Posted this as a reply to a friend- It was originally a reply to on old professor. It is in a premature state but the overall point is here. Please read with this information in mind.
The philosophers God, aptly named God 4.0, with the four characteristics (omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, omni-benevolent) attributed to it’s definition is an easily refuted God (I’ll explain why in a moment). These attributes are the same basic attributes defining God within most of today's theistic texts. So if arguments for God 4.0 are deemed logical, then, at least on a fundamental level, there would have to be some plausibility given to the accuracy of at least one of the texts. Likewise, if it is determined that God 4.0, the foundation for all these textual deities, is impossible, then all the Gods of all the texts are also impossible. If determining any single attribute contradictory, then this also deems all the Gods of text, false. Determining one attribute contradictory does not, however, disprove a God entirely, simply a God with that attribute. But as I am about to show, all the attributes are easily refuted.
-Omnipotent. The easiest to refute. There is an old riddle: Can God make an object he cannot move? If he can, then he would no longer be omnipotent because there would exist something he could not move, meaning some action he could not perform. If he could not, then again, some action he could not perform. In both instances he fails to be omnipotent.
-Omniscient. Paired with the power of "free will" that is commonly attributed to all but Spinoza's god, there becomes a fairly simple contradiction. If God knows everything, and as such his own future actions, can he express the free will to not perform a particular action. This causes a couple issues: If he cannot veir from his predicted path then he mustn't have free will (not to mention omnipotence), and if he can, then at some moment he did not know something, contradicting the attributed omniscience.
-Omnipresent. This one is also self contradicting, however the contradiction it has with another stipulation, omni-benevolent, is much easier to articulate: If God is everything, and is all good, then all things must be all good. But if all things are one thing, then there is no contrast to notice that it is good. To have benevolence, there is a requirement for the contrasting malevolence. So to be omni-benevolent there must be some malevolence, but if he is also omnipresent, then he must be the malevolence also. If that's not the case then there is no malevolence and then no omni-benevolence. If there is both then there is no omnipresence.
Adding these 4 attributes into further combinations brings even more contradictions. But like I stated, disproving these attributes does not remove the possibility of a God who is without these attributes. Because of this I move to an even more basic definition of God which is “the creator” or “the starter”. A God like this, without these, previous, defining stipulations, is a much harder God to refute, but this will be an attempt at doing just that. If found that God as a creator is plausible then a God that does not have the 4 other stipulations is possible. If found false, then no God is possible.
1. Argument of intelligent design. Many submit that complexity is proof of a maker. The logic involved is quite narrow, and falls into the realm of infinite regression quite quickly. The bad logic for this is as follows.
(1) If something is complex it must be created by a mind that is more complex.
(2) Therefore there must be an ultimate being.
The contradiction is that there cannot be an ultimate being, a being of great complexity, as per the stipulations of being complex, must have a creator, who must also have a creator, and so on, never actually having a beginning, or greatest, creator.
In lamens: a watch is complex so it must have a more complex creator, which is man. Man, being complex, must also have an even further complex creator, which is God. The proprietors of this argument usually stop here, believing they have made some point, however God, being complex his/herself, would also have an even more complex creator, to meet the stipulations of the argument. This creator would have a creator, who would also have a creator, and so on and so on.
2. Prime Mover argument. This argument is conjured through the understanding that motion is caused by motion, and as such, the causes of motion regress infinitely into the past without ever having an actual catalyst. The argument concludes that this would be infinite regression, and as such, we could not actually have motion. So the only explanation is that there must be something that “can move, without having to be moved”: The prime mover, or God.
I have several disagreements with this argument.
(1) The claim that motion must be caused by motion is false. Motions is caused by force, but force in itself is not in motion. An object in motion may have force, but motion is not a stipulation. For example, place 2 objects into space, nothing else, and they will descend upon one another. This is motion is caused simply by the objects existence within space. Mass causes an impression on space-time, which produces gravity. This is motion caused by the existence of mass, not by a previous motion.
(2) The assumption that a) there is such a thing as universal rest, b) that this rest must have existed as the beginning, and c) that there must be a beginning.
a) Universal rest is not of anything we have ever experienced. We have experience things at rest within our relative environments, but everything, as far as we can observe, is always in motion with respect to something else.
b) There is nothing to suggest that there must have been inactivity. We know that causation of motion can come from sources other than motion, yet turn around and claim that there must have been a causing motion. We then allow this to form an infinite regression and then solve the problem by implementing God.
c) The idea of a beginning is a huge contradiction. If things are caused, then there must be something that caused. Yet, if there is a beginning, this become another infinite regression. If we say “okay, lets allow this assumption”, then what? Everything just starts from nothing? A sentence that contradicts all we know. But still, lets allow it, and say there is a starter, a God, who has a purpose. Purposes, as we know, come from some other purpose or set of purposes. Purposes are causal. This means something before the "purpose to create existence", caused the purpose. This is tricky because before existence there cannot be anything to have a purpose, and if this is the beginning, then there is no time, yet we have something, which can’t exist, being cause by something "before", which is a measurement of time, which cannot exist, trying to create existence. (If this is confusing, I come back to it later.)
The idea that motion can be caused by the existence of matter/energy alone leads to another, very silly, philosophical question: How did matter/energy get here? The reason I call it silly is because I, nor anyone else, can describe an observation of any creation of matter/energy. We don't, and can't, understand what creation of matter/energy means, yet we ask these stupid questions.
Non the less, lets address the question. If matter/energy was created, we run into a large contradiction. And we might as well add, using this same (terrible) logic of “if exists, then must have not existed”, that existence itself must have, at some point, not existed. If it is here, then it must have not been here, per this train of thought.
It may be getting clearer to see that every time that we claim a grand start for something we wind up with some infinite regression contradiction. Some may argue that the alternative, an infinite constant, is also a paradox, but only because we can never witness it, not because it has any contradicting stipulations.
So lets get back to the confusing bit (I’m gonna break it down a little bit more here). We are in non existence. Non existence being the absence of existence. A place that, by definition, cannot exist. To say that anything is in this non existence, is to deny that this is non existence. Yet somehow, from all this nothing, and non movement, and timelessness, and godlessness (because god is something, and if something is here, then again, this is not non existence) we gained all of reality. So from all this nothing….Boom! Something?… Really? And can nonexistence exist? Does the last question even make sense? When I say non existence, I cannot know what that means. It would be something, that no thing could ever recognize. It cannot, by definition exist, for it would then, not be non existence, but rather something that does exist, and the statement “Non existence exists” makes no sense. So another large issue with starting is that the medium on which to make existence, cannot exist. If there must be something to build upon, then there must always be an existence. It is a thing that cannot be started.
To further break down the claim requires some more allowances. This may be overkill, but I wish to present findings on every level, even if unnecessary, to avoid any ambiguity that may be exploited in the future. So, allowing that there could be non existence, and god could exist within this nothing (try to bear with the absurdity of this). The reason God is so important to humans is because it endows us with what many might consider the greatest of all endowments: a purpose. To give this purpose, requires a mind with intent, with it’s own purpose. The subject of purpose, opens yet another infinite regression contradiction, which I briefly mentioned earlier. Purpose is for an end. An end which is for another purpose. Through logic and observation, we find that all purposes are produced by previous ends, which come from previous purposes and so on.
But again, allowing this. God is existing, in a place that cannot exist, with a starting purpose. Now there is to be an act of creation. This implies that there is at least three primary time intervals. Before the act, during the act, and after the act. So, using the bad logic, “if there is existence, then there must have been non existence”, then there must be a start for existence. So “before” existence there was these impossible variables that we are allowing. “Before” is important, because with no existence, there is no time, yet “before” is a measurement of time, as stated earlier, and “act of creation” or just “creation” are temporal actions: meaning they have time specific functions. Hopefully this contradiction is apparent. (You cannot make time because that would require time to already exist)
3. Ontological Argument. This argument, presented by Anselm, attempts to support God’s existence through the definition of God. God is defined as “That which no greater can be conceived”. Anselm argues that if there was a being that met this stipulation within our imagination, it could not be God because we could imagine a greater being that exists within our imagination and in existence. Therefore God must exist.
A few problems with this. First, why is God that which no greater can be conceived? What I mean is, somethings cannot be conceived, like an infinite universe. We may find this perfectly plausible, but to conceive it…to really conceive it would be impossible because our capacities for conceiving are finite. Even if they weren't, and we could somehow scope infinity, this actions would be eternal, and never actually quite something conceivable. Tying this back into the ontological argument, if a person can conceive of a God but not of infinity, then by this argument wouldn't infinity be greater than God? If then the logic was to move to say that infinity is God, this would then contradict the stipulation that God is “That which no greater can be conceived” because infinity itself cannot be conceived. So our idea of God must again be something finite, yet we can understand that this is not greater than infinity, but we are stuck because we cannot, using these rules, claim God is something we cannot conceive, because then we could not understand God enough to claim that he is “that which no greater can be conceived”. Rather defining God as “that which no greater can be conceived” is claiming God is conceivable, so to go further and claim him inconceivable is a contradiction. The only thing that could be attested through this definition is the limits of our conception.
The next thing wrong, is the assumption that our ability to conceive is the premise for what would define God. It is premature conclusion considering our ability to conceive relies on our consumption of information, which is a constant act. Everyday we learn more, and everyday our ability to conceive is greater than the last. This could be viewed as a sign we are growing, but it can also be view as proof that we are in need of growth. That we are children, and we are pompous to think our abilities to conceive should be the stipulation for anything other than empirical proof of our understanding of our ability to conceive at this time.
4. A perfect god, or a perfect being. This is an observation that is more than a thousand years old, but still stands very firmly. For theists, god is a perfect being. To the individual who developed this thought experiment, this means that god is perfect in every way conceivable, meaning god is perfectly content. However, if god is perfectly content, then our actions cannot cause god any pain nor pleasure. Our actions cannot anger or please god. If god is perfect, then god cannot care. This contradicts omni-benevolence starkly. Claiming god as perfect, contradicts the base message in the most prevalent theological texts. If god is perfect, then he/she cannot care what you do and what is right and wrong. To think god cares about you, is to contradict claims of his/her perfection.