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Essay by review  •  January 10, 2011  •  Essay  •  930 Words (4 Pages)  •  793 Views

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The question of God’s existence has been debated through the history of man, with every philosopher from Socrates to Immanuel Kant weighing in on the debate. So great has this topic become that numerous proofs have been invented and utilized to prove or disprove God’s existence. The ontological proof, the cosmological proof, and the teleological proof are the three main divisions. No true answer has been found, but in the Western world people tend to agree with one of these three “proofs” of God.

The Ontological Argument, which argues from a definition of God’s being to his existence, is the first type of argument explored. Since Saint Anslem founded this argument, his writings are the most examined. Saint Anslem starts by defining God as an all-perfect being, or rather as a being containing all conceivable perfections. Now if in addition of possessing all conceivable perfections this being did not possess existence, it would then be considered less perfect from a being that does exist. Since by definition God is all-perfect, and a being that does not exist is less perfect than one that did, it must be deemed that God exists. As one can see, Anslem explains God’s existence just by utilizing the concept of God as an all-perfect being. Simply put, the definition of God guarantees his existence just as the definition of a triangle guarantees that all triangles have three sides. This argument is a hard one to follow due to the fact that it utilizes Reductio Ad Abusdum form. This is when you support your conclusion by showing that the negation of the said conclusion will lead to a logical paradox.

The next type of argument is called the Teleological Argument, or the argument from design. This argument starts by saying that the universe exhibits some type of purpose or order, and draws the conclusion that a supreme, intelligent being, must be responsible for this order. One of the most popular supporters of this argument goes under the name of William Paley. Paley starts by examining a watch, marveling on how all it’s pieces from the hand to its sprockets move in Harmony. Each of these pieces has a specific purpose, the hand tells the time, the sprockets move the gears, and so on. This watch, or as Paley calls it “a well adjusted machine”, would not demonstrate it’s purpose of telling time if one of it’s components were slightly perturbed. This precision, in Paley’s eyes, show that there must be a watchmaker who created the watch for the purpose of telling time. He believes that it is just not possible for the watch to have been created by chance. It indicates that it is irrelevant whether anyone knows the maker of the watch, or actually witnessed its creation. He defends this by pointing out how we know that an eyepiece exists even though the vast majority of people do not know how, or who created it. Paley next declares that it would not invalidate his conclusion if the watch sometimes went astray or was seldom right. The purpose of the machine would still be evident, and that it is not relevant for the machine to be perfect to prove that it has a creator. He concludes the watch analogy with the assumption, that no intelligent

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