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Letters to a Doubting Thomas 4: A Cosmological Argument


Page 94-

does God have reason to create anything at all? Yes. A perfectly morally good being would be a loving being, hence generous. A loving and generous being would have reason to create entities with which to share good things.

Wait a second here! This is probably the most obviously false unquestioned statement in the book. A universe with just God would be morally perfect. Creating other conscious creatures would necessarily not introduce any goodness into the world, since it is already maximally good. So there would be nothing better in a world with other conscious beings, therefore God has no moral reason to create such creatures. In addition, it seems dubious that a perfect God would have reason to do anything whatsoever. A universe with just God is perfect. End of story. I would go so far as to say that adding loving to the definition of God makes no sense. With no reason to create other conscious beings, there would be no reason to say that God cares about the long term well being of the creatures he creates. He just wouldn’t create anything! I judge this argument a fail. Am I wrong?

Moreover, even assuming that God would have reason to create humans, we are only a tiny fraction of the contingent beings that exist. It would seem that we alone are predicted by the loving God hypothesis. How about black holes? Dinosaurs? iPads? Earthquakes? None of these seem predicted by Theism, yet Layman says that Theism has this great explanatory power.

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. . . if the processes of the world are logically necessary and can be traced back to some ultimate fact, then every event is determined . . . Why accept that? Virtually everyone has deep-lying metaphysical intuitions to the contrary. . . I think we ought to accept such metaphysical intuitions in the absence of very strong arguments to the contrary.

How lame. First of all, I am not certain I can accept metaphysical intuitions. Some things may be necessary to accept to function in any meaningful way, but free will is not one of them, nor are many metaphysical intuitions. Even accepting that we need very strong evidence (why not just reasons to doubt the intuitions? Is Layman stacking the odds unfairly?), I believe there is very strong evidence. For one, the fact that free will in the incompatibilist sense is incoherent for reasons I’ve written about. If an action occurs neither caused, nor random, nor any combination of the two, it is incoherent. There is no room for a middle ground. The groundings of incompatibilist free will would be total arbitrariness.

So this chapter is probably the biggest fail so far, and one which I have the most objections, and most basic ones, to. So far no argument has really gotten traction with me, although some I am more plausibly wrong about than others.

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