David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 51 (1):1-43 (2000)
This paper is a sequel to my 'Theological Misinterpretations of Current Physical Cosmology' (Foundations of Physics , 26 (4); revised in Philo , 1 (1)). There I argued that the Big Bang models of (classical) general relativity theory, as well as the original 1948 versions of the steady state cosmology, are each logically incompatible with the time-honored theological doctrine that perpetual divine creation ('creatio continuans') is required in each of these two theorized worlds. Furthermore, I challenged the perennial theological doctrine that there must be a divine creative cause (as distinct from a transformative one) for the very existence of the world, a ratio essendi. This doctrine is the theistic reply to the question: 'Why is there something, rather than just nothing?' I begin my present paper by arguing against the response by the contemporary Oxford theist Richard Swinburne and by Leibniz to what is, in effect, my counter-question: 'But why should there be just nothing, rather than something?' Their response takes the form of claiming that the a priori probability of there being just nothing, vis-à-vis the existence of alternative states, is maximal, because the non-existence of the world is conceptually the simplest. On the basis of an analysis of the role of simplicity in scientific explanations, I show that this response is multiply flawed, and thus provides no basis for their three contentions that (i) if there is a world at all, then its 'normal', natural, spontaneous state is one of utter nothingness or total non-existence, so that (ii) the very existence of matter, energy and living beings constitutes a deviation from the allegedly 'normal', spontaneous state of 'nothingness', and (iii) that deviation must thus have a suitably potent (external) divine cause. Related defects turn out to vitiate the medieval Kalam Argument for the existence of God, as espoused by William Craig. Next I argue against the contention by such theists as Richard Swinburne and Philip L. Quinn that (i) the specific content of the scientifically most fundamental laws of nature, including the constants they contain, requires supra-scientific explanation, and (ii) a satisfactory explanation is provided by the hypothesis that the God of theism willed them to be exactly what they are. Furthermore, I contend that the theistic teleological gloss on the 'Anthropic Principle' is incoherent and explanatorily unavailing. Finally, I offer an array of considerations against Swinburne's attempt to show, via Bayes's theorem, that the existence of God is more probable than not
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Jeremy Gwiazda (2010). Richard Swinburne, the Existence of God, and Exact Numerical Values. Philosophia 38 (2):357-363.
Gustavo E. Romero & Daniela Pérez (2012). New Remarks on the Cosmological Argument. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 72 (2):103-113.
Mirsaeid Mousavi Karimi (2011). Adolf Grünbaum on the Steady-State Theory and Creatio Continua of Matter Out of Nothing. Zygon 46 (4):857-871.
Similar books and articles
Hans Halvorson (forthcoming). Theism and Physical Cosmology. In Charles Taliaferro, Victoria Harrison & Stewart Goetz (eds.), Routledge Companion to Theism.
Timothy E. Eastman (2007). Cosmic Agnosticism. Process Studies 36 (2):181-197.
A. Grünbaum (2000). A New Critique of Theological Interpretations of Physical Cosmology. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 51 (1):1 - 43.
Adolf Grünbaum (1998). Theological Misinterpretations of Current Physical Cosmology. Philo 1 (1):15-34.
Adolf Grünbaum (1991). Creation as a Pseudo-Explanation in Current Physical Cosmology. Erkenntnis 35 (1-3):233 - 254.
Adolf Grunbaum (1989). The Pseudo-Problem of Creation in Physical Cosmology. Philosophy of Science 56 (3):373 - 394.
Artemy Magun (2012). Karl Marx and Hannah Arendt on the Jewish Question: Political Theology as a Critique. [REVIEW] Continental Philosophy Review 45 (4):545-568.
Quentin Smith (1997). Quantum Cosmology's Implication of Atheism. Analysis 57 (4):295 - 304.
H. G. Quaritch Wales (1977). The Universe Around Them: Cosmology and Cosmic Renewal in Indianized South-East Asia. A. Probsthain.
Michele Caponigro, "Physical Quantity" and " Physical Reality" in Quantum Mechanics: An Epistemological Path.
Krishna Prakash Tripathi (2008). Indian Cosmology. Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 44:73-78.
James M. Brandt (1989). Ritschl's Critique of Schleiermacher's Theological Ethics. Journal of Religious Ethics 17 (2):51 - 72.
W. Michael Dickson (1995). Is There Really No Projection Postulate in the Modal Interpretation? British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 46 (2):197-218.
Added to index2010-09-02
Total downloads144 ( #7,914 of 1,692,918 )
Recent downloads (6 months)37 ( #3,755 of 1,692,918 )
How can I increase my downloads?