The Non-existence of God

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Psychology Press, 2004 - Philosophy - 326 pages
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Is it possible to prove or disprove God's existence? Arguments for the existence of God have taken many different forms over the centuries: in The Non-Existence of God, Nicholas Everitt considers all of the arguments and examines the role that reason and knowledge play in the debate over God's existence. He draws on recent scientific disputes over neo-Darwinism, the implication of 'big bang' cosmology, and the temporal and spatial size of the universe; and discusses some of the most recent work on the subject, leading to a controversial conclusion.
 

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I'd like to make a 1,683-word comment. First, on a certain phrase in this article: "human beings are like God". Then I'd like to put forward my hypothesis (with scientific references, of course) that the universe doesn't merely consist of trillions of galaxies, but that both the space and time of the universe are literally infinite.
human beings are like God
"Many religions, from Hinduism to Gnostic Christianity to Mormon doctrine, teach that – as impious as it may sound – it is the goal of humans to become gods." ["Pale Blue Dot – A Vision of the Human Future in Space” by Carl Sagan - Headline Book (1995, p. 382)]. A name used for God in the Old Testament is Elohim, which means the “plural majesty of the one god” i.e. the billions of earth’s inhabitants* entangled** with, and dispersed throughout, the united infinity of the universe and eternity of time. Such entanglement suggests extrasensory perception and telekinetic independence from technology are possible (and that there is truth in practices like astrology), despite modern science’s objections which appear to be based on non-unification.
* Plus the inhabitants of countless billions of other worlds that will be colonized in the past and far future as well as the present and near future by humans who have adapted to, or been genetically engineered to fit, other worlds as they explore the universe. Any complicated form of life – humanoid, animal or plant – anywhere in space would have to evolve into existence, unless human biotechnology and genetic engineering of future centuries produced it. The evolution proposed by Charles Darwin is indeed wonderful, and the Miller-Urey Experiment of 1952 made amino acids (which are relatively simple, and are the building blocks of protein) from inorganic material and by natural causes in a lab. Indeed, many molecules – including sugars and amino acids – have been found in space. But evolution appears limited. In a biological sense, the Theory of Evolution certainly explains adaptations and modifications in large forms of life. But believing it also explains their origins is unwarranted extrapolation. It takes an idea that accounts for some parts of life and, since it’s the only scientific explanation we currently have, assumes it accounts for all parts of life. Any large lifeform is far more advanced than any amino acid. It appears impossible for a collection of amino acids and other molecules to spontaneously develop into the incredible complexity of a large lifeform (even in innumerable tiny steps taken over billions of years).
** To be more specific - the existence of both advanced waves (which travel backwards in time) and retarded waves (which travel forwards in time) as admissible solutions to James Clerk Maxwell's equations about electromagnetism was explored in the Wheeler–Feynman absorber theory in the first half of last century, as well as the more recent transactional interpretation of quantum mechanics (TIQM). Einstein's equations say gravitational fields carry enough information about electromagnetism to allow Maxwell's equations to be restated in terms of these gravitational fields. This was discovered by the mathematical physicist George Yuri Rainich ("Transactions of the American Mathematical Society" 27, 106 - Rainich, G. Y. - 1925). Therefore, gravitational waves also have a "retarded" component and an "advanced" component. They can travel forward or backward not only in space, but in time too. 17th century scientist Isaac Newton's idea of gravity acting instantly across the universe could be explained by gravity's ability to travel back in time, and thereby reach a point billions of light years away not in billions of years, but apparently instantly.^
^ Instantaneous effect over large distances is known as the entanglement of quantum mechanics, and has been repeatedly verified experimentally. If it involves gravitational waves forming matter particles (which form macroscopic
 

Contents

Reasoning about God
1
The need to appeal to reason
2
The claim that it is wrong to appeal to reason
3
The claim that there are no relevant reasons
7
The claim that reasons are inconclusive
8
Whether someone has good reasons v whether there are good reasons
10
The variety of reasons
13
Theism and its more specific varieties atheism agnosticism
14
Alstons appeal to mystical perceptual practice
165
Assessment of Alston
167
The oddity of experiencing God
172
A more liberal conception of experience?
176
Further reading
177
Naturalism evolution and rationality
178
Assessment of the argument
185
Further reading
190

Further reading
16
Reformed Epistemology
17
Classical foundationalism
18
Plantingas attack on classical foundationalism
20
The alternative view proposed by Reformed Epistemology
22
Assessment
26
Further reading
30
Ontological arguments
31
Anselms version
32
Descartes and the ontological argument
37
Plantinga and the ontological argument
41
The MalcolmAnselm version
45
Hartshornes version
47
Where ontological arguments go wrong
50
Can the ontological argument survive?
55
Further reading
57
Cosmological arguments
59
The First Cause argument
60
Can there be an infinity of past events?
63
Can there be an infinity of past causes?
66
Does the Big Bang theory help the First Cause argument?
68
The Argument from Contingency
73
Assessment of the Argument from Contingency
74
Swinburnes argument
76
Can there be an explanation of the existence of the universe?
79
Has science discovered why the universe exists?
82
Further reading
84
Teleological arguments
85
The argument from order as such
86
the argument from the kind of order
91
flora and fauna
96
Humean criticisms of the argument to design
98
The relevance of Darwin
101
Criticisms of Darwin
104
Modern defences of the argument to design
106
Further reading
110
Arguments to and from miracles
112
Assessment of Humes argument
117
Two arguments for saying that violation miracles are impossible
118
Assessment of these arguments
122
Inexplicable miracles
123
Coincidence miracles
124
Conclusion
126
God and morality
128
God as our creator
129
the Euthyphro dilemma
131
The Kantian argument
135
Wards account
139
Trethowan and apprehending morality as apprehending God
142
The supervenience of the moral
143
What does morality rest on?
147
Further reading
149
Religious experience
150
an alternative to argument?
151
Perceptual v nonperceptual experience
154
Religious perception
156
Swinburnes additions
160
Should the Principle of Credulity be accepted?
163
Can there be privately perceivable objects?
164
Prudential arguments
191
Pascals Wager
193
William James and The Will to Believe
198
The argument from solace
204
Assessing the argument from solace
206
Combining consequential and epistemic rationality
210
Further reading
212
Arguments from scale
213
The argument from scale
215
modern science is fallible
218
theism is not committed to what science has disproved
220
there is a divine purpose in the scale of things
221
science uses the wrong criterion of significance
222
God is inscrutable
223
Conclusion
225
Further reading
226
Problems about evil
227
The logical problem
229
Evil as a causal presupposition of good
232
Evil as logically presupposed by good
234
Must God create the best possible world?
237
Must God create a perfect world?
243
The free will defence
245
Assessment of the free will defence
246
Conclusion
253
Further reading
254
Omnipotence
255
Divine power
256
The concept of omnipotence
258
Some possible replies
259
Can God sin?
261
Gods lack of a body
262
Can God destroy himself?
263
Omnipotence relativised to God
264
Conclusion
268
Eternity and omnipresence
269
The temporal conception of eternity
270
The temporal conception infinite time and creation
271
The timeless conception of eternity
274
Could a timeless God be a creator?
276
Could a timeless God be a person?
279
Could we combine the two views of Gods eternity?
281
B Omnipresence
282
Omnipresence and omniscience
284
Conclusion
285
Omniscience
286
Omniscience
287
Can God foreknow future free actions?
289
Can God know the truth of indexicals?
292
An objection to the argument from indexicals
294
An extension of the argument from indexicals
297
A revised definition of omniscience
299
Conclusion
300
Conclusion
301
Further reading
306
Notes
307
Bibliography
313
Index
321
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About the author (2004)

Nicholas Everitt is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of East Anglia, UK. He is the co-author of Modern Epistemology (1995).

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