David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philo 3 (1):63-72 (2000)
In a recent essay, Quentin Smith revisits a question of philosophical cosmology. Why does the universe exist? This is one way of asking the existence question EQ. Smith notes that all theistic philosophical cosmologists have answered this question in terms of God’s creative choice. Smith favors an “atheistic” philosophical answer: “The universe exists because it has an unconditional probability of existing based on a fundamental law of nature.” He further declares: “This law of nature ... is inconsistent with theism and implies that God does not exist.” The structure of Smith's reasoning in defense of these claims is the following: (1) The answer to EQ of theistic philosophical cosmologists is logically inconsistent with the answer of atheistic philosophical cosmologists. (2) Therefore, theistic and atheistic philosophical cosmologies are logically inconsistent with each other. (3) The atheistic answer to EQ is a complete answer to EQ. (4) Therefore, theism is demonstrably false. I shall argue that Smith’s reasoning in defense of (1) is not sound. From that, it follows that (2) is not a proven truth. Assumption (3) is controversial, and in the present context question-begging. It presupposes that materialism is true. Therefore, (4) is not a proven truth
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