The Hammer of Heretics: Episode 1
Welcome to another new blog series on Team Orthodoxy!
In this series I will be wielding Team Orthodoxy’s trademark Hammer Method to crush heresy in a manner befitting the original Malleus Hereticorum, St. Anthony of Padua. You may very well ask, ‘that sounds great, Mike, but what qualifies you to do this much-needed heresy-crushing?’ To which I would reply, one half-decent undergrad course in logic, and another in classical philosophy.
This may not seem like the greatest qualification, and even I didn’t think so, until I realised that it placed me on an even, if not superior level of philosophical education compared with many top selling writers of philosophy, including scientific geniuses Richard Dawkins and Steven Hawking.
Besides, the more specific purpose of this series is not so much to tackle the most difficult philosophical questions of our time, as would be suited to a much more brilliant mind than mine, but rather to sweep up the philosophical trash; to examine the truly terrible and meritless arguments that are repetitively peddled everywhere from schoolyard arguments to New York Times bestsellers.
These arguments have a bad habit of continually respawning, but the Hammer is tireless, and the sound of their QQing only makes it stronger.
This Episode’s Argument:
Who created the creator?
We’ve all heard this one-liner at some point. Most often, it is thrown out as a smug dismissal of classical philosophy by modern atheists. Dawkins is very fond of this one, as is A Universe from Nothing author, Lawrence M. Krauss.
The argument usually doesn’t go much deeper than this one line. It’s a response to the various philosophical definitions and proofs of God’s existence, and basically says, ‘God created the universe? Then who created God?’ Whenever I hear this I can’t help but think,
I mean, really, do they think no one in the history of philosophy ever considered this brilliant question? Is St. Thomas Aquinas rolling over in his grave, thinking, ‘Oh no, if only I was as clever as antitheist420’?
Actually, this question really wasn’t addressed by classical philosophers, for the simple reason that it doesn’t even make enough sense to be a valid criticism. Even asking this question shows that the critic doesn’t understand the definition of God or the proofs that are proposed. I’ll give just one example of an argument from contingency. This one was formulated by Gottfried Leibniz in 1714:
“There can be found no fact that is true or existent, or any true proposition, without there being a sufficient reason for its being so and not otherwise, although we cannot know these reasons in most cases […] Why is there something rather than nothing? The sufficient reason […] is found in a substance which […] is a necessary being bearing the reason for its existence within itself.”
In plain English this means that all things in the universe, and the universe itself, could exist or not exist, based on external factors. For example, I exist because of my parents, who exist because of their parents. This blog exists because I am writing it. The existence of anything in the universe implies a cause. Therefore the only way something can exist, rather than nothing, is if a being exists which is uncaused, and causes all other things.
Ok, so we have a proof that an uncaused being exists. Now there are various more or less reasonable arguments that can be made against this, but one of them is not ‘who created the uncreated being’. It’s a nonsensical question, which proves nothing but the speaker’s failure to understand the proof.
God love you all, leave a comment if you like (or dislike) this new series!
Posted on June 14, 2012, in Apologetics, Catholic, Orthodoxy, Philosophy and tagged atheist, contingency, creator, dawkins, definition, existence of god, gottfried, hammer, hammer of heretics, hawking, heretic, leibniz, logic, Philosophy, proof, richard, st anthony, st michael, steven. Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.