The Simplicity of Theism

The Simplicity of Theism - The Simplicity of Theism The...

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The Simplicity of Theism The design argument for theism is successful only if theism is a simple hypothesis. Swinburne argues that classical theism is a very simple hypothesis, since it uses only simple quantities, namely, zero and infinity. A hypothesis positing the existence of a being with infinite power and intelligence, that is, a being with zero limitations to his power and knowledge, is simpler than any hypothesis involving a finite deity. Critics oaf the design argument, including Hume and Mackie, have argued that theism is covertly complex, since the realization of intelligent agency requires a great deal of complexity. This objection can be divided into two arguments: the big giant brain objection, and the duplication objection, both of which can be found in Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion . The Big Giant Brain objection goes something like this. Every intelligent agent we know of (humans, maybe chimps and whales) have highly complex central nervous systems, with billions of neurons and quadrillions of connections. A god who is highly intelligent, therefore, most probably has a brain that is much larger and more complex than a human brain. An infinitely intelligent god would seem to require an infinitely large brain. This means that theism involves introducing more complexity, more amazing coincidences and purposively organized structures, than was present in the data it is designed to explain. Consequently, the prior probability of theism is even lower than the probability that the cosmos became organized anthropically by chance, and so the anthropic coincidences do not make theism more likely true than false. As I have argued above, it is not clear that all intelligent agents have central nervous systems. If Darwinism is true, then the earth's biosphere is an intelligent agent, designing the earth's living creatures through a process of trial-and-error learning. In any case, the teleological version of the design argument does not lead to the conclusion that God, the intelligent agent behind the anthropic coincidences, is in any way similar to human beings. In fact, we have good reason to believe that He is radically different from us. This means that we have little grounds for extending a generalization based on finite agents to an infinite agent. For this Humean argument
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This note was uploaded on 11/09/2011 for the course PHI PHI2010 taught by Professor Jorgerigol during the Fall '09 term at Broward College.

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The Simplicity of Theism - The Simplicity of Theism The...

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