Philosophy Hurts Your Head

The blog of a cranky Philosophy PhD Student from Newcastle, Australia.

Archive for August, 2005

Arguments for God fail without specificity

Posted by Sam D on August 26, 2005

If an argument for ‘Theism/generic Deity’ can be equally well applied to different ‘Gods’ ie God or Allah, then it is really useless. I’m thinking of things like the Intelligent Design or Ontological arguments.

Suppose the definitional relationship between God and Allah is one of mutual exclusivity.

p = God exists

q = Allah exists


1. p iff(if and only if) not q, and q iff not p would seem fairly straight forward.

An argument for an un-defined deity could be said to logically implies the premise:

2. p or q

since it works to logically imply either deity equally well.

since we can also say (from 1.)

if p then not q
if q then not p

then it follow that a general argument for an undefined deity logically implies:

p or not p (from 1 and 2 ) (as well as q or not q?)

An argument that is supposed to justify God’s existence that can only produce: ‘ God exists or god doesn’t exist’ does not tell us anything we did not already know.

If we try to extricate the argument, we hit difficulties. There seems to be only two possible escapes. The argument must either be shown to only apply to the specific deity in question or it must be shown that the relationship between different deities is not one of mutual exclusivity. The first response is so difficult I would consider it almost impossible to do without begging the question against reasonable opponents. The second is doctrinally problematic (obviously), and furthermore it seems unclear how two supremely perfect and powerful beings can co-exist and not conflict, unless they are one and the same, which most doctrine says that they are not.

Another possibility (not widely accepted) is that neither p nor q exist, and some other thing: r, which is not implied by the argument, exists.


Posted in Intelligent Design, Philosophy, Philosophy & Religion, Religion | 2 Comments »


Posted by Sam D on August 24, 2005

While some might want to debate how this is calculated, it is still a worthwhile exercise. If they are even half right, it gives us plenty to think about.

Posted in Environment, Interesting stuff | 3 Comments »

Notes on Intelligent Design

Posted by Sam D on August 18, 2005

Since I’m trying to do some serious work on my thesis this week, I can’t respond in full to the current Intelligent Design debate as much as I would like. So here are some points to think about, that I will maybe flesh out later.

Proving the existence of an intelligent designer tells us nothing about them. It shows nothing about whether or not they care about us. Nothing about their morality. It doesn’t even tell us if there are more than one of them. In this context the ‘Problem of Evil’ can be used not to question the existence of such a designer, but to question certain qualities that some groups attribute to them.

Proving the the existence of an intelligent designer does not show, whether this designer is God, Allah, Yaweh, Krishna, Zeus or whoever. In fact, the argument works to “prove” the existence of a number of deities. If we took ther existence as being mutually exclusive, eg if Allah exists, then Zeus does not, then we have an argument that logically implies both X and not X. This is considered by logicians and some philosophers as being a bad thing for an argument to do. Now we don’t have to accept the premise that the gods of different faiths are mutually exclusive, but this is not something that most people of faith would want to accept, and seems counter to most doctrine from most religions.

In the same way that Darwinism is “Just a theory”, Intelligent Design is “just a theory”.

Posted in Intelligent Design, Philosophy & Religion | 6 Comments »

Philosophers Carnival 17

Posted by Sam D on August 10, 2005

Tiberius and Gaius Speaking… hosts the 17th Philosophers Carnival. Check it out if you can. Something for everyone.

Posted in Philosophy | Leave a Comment »

Intelligent design?

Posted by Sam D on August 9, 2005

“Intelligent Design” Not Accepted by Most Scientists
by Eugenie C. Scott and Glenn Branch

Bought to you by Leiter Reports and Philosophy et cetera

Just trying to do my bit.

Posted in Intelligent Design, philosophy & politics, Philosophy & Religion, Politics | Leave a Comment »

Academic Woes in the U.S.

Posted by Sam D on August 6, 2005

If you thought I was exagerating about some of what is going on in the U.S. academic community, follow these links and see what you think of the goings on.

Students for Academic Freedom…

Christian Students sue...

American Philosophers Association

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Insert Title Here.

Posted by Sam D on August 3, 2005

Hey kiddies.

Caught this via a forward of Butterflies and Wheels update:
Muriel Gray argues that religion is not at all a good thing. Read it here.
Not that I completely agree with this, nor is it the most well written article ever, but I do apreciate some of the sentiments expressed.

If it were widely understood that claims to knowledge require adequate evidence before they can be accepted, there would be no room for pseudoscience. But a kind of Gresham’s Law prevails in popular culture by which bad science drives out good.
Carl Sagan
–The Demon-Haunted World

I also should clarify some earlier comments. The links between Family First and Hillsong are not official, and depending on who you ask, they are either allies, or enemies. The connection between Family First and Danny Nalliah is however not in dispute. He was most certainly one of their candidates for the Victorian senate. I wonder if they knew what he was really like before accepting him.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »