless and the faithful.