Saturday, June 22, 2013

THE MIGHTY THEISM OF RICHARD SWINBURNE-- Jersey Flight

“It is not possible to treat a teleological argument in complete isolation from the cosmological argument. We cannot ask how probable the premiss of the teleological argument makes theism, independently of the premiss of the cosmological argument, for the premiss of the teleological argument entails in part the premiss of the cosmological argument.” Richard Swinburne, The Argument From Design, Philosophy of Religion, Third Edition pg.64-65, edited by Louis P. Pojman, Wadsworth Publishing 1998.

But we must go further. At the heart of every theistic proposition lies the axiom of the ontological argument (there is simply no way to get around it). God is a concept which must be defined, and it is the ontological argument, more than any other argument, which seeks to make him a reality; which seeks to state something specific about his being.

Of all the arguments this is the most ridiculous argument: for in seeking to say something specific about God it ends up producing more vagary about God--- and we are left at precisely the place we started.

What is the use of any argument if the entity in question has not been defined?

What can a man like Swinburne (oh the mighty Swinburne!) know about God? The answer is absolutely nothing! Every argument for the existence of God (has not the ontology of God as its object of knowing) but the ontology of the Universe... supposedly man obtains a better understanding of the Universe? [Hence, it is ordered; hence it was created; hence it stands a moral universe.] But these arguments tell us nothing about God, and even further, they tell us nothing about the Universe! The attributes are superimposed, interjected from without... they were the beliefs one brought to the syllogism and not the conclusions that one drew from the syllogism!   

A CHALLENGE TO THEISTIC PHILOSOPHERS:
--------Prove you know there is one God as opposed to many Gods--------

Swinburne says monotheism “is a simpler explanation.” But is it simpler than the notion of Naturalism (the Universe explained by the Universe)? Disease is explained by science; why must we still invoke the image of the Demon; why must we still posit the idea of a God!

[C. S. Lewis in rejecting Naturalism claimed it was too simple; he wanted to bring some magic into his world; the straightforwardness of nature was too much for him to bear--- Lewis’ solution was the affirmation of the Neo-Hebrew-God, or what should otherwise, in more intelligent circles, be called delusion.] Surprised by Joy Chapter 7.

As to the idea of many Gods Swinburne plays the following game: “we want to ask about it such questions as why are there just 333 deities (or whatever the number is), why do they have powers of just the strength which they do have, and what moves them to cooperate as closely as obviously they do; questions of this kind which obtrude far less with far simpler and so less arbitrary theistic hypothesis.” Ibid. pg.63

The craftiness here; the sheer arrogant, ivory-tower snobbishness, the elitism, the intentional dialectic pretension, the superficial contrast, but most of all the lack of honesty (this is the worst that Oxford has ever produced)!

What provoked the idea of many Gods in the first place? Was it not the insistence of the theist toward the conclusion of his monotheism? Was it not the level of authority with which he put forth his thesis; a kind of fascistic objectivity; the attitude of logical certainty; condescension from the delusion of intellectual superiority? And the mighty Swinburne wants to ask specific questions about polytheism (as though such questions work in favor of his thesis)? I tell you my friends this is all high-brow-subterfuge to evade the inevitable defeat of his theism. And yet Swinburne fails to see that the same complexity; the same infinity of questions lie in wait for his monotheism!

[Is not Swinburne the maddest and most desperate of all Christians? Or will he join us in lambasting the stupidity of the Christian God, that impossible concept of Trinity? Has man ever devised a more absurd fairytale? And yet Swinburne claims a two thousand year old apocalyptic, self-proclaimed Hebrew prophet is God! (We refer of course to the mythological Christ, that fantastic high-born-image of the gospels, which must always be distinguished from the conversation of the historical Christ). But what relation does his theism have to Christianity? (or to use his own logic): is the Trinity a simpler explanation than deism? Is he not the maddest of all Christians--- is he not the most confused theist? Has he truly evaded the charge of arguing from authority? To get at his Christ one must assume the authority of the document; one must presume the infallibility of certain statements; one must harmonize; one must piece together; one must draw a plurality of subjective inferences--- behold the theologian’s madness; behold his repetitious sickness! If the document states (p), which thing is declared (p) on the basis of subjective inference, then the argument is of course, that (p) must be true---- because it is the claim of the document and the document is the claim of God! I say this (and not something philosophical as Swinburne would have us believe) lies at the very heart of his theism! The concept of Christ as God is not a deduction from nature, but a presumption of theology based on a preferred set of varied documents, infused with the presupposition of absolute authority. This is the first premise of Swinburne’s reasoning and not something else!] 

the hypothesis of theism [meaning monotheism]... has greater explanatory power than the [polytheistic alternative]... and is for that reason more probable. For theism leads us to expect that we will find throughout nature one pattern of order. But if there were more than one deity responsible for the order of the universe, we would expect to see characteristic marks of the handiwork of different deities in different parts of the universe, just as we see different kinds of workmanship in different houses of a city.Ibid. pg.63

But what has a tiger to do with a fish? What has a tree to do with a river? What has Earth to do with Mars? Why are these not the characteristic marks, the varied workmanship of varied individuals? 
               
Above all else what does Swinburne’s pontification produce?  
Ans: the solid conclusion that he actually knows nothing about God!!!

Whether God is one or many Swinburne has no way to tell, and until he can get at the specific nature of his deity, there is no conversation--- God is not a rational conclusion; he is not even part of the conversation!

Long before the teleological argument; long before the cosmological argument man must suffer under the burden of the ontological argument--- but this burden is not for those who resist, but for those who seek to go beyond nature as a means by which to explain nature; for those who are bold enough to posit the idea of God. (The deity they put forth has a nature; the question is whether or not they can actually know this nature)?

Suppose we find order, why could the Gods not exist in antithesis to this order (for are they not said to exist in antithesis to evil)? For here man only selects the attributes of his liking, and yet he admits that things exist in opposition to God--- so why can’t order be the antithesis of God?

“...I suggest that the order of the world is evidence of the existence of God both because its occurrence would be very improbable a priori and also because, in virtue of his postulated character, he has very good, apparently overriding, reason for making an orderly universe, if he makes a universe at all.” Ibid. pg 66-67

His postulated character? HIS POSTULATED CHARACTER! Again this only serves as further proof that Swinburne can know nothing about God! Since when did God become reasonable (perhaps reason exists in antithesis to God)? As it would seem, Swinburne uses the analogy of man to formulate his concept of God. But how can such an analogy tell us anything about God if God is said to be transcendent? Behold the circle of philosophical theism: ALL WE KNOW OF GOD WE KNOW BY WAY OF POSTULATION! It seems knowledge of God requires the omniscience of God: for in what points does he correspond to the universe and at what points does he transcend the universe? How can we know the proper analogy for God unless we first know God; and how can we know God unless we first know the proper analogy... unless God can be known by some other means than analogy? [The latter is the bane of natural theology in that analogy enforces restrictive ontological limitations which are catastrophic to the possibility of knowing God ... as per the idea of God it would seem analogy is not enough?] All of this requires the highest level of omniscience; man must essentially know the particulars of God in order to explain God by analogy. But as to whether or not God can be explained by analogy... (this only serves as further proof that God cannot be explained at all)! Why is man the right analogy to deduce the reasonableness of God?

“The teleologist’s starting-point is not that we perceived order rather than disorder, but that order rather than disorder is there.” Ibid. pg.62

Very well then, perhaps it is there in antithesis to God? For is this not what men claim about evil? This game goes on and on into infinity precisely because man can know nothing about God---- precisely---- because the very notion of God is antiquated fiction---- or that which amounts to the same---- something unreachable!

“... as I emphasized, human inquiry into divine reasons is a highly speculative matter.” Ibid. pg.66

No my friends, this is not merely speculative; not simply a matter of high speculation, but a notion which seems impossible! Who has solved this infinite equation; for one must first know the particular nature of God?

Contrary to Swinburne; human reason is the only kind of inquiry there is! This exemplifies the problem with theism; Swinburne speaks as though there were another: in positing theism one posits that there is always something other than what there is.

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“Why not assert the deity or deities to be corporeal, and, to have eyes, a nose, mouth, ears, etc.? The answer is the simple one that dissimilarities between effects lead the rational man to postulate dissimilarities between causes, and this procedure is basic to inductive inference.” Ibid. pg.68

Even if we affirm the attribute of dissimilarity does this logically lead to the conclusion of a transcendent God (without eyes; without ears), or in Swinburne’s case---- to the Trinity?!!! [At this point if one does not sense the ridiculousness of Swinburne’s maneuvering (which is nothing more than the fallacy of non-sequitur) it is probably safe to say they never will.]  

In every instance of the analogy the effects and causes are physical; the dissimilarities are physical! The notion of dissimilarity in no way produces the conclusion of transcendent cause and effect. A statue created by Michelangelo is physical, even as Michelangelo, as the cause, is physical. The dissimilarity between Michelangelo and his statue in no way produces the conclusion of a monotheistic, transcendent deity (dissimilarity does not equal a mono-transcendent-being)! If anything the analogy only serves as further proof that one can know nothing as to the nature of the cause if dissimilarities between effects lead to the conclusion of dissimilarities between causes. (In this instance is not polytheism far more rational)? To state the thesis again, what can Swinburne truly know about God? If anything, the analogy of dissimilarity commits him to the idea of a physical cause! And this, in the context of Swinburne’s desired deity, is catastrophic!

[Can one even believe we have taken the time to expose this nonsense?--------- THE TRINITY???!!!--------- One might as well expend valuable energy refuting the idea of the boogeyman. This is a game for children not philosophers!]