15 November 2009

Epistemology and Analogical of the Teleological Argument

The epistemological and analogical methods of the teleological argument are attempts at proofs for the existence of a god. Epistemology (knowledge) relies on the Platonic idea that knowledge is composed of truths and beliefs. It is the beliefs part that makes a proof for god difficult, if not impossible. Analogical arguments rely upon building logical proofs that combine humans with natural entities, cosmos. A common objection to this method is that humans are not like natural entities.

An argument from belief is deux visage in nature. Belief generally can not be provable as probable. To counter this argumental style, one could assume that the belief portion would be the easiest to target. Because of this, it is upon the believer to prove that one's beliefs constitute fact, as in:

I believe in X.
There must be at least one X.
Therefore, X is true.

The believer could use the tactic that belief is not something that can be measured by scientific principles. This is a quite defensible position. Semantical arguments, Wittgenstein's language games, sever a need to justify belief by the standards of science. The basic argument is that belief is written in the language of a divine being, and science is an artificial creation by man. As such, they are not cohesive nor interchangeable. Belief becomes a function of a purely religious realm.

In reality, disproving that “at least one” is key. The reason for this, is that for every argument made against belief, the believer can counter. Also, because belief is not tangible, it is a theoretical possibility. More simply, if someone believes that god is a rock, and states that there must be at least one rock that is god, the disproof of god being a rock is impossible. But one could show through a preponderance of evidence that no known rock is god. Following Ockham's Razor, because no known rock is god, then it would go to reason that there is no rock that is god. And even so, the argument can quickly turn circular. The believer might then simply counter that while every known rock is not god, one has not found the god rock. While Ockham works for science, it does not necessarily work for belief. And again the argument swings back to language games.

For analogical arguments, a logic proof is established. It systematically develops from the regularity of the universe, to its relations to humans, the to necessity for a god. For example:

The universe is ordered by laws.
Man is ordered by laws.
Laws are not spontaneous.
Neither the universe nor man created these laws.
Therefore, a creator established the laws.

Another version of the argument is to claim that:

The universe is ordered and like a machine.
Man is ordered and like a machine.
A machine can not create itself.
Therefore, a creator made both man and the universe.

This method of argument uses both induction and scientific fact to support itself. As one is unlikely to disprove scientific fact, the inductive process must be found fallible. While it is both true that man and the universe is bound by laws and have machine-like qualities, it is not necessarily true that those laws and qualities are the same. But even so, variability in law or quality does not disprove the theory. Given that:

A is non-B
C is non-B

are both perfectly logical. It is the conclusion that can be fallible. To state that A and C are non-B, requires extra steps to prove so, because while neither is non-B, there is no necessitation that A and C are the same. Doing so, is a false analogy and possibly tokenism. Does either system of argument have merit? The epistemological argument appears to be the most fallible of the two, in that, arguing from belief and trying to incorporate it as fact is improbable and most likely, impossible. If belief was an acceptable argument style, then anything would be possible. One could claim that they believe that they are god and as such then, would not be disproved. There are simply too many inherent flaws in the epistemological method.

As for the analogical argument, establishing a valid logical proof is also difficult. It is the transition from observable, scientific fact to supernatural necessity that is questionable at best. To make the leap that one can go from the observable to the unobservable is comparing disparate things. An orange is not an acorn. It seems also, that the analogical argument is better window dressing on the epistemological argument. But what it can not avoid is belief. Something that is unobservable requires an element of belief. And yes, belief has been responsible for amazing scientific discoveries, but those discoveries did not stem solely from belief.

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